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Old 06-25-2010, 03:59 AM   #1
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Converting to SW

Hey everyone

After doing some reading and a bit of research I think i'm going to set up my first saltwater aquarium. I have a few years of experience with tropical freshwater and planted, and after all that I figured I should be able to handle the maintenance and i'm always up for a new challenge when it comes to my tank. I plan on FOWLR for now but I would eventually like to turn it into a reef tank. I just had a few questions because i'm still gathering my equipment. I have a 29 gallon tank, and i'm carrying over my XP2 canister filter, a 100 watt heater, and a coralife 65w PC fixture.

First off, I was wondering if it would be necessary to have a protein skimmer since I already have my canister filter and my tank isn't very big?

Second, I also plan on buying an ro/di setup, so if yes to the protein skimmer, which should I buy first? Any suggestions on brands for both would be great.

Finally, are inverts strictly limited to reef tanks or do people with fowlr have them too? I used to raise cherry shrimp and although I loved my fish, the inverts definitely had a special place in my tank and really made it feel complete. SW has such a huge selection of them that i'd love to take advantage of!
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:02 AM   #2
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You can get away with not having a skimmer on a 29g FOWLR tank, but it would be a big help if and when you go to a reef setup. PWC would do the same thing. With a fish only you can get away with not using RO water if the water in your area is fairly good and you can keep your nitrates down to around ~20. By would need it with a reef setup again. Inverts won't stand a chance with a fish only setup either.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:07 AM   #3
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First, welcome to AA!
I wouldn't even think of this tank as a FOWLR. If you know a reef tank is where you want to go eventually, just start planning and calling it that from day one. There are several important differences that you may as well start planning for sooner rather then later. A protein skimmer is never a bad investment, my advice when people want one, think about where you and this hobby are going. The difference between a skimmer rated for 100 gallons and 200 gallons may only be like 50 bucks, so you might as well buy up once if you know you will upgrade soon. ASM skimmers and Octopus both are very nice skimmers.
There really arent good brands for RO/DI units, my recommendations are to stay away from most that are "reef" and "aquarium" labeled. IME its just an excuse to charge that much more. bulkreefsupply dot com, does have good deals lately, if not just poke around google, i bought my first one off of a military surplus site for dead cheap. Just compare the different filter sections and chambers.
Inverts will be fine with fish only, provided you do your diligence researching each fish you put in there. All you need is one nipper to demolish your inverts.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:39 AM   #4
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Make sure you clean out your canister real good. The SW beneficial nitrifying bacteria is not the same as the FW type. I personally think you dont need a skimmer in that size tank. PWC`s will accomplish the same thing.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:56 AM   #5
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Agreed, i meant to say that in my post. You probably won't need one, but if you decide to get one, keep in mind my post.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:32 AM   #6
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Make sure you clean out your canister real good. The SW beneficial nitrifying bacteria is not the same as the FW type. I personally think you dont need a skimmer in that size tank. PWC`s will accomplish the same thing.
Thanks for the info guys!

As for cleaning, what would you suggest using? The day I broke down my tank (this was almost a month ago) I cleaned out the canister and its parts with some water and a little bit of vinegar and it's just been sitting for weeks now. Would it need anything else like bleach?
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:36 AM   #7
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Hot water, vinegar, a scraper and some elbow grease is all I have ever needed. People say bleach rinses out or you put it in the sun and it degrades. but i really just can't bring myself to put bleach in anything fish related.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:53 AM   #8
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As for cleaning, what would you suggest using? The day I broke down my tank (this was almost a month ago) I cleaned out the canister and its parts with some water and a little bit of vinegar and it's just been sitting for weeks now. Would it need anything else like bleach?
If you did all that then that would be enough.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:21 PM   #9
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Ok cool. One more thing, do you know what kind of light bulb i'll need for my fixture? It currently has a plant bulb in it which I know will need to come out.

Also, I found this ro/di system on ebay which looks like a pretty good deal, so I might snatch it up because it's definitely in my budget.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:41 PM   #10
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Yeau, that would be good.
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