Thinking of* starting first saltwater aquarium-inverts
I've had freshwater aquariums,but this will be my first saltwater one. I have a 30 gal and an 80 gal tank-I'd like to use the 30 gal for some inverts.
What kind/size filter will I need for the 30 gal? I'm also not sure which brands to purchase (substrate,filter,lights). I haven't done much research yet and I'm far away from starting the tank.
What inverts are compatible with each other? I'd like to learn how to get a reef started if it's possible for the 30 gal.
As you can tell I know nothing about this-Just looking for someone to point me in the right direction and give me a sample supply list, and maybe steer me towards a few good beginner books.
Thanks for any help or info,
Hi Kate, welcome to the forum! I think you have come to the right place for guidance.
First things first, understand that marine filtration has nothing in common with freshwater filtration. You will need to learn filtration concepts from the begging. The nitrogen cycle you learned in freshwater is not helpful in marine environments, because we need to keep Nitrate near zero, requiring a completely different type of filtration.
You will want to use live rock, aragonite sand, and a protein skimmer as your only method of filtration. On a 30 gallon tank you can use a hang on skimmer. Here are a few suggestions:
Coralife 65 Skimmer Coralife Super Skimmer 65
AquaC Remora Protein Skimmer with Rio 800 Pump
CPR AeroForce Recirculating Protein Skimmer
Each of these skimmers will do the trick, and are progressively better than the prior. The Coralife65 is somewhat maxed out on your 30 gallon tank. You could use the Remora or the CPR AeroForce on a 55 gallon tank if you upgrade later.
In fact, you may want to consider today using your 80 gallon for the marine aquarium. The overall cost won't be much more expensive, and you will have a much much easier task on your hands. In the world of saltwater, bigger is not only easier, it is MUCH easier, especially when we start to predict the comparability of the animals living in the aquarium. Small tanks cramp for space, and often fish and inverts behave in a manor that was not predictable in smaller aquariums.
After you select a skimmer, you will need some live rock. For your project, I suggest an order from 40 Pound box Key Largo Rock, <br>40 Pounds Bahamas Aragonite Sand<BR>pay shipping on rock only - KL40-40
This order of 40 pounds dry rock and 40 pounds of sand will be almost all you need, and is only $109. You can buy about 8 to 10 pounds of live rock to "seed" the dry rock with the necessary bacteria. This rock will create your reef structure and provide all of the beneficial bacteria you need to process nitrogenous compounds, creating Nitrogen Gas as the end product, which leaves the system naturally. This is a huge upgrade from what you have experienced in freshwater, where the end product is Nitrate. More on this here:
At this point you will have the filtration taken care of. You will need some other items, such as salt mix, a hydrometer, test kits, calcium supplements, and alkalinity buffers. This part is easy and for the most part you can purchase these after the tank is set up, during the maturing process.
I suggest for research that you visit the Pictures & Videos area of this web site. http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/s...ctures-videos/
Here you will find "build" threads that guide you from day 1 on our aquarium set ups. If you read a dozen or so of these builds, you will find successful aquariums that are relatively easy to care for. You will find that all of these tanks have one thing in common... they all utilize the filtration concept described to you above. Whatever you do, do not try to utilize freshwater filtration on a marine tank. This includes every type of biological filter on the market today.
I hope this gets you started well. Feel free to ask questions as you go along.
Thanks for the reply. I probablly will take your advice and use the 80 gal tank instead.
I have a few random questions:
What's the difference between live rock and dry rock? Do I need both?
I also saw on some of the builds that one person added a few fish right after adding the live rock (I think it was the 80gal build). I've always assumed you're supposed to wait before adding fish, and from what I've read here that's true. Just surprised me to see fish in there so soon and that I didn't see anyone correcting it.
Thanks for your advice. I've got alot of work to do :)
I'm somewhat surprised he didn't suggest to use the 30 gallon for a sump filled with LR!
I can't imagine you'll stay happy with inverts forever ;)
Live rock is rock with is inhabited with micro-fauna and bacteria. This is what really gives life to your system, and allows for a natural environment and natural processing of waste. Dry rock is a porous rock that resembles live rock in every way, except it has no life, making it much less expensive. When placed into an environment with live rock, the life quickly migrates onto the dry rock. Within a few short months the dry rock is live rock, and you really can't tell the difference in a rock that was purchased live compared to dry, provided you allow a good maturing period.
This is why I recommend to take it slowly at first. You can save hundreds of dollars on the cost of rock by purchasing dry. If you simply allow the tank to mature for 3 or 4 weeks before adding livestock, the micro-fauna are able to quickly spread without natural predators to reduce their populations. This includes copepods, amphipods, and other microscopic critters that bring great stability to your system. The bacteria on the live rock will spread also, and as you add fish these bacteria will spread even more, breaking down nitrogenous wastes. The protein skimmer compliments this system by removing organic acids directly from the water, reducing carbonate depletion and reducing the breakdown of organics into Nitrate.
It is possible to add fish very early, but this actually slows down the maturing period of the aquarium, causing you to wait longer between fish purchases, and generally resulting in tanks that have more algae problems. Allowing the tank to mature for a few weeks is far better over the long run. Honestly, given that you should utilizing a quarantine tank for all new fish purchases, the 3 week waiting period is almost obsolete.
I almost forgot. Is your 80 gallon tank drilled? Can we discuss using a sump system? This really depends on your budget and how much money is an issue.
I was afraid you'd bring up the sump! I figured if I used the 30 gal I'd get away without one, but then you convinced me to go with the 80. :D
Well, like anybody I want to spend the least amount I can on this. I know overall it's going to be expensive. I have about $500 to play with now, and don't mind buying things along the way. I'm in no rush-doing everything right the first time will save me that much more in the end.
$500 is plenty.
Ok, then we wont' used a drilled tank. Lets focus on equipment that hangs on the tank. The purchase of the protein skimmer is the biggest expense, but by far the most important piece of equipment. Let me give you a few suggestions for an 80 gallon, without a sump:
AquaC Remora Pro Protein Skimmer with Rio 1400 Pump and this to go with it: AquaC Surface Prefilter Box
Another option which is a bit less expensive, but less efficient:
Coralife Super Skimmer Needle Wheel
This is one of my old favorites, and can be used in a sump or hang on:
Red Sea Berlin X2 Turbo Protein Skimmer
Here is my #1 choice for you, if you are willing to spend the cash:
Reef Octopus BH 800S Hang on Back Protein Skimmer with Sicce Pump by CoralVue - AquaCave
This will leave you money for an order from marco rocks. If you are doing the 80 gallon, then order this:
75 Pounds Key Largo Rock, <br>160 Pounds Bahamas Aragonite Sand<BR>pay shipping on rock only - KL75-160
This is 75 pounds of dry rock and 160 pounds of sand. This will easily give you a 4'' to 6'' deep sand bed, which I strongly suggest for systems that do not utilize a sump. This provides you with greater denitrification abilities which will provide greater stability to the tank.
This completes your $500 budget, so you will have to grow the budget just a bit to accommodate miscellaneous supplies.
im looking forward to seeing pictures of your progress. welcome to the forum and feel free to ask any questions.
Thanks all. I'll be cleaning out the 80 this weekend and finding a spot for it. =) Then I'll get to orderin my supplies ;)
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