Starting a 30 gallon saltwater for the first time - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 09-19-2009, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Starting a 30 gallon saltwater for the first time

Hi, I am going to start a saltwater for the first time, I've kept freshwater for a while and currently have two Oscars. They used to be in a 30g when they were babies and have since moved out, I now use that for to hold water for water changes.

So I've done a bit of research of what i need to do, I haven't bought anything quite yet as I'm still planning some things out and I have a few questions. I plan to have two Clown fish and maybe a few pounds of live rock as i can't afford to buy 30 lbs of it straight away and will slowly add them in there. So basically its starting out as a Fish only.

I don't have a filter for it, but I am planning on building one, it'll have a 130 gph submersible fountain pump attached directly to a pvc canister that is 3" wide and little over a foot tall giving it a volume of about 100 cubic inches (about the size of a 2 litre bottle), which is going to be have sponges at the top and bottom, with layers of media and blue bonded media (Aquarium Mechanical Filtration Media: Blue Bonded Filter Pads) inbetween the the layers of media. The question i have regarding this is, what sort of media should i put in there (gravel/sand/carbon/all 3)?

I also need to ask about lighting, i have the hood and light that the aquarium came with, is this sufficient or do i need a special bulb to put in there, or an all together new lighting fixture?

I have the sand covered, its going to be around 4" deep, maybe a little more. And the salt I was going to buy is here Coralife Scientific Grade Marine Salt - Saltwater - Fish - PetSmart

For the heater, I live in Florida and it rarely goes under 75 degrees here except maybe in the early morning around Jan-Feb. My 55 gallon has no heater right now and stays at around 78-80 with just one light on during the day and to around 73-74 during night time, could i get buy with the 30 gallon using a small heater for say a 10 gallon since its not going to get very cold at all?

and my final question is about the live rock, If i start with a few pounds (probably nothing more then 5 lbs) can i place just some regular rocks in there that are porous and will they start to become live?

Thank you very much for your help and your time reading this lol, i know i just wrote a small novel.
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post #2 of 4 Old 09-19-2009, 09:22 PM
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You are already off to the completely wrong start. The marine hobby is not freshwater. By this I mean that you can't just kind of put things together as you go along. Everything has to be done correctly, for a reason, in its entirety, for the purpose of creating a stable environment. Attempts to cut corners due to costs can not be achieved by using freshwater principles of filtration and care. As it stands, your "plans" appear to be to ignore what you have learned in your research because you do not have the budget for a marine aquarium, but plan to move forward with a marine setup anyhow.

If you need to save costs, then we need to look at where this can be done and done without impacting the odds of success. First, I suggest you visit Marco Rocks The finest aquarium rock available, base rock, live rock, reef rock, marco rock, reef tank saltwater fish, live corals, Marco rocks, Fiji live rock, Tonga Live rock. You can place an order for 40 pounds of dry rock and 40 pounds of sand for a total price of $109 includes shipping. You can add 5 pounds of live rock to seed this system quickly.

Next, you need to scrap this horrible idea for filtration. Nothing about marine aquarium care includes this type of filtration. This is 100% a freshwater principle that you are attempting to utilize for an environment where waste is produced and processed differently. You need a protein skimmer. Dr. Fosters, whose link you provided above, sells Protein Skimmers. I suggest this model: Aquarium Protein Skimmers: Coralife Super Skimmer Needle Wheel Protein Skimmer.

This will give you guts of your aquarium. Live rock, live sand, and a protein skimmer for a price of under $250. If your budget can not accomodate this, then you do not need to be considering a marine aquarium.
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-19-2009, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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You know, your completely right Pasfur, Thank you very much you very much just saved me from a lot of grief lol
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post #4 of 4 Old 09-25-2009, 10:39 PM
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Haha, gotta love pasfurs advice.. I dunno how many times I have seen a similar post to him to that one, but its quite a few! That is because it's good advice too. The skimmer he recommended you I currently have on my 29 gal and its doing a decent job. Still have a hard time getting it setup exactly how it needs to be, but thats more due to me wanting to just get it in there and working than anything. It does a great job when setup and in the tank correctly!

Good luck with the build, and as for heaters.. My understanding is the stability is the issue, not so much the temperature. Freshwater fish are use to handling a temperature change, but in the oceans that really just doesn't happen as quickly. Something around a 2 degree variance is a lot to SW fish IIRC. I use a heater for my tank just for that purpose, and it rarely comes on during the daytime. (My tank with no heater was staying around 74 degrees w/ no equipment)

Speaking of which I have a heating issue I need to work on.... new thread time lol.
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