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Old 06-09-2003, 05:11 AM   #1
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First tank.. Lots of ideas.. No clues..

So I've had lots of fish (all freshwater.. guppies, bettas, goldfish, tetras, that sort of thing) and I've had fairly good luck with them.

Now, I'm moving up to something a little more difficult.

Anyway, this will be my first saltwater tank, and I quite literally have no idea what I'm doing. I'm not big on spending excessive amounts of money or having things die on me, so I'm here.

I took a look around the site, got a feel for some of the more common things, and this is what I'm looking for. I apologize in advance if you get a lot of these questions.

I'm willing to go anywhere from a 10 gallon to a 35 gallon (possibly larger, money might be an issue), but I'm concerned about space, and 20 gallon tanks have always worked best for me.

I'm willing to donate large amounts of time to this project, so that is not an issue.

I'd also like to get a reef going. I know even less about that.

I'm a fan of strongly vibrant color.. anything odd or exotic, I feel I *need* to have. I'm very big on the thought of starfish, especially the brittle star ones.

Any thoughts on what I *can* and *cannot* put in there?

Any suggestions on colorful or strange things that are easy for a first-timer to take care of?

Thank you!
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Old 06-09-2003, 09:04 AM   #2
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Go with as big a tank as you can for these simple reasons.

1) Saltwater has many water peramiters that you need to keep in line. The smaller body of water the more these will fluxuate and cause an unstable enviorment for your creatures.

2) There is less disolved oxygen in saltwater as there is in freshwater so you can keep less creatures in the same size body of water as you can with freshwater. So unless your willing to keep 1 or 2 items in a small 10 gal tank go with a 35 or even larger.


When picking tank size go with one that has the most surface area for the water/air gas exchange. Many tanks are sold in different configurations like a 20 Long vs a 20 High. Both hold 20 gal but the long design is more desirable than the high design. Simply because it has more surface area.

If you want to maximize your budget I would first start off with a few good reference books. Thease books are great since they allow you a desk reference at times we are not around.

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/saltbook.php

Specificly I would suggest the book Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner the first third of the book covers tank setup methods and various types of tanks like Fish only, FIsh with live rock, and reef. The last 2/3ed of the book covers different fish and profiles them in such a way you can not only see them but learn what they need.

One thing I would urge you to do is not become an impulse buyer of fish/creatures. Often times people will go into a store and see something that they just 'have to have' and they buy it before knowing the detials on its care and compatability. Often this ends up hurting them as they discover its not compatible with something else in the tank or its care level is higher than they are prepaird for or it needs a larger body of water than what they can provide.
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Old 06-09-2003, 11:04 AM   #3
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Also, be ready to be spending dollars, alot of them. Some people make the
mistake that saltwater cant be much more expensive than freshwater. That
is a huge blunder. The equipment is more, the inhabitants are MUCH more,
the upkeep is constant expenditure.

I am not trying to discourage you in anyway, just prepare you for sticker shock.
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Old 06-09-2003, 05:19 PM   #4
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Noted. I actually went around and got a few people to pitch in on this, so it will probably end up a lot bigger, a lot nicer, and a lot less strain on my wallet :]
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Old 06-09-2003, 05:41 PM   #5
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One other thing to note. Go slow. Speed really does kill when you talk about saltwater.
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