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Old 04-08-2013, 07:08 PM   #1
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Question I need saltwater info

Hey, I am thinking about setting up a 30 gallon saltwater tank in a few months. This is a long way off from my 10 gallon freshwater tank and I need some info on what to do and use to setup this tank. First, do I need a built in overflow and a wet/dry filter or would a regular canister or hanging filter be good also what is a sump? Second, what is the difference between a reef, saltwater, and marine aquarium because I have seen test kits for all of these and I thought a saltwater tank was a saltwater tank? Third, what equipment do I need besides a filter, heater, and skimmer (though I have decided to do without a RODI unit and buy my water and also not get a refugium)? Fourth, I know I need live rock and sand though is there anything else that I need to put in the tank? Finally, the fish species I am thinking about housing in this tank are possibly some clowns, PJ cardinals, blue damselfish, a bicolordottyback, and a green mandarin though not all of these species more than likely. Please help me if you can and please leave any tips you think would help me.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:41 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Fishtankkeeper View Post
Hey, I am thinking about setting up a 30 gallon saltwater tank in a few months. This is a long way off from my 10 gallon freshwater tank and I need some info on what to do and use to setup this tank. First, do I need a built in overflow and a wet/dry filter or would a regular canister or hanging filter be good also what is a sump? Second, what is the difference between a reef, saltwater, and marine aquarium because I have seen test kits for all of these and I thought a saltwater tank was a saltwater tank? Third, what equipment do I need besides a filter, heater, and skimmer (though I have decided to do without a RODI unit and buy my water and also not get a refugium)? Fourth, I know I need live rock and sand though is there anything else that I need to put in the tank? Finally, the fish species I am thinking about housing in this tank are possibly some clowns, PJ cardinals, blue damselfish, a bicolordottyback, and a green mandarin though not all of these species more than likely. Please help me if you can and please leave any tips you think would help me.
1. You don't need a sump or overflow unless you want one. Many will tell a 30g doesn't need one and to only run a protein skimmer, but its your choice. If you decide to do a sump then you can drill your tank or do an HOB overflow. CPR makes one that is fairly popular and easy to set up.

2. I use an HOB for my mechanical fitlter because the LR does all the bio filtration for me. I dose the tank manually and as needed based on parameters.

3. Test Kits. I've got an API SW test kit and an API Reef Master test kit. They each test for different things however you will find many varying opinions on what you should test for and what kit to get. Those work well for me.

4. To start LR and LS are fine, you can do a fishless cycle or not, your choice. You can read up on this and Fishless seems pretty easy, I'll be doing it on my next tank. I was recommended by my LFS not to do Clowns and Damsels as the Damsels are a**holes. All jokes aside many concur with this logic and think it's dumb to let a $5.00 fish kill a $40.00 fish. Of course if there's enough room in the tank it won't matter, you may want to do a little research on compatibility between fish and/or corals. Hope this helps, have fun and stick with it!
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:49 PM   #3
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1. You don't need a sump or overflow unless you want one. Many will tell a 30g doesn't need one and to only run a protein skimmer, but its your choice. If you decide to do a sump then you can drill your tank or do an HOB overflow. CPR makes one that is fairly popular and easy to set up.

2. I use an HOB for my mechanical fitlter because the LR does all the bio filtration for me. I dose the tank manually and as needed based on parameters.

3. Test Kits. I've got an API SW test kit and an API Reef Master test kit. They each test for different things however you will find many varying opinions on what you should test for and what kit to get. Those work well for me.

4. To start LR and LS are fine, you can do a fishless cycle or not, your choice. You can read up on this and Fishless seems pretty easy, I'll be doing it on my next tank. I was recommended by my LFS not to do Clowns and Damsels as the Damsels are a**holes. All jokes aside many concur with this logic and think it's dumb to let a $5.00 fish kill a $40.00 fish. Of course if there's enough room in the tank it won't matter, you may want to do a little research on compatibility between fish and/or corals. Hope this helps, have fun and stick with it!
, also a man from a local fish store says he will give me water straight from hist system so my tank will be cycled. This store is not a commercial store and the man seems trustworthy.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:00 PM   #4
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, also a man from a local fish store says he will give me water straight from hist system so my tank will be cycled. This store is not a commercial store and the man seems trustworthy.
The beneficial bacteria is not in the water so you need live rock and live sand for the bb to colonize in. I use a hob filter also. Some do not use a filter with this size tank, only lr/ls and a skimmer. If your doing a FOWLR the lights won't be as important as the lighting needed for a reef tank with coral. Damsels are nasty little fish that will nip the fins off anything else in the tank.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:47 PM   #5
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The beneficial bacteria is not in the water so you need live rock and live sand for the bb to colonize in. I use a hob filter also. Some do not use a filter with this size tank, only lr/ls and a skimmer. If your doing a FOWLR the lights won't be as important as the lighting needed for a reef tank with coral. Damsels are nasty little fish that will nip the fins off anything else in the tank.
, though I am going to do a reef tank with coral just not to start with. I actually have a lighting system picked out here i'll post a link :Deep Blue SolarMax HE2 Double 36" T5 Strip Light - 21w x2 + Moonlights
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:43 AM   #6
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, though I am going to do a reef tank with coral just not to start with. I actually have a lighting system picked out here i'll post a link :Deep Blue SolarMax HE2 Double 36" T5 Strip Light - 21w x2 + Moonlights
Those lights won't support many corals. I ran a 2 bulb t5 Ho 39w per bulb fixture for almost 6 months on my 35 gallon reef. Mainly lps and softies. Some did good others just maintained. I would look at a 4 bulb t5 Ho fixture or even better a led fixture, taotronics makes a good light for the money and a lot of people use them with great success. Little bit more $$ though. Check eBay and Craigslist and Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0092L...dir_mdp_mobile
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
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, though I am going to do a reef tank with coral just not to start with. I actually have a lighting system picked out here i'll post a link :Deep Blue SolarMax HE2 Double 36" T5 Strip Light - 21w x2 + Moonlights
There's a HUGE thread about "Lighting - Best Bang For Your Buck." Mr. X recommends Taotronic Dimmable 120 watt. They'll be perfect for you 30g I've got one and my corals LOVE IT! For the price and longevity you can't go wrong and they come with a two year warranty. I got mine through Amazon so if anything goes wrong I can contact them instead of the vendor. Here's the link, and since they don't have a pic available here's a few of mine:
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:07 PM   #8
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There's a HUGE thread about "Lighting - Best Bang For Your Buck." Mr. X recommends Taotronic Dimmable 120 watt. They'll be perfect for you 30g I've got one and my corals LOVE IT! For the price and longevity you can't go wrong and they come with a two year warranty. I got mine through Amazon so if anything goes wrong I can contact them instead of the vendor. Here's the link, and since they don't have a pic available here's a few of mine:
Nice tank! Thanks to both of you, i'll check out the light.
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:20 PM   #9
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I have a deep blue professional light fixture they are garbage 3 mths had to replace parts and return to store go LED if u want corals IMO
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:14 PM   #10
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First, do I need a built in overflow and a wet/dry filter or would a regular canister or hanging filter be good also what is a sump?
If you intend to do a reef, I would avoid the canister as they tend to trap detritus VERY well and if you are not extremely diligent, can result in high nitrates. IMO, a hang on filter like an AquaClear (now called Fluval) is a better choice and ultimately easier to maintain if you're not using a sump. Here is a link to a video I made explaining my sump.

Aquarium sump explanation - YouTube

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Second, what is the difference between a reef, saltwater, and marine aquarium because I have seen test kits for all of these and I thought a saltwater tank was a saltwater tank?
"Reef" indicates that you are keeping corals and is a certain type of saltwater or marine aquarium. This type of aquarium requires more intense lighting and higher flow as opposed to a "FOWLR" (Fish Only With Live Rock). "Marine" and "saltwater" are interchangable terms in my mind. It's not so much as what the label on the test kit says, as what you test for. You want to be able to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH at a minimum. If you go reef, then you'l want to add on calcium, alkalinity, magnesium, and phosphate. Use a refractomer (more accurate) or a hydrometer to test specific gravity (salinity).

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Third, what equipment do I need besides a filter, heater, and skimmer
You don't need a skimmer, but I would highly recommend one. Avoid the Coralife Super Skimmers and the SeaClones. They're cheap, but not very good. I'd also consider a pair of water circulation pumps. Koralias are reasonably priced and well built.

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Fourth, I know I need live rock and sand though is there anything else that I need to put in the tank?
I do recommend sand over crushed coral. Many folks feel like buying live sand is like buying snake oil. You can buy live rock or dry rock (cheaper). Dry rock is considered more ecologically sound, but you don't generally get any neat freebies (worms, feather dusters, etc.), but then you also don't get any pests (bobbit worms, aiptasia, majano) either.

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Finally, the fish species I am thinking about housing in this tank are possibly some clowns, PJ cardinals, blue damselfish, a bicolordottyback, and a green mandarin though not all of these species more than likely.
I'd ditch the damsel (mean), dottyback (often mean), and mandarin (difficult to get to eat, especially without a refugium). Switch out the bicolor dottyback for a royal gramma. Same colors, generally cheaper, not as mean, and actually a little more atractive in my opinion. As far as the clowns, go with skunk clowns, ocellaris, or perculas. The others tend to be mean as they get older. BTW, no anemones without high intensity lighting and having the aquarium established for a minimum of six months. Waiting longer is better. The clowns don't need it, and many captive bred ones have no clue what to do with it anyway. Anemones also tend to sting corals.
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