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Old 01-22-2013, 06:02 PM   #1
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Freshwater to Marine on a Budget

Hello everyone,
As my name implies I am relatively new to aquarium ownership. I have had a 36 gallon freshwater tank for about a year and a half and have done reasonably well with it. I however am also a new diver and have found myself interested in converting my tank into a "fish only" marine aquarium. I do not want to purchase another tank. I am just curious as to what components and or steps I'd need to make this conversion a reality. I also should say that my budget is somewhere around $250 as I am a college student. Any advice would be most helpful!

Thanks
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:21 PM   #2
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I changed my 30g FW I to SW last year for about $250-300. It can be done. I bought 30# LS, started with about 15# base rock and seeded it with a compile pieces of LR from my reef tank. I spray painted the back black. I bought a AC70 hob filter, 2 PHs. If you don't a have them, you'll need test kits for ammo, nitrite and nitrate. A hydrometer will do to start. You'll need a small bag of salt and some RO or RODI or distilled water. You could go a little cheaper by buying pool filter sand instead of LS.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:27 PM   #3
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While this can be done, you need to be aware that saltwater is not a cheap hobby at all. The one thing I see missing from Beengirls list is you really need some type of protein skimmer, unless you're going to go with a turf scrubber of some sort or do a lot of water changes, which will quickly add up to more than the cost of the skimmer, because of the cost of salt for mixing. You cannot use tap water, which means you have to figure in a filter system or purchasing the water for water changes weekly or monthly.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:38 PM   #4
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SW is by no means cheap at all, that's true!! Haha
I don't run a skimmer on my 30g, and I've never had cyano or algae in it. I do 5g PWCs every week. And i try really hard not to overfeed. I buy my water from my LFS for 0.25/g. I take a 5g bucket in that bought in the lowes paint dept for $5 for a lid/bucket and fill it up. Yes, it's a pain lugging it back and forth, but I have a teenage son who usually does it for me.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:46 PM   #5
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Okay thanks for the advice guys. I just got back from my lfs where they were advising me to get a fluval sump. which i can buy new for about $130, they also said that i could get ls and lr and still come in well below $200. I just do not know if the fluval cannister is the way to go. And yes I do expect to spend a fair amount of money in this hobby, just trying to keep the initial startup costs low, thus manageable. ha ha
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:56 PM   #6
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For a 35g, I would just go with a aqua clear hob filter. I have a Fluval 406 on my reef tank, but for your size tank I would just do hob. Just get an AC 70 or better yet, an AC 110. That'll do the job fine. And will cost less than the Fluval. And the ac's are flexible in what you put inside them.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:34 AM   #7
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Wish you the best. Will be following your thread. I went DIY live rock. About 1 dollar a pound to make it myself.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:51 PM   #8
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Thank-you, I do believe that this Thursday will be the day. I'm going to take in my freshwater stock and get "store credit" for them which I doubt will amount to much. I will also take my day off as an opportunity to clean out the tank, and I hope to have the LS and LR in to start the cycle. Probably will not be buying any Livestock for a couple weeks. Just one other question, should I put the LS in before I fill it up? Or should I just have the LR in there and add the sand after its full? (I understand that the water will get murky for some time regardless what I do.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:47 PM   #9
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Also I have another question, what kind of hood setup can i use? I don't want to use the stock hood/ light as it is rather worse for wear.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Beginneraquariumowner View Post
Also I have another question, what kind of hood setup can i use? I don't want to use the stock hood/ light as it is rather worse for wear.
You really don't need a top. My tanks are topless. Just get a nice light fixture. No plants? Then you really don't need a elaborate light fixture. Try aquabid

http://www.aquabid.com/
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:23 PM   #11
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Plants for a Marine tank? Thought only option was coral?
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:19 PM   #12
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Plants for a Marine tank? Thought only option was coral?
Point was freshwater without plants you don't need a light per say. Saltwater with coral you'll need a light. Was just using an example.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:38 AM   #13
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Okay everybody, I haven't as of yet been able to set up the tank as some other stuff has come up. I am however hoping that I can get the ball rolling here soon. What opinion does anyone have on getting a Fluval Canister filter for my FOWLR tank? Also I'm thinking about using my biowheel HOB (minus the biowheel) for even more filtration. Good Setup or Bad? I will not be purchasing new lighting right away, but in the future might invest in an LED system, would this work for the fish, LR, and maybe some coral down the line?
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:17 AM   #14
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When I first started out, I had a HOB filter and a fluval 305 canister filter. For a little while it was awesome, the water was clear everything was great. The thing is with canister filters is that they need to be cleaned at least 1 to 2 times per month. When you do this be prepared to have extra saltwater made to replace the water it removed from your tank. If you don't clean them they become nitrate factories and you don't want that. I have since went with a sump and have my protein skimmer in there. But IMO I think you're best option would be to have the HOB filter and keep the bio wheel. A lot easier to maintain.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:04 PM   #15
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Haha wish I would have read this sooner, cuz I already bought a canister filter. So pretty much what your saying is that I need to be very faithful with pwcs and weekly cleaning of the canister ?
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:34 PM   #16
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Weekly water changes maybe I do mine every two weeks. But not for the canister filter. Just clean it once maybe twice a month. Rinse out the media trays remove any build up. And set her back up. It's pretty painless just extra work on An already time consuming hobby. Like I said you will be fine as long as you keep up with it. There shouldn't be any problems.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:36 PM   #17
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If you don't have a huge bio load, and don't over feed to where the filter is sucking A lot of the food up, you will be happy with it.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:27 PM   #18
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Weekly water changes maybe I do mine every two weeks. But not for the canister filter. Just clean it once maybe twice a month. Rinse out the media trays remove any build up. And set her back up. It's pretty painless just extra work on An already time consuming hobby. Like I said you will be fine as long as you keep up with it. There shouldn't be any problems.
Running a canister as well.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:13 PM   #19
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Thankyou guys your advice makes me feel considerably better about my filter setup. It looks as though I'm setting up the sand, LR, and filling up the tank with RO water. Now I'm beginning to think about what fish/invertebrates I want in the tank. I definitely know that I want a pair of clowns and a colorful cleaner shrimp, possibly a peppermint shrimp. Beyond that I don't know maybe a goby or some Benny's . I primarily want a colorful tank though. Any ideas?
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:02 AM   #20
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Cleaner shrimp are sweet. It's fun to watch them once your fish get used to them. They set up a little cleaning station and your fish will let the shrimp clean them. Pretty neat. Clowns are always good, a lot of personality. I love my scooter blenny (scooter dragonette) easily one of my favorite tank inhabitants. YouTube a video of them. Make sure that if you get one that it eats pellets or frozen food or both. They sometimes will only eat copepods.
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