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Old 01-26-2008, 02:46 AM   #1
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54 gallon tank - help me turn it into a saltwater tank

i have a 54g tank i am thinking of doing into a salt tank , but i am not sure on what i need exactly to get going i have an aqclear 70 on the tank and a big power head to use for current , and i am using corolife t5 lighting on the tank now it is setup for a cichlid tank but i would like to convert to salt , would all i need to do is get a skimmer or am i looking at alot more stuff ???? pleae help this poor salty sole get started

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Old 01-26-2008, 09:10 PM   #2
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I split this post off of another thread, so I'm posting now to give it a bump!


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Old 01-26-2008, 10:25 PM   #3
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Well I just started a 75gallon salt water. I can give you a little advice but the wiser souls will have to chime in. You will need to get a skimmer (eventually anyway). I'm not sure if the lighting is sufficient. What kind of saltwater are you gonna do? Fish only with live rock, fish only or reef? I know the lighting for reef is more expensive. I decided to start with a fish only with live rock and eventually move into reef. I figured I would wait about 6-12 months before I started adding corals just to ensure that my water is stable.

I think that is all that you need except for maybe live rock and live sand.
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Old 01-28-2008, 12:17 AM   #4
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well here we go...

54 gallon tank is a great size to start out with... its big enough to not have major swings in the water yet small enough to maintain and not be a total hassle. starting with the water, youre going to have to add about a gallon of salt per gallon of water.. and you should test the salinity and it should come out between 1.020 and 1.026 that is good for most corals and fish.

youre going to need live rock in your tank, most people recommend a pound of live rock per gallon all the way up to 2.5 lbs per gallon, its your choice. live sand is recommended..

let the tank sit for 2 weeks- 2 months and make sure you test everyday to check for nitrate/ ammonia spikes. once your tank spikes i would add in a small/cheap fish like a damsel to also test and leave him in the tank by himself for about a week and a half...

the t5 lighting should be fine, check the wattages, recommended 4 watts per gallon. you might need to upgrade.

as for filters... a hang on filter would do fine. im assuming yuor tank is not reef ready so if you want a protein skimmer you are going to have to hang that as well. try to egt an aquaclear 150 because you can never have to much filtration.

powerheads lead to flow... the more flow the better because it keeps your fish active and healthy and also keeps algae build up down... make sure there are no dead spots throughout your rock work or in the tank in general.

finally you can add fish... add slowly!!! i cant stress this enough.. patience is everything, generally the best thing to do is to add one fish a month... in your case you tank can most likely hold 5 fish stretching it to 6... if you have any other questions let me know
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:37 AM   #5
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Start with this thread for the basics.
Be sure to go the articles section and read all the SW articles.

With 1Ĺ - 2 pounds of LR and a quality skimmer there is no need for additional filters, hob or otherwise.

As for flow within the tank, you want to shoot for 10x -20x tank volume for total flow. You want areas of high flow and areas of lower flow. The water flow throughout the tank should be chaotic not laminar. You want the surface of the water to ripple to promote gas exchange. This is usually accomplished by aiming a PH towards the surface..

If you don't already have one get a QT tank. It's important to QT the first fish you get before adding them to the display tank.

Do not get a damsel unless you plan on keeping it. They are very aggresive fish and if you want them, they should be added last, after the other fish have set up their territories. Please check the fish compatibility guides.

Start planning your tank by deciding what you want it end up being (they always end up as reef)!
Check out the articles and start picking out equipment.
Come back here and ask questions. Ask lots of questions, but try not to ask unrelated questions in the same post. Stick to hardware questions in one post and stocking questions in another.
If you don't get an answer in a day or two, or you are confused by an answer (or conflicting answers), please ask again.

Welcome the salty side!
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:23 PM   #6
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thank you verry much for all the info i appreciate it . will start looking into prices soon salt water is such a beutiful setup . and i know it helps with health i have hyper tension and when i stare at my friends tank i can feel . my body relax ,
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by darrin36 View Post
i have a 54g tank would all i need to do is get a skimmer or am i looking at alot more stuff ???? pleae help this poor salty sole get started
Knowing wheter it will be Reef or just Fowlr would help decide what exactly you need. Fowlr tanks are more fore aggresive type fish IMO There are a lot of cool Saltwater fish that are not reef safe. And with a 54g there are limited options on aggressive fish most aggressive fish like 100+Gallon tanks. Granted this may not be 100% true just my opinion. With a Reef tank you have smaller fish(more suitable for a 54g) And really cool corals and invertabrates which are as much fun to look at as fish. Just remember if you choose to do Reef get a Metal Halide fixture even though its expensive you wont regret it
Get some good rock I like the Fiji DrFosters &Smith has good quality rock for sure
I have 80# in my 46

Wheter Fowlr or Reef You will need A Refractometer and Saltwater mixing tub with a powerhead and heater to make sure you have consistent Specific Gravity its important.
An RO/DI unit is definately a great investment and eliminates all the crap that is in tapwater that causes problems.
A Protein Skimmer I believe to be necessary(others may not) It removes dissolved organics and improves water as well

Good quality water and consistent maintenance and you should have a enoyable successfull experience Good Luck


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salt, saltwater, saltwater tank, tan

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