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Starting With Saltwater


Midnight112x

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So my fiance and i have decided to start a saltwater tank. We can not get a huge one but our space is limited to 36 inches in length. First question would be, is that long enoug? i think that would be enough space for a 30 gallon (maybe 40 but i dont think so unless its taller).

she likes clown fish (nemo). has anyone had a clown fish here? Any advice?

I would like to have some coral or anemonies in the tank also.

I do like the look of shrimp or some type of bottom dweller, or anything that can hide in coral would be cool.

My experience in fish raising: I have a goldfish tank now (55 gallon) and when i was younger i had a freshwater tank with random fish in it, cant remeber breeds. I have zero experience with saltwater fish. I am going to barnes and noble today do research with books. i want to do this the right way, when i started with goldfish, i was given terrible advice and lost a few fish because of it.

I know Saltwater is more expensive but does it require more effort and time than goldfish tanks? i measure my ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph in my GF tank often and it doesnt bother me, is there a lot more of other levels i have to monitor? (i think you monitor salt? educated guess)

How long do clown fish or some of the other fish i mentioned live? Any other fish compatable with clownfish?

I am sure i will have more questions but thats all for now. Thank you in advance

-Midnight

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Well Salt water tanks are more time consuming than goldfish. i personally find them harder to deal with at first. :o

Your going to need a lot of patience :)

If you want live plants and coral your going to need compact lights.

Your also going to need a skimmer for a tank your talking about or algae and slim will build in the tank.

Your going to either mix your own salt water or if a LFS sells it like bottle water you can fill it with them (i used to).

The Patience comes in at the beginning:

Setting up the tank, getting the sand, getting the live rocks. Then you will need to add in calcium and minerals to the tank, let it sit and cycle this cant take up to 2 months, at this time you cant add fish, you may add snails and such but only a few or the tank will have problems.

Once you have the Alch, Calcuim, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and the ph is up to the good numbers then you can add in a fish, and a couple if coral or plants. then you will have to test and watch the water quality and have it dialed in before you add more. Its very slow.

But once it is then the easier part comes in with water changes and placing in your minerals :)

Clown fish are easy to take care of, BUT the "anemonies" are for experts, I had one and it would move all over the place. The problem is some times they get them selfs stuck and just melt. They are one of the harder animals to have. I highly suggest not getting one, and clowns can live in a tank with out one :)

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You should definitely expect to spend at least 2 months reading before you actually buy anything, and it'll probably be another month or two before you can add any fish. Hopefully Edith (Caitie) will drop in, she's got a lot of experience with saltwater tanks. The Conscientious Marine Aquarist is one of the books she recommend I get when I was looking into it but it's not something I can do right now as I move too much - and they don't travel well at all. Marine tanks are almost another world from freshwater, and are definitely worth taking slowly. If you do decide to take the salty plunge please keep us updated :) Maybe start a diary thread once you're up and going?

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just purchased my tank today. empty tank, starting from scratch. Its a 29 Gallon tank of the longer variety but only 30 inches or so. Next step is to find a good base to place it on and hide the equipment underneath.

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Welcome to the salty side. :) Koko and Sarah have given you some good advice. You need tons of patience and lots of research. When you consider the expense of setting it up you might as well take the time to do it right or else it will be a lot more expensive to fix after. A reef tank will be expensive for as long as you own it, there are always things you have to replace or add. Equipment and livestock are more expensive than freshwater. :(

As for maintenance it takes me twice as much time as my freshwater tanks.

Saltwater tanks are completely different from freshwater. First you need to have 0 Nitrates at all time. You should never do more than a 10% wc or else you will shock your corals. In my case since I can't run a skimmer I need to do a 10% wc every week or else the algae really builds up. It is not harmful but it ain't pretty. :D

Another big difference is that it isn't recommended to have a filter in a reef tank, the filter media will only cause you problems in the long run. The filtration will be done by your live sand and your rocks. I run an aquaclear 110 on my 29 gallon but it is actually a fuge. Instead of media in there I keep some live rock rubble and some cheato algae to control the nitrates. It is a great breeding place for all sorts of good bugs that fall back into my tank and feed the corals.

You also need to decide what type of corals you want to keep as that will limit your choice of lighting. I would say your lighting is one of the most important equipment and you need to choose wisely.

Koko is right anemones are not for beginners and imho are more a pain then anything. Clowns will host anything. :)

Oops long post. ;) Anyways if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. :)

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thank you. i am hearing no-so-good things about the anemones and that stinks... Did i read correctly that you have live rock rubble in your filter? and that is basically it (except algae). I am looking into making a Sump, which adds water volume and keeps my eqiupment out of sight for the most part. I can alredy tell that it is going to be expensive, so i am taking it slow. Right now all i have is the tank and a stand.

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The live rock in the filter gives you extra bacteria surface, same as a normal filter except that sponges tend to just go manky in saltwater tanks. The bacteria grow on the rocks and in the sand, and the sand is turned around and kept aerated and good for the bacteria by your cleaning crew - shrimps, crabs and turbo snails. As I understand it Edith's filter is set up similar to a fresh water one, but there's no media in it - just more live rock. Have a read up on cycling in saltwater tanks - the waiting process is the same as for freshwater, but the chemical process is a bit different - the cycling happens in the rock in the tank rather than the water being removed, filtered and added back in as in a freshwater tank. The filters are mainly for water circulation (which you will need quite a lot of and may want to consider sporadic timers to create a wave type current) and I think you can just use powerheads rather than filters for that - but don't quote me on that!

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thank you. i am hearing no-so-good things about the anemones and that stinks... Did i read correctly that you have live rock rubble in your filter? and that is basically it (except algae). I am looking into making a Sump, which adds water volume and keeps my eqiupment out of sight for the most part. I can alredy tell that it is going to be expensive, so i am taking it slow. Right now all i have is the tank and a stand.

Yes I have rubble in the filter, As Devilduck mentioned I run the filter more for water movement than anything else. I also use 2 powerheads to create some water movement. Most of the corals I have like lots of current.

My set up is a little different from what you will have since I can't run a sump. (My apartment floors won't support it :rolleyes:) The AC filter actually acts as a mini sump. It doesn't hold much water, just a gallon but you can hide your heater in there if you want. I chose not to but a lot of people do it. The good thing about a sump is that it will breed amphipods and other necessary mini bugs that will eventually make their way back into the tank. My little AC is also full of those bugs. When you use a sump usually you will need to light your sump at night when you turn off you tank lights, this helps the PH in your tank to remain stable. I do that on my AC filter, I keep a small lamp turned on all night. This also allows my cheato algae to grow very well. :)

Now my set up for the 7 gallon nano is a little different, no AC on it. I run a canister filter on that. It adds quite a bit of water volume. I filled every basket in it with live rock rubble. Nothing else since it basically gets no light. But it adds great water movement in the tank.

Both systems work fine. :) The secret is to not use sponges in the filter they just make the nitrates rise and you don't want that.

I know you are disappointed about the anemone I was too. I had a small one in the beginning and it was just a pain and very very messy when it died in my tank. :(

But take a look at toadstool leathers, I find them very pretty and the clowns seem to love hosting in them. Here is a video I found on that.

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same name. it looks like this site is a little different. I dont really understand what a nano reef is yet

A nano is anything under 30 gallons. A pico is anything under 5 gallons. :)

Both the forums you joined are excellent.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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thank you. i am hearing no-so-good things about the anemones and that stinks... Did i read correctly that you have live rock rubble in your filter? and that is basically it (except algae). I am looking into making a Sump, which adds water volume and keeps my eqiupment out of sight for the most part. I can alredy tell that it is going to be expensive, so i am taking it slow. Right now all i have is the tank and a stand.

Yes I have rubble in the filter, As Devilduck mentioned I run the filter more for water movement than anything else. I also use 2 powerheads to create some water movement. Most of the corals I have like lots of current.

My set up is a little different from what you will have since I can't run a sump. (My apartment floors won't support it :rolleyes:) The AC filter actually acts as a mini sump. It doesn't hold much water, just a gallon but you can hide your heater in there if you want. I chose not to but a lot of people do it. The good thing about a sump is that it will breed amphipods and other necessary mini bugs that will eventually make their way back into the tank. My little AC is also full of those bugs. When you use a sump usually you will need to light your sump at night when you turn off you tank lights, this helps the PH in your tank to remain stable. I do that on my AC filter, I keep a small lamp turned on all night. This also allows my cheato algae to grow very well. :)

Now my set up for the 7 gallon nano is a little different, no AC on it. I run a canister filter on that. It adds quite a bit of water volume. I filled every basket in it with live rock rubble. Nothing else since it basically gets no light. But it adds great water movement in the tank.

Both systems work fine. :) The secret is to not use sponges in the filter they just make the nitrates rise and you don't want that.

I know you are disappointed about the anemone I was too. I had a small one in the beginning and it was just a pain and very very messy when it died in my tank. :(

But take a look at toadstool leathers, I find them very pretty and the clowns seem to love hosting in them. Here is a video I found on that.

I love that video!

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