Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Twitch 01-17-2008 01:09 PM

Want to start a salt water tank
After reading posts about starting up salt water tanks and such I really want to do one. Due to small amount of funds, I have other option but to be patient. This will prevent me from going off and buying everything at once and trying to add coral and fish all at once.

So right now, I just need information while I save up for the tank. The tank will be a 20g Long. What equipment will I need for this? After the tank is purchased, I'll be saving up for the stand. Just getting these two things will take me a while to save. So, what filter, skimmer, ect will I need. I need a complete list and also links to information for what each piece of equipment does for the tank. Also, what is a refugium?

SKAustin 01-17-2008 02:13 PM

OK, let me start by saying, your lack of funds have put you at a great advantage for long term success. By taking the time to research every aspect of saltwater and reef, you will be better prepared to take the plunge once you do start. Before you can decide what equipment you will need, you really need to decide what type of livestock you wish to house. "Fish Only" tanks require little more than is needed to start up a Freshwater system. If you plan to keep corals and/or other invertibrates, you will need to make additional considerations.

A "Refugium", is simply a seperate area of a system designed to house one or more of a few things that need protection from the inhabitants of a display. Macro-algaes are often grown in a refugium to aid in nutrient export. It is also a safe place for Copepods and amphipods, which provide a natural food source for your livestock, to establish community, grow, and breed. Refugiums can also be used to store newly fragged corals, and fish in need of sanctuary from the other tank mates for a short period of time.

Refugiums are generally incorperated into a "Sump" which is a seperate tank designed to house filtration equipment, heaters, and to increase the total gallonage of the system.

It might help to take a look at these things in action, Follow the link in the banner of my signature for a peek at my system. Shat should help some of it make sense.

Twitch 01-17-2008 02:25 PM

I do want fish but I would like the corals and inverts as well, if any would do well in a 20g. I've talked to my fiance and have the ok to start saving for a tank. I will get the tank, then the stand. After that, I will have to start saving for the next piece of equipment. What would you suggest be the next thing to get after the tank and stand. What would be most important?

I looked at your set up and its very nice. I have a local salt water fish store right down the road so I can definatly get my fill of eye candy by going in there and even ask a few questions. I just tend not to trust pet store employees as much because I've been told to get unneeded equipment before for reptiles.

I should expect to have the tank within the next 3 months, the stand, hopefully by May.

SKAustin 01-17-2008 08:11 PM

Well, If your plans include corals, I would recommend you do some serious research on lighting. For a 20 gallon tank, you will need a 24" fixture. PC (Power Compact) lighting is sufficient for most soft corals, and some LPS (Large Polyped Stony) corals. If you are looking to keep SPS corals, you will likely need to look into more expensive lighting.

Here is a look at the Coralife PC unit.

Another recommendation I have for you is, try to seek out local reef clubs. You may be able to find a used full system (tank, lights, overflow, skimmer, ect) for sale at a fraction of the cost of buying it new. As an example, I was able to purchase an entire 29 gallon system with a 20 gallon sump for less than $200 through a local club. And that included the Live Rock, fish, corals, and inverts as well.

Twitch 01-18-2008 12:59 AM

I don't know of any clubs in my area but I can ask on Saturday at the local salt water fish store.

What kinds of fish could I keep in a 20g? I know that just like FW fish, they all have space requirements. Do corals and inverts have these space requirements too?

Twitch 01-18-2008 01:01 AM

Would that lighting set up be good for a tank with coral, fish, and inverts? Does it meet all the lighting requirements?

I would need the CD-18788, which is only $162ish.

Twitch 01-18-2008 08:41 PM

I've been reading books about marine aquariums and from what I've read, keeping the corals and inverts is very hard and expensive. It was also recommended to start off with a 55g tank since any lower will risk the water degrading too fast for a beginner to keep up with.

So what kind of lighting and equipment will I need for a fish-only tank? What kinds of fish can I keep in a tank that size?

Lupin 01-18-2008 08:59 PM


Originally Posted by Twitch
I've been reading books about marine aquariums and from what I've read, keeping the corals and inverts is very hard and expensive. It was also recommended to start off with a 55g tank since any lower will risk the water degrading too fast for a beginner to keep up with.

You'll have to specify which corals and inverts you're talking about. Look into zoas and mushrooms which do well in low to moderate lighting. As for inverts, make sure these are reef-safe.

Are you opting for a fish only, FOWLR or reef?

Twitch 01-18-2008 09:47 PM

What does FOWLR mean?

Lupin 01-18-2008 09:50 PM


Originally Posted by Twitch
What does FOWLR mean?

Fish only with live rocks.

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