Starting Up... - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-07-2009, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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Starting Up...

Hey guys. First of all I would like to say that I am a complete fish/aquarium newbie. I know a little bit about the infamous (and pain, if you will) cycle. Amonia, Nitrites and Nitrates.

I have recently bought a small aquarium (just to give it a try). I have successfully completed the cycling process and have my tank (10 gal) stocked with:

1 Angel Fish
2 Red Eye Tetras
2 Bloodfin Tetras
2 Black Tetras
1 Platy

Any suggested upkeep for the tank? I was told partial water changes every other week along with gravel vacuuming should be sufficient for this tank. Also, it seems as though my black tetra's fins are... screwed up. I think one of my Red Eyes (ironcially the biggest, we call him The Boss) was nibbling at them. It looks as though there are bites taking from the fish but it could be finrot. I'm not really sure and could use a veterans opinion.

I'm aware that the photo quality sucks, so I will try to help you out. It's on the bottom fin, there's literally a hunk missing:

Now, for my real question. I tried out aquariums, turns out I spend more time looking at it than at my TV or PC now. I am seriously considering starting a saltwater tank. (I would love to have some clowns, zebra's, etc. The prettier bigger guys.)

How hard is it to start up and is 55 gallons big enough for a saltwater tank? What all equipment would I need? Where can I find it the cheapest? As a newbie, any input you guys have would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by onefish2fish; 03-07-2009 at 09:21 AM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-07-2009, 09:31 AM
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Starting a saltwater tank requires months of research and planning. While in the research phase you will have time to save money for your new investment. I say "investment" because doing things properly will pay off in the long run. I say "long run" because doing things properly from the start yields a long term enjoyable tank.

As for a 55 gallon tank, i know a few people using them however i dont like them due to their narrowness. I find it more challenging to aquascape the tank with live rock. IMO a 75 gallon is a good size tank due to its width, but again a 55 is do-able.
First you need to figure out if this is going to be a FOWLR (fish only with live rock) or a REEF (which includes corals) setup. This will allow you to figure out how to stock the tank.
For a very general write up you can find alittle more information here:
heres a good article on sumps:

Research should NOT end here, this is a mere introduction. IF you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-07-2009, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Just a rough estimate (not including how much the tank costs)

How much money would I have to put into a 55 gallon tank to get started? (Not including fish, just the coral etc.)

Also, choosing of fish. I am very partial to clowns, would I want live rock? Coral? As I said before I'm a newbie and feel this is a silly question.
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-07-2009, 11:18 AM
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no silly questions, only silly answers.

about 1.5-2 lbs:1 gallon quality pourus live rock is your filtration. along with good flow, a deep sand bed, and a quality protein skimmer (read online reviews as some are garbage and others golden)

honestly the tank is prob. the cheapest thing. coral price range is anywhere from $5 to the hundreds and even thousands same goes for fish. a good skimmers going to be a couple hundred. 100-120+ lbs of live rock is going to be a couple hundred-thousand. this is one of the reasons why taking your time to understand things is important. if your seriously interested look for a local reefing club in your area. these are great to learn, meet people with the same interest, pick up some cheap equiipment and corals and so forth.
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-07-2009, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Wow I really had no idea that coral could be so expensive, however I think in the long run it is worth it for me. I spend hours looking at a small tropical set up that I have now and can only imagine how much time I'll stare at a Saltwater.

Thanks again for your help. I believe that I will read up on Saltwater a bit more before I get too deeply involved.
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-08-2009, 05:06 AM
I love my reef tank. I am glad I have it. However it takes a significant chunk of my paycheck for its upkeep..and its only 14 gallons. Time is important with a saltwater. You can't just stock it after a short period of time. I learned a lot of lessons in saltwater aquarium keeping the hard and difficult way. As much as I love my saltwater tank, it is very frustrating at times.
The best advice I give you is read, read, read! Read everything.
-Never use tap water, even if your only using it once in the initial tank fill up. Only RODI or distilled water. It will save you many future problems.
-Get a test kit and never dose without testing for it.
-Research all fish and corals before adding them to your tank, no matter how tempted you are by what you see at the store. You do not know the proper tank size, what it eats, how big it gets, lighting, experience level. I would not always trust what employees tell you.
- Do not use biofiltration (bio-wheel. bio-balls, etc) for saltwater tanks, they are nitrate factories.
- Keep up on your water changes for good water quality and to avoid horrible algae problems.
- AVOID stocking too soon or too quickly. You may be anxious to see your new tank full of fish and corals all at once, but be very slow about it. It takes months-years to complete a successful tank. Make sure your tank is cycled properly before adding critters.
Hope this helps.

125g cichlid - 14g biocube reef - 6g planted Edge - 20g L goldfish/African Clawed Frog
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-08-2009, 08:31 AM
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good tips!
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-12-2009, 11:29 AM
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bigger tanks

coming from the fresh water world it has taken me some time to learn this in the end a little bigger tank can be easier for us new guys. I have learned this over the 6 mons of just maintaning a tank with just live rock and live sand. The resson this is becase it takes a bigger screw up to effect a system as massive as it dose to a small system. A nother resson i say go big or go back to fresh water is lets face it salt water fish tend to need bigger tanks. My salt water tank is a 180g i luck intwo from a old lady who could no longer maintain it and i love this tank even with out and fish in it yet still comptaplateing what fish to put in it.
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