A beginner to saltwater
Hello! After keeping freshwater tanks for quite a while I am very interested in starting a saltwater tank. I've been doing my research and am trying to keep the costs down as much as possible, so I was looking into a Berlin method setup. I have an unused 29 gallon and was going to try it in that. I know a small local pet store that sells live rock and sand and was going to go through them. Any thoughts for someone who is new to saltwater would be gladly appreciated. Thank you!
make sure you cycle your tank and only put demsels of chromis in at the first most pet stores will let you trade them in when your tank is cycled and you are ready to put the fish you want in. those fish are very hardy and will help cycle your tank.
Aquariums with live rock and sand have no need for this. The bacteria will develop naturally with the slight die off that occurs when moving the rock from one tank to another, and the bacteria are already present in the rock and sand. In reality, such systems will never even see an ammonia or nitrite reading, or will only see a few short days of a traditional freshwater style "cycle".
Adding damsels or chromis would serve no purpose at all and would only cause you headaches in trying to remove them.
If you provide more details about your setup we can really offer some guidance over these first few critical months.
One additional thought. If you are new to saltwater, the best place to start on this forum is the "Pictures and Videos" area. You can look at the progress of successful aquariums, from start to finish, and see what it takes to create a successful system. You will find that almost all experienced marine hobbyists have one thing in common with our tanks.... that our only form of filtration is a protein skimmer, live rock, and live sand.
alot of research, and even more research.
and join a local reefing club.
+1 on not using fish for your cycle. if it really comes down to it, use a raw shrimp.
welcome to the forum, feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Thank you all very much! One other question, what are your thoughts on deep sand beds, I've read that they're very beneficial but is a 29 gallon too small to have one? I've never used sand as a freshwater substrate at all so I really don't know a ton about it.
The size of the aquarium does not impact the effectiveness of a deep sand bed (DSB). The key to an effective DSB is the depth of the sand. You should use at least 4'' of sand, but no more than 6''. You will find in your research that most people who do not have successful experiences with DSB systems are not following this guildeline.
For the record, on a DSB system, the sand should be placed directly on the bottom of the aquarium. No plenum or dividers should be used to separate layers of sand. There are many references on the internet to plenum style systems. These are also effective when set up correctly, but can not be "combined" with a DSB. These are separate concepts and need to be treated as such. Be certain not to intermingle your knowledge of the 2 systems. Most importantly, a DSB requires sand sifters, such as hermits, snails, starfish, etc.
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