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Old 06-17-2015, 12:29 AM   #1
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First venture into saltwater.. looking for advice?

lifelong freshwater person.. I have two tanks in my house, a 75 gallon and a 29 gallon... both freshwater. My 75 gallon is currently stocked perfectly... My 29 gallon is empty. I have always wanted to take a step into the saltwater setups but always got cold feet.. I think the time to do it is finally here.. some questions for a newbie.
I want to convert my empty 29 gallon into i assume a fish w/live rock setup. I know 100% that i want to build this tank around the nemo type clown fish(of course). i have been reading up for weeks about this and so far i have read that 29 gallons is perfectly fine to start out. I am looking to see what if anything i can use from my current setup? I currently have pool sand substrate, im assuming i would need to junk that and go with some other sand bottom? I also have an aquaclear 70 filter that I would like to use in the reef tank, would this work?
from my research i found that in the long run im better off using live rock to help out with my filtration.. This is where im getting confused.. The fishstores closest to me that sell reef supplies is around 45 minutes away. they sell dry rock at $2.99 lb, cured rock at $4.99lb and live rock at $7.99lb.. im not really sure the difference between cured rock and live rock??????? anyways the lfs advised that I use a few of each... told me the live rock at 7.99 should seed the rest of my tank as long as i get a few pieces...he then told me to get some of the cured rock and then some dry rock to keep cost down and in few weeks time this will all be turned into live rock anyways, is this all true??? I want to go the cheapest yet easiest way, but i have waited all this time, i dont mind waiting to properly cycle and seed the tank... I am assuming that if i get the $7.99 lr since its in tanks at the store it shouldnt have the pest that i dont want tagging along(worms).
last but not least, what else would I need? is a protein skimmer needed right away? what about different lighting? once again, i just have the normal lighting from the my fw setup. I am so sorry up front about the length of this, I want to take my time with this and make sure i get this correct the first time but i also cant afford to spend $1000s to get a 29 gallon up and running... can one make a 29 gallon tank work for clown fish and a few other compatable species? thank you...

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Old 06-17-2015, 06:53 AM   #2
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The very first think you need is an RODI unit, you do not need a filter and I would look on line for live rock and cycle it yourself. Even at $7.99 a pound there is no guarantees that you won't get pest. Salt water is way different then fresh, you can pretty much forget what you know about fresh water. Also biggest mistake most people make is rushing, (your tank cycling will take 4-6 weeks), over stocking (a 29 will only be good for 3-4 small fish), buying specimens that you do not have the right conditions tank size or equipment to keep properly

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Old 06-17-2015, 06:58 AM   #3
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There is nothing wrong with using dry rock seeded with live. Dry is just that, dry rock with no life. Live rock is rock (or coral chunks, whatever) that is colonized by beneficial bacteria. This comes in several different types, usually named for the location it was harvested from. There are also different "grades", though it's never really called that. Some live rock is covered in macro algaes, sponges, bivalves, all sorts of criters. Other is just rock and bacteria with little else in the way of life. Cured rock is live rock that has been held and cleaned until all the really delicate stuff has died and rotted away, making the rock more biologically stable. (and there is nothing wrong with bristle worms other than being creepy looking)

Get new sand, not too spendy and saves some head aches later on. If you arent doing full reef, any lights will work. As mentioned about, RODI will also help control problems down the line. Get RedSea or Salifert tests, don't waste your money on API. If you are spot on with water changes you don't need a skimmer, but they certainly help, but can be added and brought online later.

And by Nemo tank, understand that Nemo is fine in 29g, but Dory and the others need a much larger tank. Also, an anemone needs a tank that is well established and stable, it's usually recommended to wait at least 6 months. And note that a clown does not need a nem, nor does a nem need a clown.
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Old 06-19-2015, 05:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies... I DID IT

finally... converted the 29 gallon into salt... I purchased 30 lbs of Aragonite sand, 15 pounds of live rock and 13 pounds of dry rock.. I also am using a maxi jet 1200 for powerhead. I also am still using my AC 70 filter.. but i took the bio balls out and just using the foam for now... until the tank is cycled then i assume i take the foam out?? I would like to get a skimmer.. LFS advised with a 29 gallon tank to get the Red Sea prizm HOB one... so once i purchase this can i then junk the AC filter? and just use the skimmer?
Last question, i dont see much life on the live rock from the LFS.. there are a couple spongy looking things that are moving with the current attached to the rock... is it safe to assume i have no pest on here? and will things grow on the rocks as they age? sorry im very new with marine tanks... thanks...
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:03 PM   #5
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I'm a reef guy, not a FOWLR guy, but in reef tanks, filters aren't used much, as they tend to collect gunk and produce nitrates. Bioballs aren't used for the same reason. Skimmers are always good, my only advice is to get one rated for at least 1 tank size over your current, so maybe one rated for 40g or so.

In regards to the live rock-the 'live' actually just refers to the beneficial bacteria, not the life form on it. That is where the 'grades' I mentioned above. Check out the rock Live Rock - Tampa Bay Saltwater Aquacultured Live Rock offers compared to yours. They are both 'live rock' but you can quantify the difference. If you are wanting all the pods, bristle worms, feather dusters etc, you can get live sand from a trusted tank, easy if you're a member of a local club.

However, it is never safe to assume anything. Don't assume your hydrometer is accurate, ot that your refractometer is calibrated. Don't assume anything. Keep an eye on it, being watchful of such things as bubble algae, mojano nems, aptasia, hairy crabs or ones with pointed claws. I'd say those are the common problems with LFS live rock.

Only things you introduce, intentionally or not, will be in your tank. There is no spontanious generation.
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