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Old 02-05-2013, 12:11 AM   #1
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Future 55 gallon saltwater reef plans

My parents finally agreed to let me upgrade my tank and I'm debating on if I should do saltwater or freshwater.

I know nothing about saltwater, I've never had a salt water tank. I'd love to try it out and take on the challenge, but first I need someone to inform and guide me on how to take care and start one up.

PLEASE HELP (:
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:51 AM   #2
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Anyone?!
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:15 AM   #3
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Best advise is to do plenty if research first! Ask questions here about what kind of equipment you'll need. I bought a book, there are plenty out there that can guide you along the way. I also have a 55g so can tell you what I have done but every tank is different! Once you get an idea of the set up, understand the cycling process then think about our stock list. You want to have plenty of patience tho and take it slow. If you are wanting a full reef best to save your pennies because your lighting will be the most expensive item you buy! Most people start with fish only and live rock (FOWLR) like I did, then gradually move onto corals...
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:19 AM   #4
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Best advise is to do plenty if research first! Ask questions here about what kind of equipment you'll need. I bought a book, there are plenty out there that can guide you along the way. I also have a 55g so can tell you what I have done but every tank is different! Once you get an idea of the set up, understand the cycling process then think about our stock list. You want to have plenty of patience tho and take it slow. If you are wanting a full reef best to save your pennies because your lighting will be the most expensive item you buy! Most people start with fish only and live rock (FOWLR) like I did, then gradually move onto corals...
Alright, do you have a sump tank? And does saltwater require a different filter then freshwater ?
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:31 AM   #5
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Again every one has a different set up. I don't have a sump, I use the live rock as my primary filtration with 2 x power heads and a powerful protein skimmer. If I had a bigger tank I would use a sump for sure but I don't have the space for one! I think this method works best if you purchase all live rock from the start which is certainly more expensive than dry rock. Some people use canister filters but they are not common in the salt water world, I hear they can be more trouble than they are worth if you don't have a good cleaning schedule.
I also do a 20% water change weekly. I live really close to my LFS so I buy my saltwater from them. If this isn't an option you will need to look into a ro-di system as tap water is no good...
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:22 AM   #6
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Again every one has a different set up. I don't have a sump, I use the live rock as my primary filtration with 2 x power heads and a powerful protein skimmer. If I had a bigger tank I would use a sump for sure but I don't have the space for one! I think this method works best if you purchase all live rock from the start which is certainly more expensive than dry rock. Some people use canister filters but they are not common in the salt water world, I hear they can be more trouble than they are worth if you don't have a good cleaning schedule.
I also do a 20% water change weekly. I live really close to my LFS so I buy my saltwater from them. If this isn't an option you will need to look into a ro-di system as tap water is no good...
Would a 55 need a sump? I would prefer to not have one as I have no clue how to build one. I would get the live rock, is there any salt water plants? And I would also want a few corals.

What is an ro-di system?
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:55 PM   #7
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Saltwater isn't that bad to do. The big things involved are the water quality and lighting. For a 55, you can get away with not using a sump. If you want corals, you need to research what kind you will want because that will define what you will need in terms of lighting and water quality. Lighting can get pricey, as well as buying massive amounts of distilled water or buying your own ro/di unit (aka distilling the water and removing all disolved solids from it).

In terms of "are there any saltwater plants", that is yes. We have macro algaes that we use in sumps/refugium setups to consume nitrates and sometimes as decoration in our display tanks. It all depends on the type of macro algae as some are quickly consumed by fish while others form a hard skeleton preventing such consumption.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:12 PM   #8
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Saltwater isn't that bad to do. The big things involved are the water quality and lighting. For a 55, you can get away with not using a sump. If you want corals, you need to research what kind you will want because that will define what you will need in terms of lighting and water quality. Lighting can get pricey, as well as buying massive amounts of distilled water or buying your own ro/di unit (aka distilling the water and removing all disolved solids from it).

In terms of "are there any saltwater plants", that is yes. We have macro algaes that we use in sumps/refugium setups to consume nitrates and sometimes as decoration in our display tanks. It all depends on the type of macro algae as some are quickly consumed by fish while others form a hard skeleton preventing such consumption.
Thank you that helped a lot!!

I'm so glad I wouldn't need a sump!

I'll research some corals and get back to you on those.

How much would an average light that will support most corals cost? Any idea?

Where can I buy distilled water?

I'll research the macro algae!
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:34 PM   #9
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Lighting can hurt. It is a couple hundred bucks.
You can buy distilled water at your grocery store without issue, it is from 85 cents to a dollar a gallon. This is why many of us drop a couple hundred bucks on our own ro/di unit as it ends up saving us more money in the long run.
In terms of macro algaes, this should help: Saltwater Aquarium Guide -- Marine Macroalgae
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:08 PM   #10
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Lighting can hurt. It is a couple hundred bucks.
You can buy distilled water at your grocery store without issue, it is from 85 cents to a dollar a gallon. This is why many of us drop a couple hundred bucks on our own ro/di unit as it ends up saving us more money in the long run.
In terms of macro algaes, this should help: Saltwater Aquarium Guide -- Marine Macroalgae
Alright, how would a acquire/setup an ro/di unit?

I also did some research on possible stock and I found a liking to these fish. I went on live aquaria and red about them

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I'd also be interested in maybe a star fish or two.

As for corals/anemones , I read some but they sound very confusing and from the description, it says they all need a very powerful light. I'll need to do some research on light costs before I decide if I want to invest in those.

I also read that anemones can possibly shock fish and other anemones and they were entitled under "semi-aggressive." I found that very interesting.

I'm also following your 55 gal saltwater build because I will probably be doing something very similar!
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