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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have been learning a lot of stuff online regarding saltwater tanks, and I am so glad I found this forum and thanks in advance for taking my questions. I found out how hard it is to start a saltwater tank especially somebody like me with no experience at all regarding fish tanks. So, I went to a pet store and found somebody that wil set up my 50 gallon tank for live rocks, fish and annemones(not sure if that's how you say it) and monthly maintenance for a reasonable price. I will eventually learn how to do the monthly maintenance myself. He said he will let the tank cycle for a week then add the damsels and then the live rocks and bigger fish in 3 weeks after doing some test, then do a 30% water change and test once a month afterwards.
My question for you is that an acceptable practice, getting somebody to setup the tank and do a few monthly maintenance? Is the once a month check enough? Doesn't it need to be done more frequent? What is your view on this?
 

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Hi and welcome aboard Shie,

The time cycling takes may actually vary, not one week or anything specific. I'd do daily maintenance rather than monthly. Monthly is too far. You'd imagine the accummulation of muck and anything else which will increase ammonia level which is very toxic especially when marine tanks require very high pH.
Live rocks will do the cycling for you.:wink2: Damsels are good choices for starters.:thumbsup: They will easily survive cycling process.

Depending on your stocking level, your tank maintenance may vary but frequent maintenance is better than occassional after all.

I will leave the rest to the others as what I posted are basically ideas but some were based on what I had experienced.:)

Good luck with keeping marine.:thumbsup:
 

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Hi Shie,

I hadn't kept fish for many years, and never kept saltwater fish, when I went to a chain petstore and bought a "saltwater setup" several months ago. It turns out I was sold some of the wrong equipment, which I suspsect was because the clerk wanted me to make the expensive investment but didn't think I would spring for what I truly needed. He was probably right at the time, but knowing what I know now I would have bought everything I needed to begin with, instead of things I only have to replace now.

Anyhow, I went from not knowing anything about fish to keeping a 55 gallon saltwater tank. By myself. You will read here I have had my share of losses but I attribute them mostly to a lack of patience and the wrong equipment.

I don't know how much this professional is charging you, but I think that you can really do it by yourself. Others may argue that I am oversimplifying it, but I think it is really only a matter of buying the proper equipment, setting it up (which may seem daunting but when you read the instructions it really isn't rocket science), filling it with water, cured live rock, and damsels, and waiting. You will want to test the water every few days to see how it is doing, but they sell test kits that make it easy... you can test for everything in under 10 minutes and it is essentially a matter of filling a small tube, squirting in a few drops meant for this or that test, shaking, waiting, and color matching.

I look at our tank and I think it feels much more rewarding knowing that I've been maintaining it myself... not that you can't feel similarly happy or have the same pride in a tank you pay a professional to maintain, but I think you might find that doing it yourself is easier than you expected, more rewarding, and certainly less expensive!

At the same time, the fish I started with may be here today if knew exactly what I was doing from the getgo, but I do believe that with the free help available here could have made the difference.

Good luck whichever you choose and keep us posted!
 

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Well michael stated everything I would say on that subject. When I first started out I didn't know what I was doing but I figured out very quickly on my own how to maintain a beatiful tank. I lost a few fish but I moved on. I have been into saltwater for a couple of years now and I will still loose a fish every now and then. We are here to guide you through it step by step.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Blue, daily maintenance? :shock: This is really very intimidating, now I am not sure if I would do the saltwater. Maybe I should try a freshwater first. I have to do one or the other since I have the 50 gallon tank already.
Is it really easier to set up a freshwater tank? Is the maintenance not as frequent as saltwater?
 

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shie said:
Blue, daily maintenance? :shock: This is really very intimidating, now I am not sure if I would do the saltwater. Maybe I should try a freshwater first. I have to do one or the other since I have the 50 gallon tank already.
Is it really easier to set up a freshwater tank? Is the maintenance not as frequent as saltwater?
Perhaps, you should indeed try freshwater.:thumbsup:
Why are you intimidated?:question: But that's our policy when it comes to fishkeeping.:tongue: :bluelaugh:

Depending on your stocking level, maintenance may vary. Well, to be honest, I do daily water changes on my community tank as it contains several sensitive species like rams.:dunno:
Can't get away from the policy because bad water quality often kills your fish.:wink2:

For marine, it is often suggested that daily maintenance is best but weekly will do(unless Usmc objects :mrgreen: ). Well, you want the more challenging type I guess.:mrgreen: Every time you do water changes, you have to add salt to replace the salt you lost during water changes. That spells cash for a hydrometer.:tongue: And other equipments like protein skimmers, sump(not really necessary but it's up to you), etc. :blueshake:

In my case, I'd rather stay in freshwater than venturing out to marine again.:brow: It's up to you which one you prefer.:thumbsup: Or I'd rather tempt you to the lighter side(freshwater).:devil: :wink2:

IMO, freshwater is the lesser of the two evils.:mrgreen: :crazy:

 

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The cost of of the initial startup of a saltwater tank is allot more for a freshwater tank.

Maintenance in saltwater setups is similar to freshwater...
1. Clean filters
2. Water change
3. Clean substrate
4. Add nutrients in water (for those who use water from RO units)

Maintenance is usually commonly done weekly, but it can be performed daily. Monthly maybe too long for saltwater tanks.

Having a saltwater setup/maintenance consultant can help you as long as they are a reputable company. If you still feel unconfortable about maintenance, you can still do freshwater, so you can understand what is required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Eddie, the person that's going to help me setup and maintain a saltwater tank is an employee of a LFS, now I don't know if this is a good idea since he's the one that mentioned the once a month maintenance.
 

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shie said:
Eddie, the person that's going to help me setup and maintain a saltwater tank is an employee of a LFS, now I don't know if this is a good idea since he's the one that mentioned the once a month maintenance.
IMO, monthly is far too long. Marine fish will not tolerate any sudden changes in water chemistry. You would imagine poor water quality changing suddenly into a clean one due to the removal of muck accummulating rapidly in the marine tank.
I'd do the maintenance myself rather than a "professional".
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Blue, what exactly do you do daily for a saltwater and a freshwater tank. I don't have a problem investing on the necessary equipments for a saltwater, however I'm hesistant about all the physical labor that goes into it, don't get me wrong, I will do what I have to do but I just don't know how extensive the daily routine is.
 

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shie said:
Blue, what exactly do you do daily for a saltwater and a freshwater tank.
Physical labor.:thumbsup: :wink2:
You do water changes and gravel vacuuming. It's very important to eliminate all detritus.
Additionally for marine, you add salt to replace the salt lost during water changes as previously stated.

I used to have marine myself.:wink2: But that was 8 years ago.:crazy:
 

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Its realy not that hard i first thought "o man every day ill just stick to once a week" but this past week ive done it every day and i got used to it to me its something fun to do
 

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You may have to ask what is covered in the monthly maintenance. They may just clean glass and detritus on the rocks and stuff, and leave the water changes up to you.

Otherwise, if his monthly maintenance includes the water changes, filter maintenace, etc. see if he has a contract that stipulates that in the event the fish die to poor maintenance, that he will cover the replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
He already said there is no guarantee on the fish and he will do the water change and the chemicals.
 

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shie said:
He already said there is no guarantee on the fish and he will do the water change and the chemicals.
Shie, in terms of maintenance, we do not agree on the use of chemicals. They won't completely work except the dechlorinator which eliminates chlorine and other heavy metals making water safe for the fish.

If I were you, I'd just do everything myself rather than asking the help of an "expert". It's up to you whether you'd like his help or not but I still find it a complete waste especially when all those works can be done by a fishkeeper himself.:dunno:

Th trick is simply to keep everything simple. I can see some people buying an expensive filter system(because they think the more expensive it is, the better the quality/work it will do) and then ending up with dead fish in a few days.:roll:
 

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I find the maintence with both way about the same. Except saltwater you have to be more carefully what you do because the fish or more sensitive. The maintence on my reef system includes:
For marine, it is often suggested that daily maintenance is best but weekly will do(unless Usmc objects ).
weekly
Testing
adding water that has evaporated

Monthly
Cleaning the sump tank
Cleaning the protien skimmer
Cleaning my Magnum filter

I never do a water change on mine as the tank is well established and the water evaporates out of it so quickly that I have to add at least 5 gallons of it a week.

Shie, if you want to really do a FOSW setup I would give it a try. I was I same way you are now. I thought it was going to be diffacult to do it. I have found out that the maintence is the same in both like crazie.eddie stated. The cost to start it a saltwater is very expensive as the lighting is the biggest expense. I think if you feel like you can handle a saltwater. give it a try.The family at FishForum well be glad to help you out as much as we can.
 

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usmc121581 said:
I find the maintence with both way about the same. Except saltwater you have to be more carefully what you do because the fish or more sensitive. The maintence on my reef system includes:
For marine, it is often suggested that daily maintenance is best but weekly will do(unless Usmc objects ).
weekly
Testing
adding water that has evaporated

Monthly
Cleaning the sump tank
Cleaning the protien skimmer
Cleaning my Magnum filter

I never do a water change on mine as the tank is well established and the water evaporates out of it so quickly that I have to add at least 5 gallons of it a week.
Are you using RO water or tap water for your top-offs?
 

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Hello shie!

I think that you would definitely learn more about marine ecosystems and how to maintain one by yourself. Most people on this forum have learned so by trial and error and have posted most of thier errors ( no offense guys :D:D:D) so that you wont make the same thing. Taking care of a saltwater aquarium has never been easier with people to help you.

You can red tons of articles and things on starting out a saltwater aquarium. and you dont need a professional to do it because it doesnt take one to.

I am only 15 years old and I guess you can say I have started early. I have read tons of things on saltwater reefs and aquariums for about a month and this has helped me to understand them better. The big words and fancy names might seem scary at first but it will be something you can get accustomed to..

Dont be intimidated by how much "labor" there is (which isnt very much) but how much fun it is. I dont mind spending 10-30 minutes a day checking up on my aqurium and seeing if I get any more hitchhikers on my rocks. It is awesome to look at your tank and see the many verts and fish flowing in the wave of your powerhead, happy and energetic.

Doing it yourself will also give you a very very big sense of accomplishment. It will take time and knowledge and you should have fun with it! This hobby shouldnt be frustrating or stressful but in fact enjoyable.
dont worry, everyone is here to help!
 

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Actually tmfreak I have been doing this for many years and I kinda take offense to you stating
Most people on this forum have learned so by trial and error and have posted most of thier errors
I have never learned something about marine ecosystems by trial and error.
 
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