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Old 06-18-2006, 10:47 PM   #1
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Alright saltys...This freshwater dude needs some help.

My bud is getting a 29g at the end of the week.He'd like to go with saltwater right off the get go and skip fw completely.

Thanks to the guys on the fw side of this sight I know quite a bit about fishkeeping in general,but some of the salty stuff is very new to me.

Can I get some links to some great threads that approach this problem from this perspective?

A few questions I have right now,

What is live sand?It is living right?

Is live rock coral?Or is it something different?

Are sumps needed or just preferred?

The tank will not be ported...will that be a problem?

Is there an all in one test kit for SW like there is for FW?Whats preferred?

I hope to gain some valuable experience helping him bring his tank around......Then I'll be ready to kick one off myself so i'm geared up for the project.

Keep in mind that from the saltwater perspective my ignorance is limitless,so post anything you think might help me gain a better understanding.

Thanks as always,
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Old 06-19-2006, 12:42 AM   #2
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check the articles section of the forum, great advice in there!
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Old 06-19-2006, 01:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
What is live sand?It is living right?
\

It has living bacteria in it right from the start. Using it will cycle a tank faster but it's not needed. All sand becomes live over time.

Quote:
Is live rock coral?Or is it something different?
Just like live sand, live rock is simply rock with living bacteria on it. It's not coral, no. Although some people might use dead coral in their tanks.

Quote:
Are sumps needed or just preferred?
Just preferred. They add lots of extra water volume and a place to store heaters, skimmers, filters, etc. so they don't clog up the view of your main tank.

Quote:
The tank will not be ported...will that be a problem?
I don't know about drilled tanks. Shouldn't be a problem though.

Quote:
Is there an all in one test kit for SW like there is for FW?Whats preferred?
Yep, where there is a fw master kit, there is a sw master kit. You'll also need a hydrometer to measure salinity and maybe a calcium kit(and maybe others) to test if you are looking into a reef.
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Old 06-19-2006, 04:56 AM   #4
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right now, i personally just have a basic saltwater test kit, it tests for high Ph, Nitrites, Nitrates, and Ammonia. However, i have been looking around a little for other test kits, and here is one that is a little bit more expensive, but it has just about every test that i know about.

http://aquariumguys.com/mastertestkit2.html

hopefully this helps a little bit. also, i'm like you, i have plenty of experience with freshwater, but not a lot with saltwater. one piece of equipment that i didn't know about ahead of time is the powerheads. i'm not sure about how many you would need, or what kinds to get, but they are pretty important. they help to circulate all your water so there is no dead spots. good luck with everything though, this site is very useful as well as most of the opinions of everybody here.
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Old 06-19-2006, 12:02 PM   #5
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Devilishturtles pretty much hit the nail on the head.

Quote:
s there an all in one test kit for SW like there is for FW?Whats preferred?
This is a good, cheap basic kit. I have it. If you are not doing reef, right now, this should work.
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113074

You can purchase ARAGONITE play sand from home depot/wal mart. It's a lot cheaper than LS (live sand). I think LS from a LFS is kind of a scam. I don't really see how the useful bacteria can stay alive on a shelf with no O2 or movment. Here is some good sand:
\http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...?N=2004+113554
If you run into aragonite, not silica based sand, get it and let the folks on this board know where. A test you can use is vinegar. Pour some on the sand and if it fizzles or foams, that is the right stuff. I ran all around town with my bottle of vinegar and couldn't find any aragonite sand, so I bought it from my LFS.

I would also recommend a refractometer, over the hydrometer, this is a great price for one:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113761

If you are pressed for cash, go with the hydrometer and get the refracto later.
Please don't cycle your tank with fish.

As for lighting, I'm not sure about FW but I think it is different for SW. SW causes metal to rust and rust in a tank is bad. Make sure you get a SW light, I might be incorrect about the difference between FW and SW lighting, so some one correct me if I am wrong.

PH (power heads) are good to have. In a 29G I think you could get away with one or two small ones, depending on what kind of filter you are using.
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Old 06-21-2006, 12:11 AM   #6
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Ok...Thanks for the replies all.

So live sand is "supposed to be" bacteria filled already,hence helping with the cycle.Is this just a bag of wet sand at the local fish store?
There seems to be quite a bit of debate as to wether or not its worth it at all (in other threads as well as this one).The one thing that seems certian is that sand must be ARAGONITE....correct?

This may seem like an entirely stupid question but just so I'm sure, the word "reef" refers to coral or a coral bed?

Also I see "deadspots" mentioned alot (in other threads as well)...this seems to be a major concern.Is every SW tank a high current tank?Is there a reason for that?Whats the harm in one area of the tank having less current the other areas?

Are live rocks porous?What type of rock is used...is there one specific type?As I understand it it just there to hold bacteria.

I'm thinking that standard lighting is ok as long as no coral is involved.For coral to be introduced the lighting will have to be stepped up,kind of like some people do for high light requiring plants in fresh water tanks.Is this correct?What are the wpg needed for coral assuming my last statement is true?Is Co2 added to keep algea in check in SW too?

Lastly...can used media from a FW tank help cycle a SW tank.Just a simple media transfer to get things started as I have done with my last two fw tanks.Will that work or is there something I don't know?

Thanks again all...any and all replies appreciated as always.
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:04 AM   #7
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Yes, you do want aragonite sand. It will help maintain the higher pH you are looking for in SW.

Reef implies that you are keeping corals.

Live rock is a porous rock that holds bacteria as well as other small invertebrates. There are lots of different types labeled by the location they came from. For the most part, the difference is visual. The live rock can be your sole source of filtration and it will convert nitrate to nitrogen gas (nitrates are much more of a problem in SW than FW). You can save on rock by using some dry rock and some live rock (figure $5+ a pound as a rough idea of cost). Over time, the dry rock will become live rock.

As for lighting, exactly. In fact, what you think of as high light in FW (about 4 wpg) is only moderate light for SW. CO2 is not really used to keep algae in check. The primary approach is to completely starve the algae of nutrients. As mentioned before, live rock helps to lower nitrate. Some people will keep plants (typically called macroalgae) in the sump to draw out nitrates. Lighting requirements vary depending on what you want to keep. For high light corals, you can be talking 8 wpg.

Unfortunately, the bacteria in FW are different than those in SW so you can't use it to jump start the cycle. That is another advantage of live rock is that it can be used to cycle the tank and it can go quite quickly.

Hope that helps.
Chris
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
There seems to be quite a bit of debate as to wether or not its worth it at all (in other threads as well as this one).The one thing that seems certian is that sand must be ARAGONITE....correct?
When I started my 37gal, I used live sand. it was more expensive, but IMO, it did help the cycle, but I am no expert.


Quote:
This may seem like an entirely stupid question but just so I'm sure, the word "reef" refers to coral or a coral bed?
A reef tank simple refers to any tank that supports Corals. I have never heard the term of a reef bed, but I am assuming that it is the same thing.


Quote:
Also I see "deadspots" mentioned alot (in other threads as well)...this seems to be a major concern.Is every SW tank a high current tank?Is there a reason for that?Whats the harm in one area of the tank having less current the other areas?
Yes, most sucessful saltwater tanks have at least 10x flow. That is the powerheads can turn around the water at least 10 times per hour. In a 29g tank, you will be looking for about 290gph of flow. Dead spots are inevitable, but minimizing them helps make sure that debris does not have a chance to decompose and foul up the water.

Quote:
Are live rocks porous?What type of rock is used...is there one specific type?As I understand it it just there to hold bacteria.
Most people here recommend about 1.5# of live rock per gal of tank. 40-50# should be perfect for a 29gal. Live rock could either be porous or very dense, depends on what you find. You can get away with less rock if you can find less porous pieces. LR is very expensive.

If you have time, one thing I wish I did was buy base rock instead of live rock. Check out www.hirocks.com. it may take longer for the cycle to happen, but I think it would be rewarding to watch the tank develop. This is what I will be doing when I start my next tank.

Quote:
For coral to be introduced the lighting will have to be stepped up,kind of like some people do for high light requiring plants in fresh water tanks.Is this correct?What are the wpg needed for coral assuming my last statement is true?
Correct, corals will need strong lighting. This is a hotly discussed issue here on the forum. IMO, the wpg rule is very vague. I think you really need to look at how deep your tank is and the light penetration. I have 2 LPS corals that are considered moderate light corals, but they are under only 3.6 wpg. They are thriving, but my tank is not too deep. However, it probably is better to be safe than sorry, and if you can not provide enough light, better not try corals.

I am no expert, but I am pretty new to the hobby as well and I try to give advise from a rookies point of view.

HTH

John
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:16 AM   #9
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[quote]You can get away with less rock if you can find less porous pieces. LR is very expensive. [quote]

Correction-

You can get away with less rock if you can find more porous pieces and less dense live rock.
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:41 AM   #10
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figure $5+ a pound as a rough idea of cost
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40-50# should be perfect for a 29gal
Thanks for the excellent replies guys.

The above quotes say about $250 in live rock alone.....wow.
Thanks for the correction John...the initial post had me doing quite a bit of head scratching considering my basic understanding of live rock lol.

I'm truely lost on how enough live rock can eliminate any real machanical filtration...or am I misunderstanding that part of it?

How does it convert nitrate into gas?The bacteria does this?
If so then no doubt the bacteria is not the same as freshwater.

Also,a quick google search for live rock proved it to be around 5/6 bucks per pound,while the link John provided has 60 pounds for 60 dollars shipped.Not cured obviously.

Would starting with uncured sand and rocks be a problem?.....I'll assume the cycle will tank longer(not an issue for me),but are there any other issues to consider?Once its all in and the water is testing well,just start a fishless cycle or am I missing something here as well?
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50g tall fw planted at .6wpg
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10g fw planted at 3 wpg cf
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