Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   noobie needs some help. (

zachhay11 07-28-2009 03:48 PM

noobie needs some help.
hey guys i wanted to convert my 20 gallon tank to saltwater and i wanted to get an arrow crab. i also wanted to get alot of inverts along with some other fish like cardnals, gobies, damsels, dottybacks and i wanted to know what stuff i'm gonna need.
i currently have-
gravel which i'm gonna switch to sand. wanted to use playground sand since i'm on a tight budget.
rock, which i will also get a stedy collection of liverock over the cycling period and after the cycle.
a 20 gallon size bubbler. i have a 50 gallon size too if its benificial to use that one instead.
a 20 gallon hang on back filter. i have a 50 gallon size filter also if it'll work better i'll use that instead.
a fluresent light with 2 40 watt bolbs(probably not going for coral ever)
a lid of course
test equipment

now here is a list of the fish i want. this is a wishlist btw not for sure on anything.
arrow crab(deffinantly want)
cleaning shrimp
any type of crabs
sea urchin
possably some dottybacks
enginear gobie

if there is anyother fish or invert you think might also be doable please comment. and also would it be benificial to use the 50 gallon filter and bubbler?

tobes3 07-28-2009 04:39 PM

Hi Zach, an engineer goby will grow way to large for your setup, consider some smaller gobies. Only get 1 damsel as they are aggressive to each other if kept in confines spaces. Also, if I was you I would choose between 1 type of dottyback, and 1 type of cardinal since your list may be pushing the limits a bit. It would be best to use a hang-on-back protein skimmer rather than a hand-on-back filter (assuming it doesn't include a protein skimmer). But a HOB filter should work fine. The bubbler wouldn't really do anything other than pump a little more oxygen into the water, so it would be more for aesthetics. Hope this helps :).

zachhay11 07-28-2009 05:06 PM

had an enginear before. seemed very stressed now that i think of it. now i'm just worried that the arrow crab will eat the other fish on the list. they can be agressive.

Pasfur 07-28-2009 06:47 PM

I have to be brutally honest with you. You do not have any of the needed equipment for a successful saltwater aquarium. It is certainly possible to do a very basic marine aquarium of 20 gallons, and stock it with only 2 or 3 very small fish, doing weekly water changes. However, this concept only applies to VERY simple FISH ONLY systems, keeping only the EASIEST of fish to be kept in a marine aquarium. In your case, this would mean Clownfish, Damsels, and Dottybacks. Inverts would be completely off limits in a system like this.

The correct method for long term success in a marine system is to use live sand, live rock, and a protein skimmer. None of the equipment that you currently have for a freshwater aquarium would be used in a saltwater system. I suggest that you spend some time looking at the successful aquariums set up by members of this forum. You can find threads on these setups on the "Pictures and Videos" area of this web site. Each of these systems, regardless of size, utilizes these same basic principles.

tobes3 07-28-2009 07:22 PM

Pasfur. Relax. :|

zachhay11 07-28-2009 07:40 PM

thanks :) i should really get more studying in before i jump into this.

Pasfur 07-28-2009 08:44 PM


Originally Posted by tobes3 (Post 219519)
Pasfur. Relax. :|

I'm sorry. Is my tone a little direct tonight? Not trying to be. Maybe i need a drink. ;-)

zachhay11 07-28-2009 09:18 PM

:) we all do once in a while. anyway, what do you think would be nessasry to get started besides live rock live sand and a protein skimmer?

wake49 07-28-2009 09:22 PM


Originally Posted by Pasfur (Post 219594)
I'm sorry. Is my tone a little direct tonight? Not trying to be. Maybe i need a drink. ;-)


+1 Pasfur. I made the switch from fresh to salt and spent twice as much fixing that mistake!

I bought a canister filter for my saltwater tank: took it off five months later, after nitrates were out of control.

I bought crushed coral that I had to scoop out of my tank after I learned that Live Sand was the way to go (two weeks after I filled the tank)

Bought a 46 gallon bow that was NOT reef ready, and had to spend another $140 on an overflow box as an afterthought.

The single bulb flourescent I bought was proceded by TWO different light fixtures, each one over three hundred dollars (apiece!)

I figure that I spent about $1000-$1500 for my ignorance. I hope that anyone making the transition from fresh just purges most of the knowledge they have of fishkeeping, and not make the same mistakes.

Buy a good Skimmer, a good light (even if not for corals, just to brighten up the fish, and in case you do corals...), lots of Live Rock, and Live Sand. And make sure you use a good salt mix. I use Instant Ocean.

Welcome to Saltwater.:-)

zachhay11 07-28-2009 09:51 PM

how much will i have to spend to get a skimmer for a twenty gallon? and how much live rock and sand will i need? and is it true that many aquariums don't even use live rock?? is that healthy?

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