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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I have been keeping freshwater fish for about a year now, I have a 40gal with angelfish, and a 55gal with discus. both tanks very stable and healthy.

I want to start a new saltwater tank, fish only with live rock, but I am unsure about the basic equipment that I would need to purchase.

I am thinking of a tank around 55gallons.

would I need to setup a sump? and does that depend on how much live rock I add to the tank?

How much live rock? live rock with sump?

live sand? if I can even find it......

I am pretty sure that I'd need a protein skimmer, do you recommend venturi or air driven? or is the answer always venturi unless I can't afford it?

Lighting- just flourescent because I am not doing corals - right?

water - would I need to get set up with an RO unit or deionizer type unit or is tap water good enough? and does that depend on the tap water?

I am posting this here because I am having a hard time finding these basic answers on the internet, and I live in Japan with the military, so it makes it hard to ask the shop keepers here questions.

I have learned alot through trial and error with my freshwater fish, but I know that most saltwater fish are wild caught, and I don't want to play that game with this tank.

thanks for all your help!
 

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I cant answer all your questions but i know some

You dont need a sump but it is highly reccomended.
Live rock for filtration is 1-1.5 pounds per gallon, you can add more if you want it for looks.
Live sand is recomended but not needed, you could go for 20 pounds of live sand and the rest non-live sand
cant answer about the skimmer
You should get a strong lighting for the live rock and it will be better for the fish as they are used to a strong lighting, compact flourecents are good and doesnt cost more
The water, buy R/O water at your lfs or supermarket or something. You wont need to buy your own R/O filter as they can be expensive and unless you have like 500 gallons of saltwater, it is more economical to just buy the water yourself. Tap water contains too many bad things that can promote unwanted algae growth, most salt mixes are meant to be used with R/O water anyway.
 

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When I started my SW tank I broke all the rules. Mind you it was years ago when a small SW tank was still frowned upon of but in my 12g Nanocube I used about 15lbs of LR and had good luck with Caribsea live sand. I used dechloronated tapwater and kept my clownfish, yellowtail, coral banded shrimp, chocolate starfish, and various hermits and snails very happy for years. No skimmer, distilled water, super huge water changes or anything. Not that you should but that you could. If you are only doing FOWLR and don't have any plans of corals then stock lights are ok, like said CF are better. A sump isn't really necc. unless you want to hide everything (heater, skimmer, etc.) under the tank. Otherwise you could really throw some powerheads and a heater in a tank full of LR then do a nice water change once a week and enjoy your tank. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
so, it sounds like I have the right idea about what equipment that I'd need, the guy here at the LFS does speak a little bit of english(I'm in Japan) and he wants to set me up with his biggest Eheim instead of a sump, says that dechlorinated tap water should be fine, encourages me to buy a UV sterilizer, and has live rock to sell me.

New Question: His live rock that he has for sale is currently in his saltwater tank with all the fish he has for sale, so if I buy this, than there shouldn't be any curing process involved, right? I live a grand total of 5 minutes from his shop, all I'd have to do is drop it in, right?

another new question: He has agreed to trade me some of his cycled crushed coral that is in his sump, for some uncycled crushed coral(which I'd buy from him anyway), again, doing it this way would cut out any curing/cycling process, right? I'd add this to the Eheim that he'll sell me, check to make sure there isn't an ammonia spike, and then add fish almost immediately. or would I still need to allow for cycling time?

thanks for all the help, saltwater fish keeping still has that shroud of mystery for me, and I'll be nervous about this until I see the fish happily swimming for at least a month!
 

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Your tank will still need to clycle no matter what. Adding live rock and live sand will help boost the process, but it still needs to cycle.

And to add..crushed coral is not that good for your tank. Everytime you disturb the substrate it will cloud you water. And it will so this no matter how good you rinse it or how much time has gone by. The best thing to get for your tank would be sand.
 

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lol im surprised he encouraged tap water, how does he make money if you use tap water? But even that i suggest RO/DI water. As for a UV sterilizer, waste of money, for now anyway. You wont need a UV for a beginner tank, maybe if you want to try coral fragging or fish breeding but for now, you dont need to spend a few hundred dollars on a uv sterilizer, a prolonged use of the UV sterilizer will give the fish some deficencys and make them less likely to ward of diseases since they have been so immune for a long time
 

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uv sterilizers are good for tanks, but can be bad if run all the time. Its god to use when you have ich outbreaks on whatever fish. And can help control algea out breaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The crushed coral won't be used for the substrate, it'll be used as the main filter element in the Eheim canister filter. good to know about the clouding issue though.

well, I just got finished building the stand, so now I am going to go out and start buying the equipment. it sounds like I'll probably skip out on buying the UV sterilizer, at least for now.

thanks for all the help, wish me luck!
 

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A canister filter is a good idea on a fish only. Please clean it regularly. the crushed coral was a good suggestion as the passsing water will cause it to slowly decompose and leech minerals back into the water. It will also help stabilize your PH. If it was me, I'd still go for a skimmer. It will only make keeping a tank even easier. If it came down to a cash issue, I know I'd grab a skimmer before a UV sterilizer.

You haven't told us what type of fish you are planning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
oh, there will definitely be a skimmer on the tank. as for what type of fish..... not sure. My choices are a little bit limited because I am in northern Japan. but most likely at least one clown fish(I know there are different types, I am gonna try to find the least aggressive) a few blue green chromis, and a few other fish, depending on what I can find locally.

I will definitely post a pic of the stand, but you'll have to wait a few days, I have to work this weekend and the stand is at the base woodshop right now. so, monday I should be off and I'll get a pic then.

by the way, has anybody ever used a product called Eco-Aqualizer? I was digging around on the internet the other day, there is alot of mixed opinions about it. some say it's golden, some say it's trash. If it works like it's supposed to, it sounds like it'd be an awesome addition to my little project. and not terribly expensive either.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
ok, I promised to post pics of the stand I built. so, here ya go!



now I just have to stain it!
 

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Lookin' good!

You stand looks awesome! Very nice for building it on your own. I couldn't even think of doing something like that.

I have heard of Eco-Aquilizer. I've heard the same mixed reviews. I asked abou it on this forum and they said that it's trash. I went out and bought a skimmer. I have the SeaClone and so far it's alright, but the majority of people everywhere don't like it. Not the best, but it does the job fine. I'll upgrade later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
here is the stand, all stained and ready for equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
ok, so tell me if I have the right idea here............

I have heard that crushed coral isn't the best thing that a person can use for their tank. I've actually heard some pretty bad things about it.

so, I think that I am going to use argonite type sand to buffer the water(1-2inches deep), and I'll use something else in the canister filter as extra bio-media instead of the crushed coral, I've heard that cheap plastic pot scrubbies have an enormous surface area. I'll probably still get a small amount of cycled/live crushed coral from the LFS to seed the filter and sandbed, but I won't leave it in there.

I have also heard that a good way to cycle your tank is to put a prawn or shrimp, or just something dead in a nylon stocking, and leave that sitting on the sand bed to get the tank cycled fairly quickly. it's supposed to be smelly, but it works.

and another question, am I supposed to leave the skimmer off during the cycling process?

let me know if I am on the right track here, I've got the tank now, the rest of the equipment is soon to follow, I'll probably have to order the sand from the internet, so that might take awhile.

thanks!
 

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Add a few pieces of live rock and skip the whole cycling process. Your tank will still need a few weeks to stabilize but you will not need to add anything to the tank or do any vodoo rituals. Leave the skimmer on, it'll give you a chance to make sure everything is working together. Run the tank just as you would if it was full of fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
oh, cool! so with the live rock, and the seeded crushed coral, it won't need to really "cycle" but it'll just need a little bit of time for the bacteria to spread and populate the sand and whatever I put in the canister.

thanks!
 
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