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Old 12-31-2005, 08:19 AM   #1
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30g FW convert to SW

hi, a SW newbie here. i want to convert my 30g FW to SW FO tank. all i want is 2 clowns or few more small fish. so my current setup is.....tank, stand, light, 200w heater, emporor 400, white sand. and it's been running for a year.
i know i need to get a hydrometer, LR, salt. anything else? do i need a powerhead?
do i need to cycle the tank with LR? since it's already an est FW tank.
can any of you nice enough to tell me step by step how to convert? thank you! and Happy new year!

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Old 12-31-2005, 09:58 AM   #2
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I've never converted from FW to SW, but I know that you will have to re-establish the tank for SW. You will need to replace the sand with a good SW sand, as this will help in buffering the tank. You defiitely should get one or even two powerheads, and yes live rock is a must if money allows. Think about adding a protein skimmer to your setup....it's pretty much mandatory. Your lighting should be adequate for a FO, but with the addition of the LR you need to consider the wattage. 3 or 4 watts per gallon is sufficient. Also I would clean the tank out (no detergents) before setting up for SW and trash everything in it (like the sand as I mentioned before). Then start filling it up, and add your salt (being that their are no living organisms in it yet, you can add the salt directly into the tank). Leave an inch form the top of the tank for possible water corrections. run your powerheards and filters now) Get the heat between 72 and 78 degrees. The specific gravity should be between 1.023 and 1.025. Get a good test kit with a PH test and tests for Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrates (that will be enough while the tanl is cycling, but will need to but more test kits later). Your PH should be 8.1 to 8.3. Once your PH, specific gravity, and heat are in line, then add your live rock....1 1/4 to 1 3/4 PDS per gallon is recommended, but with a fish only set-up you don't need to have live rock, but it makes the whole thing much easier. After this is all done, read the article on this website about fishless cycling. Hope this helps !!

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Old 12-31-2005, 10:16 AM   #3
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
If this is an existing FW tank, you will need to tear it down and start from the begining. FW and SW is kind of like the "apples/oranges" comparison. You can certainly use your exsisitng equipment and substrate, but it will need to be cleaned before hand. You will need to get all new media for you Emperor 400.
do i need a powerhead?
Yes, one or two will add the needed current to your tank. Go with a couple Maxi-jet 900s.
do i need to cycle the tank with LR? since it's already an est FW tank.
As mentioned,it is not as easy as just adding LR and salt. You will need to break down the tank, clean everything and set it back up again. Look at a 4-6week new cycle time prior to adding fish.
can any of you nice enough to tell me step by step how to convert?
there are some great articles on getting started in the "Articles" section at the top of the page. In a nutshell...take out and clean all equipment and let it dry. You will need to get new filter pads and biowheels for the for the Emperor. New GAC as well if you are running that. If you plan to use your substrate, it will need to be rinsed very well. You can also just buy some new sand. For a first time set up you can add the sand to the bottom, add the premixed SW to the tank and turn on the powerheads. the water will be pretty cloudy for a few days, that is normal. Add LR a couple of days later. I suggest 1.5-2lbs per gal of LR for good biological filtration. You can also add a cocktail shrimp from the grocery store to the tank. This will jump-start your cycle. After that it is just a matter of waiting. Pick up some basic test kits (Ph, NH3, NO2, NO3) and after a few days beigin testing your water daily. You will notice a spike and fall of NH3, a spike and fall of NO2 followed by a rise in NO3. Once NH3 and NO2 are at zero (3-4 week) do a 50% water change using aged SW. You can now add your first fish. One and only one for a few weeks to see how it goes. It is not hard, it just takes time and patence. Pick up a copy of "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner and do some reading while you wait. Good luck and keep stopping by AA.
Some people are like slinkies...they serve no real purpose yet can still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs!:p
Have a great day! Brian
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Old 12-31-2005, 01:49 PM   #4
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i just did the same thing. i converted my 90 fw to sw. i thought the same way that you could just add salt, but after researching and reading alot i found it wasnt as i had thought. so i did just what everyone says to do and break it down and start from scratch. i threw away all the gravel and cleaned the entire tank. i spray painted the back blue, and bought an ro/di unit and started the LONG process of making water. i bought 100lbs of reef sand and added my salt and started circulating with 2 ph's i will be adding my lr soon and a shrimp or 2 to cycle the tank. its definitely worth the effort to do it right the first time. good luck and keep reading.
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