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Old 12-24-2003, 12:41 AM   #1
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Help me to start please

I just got a plain glass 55 gallon fish tank I would like to use it as a saltwater tank. So I went to pet smart and they sold me a under gravel filter which I found out was a no-no for marine tanks. I'm reading and buying a few books to learn more. All I want to do is setup a nice tank with a few live rocks and sand. So here are my questions
1 what kind of filter are needed
2 lighting is needed
3 Do I really need a sump pump?
4 Do I really need a chiller?
5 Can I do this in a 55 gallon tank?
6 what are some of the basic things I should buy?
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Old 12-24-2003, 12:56 AM   #2
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Re: Help me to start please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx1591
1 what kind of filter are needed
You'll need about 75-80lbs of LR and a good skimmer. I would go with an Aqua C Remora with a surface skimmer unless I was going to set up a sump. You don't need a power filter unless you don't have enough LR to handle the bioload.
Quote:
2 lighting is needed
If you don't intend to keep corals, you could get by with two 40w normal output bulbs. Better would be at least a 2x65w PC setup with 50/50 bulbs. .
Quote:
3 Do I really need a sump pump?
No. A sump is a great place to keep equipment...skimmer, heater, ect... You don't have to have one though. You will need several powerheads in the tank to create the needed flow.
Quote:
4 Do I really need a chiller?
Probably not. The only way I can see you needing a chiller is if you installed a MH lighting system and had several pumps adding heat to the tank. It also depends on the temp in your house.
Quote:
5 Can I do this in a 55 gallon tank?
Yes.
Quote:
6 what are some of the basic things I should buy?
You'll want two heaters, enough powerheads to create a minimum of 550 gph, a skimmer (IMO), a thermometer, a hydrometer, and test kits for ammonia, nitrite, pH, alkalinity, calcium, and nitrate. You may also want to either purchase an RO/DI unit or find a source for RO/DI water. Tap water is not recommended in SW tanks. You'll need the usual collection of buckets, hoses, ect... You'll want a container to mix your saltwater in. I use a Rubbermaid tub here. You'll also want an extra heater and powerhead for the mixing tub. I have probably forgotten a few things, but I think that covers most of the basics. I would get a copy of "The Concientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner as well...that's an excellent book that will help get you started and give you advanced info.
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Old 12-24-2003, 01:48 AM   #3
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and never go to petsmart ever again! that is IMO the worst pet store one can go to for fish, especially saltwater tanks! i once heard a kid go in there asking what he would need to start a saltwater aquarium, and they sent him out the door with dr. fishwells aquarium salt. can you believe that. later, after he added the recommended amount on the box, about a tablespoon, he added two damsels. maybe its different elsewhere, but i wont step foot in a petsmart for fish ever again.
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Old 12-24-2003, 02:17 AM   #4
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Re: Help me to start please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx1591
I just got a plain glass 55 gallon fish tank I would like to use it as a saltwater tank. So I went to pet smart and they sold me a under gravel filter which I found out was a no-no for marine tanks. I'm reading and buying a few books to learn more. All I want to do is setup a nice tank with a few live rocks and sand. So here are my questions
1 what kind of filter are needed
2 lighting is needed
3 Do I really need a sump pump?
4 Do I really need a chiller?
5 Can I do this in a 55 gallon tank?
6 what are some of the basic things I should buy?
I don't know much about live rock but I find it interesting that you mention that the petstore in Colorado said no to undergravel filters for Marine setups. I had the same experience in Colorado Springs where a young kid in a Fish Store fed me some line about the altitude of Colorado being too high for an undergravel filter. I have used them for 20 years as a biological filter but never more than 2,500 feet above sea level. I figure he was trying to sell me an expensive system that "could grow bacteria better than a UF." Didn't make sense. But in terms of Live Rock maybe an undergravel filter is not apropriate.

If you're new to the saltwater hobby, I would think that a "live rock" community would be a bit ambitious for a beginner.
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Old 12-24-2003, 02:28 AM   #5
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Re: Help me to start please

Quote:
Originally Posted by GDawg
If you're new to the saltwater hobby, I would think that a "live rock" community would be a bit ambitious for a beginner.
In all honesty a tank with LR would actually be the best place to start. It will promote a much more natural setting as well as providing a neccessary natural biological filter base. Unless trying to promote desirable coralline algae growths, they require little or no maintenace and could be substituted for dead base rock. Even at that, simple NO light on the 2ish watt/gal rate and regular water changes would be adequate to sustain LR.

UGF's may work for some but on the whole they are not really the greatest source of filtration and can lead to future problems as the tank matures...

Cheers
Steve
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Old 12-24-2003, 03:06 AM   #6
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I have to agree

The addition of LR to your new setup will make things much easier you. I know it did for me. Hopefully your LFS will have some rock shipped straight from propagation and you can use it to cycle your tank. The smell of uncured rock is such a sweeeet smell. I would recommend Marshall Island LR. More expensive, but less dense meaning you get bigger pieces for the money.
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