Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Bartman 03-17-2009 05:35 PM

Setting up a salt water marine tank

A quick background, I have kept reptiles for quite a while and have always wanted to descend into the world of marine fish and salt water tanks.

Today I was at an undisclosed fish store in my area. I already had a fresh water set up that was depleted so I wanted to start up a salt water fish tank.

Right now I have a

40 gallon tank
uv fluorescent bulb fixture and light
eheim filter

The gentlemen at the store told me to start buy purchasing a bottle of chemi-pure elite which contains a nylon pouch with some stuff inside. He said this is the first step to cycling the water.

So now I am at a tank full of water, the filter running with this bag and other existing baggies and not to sure what the next step would be.

He basically told me to wait a few days, then add sand, wait a few days, then add the salt, wait a few days, then add live rock, then wait a month, and then if everything went well, add some fish/corel, etc.

Ya? No? hehe

Thanks folks.


Adam B

Pasfur 03-17-2009 06:27 PM


This is the most ridiculous post i have seen in a long time. This guy is so far fetched, compared to what 99% of us do, that I would personally never visit this store again.

I suggest that you just read a few threads on this site. If you want, check out some of the "builds" in the Saltwater Pictures & Video area. Those threads should really give you a great idea of how to approach the process.

In a nutshell, the guts of your system will be a protein skimmer, live rock, and a 4'' sand bed.

Seriously, the guy at this LFS is just wrong. Stay away. Far, far away.

Bartman 03-17-2009 06:40 PM

Which is why I figured I wouldn't disclose this big name fish store :p

Alright, after about three hours of reading after this post, give or take, I have seen some of your incredibly helpful posts. I have a much further understanding of what is necessary.

So here's what i'm thinking. I have found a Coralife Super Skimmer-Needle Wheel-65 Gallon protein skimmer set up. I am going to buy it tomorrow. Is this a good product? I am also going to attempt to purchase the live rock within the next few days as well as the sand.

I don't want to rush the beginning steps of this tank, so what should I do first. Set up the rocks? the sand? let the tank sit with the skimmer?

I know, i'm a real newb, hey ask me about reptiles, i'm all over it :p I've been part of a reptile forum for years so I know where I sit in this forum, some new guy who knows nothing and wants a salt water tank. But I really do want to learn and I really do want to start this right, so all help is fantastic.

I am really starting from scratch here.

Thanks folks.

Pasfur 03-17-2009 06:53 PM

Just to be clear, is the CoraLife skimmer to be used on your 40 gallon, or is this another aquarium we are discussing?

If the Coralife is for the 40, then I think you have a nice skimmer for the tank size. I would add the sand, then the live rock, then the water. The water should be saltwater when added to the tank, at the proper salinity. You can use a 55 gallon storage tote to mix the initial batch of saltwater if you like. Just add a power head to mix the water and then add some 1/2'' tubing to the power head to pump the water into your aquarium. This will allow for minimal clouding of the water due to the sand being stirred up. Alternatively, you can mix the water in each 5 gallon bucket and measure salinity. Either way.

Obviously the live rock will be exposed during this process. This is not a problem, so long as the time not being submerssed is brief.

Everyone does this process a bit different. Heck, my personal routine even varies. So long as you have a tank full of saltwater, sand, and live rock when you are finished.

Also, I turn on my protein skimmer from day 1. Many people wait a couple of weeks. It really doesn't matter much.

Bartman 03-17-2009 07:06 PM

Ok so from what I understand, here's my plan

I will purchase the skimmer, rock and sand on saturday this weekend. My tank is full of water right now, so could I not mix in the salt into the bare tank, measure salinity, and then add the sand/rocks? Rather then using a tote, pumps, etc. If not, pumps it is :)

Thank you VERY much!

Pasfur 03-17-2009 07:24 PM

If your aquarium is already full of water, just add the salt now. Perfect.

Beware... when you add the sand a significant amount of cloudiness will occur. You will have to place your live rock blind, and then rearrange it later to your liking.

Bartman 03-17-2009 08:07 PM

Sorry I am a bit confused,

So I think the best way for me to do this, considering my tank is full of basic RO water.

Step 1, Add sand/rocks
Step 2, Add salt as necessary

Would that work?

onefish2fish 03-17-2009 09:28 PM

since nothing else is in the tank now you can mix your salt in with your powerheads and thermometor on. after waiting ATLEAST 24 hours, test the salinity. i highly suggest using a refractometer for this as it is more accurate then a hydrometer. ebay sells them fairly cheap. this is the only time you will be able to mix your salt in your tank. once you have livestock (which includes rock and sand) your going to mix outside the tank.
it is then best to add rocks and then your sand in and around the rocks to "lock" them into place. you could also put down a piece of eggcrate (sold in hardware store light departments as "light defuser") first, rock ontop, then sand.
are you planning a reef setup or FOWLR? this needs to be decided now as you will need lights and a few other things.
slow and steady wins the race my friend, preparing and learning for whats ahead is the best approach. i suggest doing atleast a month of reading before progressing to increase chances of success and enjoyment rather headache and an empty wallet. feel free to ask any questions, welcome to the forum.

Bartman 03-18-2009 06:11 AM

Yeah, it is unlike me to have patience to wait a month for a fish tank, lol, but I really do want this to work and I really want to just do it right, once.

Not sure what an FOWLR tank, fish only?
I would like to have corals forsure. I tend to prefer the weird stuff. I was lookin to get one lion fish, a puffer fish or a yellow tang with some clown fish. But this I will figure out far down the path.
Definitely coral though.

onefish2fish 03-18-2009 07:15 AM

waiting a month is a very short time in setting up a tank. properly stocking it involves waiting months in between things as well.

so you want coral but the fish mentioned are not reef safe besides the clowns and tang. your def. not going to be able to house a tang in a 40 gallon tank. fish need to be decided early on so you can figure out what gets added first.
theres so much to learn so im going to point you towards 2 reads that should only be the start of your research, there is much more to come.

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