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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, i have had fish for a while now and i have to oscars as of now and i have always wanted to get a salt water aquarium, not a big one or anything i just think it would be cool to have like a 20 i have a few questions...... fisrt of all what do i need a filter made just for salt water or can it just be a normal filter? what do i need to make the water salt? and are there any cool fish that anyone recomend?


2,012 Posts
ok, heres what i have

Types of saltwater: FO (fish only) FOWLR (fish only with live rock, best for beginners) Reef (corals and live rock, not many or sometimes no fish)

Light: Matters what tank you want, a fish only tank works fine with stock lights (single tube NO flourecent) FOWLR needs about 2-3 wpg of good light, T5 lights as well as double or sometimes tripple tube flourecents work here, for low light corals, 4-6 wpg, for more light lovers, 6-8 and for the good corals, 8-10, but sometimes 15 wpg isnt uncommon. Also note that these need to be flourecent tubes (NO, T5, VHO, PC are good, NO has the lowest watt per inch of tube, VHO has the highest but the most expensive, i would go for T5 or PC in a reef tank, NO in a fish only) or metal halide (strong light, great for light loving corals, stronger than all the flourecents), incandescent is useless. If you are getting corals getting some blue, antinic lights, isnt bad either.

Filter: Protein skimmer recommended for small tanks but not required, i would say get one as it can help nitrates not get so high and letting you do not as much water changes (still water changes are a must). Protein skimmers are in 2 main categories, air powered and venturi powered, there is a new type called spray injection system but i dont know too much about them. Now venturi and spray injection are the best kinds to get, air powered ones are cheap but you get what you pay for, cheap material. For a tank like this get a nano skimmer, Ive heard good things of AquaC remora series nano protein skimmer, dont get the fission nano skimmer, although 100 dollars cheaper than the AquaC, its 100x worse (or so ive heard). For a beginner, you should get a skimmer, a power filter with no carbon, and 20 pounds of live rock. The skimmer will help with nitrates, the power filter will be the main mechanical filter, and the live rock will be the main biological filter. Filtration and lighting are two of the most expensive things in this hobby, mainly live rock and the protein skimmer.

Substrate: Live sand is great, aragonite sand is also good, crushed coral is bad since crushed coral traps poop raising nitrates and also will release dust if disturbed no matter how well you clean it

Ornaments: Live rock and corals are ornaments in this hobby, if you want sunken ships or skeleton heads, make sure they are safe in saltwater aquariums, any metals are bad since it will rust.

Heater: Best quality you can find.

Water: Buy RO or DI or Distilled water (goes for about 40-60 cents per gallon at lfs, make sure when you get distilled to check if it has been distilled using copper pipes, if copper pipes were used it is no good for the tank) or buy an RO unit (around the hundreds of dollars, its a one time buy except for the membrane, so for the long term you save money), then use a high quality salt mix like instant ocean and follow instructions.

This covers the basic, all ive told you is a drop in the ocean, there is just so much more to learn. I recommend buying or renting books (dont get The Simple Guide to Marine Aquariums, it tells you what to get, but not what to do with the tank) and keep posting questions, if your unaware about something, ask, we will answer.
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