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Old 11-13-2005, 09:39 PM   #1
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Ok, BIG thread.

Hey guys. I have been interested in fish/aquariums for awhile now. I have never had a fish tank of my own to take care of. So for Christmas this year, I was hoping to get all the supplies for my tank. I already have a 50-55 gallon tank. Now, the big question is... I have been reading around here for awhile. I am AMAZED with the salt water and LOVE them. I have researched them. I saw that they are tons more to take care of then freshwater tanks, but are totally worth it! My Dad says I am not responsible enough for a salt water tank, but if I really love something...there is no question I will care for it. So, is a salt water tank bad for a beginner? I have read alt about them and the live rocks, and cool little things that grow on them after a few months. I just find the fact of taking care of something and watching it grow...fascinating. So if I do go with a saltwater tank, what will I need. All I have is the tank. I mean like what filters, and other saltwater needs. Thanks for any help!!!
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Old 11-13-2005, 10:51 PM   #2
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So, is a salt water tank bad for a beginner?
It usually helps to start with a freshwater tank, so you can get a bit of experience behind your belt, but by no means is it not doable. I'd reccomend buying a book to get you started. The Consientious Marine Aquarist, by Bob Fenner seems to be the best out there. The New Marine Aquarium, by Michael Palleta is also a good book to begin with. Read, read, read, and then read some more. Doing lots of research is the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for a saltwater tank.

You'll also have to consider the costs. Maintaining a tank is not cheap, and most people spend well upwards of a thousand dollars or more, just on the initial setup of their tank.
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. So if I do go with a saltwater tank, what will I need. All I have is the tank. I mean like what filters, and other saltwater needs. Thanks for any help!!!
You'll need a stand for the tank first.
Sand
Salt
Hydrometer and Test Kits
Live Rock
Thermometer
Heater
Food
Powerheads
Lighting (if you plan on keeping any kind of coral)
Optional filtration, protein skimmer

Those are the basic neccesities to setting the tank up. The books will explain alot of the neccesary setup items in detail.

Just remember, ask lots of questions and do lots of research, and I'm sure you can pull it off. 8)
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Old 11-13-2005, 11:55 PM   #3
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i started with salt a few months ago but i bought an established tank so it was good and bad.

the main thing is not to get in a hurry and i think everyone here will agree with that. the startup , like devilish said , is a huge cost. my tank already had lights,rock , fish and ive still spent about 800 bucks on skimmers and powerheads and additives.think about what you want in the tank and then decide if it is feasible. you can always start out slow with fish and liverock then add lighting , the most expensive part, later. just make sure you plan ahead and dont get into a big hurry or you will deffinatly become discouraged. dorian
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Old 11-14-2005, 02:56 AM   #4
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As far as fresh water goes, I bought a 10 gal. tank with filter and light hoof from Walmart for about $30 2 years ago. I think this is probably the way to go to be sure you want to keep it up. Though not as colorful, there are still some really cool things to do with freshwater fish.

If you go salt, it is not always as expensive as people say.

In my experience, a prot. skimmer is not really necessary for a while. I do have a smaller tank with only four fish though.

My girfriends parents gave me a 29 gal tank with a light out of their basement.

I was able to buy a Skilter Filter (which combines a protien skimmer and a filter) for about $60.

I have the normal flourescent lights that came with the tank. You can get a cheap heater for $20-$30. A nice regulated one will be more like $50. You can also pick up an air pump and a bubble stone for about $10 to help oxygenate the water.

Go to your LFS and get some crushed coral or sand. Add about 10-20 ($50-$100)pounds of live rock and a cheap damsel fish. Let that sit with the filter running for 5-6 weeks. This allows the bacteria to build up to process the fish waste.

Then I got a $18 Aqua Clear 3000 power head to circulate some water. After a little while I added a couple of hermit crabs, and finally a few more fish. The more live rock, the faster the tank will cycle.

With my ancient light, I can still grow a few kinds of coral. Clams and high dollar coral are probably off limits for my lights though. Basically just plan ahead. Read read read. Fish compatibility is huge. Certain fish do not mix well.
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Old 11-14-2005, 03:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by atjohns84
As far as fresh water goes, I bought a 10 gal. tank with filter and light hoof from Walmart for about $30 2 years ago. I think this is probably the way to go to be sure you want to keep it up. Though not as colorful, there are still some really cool things to do with freshwater fish.

If you go salt, it is not always as expensive as people say.

In my experience, a prot. skimmer is not really necessary for a while. I do have a smaller tank with only four fish though.

My girfriends parents gave me a 29 gal tank with a light out of their basement.

I was able to buy a Skilter Filter (which combines a protien skimmer and a filter) for about $60.

I have the normal flourescent lights that came with the tank. You can get a cheap heater for $20-$30. A nice regulated one will be more like $50. You can also pick up an air pump and a bubble stone for about $10 to help oxygenate the water.

Go to your LFS and get some crushed coral or sand. Add about 10-20 ($50-$100)pounds of live rock and a cheap damsel fish. Let that sit with the filter running for 5-6 weeks. This allows the bacteria to build up to process the fish waste.

Then I got a $18 Aqua Clear 3000 power head to circulate some water. After a little while I added a couple of hermit crabs, and finally a few more fish. The more live rock, the faster the tank will cycle.

With my ancient light, I can still grow a few kinds of coral. Clams and high dollar coral are probably off limits for my lights though. Basically just plan ahead. Read read read. Fish compatibility is huge. Certain fish do not mix well.
^^^^
This is some real bad advice. Not to make a personal attack on anyone but disregard everything posted there, except the read part(which he obviously never did.)

If you're looking to start a saltwater aquarium, the first step is to read read read!

You can then decide what tank size will fit your budget. If you would like to do a fish only setup, a fowlr setup, or a reef setup.

While you're reading you will learn what tools you need for the type of aquarium you want. You can ask lots of questions but I sugest you get really friendly with the search options this forum provides(probably the most helpful tool you will have besides experience in the saltwater hobby)

Saltwater is not necessarily difficult. Most would agree that it's more difficult than freshwater but if you do the proper research, plan ahead, and be patient it can be fairly easy to maintain.(obviously I am going to tell you saltwater is superior to freshwater since I am a saltwater aquarist. But it really is better )

HTH GOOD LUCK!
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Old 11-14-2005, 07:32 AM   #6
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I personaly would recomend a good protine skimmer.. Its not exactly a absloute nessisty but a good one will make your life ALOT easier..
Im not about to start listing a bunch of skimmers and say they are inferiour.. but the skilter really isnt a skimmer worth buying IMHO.. search around and see what skimmers people have been having consistant trouble with and try to aviod those.
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Old 11-14-2005, 11:47 AM   #7
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SW is not that difficult at all. The main points are studying/reading up on it, patience, and staying on top of things. The variety of SW is by far greater than SW. It seems as though you have already researched a fair amount of SW. If you are dedicated, you will do fine.
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Old 11-14-2005, 01:35 PM   #8
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This is some real bad advice. Not to make a personal attack on anyone but disregard everything posted there, except the read part
So why is cycling your tank bad advice? I know I am new here, but my fish are doing fine. Please tell me what you think I am doing wrong. I don't want to argue, but my fish seem to think I am doing a good job and I am wondering what specifically DragonForce means.
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College Tankl-- 29 Gal Saltwater- Skilter Filter, Powerhead, CC, 30 lbs Live Rock, Yellow Tang, 2 Damsels, Tomato Clown, Banded Coral Shrimp, Flame Scallop, Leather Finger Coral, Leather Coral, Purple/Red Mushroom Coral, 2 emerald crabs, Random little anenomes, feather dusters and hermit crabs, Orange Linckia Star, Xenia

Home Tank - 55 gal SW
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Old 11-14-2005, 02:47 PM   #9
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So why is cycling your tank bad advice?
Cycling your tank is not bad advice, cycling with live fish is. Most SW aquarist advocate the "fishless" method of cycling. The is some info on this in the Articles section at the top of the page. Cycling with "cheap damsels" is very hard on the fish and leaves the aquarist with the problem of what to do with these mean, aggressive fish once the initial cycle is over.

Keeping a SW tank is not really difficult, however, it does take research, planing, patence and dilagence. the problem most noobs run into is that they fail to plan and reaearch, add fishh too quickly (which all die) and the they give up.
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Old 11-14-2005, 05:01 PM   #10
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Wow, you guys are a HUGE help! I have this light that goes with the tank's lit/top. So I dont know if it has to be special or not. Also, the kind of tank I want for my 50 gallon... I want one with all the colors, and really neat little things that grow. I dont know what it is called. I think it is the reef. Also, if I buy live rock, will the corals and little plant things grow on there own? I really want things like that in my aquarium. Where can you buy these books? Could I get them at like Barn's and Nobles? Thanks alot guys!!!

P.S. Also, the cycling part... when I do buy the fish after letting it cycle for 5 weeks, do I turn the powerheads off? Or leave them on. When I am cycling, why should I buy damsel fish? What do they do? Thanks again!
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