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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, either sometime late this year or sometime next year, I'm going to start a saltwater aquarium, my first one. This will happen after I move to another state, which in some ways, I have to if I want to start another tank. Anyway, for the past 20 years, I have been doing a tropical freshwater aquarium, it wasn't until about a year ago I started a second tank, same as the first. Now, I plan on starting a tropical saltwater aquarium, kind of like fulfilling a childhood dream.
I am currently thinking about buying a tank that is around 50 gals, but no more then 60, definitely not going to get one of those tanks that are big enough to fill up the room. This tank will have a lot of first going for me, along with the saltwater, but also going to add sand to the bottom, not sure if a reef tank is a good thing to start off with, some live plants and a few other things. Equipment, can use a little advise on, because this would be new territory for me.
When it comes to fish, don't chew me out, still researching, but wouldn't mind a little advise/suggestions, I'm thinking along the lines of cardinalfish, chromis, clownfish, maybe a butterflyfish or small angelfish, along with some cleaner shrimp and maybe either a horseshoe or hermit crab. Not entirely sure of anything yet, at least until when the time comes to where it feels right, and right now I'm just taking the time to do my homework now instead of the last minute.
To help anybody willing to give answers to a new saltie, what I always try to do is a community tank and trying to mix fish and inverts to where nobody becomes a meal for the other or makes life hell for the other. Looking for peaceful fish, could handle semi-aggressive if it involves making sure they have their own turf to claim. Not sure if live rocks are a necessity, so please tell me if they are. Are there any fake sea anemones being made because if I do get clownfish, not sure if they would matter and the last thing I need is to take care of something that can kill me, like the phrase, 'attacking the hand that feeds you.'
Would be mostly appreciative of anything helpful, as long as nobody chews me out for asking a question.
 

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That sounds like a great plan. Kudos for taking the time to research everything first, sounds like you've got plenty of time for that.
 

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Well it never hurts to ask a question but I will admit how the question is asked can play a part in the way it is answered. I personally like to use live rock from a reputable source to seed whatever base rock you choose to go with. There is nothing wrong with using all live rock provided it is pest free, in fact more live rock and a small amount of live sand is one of the fastest ways to get a saltwater tank to go through its cycle.

Clownfish will do just fine without an anemone and I keep most of mine in tanks that do not contain any. I find a great substitute is a coral that has a surface similar to an anemone weather it be a large toadstool leather coral with long polyps or a fuzzy mushroom coral, they will even adopt frog spawns and brain corals. The thing is when they are given an anemone or a substitute they can become territorial of it and will sometimes exhibit mild aggression towards invading fish especially when in breeding mode.
 

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Well I can tell you this much.... Listen to the advise given to you in the post above. After maintaining fresh water tanks for over 50 years. I'm 1 year into a 75 gallon mixed reef ( that started out as a 60) and 6 months into a 20 G. seahorse tank with some corals... I owe much of my success to the advise I researched and got from this forum...

My advise is to do your research.. plan every move.. and go SLOW.. which IMHO..IS the most difficult part.... you will still make mistakes..it happens to every one.. but your successes will out number your failures..
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the advice, even though I haven't been getting any notifications in my email like I used to do from this website. I'll keep asking, doing some research and hoping the place I move to has a place that has some saltwater fish for sale, or at least enough of the equipment that I'll need, like PetSmart or PetCo, and order the rest online from an online store like LiveAquaria or PetSolutions. Still willing to listen to suggestions, and if somebody can recommend a good enough source for info, supplies and good price on fish. I now most Saltwater Fish cost at least 10x as much as a Cardinal Tetra, at least I think, but still, would like to find something that would destroy the bank, so to speak.
 

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I prefer to be able to view the fish I purchase so I can see it eat and give it a basic visual examination. But I know that is not always an option so if you do shop online make sure to do your research and read some reviews of the distributor in question and you are right in thinking saltwater fish are a bit more exspensive...and sensitive so do on your research on fish compatability when you see one you like before purchasing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Problem is, most pet stores that do sell saltwater fish are mainly along the coastlines, and the places I plan to move to are more inland. Plus, the places I mentioned are the ones I got most of my tropical fish from, the betta I got from Walmart, and they do a pretty good job making sure the fish are safe and healthy for shipment. One thing that I am concerned about is that are reef tanks okay for people just starting out with a saltwater aquarium or if I'm better off tossing in a few live rocks as an alternative, along with the fish and inverts.
 

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Well as far as starting with a reef tank that is up to you.
I would say with proper patience, research, and diligence you would be fine, especially with understanding of the fresh water systems and bacteria nitrification process. You have some experience under your belt. Take it slow and don't under rate equipment or impulse buy and you will be fine.

You could always go with a Fish Only With Live Rock wich is the easiest route to go but if you like corals you will ultimately kick yourself when all is said and done as you have to remove many fish and "pests" that inhibit the true reef you had been wanting. I speak from much experience.

If you have to order online there are some harsh realities of the sensitivity of marine fish, that is why I like to let the middle man deal with most of the issues at an inflated cost. Live aquaria, divers den are examples of this in the online world, pricey but quality fish. I have had decent success with Saltwaterfish.com as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Aren't there fish that help keep the coral clean? Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't Cleaner Shrimp handle pests? Or are there any inverts that would?
 

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A cleaner shrimp can help prevent some Ich it will generally not stop it, the cleaner wrasse is not a good bet for a small home aquarium. Quarantine is the way to go or have some one else do it for you.That translates to costs.
 

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Driftwood treatment? Yes many places propagate their own corals and some places have captive raised fishes too and these generally present less problems than wild caught specimens via less exposure to pathogens\protazoa and more adept at feeding and adjusting to a captive environment.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If anybody has a freshwater tank would know what I'm talking about. Driftwood is put into a tank mainly as a way to keep certain fish and other algae eating critters from eating the live plants that are in the tank like plecos. The only downside is that when added to the water, it clouds it up pretty bad, doesn't pollute it, just makes it really hard to see and most suggestions involve putting it in a container full of water for a few weeks before adding it to the tank, even putting it in boiling water for a while. Once added, chances are it can still cloud up the water and all one can do is just start cleaning out about 1/2 of the tank water a few times before it becomes clear again. Since coral follows a different set of rules, one thing I can't do is buy a fourth tank to use as a quarantined tank because once it becomes empty, the urge to have it fill with something living would become pretty much unbearable, and start a chain I don't want to start, especially since the prices on everything keep getting more expensive. Plus, I also plan on going on the dating scene and the last thing I need is to convince a girl that I'm not trying to start my own public aquarium.
 
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