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Old 09-04-2009, 01:46 PM   #1
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Beginner Saltwater Tank

I live 200 yards off the beach in Costa Rica. I would like to start a saltwater tank with my 5 year old and stock it with fish we find in the tide pools. The plan is to use water from the gulf and add more as needed (weekly, monthly..???). My question is can I use a regular hang on filter like a Tetra Whisper or Aqua Clear. I've been told I should step up the size to double what the tank is. We plan on starting with a 20gallon. All advise is appreciated.
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:53 PM   #2
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Bad idea IMO. No telling what is in the water.
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:56 PM   #3
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???? Well they live in it to start with don't they?
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:58 PM   #4
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Well, i don't know much about getting things directly from the ocean and using it, but some places have laws against that. I would advise that you check out your area and see what its laws are. Also, if you do in fact decide to get things from the ocean, including the water, never return them to the ocean. Once you get them, their death bed, is your tank. You could possibly release things back into the ocean that were in your tank, that could effect the ecosystem. Also, where are you getting this tank from? Because im sure that if you are getting the tank from a store, that store would have other things that you would need to start a saltwater system. Like salt, for instance, so you can make your own saltwater instead of using the oceans water. Its just an opinion, but i would still advise against getting things like water from the ocean to use in your tank.

As for the filter, you CAN use a filter, but for such a small tank it really isn't needed. Weekly or monthly water changes, depending on how large the water changes are, will take care of the filtration you need. Also, you could just get live rock, which will take care of all your filtration, aside from water changes. Also, if you want to do weekly water changes, then you wouldn't have to change too much of the water, but if you plan to do a monthly water change, then to make up for it, you would need to take out more water from the tank. You see where im going with this?

Also, yes, the fish and creatures may live in the water.. but how many of them die from disease.. worms.. infections.. etc.. Just think of all the bacteria.. BAD bacteria that is in the ocean water, that you would be putting into your tank. When you mix the your own saltwater, or get it pre-mixed, you get all the benefits of saltwater, except without all the bad things. We are not worried about all the bad things in the water that we could tell you about.. we are more worried about all the things that we CAN'T tell you about.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:04 PM   #5
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I agree except for the filter part and not needing one. It is the skimmer that pwc's will cover for on small tanks, not the filter. There needs to be SOME kind of biological filtration or the fish will be swimming in a pool of ammonia. Live rock is a good source of biological filtration, a filter will be fine though.

Tropic, yes they live in it, but that is also in an ocean with LOTS of water.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:10 PM   #6
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Alright, so then, you would need a source of filtration lol. But still thom, if you have live rock doing all of the filtration, and weekly water changes.. then a filter wouldn't really be necessary for any other reasons than filling it with carbon to keep the water clear.. or just stuffing other things in it like filter media etc..
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thominil View Post
I agree except for the filter part and not needing one. It is the skimmer that pwc's will cover for on small tanks, not the filter. There needs to be SOME kind of biological filtration or the fish will be swimming in a pool of ammonia. Live rock is a good source of biological filtration, a filter will be fine though.

Tropic, yes they live in it, but that is also in an ocean with LOTS of water.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:23 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advise. I was trying to keep this as simple as possible. We live in a pretty remote area, but I will look into things at the aquarium store in San Jose. I figured by using ocean water I wouldn't have to worry about keeping any ph or salt levels in line. Sounds like doubling the filter size is not nessasary.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:33 PM   #9
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The ocean replenishes nutrients in the water all the time. Your tank has no way of replenishing the nutrients that are used up by the things that you have in the tank. Very bad idea in my opinion....
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:37 PM   #10
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Well, i don't know about the oceans pH, but i sure do know that as water evaporates.. salt doesnt.. so you would have needed to keep on top of the salinity. Also, yes, doubling the filter wouldn't do much for you. As long as you have a filter that is rated for 20-30G's.. then having a filter rated for 50-60 gallons would just look retarded, and would be overkill. Before you decide to start taking from the ocean, i would advise that you do your absolute best to try and retrieve all of these things first, from either online,( but since you live in a remote area that may be hard..) or from fish/aquarium stores around you. Remember, nothing ever good comes fast in saltwater. Things take time, and alot of research. Unless you just want to haord things like a madman, and when they die.. just get new ones. And clearly.. that's the psychopathic path.

Also, spoonman, he said he would have been doing water changes with the ocean water, so in reality, as long as he kept up with the water changes, nutrients and elements needed in the tank, would in fact have been replenished. But still you are right.. lol.. a tank with just saltwater from the ocean, never being changed, won't replenish any nutrients or elements needed to sustain ocean life.
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