Originally Posted by MrBishop
Hey guys ive just got back from my local aquatics shop and got myself a new Juwel Rio 120.
I am going to pick up my RO water tomorrow and am looking forward to getting the tank cycling.
Those are great looking tanks... hopefully you have it displayed somewhere you can really enjoy it.
In terms of the differences between saltwater and freshwater, there are a ton. In reality, these 2 worlds of fishkeeping have almost nothing in common, other than fish!
I'll be honest, I feel that you've spent some money here that was unnecessary and will not be useful to you in keeping marines. The Juwel Rio 120 includes a biological filter, which is something we do not use here in keeping marines. Biological filters are very effective at breaking down organic waste into Nitrate. In the marine world, we are trying to keep Nitrates as close to zero as possible, so using a filter which introduces Nitrates into the system intentionally is something that is difficult to justify. I would suggest browsing the articles section of our marine forum, perhaps starting here: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/s...shwater-31955/
After reading a couple of those articles, I would suggest you browse the Pictures & Videos section of the site and look at some "build" threads. These threads document the setup and progress of other marine fishkeepers on this forum. Many, if not most, of these were new to the marine world of fishkeeping. As you look over these setups you will find that all of these successful systems have a common theme... they utilize live rock and protein skimming as the only method of filtration, and often use deep sand bed systems of 4'' to 6'' for nitrate reduction. Regardless of the type of marine system, be it fish only, FOWLR, or reef, almost all successful systems are set up utilizing the same concepts to maintain water quality. The build threads are located here: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/s...ctures-videos/
If you are interested, here is my build thread: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/s...r-build-21979/
The next big difference for you will be the first 6 to 8 weeks of the life of this system. After reading the links I've posted, I assume you will be looking to modify your system to include live rock and protein skimming. In these systems you will not have the traditional cycling process that you have learned in a freshwater aquarium. Instead you will have a "maturing" process. There are several indicators that your tank has matured:
1) You may have a very brief cycle. Ammonia and nitrite may spike and lower to zero, often within the first few days of the set up. The reason for this is live rock, which already has all the necessary bacteria necessary to process ammonia & nitrite.
2) A diatom bloom will occur and go away. This appears as a rust colored algae which covers your rocks and sand, ofter appearing overnight, and then going away almost as quickly. This generally occurs around weeks 2 to 3.
3) Coraline algae will begin to appear on the rock and glass. This is a sign of stability and a great indicator that you are ready for your first fish. This is greatly aided by the testing of alkalinity and calcium, and adding supplements. This will be far more important than any of the tests you learned in freshwater. Again, a helpful link: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/s...-marine-33079/
4) Copepods, amphipods, and other microfauna will begin to spread rapidly. These will appear as tiny bugs, about the size of a flea, and are easiest to see on the glass and front of the sand bed. You really want these micofauna to flourish before adding fish, as these are a great food source and are helpful to keeping detritus from settling into the sand bed.
These are the basic things we look for in a new tank. You will notice that the "cycle" from freshwater is really something we take for granted, as it has almost no impact on the new setup of a marine aquarium.
I am sure you will have some questions, so feel free to ask. We have a lot of experience in the marine forums here, and a lot of people who were in your shoes just a few short months ago!