I'm going to start a saltwater tank, what can you suggest for me? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-25-2014, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
willertac's Avatar
I'm going to start a saltwater tank, what can you suggest for me?


I have a 55 gallon tank that I had previously filled with water, expecting to run another freshwater. Then my stepmom said she wanted to get rid of the 2 Tomato clowns in her 72 to make way for some "Nemos". And then it was back to saltwater. So I have a few questions, 'cause I really want to make sure I'm doing things right.
1. should I dump the water (not literally, as I would be crushed if I moved the tank now ) and start with new water with salt mix, or should I remove the water, mix the salt, then replace bucket by bucket? It's been cycling for about three weeks already and I have put a previously used filter cartridge for bacteria.
2. My stepmom has 2 filters, one a Fluval fx5 for mechanical (I think), and an Aquaclear for biological. Should I also get 2 filters for seperate filtration types?
3. Is a hydrometer fine, or should I go out and get a refractometer?
4. How long should I cycle?
5. Where do you suggest getting base rock?
6. please tell me about powerheads and optimal positions.
7. Can you suggest a good protein skimmer, por favor?
Last, but most certainly not least, my most pressing question:
8. Which canister filter should I go with? Or should I go with one at all?

I have a bag of live sand, getting a 50 gallon thing of Instant Ocean salt, still need rock, and still need filters.
Thanks for your help in advance, I can't wait to start!

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Last edited by willertac; 02-25-2014 at 09:42 PM.
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-26-2014, 12:08 AM
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Well first off you will need to dump the water and remove the filter media as it will contain fresh water bacteria that will die off when you add the salt. If you have nothing in the tank you can just add the salt and water and use a power head to mix it for you adding salt until it is the desired salinity.

As far as filters go it depends on what you are wanting to keep,if you want to do corals I would not recommend a canister filter.

If you have the option always go with a refractometer as it will be much easier to use and has a higher accuracy.

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post #3 of 7 Old 02-26-2014, 12:20 AM
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I would recommend cycling for at least a few weeks if not a month.

I have used marcos rocks and enjoyed what I got from them as far as base rock.

You may want to employ a couple of circulation pumps one angled towards the surface and one towards the back bottom section of the tank as to prevent detritus build up.

There are many many skimmers and I can recommend a few but one question is do you have a sump? Does it have to be a hang on? Also they range in price so if you have a budget I may have different suggestions.

Last I really am opposed to using canister filters as they are a nuisance to change out and in salt you really want to keep the particulates from sitting in a filter and breaking down.

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post #4 of 7 Old 02-26-2014, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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Budget: as cheap and efficient as you can get, I'm kind of working on this on my own. Don't have much mulah yet... Anyhow, I don't know if anything is different with a floor or HoB skimmer, but whatever is necessary. I plan on keeping it a FOWLR for a while, but I might eventually go further with it.

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post #5 of 7 Old 02-26-2014, 10:27 AM
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6 weeks of cycling is the standard 'rule of thumb'. I would also purchase an Ammonia / Nitrite / Nitrate kit to monitor the progress.

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post #6 of 7 Old 02-26-2014, 11:28 AM
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Do you have access to a place that has used goods? A Local Pet Store or Craigslist?

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post #7 of 7 Old 02-26-2014, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by badxgillen View Post
Do you have access to a place that has used goods? A Local Pet Store or Craigslist?

I live right by a pet store, but I don't think they sell used things. I also live right by a thrift store, but I'm guessing that's not what I should be looking for... Cragislist depends, you know, safety.

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canister filter , filtration , help set up , new tank , saltwater

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