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Old 09-21-2012, 09:17 PM   #1
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Converting freshwater to saltwater

Hey guys I'm wanting to setup a saltwater tank in my 20gal high. Can you guys give me a rundown of what I will absolutely need getting started?

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Old 09-21-2012, 09:34 PM   #2
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-HOB (hang on back) filter or canister filter
sump(/refugium) which requires plumbing, an overflow box, and external or internal pump
-lights (of course important on a reef setup, and is usually the largest investment if you do get corals) LED, T5, T5 HO, VHO, Metal Halide, Power Compact
-protein skimmer (optional, and if you keep up on water changes, probably don't really need one for that size tank)
-Sand (optional; can go bare bottom)
-LR (live rock) or dry "base" rock: pros and cons of both. I went with 100% dry rock so that I wouldn't get any pests, but the LR comes with beneficial bacteria,worms,pods, and more that you won't get unless you add them separately.
-can have filter sock, floss, etc, carbon.
-powerheads (if you want additional flow)
-RO/DI system (or you can buy RO/DI water usually at your lfs)
-bucket(s) for mixing saltwater
-fish food (flakes, pellets, frozen, or you can make your own! A variety is best)

Additional, but by no means required:
-phosphate media GFO & reactors
-QT/hospital tank

Less equipment for filtration is usually going to mean more work with keeping water quality ideal

SW keeping is a crazy, epic experience with beautiful results

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

- Winston Churchill
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mcran4
Hey guys I'm wanting to setup a saltwater tank in my 20gal high. Can you guys give me a rundown of what I will absolutely need getting started?
I'll give it a go.

Some live rock and base rock. You can do all live rock but you don't have to. I did however.

Live sand. Again you don't need it. A lot of members just use regular sand. I used all live sand.

Power heads to move the water around and create good flow, you want to try and eliminate any "dead" spots. Water movement is very important.


A good light, T5's HO, LED's or metal halides lights will determine what type of corals you can keep.

Plan out your aquascaping

Plan out your live stock and corals so you can scape accordingly.

You won't need a skimmer if your gonna keep up on weekly water changes.

Your gonna need some test kits. API saltwater test kit and if going reef you'll need a calcium, alkalinity, magnesium etc kits.

Refractometer to measure salinity.

Your gonna need a filter. Any HOB will work so if you have one already you may be able to save money. Aquaclear is a good one IMO.

Salt mix, some extra 5 gallon buckets.

And a lot of patience



There are a bunch of good videos from these guys at bulk reef supply, you may find these interesting, I did.


"When creating an aqua scape, strive for the beauty of imperfection, as its art and there is no wrong or right, it's left open for interpretation" James Findley
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converting, freshwater, freshwater to saltwater, salt, saltwater

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