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Old 07-16-2005, 04:59 PM   #1
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Novice to Saltwater Tanks

I am a complete novice to saltwater tanks, I am experienced with freshwater, coldwater but not saltwater. Iam thinking of setting up a saltwater tank but I have a lot of worries and concerns. First of all, I don't know how to setup or start a saltwater tank, I don't know which fish are for which sized tank (no idea if stocking is different for saltwater tanks) and I don't know how to maintain a saltwater tank. I am thinking of starting small, by doing a 20 gallon saltwater and get bigger when I feel more comfortable and gain more experience. My major concern is, I am worried about maintain of a saltwater tank because I have heard a lot of stories on how they are hard to maintain and are very time consuming, I don't know how true this is, but I am worried that if I make a slight mistake I will kill the fish and from the prices I have seen at the pet shop, saltwater fish are definetly not cheap. What is your advice for me? OH, yes, I read the sticky but I still need your help.

Thank you all in advance for your posts / advice on this topic.
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Old 07-16-2005, 05:10 PM   #2
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Once they are setup they require no more time than a properly maintained FW aquarium. I would suggest that you start off with something a little biger than a 20. Teh stocking capacity is very diffeent in SW and with a 20 your going to limit yoruself to 2-4 small fish. We have a very good fish compatability guide that is linked here. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/SWCompatibility.php It will give you some general ideas on types of fish for a given size tank. In addition I would suggest one of the following books. The New Marine Aquarium or The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. Both can be found in our Book Library linked above. I like to suggest one or both of those books to beginners because I find it useful to have printed reference's that one can go back to on a moments notice.
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Old 07-16-2005, 05:11 PM   #3
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First off, if you are a dedicated freshwater hobbiest then you will not find the demands of the saltwater world too much. If you are just a casual hobbiest that doesn't do much in the way of care for your fresh tanks, then yes, saltwater can be an eye opener. The general opinion of tank size is to start off with the LARGEST tank that you can afford as it is easier to maintain stable water conditions with more water volume. I would say that a conservative middle of the road estimate on time would be 15 minutes a day with a solid hour at least once a week. Most "slight" mistakes as you call them, do not kill fish, neglect will kill them faster. It is also much easier to make sure you are doing things the right way first, then fix "wrong" ways, later. There are alot of folks here that are eager to help you with getting started with the "right" ways.
One thing you will hear alot in this hobby is the saying "nothing good ever happens fast". Take your time and be very patient as you move along, using the waiting time to catch up on reading about things you have questions about and then ask lots of questions and you will be just fine.

On a final note, this hobby is not a cheap one and you need to be prepared to spend a good deal more than what you would for freshwater.
hth
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Old 07-16-2005, 10:29 PM   #4
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Old 07-17-2005, 12:12 AM   #5
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I keep SW and FW. I think that the biggest difference is the time consumption. FW is more forgiving when the water quality is not great. But the rewards of SW (IMO) are much greater. Stocking has been the biggest difference to me personally. I had 20 fish in my 55gal when it was FW. Now it is SW and I have 2, and will only add 1, MAYBE 2 more. READ, READ, READ, there is a lot to know, and you will learn something new every day.
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Old 07-17-2005, 12:16 AM   #6
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This forum is GREAT for info. A lot of people that know what they are doing, and all are willing to give the most beneficial advice to make your experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Sorry for the double post.
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