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Old 08-29-2007, 12:33 AM   #1
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noobie wanna start SW tank <20Gal

Hi,all.. I would like to start a small SW tank(low budget). I've read up quite alot info here & other site. Recently I've bought a tank(abt 17gal) & filter(underwater filter). LFS isn't so helpful at my area.

Now i'm a little lost with accessories that i need to buy some more. What are the test kits & meters that I must get first? Please guide me through.thx
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:46 AM   #2
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Minimum test kits for starting out your setup would be ph, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates...also you are going to need a refractometer for testing the salinity of your saltwater mix. anything else you are lost on?
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Old 08-29-2007, 01:42 AM   #3
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thx ya..
Do I need water conditioner for distilled water before adding salt?
Should I place coral sand bed before salt water cycling in the tank or after?
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Old 08-29-2007, 08:09 AM   #4
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Old 08-29-2007, 10:43 AM   #5
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I would ditch the under gravel filter. They are not needed in SW and can easily become clogged. I would take back the CC and use sand. I would just buy the dry sand as opposed to the "live" sand.
I'm on well water and use RO/DI to filter my water. I am not sure on what is involved in using city water. I would not use distilled water.
You can add the coral and then the water or vice versa.
I would suggest you premix your water first in a separate bucket, to get the hang of how to do it. Also, add a ph to bring the temp up to what your tank's temp should be 78-82ish degrees, especially if you are using a hydrometer (I would spring for a refractometer).
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Old 08-29-2007, 01:47 PM   #6
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sorry, my eng is bad. i didnt mean under gravel filter. mine is fluval3plus filter. is that ok for my small tank? Now i'm test running normal water to see the wave strength.


How many inch of CC should i base for my tank?
Do I need to conditioned the water before adding salt?
What do you mean by add a ph? Do u mean I need to get this temperature to measure correctly if i use hydrometer?

sorry for many question. I've read many guides in this week & information overloaded at the moment. please help .thx thx
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:33 PM   #7
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Small SW tanks require constant attention. With a small volume of water they can easily foul and kill everything in the tank. I understand the budget issue all to well! You will need to do regular PWCs after you have cycled your tank to keep things balanced. Many of us that have small tanks ( I have a 5 gallon nano) also have larger tanks that can supplement their filtration. If you have an LFS near by that sells RO/DI water I would suggest using that as apposed to tap or distilled!

Scott is talking about adding a PH to the bucket that you mix your SW in to raise the temp and make sure the salt is mixed well. When you mix SW you should let it mix for at least 24 hours before using it in your tank.

The filter you have selected is going to need to be cleaned weekly. You will need to change the carbon weekly as part of your cleaning. The more LR you put in the tank the better your filtration is going to be.

Get all of those test kits mentioned above as you are going to need to monitor your water closely because of the small size.

Starting out with a small tank can be a challenge but it can be done assuming you are willing to put the time in it.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
What do you mean by add a ph? Do u mean I need to get this temperature to measure correctly if i use hydrometer?
A "ph" is an abbreviation for "powerhead" . I think roka64 meant to say add a heater to get your temp up. (I'd add a powerhead also, to keep the water mixed and aerated.)

Quote:
Do I need to conditioned the water before adding salt?
If you're using distilled water, like you mentioned, then no... you don't need to add anything to it except your salt mix.
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Old 08-29-2007, 10:36 PM   #9
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thx for d input,guys.. I don't plan to have an extra tank. Since the LFS is just across the road, I would ask the shop to keep the fish like suggested in some article.
Can I use fluorescent light to temp up for mixing salt & add on water? I'm from malaysia & I don't think temp is so far different. What's the acceptable temp different?
How many inch of CC & sand should I put for my tank? So I should use Dry sand instead of Live? Any advantage if i can get Live sand?

tq..
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:24 AM   #10
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"Live" sand would be good if you get it fresh. I kind of doubt from gathering, packaging, shipping to the warehouse and shipping to the LFS, then sitting on the LFS shelf would have much live bacteria, but I could be wrong.
Kurt is right, I meant both a ph and a heater to keep the temp consistent. Since you are going with a smaller tank, heat may not be such a big deal, if your room temp can keep the temp close to your tank's temp, for your premixed water.
To be honest, I would take the CC back, it ends up on top of the sand and requires consistent cleaning. I had it in mine and ended up taking it out. It will also limit some of your choices on sand stirrers and clean up crew.
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