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Old 02-25-2007, 09:45 PM   #1
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It seemed like such a simple idea.

My husband's birthday is tomorrow and he has always wanted to have a salt water tank. Being military in the past we put it off due to frequent moves, now we are settled for a while and I thought perfect. I will set him up with his long wished for salt water tank, he won't even see this one coming, this will be a complete surprise! He usually gets techno stuff so this will be a huge, huge, Huge, surprise.... then I logged on to the internet for my easy breezy oh so wonderful of a surprise, B-day gift.

Wow! Could this be any more complicated? I mean, I knew I wasn't in the goldfish in the clear bowl category, but dang folks, ya' killin' me. I now know it takes a village to raise a saltwater fish from infancy to adulthood. If any of you fellow villagers have any simple, read that word again please, simple ideas as to beginning; as in "beginner" advice, well, that would be great. And if somehow you also have advice on how to begin without taking out a second mortgage, well, I would appreciate that too.

So anyway, thank you for your time and letting me share.

Until next time,
cyllk
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:12 PM   #2
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Ugh.. unfortunately getting into salt water aquariums isn't really an impulse buy option. It really does take research. You could go to the LFS and ask them, but I can pretty much guarentee you that you'll get mislead by someone who thinks they know, will buy what you don't want to minimize cost (and will eventually upgrade to proper equipment) and be left with a tank that can become more annoyance than it's worth.

You really do need to read up on the biology of salt water tanks. These forums are a great place to start for assistance too!

It's also quite expensive compared to goldfish.

A good place to start is the Articles section of this site.
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:38 PM   #3
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^^Good advice. I would suggest you read up on what a "cycle" is along with the roles of different types of filtration first(chemical, mechanical, biological). Once you get a general understanding of the basics you should be able to hone your questions in some.
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Originally Posted by cyllk
but dang folks, ya' killin' me. I now know it takes a village to raise a saltwater fish from infancy to adulthood.
LOl! It helps
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Old 02-25-2007, 11:40 PM   #4
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The absolute single most helpful thing I've discovered as a newbie just getting into marine tanks is to buy a good book or two. I'm particularly finding The New Marine Aquarium to be a priceless guide with tons of information, step-by-step instructions, compatibility guides, and all manner of information.

Perhaps you could just present him with a book or two as a token of "We're going to get you a setup for your birthday, but it can't be done instantaneously," and then work on getting the setup done over the course of a few months to give you time to research and prepare?
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:04 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Kizayaen
The absolute single most helpful thing I've discovered as a newbie just getting into marine tanks is to buy a good book or two. I'm particularly finding The New Marine Aquarium to be a priceless guide with tons of information, step-by-step instructions, compatibility guides, and all manner of information.

Perhaps you could just present him with a book or two as a token of "We're going to get you a setup for your birthday, but it can't be done instantaneously," and then work on getting the setup done over the course of a few months to give you time to research and prepare?
Big thumbs up on this advice - from the book to the idea of presenting the book as a present. (Maybe also give him Bob Fenner's book, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". That, and the other book mentioned are tops in my opinion.)

As you learn more about saltwater, you'll find that even within a "saltwater tank", there are many different options. Fish only? Fish only with live rock? Corals only? Corals + Fish? Obviously getting his input on what he wants (or even if he still wants it after you both understand what you're getting in to!) would seem like a must.

While not in your exact situation, I did wander into this forum late last spring, looking to learn what there was to learn in a couple nights before going out and buying a tank the next weekend. Wow... glad I realized there was more to it that just going and buying a "saltwater starter kit" at the LFS and researched and read for about 3 months before I bought a single thing. And then it was 2 months after that before I finally even put any water in my tank! And while I shake my head at the $ and time I've put into this so far in the "startup" phase, it has opened a whole new world up that I never knew existed. I am still in awe at how adaptable, yet delicate these ocean critters are.

Have fun, research a bunch, and ask plenty of questions!
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:12 AM   #6
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Bob Fenners Book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" as well as "The Reef Aquarium...Science, Art, and Technology" by Sprung and Dilbeek are very good publications and will be a good place to start. Like Kurt, it has taken me awhile gathering information and material to get started. I began reading the two mentioned books in November. I joined this site and ordered my tank at the beginning of the year. I got the tank near the end of January and will finally be ready to put water in it this coming weekend. I could have gotten to this point much quicker but I did not want to waste any money by purchasing inferior equipment or that which wasn't really necessary for what I wanted to do. As you'll find this is very easy to do. I believe patience will definitely pay off for you. Take your time. Read and find out what it is you truly want to do and then make your decisions. If you find that this is what you want to do then you'll find the research and time spent is enjoyable in itself.

BTW, for all those interested, I alsjust finished building a sump this weekend. I test it for leaks tomorrow. I will post pictures of each step of my setup in the coming weeks.

anyway, good luch cyllk
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:23 AM   #7
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I'll just echo the others comments and advice. Take you time and If the kids are out of the nest this could be a great thing for you and your husband to become involved in. My wife and I decided to set a SW tank up because we were having a baby boy. 18months later we love the tank! The kids not bad either! Just kidding....I think Kizayaen made a great suggestion, get your husband a couple books and present it that way. Great suggestion. I think that more husbands and wives being involved in this hobby together makes it so much easier on both! I think that makes sense....Kudos for the thought!!!! Keep coming back here with questions I'm certain that all of this "village" will be glad to help!!!
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:36 AM   #8
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I agree with all of the above. I have found the initial setting up of a SW tank can be expensive, but the monthly maint isn't all that much. I hope we didn't scare you away. Please keep us updated!
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:56 AM   #9
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If I were hankering for a SW tank, I would love to get a nice, thick book and a nice, big gift certificate to Big Al's for hardware, and a another from a good local fish shop for the tank, live rock, and eventually some livestock.

No way around it, though--A good setup for saltwater will cost a fair amount. I would give him the book and gift certificates and point him to the smart saltwater people on this list to get him off to a great start.
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:54 AM   #10
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What sized tank ya thinkin'? 3, 4, or 6ft wide. That gives you ranges of size from 36, to 80, to 125 gallons respectively.

I'd say get him a drilled, reef ready tank and stand at 55 to 80 gallons (larger is easier for beginners - well anybody, IMO) and the book mentioned above by Robert Fenner. Wrap the book with the bow. After he opens it, show him the tank. You can wrap it or cover it too - or lave it in the car for him to go get after he opens the book.

I believe you can exchange the tank if not used with stickers still on it. That way, he can learn and decide which way to go on the rest of the hardware. I wouldn't recommend buying any more than that to begin with.

We (and the book) will help you and him finish up. 8)
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