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Old 06-25-2005, 12:20 PM   #1
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Just Thinking

I have a 90 gallon tank sitting in my garage. I'm waiting for my husband to build a cabinet for me which I hope will be ready by the end of the summer. In the meantime, I am going crazy thinking about whether to go fresh or saltwater. Right now I have two small freshwater tanks (10 and 15 gallon). I've been searching the internet and visiting several stores and am finding it a very difficult choice. A couple of days ago, I spend about 20 minutes with one of the owners asking lots of questions about saltwater. His information was great. Here are some of the comments and questions he made.

1. I fell in love with the porcupine puffer and the guy went over all the pros and cons of having a meat eater with me. He said that if they bite you, they could crush your finger (If they are large). When I asked about water changes, he said that there is a 99 percent chance that they would just stay away from you. I'm nervous about getting one.

2. He said that the best and least expensive way to top off water and do water changes is to buy the saltwater. He charges 50 cents a gallon. To buy a system to make the saltwater would be very expensive.

3. Buying sand rather than crush coral is much easier to keep clean.

4. If I got a Puffer, I could be the cleaning crew. How difficult is it to keep up with it. I would think I would have to clean everyday.

5. He said I could start out with the fake stuff and I could go with LR later. Of course he said LR was much better for the environment.

6. The initial cost concerns me but I think the monthly cost scares me more. I have a reef ready tank and a wet/dry so far.

7. I'm sure I will have to upgrade my lighting. I have two 40 watt bulbs. What do I need to get for fake, LR and maybe LC in the future.

Any advice or comments would be appreciated on the above as I am still on the fence on which way to go.
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Old 06-25-2005, 12:59 PM   #2
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I found a cheap way to go is buy base rock and cure it, then add lr and the base rock becomes lr for about half the price. Just takes a little more time.

I don't know about buying premade sw. I make my own and I believe that most people do. Also, you don't top off the water with sw. The water evaporates, not the salt.

I have cc in my tank now but wish I went with a dsb. I read that it has more benefits.

I don't know about fake rock. I guess it is personal preference. I have all real stuff.

Definitely upgrade the lighting. I have NO and wish I could afford MH. The average rule of thumb is about 3-5 watts per gal. If you want a reef you have to go high with wpg. I have fowlr, and about 3 wpg

Good luck with whatever you choose
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55 gal cycling. Will be FOWLR.
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Old 06-25-2005, 04:12 PM   #3
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What do you need to make your own saltwater?

What do you do with the tap water to top it off?
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Old 06-25-2005, 05:20 PM   #4
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Either buy RO water from the pet store that wanted to sell you pre mixed salt water. Or get an RO Unit and produce water yourself.
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Old 06-25-2005, 06:33 PM   #5
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They were telling me that the RO Units are very expensive. Is that what most of the small hobbiest do?

What do you do to tap water when you top it off?
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Old 06-25-2005, 06:53 PM   #6
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i think once you add the salt, evaporation only evaporates the water so the salt stays in the tank. when you add ro water it dilutes the saltwater so its the same.
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Old 06-25-2005, 07:20 PM   #7
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They were telling me that the RO Units are very expensive. Is that what most of the small hobbiest do?
RO units are pretty expensive. You can find cheaper ones but they take forever to produce water. I usually go to a lfs and buy RO water there. I get charged 20 cents a gall.
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Old 06-25-2005, 07:21 PM   #8
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So do you use that to top off the water and do water changes?
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Old 06-25-2005, 07:33 PM   #9
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Most use a RO/DI unit which is better then a RO unit.
They run as low as $100 bucks on ebay. Buying water adds up over time. 100 gallons x .50= $50 bucks just to start... Then gas to pick it up. Now you have monthly water changes of lets say 15 gallons = 7.50 x 12 months= $90 then you have daily top off of fresh water lets keep it low at a gallon a day x7x30.. You can see where I'm going.. The LFS loves this because every few trips to his place to get water you will also be buying food, fish, Lr or what ever..
MH lights are not needed for a fowlr tank, you can go PC, VHO or get another NO strip light for your tank to start. If your thinking about a puffer then corals are out so no need to spend big $$ on lights.
SW is not a cheap hobby so if you don't have a lot of cash to start then you should buy things and after a few months you can set it up.
To do things right from the start you should plan on spending close to $700-1000 to get the tank set up and running.
FW is a lot cheaper the SW...
You should also get a good skimmer for the tank...
Miin 1 lb per gal of LR, you can get base rock and then add a small amount of LR to that.
Keep doing your research...
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Old 06-25-2005, 08:06 PM   #10
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Seaham is right you wont need expensive lights for puffer. NO will do, light is for your pleasure. At least 1 watt/gal, even better would be 2 watts/gal.
BR will become LR once in the tank. LR is recommended for the hitchhikers that come with it (coralline algae, pods, worms, etc). www.hirocks.com is a good source of BR. I bought only one piece of LR (about 35lbs) the rest is all BR (over 100lbs now).
On the water issue it depends on your tap water quality. Alot of people use DI, RO, or DI/RO because they have delicate corals but your looking to have fish only. If you have good quality water you can just use tap water and are very successful.
The equipment to make salt water is a bucket, a powerhead, a measuring cup, the salt and the water. Not hard, not expensive, sounds like LFS just wants lots of business.
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