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Hi! My name is Leelind. I have a 35 gallon that was a beautiful saltwater tank for a few years. At the time, I was able to afford a professional maintenance person 3 times a month. That is no longer economically smart.
I had freshwater tanks growing up, and would like to turn this 35 gallon into one. I got rid of everything that had to do with filtration, temperature, lighting, etc. (I found a home for my saltwater babies)
So, now I have this completely clean empty tank in my living room. Where do I start? Equipment and knowledge have changed so much since I was a child. Sump pump? Canister filter? What type of water should I use?
Any advice would be greatly helpful.

Leelind
 

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Hi! Most of what you are asking comes under the heading of "what do you want?" That will determine what you do next, except water and filter.
Water: test your tap water. Check the hardness. If it's super hard/super soft, that may influence what fish you'd have the best luck with, BUT there are all sorts of things you can do to change it. My water's hard, I want guppies, perfect match! Get the API Master Test Kit. And get eye droppers and extra glass vials. (Trust me on the extra glass vials.)

Filter: The latest flap is about in-tank filters. An Italian firm called Sicce makes them. I haven't tried them. Personally, I love the hang-on-back. In particular, I like the Aquaclear. I like it because it has this big box that you can stuff full of whatever you want: use their media, or use polyfil, whatever; other HOB's have cartridges, and it's hard to use anything but their cartridges. I like the HOB because you can see and adjust it right away. I use intake sponges, so I can just pull off the sponge, rinse it, and pop it back on; pull out the sponge media, rinse it off, plop it back in. Aquaclears have a problem with their caps rattling. I solve that by taking leaving the cap off.
After that, you want to decide if you are going to want a planted tank, warm-water species, or cold water. What is the ambient temperature of the room? Someone living in FLA may not need a heater, or maybe a small heater. I live near Boston: that means I have a 250 watt heater (with a controller) in every tank. I need my guppies to be at 82-84F, and the room can get into the 50s.
If temperature is an issue, get a digital probe thermometer. You can get a 2 or 4 pack on Amazon for next to nothing. They have a digital readout which is SO MUCH BETTER than the other kinds (strip and glass). I have one in each tank, and one at the basin I fill aquarium water at; I want to be sure I'm putting 82 degree tap water (treated!) into an 82 degree tank.
Research fish, planted vs. artificial plants, then start cycling! Also, if you want live plants, that will dictate your lighting AND (very importantly) your substrate; an overlooked portion of the equation, IMO. I am a militant planted tank person, but I can see why people may not want them. Actually, I don't... I love the way the fish look with the real plants!
 
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