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Old 12-16-2012, 05:10 PM   #1
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My 1st ever salt tank, 55gal lucky deal

I am totally stoked to have purchased this "custom" 55 gallon (long I think) acrylic tank with stand, lights and filter, rocks and decorations from some nice folks on Craigslist. $125!! I was expecting a glass rectangle but this has curved edges and almost no scratches. I feel obligated to take advantage of my luck here and dive into saltwater tanks!

Boy, I'm full of questions! I just finished my heavily planted 29 freshwater tank so I am trying to stay on a budget. I was hoping to get a list for the upcoming group order with your help.

I was looking at fire blenny pairs and a mandarin goby, maybe a yellow tang too.

I know I need live rock, API saltwater master kit, maybe a salinity testing machine (refractometer?), GH and KH tests maybe, iron test since I use well water.

Um, I'm not as sure about the other hardware: skimmer, sump/fuge or anything obvious I'm leaving out? A big heater for 55 gallons, not sure if I want power heads if I could add seahorses in the future, my lfs said they get along with blennies and Goby's

I live by the pacific and can surf out away from shore to collect seawater-- is there any advantage to natural water versus RO/DI or well water. I would love to invest in a CO2 system for my planted tank before I get an expensive RO/DI system. But if its the best ill get one set up ASAP.

I got so pumped over this tank! I thought I was years from trying to meet the saltwater challenge but why get intimidated? I trust the enthusiasm of you folks to set me up slow and steady, ill follow any advice you can share and can't wait to grow the family!

Thanks salties!! -Lila in central cal.

Ps what other fish are small and peaceful for such a tank?
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:54 PM   #2
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You are stoked!!! Sump/fuge is the best. I went with hob filter then 3months later built a fuge. Build a fuge won't regret it. I live in S. Fl and use ocean water no problems are lfs sell it to. Lighting is important don't no what you have.lot of research will help you and googling questions.not as complicate as it seems you will do great.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:17 PM   #3
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Def do the ro/di unit if u can well water is full of stuff that you want to avoid. I thought about seawater as well but decided against it bc I read that you want to collect it a few miles offshore and I don't have a boat.

Do a sump if u can, def get a skimmer, yes do power heads you should do at least 10 x tank volume more for corals, refactometer is much more accurate than a hydrometer, a reef test kit includes tests for kh, ca and phosphates as well as all the basic tests.

Yellow tangs need a larger tank I think 120 is the recommended minimum. You can do the mandarin but will need a sufficient and sustainable pod population or it will starve.

Seahorses really can only be with seahorses or really slow moving fish so I don't think I'd put one in with gobies or bennies.

Also do a lot of research and take it slow there is a lot of good stuff on this site
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Daniel Fishy View Post
You are stoked!!! Sump/fuge is the best. I went with hob filter then 3months later built a fuge. Build a fuge won't regret it. I live in S. Fl and use ocean water no problems are lfs sell it to. Lighting is important don't no what you have.lot of research will help you and googling questions.not as complicate as it seems you will do great.
True I need to go take photos of the lights, canister filter and figure out the make and model and wattage they are so I can gauge how prepared I am in those departments. Ill pick it all up at storage tonight and post the details.

My understanding of a sump (is that aka a fuge? Are they the same thing?) is that it is a smaller "tank" hidden under the cabinet stand and the filter, media, heater all get housed in there rather than visibly in the main tank?
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:08 PM   #5
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Def do the ro/di unit if u can well water is full of stuff that you want to avoid. I thought about seawater as well but decided against it bc I read that you want to collect it a few miles offshore and I don't have a boat.

Do a sump if u can, def get a skimmer, yes do power heads you should do at least 10 x tank volume more for corals, refactometer is much more accurate than a hydrometer, a reef test kit includes tests for kh, ca and phosphates as well as all the basic tests.

Yellow tangs need a larger tank I think 120 is the recommended minimum. You can do the mandarin but will need a sufficient and sustainable pod population or it will starve.

Seahorses really can only be with seahorses or really slow moving fish so I don't think I'd put one in with gobies or bennies.

Also do a lot of research and take it slow there is a lot of good stuff on this site
Hahaha I love you guys. You just told me the opposite of all the advice my lfs kid was waxing poetic in my ear about. Same dude who sold me a semi-aquatic brazil sword stating they were a lot easier than Amazon swords to grow.

The corals and reef items may not be a priority for at least a year from now only because I recently admitted to contracting MTS and have a 3rd tank coming next week for free! It's going to be freshwater planted with ADF frogs, RCS shrimp and maybe dwarf puffers if they could all coexist. I ordered $100 of mixed plants off AZ Gardens and they filled my 29 and I have 4 potted and 4 bunched plants I can't even fit so they are going to be donated to my other little project.

Well I'm glad to hear the well water warning, my area is full of berry fields and I wonder about the agri-chemicals hurting my fish especially when it rains like this month.

It would be kinda hard to lug a full bucket atop my long board but it would also be super fun to have pacific water in my tank- good chi right? I love the idea, perhaps it isn't practical.

My lfs has the fish and sea horses I listed but I am far from making up my mind on the stock. I basically want to have a good number of smaller peaceful fish, rather than a few bigger fish. My other tank is the opposite, just one Betta and a jungle of plants. I'm getting some neons in the mail any day now to add in with my Betta, hopefully he can share nicely but if not I got that free tank for them.

I am a bit infatuated with puffers but this 55gallon might be too tight, and I love the colors of blennys and wrasses and that mandarin goby was **** sexy. Never seen a fish like him, he was supernatural and I can't forget him.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:36 PM   #6
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There are a lot of examples of people using natural seawater with success but it is a risk. I am Way too close to an inlet that discharges from a lake that is polluted with fertilizers and pesticides and to the north a nuclear power plant. 0.o

So I chose not to chance it. I currently buy water from my lfs for 1.00 / gallon since I do not have a rodi unit.

Oh and sorry to hear about the diagnosis. Best wishes.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:14 PM   #7
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I am in a bay with lots of river and stream outlets, and I don't want to jeopardize my fish, I even see signs warning tourists against swimming in the stream water. On the other hand, my buddies all surf all over and see lots of sea otters, seals, dolphins and birds who look healthy. But what is the point of contaminating a fresh tank when i can buy $50 of salt water and trust that it is safe.

I suppose I will need to buy the RO/DI and some sea salt to be prepared for water changes rather that trek it to the lfs and back for top-offs. Or can I do top-offs with my fresh treated tap water as the Salt will not evaporate?

I'm going to look up all the meters and tests I might get: refractometer & whatnot plus look for some info on a good skimmer. I'm used to Drs foster and smith but I'm interested in the group purchase later this month on the other site.

I knew a guy I house-sat for who owned a 300++ reef tank that filled the front room. I'm starting to relate to the guy I thought was off his rocker, now I get it after sitting for 45 minutes admiring my tank while the rest of my household was asleep!
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:38 PM   #8
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Melevsreef . Com good site for explaining fuges/ sump.waters that bad def make your own. Here's my fuge.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:44 PM   #9
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Awesome ill read up on that site thanks. I gather you glued the plexiglass to make that? I can't really see what's going on but I'm totally willing to make a DIY sump on my own.
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