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Old 07-05-2013, 04:34 PM   #1
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getting a taste of the salty side :)

so i've always kept freshwater fish for as long as i can remember. i didn't want to start saltwater because of the preconception that it's hard and laborious. the upfront costs were also very daunting. after I've convinced myself that 4 freshwater fish tanks are enough and it's about time to get my hands dirty with saltwater.

my ideal tank would be a reef tank. i understand more work is needed and more dedication is required for the corals than FWLRO.

I've a 55gal tank with regular T5HO fluorescent bulbs. i'm going to upgrade the bulbs. the filter is Fluval. i have some sand that is labeled for cichlids.

Just like how i do my freshwater tanks, i will do a thorough research before diving into the water. Any suggestions or advices are welcome. Any articles/helpful links will be read. Thank you guys
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Old 07-05-2013, 05:19 PM   #2
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ps. i'm here to learn
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Old 07-05-2013, 05:48 PM   #3
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My suggestions would be use live sand instead because if you use chiclid sand you would have to seed it with live rock and live rock can be expensive. Second buy an ro/di unit it will save you in the long run. Third when it comes too a reef the more live rocks the better. For a 55 you should probably go to about 1-2 pounds of live rock per gallon the more live rock the better. Fourth invest in a sump and get a protein skimmer fitted for twice the size of your tank then you can get the cycle going while you grab the equipment and rocks.
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:02 PM   #4
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I made a 55 gallon sw reef. I've spent $220. I have no filter or sump. Just powerheads a heater and cheap protein skimmer
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I made a 55 gallon sw reef. I've spent $220. I have no filter or sump. Just powerheads a heater and cheap protein skimmer
Do you keep lps or sps or just softies.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:49 PM   #6
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Lps and softys no Sps.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:53 PM   #7
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Lps and softys no Sps.
Interesting did you get it off of Craig list because sometimes I know they have it for a steal
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:40 PM   #8
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is it possible to have a self-sustaining reef system? i have done a self-sustaining planted tank and i really like the idea. with the exception of occasional water change and pruning of the plants, my freshwater tank has done exceptionally well. i don't even feed some of the fish as they feed of from algae on the plants. For this saltwater tank, i would like some corals, fish, invertebrates, and etc all within the tank if possible.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:01 PM   #9
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Yes I got almost everything off Craigslist including corals. And no you can't have a self sustaining reef but you can get close. Which is what I'm doing.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:08 PM   #10
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Yes I got almost everything off Craigslist including corals. And no you can't have a self sustaining reef but you can get close. Which is what I'm doing.
could you provide a picture of your setup and what you have in it?
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:30 PM   #11
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Ok. Just finished cycle. I got my first 5 corals on Tuesday. GSP zoas xenia and a paly

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Old 07-05-2013, 10:14 PM   #12
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is it possible to have a self-sustaining reef system? i have done a self-sustaining planted tank and i really like the idea. with the exception of occasional water change and pruning of the plants, my freshwater tank has done exceptionally well. i don't even feed some of the fish as they feed of from algae on the plants. For this saltwater tank, i would like some corals, fish, invertebrates, and etc all within the tank if possible.
As what was said it is possible to an extent but you would have to design you fish, corals and inverts around this self sustaining process. Probably any corals you want then get fishes that would eat algae, and make poo and ditrus, which the inverts would come in too eat the algae also and the ditrus. But having a tank that wouldnt need much water change would require a decent sized clean up crew and a good filtration system. You would also need to does your tank with essential elements which corals and live rock require to thrive which are replaced with water changes. That why a lot of reef keepers do water changes every week.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:18 PM   #13
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Yea make sure you have alot of live rock. I have over 80 lbs. in my 55 gallon which is about 1.5x the gallons. That's recommended for natural filtration. Also a deep sandbed about 3-4 inches.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:01 PM   #14
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Glad you're taking the plunge!
There's many methods of starting and keeping a reef system that's it's still overwhelming to me let alone people starting up. Looks like Murf is doing the Berlin method where the system relies on live rock for filtration and uses a protein skimmer to remove waste. However his rock looks like it's not live, and he said he had no filtration. Maybe he can get away with it for now, but when he has fish and inverts giving off waste, water changes will be the only way of removing waste.

I haven't looked into it, but feel free to explore.
Berlin method of filtration - Aquarium Advice

This is how I recommend starting up your tank:
You said you have a fluval canister. How much is it rated for? People have had success with it, but it can build up nitrates, causing you to clean it often. Many people go with sumps for protein skimmers, heaters, refugiums, and/or any other equipment. If it's not too late, I'd sell the fluval and do a DIY sump so you can have a skimmer in the sump instead of a HOB. If that's not possible, definitely recommend a HOB skimmer.

Lots of people recommend taotronics/other LEDs on ebay that are cheap and grow pretty much anything. Look into that if you'd like .

If you have a budget, a way to save money is to go with dry rock and dry sand (as in not live). This is the way I went since I didn't want to pay double or more for rock that had been sitting in some filtered water for a while. It takes longer to get all the creatures you'd find on LR, but I do have many hitchikers that came from the rock my coral was on. Or get some LR and seed the dry rock.

Test kits and hydrometer/refractometer(more accurate) are essential.

Those are the main points I think. Just wanted to throw some info out there and hope some sticks . Research is key and trusting in the right sources is very important. Don't take everyone's word for being true. Not even mine!
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:10 PM   #15
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Yea make sure you have alot of live rock. I have over 80 lbs. in my 55 gallon which is about 1.5x the gallons. That's recommended for natural filtration. Also a deep sandbed about 3-4 inches.
You don't necessarily need a lot of live rock. Many people choose to go with none. It has it's pros and cons just like dry rock. You're right 1-2 lbs is usually a good balance. Even with a lot of LR, filtration and water changes are important. A deep sandbed usually starts at 5". Some experts say it's not completely effective unless it's over 12"! For a deep sandbed to be successful, it needs lots of organisms to live within it. If sand sits still with nothing in it, hydrogen sulfide can form (toxic). This is the risk of doing a dsb incorrectly. That's why I never went for one. It also takes up space and you have less room for everything if 6" of the tank is sand.

1-3" is a good number. You could even do bare bottom if you'd like.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:11 AM   #16
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You don't necessarily need a lot of live rock. Many people choose to go with none. It has it's pros and cons just like dry rock. You're right 1-2 lbs is usually a good balance. Even with a lot of LR, filtration and water changes are important. A deep sandbed usually starts at 5". Some experts say it's not completely effective unless it's over 12"! For a deep sandbed to be successful, it needs lots of organisms to live within it. If sand sits still with nothing in it, hydrogen sulfide can form (toxic). This is the risk of doing a dsb incorrectly. That's why I never went for one. It also takes up space and you have less room for everything if 6" of the tank is sand.

1-3" is a good number. You could even do bare bottom if you'd like.
i will probably do 2-3 inches of live sand just for the heck of it. what is the difference between live rock and dry rock? i am aware that live rocks are usually in a large tube where people run water across them(sorry about the lack of proper jargon). i have also heard that live rock might come with hitchhikers. what are the hitchhikers people keep referring to? are we talking about live bacteria that are beneficial to the tank?

is it true that after a while, dry rock does turn into live rock? why are some rock white and some rock purple/red/or other colors? i'm assuming it has to do with the algae.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:13 AM   #17
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My rock actually is live. I did a shrimp cycle with two shrimps for 6 weeks and they decomposed. My ammonia levels were at 0. After multiple tests
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:16 AM   #18
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@obscurereef, from my preliminary reading, protein skimmers come in many shapes and forms with different methodology running them. my question is how does it actually remove the waste? i know that bubbles rise and somehow they trap the waste. i still can't get my head around how the whole thing work.

in my freshwater tank experience, waste is removed through filter and/or occasional water changes and i assume that's how it works in saltwater tanks as well. or are we talking about waste other than fish poop.

there's just so much reading that i'm doing. hopefully i will get to the end of the tunnel on saltwater fish keeping
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:22 AM   #19
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also, i have seem a lot of tanks with Coraline algae, something i'm not a big fan of in terms of appearance. are they absolutely necessary for the balance of the fish tank? i really don't like the idea that they creep all over the glass

again i'm going back to my freshwater experience a little: algae is good. it usually indicates something is going on. but it can also serve as indication of too much light, excess food, excess nutrient, etc. is this similar for the Coraline algae?
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:28 AM   #20
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No they are just for looks but they can also block other algae from growing on the rocks... I don't prefer it though.
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