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Old 08-09-2004, 09:52 PM   #1
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Freshwater to Saltwater: Equipment changes?

Hi, I am making the jump from freshwater to FOWLR saltwater. I would appreciate any comments on my current equipment setup.
I will be using a 46 gal. bowfront.
I currently have:
1.)HOT Magnum Pro 30: It's done a great job with messy cichlids but based on what I've seen in these forums, I'd need a protein skimmer too. Is that right or can I get by without one?
2.)Rio 600 submersible pump. I think I need at last one more powerhead?
3.)Anything else?
I'm a student with limited funds so I am trying to be realistic with what I can do (ie no reef setup).
Thanks.
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Old 08-10-2004, 01:09 AM   #2
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Hi--one newbie to another, here's what I've learned from these boards:
1) Most people seem to consider a skimmer essential, though some do operate without one. The general recommendation is to get the very best skimmer you can afford, preferably one rated for a larger tank than you are actually running.
2) Probably another powerhead; marine fish (and corals and etc) are generally used to lots of movement.
3) Lights--lots of options there, but no one seems to run the standard "came with my hood" strip lights. And--live rock!! 1 1/2-2 lbs per gallon.

Poke around the forums and you'll find lots of discussion of all these topics. Every time I think I have an original question, I search and find out that three other people have already asked it.

But I will say that this ain't a cheap hobby. I think numbers tossed around for startup costs are $20-$30 a gallon? I'm finding that to be just about right.
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75-gallon SW tank with 29-gallon sump
Euroreef ES5-3
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Coralife 4x65 Lunar Aqualight
120 lbs rock from liverocks.com
1 peppermint shrimp and 1 fire shrimp (very shy)
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3 chromis, too identical to name as yet, in QT
10-gallon tropical
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Old 08-10-2004, 09:44 AM   #3
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We dont use the strip lights that come with the tanks because they dont put out the light we need for our corals or even to really support the live rock.

Not to be critical of your choice but take a look at your money situation seriously. Salt is more expensive than fresh not only to setup but to keep running. If your doing a fish only tank then you wont need high output lights but if your looking at keeping corals then they will be a must. These lights are expensive to purchase outright although you can save some money by doing a DIY fixture. You also have the continual cost of replacing the bulbs. Other expenses are salt, addtives, and testkits.

Waterchanges are more critical in saltwater so you have the cost of the replacment water.

Not saying you cant do it as we do have students who have salt tanks and are able to support them but everyones situation is different.

For beginners a skimmer is most definatly recommended.

Dont forget salt and hydromoter. YOu will most definatly need more powerheads as you should aim for 500-600GPH total flow in the tank.
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Old 08-10-2004, 11:09 AM   #4
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Thanks both of you. That is good advice on getting started. Light is actually the one thing I am set for; the guy who owned my tank previously did saltwater so I have a dual strip with two marine/coral specific lights. I am also lucky in having all the test kits and a hydrometer.
It looks like I will be getting a protein skimmer and another powerhead.
Yeah, I realize a salt tank isn't the best idea with limited funds but I'm willing to make the leap and take the risk.
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Old 08-10-2004, 03:40 PM   #5
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Im a student with limited funds and I simply have been staggaring my purchases, which does mean I get to add a new piece of equipment once every month or two. For me this is lots of fun because I can mess around with what I want my set up to be. It also allows you to go very slowly. For the first two months all I had was rocks =).
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Old 08-10-2004, 07:41 PM   #6
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Note the dual strip fixture probably takes normal florecent bulbs. If this is indeed the case you would still be classified as very low light.
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Old 08-11-2004, 12:25 AM   #7
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Fortunately the guy who sold me the stuff was using an actinic Coralife bulb and a Sylvania Coralstar bulb. I realize this still isn't enough for corals, etc. but I figured it would work for live rock in a FO system. Is that true?

And kind of like you, Iziarek, I'm on the "installment plan" of purchases. The protein skimmer is definitely the first to come.
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Old 08-12-2004, 08:00 AM   #8
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You should be ok for FO, the coraline algae might be a little light deprived, but as long as you don't get too extravogent in your LR and fish choices, you should be just fine.

The skimmer is important, but you can run without one for a while. I would recommend starting with it and a few pounds of LR to get your tank up and the biological filters growing. That should set you up for a couple of months while you save up for a cool fish!

BTW ... don't be tempted to skimp on the skimmer. More expensive doesn't mean better, but cheap means cheap quality usually. Ask around about skimmer hardware and do a search here and on other boards for them and you will get an idea of what is a good brand to shoot for.
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Old 08-13-2004, 11:28 AM   #9
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Yes, I think I will stick with my current light setup but will go for a skimmer. From what I've seen on this board, it looks like the HOT Aqua C would be a good choice so I think I will get that one.
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Old 08-13-2004, 04:37 PM   #10
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If you just want to kep fish With the equipment you already have you just need to add a skimmer and maybe another power head like a maxi jet 600. Stick with the Aqua C and you will not be disapointed!
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