Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   Beginner Saltwater Aquariums (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-saltwater-aquariums/)
-   -   Guide To Saltwater Basics? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-saltwater-aquariums/guide-saltwater-basics-9060/)

GregV 10-28-2007 09:33 PM

Guide To Saltwater Basics?
 
I know this has been asked 1000 times, but I was wondering if anyone knew of a post or good guide to what is required to setup Fish only and reef tanks, or if anyone wants to reply with what to do also that would be apreciated.

thanks for your time.

bettababy 10-29-2007 05:01 PM

Hi GregV!
Welcome to the salty side! The first thing I can tell you is that this is going to be a very different experience. There is no 1 right way to do everything, and there are a lot of options.
Do you have fish in mind already? Tank size? The first step in setting up saltwater is to figure out what you want to keep or have the ability to keep. Start with the largest tank you can accomidate/afford, as the larger you go the easier this will be.
If you list some species of fish that interest you, and/or limits for space/size of the tank, we can then help coach you through what will be needed for equipment and environment, what other animals may or may not be compatible, etc.

This probably isn't quite the answer you were expecting, but it is important to approach saltwater in the right way. It gets expensive and can easily leave you "in a bind" or dealing with needless problems if you rush it.
I look forward to helping you, and we will all do whatever we can to help you along.

GregV 10-30-2007 11:30 AM

well, My personal favorite is the Koran Angel (sp?) (but I also like Manderin fish i know these are impossible to handle for a beginner) and I know that most angel fish are not for reefs. I also hear fish only tanks might be easier to manage and my be a little less expensive for a beginner, so that is what im leaning towards. Right now I have a 55 that i could use for a fish only tank, or I could get a good deal on a drilled 90 gallon with sump, but i dont know if this is required for fish only.

so what do you think is the easiest option for starting up is?

bettababy 10-30-2007 01:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GregV
well, My personal favorite is the Koran Angel (sp?) (but I also like Manderin fish i know these are impossible to handle for a beginner) and I know that most angel fish are not for reefs. I also hear fish only tanks might be easier to manage and my be a little less expensive for a beginner, so that is what im leaning towards. Right now I have a 55 that i could use for a fish only tank, or I could get a good deal on a drilled 90 gallon with sump, but i dont know if this is required for fish only.

so what do you think is the easiest option for starting up is?

Well, I can surely say that working with the 90 and sump will be much easier and more rewarding for you in the end, especially if the fish you are liking are angels and other large fish. Realistically, in a 55, there is only room for maybe 1 - 2 medium sized fish and 1 - 2 small fish (that stay small) and some inverts. Part of the problem with a 55 is the width from front to back... there isn't much real space there.
You are correct about the mandarin not being for beginners. The problem with the mandarin is that they need a well established tank with plenty of natural food source. Mandarins are difficult to feed, and if the tank is too new, the food source quickly disappears and the fish starves to death.

A reef tank does not have to be much more difficult than a fish only system, again, it depends on the species you choose and what you are willing to invest in it.

With reef tank you surely want to use a sand substrate, with fish only you have the choice between sand and crushed coral. I prefer to stick to arragonite sand with the fish only systems too, as it leaves more options for what fish will work and makes it much easier for changing over to reef in the future. Another benefit of the sand is in filtration. The crushed coral can't offer the amount of biological filtration the sand will, so the work load on your part increases with the use of coral.

For a fish only system, 55 - 90 gallons, expect to need:
salt, hydrometer, power heads, filtration, live rock, arragonite sand, heater (or chiller, depending on what fish you desire... the koran would require trocial, thus a heater), skimmer, UV Sterilizer (optional but strongly suggested), thermometer, test kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH & calcium, good tight cover for the fish (yes, they jump plenty), a standard type of light fixture, a steady supply of RO/DI water, and a seperate container/vat for premixing your saltwater for water changes.

If deciding on reef, I would add to that list with: magnesium test kit, stronger lighting (gauged by the animals you keep and their needs), possibly a refugium, and different types of fish (koran angel would likely wreak havoc in a reef situation, though the fish would enjoy it), and again depending on the animals you keep, sometimes additives such as iodine, calcium, essential elements, etc

I hope this helps to give you an idea about what is needed just to get started. The other most important thinig in saltwater is patience! The supplies and information won't help much if you try to rush things or have issues with impulse buying. Many a fish keeper has learned that the hard way, which can cost a lot of money and a lot of frustration/stress. If you wish to persue starting a saltwater tank, let us know and we can guide you through 1 step at a time. When you start saltwater, the first few steps have to be done in specfic order to preserve your bacteria in the sand and rock. Plan carefully first, that will make a huge difference later.

GregV 10-30-2007 09:00 PM

So say I wanted to Start with a fish only tank and work my way up. I would pick up the 90 gal with sump, as my 55 is very skinny.

I wouldnt need a filter of any kind with the tank because the sump (i would probably float biowheels and such in it) and live rock would take care of that?

so basically, im looking at $250 for the stand combo, and around $500-600 more for decent equipment, would that be a fair estimate? not to mention the rock itself depending on the type and wieght i need. (does this matter? fiji is cheap, but tonga looks so much nicer)

I think i will need to do more research as to what I would like to do. Thank you for your help, it has given me alot to consider.

bettababy 10-30-2007 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GregV
So say I wanted to Start with a fish only tank and work my way up. I would pick up the 90 gal with sump, as my 55 is very skinny.

I wouldnt need a filter of any kind with the tank because the sump (i would probably float biowheels and such in it) and live rock would take care of that?

Your sump would be your filter, but the skimmer would help with filtration, along with the live rock, and the sand bed substrate.


so basically, im looking at $250 for the stand combo, and around $500-600 more for decent equipment, would that be a fair estimate? not to mention the rock itself depending on the type and wieght i need. (does this matter? fiji is cheap, but tonga looks so much nicer)

The cost will depend on where you do your shopping, but I would say a fair estimate of price overall to start a 90 gallon with sump would be approximately $1500 - $2000 for a fish only system.
As for the live rock, the thing to look for in good rock is in how dense it is. The more dense it is, the lest filtration it will accomplish in your tank and the heavier it will weigh out, so it will cost you more. If you see specials online of "premium live rock" and it's listed $1.99/lb or in that range, chances are it's "scrap rock" and very dense. The cheap price is an easy way for them to get rid of it. When it comes to buying live rock, a lot of times it pays to spend the money to get good rock from either a reputable dealer online (make sure you know people who have gotten good rock from there first) or your local LFS's. Don't be afraid to shop around. If the rock comes from different retailers, then you are assured more diversity in quality and also beneficial organisms when they all end up together in the same tank. Good live rock is expensive, and that will be anywhere you go. Expect to need as close to 90 lbs as you can fit into that tank, and average cost anywhere from $5 - $10/lb. if shopping local retail stores. Standard fiji rock may not always have the best shapes to it, but it is usually really good for filtration. Marshall Island rock is usually pretty good, but tends to be a bit more expensive due to collection limits.

I think i will need to do more research as to what I would like to do. Thank you for your help, it has given me alot to consider.

If you have any other questions, ask away...

johnmaloney 11-23-2007 06:24 PM

Get a book, dont overspend
 
Check out book deals at half.com or amazon. I got the marine reef handbook, (excellent), there for $1.00. Barnes and Noble wanted $25 SAve those dollars for fish and coral...you will need it.

managemysite 11-28-2007 02:21 PM

Here is a great tips article on maintaining a saltwater aquarium
http://helpandinformation.com/Pets_2...Aquarium.shtml

SeaSerpant 12-14-2007 08:55 AM

Ya i'm going to start in a year or two. i guess were stuck in the same place.


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