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I Want To Start With Saltwater


Guest Ferrah

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I would like to start with saltwater fish as I have always really liked and admired the saltwater fish. This is a long term goal for me, and I am in no hurry to rush into it. I want to really plan out my strategy to give the fish...and me, the best possible start.

I was thinking a 55 gallon tank would be a good size to start with. But that is about as far as my planning goes.

What types of equipment will I need for a tank of this size?

Do you need live rock and how much for a 55 gallon?

What is the purpose of 'curing' the live rock? I have read a lot about curing it, but I am not entirely sure of why it is done.

Do you need corals or anenomes?

What kind of lighting do you need?

What sort of fish can go in a 55 gallon?

How many fish?

What fish can live together peacefully?

Do you need invertbrates?

That seems like a lot of questions, but I need these answers before I start. I am not planning on starting my saltwater tank until August when I have fully thought out my plan.

I went to my LFS today and looked at the saltwater fish. This store was really clean, with lots of variety and very active and healthy looking fish. I was impressed with the set up there.

I really liked the blue tangs, yellow tangs, clownfish, green mandarin and the lionfish. I don't think all those fish could live together, but those are the types I was most attracted to. I love fish with bright colors and odd patterns, any fish colored like that I was really into.

If anyone could set me in the right direction, it would be really helpful.

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I would like to start with saltwater fish as I have always really liked and admired the saltwater fish. This is a long term goal for me, and I am in no hurry to rush into it. I want to really plan out my strategy to give the fish...and me, the best possible start.

Wow...Ferrah, I am glad you are looking into salt-water fish....and you have the right attitude in not being in a hurry.... this is part of the hobby that you need to move slowly in and not do anything to fast....

I was thinking a 55 gallon tank would be a good size to start with. But that is about as far as my planning goes.

A 55 is a good size tank but I read ahead and see you want to keep some fish that this tank is going to be to small for....tangs of any kind grow to big to keep in a 55 gal tank...yellow tangs really need a 75 or larger system and blues 100 or larger...

What types of equipment will I need for a tank of this size?

A lot depends on what kind of marine tank you want.... do you want to just keep fish??? FO tank Fish only??

Or do you want to keep fish and a live rock??? FOWLR...fish only with live rock???

Or do you want to keep a Reef Tank...fish, and corals????

The lighting and filtration will be different for each type set up....so we really need to know what kind of system you are considering!!!

Do you need live rock and how much for a 55 gallon?

Again this just depends on the kind of tank you are wanting....see above.... If you go with a FOWLR or a full Reef Tank, then it is recomended that you have 1-1/2 two 2lbs of live rock per gallon of water....

What is the purpose of 'curing' the live rock? I have read a lot about curing it, but I am not entirely sure of why it is done.

Curing live rock means letting it cycle.... There will always be some die off on the rock that will cause ammonia when you first get it...unless you get it at a LFS...and then offten it comes almost fully cured....

Do you need corals or anenomes?

No, unless you want to keep them.

What kind of lighting do you need?

Again you need to decide what you want to keep in the tank...you need to decide what type system you want!!

What sort of fish can go in a 55 gallon?

Lots of different fish can go in a 55... just not those that need lots of swim room or get to big...that will take you some time to find out about the different fish...the best thing to do is get a book on marine fish and start looking at the types and what size tank they require...

How many fish?

That all depends on the aggresiveness and the size....Remember this isn't a freshwater system and you can not keep nearly as many salt water fish in a 55 as you can freshwater fish.... a lot has to do with the type of tank you are going to keep....see above!!!

What fish can live together peacefully?

Again let us know what type tank you are wanting to keep...a lot depends on the type system you are going to want to keep...

Do you need invertbrates?

Yes in some systems, no in a FO...fish only tank....

That seems like a lot of questions, but I need these answers before I start. I am not planning on starting my saltwater tank until August when I have fully thought out my plan.

I went to my LFS today and looked at the saltwater fish. This store was really clean, with lots of variety and very active and healthy looking fish. I was impressed with the set up there.

I really liked the blue tangs, yellow tangs, clownfish, green mandarin and the lionfish. I don't think all those fish could live together, but those are the types I was most attracted to. I love fish with bright colors and odd patterns, any fish colored like that I was really into.

If anyone could set me in the right direction, it would be really helpful.

Hope that helps some!!!

Edited by Reef Man
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Ron pretty much told you everything and I second his suggestions. It's good that you are wanting to move slowly and do your research beforehand, too.

I have kept fish only tanks and FO tanks with inverts. I just recently started keeping corals as well. It is a lot of fun but when you keep corals and inverts you are more limited in the types of fish that you keep. I'd suggest looking through some good marine books (I'd recommend Marine Fishes by Scott W. Michael, in the Amazon ad above) and get some ideas that way.

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It is really personal preference, whichever you want. Some fish aren't compatible with live corals, so obviously those would be kept in a fish-only tank.

I always prefer to have live rock in all my tanks. It is a better natural filtration system than just mechanical filtration alone. Plus I always enjoy the creatures that come in on my LR. I have found interesting shrimp, crabs, sponges, coral, etc. on it.

A full reef setup would obviously be the most expensive but many people will argue that it is really the essence of a saltwater setup! I have kept both and am really enjoying my little nano reef. We are in the process of setting up a 75 gallon reef tank. Anyway, the lighting and other equipment needed on a reef tank is going to be pricey. For a decent set of lights for a 55 gallon, we'd estimate that it would run between $300-500. (That's what's been holding us back on our 75). My boyfriend is running a VHO system over his 55 now and it cost him about $300 online. His electric bill for the tank runs about $50 a month too, something else to keep in mind!

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It is really personal preference, whichever you want. Some fish aren't compatible with live corals, so obviously those would be kept in a fish-only tank.

I always prefer to have live rock in all my tanks. It is a better natural filtration system than just mechanical filtration alone. Plus I always enjoy the creatures that come in on my LR. I have found interesting shrimp, crabs, sponges, coral, etc. on it.

A full reef setup would obviously be the most expensive but many people will argue that it is really the essence of a saltwater setup! I have kept both and am really enjoying my little nano reef. We are in the process of setting up a 75 gallon reef tank. Anyway, the lighting and other equipment needed on a reef tank is going to be pricey. For a decent set of lights for a 55 gallon, we'd estimate that it would run between $300-500. (That's what's been holding us back on our 75). My boyfriend is running a VHO system over his 55 now and it cost him about $300 online. His electric bill for the tank runs about $50 a month too, something else to keep in mind!

Yep, that sums it up nicely.... I would add that on a 55 you could get buy with PC lights or vho or t-5...as a 55 is a shallower tank...but if you want to keep sps and some of the lps they will require MH lighting...

The equipment for a reef tank is also some what different if you want to do it right...but as stated...it is all about personal choice!!! ;)

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  • 1 year later...
Guest fishboytony

hello.. i saw your post and umm ..well a 55 gallon is a great start. thast what i started with because if you go to small its actually harder to take care of, cause sicknesses can spread faster.

The types of stuff your going to need are a filter .i would go with a canister ..the have all3 3 types of filtering(biological.mechanical and a sponge)..so try to get that and for lighting you should get about a 260watt that has 4 bulbs(to daytime and 2 actinic) and 5 leds for at night it helps the fish spawn and feel calm. you also need a heater and probably a protien skimmer...Now about the fish part ..You not supposed to put tangs together but i have some together and if you decide to make sure you put them all in at the same time...i have a green mandrin and i know on alot of sites it says you have to wait cause there really hard to take care of...there honestly not that hard but you have to feed them frozen foods ;) ... if you have any more questions ..just ask ..ttyl

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