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Discussion Starter #1
I want to try to run a saltwater taqnk and I have no idea where to start. all the directions I find are for starting a 30+ gallon tank. Ideally, I would like to start a ten gallon tank just to see the ins and outs of a saltwater tank. Any advice would be helpful (how do I get started, what will I need, what kinds of fish are good for beginners ect.)
 

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For starters, saltwater beginner aquariums are best in the 55 to 75 gallon range. Aquariums under 55 gallons are much more difficult to maintain and require much more time to care for.

That being said, the basics of all marine systems are the same. You want live rock, aragonite sand, and a protein skimmer. This will be the entire filtration system.

I suggest at this point that you visit the "Pictures and Videos" section of this web site and read some of the "build" threads. These threads will give you some great exposure to successful tanks and how they were designed.

I can't give you much more at this point, because your question is so broad. There are literally entire books written that answer this question. I think after reading a few build threads you will have some more specific questions, and we can certainly tackle them one at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks, I'll look into a bigger tank. There may be a problem with money though because I'm not very old and really only have about $70 to spend on new equiptment.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've got a ten gallon tank with a heater and aqueon 10 filter for it. Also, as far as money goes I can make and extra $10 a week.
 

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No, no. I mean the EXACT equipment. What type of heater? How many watts? What about lighting and lid? Is the lid glass or plastic? What about the gravel bed? Decorations? Water conditioner? Tell me EXACTLY what you own.
 

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Just out of interest, have you seen the prices of the "little" things like salt or RO water for example? I couldn't even fill my next tank with water for $70..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, the heater is a 50 watt Hydro Theo heater, the hood is a 20" All-Glass full hood, for water conditioners I have stress coat, algae treatments, and "Easybalance biological conditioner. As far as gravel and decorations, the only gravel I have lying around is a weird mix of shells and gravel that a friend gave to me but I have all sorts of fake plants (backround, fore ground etc.) they look like lilypads grasses and anarchis, I also have a small cave an a loop of rock but I don't know what help they'll be.
 

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10 lb bag of Instant Ocean salt, $6.00 Instant Ocean Aquarium Salt - 10 Gallon - Box | Marine Salt | Salt Mixes | Aquarium - ThatPetPlace.com
Hydrometer $7.49 Deep Six Hydrometer | Hydrometers | Testing Equipment | Aquarium - ThatPetPlace.com
Aragonite sand $16 Marine Substrate - Aragonite Sand #1 - 20 lb. | Buffered Substrate | Gravel & Substrate | Aquarium - ThatPetPlace.com
Test kits $37 Ocean Master Test Kit | Master Test Kits | Test Kits & Refills | Aquarium - ThatPetPlace.com
Buffer $5 Superbuffer dKH - 250 g | Saltwater pH Regulators & Buffers | Water Treatments & Additives | Aquarium - ThatPetPlace.com
Carbon packs for Aqueon10= $6.00 Aqueon Medium Filter Cartridge - 3 pk | Filter Cartridges | Aquarium - ThatPetPlace.com

That makes $78 plus shipping. You can have a VERY basic marine setup with the equipment above. I am personally willing to play along and entertain this idea, helping you every step of the way.

ON ONE CONDITION.

The moment you do something outside of the rules I will provide, you no longer get my help. It is that simple. You see, these systems almost never work. The reason they don't work is because the people I help stop listening to me and do something outside the box. Over the years I have become extremely frustrated by this and have completely stopped even trying to help somebody who has such a limited budget.

However, it has been a few years. So, if you want to be the test subject, the one person who gets the opportunity to prove to me that it IS POSSIBLE for someone to show self-control and follow set rules, then I'm willing to play along.

So, do you want to try this? If you do, the "rules" will follow. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sure, just give me the "rules" but one thing, I forgot to list that I have liquid test kits for both ammonia and nitrite. Thanks
 

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Ok, the first thing to realize is that you have extremely limited space. Saltwater fish are very territorial, and most small fish require copepods and amphipods to graze on during the day. Without live rock, you will not have the benefits of this natural food source. This limits you to an extremely small fish selection. So, rule #1 pertains to the fish. You can only select one of the following fish "combinations".
1) 1 Yellow Tail Damsel or Blue Damsel. No other fish.
2) 1 Ocellaris Clownfish and 1 Falco Hawkfish. Hawkfish
3) 1 Dottyback of the Pseudochromis genus Pseudochromis (Dottybacks). No other fish.
4) 3 Kaudern Cardinalfish or 3 Pajami Cardinalfish.

There are no other fish in the hobby which have shown the ability to be successfully kept in small aquariums without live rock, in my opinion. Feel free to throw some fish ideas out there, it is possible I have overlooked some choices and I am happy to comment on possible selections.

So, are you comfortable doing all this work when the fish selections are this limited?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think so, but I'd like to build some experience in just normal salt water tank keeping so if this is a different approach than normally taken I may just save money until I have enough for a 30 gallon or bigger. Would I be able to mix and match on the two types of cardinal fish(two Kaudern and one Pajama)? and what about the sand?
 

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You may only need 15 pounds of the sand, but 20 pound bags are generally the smallest available.

You should not try to mix Kaudern and Pajama Cardinals in a 10 gallon tank.

This is not at all the "normal" way to set up a marine tank. A normal marine system is set up with live rock, aragonite sand, and a protein skimmer. The costs add up very quickly. However, there is nothing wrong with gaining a little experience on a simple tank.

Remember when you set up your first freshwater tank. You probably kept a pair of Guppies or maybe just a Betta bowl. This is kind of like that. You get used to some simple concepts, get your hands wet, and learn a little. In the mean time you read, read, read, read everything you can on these threads. You also save for your "real" tank. Then, we convert the 10 gallon into a quarantine.
 
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