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Old 08-29-2006, 01:00 PM   #1
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MAJOR newbie virgin needs help

Ok, I am so confused it isnt even funny about a saltwater tank setup. I have read article after article, and even some books, yet everyone does not agree on basically anything accept you have to do what they say or everything will die and you will lose billions of dollars.

Example - sumps - some say you do, some say dont bother....which is right?

nother one - skimmers - heck why not just get a hang on filter system since it looks like the exact same thing that some of the skimmers are..??

Now - I just received a FREE 55 gallon glass aquarium and a homemade stand. I REALLY want to set this up as saltwater and keep my little 20/29 tank for the fresh water fish I have in it now. I am about ready to throw the towel in and just do another fresh water though, unless someone is able to help.

I read that the lighting has to be above the normal cheap ones or else live rock will die??

ok, lets make this easy

here is what I would LIKE to do for saltwater

I want some live rock, some janitors ( shrimp etc ), starfish and such and of course fish, and MAYBE down the road I would like to start adding more to it to make it more reef-like.

My questions - what exactly do I need to START out. I can add a skimmer later if I dont need it right away, same with a sump. I would just like to know what aggregate to get, like live sand, crushed coral, stuff that starts with an A and I have brain overload and cant remember the name right now? how much shoudl I use? ( boy is that another one that seems to range from 1/2 inch up to 5 inches - just a little difference there I would say ) should I get live rock right after I fill it, or wait till it cycles ( I think I shoudl get some right away to help the process, but I am not even cloe to understanding this stuff yet ). Filters : cansiter? hang on? under gravel ( if these work as badly as the ones I have had for fresh water, I REALLY want to stay away from them. )

Can anyone help to try and simplify this process, or am I just to dumb to comprehend and I should stick with fresh water?

Thank You
Mike
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Old 08-29-2006, 01:14 PM   #2
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Please do not cycle your tank with live animals.

Quote:
Example - sumps - some say you do, some say dont bother....which is right?
I don't use one due to space constraints. This is a personal opinion. If I had the space I probably would do one. There all kinds of benefits, you have more water volume (great thing), can have macro algae to reduce nutrients in the water, can produce "pods" for food and a lot of other good things. Like I said I don't have one, but others do and can probably give you more reasons to get one.
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nother one - skimmers
Skimmers are not really needed for FOWLR, again, I don't run one. Some love theirs.
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unless someone is able to help.
Don't give up we will help!
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I read that the lighting has to be above the normal cheap ones or else live rock will die??
No, LR will survive (LR is just a term of living rock, the living part is the beneficial bacteria that provides bio-filtration and all the other critters that grow on it.) You will need a cover, remember SW will rust metal rather quickly.
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I want some live rock, some janitors ( shrimp etc ), starfish and such and of course fish, and MAYBE down the road I would like to start adding more to it to make it more reef-like.
LR/sand is the best natural bio-filtration you can get. You will want to shoot for 1.5-2LBs per gallon for the best filtration. Lighting can be the standard SW lighting kit, at least for FOWLR, later you can upgrade to better lighting.
I would stay away from CC substrate, I had it and it didn't take long to get ugly and become a pain to clean. I have about a 2-3 sand bed and that seems to be working out nicely.
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should I get live rock right after I fill it, or wait till it cycles
You can go with a combo of base rock (cheaper and "dead") and some LR, that will help you start your cycle and possibly shorten it.
Quote:
Filters
Not really needed if you have enough LR, I us my canister Fluvial 304 for extra water movement and to run carbon, when needed. If you don't have the cash to get enough LR, I would go with a filter, until you can get the recommended amount of LR.
Quote:
under gravel
These are kind of a thing of the past, I'm sure some folks still use them, but I have no experience with them....I wouldn't use one.
Quote:
Can anyone help to try and simplify this process, or am I just to dumb to comprehend and I should stick with fresh water?
Stick with us, there is a lot to learn, but we can help!
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:16 PM   #3
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Welcome to AA!

Roka has given plenty of info! The only thing I'll add, is that in general most things come down to personal preference. You'll find a lot of differing opinions on what "Should" be done but it usualy boils down to each person's situation and tank/maintenance conditions. When making decisions, educate yourself on the positives and negatives of each aspect and decided what is right for you and your tank.

Good luck!
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:06 PM   #4
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Sorry, this is on hold for a bit - having trouble with one of my freshwater Gourami's!! Will work on the saltwater once he is better.

THANK YOU for the tips and help so far - at least it was nt confusing

Mike
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Old 09-02-2006, 02:35 AM   #5
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im not a saltie yet, so dont take my advice for the real thing, but instead of just buying a huge new 75g tank for my first sw set up, i plan on starting off with some LR in a 10gal, then maybe add a nano fish, and when im confident enough get a big tank to work on
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Old 09-02-2006, 04:52 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by hc8719
im not a saltie yet, so dont take my advice for the real thing, but instead of just buying a huge new 75g tank for my first sw set up, i plan on starting off with some LR in a 10gal, then maybe add a nano fish, and when im confident enough get a big tank to work on
Actually when it comes to salt, bigger is better. Small errors can turn into big trouble in small setups. Bigger gives you a little more margin for error, but it can be costly.
Good luck
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Old 09-02-2006, 09:38 AM   #7
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Re: MAJOR newbie virgin needs help

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Originally Posted by KnightRid
nother one - skimmers - heck why not just get a hang on filter system since it looks like the exact same thing that some of the skimmers are..??
HOB filters are similar but perform different functions.

A HOB filter traps larger waste to keep your tank clean but that waste will foul your tank if not cleaned regularly since it’s always in the water flow.

A skimmer traps smaller waste in a collection cup away from the water flow so it doesn’t foul up your tank.

Skimmers are much better IMO and are worth the money, the sooner you buy a quality skimmer the less headaches you will have down the road.
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