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Old 06-19-2009, 06:05 AM   #1
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First attempt at Salt Water

Hello everybody, I'm new here but it seems like everybody is knowledgeable and friendly so I decided to post.Anyways, onto the meat of the post.

My father and I have always wanted a salt water aquarium, when I was just a little kid (5-6) we got a 10-15 gallon FW aquarium, which we set up and the little tank preformed well for about 8 or so years, being the home to a lot of fish and generally rousing biological interest in me. After a while the tank started leaking and we had to trash it.

Its been a few years since than and we are itching to get a SW reef tank system. Being new to SW and rusty on my FW I naturally come with questions.

First off, how big of a tank would you recommend for a beginner? I hear alot of people recommending 50+ gallon tanks and was wondering what everyone's oppinion is.

Second, How much work is a full reef tank, I see people saying that you have to check the water pretty consistently for PH and salinity. What exactly would we have to check for, and how often?

Now for the more fun stuff, animal selection. We both like clownfish, sea anemones, eels, and pufferfish (the ones that are brown and you can see the spikes, Spikey puffers I belive) Is there any chance of the 4 co-esiting peacefully? I know that clownfish have addapted to use the anemones as homes/protection, but what are the chances of an eel(preferabley a smaller one, any species suggestions?) trying to take a bite out of nemo?
If it comes down to picking one over the other, the clownfish will probably win out, because A) its really cute and B) we can get some inverts as well. Also general fish selection is welcome as well, especially with our newcomer status in mind.

I know that this is a lot of questions, but thanks in advance.
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:35 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

I'll do my best to address your questions before the real experts come along. The maintenance is not really that difficult for a SW tank, but as you've already discovered it is important to keep an eye on things. Doing so shouldn't take more than 10 minutes a day and once the tank is established, you can slack a bit.

Tank size... the larger the water volume, the easier it is to keep it stable. That's why people recommend larger tanks to start off with. I personally started with a small tank, but wish I hadn't. It's time to upgrade already.

As far as the livestock, (here's where speculation comes in, I haven't kept an eel or puffer) I think you could do a FOWLR with the eel and puffer if it's a large tank OR a reef tank with the nem and clown. Puffers are iffy at best in a reef tank and the eel will definitely be a problem for nemo.

The most important thing is to be patient, do your research (which you're obviously doing), and plan it out well. Keep in mind that it takes quite a bit longer for a reef tank to look good and stabilize than it does for a fw setup. Definitely read up on cycling. There are some very good articles and stickies available which should help out.

Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flameseeker574 View Post
Hello everybody, I'm new here but it seems like everybody is knowledgeable and friendly so I decided to post.Anyways, onto the meat of the post.

My father and I have always wanted a salt water aquarium, when I was just a little kid (5-6) we got a 10-15 gallon FW aquarium, which we set up and the little tank preformed well for about 8 or so years, being the home to a lot of fish and generally rousing biological interest in me. After a while the tank started leaking and we had to trash it.

Its been a few years since than and we are itching to get a SW reef tank system. Being new to SW and rusty on my FW I naturally come with questions.

First off, how big of a tank would you recommend for a beginner? I hear alot of people recommending 50+ gallon tanks and was wondering what everyone's oppinion is.

Second, How much work is a full reef tank, I see people saying that you have to check the water pretty consistently for PH and salinity. What exactly would we have to check for, and how often?

Now for the more fun stuff, animal selection. We both like clownfish, sea anemones, eels, and pufferfish (the ones that are brown and you can see the spikes, Spikey puffers I belive) Is there any chance of the 4 co-esiting peacefully? I know that clownfish have addapted to use the anemones as homes/protection, but what are the chances of an eel(preferabley a smaller one, any species suggestions?) trying to take a bite out of nemo?
If it comes down to picking one over the other, the clownfish will probably win out, because A) its really cute and B) we can get some inverts as well. Also general fish selection is welcome as well, especially with our newcomer status in mind.

I know that this is a lot of questions, but thanks in advance.
Greetings,

To answer your questions:

1. Get the biggest tank you can afford BOTH in terms of financial considerations and your daily commitment to maintain it. The bigger the tank, the more stable the water is and gives less chance for the fish to be affected. Imagine someone peeing in the pool versus in the bathtub you are in. See the picture? However, if you are unable to commit a couple hours a month doing water test, water change then go smaller. I would rather have a 20 gallon tank or less that I can maintain rather than having a 75 gallon that sits around and collects algae.

2. With reef tank, you must take into account of the sensitive nature of the corals. Fish can be forgiving if the water chemistry "slides" a bit, but not the corals. They will be the first to go when things are not up to par. There are also issues of proper lighting, water movement and feeding also. I strongly believe nobody should ever attempt at corals without having the basic command of water quality management.

3. When you have fish, corals or both, you need to make sure they are compatible with other as one can be a food source for the other. Once you have your tank succesfully set up, you can get lots of help here as far as species compatibility.

SW is lots of fun but it takes commitment and the reward far outweights what you have put in. I spend about couple hours at night looking at my tank and all my guests find it to be a focal point in the house. If you can me know what your budget is, I can give you some suggestions on what to get. DP
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:08 PM   #4
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I agree with the previous 2 posts, get as big as you can afford for water stability, I only have a FOWLER so I cannot personally comment on the reef tank issue. As far a compatibility of livestock, research all you can before buying. It is good that you are thinking ahead, I had my livestock list in place before I even bought my tank. When you decide what you want post it up here and we will help you with what to introduce first!
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:57 PM   #5
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biggest thing i can say is be patience, and always monitor your water parameter too, helps to write them down, it can help you later on if problems arise.
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:47 PM   #6
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Hey everybody, me again, After a weekend full of researching with the pops we are starting to make up our minds about somethings. First off we have decided that our tank will eventually become a full reef tank. That means that the puffer and snowflake eel are out. Second thing, turns out one of our friends had a saltwater aquarium but stopped the hobby a little while ago. He has offered to give us his 30 gallon tank with all of his filters and extras for free. This seems like a pretty good deal, but after all this research we are wondering, is a 30 gallon tank doable for us newbies? We have no idea about the quality of the stuff we are getting so we have continued to look into alternative tanks. While looking we found this

Red Sea Max 130D Complete Aquarium Kit - Black - SeaQuestMarine.com


and this
JBJ 28 Gallon Nano Cube HQI - Reef Series with Stand - SeaQuestMarine.com

They are advertised as "plug and play" systems BUT first off I know that this is blatantly untrue because we would have to cycle the tank and whatnot before even considering adding a fish, and second off we are wondering about the "upgradeablity" of the tank. The thing looks pretty fixed and I doubt we could add much. Also the little thing costs 800 bucks which seems like a massive rip off to me.( advice on this red sea/JBJ thing is greatly appreciated)

another question is will costs even out( when taking into consideration how much coral and LR I would need) if we bought a larger tank on craigs list for say $450 (70 gallon tank that comes with what seems like everything that we would need)?

We bought a book of amazon about seting up a salt water aquarium, which should come on wendsday. And when that comes I'm sure it will answer some of these questions, but I'm sure that it will generate even more!

heres the link to the book we got
Amazon.com: The New Marine Aquarium: Step-By-Step Setup & Stocking Guide: Michael S. Paletta, Edward Kadunc, Scott W. Michael, John Goodman: Books
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:05 AM   #7
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You sound like you are doing your research, excellent job from what I can tell! I would have to say that a 30G tank would be fine, you will just have to keep up with water changes and testing and you should be fine! I eventually want to start up a second tank (reef tank) and was also considering one of these "plug and play" tanks. Either seems like it would be a fine tank to start with.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flameseeker574 View Post
Hey everybody, me again, After a weekend full of researching with the pops we are starting to make up our minds about somethings. First off we have decided that our tank will eventually become a full reef tank. That means that the puffer and snowflake eel are out. Second thing, turns out one of our friends had a saltwater aquarium but stopped the hobby a little while ago. He has offered to give us his 30 gallon tank with all of his filters and extras for free. This seems like a pretty good deal, but after all this research we are wondering, is a 30 gallon tank doable for us newbies? We have no idea about the quality of the stuff we are getting so we have continued to look into alternative tanks. While looking we found this

Red Sea Max 130D Complete Aquarium Kit - Black - SeaQuestMarine.com


and this
JBJ 28 Gallon Nano Cube HQI - Reef Series with Stand - SeaQuestMarine.com

They are advertised as "plug and play" systems BUT first off I know that this is blatantly untrue because we would have to cycle the tank and whatnot before even considering adding a fish, and second off we are wondering about the "upgradeablity" of the tank. The thing looks pretty fixed and I doubt we could add much. Also the little thing costs 800 bucks which seems like a massive rip off to me.( advice on this red sea/JBJ thing is greatly appreciated)

another question is will costs even out( when taking into consideration how much coral and LR I would need) if we bought a larger tank on craigs list for say $450 (70 gallon tank that comes with what seems like everything that we would need)?

We bought a book of amazon about seting up a salt water aquarium, which should come on wendsday. And when that comes I'm sure it will answer some of these questions, but I'm sure that it will generate even more!

heres the link to the book we got
Amazon.com: The New Marine Aquarium: Step-By-Step Setup & Stocking Guide: Michael S. Paletta, Edward Kadunc, Scott W. Michael, John Goodman: Books
Welcome to AA. It looks like you're doing a lot of good research which is what needs to be done, I bought a brand new 120 gal glass tank, stand and glass canopy for $750. I chose a glass tank for my SW jouney because no matter how you look at it Acrylic tanks are beautiful but they scratch very easily especially with all of the salt residue your bound to have. The other aspect is commissioning the tank, LR, Aragonite, filtration, lighting etc the start up isn't cheap but can be done in stages. Myself I'm starting with FOWLR and will work my way towards a reef. If you take baby steps you'll be better off and more successful in your SW journey.
Good Luck my friend.
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Old 06-24-2009, 03:16 PM   #9
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hey everybody, the book came a bit early and I must say that It's quite informative. My father and I have decided to steer away from the pre-packaged/ready to go nano tanks and are now
looking at more traditonal options. Over the next few days we will be combing craig's list looking for deals on tanks 50-80 gallons in size. As of right now our primary concern is finding
someone who is selling a tank+ a stand/hood combo, Anything else is extra and we will inquire with you guys about the quality of any lights,skimmers,filters,whatever that we might
get in the process. So we are now wondering once we get the tank+stand+hood what will it cost us (roughly) to pick up everything else we will need (say we get a 70 gallon tank)

As far as I can tell we would need (this is the sketchiest part of my research so remind me of anything I have forgotten)

A filter of some kind, I see most people talking about canister filters, are these the best type?
A protien skimmer
Lights (this is something I'm struggling with, I have heard of metal hlyide (sp.?) VHO and HO, for a tank that will hopefully include corals what is best?)
2 heaters (you are spoosed to have two incase one bruns out right?)
2 powerheads with some sort of device that randomly turns them on and off to create currents (name of device/reccomended model would be very helpful)
and overflow box +piping to pipe tank water to the sump
a tank for the sump ( would the above mentioned 30 gallon be big enough?)
a water pump + piping to put the cleaned sump water back into the tank.

also I'm abit confused in regards to the plumbing of the sump.

1) do I put the overflow box on the rim of the tank, then connect the PVC pipe to the box, then run the pipe below the tank into the stand, and then into the sump?
2) what do I put in the sump? Im asumming I'd put everything but the lights and powerheads in it (heaters,fliter, and skimmer?)
3) I hear alot of talk about reguriums (sp?) to my understanding I dived the sump into two sections, one for the macro algae and one for the cleaning equipment. The macro half is
like a mini tank just for the algae, which I have to have a light for ( recommendations?) and the algae filters the water and grows, and every one and a while I collect some of the
algae and throw it in the tank for tangs or other herbavoires to eat? Are they worth the hassle?

Also as a more general question, what brands should I be looking for when buying these things, and more importantly which ones should I stay awayfrom. My Father and I feel strongly
about have quality fliters and the like and and we're wondering which brands you guys use?

Thanks for your patience, I know that explaining things to noobs can get tiring but I'd like to tell you that I appreciate the help alot.
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flameseeker574 View Post
hey everybody, the book came a bit early and I must say that It's quite informative. My father and I have decided to steer away from the pre-packaged/ready to go nano tanks and are now
looking at more traditonal options. Over the next few days we will be combing craig's list looking for deals on tanks 50-80 gallons in size. As of right now our primary concern is finding
someone who is selling a tank+ a stand/hood combo, Anything else is extra and we will inquire with you guys about the quality of any lights,skimmers,filters,whatever that we might
get in the process. So we are now wondering once we get the tank+stand+hood what will it cost us (roughly) to pick up everything else we will need (say we get a 70 gallon tank)

As far as I can tell we would need (this is the sketchiest part of my research so remind me of anything I have forgotten)

A filter of some kind, I see most people talking about canister filters, are these the best type?
A protien skimmer
Lights (this is something I'm struggling with, I have heard of metal hlyide (sp.?) VHO and HO, for a tank that will hopefully include corals what is best?)
2 heaters (you are spoosed to have two incase one bruns out right?)
2 powerheads with some sort of device that randomly turns them on and off to create currents (name of device/reccomended model would be very helpful)
and overflow box +piping to pipe tank water to the sump
a tank for the sump ( would the above mentioned 30 gallon be big enough?)
a water pump + piping to put the cleaned sump water back into the tank.

also I'm abit confused in regards to the plumbing of the sump.

1) do I put the overflow box on the rim of the tank, then connect the PVC pipe to the box, then run the pipe below the tank into the stand, and then into the sump?
2) what do I put in the sump? Im asumming I'd put everything but the lights and powerheads in it (heaters,fliter, and skimmer?)
3) I hear alot of talk about reguriums (sp?) to my understanding I dived the sump into two sections, one for the macro algae and one for the cleaning equipment. The macro half is
like a mini tank just for the algae, which I have to have a light for ( recommendations?) and the algae filters the water and grows, and every one and a while I collect some of the
algae and throw it in the tank for tangs or other herbavoires to eat? Are they worth the hassle?

Also as a more general question, what brands should I be looking for when buying these things, and more importantly which ones should I stay awayfrom. My Father and I feel strongly
about have quality fliters and the like and and we're wondering which brands you guys use?

Thanks for your patience, I know that explaining things to noobs can get tiring but I'd like to tell you that I appreciate the help alot.
If you're going the canister route Eheim is the one I prefer, I have 2 a 2215 (Filtering 44 gal cichlid) and 2080 professional 3 (going to filter 120 FOWLR), they definitely are more money but in my opinion the best out there and worth every penny. My 2080 is new and not online yet but my 2215 I have for 15 years and has never broke down and they are both virtually silent. I just ordered a Reef Octopus Hang on Back Protein Skimmer BH-800S which I've read to be very good, sorry i can't give you more info but i will once I get it and it has been running for a while. Good luck. One word of advice that I learned from these forums and that is, it's good to be able to save money but do it in the right places, spend the extra money needed for the heart of your system, filters, skimmers, RO/DI unit to name a few. If you need to wait to save then do so it will pay off big time in the long run, remember this is not a race a great deal of patience is needed in order to make your journey successful which is the ultimate goal for you and your soon to be fish friends.
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