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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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Here is a great tips article on maintaining a saltwater aquarium
Ya i'm going to start in a year or two. i guess were stuck in the same place.
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