Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Saltwater and Reef > Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 12-28-2010, 11:09 AM   #1
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 25
New saltwater aquarist, lots of questions :)

I am 16 and a total animal/biology lover. I recently decided to pursue a saltwater tank. I have been doing research daily (thank you Christmas break) for about a week and a half. I have two plans for two diffrent aquariums but only the money to have one of these. of course I would love any and all advice and I am a total newbie. and despite having done mounds of research still feel very clueless to this huge world of saltwater.

plan #1: a 20 gallon tank, lng rather than tall, a mandarin dragonet, a foxface, a midas gobby,cleaner wrasse, no coral, no live rock, no protein skimmer, heater, full spectrm light, powerfilter, and maybe somewhere down the road a bubble tip anemone and a clown fish (not sure what kind yet)

plan#2: (this plan was made when my fiance pointed out that over 300 dollars for plan #1 was a little much sense I cant move a 20 gallon tak to college with me in 2 years) smaller tank (12 gallon?) live rock (havnt decided how much) bubble tip anemone, 2 clowns( not sure what kind) possiable star fish, various corals, and then maybe another fish, like a mandarin dragonet(they are the coolest looking fish ever) or a foxface(m personal favorite)

I have researched water, light, filters, sand/gravel, fish, thouroughly, its the live rock and corals I dont know much about. any advice? or alternative plans?

Also, what is the best substrate for what I am planning? I was just looking at Petco's small sized gravel, Is that good enough?
__________________

__________________
KatherineM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 11:36 AM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
iDream's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: No longer here.
Posts: 2,862
well first off welcome to AA! we are here to help! i joined for the same reasons you are, so don't worry you're not alone!

you are definitely making the smart choice of researching tons before doing anything, its your best bet and you should do plenty more as you go along.

to start, bigger is easier to maintain, but also you make a valid point in moving it, and cost as well. you won't see as much of a swing in water parameters in a larger tank.

plan 1- unfortunately besides the midas blenny (and dragonet, but i'll explain that in a bit), all of those fish aren't good for a tank that size, live rock will be a good friend though, so i'd consider having that no matter which route you go, but thats my opinion. an anemone also wouldnt be a good choice without a strong light and a tank that has been up for over a year, but the clownfish, even a pair would be good.

as for the dragonet, so i dont repeat for plan two. they eat a small organism called copepods, and constantly, they literally CONSTANTLY eat, and a tank that size would wipe out all its food, and starve. the only options are to supplement copepods (expensive, monthly) or train or buy one that eats frozen foods (doesn't always work, not reliable) you should stray away from them. trust me, i want one so bad in my tank but i know i'll kill it if i do unfortunately.

plan 2- an all in one tank (JBJ nanocube, Biocube are some good examples) are a good small tank, though pricey, is a big help for a beginning saltwater aquarist, i have one and its wondeful for me. 1.5-2lbs per gallon of love rock is a good rule of thumb to answer your question on that. again here the anemone is not a good idea, but the clowns would be fine, starfish are usually semi hard to keep, but i have no personal experience with them so i'll leave that to someone else. foxface and mandarin here are a bad idea as well sadly. nano reefs are fun.

live rock is rock that has good bacteria that converts poisonous ammonia into less harmful nitrates, its a good biological filter, and most saltwate aquarists have it, not all though. corals are living, and require different lighting (strong or low, sometimes none) and different flow (living in high powered flow or low flow) it is semi difficult to keep, but not too hard.

also, for saltwater most people use sand, which you can buy at petco, don't buy crushed coral or "live" sand as that is a gimmick and does nothing for your tank

here (Saltwater Fish: Marine Aquarium Fish for Saltwater Aquariums) you can look for fish, look at its tank size requirements, compatibility etc. i suggest looking in the nano fish section for the tank size you're looking at, also read the stickies at the top of the forum for more info.

i know this was a lot to take in, but i hope it helps
__________________

__________________
iDream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 11:42 AM   #3
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 25
Thanks

Ive heard how great LR is but ive also heard its hard to keep up?

The money for a semi larger tank isnt to much of a problem. I really like the 20 gallon long tank. I plan on having full spectrum lighting and not adding the anemone until later on. Which, brings me to another question. can I have a pait of cowns, and then give them an anemone laer? or will they ignore it?
__________________
KatherineM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 11:47 AM   #4
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
iDream's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: No longer here.
Posts: 2,862
its not at all hard to kep up, theres no maintenance to it at all, just put it in and wait for the cycle to finish, then you're good to go.

what's full spectrum? T5? MH? is there a fixture you're looking at right now?

clowns don't need an anemone to live, but its hit or miss whether they host, if you really want them to host you could get a frogspawn or a hammer coral for them to host, they often do that
__________________
iDream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 11:56 AM   #5
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 25
Im not entirely sure what full spectrum means, honestly, its what the LFS called the light I would need for an anemone. I know they need lts of light, but ive also heard that bubble tips dont need as much as some.

so wouldit be best to untroduce the anemone fist? for best possable results?
__________________
KatherineM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 12:21 PM   #6
AA Team Emeritus
 
cmor1701d's Avatar


 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Belle Mead, NJ
Posts: 7,812
FORGET the Anemone and the mandarin. The mandarin needs at least a 30 gallon tank IF you can find one that is eating prepared food. Otherwise, that fish requires a 100 gallon or larger with 1-1/2 - 3 pounds of live rock per gallon of tank capacity.

LR requires no care. It is 'live' because it is colonized by the beneficial bacteria that break down fish waste and uneaten food to rather harmless substances.

Clownfish DO NOT NEED an anemone. As stated, a frogspawn or similar coral will be great for hosting a clownfish. However, clown fish don't need anything. They will pick an area of the tank and stay mostly in that area.

Let's get some more reading done...
Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank

How to cycle your tank with out the use of fish

Quarantine article

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: A Quarantine Tank for Everything by Steven Pro


Use a site like LiveAquaria.com to research fish. Pay attention to the minimum recommended tank size. Look at the fish they have listed in the Nano section, as that's the type of tank you are thinking of getting.

Here's my 10 rules for a successful aquarium:
Rule # 1. Nothing Good ever happens Fast in a salt water aquarium
Rule # 2. Don't add anything (supplements/chemicals/minerals) that you don't test for first.
Rule # 3. PWC (Partial Water Changes) are your friend, and cure many ills.
Rule # 4. QT EVERYTHING before adding it to your tank (mandarins excepted, corals should be dipped)
Rule # 5. Use only RO or RODI water (either buy it or make it)
Rule # 6. All animal species live longer on a 30% reduced caloric intake. Only feed every other day at most (fish species dependent)
Rule # 7. Hyposalinity is the best, safest, and most effective treatment for marine Ich (IMHO)
Rule # 8. A Refractometer is a MUST HAVE, not a luxury.
Rule # 9. Anemones will never live anywhere near their normal (approx 30 years) lifespan in a home aquarium. Leave them in the ocean.
Rule # 10. The tank size recommendations for fish are there for a reason - HEED THEM!
I have been asked to add
RULE 0 - Don't believe the LFS!

And while I'm at it...

cmor1701d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 12:30 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 25
ok, what is RO? and why not an anemone?
I have been doing tons of online and book research. I subscribed to About.com's saltwater aquariums 101 email.
Also, how hard are corals? If I got one or two to go in my tank, for the clowns or not, what kind of care do they need? and when should they go into the tank?
__________________
KatherineM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 01:20 PM   #8
SW REEF 18+ YEARS
Community Admin
 
melosu58's Avatar



Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 38,542
Even if you did do an anenome they need a mature tank of at least a year old. They need the stability of a mature tank.
__________________

SITE ADMINISTRATOR

You can view many of my fish and corals in my photo albums in my profile.

View my tank


AA Community Rules|AA TOS

Forums 101 - posting, accounts, basics
melosu58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 01:30 PM   #9
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Austin,tx
Posts: 1,699
Wait, your 16 and have a fiance?

Anyway, none of it is hard. It just takes patients and water changes. RO water is filtered water, reverse osmosis. Usually with DI (deionized). That filters everything out of water. If your local fish store (lfs) doesnt have then you can usually get it from grocery store or walmart.
__________________
Bige is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 04:24 PM   #10
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 25
we have fantastic natural tap water, I dont think that will be problem, of course I will see how it goes once i actually get the tank set up.

Yes, I do, were not officially engaged, bu the plans are made, were currently suffering through a long distance relationship, but in my opinion, we make a fantastic team lol
__________________
KatherineM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 05:23 PM   #11
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
mr_X's Avatar


 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Fairless Hills, Pa.
Posts: 17,895
Send a message via MSN to mr_X
"fantastic natural tap water" sounds great, but just because the water coming out of the faucet is fit for human consumption, doesn't mean it's good for an aquarium, let alone a sensitive reef tank. there are heavy metals and other things in our drinking water that can work against your success in this hobby.
__________________
thanks,
Doug
mr_X is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 05:53 PM   #12
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 25
ok, can I get a test kit for my water? just the straight tap? and what should i look for/avoid?

also, i need online places to buy coral, live rock and such. any suggestion? (tried and true preferably)
__________________
KatherineM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 06:22 PM   #13
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Krypt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Holley, NY
Posts: 752
Welcome to AA! What the others posted about using tap water is true. Using tap water will lead to unsightly algae blooms and basically make your tank look like crap. The fish will survive in it, but your ability to have any sort of coral is little to none. You can find RO water at your local Walmart or grocery store. What you'll be looking for is the machine people use to fill the big blue water cooler jugs.

It sounds like you have definitely done some research, and I know it has resulted in more questions then answers lol. To break it down into phases you basically have:

Phase 1: This is where you pick out the tank, get your hardware together like powerheads, skimmers, liquid test kits, refractometer, heaters, T5HO lights (if your planning for corals down the road) etc.

Phase 2: This is where you setup the tank, fill it with RO water and mix in the salt using the refractometer to get to your ideal salinity. After the empty tank has been up and running for around 24-48 hours to let the salt mix and clear, then you can go get around 20-30 lbs. of live rock and put it in. You then can add your substrate of aragonite sand (rinse it well before hand in RO water).

Phase 3: This phase takes anywhere from 2 weeks to a month usually. This is when you begin the cycle of your tank. There are many articles on how to do this, but just know this has to be done BEFORE you get any fish.

Phase 4: After your cycle is finished, you'll do a water change of around 20-40%. Now you are ready for your first fish! Make sure you get the least aggressive fish first. This will help prevent territory disputes.

That's basically the set of steps you need to get it up and running. After it matures for a few months and you get a good handle on doing weekly water changes and keeping the parameters stable, you'll be ready to shop for corals. You can add fish at the rate of one every 4-6 weeks to be on the safe side since it's a young tank. Too many at once and your tank will crash. A great place to buy from is liveaquaria.com. I have purchased quite a few things from there and they have always been good.

Good luck with you new tank!
__________________
"If your wife ever asks how much something was for your tank, just tell her you got it on sale and you had to have it! She'll understand"

-Chuck
Krypt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 06:32 PM   #14
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
iDream's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: No longer here.
Posts: 2,862
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bige View Post
Wait, your 16 and have a fiance?
whats wrong with that? jenatronQT3.14159 and i are engaged, only 17 and 18 respectively.


but on the subject what everyone else has said is really hitting the nail on the head, and we're not trying to keep you from having fish and things you like, we're just trying to let you know you'll have more trouble than fun if you do.

i think the guy about me really has it
__________________
iDream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 07:15 PM   #15
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDreamInSaltwater View Post
whats wrong with that? jenatronQT3.14159 and i are engaged, only 17 and 18 respectively. Congrats


but on the subject what everyone else has said is really hitting the nail on the head, and we're not trying to keep you from having fish and things you like, we're just trying to let you know you'll have more trouble than fun if you do.
No i understand. I really appreciate all the advice
__________________
KatherineM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 07:16 PM   #16
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 25
Aquarium Adventures

thats my blog, where i plan on keeping track of all my fishy stuff, if any of you are interested in following along. I will probably get my tank sometime this week, so that will probably be my next post
thank you all so much
__________________
KatherineM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 08:26 PM   #17
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 25
Gold Neon Eviota Goby
Pinkbar Goby
Wheelers Shrimp Goby
Yellow Stripe Clingfish
Orange Lined Cardinalfish
Firefish
Clowns

Those are the fish im interested in. plus maybe a serpent star, and a piston shrimp. Any thoughts?
__________________
KatherineM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 08:37 PM   #18
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
RYANLAWRENCE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: The Lone Star State
Posts: 315
if you have a 20 gallon tank you could have 2 maybe 3 small fish depending on how well your biological filter operates (live rock/sand). A pair of clownfish is a classic choice and are always interesting. Dont have much experience with gobies however i think firefish are easy to maintain although they are prone to being bullied. Just dont rush into things to quick! the cycling period is hard but worth it if you do it right. Good luck!
__________________
RYANLAWRENCE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 10:00 PM   #19
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 988
Hi. I don't know a whole lot about saltwater, so I can't help at all in that respect, but... I glanced at your blog and saw your "tank stand." While many people put their tanks on regular old desks, bookcases, and endtables, I have personally had bad experience with that. Nothing permanent or significant, but I had an 8 gallon on a bookcase which caused bowing in the wood and I eventually had to take it down and off of the bookcase. It was a new bookcase, very good quality (best bookcase I've ever owned), but it wasn't able to properly hold the weight (~8lbs per gallon).
Please make certain that your end table can hold that much weight. That's all that water, and rock, and sand, etc.
Something moderately important to consider.
__________________
jenatron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2010, 11:29 PM   #20
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 25
thanks, I think it should be ok. My 10 year old brother piled all kinds of stuff on it before I took it lol I think its small enough that the weight will be pretty evenly spread out without damaging anything
__________________

__________________
KatherineM is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
salt, saltwater

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New Saltwater aquarist seeking advice KatherineM Member Introductions 1 12-28-2010 12:59 AM
New to saltwater tanks, have lots of questions. -RYknow Saltwater Fish Only & FOWLR 13 07-21-2007 07:10 PM
Questions from a possible beginner saltwater aquarist crono_vivi Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started 13 10-05-2004 06:46 AM
Saltwater claims another Freshwater Aquarist. Nokinja Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started 8 07-21-2004 08:09 PM
New saltwater aquarist Dirttrails Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started 4 01-22-2003 02:23 PM







» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×