Originally Posted by Hawkian
All right let me state the question a different way (complete neophyte here so bear with me):
How does the salt get in the tank? Is it special salt for saltwater tanks? Does it come in a pouch, liquid form, pellets?
Does the salt leave deposits on the tank? Equipment? Filters? Etc.? Does it ever harden and sink to the bottom of the tank in the sand/gravel?
I assume that water changes are needed... does the water being added need to match the salinity of the tank exactly or does it get adjusted once it is in the tank already?
How does the cycle work in a saltwater tank? Is there such a thing as a cycle? How long should one wait before adding fish?
I don't have a checkbook and bank online so I take it I'm halfway there already!
You put the salt into the tank. It's synthetic salt that you mix to a specific Salinity or Specific Gravity (SG). It's a bag or you can buy it by the bucket. Since we are on the subject of water, i'm going to assume you have some experience with freshwater given the questions. The people of FW use declorinator for their water, but we in the SW world use, or should use, RO/Di, revers osmosis deionized, water. Much different from your De-chlorinated water. Yes Chlorine has been taken out, but so has lot of the Ammonia, Nitrates, Phosphates and dissolved solids that can be harmful to the inhabitants of the habitat. What inhabitants? Do your research.
Equipment... Skimmer, good water flow (pumps) and everything is based on what you will be keeping in the water (fish, corals and what type of corals). Sand and never gravel or crushed coral. Now, i do use aragonite, which is finely crushed coral, but it's sand like consistency. Why? Do research.
Salinity Changes when water evaporates. If you evaporate 1in in your 55g water the water may go from 1.025SG to 1.026. Sounds like a small amount, but if you are doing water changes to 1.025 and the water is continually being topped off with that amount of SG then your water will go from 1.025 to 1.030 fairly quickly and things in the ocean take a long time to change. What else changes? Do some research.
Cycle is a great thing. It takes a bit to get it started, can't say i've really learned anything about the FW cycle, but in saltwater it takes some time and you need to test your water while the cycle is going. What are you testing for and when can you add fish? Do research.
I stress doing research to get you acclimated into the world of SW. the questions have been asked several times and is available to anyone serious about the hobby. It's a pain in the but to maintain, IF you start it incorrectly.
For great information go to Reefkeeping Blog
it's an online magazine and so is Reefscapes