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Old 06-14-2011, 08:54 PM   #1
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differences between sw and fw

okay what are the main differences between sw and fw besides salt of course. any advice or tips help
here are a few questions:
- what is RO/DI
- what are sterilizers and what does it do?
- what do i need that i dont need in my fw aquarium besides salt?
- how many gallons should i start with?
- about how much will a saltwater aquarium cost (besides the fish)
i would love to have a saltwater aquarium in the future but am a complete newbie to saltwater sorry if i asked any ovious questions. thanks for all the help very appreciated! (:
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:16 PM   #2
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RO/DI 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/DI 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.

A UV 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?
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:33 PM   #3
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holyyy and i thought the price i paid for LR was alot, i paid 5.99 a pound and it was good quality rock also, i only had a week of cycle
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:51 PM   #4
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Our LFS had some live rock "on sale" for 10.49 per lb. Good advice up there. Some
Ideas on other costs.... Salt can cost anywhere from $50- $150 per bucket here in Ohio. The RODI unit we bought on eBay was $120. The waste is about 2.5 to 1 though so for every gallon of RO water 2-3 gallons of water go down the drain (or on my flower beds if I feel like it). Our electric bill also went up about 45- 50 dollars a month with all the lighting and pumps for coral. Lighting for coral is one of the bigger costs in SW and it can run as high as you are willing to let it. A good protein skimmer can be found anywhere from $100+. Bigger tanks are more expensive but "easier" to maintain as far as water quality.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishguy2727 View Post
RO/DI 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/DI 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.

A UV 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?
wow thanks so much that really helped. i would love to have a citrus goby or any type of goby. i feel in love with them the moment i saw them. i also love the green chromis and i like hermit crabs too. for corals i really like the mermaids shot glass but i know that is hard to take care. i also like mushroom coral and acropora tortousa
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:15 PM   #6
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Same here Leo, I was wondering if $6 a pound was a bit high for some rocks, but if there are people paying $8 a pound from their LFS I think I can manage. Not to mention they don't do a very good job of taking whatever harvestable corals off of the rocks .

I don't even buy corals anymore, I just sift through their tank of live rock and look for the ones with the most polyps lol.

But yea, sw is a lot more expensive than fw. Even if you go bare minimum, just a FOWLR, you'll have to worry about a RO/DI filter, salt mix, filter media. If you think about reefs then lighting is very important, and most fixtures for a 20g capable of sustaining corals are $150-$400
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:21 PM   #7
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i just bought a fixture off e bay 4x24 watts with slr for $110, its bright as crap and surprised even me. its as bright as a 250watt MH
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:28 PM   #8
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Wow O_o. 10k PC lighting or what? I didn't think you could get a 4 bulb fixture for ~$100

It probably would be around 150 bucks retail though, ebay is pretty cheap.
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:31 PM   #9
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its a T5HO look at my thread called "its here its here"
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:39 PM   #10
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I will...sounds like a good fixture for a smaller tank.
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