means reverse osmosis and deionized (water). This means everything was filtered out of the water leaving just the water and nothing else (it won't even conduct electricity). This is waht you want to top off evaporation and use to mix your saltwater (using a high quality salt). You want to start with water that is 0 total dissolved solids (TDS
), this means there is nothing but water in it. This is what RO
is supposed to be (but isn't necessarily). For smaller tanks it may be easier or more cost effective to buy distilled water, which is also 0TDS. Either way investing in a TDS
meter (I got mine for under $10 shipped on eBay) is a good idea to double check whatever water source you use.
sterilizer is a type of filter that has a UVC bulb inside of a quartz (glass) tube. Water passes around this glass tube and is exposed to the UVC light. Depending on the flow rate through the UV
sterilizer and the wattage (and quality) of the bulb different things will be killed. At a faster rate/lower wattage only algae is killed. At a slower rate and higher wattage other planktonic bacteria will be killed. At the slowest rate and highest wattage even parasites will be killed.
Bigger is better BUT you must stick to what you can afford to do properly. That means if all you can afford to truly do properly is a 20long that is what you should stick with. It is not just the cost of the tank and stand, but the live rock, lighting, salt, protein skimmer, etc. It all adds up.
The natiral saltwater tank uses live rock as 80% of its filtration, the other 20% coming from a refugium and protein skimmer. Some tanks will have more equipement than this (sometimes MUCH more), but this is the basic version.
Good live rock will cost you $8 or more per pound in a shop, $4-8+ shipped online. You should have 1.5 to 2 pounds per gallon (I have 3 pounds per gallon in my tank). If this is expensive there is one way to safely reduce cost and that is to use dry rock as a base rock and buy a few really good pieces of live rock to seed the rest so it will all become good rock eventually. This is one of very few ways to safely cut costs in saltwater.
What fish or corals make you want to do saltwater?