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Old 04-28-2011, 06:18 AM   #1
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Question Converting from Fresh to Salt... advice? :-)

Hello all... this is my first post so be gentle

I've had a FW 40 gallon breeder running for several months (Angels, mollies, etc. all doing great) and have decided to take the proverbial plunge to saltwater in the early fall (after having done the research and acquiring the funds to do so without cutting corners).

I figured it would be good to get advice here from people with experience before doing my heavy research on various fish/corals/equipment. I have friends with FW tanks but don't know that many people with SW experience. What better forum to join than "Aquarium advice"? None, I assume!

First question: currently I have 2 Aquaclear 50's running on the tank... will these be usable for a saltwater tank? If not its ok, it'll just give me incentive to set up a 2nd FW tank that I can use them on, hehehehe... anyway if I can't use these filters, what is the best alternative (that won't break my bank account)? A canister? I keep reading about sumps and how handy they are, are they truly essential? How hard are they to maintain, and what are the alternatives should a sump not work for my setup? Also, what is a good protein skimmer for a tank my size?

Second: what are some recommended fish/corals for a first time soon to be SW keeper such as myself? Here are some that I'm interested in (I know several are not compatible with each other, exploring options):

Flame Angelfish
Yellowtail Damselfish
Maroon Clownfish
Orange Butterflyfish
Dwarf Zebra Lionfish

I really, really like the Dwarf Lionfish and the Frogfish, but I hear they aren't very active and that you can't keep any inverts with them which is a bit of a bummer. Anyone who has kept either of these critters, please inform me of your experience and what you were/are able to keep with them!

As far as corals/inverts go, I really like the frogspawns, urchins, starfish... not sure where to begin or what would be practical for a SW n00b like myself...I know I need to start FOWLR and add corals when the tank is established but I'd like to know a good starting point as far as reef tanks go.

I tend to favor the exotic/unusual/colorful/weird/aggressive/impressive, but generally I'm totally open to stocking suggestions! I'd like to be able to keep a widest variety of critters possible.

Thanks for reading!

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Old 04-28-2011, 09:16 AM   #2
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A sump will help on any system, but is it necessary to have one? No. It's an excellent place to hide your equipment, and most importantly it adds water to your system. But on a 40 I don't know if a sump would be worth it.

I would probably keep the AC filters and maybe add a canister (if you decide not to do a sump).

You'll want to add a refractometer to your equipment list. Don't waste your money on a hydrometer (swing arm), I threw mine away the minute I got my refractometer in.

As for the livestock - if you get damsels, get only damsels. They're jerks. Also the butterfly would probably nip at corals, as would the flame angel (most likely). I honestly don't know too much about butterfly fish. Just that I don't want one lol. The maroon clowns are the meanest clowns of the bunch, and for a beginner, and a 40 gallon tank, I'd probably look into Ocellaris or Percula clowns. I know 0 about frogfish and anglers. Just that they're ugly IMHO. Lastly, a 40 gallon tank might be a bit small for a dwarf lion.

You should look into a pistol shrimp and goby if you like interesting symbiotic relationships.

My favorite website to read about fish is liveaquaria.com. They are an awesome resource for us n00bs!

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Old 04-28-2011, 09:20 AM   #3
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Hi. I can try to help a bit, I'm no expert.

A sump is a very handy filter to have, you get the added water volume and a place to hide equipment, heaters, skimmers etc.

As far as that size tank though I bet you could get away without a sump if you don't have room under your tank. I was using a aquaclear 50 on my 29g with decent results. i did however buy a protein skimmer, a remora hang on that helped keep my tank in good shape. You're at the cusp on gallons between needing a lot of stuff and not. LOL

I would get a mix of base rock and liver rock for your tank, like a 80/20 mix infavor of base rock. Alot cheaper and the live rock will spread its "liveness" to the others in a few weeks or months.

Another thing is your lighting. For fish only you don't need much but for corals you will have to up your game.

I'm not gonna comment on your stock list, but to me it looks not appropriate. I'll let someone else chime in on that.

Hope that helped even a little.
180g Reef - 60g Rimless Reef -90G FOWLR- 125g Malawi Cichlids- 40b REEF- 34g Fresh Planted-working on- 20L FOWLR- working on
I have a mix of many different saltwater fish amongst my tanks, but I love my Tangs most of all.
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Old 04-28-2011, 05:34 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input

For the record, that list is hardly a stock list, hehe... more like a short list of fish that sparked my interest.
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converting, fresh, salt

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