Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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ChrisK 04-22-2012 11:33 AM

New to saltwater fish keeping
Hey everyone, I'm looking into starting a saltwater tank but do not yet have the know how or how to on saltwater fish keeping. I currently have a 20gal long fw planted tank with some rasbora and buenos aires tetra. I've also had a 10gal planted. I know that is nothing compared to saltwater lol. So my question is can anyone point me or help me get started in the right direction as to what is needed as far as equipment/additives/substrate/live rock/live sand?? i need the rundown!

Thank you ahead of time any help is greatly appreciated!

Romad 04-22-2012 11:58 AM

Good for you :thumbsup: I haven't tanken the plunge myself yet but one of these years ...... :)

I would start reading through the threads here on the salty section of the forum and then start your own thread if you need to ask more specific questions.

Good luck!

Saltwater Aquariums

kitten_penang 04-22-2012 12:52 PM

you'll need the basic

1) tank

2) filter ( canisters,HOB with skimmers, sump )
*canister you will need to add a hang on skimmer
*HOB with skimmer will do both the skimming and filtration
*sump would be best as most skimmers need to be submerged into the water to work.

3) wave maker depends on how big and what type of tank your making

4) skimmers some come with power heads some don't,some needs to be submerged in the tank some just hangs from the side with the power head and some tubing only submerged

5) Lighting you'll need a stronger light if you have a reef tank with corals lesser light if it's a fish only tank which depends on fish species.example a lionfish only tank shouldn't have bright lighting as the fishes eyes are very sensitive to light.
colors should be white for day blue for night. LED's would be a better choice as they give off less heat and are more energy efficient though a tad more expensive then normal tubes.

6) chiller reef tanks are good at a max of 28 Celsius and should not be more hotter then keeping the tank at the 25-28 range would be desirable

7) Hydrometer reads at 25 Celsius so any reading taken at a higher or lower temp should be calculated with corrections to it.

8) Thermometer- a digital one is best to get precise readings when doing corrections to the hydrometer readings

9) SW test kits ammonia,nitrite,nitrate,high ph, phosphate,calcium,gh/kh

10) nutrafin or any other anti chlorine

11) bacter vital to help with the cycling

12) live sand

13) crushed coral

14) live rock

15) salt mixes-there are different types depending on what tank you are setting up.some are for reefs and some are for larger tank with bigger fishes.the chemical make up of the salt mix is slightly differ between the two.
normally 1 kilo of instant ocean will give you 30 litres of salt water at a salinity of 1.020 at a temp of 24 celcius
*always premix salt properly before adding to tank to get a more precise reading and salt that's not properly mixed is also caustic and will cause burns

16) if you keep corals you'll need liquid calcium and reef supliments

17) ph stabilizer if you have fluctuating ph problems
*not really necessary if you don't have the problem

18) phots-zorb,nitra zorb,zeolites and actived carbon will come in handy at the start of the cycle
*activated carbon should not be used for long term in a sw tank

i think that covers everything you need

Reefing Madness 04-22-2012 01:57 PM

Dry Rock, there are a few hitchhickers on Live Rock that people want to stay away from, so they opt for using Dry Rock, or Dead Rock. Macro Rock is a good place to start looking for that. Either way you go you will need a minimum of 1lb per gallon.
Replacement filter media like filter floss and activated carbon (if you get a filter) Which is really not necessary.
Multiple Powerheads (2 or 3) 10x your water volume for just a Fish Only With Live Rock, and at least 20x your water volume for a Reef Tank. So lets say your going reef, and you have a 100g tank, you would need flow in that tank at minimum of 2000gph, or 2 1000gph powerheads.
Protein Skimmer, rated at 2 times your water volume
Saltwater Test Kits.
Reef Test Kit. Test for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, PH, Phosphates, Calcium, ALK and Magnesium.
Saltwater fish food. Mysis Shrimp, Squid, Cyclopease, Algae Sheets, Romaine Lettuce. Flake food is not really a good food to feed your marine fish.
Aquarium vacuum. This one is iffy. Most don't use one, if you have enough flow in the tank you won’t need one
Rubber kitchen gloves
Fish net
Two, clean, never used before, 5-gallon bucketsAquarium thermometer, digital being the best.
Brush with plastic bristles (old tooth brush) - needed for cleaning the live rock if you don't get Fully Cured Live Rock.
Power Strip, possibly GFCI outlets by the tank.
Optional but definitely recommend getting a Reverse Osmosis or RO/Deionization filter for the make-up water, and a barrel for storing the water.
Possibly a Quarantine Tank for your new fish. They sit in here for a few weeks to kill off parasites and bacteria, to keep it from getting in your main tank
Heater rated for your size tank.
Saltwater Mix. Marine Salt. Instant Ocean is the cheap Salt that beginners and Advanced use alike.
Saltwater Hydrometer or even better a Refractometer, which is more accurate. There is also a Digital Meter that is way advanced if you have the cash.
Aquarium filter (not absolutely necessary if running with adequate amounts of live rock, but nice to have if you need to use a mechanical filter or activated carbon, or GFO and such)
Aquarium substrate such as live sand or crushed cora. Some go bare Bottom, others choose the 2-3" bottom, others, more advanced will try the Deep Sand Bed, which is over 6" deep.

BarbH 04-22-2012 02:25 PM

Hi Chris

Do you know what type of tank you are intested in keeping? Fowlr, mixed reef, sps dominate, etc. Depending on the route that you will want to go will determine what equipment you will need, if keeping corals you will need lighting that will support them, t5, metal halide, or leds. Area you going to convert one of your tanks over or are you planning on buying a new tank for a saltwater setup? If you are going with a new tank I would suggest going with the largest tank that your budget and available space will let you. With a larger tank your water parameters will tend to stay more stable. The next decision is if you are going to run a sump? A sump will add to the water volume of your system which will allow for more stabitliy, along with that it will give you a place to hide your equipment, heater skimmer so that it is not in your display. For any type of tank you will need live rock the general rule is 1 to 2 pounds per gallon. A couple of choices is that you can do 100 percent live rock which will be pricey but your cycle time on the tank will be fairly short. You can do a mix of live rock and dried rock, over time your dried rock will become live. Or you can do 100 percent dried rock, which will ensure that you get no unwanted hitchhikers, it will take longer to cycle and you will have to start the cycle by adding a source of ammonia. For rock you can check out Macro Rocks, have heard a lot of good things about their rock and they offer free shipping.

You will need to have flow in the tank your powerheads, in a Fowlr system 10x the water volume in a reef 20x. A skimmer, this is one piece of equipment you don't want to skimp on, which will remove the organics from the water (fish waste). For the bottom of your tank there are a few options, you can do a sandbed shallow or deep, or you can go barebottom. From the people that I have seen doing barebottom they claim it is easier to keep clean, but I personally like the look of having a sandbed. You would probably want a medium to fine substrate which is less likely to trap detritius like a course substrate will.

With either type of setup a source of rodi water is highly recommended. Using pure water ensures that you know what is going into your tank and will help reduce nusiance algea problems. You can either buy your water at the grocery store or lfs, but this can become costly and you do not always know how often they change their filters. I would suggest looking into investing into an rodi unit, you can make and store your water at home, no having to lug around water containers. Bonus is that you have ro water you can use at home for drinking, I use mine for making my coffee in the morning.

For testing equipment I would highly recommend getting a refractometer, which is more accurate than a hydrometer. You can find these on ebay for about $30. You will want at lest the basic test kit when starting ammonia nitrite nitrate and pH. If keeping corals you will want to be able to test calcium, phosphate, magnesium alkalinity. From what I have read most liquid test kits are not very accurate, hanna checker for phosphate is what I see to be recommended.

Some other things that you will want is storage bin one for rodi water to use for topping off your system when evaporation occurs. Another storage bin and powerhead for mixing your saltwater. The grey brute containers work well for this and you can use the dollies with them if you need to move the containers from where you are making you water to where you are storing it, if like me the locations are different. Also a qt/hospitlal tank for new fish additions, and treating anyone that is sick. I would set up your qt when you set up your main tank and start cycling at the same time. Once your main tank has cycled you can use the water from your display tank in the qt, when you change out the water in the display tank keep some of it to use on replacing the water in the qt. For setting up your qt simple setup, barebottom, hob filter to provide circulation and filter the water, heater, cover for the tank to keep fish from jumping out, simple light fixture. For providing hiding spots for your new fish you can use pvc fittings.

kitten_penang 04-23-2012 04:43 AM

do you guys think he will still want to keep a sw tank after reading all this.. i know it's a lot to digest chrisK but it will be very good if you get it right at first then have set back later and get frustrated about it then when it's too late.

ChrisK 05-29-2012 02:37 PM

kitten_penang 06-02-2012 06:58 PM

nice build =) congrats on the new tank

ChrisK 06-02-2012 10:42 PM

Thanks! If you guys can post on the other thread that would be awesome. Don't want to take up forum space

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