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Old 11-16-2010, 09:15 PM   #1
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New to saltwater tanks.

hello!.. i just recently had my last freshwater fish pass away. .. been thinking about getting new freshwater fishes but i think i want to try out saltwater fishes. .. i went to petsmart/petco/sharkaquarium yesterday and bought a bunch of products that i think i will be needing.

46" gal bow aquarium with stand w/ light
45 lbs of top fin gravel
Fluval 305 external canister filter 70gal
Instant Ocean sea salt, 25gal (i will be going back this week to get another 20-25)
Marineland 200watt heater
stick-on hydrometer and thermometer

i have not bought any fish because i am still doing research. i probably have been to 4 petsmarts and 3 petcos around my location and i can honestly say that no one i spoke to knew what they were talking about. a few even said they only knew freshwater. that is why i decided seek info online. i THINK i have a good foundation on how to take care of fish but my only concern is when it comes down to chemicals to help balance the tank.

i bought API Stress Coat and API Stress Zyme. are these products helpful? i am also considering buying Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Saltwater Liquid Master Test Kit - Saltwater - Fish - PetSmart
when i go back to get the rest of the sea salt.

people say don't use tap water but if i use the API stress coat it should remove the chlorine? correct?

can i just mix the water and sea salt in the aquarium? i know people recommend buying a garbage container from a hardware store but right now space is limited for me. eventually i will buy a bucket to help mix when i do my partial water changes. so can i fill the tank up and mix the salt in? .. 45 gals of water and then add the 45 cups of sea salt.

sorry for all the questions but i really want to get this right the first try. it's not fair for the fish if i bought them right now at the beginning so i want to do as much research as i can.

any other recommendations? .. product suggestions? ..


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Old 11-16-2010, 09:35 PM   #2
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:04 PM   #3
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hi. you might want to get a large can of salt. you will end up using it. you don't need any chemicals to balance the tank.
sea salt isn't mixed 1 cup per gallon. it should have instructions on the box/can, but you need to check the water with a device that measures specific gravity. you might be able to get away with a hydrometer, but i recommend a refractometer. it's about 15 dollars more, but a zillion times more accurate. you can find them on ebay.

return the gravel and buy some aragonite based sand, or crushed coral. if you don't like having to vacuum the substrate, choose granules slightly larger than sugar sized. the smaller the granules, the less spots for uneaten food and fish turds to get caught in. the reason you want a calcium based substrate is because it naturally buffers the PH.
i don't know about stress coat and stress zyme. if you decide to use tap water for this tank you can use "prime" or "amquel" to make the water safe.

you can mix the initial fill water right in the tank, but you can't add salt to the tank after you have livestock in it.

you cannot buy fish now. you will have to cycle this tank first. you've kept fresh tanks so i am guessing you know about cycling a tank.
many people do this with a piece of shrimp or fish from the supermarket. something to create ammonia.
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:22 AM   #4
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Good advice from Doug above. I'll add some reading material for you.

Start with our Articles section, then move on to some specifics.

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


Reef Aquarium Water Parameters
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:22 PM   #5
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+1 on Mr. X.

Tap water is acceptable but you probably want to test your tap water. Nitrates and Phosphates cause algae, and are present in most municipal water systems. That's why most people invest in an RO/DI system (<$100 on ebay), purewaterclub items - Get great deals on Household Series, Aquarium Series items on eBay Stores! or when I get in a pinch I go to Wal-mart and fill 5g Home Depot buckets with Culligan water for 37 cents/gal.

You can go ahead and but bulk salt because you will use it. I buy it in the 200g box (4 bags). For Instant Ocean the mix is 1/2 cup to 1 gallon of water, that bring salinity up to about 28-29 for me. I keep my FOWLR tanks at 31-33 and reef at 35.

I'm a Seachem Prime fan also. You don't need stress coatings unless you have sick fish in most cases.

+1 on refractometer. Hydrometers are worthless.

National Industrial Supply items - Get great deals on Refractometer, Refractometers items on eBay Stores!
My tanks: 120 Reef w/L2 Algae Scrubber, 60 Reef Pond w/floating Algae Scrubber, 40 Breeder Reef w/L2 UAS Tester Algae Scrubber
I maintain: 144 SW Reef w/L2 Algae Scrubber | 200 SW Reef w/L4 Algae Scrubber
Special knowledge: Algae Scrubbers, Acrylic Fabrication
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:28 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum.
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:15 PM   #7
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Most people I know that go from FW to SW never go back.. Its more work, more money, and more challenging but more rewarding IMO. All great advice above! I would X2 on the Refractometer and RO Water.

Try to do things right the first time and use this and sites like this - where you can learn from others mistakes.
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:38 PM   #8
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+1 for all above...and get your test kits.....
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:09 PM   #9
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hey .. thanks a lot guys! i got the specific gravity right. ... took your advice and got a refractometer. i also bought live rock. i put it in around 3PM yesterday. the water was crystal clear when i left for work @ 8AM today but when i got back home @ 6:30PM the water was very cloudy. what could have caused this? ... i was told the best way to cycle is with live rock. ... what should i do to fix the cloudy water? ... a worker at an aquarium store told me that it would clear up in a month!!! .. is that true?..

i bought a marine test kit... ammonia was at 0 when i tested it and then gradually went to .25-.50.. how can i bring it down? ... pH level is @ 7.8-8.0 .. how can i get it to 8.2?

and thank you so much! you guys are great help!

would the cloudiness go away if i do a water change?
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:10 PM   #10
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heres a pic


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