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Old 08-06-2013, 06:04 PM   #1
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clueless in chicago

Hi, I just started my first saltwater aquarium over a week ago. I am looking for some suggestions. I have been researching whether I should use a live corals and reefs or the artificial stuff. I have looked high and low for some reefs that are affordable and I find most of the artificial stuff to be high. Does anyone know of somewhere or someone who is selling some used living color reef inserts in the chicagoland area. or does anyone know how I can start up a cheap reef tank and what things would I need. I have no clue as to what I am doing and I have a bubble shaped or dome aquarium thats 20 gallons. The dimension of my aquarium is 24x10 and I have a hang on back filter, sand and one fish (coral beauty) so far in my tank. Thanks any suggestion is greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:27 PM   #2
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Firstly, I wouldn't put a coral beauty in anything less than a 55g aquarium. 20 is far too small for it sadly.

The next purchase I would make is some live rock. If you are for some reason determined to keep your angel you will need to buy cured live rock which costs quite a bit more money than uncured and way more than dry rock. The live rock will be your primary method if filtration for the tank.

If you decide to return the angel (I hope you do) then you can save yourself quite a bit of money and buy dry rock and cycle it yourself or go with uncured live rock. Either way you will need to cycle the tank before adding anything living into it because it will most likely die from the ammonia / nitrite fluctuations.

I would skip the reef inserts because imho they are cheap and don't look very good compared to the real thing, you will have to regularly clean algae off of them, and aren't nearly as exciting to watch grow. With the proper amount of flow and lighting you can keep real corals in your tank without too much difficulty.

If you don't return the angel then you will need to monitor the water daily and make large 50% + water changes accordingly to keep the ammonia down. What are your parameters currently at?
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:26 PM   #3
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Well the coral beauty is mine to keep, I got him from petco and they dont take returns on live fish. I asked the salesman and showed him a pic of my tank and he agreed that I could put that fish in my tank and will keep him there. Thanks for the advice for the live rock however I dont have reef lighting and have no clue how or what I would need for live rock. As i progress in keeping a saltwater tank I will most certainly take a dive into getting a reef. I am using the fake stuff now until i feel comfortable. Thanks for the advice though.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:29 PM   #4
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Well then they are morons and I wouldn't take advice from them again... ever.

Take a look at Bulk Dry Live Rock - Bulk Dry Live Rock & Live Sand - Bulk Reef Supply

You will need some rock in your tank to support your fish. The bacteria builds up on it and acts as your filter even working to remove nitrates in your tank. I would suggest 20 - 30 lbs for a tank your size.

Have you had your water tested yet?
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:35 PM   #5
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Thanks for your advice however I will keep the fake stuff for now.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Keletha View Post
Thanks for your advice however I will keep the fake stuff for now.
Yes, I understand that you want the fake coral which is fine. That doesn't mean that you don't need live rock to go with it. Live rock is just rock with an exceptionally large amount of surface area and a colony of bacteria on it to consume the ammonia that fish produce to prevent them from dying.

Have you had your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate tested yet? I'm worried that the tank isn't cycled and the ammonia might be reaching toxic levels at this point.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:26 PM   #7
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Will test it tomorrow at my local pet store and will buy a kit so I can keep a check on it at all times.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:48 AM   #8
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Have a read of the articles on here about starting a saltwater tank, what cycling a tank means and how to maintain a saltwater aquarium. As mentioned above live rock is not an optional extra, it is the basis of all salt water aquariums and provides all the filtration you need. Although fake decor is not popular in salt tanks you can use it if you like, up to you. I think it's important now that you have livestock to know what your getting in for, research is the key and you will find many helpful people on here to answer any questions. Remember, the advice here is free and LFS sometimes just like to make a sale...
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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Oh and you don't need special lighting for live rock, You don't need to add corals (yours can be fowler - fish only with live rock) but you can chose to add them slowly further down the track when you've got your head around maintenance etc. all you really need for a salt tank is rock and flow. It is important that you can test your own salinity and water quality so those would be top of the list. Hope the coral beauty is doing ok, sounds like you tank is cycling which is harmful for the fishes where do you get your water from? You may be looking at some back to back water changes if you have any traces of ammonia...
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