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Old 03-28-2011, 07:01 PM   #1
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New to salt... converting a FW setup.

Hello I have been keeping FW fish for years now and I am looking for information on how much time and money converting an established FW tank to SW would cost(have to get the wifes approval ).


Here is some back ground on the tank:

25 gallon
Glass Top
Aquaclear 50 filter
It currently houses cichlids and has been running for about 4 years

With that out of the way here is some specific information I am looking for.

1) It obviously currently cycled but would it need to be recycled for a SW set up?

2)Is that filter usable in a SW aquarium? What else is needed that you don't usualy see in FW setups?

3) I would like this to be as simple to maintain as possible so would fish only be the easiest? The light on it I know is not suitable for coral so i'm really not interested in them.

4)What kind of decor and substrate is prefered?

5) Any kind of general price range top get up and running?
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:23 PM   #2
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1) Yes, different bacteria would need to form, because freshwater bacteria differs from saltwater bacteria.
2) Yes that filter is usable in SW aquariums. Live rock is usually preferred to have in SW setups as this provides the aquarium with adequate hiding spots for the fish, looks good, and provides more biological filtration.
3) I would suggest a FOWLR (Fish only with live rock) set up for you.
4) Decor I would leave probably just at live rock and you can get some neat looking pieces and colors to them. You could also try some bleached coral and live rock both if you don't like the live rock alone. The substrate I prefer is a mix of very fine sand and grainy sand, though you can go with crushed coral, whichever you prefer.
5) Sand (30 - 40 pounds) will run you about $30-$50 depending on the kind you get.
Live Rock I would put about 20-25 pounds of it and that would be probably about $115 depending on where you get it (LFS or online).
Salt Mix - $20 to get started with
Hydrometer - $10
I'll add more if I think of anything else you may need.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:42 PM   #3
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Thank you for the help. With live rock is any special lighting needed for it? Any fish or invert recomendations? I'm looking for relativly species clown fish ect..
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:48 PM   #4
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MK gave you good information except I would go with a "Refractometer" instead of a hydrometer. You should also read our Sticky post on the cycling of your tank. Please go "fishless" and not put some poor Damsel through all that stress.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:52 PM   #5
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i ordered a refractometer i hadnt been in the hobby for a long while and my hydrometer is way too inaccurate
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:41 PM   #6
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Thank you for the help. With live rock is any special lighting needed for it? Any fish or invert recomendations? I'm looking for relativly species clown fish ect..
You're welcome, no special light is needed for keeping live rock, a single bulb is fine.

As far as fish go do you mean fish to add during the cycle or once the cycle is done?

If you mean during the cycle I would not use damsels! This is a mistake people make because the damsels are cheap and hardy! Not because the stress on the fish but because they are very territorial and if you want them out once you are ready to add different fish then you must remove almost everything from your tank!

Once the tank is cycled, you get what kind of fish you would like. Maroon clowns or Ocellaris clowns are in my preference. As far as invertebrates go I would start out with about 10 blue leg hermit crabs. Eventually adding maybe a blood shrimp and an urchin.

Really it just matters what you like. If you have any questions on compatibility go and and ask me if you'd like to. Good luck with the tank!
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:50 PM   #7
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Again thanks for the replys I only do fishless cycles in tanks. Really don't like stressing out the poor fish anymore then needed. Back to the live rock I am reading into it is it possible to mix live rock with somthing "not alive" to lower the cost some? Also i'm reading mixed things on water is tap water ok in a fish only tank or not?
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:55 PM   #8
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Again thanks for the replys I only do fishless cycles in tanks. Really don't like stressing out the poor fish anymore then needed. Back to the live rock I am reading into it is it possible to mix live rock with somthing "not alive" to lower the cost some? Also i'm reading mixed things on water is tap water ok in a fish only tank or not?
Fishless cycles are great! You could definitely mix some live rock with some not live rock, as over time the rock will become alive. Tap water, I have had some major problems using tap water. My tap water has traces of copper in it so that lead to all of my inverts dying off. Currently I use refrigerator filtered water as it perfectly safe for the aquarium. Hopefully you find some way to supply your water without using tap water which is cheap. Buying an RO filter is very expensive and even buying water from the LFS gets expensive also.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:13 PM   #9
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Fishless cycles are great! You could definitely mix some live rock with some not live rock, as over time the rock will become alive. Tap water, I have had some major problems using tap water. My tap water has traces of copper in it so that lead to all of my inverts dying off. Currently I use refrigerator filtered water as it perfectly safe for the aquarium. Hopefully you find some way to supply your water without using tap water which is cheap. Buying an RO filter is very expensive and even buying water from the LFS gets expensive also.
"refrigerator filtered water" As in what? Water that has been run through one of those "pur" filters or grocery store bought?
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:24 PM   #10
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There is a massive filter in the bottom of my refrigerator that filters and cools all of the water which comes out of the refrigerator door. I tested my tap water and that filtered water and the filtered water was near perfect. I'm not exactly sure what kind of filter it is run though, I'll have to do a little research to find out what exactly it is. I suppose you could try some water filtered through one of those filters you attach to a tap. I have never really tried one. Just make sure you have your LFS or you yourself tests the water to make sure there are no heavy metals in the water still, which there is a possibility there still are some.
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