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Old 01-30-2005, 11:55 PM   #1
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New to Saltwater with a lengthy post

Hey everyone! I am a frequent over in the Freshwater section but have always been interested in getting into Saltwater. To be honest, we were going to do a 55 gal saltwater tank but got too scared and stuck with what we new, Freshwater. Now, we have decided to take the plunge into saltwater with our next 55 gal that should hopefully be purchased in the upcoming weeks. Before going out and buying a bunch of stuff, I wanted to do some research into what we need. I bought the book Saltwater Aquariums for dummies but I must be a REAL idiot because I just got confused.

We plan on keeping Tangs or Triggers, something of that sort. I haven't completely decided. That will come later on, much later on. But for planning purposes we only intend to have fish and life rock.

We already have a Cascade 1000 Canister Unit and have decided on a 55 gal with Sedona stand and canopy. When I bought the 29 gal it came with stuff to make it a saltwater tank, but again, we chickened out and made it freshwater. So currently we have Instant Ocean Synthetic Sea Salt, AmmEx Aquarium Evolution, SeaTest Hydrometer, and Chlor Out by Water Care.

I have many questions but I will try to limit them in single posts. So I guess to start, do I need to purchase any special lighting for this tank? I have heard of people spending $3,000 on lighting for their SW tanks but I figured for lr and fish, that we wouldn't have to have anything spectacular. Am I correct? Maybe later on down the road (a few years) we may get into corals and things such as that.

Also, does anyone have any experience using the products that I listed above? I want to start out on the right foot and would rather use quality products over something that we got for free in the "marine ready" tank. I just know that if we have a bad experience starting out (killing many fish because of poor products) it will most likely turn us back to fw fish keeping. I'm just nervous about trying saltwater. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the post being so lengthy.
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Old 01-31-2005, 12:03 AM   #2
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For a FOWLR setup any NO light setup will work. Coralline does not need much light to grow. If you plan on getting corals you may want to get the better lights now but it is definately not required.

As for other equipment get plenty of LR(1.5-2lbs per gal of tank) a DSB and a good skimmer and that will be all the filtration you should need. Add a heater and some power heads and you are done.

I would recommend checking on fish profiles before making a final list because a 55 although big is not big enough for many SW fish.
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28gal bowfront
40lbs livesand(bag from LFS), 30lbs live rock(LR.com)
2 O. Clowns
1 peppermint shrimp, 5 red leg hermit crabs,
4 mexican turbo snails, 15 nassarius snails
ricordea mushroom, candy cane coral,
super color polyps, hairy mushrooms
bubble coral, hawiian feather duster
coralife lunar 2x65, HOT magnum canister
10 Gal refugium(chaeto) & seaclone skimmer
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Old 01-31-2005, 12:22 AM   #3
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When I got into the freshwater I started out with a 10 gal, then the 29, then the 55. I think it's more of a confidence thing. Knowing that I could have a 10 gal setup and running good for 6 months made us get into the 29, then the 55. So I'm sure that when we get into the saltwater we will initially start out with the 55 but I just know how my fiance is, when we move into our house he will most likely have a 265 set up in the living room. HAHA. We are FANATIC'S now with fish. I spend saturday afternoons on the internet looking up fish profiles and going to the lfs just to see what they have. Man, I have it BAD.

We will be limited on the amount and type of fish, but would rather start small just to make sure we can get the hang of it and take it slowly. I have been interested in star fish, mainly Chocolate Chip. Are there limitations on what you can keep with these fish? Is a 55 gal too small?

I will say this, before I started fish keeping, I had the patience and attention span of a 2 year old. Now, I feel like a whole new person. I think that's part of the reason why we started with Freshwater. It doesn't take as long to cycle and you can put fish in the tank and do a fish cycle a week after you set it up. But now, I think I have the patience to wait it out for SW.

Also, with the Cascade, is there anything special that I need to use for filtration? Will the normal filter floss, sponge, and filter media work?
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Old 01-31-2005, 12:32 AM   #4
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If you want to use the canister filter in addition to LR it would be fine. Just be sure to clean the filter on a very regular basis as they tend to produce high nitrates if not kept clean. Most people dont use GAC on a regular basis but more of short runs of it for a week a month.

I use a HOT magnum canister with my LR but took out the carbon and use it mainly to polish the water. I only have just over 1 lb LR per gal so I am using it as the mechanical filter to remove the solids so the biological filter does not work so hard.
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28gal bowfront
40lbs livesand(bag from LFS), 30lbs live rock(LR.com)
2 O. Clowns
1 peppermint shrimp, 5 red leg hermit crabs,
4 mexican turbo snails, 15 nassarius snails
ricordea mushroom, candy cane coral,
super color polyps, hairy mushrooms
bubble coral, hawiian feather duster
coralife lunar 2x65, HOT magnum canister
10 Gal refugium(chaeto) & seaclone skimmer
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Old 01-31-2005, 12:43 AM   #5
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So we would only need to use the filter floss and filter sponge? But that would mainly be just to keep the water crystal clear and take out anything that the lr didn't take care of. Right? No activated carbon? I was under the impression that you would still need all of the canister stuff in addition to live rock. If this were grade school, I would still be in Pre-K when it comes to SW. I really appreciate your patience, I know that I probably sound like an idiot.

I'm actually getting really excited and want to start this 55 gal tomorrow but I know that the first rule to fishkeeping is that you need to have patience.

BTW- Do you have any experience with the products that I listed above? Or Chocolate Chip Starfish?
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Old 01-31-2005, 12:57 AM   #6
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get the book "the conscientious marine aquarist" by Fenner. It is a great place to start getting info. I too am fairly new to the hobby but have done lots of research and even more reading on this forum. Sorry I cant help you with the products mentioned above. I can tell you that I dont use any additives to cycle or maintain my tank other than seachem calcium and seachem reef builder for my corals. As for the choclate chip star I again have little advice. Sorry I could not be of more assistance.
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28gal bowfront
40lbs livesand(bag from LFS), 30lbs live rock(LR.com)
2 O. Clowns
1 peppermint shrimp, 5 red leg hermit crabs,
4 mexican turbo snails, 15 nassarius snails
ricordea mushroom, candy cane coral,
super color polyps, hairy mushrooms
bubble coral, hawiian feather duster
coralife lunar 2x65, HOT magnum canister
10 Gal refugium(chaeto) & seaclone skimmer
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Old 01-31-2005, 01:02 AM   #7
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Just got the book... reading like the wind. Awesome purchase, if I may say so. The purdy pictures 8O

Has info on EVERYTHING... except maybe info on goldfish

~~Rob
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Old 01-31-2005, 01:04 AM   #8
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You have been more than helpful. I am new to this in the sense that I haven't even started the aquarium yet. Hopefully in the upcoming weeks I will get it going. I am probably going to start with a couple Clown's. I have been reading online and have read that they are very heardy fish and is great for beginners.

I have been told that it is not wise to put more than 1 of each species in the tank because it will cause agression. Also be cautious of putting fish together that look similar. Is this correct? I was told this by my lfs but from their freshwater advice, I take it with a grain of salt.
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Old 01-31-2005, 01:08 AM   #9
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Also, how many powerheads should be used in a 55 gal? We have 1 in our FW but I'm not sure with SW.
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Old 01-31-2005, 11:56 AM   #10
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Two clowns will be OK together I would attempt to get a mated pair and add them together. Some types of fish definately do better as singles. Check fish profiles on each specific fish to be sure.

As for the powerheads it is recommended to have at least a 10x turnover for a tank in a FOWLR setup. Reef setups are recommended at 20x and some go even higher than that. You would want at least 2 PH that will add to the overall flow and point them at each others paths to give a random current. This will help in oxygen exchange and give a better flow dispersement..
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28gal bowfront
40lbs livesand(bag from LFS), 30lbs live rock(LR.com)
2 O. Clowns
1 peppermint shrimp, 5 red leg hermit crabs,
4 mexican turbo snails, 15 nassarius snails
ricordea mushroom, candy cane coral,
super color polyps, hairy mushrooms
bubble coral, hawiian feather duster
coralife lunar 2x65, HOT magnum canister
10 Gal refugium(chaeto) & seaclone skimmer
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