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Old 07-24-2009, 11:05 AM   #1
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Just starting out

For years I've had a desire to start a saltwater aquarium but was always sceptical about how much time and money it would take. Last weekend I visited the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher and the fever started again. Last night I stopped at a pet and hobby store to pick up some hamster food for my grandson's hamster and they were having a sale on aquarium start up kits. Long story short, after spending about an hour and a half talkng to the salesperson I walked out with a 29 gal saltwater setup. Some expensive hamster food to say the least. So last night was spent setting up the tank to start the cycle. I put in the salt water which is at about 1.020 (i figured low was better cause I can add more salt if needed). Also put in live sand and about 2 lbs of live rock that the store had already begun curing. I know I need more rock and will add more as finances allow. I'll probably be sticking to a fish only live rock tank for a while. I would eventually like to have a reef tank but because of expense and experinace I'm going to work into that much later than sooner. Now is when I start needing advice.
  • What steps should I take to cycle the tank properly?
  • When and what should I start with regarding livestock?
  • This morning I noticed a white sediment on the live rocks. Do they need to be cleaned or will it take care of itself?
  • The kit came with a pump/filter that has been running since set up. What other equipment do I need and/or is necessary?
I'm definately new to this but so excited to have finally undertaken this venture and learning what I can.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:16 AM   #2
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Welcome to the SW side!
1. Get your salinity where you want it (1.020 is not too low, usually where most LFS keep theirs, but it does semm to have an adverse effect on some of your hitch hikers)), adding salt directly to the tank when you have livestock is not the best route as it can be very caustic. I premix all of my SW.
2. To start a cycle, you will need an ammonia source. I prefer 1 raw, unseasoned jumbo shrimp per 30G from my gorcery store.
3. Get a liquid test kit. API Salt Water test kit is a good starter kit.
4. Get a refractometer.
5. You can start adding livestock once your ammonia/nitrItes spike and hit 0 then do a PWC to get your nitrAtes down and you can slowly add livestock.
6. The sediment is probably dust from the sand or the filter media, you can leave it and get it when you do your PWC.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:39 AM   #3
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Good advice. Thanks.
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:27 PM   #4
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Woody - congrats on your start ...

You'll get a lot of good advice on this site - I know I certainly have so far. Another suggestion is reading a good step by step book such as 'The New Marine Aquarium' by Michael S Paletta. I've read it cover to cover and really helps with planning and set-up, equipment choices and stocking suggestions.

The New Marine Aquarium by Michael S. Paletta
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:41 PM   #5
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Thanks Bolder. I'll check in to that. Yeah I agree, I've already received a lot of good advice.
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:57 PM   #6
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saltwater cycle
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:31 PM   #7
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what equipment do you have so far?
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Old 07-24-2009, 04:26 PM   #8
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what equipment do you have so far?
As far as mechanical equipment right now all i have is a filter pump, a heater, a hood with a light, and a hydrometer. I don't know all the specs but I was told by the salesman, who is a saltwater hobbyist also, what came in the start up kit was what I needed to basically start with. They offer free water analysis for the first month but then he did recomend a test kit after that. I will probably go ahead and get a test kit though for the conveniance of not having to take samples in.
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:03 PM   #9
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Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank.
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:36 PM   #10
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my best advice is move slow and ask before you buy, that goes for stock, and equipment. There are people on this site that have been through everything you will soon go through. and have lots of helpful advice as to what brands are better and what products work and what dont. The LFS man will tell you whatever he sells will work but its always good to double check here on the site first. I have had a few things sold to me that are now sitting in my garage collecting dust. and watch out its a very expensive hobby if you are not carefull
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