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Old 07-29-2004, 12:45 AM   #1
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Im a complete newbie...need advice!

OK, I guess this is a good a place as any to post this...I am new to this but have always wanted an aquarium with tropical fish and maybe some cool looking coral...where can I learn what to do and more importantly, what NOT to do in setting up a tank? Can anyone offer me some advice on tanks, coral, fish, etc? When I say Im new to the hobby, I mean im NEW! Im thinking along the lines of a 29 gallon to start with, but am not sure.

A few questions -

1. Is salt water more or less expensive than fresh?
2. Which is better for the newbie?
3. What should be the FIRST thing I do after buying a tank?
4. What are some decent tanks and equipment that wont cost me an arm and a leg?

Any help will be appreciated VERY much!

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Old 07-29-2004, 01:32 AM   #2
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First of all read, read and read. This will arm you with much info. Second, ask a lot of specific questions as you go, we love to help people here.
Yes SW is more expensive than fresh, but worth it IMO.
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Old 07-29-2004, 06:17 AM   #3
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first thing that I would say is theres no rush in putting together a sw tank take your time get the right lighting for what you plan to keep in the tank this will cost you quite abit but it will be worth it. get the right filtration acording to what you plan to keep in the tank this may include a skimmer depending on fish or coral in the tank. read alot on the net and pick up a few books and like quarryshark said ask plenty of questions, remember there is no such thing as a dumb question, I ask them all the time. another good way to set up a tank is you can post polls to see what others think this is a good way to decide such things as what kind of substrate you want on the bottom of the tank or if you even want any, what kind of equiptment will work best at a fair price for what you need. one last thing salt water aquariums become addictive so prepare yourself and just give in to it.
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Old 07-29-2004, 07:09 AM   #4
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A link from the book library. I kinda liked Robert Fenner's approach and step by step layout - Especially the part about the preparation before you buy anything. Reading, asking questions and stuff is extremely key. Just watching the posts here can give you a lot of insight also.

Good luck! And, take your time. It'll be worth it.

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Old 07-29-2004, 09:27 AM   #5
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WELCOME TO AA!!! You found the best spot on the web for great, friendly advice. I agree with all here...read, read, read! This is a hobby that takes time. DO not be in a hurry. Saltwater is more expensive then fresh, but if you are careful you do not need to spend thousands on a tank. It really depends on what you want to do. Another important thing to do first is to go "shopping" for a good local fish store. Get recomendations from others and do research on your own. Try to find one that has great looking livestock, clean tanks, and knowledgable staff. Once you develope a relationship with them, you may be able to save some money on your accessories when you buy a tank. Keep asking questions, that is what we are all here for. Good luck! Lando
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Old 07-29-2004, 10:15 AM   #6
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Still not sure if I want to salt or fresh...although, I LOVE the look of the coral and tropical fish...I guess I just need to research it and decide between the two. From reading here, it seems saltwater is a little more tricky than Fresh...just not sure yet what I want to do. Thanks!
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Old 07-29-2004, 10:39 AM   #7
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I started with a few FW and then finally made the move to SW. From your question, you are kind of putting the cart before the horse. Instead of asking what should you do after buying the tank, you should be asking what do I want to do and then decide what kind of tank you need. My current FW tank is a New World (South American) Cichlid tank which I really enjoy. Lots of people have African Cichlid tanks which can also have lots of color - not as much as SW, but still very beautiful. Each of these has different requirements that have to be considered before spending any money.

In addition to reading, I would recommend visiting several different lfs's and spend some time just looking at the fish. decide which ones would be on your "must have" list and then go home and research the specific care requirements of those fish.

The thing about SW, is that it doesn't have to be all that expensive, but it really is addictive. Once you start into it, you are more or less compelled to want to do things that end up costing more money in order to give you more options with your tank. There seem to be countless people here, myself included, who start out saying that they are going to do a FO tank, but by the time they finish researching all their options, they move on to looking at FOWLR, and eventually want to go full reef. You have already stated how much you like the corals, so I'd say you might as well start planning on full reef.

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Old 07-29-2004, 10:47 AM   #8
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I'd recommend starting freshwater, and migrating to saltwater after a year or so. freshwater is more forgiving, and there are fewer parameters to keep track of.
If you started with a 20gallon freshwater this year...next year you could use that 20gallon as a sump/refugium for a larger tank, like a 55gallon.

Just a thought. I've just started my own SW tank, and I'm glad I had about 10 months to learn the proper way to care/maintain a FW tank, that moving to SW only meant I had to learn a few more things.

No matter what, the book by Robert Fenner is great! It will really give you an idea of everything that is involved.
Former advisor and planted tank geek...life's moved on though.
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Old 07-29-2004, 10:52 AM   #9
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I'm going to disagree with malkore. Yes you can use the tank as a sump, but there is giong to be a lot of equipment you can not reuse.

I bought a used aquarium with all the freshwater equipment. The only thing I was able to reuse was the tank and the light. I have a fowlr right now. Giong to upgrade lights soon. So really if you want corals the only thing would be the tank.

SW is really not that much more difficult than fw. Yes more water parameters to check but that is part of the fun. Check out the fish and corals. Make up your mind about sw or fw, THEN READ READ READ and ASK QUESTIONS.
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Old 07-29-2004, 11:04 AM   #10
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I agree with MYTY1705, I've never kept any fish before & am slowly setting up mine, you can't read enough, ask enough & learn enough......

remember that no one persons advice is totally right.........

Its all about keeping water, but it isn't cheap & its very,very addictive!!

Cheers Shelton.

30gal tank, 20kgs Fiji + 4kgs Madagascan LR, bare bottom, 2 x Maxijets 900, AquaC Remora skimmer, 10W D&D UV using a spraybar on surface for return,Maxijet 600 + spraybar behind LR, Ecco 2234 running RowaPhos/GAC, 150w visitherm.
Custom Built lid; 2 x T5 megatwin (4x39W Aquablue+); 4 moonlights.

IKS with temp & PH probes, controlling lights,heat & cooling fans.

Percula Clown; Banggai Cardinal; Firefish; Mandarin
2 Cleaner Shrimps; 3 Peppermint Shrimps; 1 Blood Shrimp
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