Im starting 2 new saltwater tanks.
I have a 125 gallon tank and a 75 gallon tank that I am getting ready to start with saltwater fish. I have done fresh water fish for years and now my wife wants saltwater. This is going to be a challenge but I love a challenge. I am open for any ideas and advice because I am going to need it any and all help will be very appreciated.
I just bought 2 30lbs bags of ARAGONITE sand, and 60lbs of natural white sand to top off the aragonite sand. Is this a good idea or a bad idea?
The most important distinction between freshwater and saltwater will be planning ahead. It can be very difficult to change course mid stream in a saltwater setup.
You need to be very specific about what livestock you are interested in and plan from there. The filter selections, budget, and care requirements can be extremely different.
There are 4 common types of saltwater setups. Fish only, fish only with live rock, reef, or fish with invertebrates.
A fish only setup is very popular for the first marine aquarium because many of the easiest fish to keep can not be kept in aquariums with invertebrates or corals. Having a large fish only setup, such as your 125, will allow you a great deal of flexibility to keep the fish which attracted you to the hobby. Additionally, these are the most inexpensive setups and the easiest aquariums to medicate in the event that something does go wrong.
A fish only with live rock aquarium is designed for the aquarist who wants a more "natural" looking aquarium. Live rock creates an appearance which is more like you would find in nature, and also has the benefit of functioning as your biological filter. This would be the ideal starting setup for any hobbyist, so long as they have the wallet to afford the live rock expense. If money is not a huge issue, this would be a nice option for the 125 also.
A reef aquarium is the more advanced option. You would keep fish, invertebrates, and soft or stoney corals. The reef aquarium is set up for the purpose OF KEEPING CORALS AND INVERTEBRATES. Fish are an afterthought and are selected to help you care for the aquarium. Such as to eat algae, stir the sand, eat unwanted aptasia, etc.
A fish with invertebrate aquarium is the last resort for someone who can't make up their mind. They want fish. They really want fish. But they can't live without having some invertebrates. I dislike this option with a passion because the animals are usually not receiving optimal care. My advice is to decide up front. Do you want fish or do you want reef? Then set up your aquarium to accommodate your choice.
I suggest 125 fish only and 75 reef. And buy a 29 gallon to set up as a quarantine tank. This is not an option.-)
So for the 125 gallon can I put fish, live rock, some coral.? What do you think about doing it like that.
Second how many power heads do I need to run for this size of tank?
We just want to put lots of fish in both the 125g and 75g and make both tanks look real nice with both live rock and some coral.
If you are a fish person, then i would advise skipping corals and invertebrates altogether. Trying to do something "in the middle" just doesn't work well in the long run. The idea "some coral" is a problem. You either set up the tank to keep coral, with fish being a sidenote, or you set up the aquarium to keep fish.
Given that you are really into fish, i would set up the tanks for the best possible care of the fish. This would mean a good protein skimmer to compliment your live rock and sand. You will probably want a sump system, with all water flowing into the protein skimmer before it comes in contact with any biological media. This will help keep Nitrates low and dramatically reduce water changes and maintainance. Live rock is optional in such a system.
this is only an idea, but what about using the 125 as a fish-only (or fish-only with liverock), and the 75 as a reef? Now, each one of those is going to be a major investment (unless you are extremely affluent), so maybe bring them up one at a time. Be sure to do lots of research, both on this forum as well as googling around, so that you get an accurate idea of how much it is going to cost you before you jump in.
But you might as well take advantage of the fact that you've got two tanks that you want to make saltwater. The 125 gallon will allow you to keep some pretty cool-looking fish, and the 75 gallon will give you lots of space to have a variety of corals.
conger, I think Im going to go with fish and live rock for the 125 gallon. My wife dont want just fish only tank dont know what Im going to do regarding the 75 gallon tank.
cool, yeah I think the FOWLR (fish-only with live rock) will be a good choice for the 125. That will also be much cheaper than a reef tank, as lighting requirements and even filtration requirements won't be nearly as stringent as with reef tanks. Just as another suggestion, as the live rock itself will probably be one of the most expensive parts of the tank, you might try buying half live rock, and half base rock (just regular ol' rock, much cheaper per pound than live rock). If you do that, you can mitigate the cost of buying over 100 lbs of live rock, and in time the live rock that you do put in will seed the other rocks and turn them into "live rocks".
As a frame of reference, my local fish store sells fully-cured live rock for $9-$11 per pound, and base rock for $2 per pound. If you were gonna put say 125 lbs of rock in the tank, instead of spending $1,250 on all live rock, just buy 60 lbs of live rock and 65 lbs of base rock, and only spend $730.
If you're like me, once you get your FOWLR set up and running, it won't be long until you are thirsting for some corals and inverts... unless you have something specific in mind, keep that 75gal handy, and whenever you can afford it, you'll be able to bring it up as a very nice reef tank. Good luck! And keep us in the loop as you move forward, I'll look forward to hearing more :)
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