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Old 10-05-2006, 02:09 AM   #1
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Help me get started...

Hi. I decided to delve into a saltwater tank. I'm building an addition to my house and I'm going to include a big area for a 135 gallon tank I'm about to buy. I'm going to build a counter around the tank and a pedestal of some sort for the tank. I'm then going to make it so my family and I can eat around the tank and enjoy ourselves.

Where do I get started? I have a 135 gallon tank and stand. It will be a few months before I build the stand/set the tank in place. Once I get tank in place what do I do? Serious question here. Do I fill the tank with the hose? I live in Seminole Florida. Can I go to the beach and get sand and put the sand in teh tank? Then order some liverock (seems to be cheap) and take the liverock and put it in there?

What kind of filters, sump, etc. do I need? Looking to make this beautiful for as cheap as poss.

Please point me in the right direction.
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Old 10-05-2006, 02:37 AM   #2
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I'm just starting out too, so I can't offer you much except for this:

Try to read/research/learn as much as possible before buying a single thing. Especially your tank. How you eventually decide to do your sump and filtration will directly effect your tank choice. I surfed the web, picked up a couple books (Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium") and read read read for a couple months before buying a single thing.

But to answer your question... however you fill your tank, don't just use tap water (bad chlorine/heavy metals/nitrates/phosphates/etc). You're either going to want to get a RO/DI unit or some type of filtration unit, or buy your water at a fish store. In addition, when you do water changes after the tank is up and running, you'll want to premix the salt mix into your water and let it sit with a powerhead/heater in it for agitation for at least a day and let it come up to temperature while the salinity and pH settle down.

If you're doing 10-20% water changes, that's 13-26 gallons a change. It might be a good time while your in the "building" stage of that addition to plan for an easy way to store that water and get that water to your tank.
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Old 10-05-2006, 04:11 AM   #3
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Wealcome to AA. The three big things:

1) (I'll say it before Roka dose) do not cycle with fish!!!!!
2) Do lots of research.
3) Ask lots of questions.

I would not use sand from the Ocean (or in your case the Gulf (I used to live in St. Pete)), unless you are willing and able to go WAY out, so you have no polutants in the sand. You can get some Aragonite sand really cheap and the seed it with a little livesand (cheeper and looks the same). Also, you can get base rock and seed it with some live rock (cheeper and looks the same and will become live). You can make your own sump (check out the DIY section) or you can buy one. Lighting and most everything else will depend on what you want to keep (fish only, corals, anenomes.....etc)

HTH
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Old 10-05-2006, 11:47 AM   #4
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I agree with sparkie dont use sand on beach as it is filled with pollutants. I would also say before you do anything I would figure out what type tank you want. Sit down and plan everything out and then start. We are here to help. When you figure out what you want let us know and we will help.
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Old 10-05-2006, 02:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparkie
1) (I'll say it before Roka dose) do not cycle with fish!!!!!
LOL! Dag gone traffic!!!!
WELCOME TO AA!!!
I agree with the rest, the beach sand/water is probably full of pollutants.
I have a suggestion about the placement of the tank. Make sure you have easy, reachable access to all areas of the tank. I think, if you put it in the middle of a table, that might limit your ability to access the tank, but is sounds like a really cool idea!
As for tap water, get a TDS meter and test kit. Generally city water has all kinds of metals/containments. You might want to look into a RO/DI unit.
I would also say, SW is not the cheapest start up but the monthly costs are a lot less. You definitely don't want to buy cheap equipment. If you are looking to save some money, get some LR and mix it with base rock (it will become live and is a heck of a lot cheaper). I don't know how far you are from http://www.tampabaysaltwater.com, but you could possibly save money on shipping, buy visiting there and selecting some LR.
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Old 10-05-2006, 07:18 PM   #6
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What do you mean by "Choose your tank carefully"?? A tank is a tank is it not?

I'm trying to take this in baby steps. I'm not putting any fish in there until I have the tank living which will be a few months out.

So step 1) Get a fish tank I'm looking to get 100+ gallons

2) I need a sump and filter is that correct?

3) sand

4) Rocks

5) fish???


Also a bunch of my friends have boats. What if I go out on the boat like 1/2 hr, go scuba diving, and get some sand/rocks. Will that work?

How about fish? Can I catch them (netting) and then bring home or you HAVE TO buy them?

Thanks guys and girls
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Old 10-05-2006, 08:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky
"Choose your tank carefully"?? A tank is a tank is it not?
I believe this can mean, pre drilled (for reef) or a regular tank. I would stay away from hex tanks or deep tanks (this could cause difficulties in keeping a stable pH).
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky
Get a fish tank I'm looking to get 100+gallons
Bigger is generally better, for the new folks to SW. Bigger allows us to correct poor water qualities faster. In essence, with a smaller tank, there is less room for error.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky
2) I need a sump and filter is that correct?
A sump adds more water volume and is great if you have the money and room. You can also cultivate beneficial algea and "pods". The filter, if you can get about 1.5-2LBs of LR per Gallon, you could go filterless. When chosing LR look for lots of surface area, that will promote more nitrifiying bacteria.
3) Sand...not sure what you are asking. Aragonite sand is great and can be found (mostly along the East Coast) in HD or Lowes or Wal Mart, I would stay away from silicate sand. Some like CC, from my own personal experience, I had it and removed it.
4) Look for cool shapes. You can cut costs by mixing LR with base (dead" rock.
5) Fish.....That depends on what kind of tank you want.....reef, community, aggressive.....
I like to browse liveaquaria.com for ideas and then post my questions here, for compatability.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky
Also a bunch of my friends have boats. What if I go out on the boat like 1/2 hr, go scuba diving, and get some sand/rocks. Will that work?

How about fish? Can I catch them (netting) and then bring home or you HAVE TO buy them?
Um, this probably can be done. Of course you would want to check on the local laws. Plus you will probably have to acclimate you new critters longer, depending on the difference between the ocean and your tank...I would be careful of this......
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Old 10-05-2006, 09:51 PM   #8
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Could you list out for me what I need?

1) Tank

2) Fish

3) Water from a hose, but have to buy some kind of de ionizer or something?

4) Sump, in order to make maintenance easier

5) Lights (I still need lights even if the tank will be near a window correct?

Anything else I need?

Also what is (In idiot terms) diff. between Reef tank, community, semi aggressive???

I like clownfish, I like the blue fish like dory in finding nemo, I like little crabs, starfish, seahorses. I like the coral that grows along the rocks, and looks like a living colony. Maybe some little sharks, and bright colored fish.
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Old 10-06-2006, 10:32 AM   #9
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To start, you will need:
tank
LR or combo of base rock (dead, usually white) and LR
Aragonite sand
heater
probably about 2 phs...depending on size of tank
Hydrometer (a refractometer is better and more accurate)
test kit
salt
you don't have to have a sump, but it would be nice to have
as for water, are you on city water or well?
you will probably need some lights (the kind depends on what you want in your tank)
reef tank is generally a combo of reef safe fish and corals
aggressive tank, is fish that are aggressive and will attack passive fish, community is they all get along, generally a mixture of peaceful to semi aggressive fish...
I like to browse liveaquaria.com for ideas....
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Old 10-06-2006, 07:33 PM   #10
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dory from finding nemo is a blue tang, you will need to get lots of crabs and also snails, but they will be your clean up crew. starfish are awesome, but be careful which ones you get because i know that i can't do reef because of my chocolate chip star fish. i've read, and also been told that sea horses are extremley difficult to keep, especially for somebody new to the hobby, and also you should really think about if you want corals or not. they need high lighting and it would be pointless to buy lights now and then have to upgrade to better lighting later. another cool thing that requires high lighting is an anemone. it's really neat to see them with the clownfish as well. good luck either way, and keep asking questions. you also have to do a little research on your own so you know which questions to ask. the website that roka talks about is an excellent one just to look at fish. i get bored and look sometimes even though i can't get any fish from them. (they won't ship to me, lol)
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