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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Everyone I have a budget of $400 to spend this weekend to start. I want a Saltwater Fish tank Set up! I want this for a 55 gallon though! I will be able to put another $500 in the tank in 2 weeks. But I want to start now!

Please help me putting a great tank together.

I have no idea about salt water, so please tell me what everything I need to start and prices if you have any off hands and or where to buy them would be great!

Everything in the tank will be live.
I would really appreciate any help I can get!


Thank You

I am also available on AIM
 

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You are no where near ready. You know nothing about this. You need to research for at least 5 more months.

You do realize that $400 will be enough for lights alone? I spent twice that on my 10G reef. I can't imagine what this is.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You are no where near ready. You know nothing about this. You need to research for at least 5 more months.

You do realize that $400 will be enough for lights alone? I spent twice that on my 10G reef. I can't imagine what this is.
Thank You for your Honest opinion, and you are probably correct.
That being said, I will take the risk on my own.. Excluding Lighting, Stand, and the Tank,fish,corals. What should I start with. Remember its a small tank 55 Gallon only!

Thanx
 

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Why? I would like three good reasons as to why you are starting this without knowing anything about the hobby. I cannot stress enough how delicate a reef environment is. You CANNOT get into this without researching. Don't start this because you are impatient.

Why don't you tell us what you know anyways?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I understand that salt water tank is very sensitive and is much different and harder to maintain than fresh water. I have been around fresh water for 12 years, I have breed them I have had a great time with them and now I want to move on to Salt water.

I understand that you have been around the forum for a while and you are probably 100 times more educated on salt water tanks and fish and so on. If you want to give me some advice on filters, pumps, heaters and so forth than I would really appreciate it. Otherwise I dont wish to be hassled on why im doing this and reasons why I want to begin a saltwater tank.

Respectfully,
Thank You
 

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You don't seem to understand that reefs are complete opposites from a FW tank.

And I don't want to offer anything when the tank is a path to failure. When I see you taking the needed steps to actually have a reef, then I can help. Better to save all the lives now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
OK buddy and that's why I am here on this forum! to ask questions and to get to know from people that are here to help one another.
 

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{sigh}

Ok folks, lets find a happy medium. Obviously, Cody has his heart in the right place. We have seen this song and dance 1,000 times. It is so rare that anyone begins the hobby in this fashion and has success, that Cody is trying to save the lives of the animals that he thinks you will kill.

However, we can certainly guide you in the right direction. If you commit yourself to reading and learning, you can be successful, IF YOU ARE PATIENT!! :)

So lets get started. The basics of a marine aquarium are live rock, a protein skimmer, and aragonite sand. The sand needs to be at least 4'' deep, or less than 1'' deep. You need between 55 and 100 pounds of live rock, depending on density. You need at minimum a large hang on protein skimmer model, such as the Coralife or Rea Sea Berlin. The skimmer should be your most expensive piece of equipment, and by far your most important. These are all non-negotiables in the marine hobby. I suggest you spend a lot of time learing the function of each so that you can make an educated buying decision.

The problem with this approach is simple. In this hobby it is not enough to know WHAT to do. You have to know WHY you are doing it. If you don't know WHY, you will quickly have a problem that you do not recognize as a problem. Without this type of knowledge, you won't even know there is something wrong to ask us about.

You also need test kits. At minimum you need ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, alkalinity, and calcium. You need a buffer for alkalnity and a supplement for calcium. You need to learn the relationship of pH to alkalinity and calcium and how to correctly interpret the test results and what actions to take.

You will need to learn how to recognize the stages of an aquarium as it matures, so that you can identiy problems. You need to recoginze a diatom bloom, copepods & amphipods, coraline algae, aptasia vs tube worms. You should understand the relationship of the sand bed to nitrate reduction and how it differs from the bacteria bed that cause your cycle (similar to freshwater).

You need to set up a quarantine tank and decide on quarantine procedures. Will you medicate your Q tank or use hyposalinity. Will you acclimate? How long will the fish remain in Q? This requires you to choose your fish in advance so that you can buy them at the appropriate time when Q is empty. This leads to aggression and territorial tendencies to help decide which fish to buy first. Which fish are easy to keep? Which are nearly impossible?

Will you use activated carbon? Do you have an opinion on the risks? Were you aware there are risks? How will you ground the tank? What will you feed? How will you store the frozen foods? Will your fish have special feeding requirements, such as multiple daily feedings? This could require a refugium, depending on species you select.

You know what, come to think of it, we can't find common ground. You can't just throw this tank together as you plan and make adjustments as you go along. It doesn't work that way in the marine hobby.

For the record, keep marine fish has nothing to do with freshwater. If you have a pet elephant will it help you keep a reef tank? No. Same with freshwater. They are completely different hobbies with nothing in common.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Pasfur,

Thank You for your response. I am not wanting to jump into this, I know it will take a long time, I just wanted to know what I should begin to purchase. I just wanted to buy the correct things lighting,filters,skimmers, what is best and where to start. Is what I would like to know! Eventually I want to have a coral reef with fish and live corals. I just wanted a guideline to what to do so i know I dont over jump or skip steps and what not.
Thank You Again
 

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Thank you for keeping this civil. The clarification is very helpful.

For your $400 I would suggest buying live rock and a protein skimmer. I would check out Marco Rocks The finest aquarium rock available, base rock, live rock, reef rock, marco rock, reef tank saltwater fish, live corals, Marco rocks, Fiji live rock, Tonga Live rock and pick up 50 pounds of fiji dry rock. You could get the Berlin Red Sea X2 Venturi protein skimmer, a hang on, for about $200 at Aquarium Supplies, Pet Supplies and Pond Supplies by That Fish Place - That Pet Place. This will leave you $75 or so to buy the test kits I mentioned. This would be an excellent start to your project.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for keeping this civil. The clarification is very helpful.

For your $400 I would suggest buying live rock and a protein skimmer. I would check out Marco Rocks The finest aquarium rock available, base rock, live rock, reef rock, marco rock, reef tank saltwater fish, live corals, Marco rocks, Fiji live rock, Tonga Live rock and pick up 50 pounds of fiji dry rock. You could get the Berlin Red Sea X2 Venturi protein skimmer, a hang on, for about $200 at Aquarium Supplies, Pet Supplies and Pond Supplies by That Fish Place - That Pet Place. This will leave you $75 or so to buy the test kits I mentioned. This would be an excellent start to your project.


Thank You soo much! This is what I needed!

I have a question, what is the differences between the rocks? live rock and dry rock? also what watt of a heater is best adequate for this size of a tank I have a 255Watt. Also I have Powerfull marineland 400 double bio-wheel outside power filter that pumps 400 gallons per hour. Will that work?

Please let me know!
Thanx
 

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honestly i would wait, make a list of what you need and save up while your researching.

you mention filters. there are no filters needed on a saltwater tank. a skimmer yes, a filter no. carbon and phosban reactors are also a good thing. a 55 gallon tank has a shallow width, which makes it difficult to aquascape. IMO your better off using a 40 breeder or 75 gallon because they are both wide. your going to want to use RO/DI water and i suggest getting a RO unit to make your own because in the long run you save money. i cant recommend pumps until i know what you wish to use them for ( mixing saltwater/ a return from the sump/ feeding your skimmer .. theres to many options there ) as for powerheads i suggest hydors or if you can afford them, tunzes.

to show you how research is in-valuable i have had my tank up for awhile and i transfered it over to another one and pretty much lost everything. research is KEY in this hobby, along with questions - so feel free to ask, just please take your time.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
hey onefish2fish thank you for your time and concern! Why I am using a 55 gallon opposed to a 75 because I got a great deal and it will be much cheaper correct me if im wrong than working with a 75 gallon instead!
you mentioned it will be difficult to aquascape. Im not sure what that means if u can explain that to me! thank you!
I am not sure either what pump(s) to use since I had a question about if I have a skimmer do i still need to use a Sump if not than that solves the issue of Sump correct?
 

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aquascaping as in arranging your rocks inside the tank to your liking. your right, the larger the tank the more expensive it gets.

if i was in your shoes i would use the 55 as a DIY sump and a 40 breeder as the display. the wide 40 will be easy to arrange your rocks, not as expensive to fill as a 75. having a 55 sump will increase your water volume of the tank alot. the more water volume = the more stable.
sumps just arnt for skimmers, but great for putting other equipment like heaters and carbon/phosban reactors, macro algaes in a refugium section and they provide the extra water volume. if you get an in sump (or even an out of sump) skimmer your going to need a sump. a hang on the back skimmer you wont need a sump but IMO theres no hang on skimmer effective enough for a 55 regardless what they say its rated for. then again i like to over skim but i think thats important. read online reviews on skimmers as some are golden and others garbage.

dont get me wrong, if you want to use the 55 you absolutely still can, i just find it easier using a wider tank. i think a 55 with a 20 long as a sump would make a good first tank.

your not going to want ANY filter. this is one of the things that is greatly different from saltwater and freshwater aquaria. no canisters, HOBs, bio wheels, bio balls, or anything of the like. these (and even the improper sand depth ) will all trap debris and detritus causing major excess nutrient issues down the road.

start reading about alk,ca, and mag in reef tanks. these are extremely important and all work hand and hand. read what levels are required, how to dose and so forth. this cannot be skipped.
it would also be a good idea to look into local reefing clubs in your area. these are great to meet people, learn and pick up used equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hey thank you again for your clarification to all this. You are of great help!
I honestly am going to stick with the 55 gallon since I got a real great deal on it! and I do have a 20 gallon long not being used. I also have a 10 gallon and 29 gallon but those have my fresh waters in them! That being said the 20 gallon I will use as my sump!


Please correct me if I am wrong. This is what I was planning to do in this order.

1. buy about 80 lbs of sand
2.buy bucket of salt for 200gal worth
3. Pick up about 10 lbs of nice purple live rock or should i get 50?
4.Purchase a Chemical kit for testing
That should cost me close to 200-300 dollars

Now should i also buy things for my 20g sump? if so what should i get, and should i set them up at the same time?

Please tell me what and how you would do it if you were in my shoes to start.
Thank You
 

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if i was in your shoes i would make a list of everything you need which includes but not limited to, pumps, a skimmer, a refractometer, powerheads, test kits, lights, everything. i would then spend at the very LEAST a month doing research. look up things online, take a book out from your library, ask questions, join a reefing club, a month is being very generous on the time frame of research and i encourage more. while i was in the research stage i would be saving my money for the purchases to make down the road. this is the biggest step, patience is a virtue in this hobby, nothing good happens fast.
i would also go the 40 breeder route with the 55 as a sump but thats just me. feel free to ask any questions.
 

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Hi,

A great site...besides this one :)... to read up on everything you want to know is www.wetwebmedia.com

That is where I started. They have a section on saltwater tanks and setting them up. I truely regret not doing better research when I first started. When things went wrong I didn't know why. I learned too late about things like quarantine tanks, etc.

My fiance and I take care of the saltwater tank together. I do all the maintenance, research, buying, feeding, etc. All he does is tell me to be patient. He is probably the most important part of this team.

Good luck!!
 

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Hey thank you again for your clarification to all this. You are of great help!
I honestly am going to stick with the 55 gallon since I got a real great deal on it! and I do have a 20 gallon long not being used. I also have a 10 gallon and 29 gallon but those have my fresh waters in them! That being said the 20 gallon I will use as my sump!


Please correct me if I am wrong. This is what I was planning to do in this order.

1. buy about 80 lbs of sand
2.buy bucket of salt for 200gal worth
3. Pick up about 10 lbs of nice purple live rock or should i get 50?
4.Purchase a Chemical kit for testing
That should cost me close to 200-300 dollars

Now should i also buy things for my 20g sump? if so what should i get, and should i set them up at the same time?

Please tell me what and how you would do it if you were in my shoes to start.
Thank You

If you are going to go ahead and buy stuff now, I would follow Pasfur's advice a while back. Buy the skimmer, and don't skimp on the price here... as he said, it's the most important piece of equipment. read reviews, take some time reading about different skimmers and bounce ideas off of us here, and make sure you get a solid one. Also go ahead and get some rock, Pasfur suggested dry rock since you won't need to put it into a tank right away.

Live rock is rock that has lots of life on and in it, both microscopic (bacteria, etc..) and macroscopic (coralline algae, sponges, etc...). Live rock MUST be kept wet/under water, so if you buy liverock, you'll need a tank to put in as soon as you get to your house. Buying some good dry rock means you can get it and store is wherever, until you get your tank set up. If you just put some water in the tank and mix salt in without knowing much else about what you're doing, then drop in some expensive liverock, you'll probably end up killing off most of the life on it anyways, thus wasting money. You'll want to get some live rock as well later, to help "seed" the base (dry) rock that you get now. With the left over money, go ahead and pick up some of the test kits Pasfur suggested.

Take the time between now and when you get some more money to keep researching and asking questions. Best of luck! I've been keeping saltwater for over a year, and I'm still very much a newbie. I learn something new almost everytime I log in or spend an evening just reading online about various topics. Bottom line, as everyone has stated in this thread, its impossible to research too much. There's a great saying for the saltwater hobby: "nothing good happens fast with saltwater aquaria". Truer words were probably never spoken.
 

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one other piece of advice to consider as you plan out your purchases and how you'll run your tank, please know that using tap water is a HUGE no-no for saltwater tanks. Your tank will be overrun with incredibly ugly algae and cyanobacteria outbreaks, and will sap most if not all of the enjoyment out of your hobby just trying to deal with it.

You need to use RO/DI (reverse-osmosis/de-ionization) water. You can either buy it from your local fish store, which can be a pain to constantly lug buckets of water to and from the store, or you can purchase a household RODI unit. I highly recommend that, that way you can make new water anytime you want. You'll be regularly topping off the tank since you lose water to evaporation, and each time you do a water change you'll need a larger supply of RODI water on-hand to mix the new batch of saltwater.

When I first started out, I made the mistake of filling the tank up initially with tap water, and even though from that point forward I did all water changes and top-offs with RODI water, it was still a huge pain in the butt and I learned the hard way.

Since you mentioned having significant freshwater experience, I thought you might not have been aware that using tap water is simply not acceptable for saltwater, whereas it's standard practice in freshwater.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You need to use RO/DI (reverse-osmosis/de-ionization) water. You can either buy it from your local fish store, which can be a pain to constantly lug buckets of water to and from the store, or you can purchase a household RODI unit. I highly recommend that, that way you can make new water anytime you want. You'll be regularly topping off the tank since you lose water to evaporation, and each time you do a water change you'll need a larger supply of RODI water on-hand to mix the new batch of saltwater.
I am looking around the Internet for a RO/DI but I am not sure how powerful of one I need. My tank is a 55gal do you have any recommendations?

Thank You
 
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