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Old 09-13-2010, 11:34 AM   #1
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Rookie - 30 Gal FOWLR - complete set up


I have been keeping a 30 gal freshwater tank for the last 6 years. Unfortunately my cichlids had gotten to big for the tank and I transfered them to a buddies much larger tank. I now have a clean 30 gal tank and am ready to begin my first saltwater tank. I have been researching for the past month or so on these forums and understand the pitfalls of setting up this small of a tank without a sump set up. I am ready for the challenge and plan on taking it slow, and stocking it lightly.

I have a Marineland Penquin 150 cartridge filter and a sufficient heater. Here are a couple quick questions to get me started... Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

1. No that my tank is clean, do I add the salt or sand first? Does it matter? From what I have read, live sand, is not necessary. I plan on getting 20 lbs of live rock and 10 lbs dead rock next weekend, but want the water/sand up and running before hand.

2. Will my Penquin filter be sufficient to get my tank up and running? I understand that a protein skimmer is more important, and plan on getting one next weekend as well. Should I remove the carbon rocks from the filter cartridge for this SW tank?

3. Is R/O water required? or could I use tap and then a dechlorinator solution? Is there a difference between fw dechlorinator and salt water? Where can I find R/O water? I've called a couple stores but they only sell the converters. Would the water stations at a suppermarket work?

Once again, thanks for your help. There will be many more questions to follow.


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Old 09-13-2010, 11:47 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard. I`m going to move this to the Sw getting started forum. More people will see it there.

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Old 09-13-2010, 03:47 PM   #3
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Welcome to AA.

1. Idealy you would mix your saltwater in another container and have it ready to go. I use a big 55 gallon trash can on wheels from the local hardware store. Makes it easy to do water changes down the road. That way you can add the water in after the rock and sand. If you don't have/don't want to do that then i would mix the water in the tank first. Then add the rock and put the sand in last. You want the rock on the bottom glass so that your livestock doesn't move the sand out from under the rock down the road and cause it to become unstable. You can use a large diameter piece of pvc to pour the sand down to the bottom of the tank in order to try and minimize the dust storm it will cause in the tank.

2. The penguin filter will get you started no problem. I wouldn't rely on that alone to provide flow in the tank though. SW tanks need a bit more flow then fresh expecially if you plan on keeping coral. It is best to have some surface agitation to help oxygenate your water as well as break up the surface oils.

I assume by carbon rocks is the activated carbon filtering media. I would replace the activated carbon with some new media. Activated carbon can be used in both fresh and saltwater tanks.

3. Tap water ranges from less than ideal to really problimatic depending on the water in your area. It can contain phosphates/nitrates and a whole host of other undesirable chemicals and minerals. I highly recomment you avoid tap water if at all possible. If the supermarket water is the best you can find it will suffice. The best option which will pay for it's self both literaly and in avoiding all the problems that come with tap water is to buy a RO/DI unit. You can find them on ebay and several other online vendors for between 75-100$. This will make sure you know that your water is clean and pure.

Good luck with the new tank. Once you go salt you will never be able to go back.
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:06 PM   #4
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If it was a fish only tank, you wouldn't need the ro water. Since you are going the rock route, the ro water is a must. I say that because in the rock, comes good and bad bcteria cyano being one as well as hair algae, dinoflagates(spelling?) The ro water will get you top off and pwc water as pure as possible. As far as a skimmer goes, you don't really need it for that small a tank, but it is nice to have. A simple 5-10 gallon weekly pwc will do the same job.
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fowlr, set up

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