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Old 01-28-2011, 05:58 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Arkansas
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Ready to Dive into Saltwater :)


Ive been wanting to know about SW every since I started FW. It was very interesting to me, but I never asked before on what I had to do. As you can see, Im ready to learn as much as I can and hopefully start a SW tank as soon as I can. Please get ready to answer quite a few questions, Here goes

What ways are there to cycle a SW tank? Ive heard that you can go ahead and put LR in the tank to make the cycle faster (the flow from the current of the power head or fan makes the LR a filter by collecting beneficial bacteria, right?) How long would it take to cycle if I use live rock?

Is LR really alive? I thought it was remains from a dead coral found in the ocean? Is live sand alive? (Sorry if this sounds stupid)

What is the purpose of a Protein skimmer? Do I have to have one? Ive heard if I dont, I would have do PWC very often, am I correct? Do you need one for smaller tanks? Are the HOB ones any good?

What is some substrates that I could use in SW tanks? How deep of a bed would I need?

What Kind of algae's would I have to look out for? What are the most common and how do I get rid of them (Except for Coraline)?

Could I use all Base rock instead of LR or would I have to do Half and Half? How many Pounds per gallons is it for LR and Live sand?

What kind of equipment do I need? The LR acts like a filter, so I dont need a HOB one? What should the temp be?

Do I have to have a sump? Is the sump only to hold more water volume or for some other purpose? Could a Wet/Dry filter act as one?

What is a refugium? What does it do? Do I have to have one? Ive heard and seen that you can make one out of an aquaclear filter, am I correct?

How many WPG for corals? Will they attach to base rock? Ive heard anemones can/ cannot go in reef tanks, like they sting other corals, but once they found they right place, they will stay there and not harm anyone? Can you add corals when cycling (as long as you have the proper lighting) ?

What should the parameters be in a cycled reef tank? Alkalinity? Ammonia? Calcium? Chloramine? Iodine? Nitrate? pH? Phosphate? Salinity? Specific Gravity?

What hitchhikers should I be looking for when getting LR. Are there any harmful ones that I should be looking out for?

How many fish can I add at a time? How many inverts in a CUC can I add at a time?

What common diseases should I be looking for?

Sorry for the long post, but any answers will be appreciated. Also any additional information on this subject, could you please inform me? I just want to learn everything I can and hopefully soon start answer questions in the SW section of the forum Thanks

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Old 01-28-2011, 08:50 PM   #2
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All that info is on the net in bits & pieces. if you like old school books (made of paper), check out THE NEW MARINE AQUARIUM by Michael S. Paletta. Every LFS has it. Excellent, comprehensive, cheap & everyone of your questions are answered An EZ read too.

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Old 01-28-2011, 09:13 PM   #3
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Alot of those questions can be answered by reading our SW articles in our Articles section. As far as equipment read this

Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank.
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Old 01-30-2011, 12:09 PM   #4
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how to build a refungium out of an AC110

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Old 01-30-2011, 03:41 PM   #5
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I'll address a few of your questions but make sure to read up on the links posted above by others, they have a lot of great info!

The "live" in live rock and live sand only refers to the bacteria they contain. Something is live when it has begun to grow the bacteria used in the nitrogen cycle and other aquarium processes. You can buy a large amount of base rock and a small chunk of live rock to start your cycle. By the end of the cycle, all the rock will be "live" but the base rock will take a few months to look visually the same as the live rock chunk with algae, etc. Aim for around 1lb/gallon of rock in total. For your sand bed I would use aragonite sand, which helps buffer the pH. Stay away from crushed coral / gravel substrates.

Protein skimmers are used to remove organic compounds from your water. For smaller tanks they are generally not required, and the HOB and small ones available are not of good quality. I would get one if you're going with a larger tank.

Coralline algae is pretty much the most common beneficial algae. You will have diatoms temporarily after your cycle - ignore it and it will burn out by itself. Other nuisance algaes include bubble algae and hair algae. Xtalreef has a great list of hitchhikers and algaes you might encounter.

Sumps and refugiums are not required but many find them helpful. Sumps are used both to hold more water volume and to act as additional filtration. They can be used to hide equipment out of sight so the display tank is visually appealing. A refugium serves as a sectioned off part of the tank to grow algae or to isolate certain creatures like amphipods, etc. You can use it to hold chaeto and other macroalgae run on an opposite light cycle to keep the pH very stable and remove nitrates (absorbed by macroalgae).

When getting fish, wait 2-3 weeks between additions to allow the aquarium to adjust to the new bioload. It is highly recommended to QT each addition for a while in case they are carrying diseases. Ich is probably the big one, and brooklynella for clownfish/damsels although it is less common.

It can seem complicated and daunting but once you break it down, SW is not that bad. For me at least it's much more exciting! Good luck with your tank
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for the links guys! And thanks atte for answering some questions! Im slowly taking all of this in, and In a few years I will start a SW, but not anytime soon

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