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Old 03-17-2013, 12:57 AM   #1
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Cool Rookie Saltwater Aquairum Startup

Hello everyone, I'm new to this and trying to start a saltwater aquarium for my 2 yr old daughter. We recently purchashed a nice 60 gallon marineland tank, along with a 200 watt heater, and an aquaclear 110 power filter for starters... I have done some research, but still am not sure as to what else I need exactly. From what I've read, a protein skimmer is a good investment along with a pump to add some current to the water. I would appreciate any thoughts and insight anyone may have. I wanted to use some type of live rock, nothing too fine for the bottom of the tank but I'm not sure as to what to get. I've read that Aragonite is good.... I'm looking basically to start up our aquarium and upgrade it gradually, but want the best for our fish. Any advice or suggestions would be great.

Thanks.
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:20 AM   #2
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From my personal experience I at first just used all the basic stock equipment (stock pump filter and lights) for my 29g. I started with 25 pounds of live rock (almost a pound per gallon) from my local lfs and i used 40lbs of live sand all as my biological filtration system. For just starting the tank you really dont need any major upgrades while its in the first cycle at least. I got my heater after I added my first fish, I got a different filtration method besides just the stock filter to decrease bio load and bring down nitrates. Finally I didnt buy a powerhead for better water circulation until i started with my corals. I definitely believe that a gradual upgrade as you go is the best method to ensure that you get the exact equipment you need.
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:32 AM   #3
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So you think I'm alright starting with that and getting a protein skimmer and or powerhead/pump later?
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:50 PM   #4
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That sounds like the way to go. Do you have any idea what you want in the tank as far as livestock goes/ So far it sounds like your off to a good start as far as equipment is concerned!
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:24 AM   #5
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Were thinking a couple of clown fish to start with and going from there. I was thinking of adding a cleaner shrimp of some kind, maybe a tang, and not too sure what else. The clownfish would be first and the rest would be gradually along the way. I'm not in any rush to fill it, I know that you need to introduce fish slowly and not all at once. I am not sure as what to do for my water situation though. Any thoughts? I spoke to a guy at an aquarium store and he suggested we buy water from him that had been run through reverse osmosis. I know that it's better for the fish, but if I were to use tap and add the conditioner, salt, and dechlorinator. How would that fare? Any thoughts or suggestions?
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:54 AM   #6
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A pair of clown fish for first livestock is a very wise choice. Easy to acclimate by drip method, easy to maintain, and very personable. The cleaner shrimp is also a good investment. As far as your water is concerned...I have always bought the salt RO water straight from the fish store. I just figured that buying the water was a little eaier than going through the hastle of making my own RO system or conditioning tap as you have suggested. I feel the couple extra bucks saves you the hastle of buying all the products and having to mix it. However, I have a small tank...If my tank was any larger lets say 70g (which is what my sister has) I most likely would set up an RO system and make my own water. It all depends on your preference whether you would like to go through a little extra trouble or through in a couple extra bucks for instant water.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:29 PM   #7
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Ok I am sorry but Zora is giving you poor advice. By doing your "Upgrades later" you are asking for issues. The whole point of a protien skimmer and power heads are to keep your water moving and clean. SW is not like FW were you can have water hardly moving and keep it quality water.

A 60 tank without a power head is a huge issue imo. You need water moving for it to have proper gas exchange as well as removeing dead spots in the tank that will cause the water to fowal in that area.

by getting a potien skimmer later you risk having phosphate and nitrate issues that will be a pain to get down.

You want to start the tank out right in sw you dont want to half a$$ it becasue it will come back and bite you.

Making your own water will save you more moeny then you even know. It will pay for itself in a few months and also keeps you from having to go to the first store and buy their water. do not condition tap water for saltwater tanks you will have a tank of algae if you do this. The most amazing thing about a sw tank is crystal clear water and without these tools you will have murky water and algae all over your rock thats a pain to get rid of. The reason we use RO/DI water is because tap water has tons of disolved minirals in it. Conditioner just removes the chlorine that the water treatment companies put into the water. Tap water in my area has a TDS of 348 and my RO/DI system makes the TDS 0, removes all harmful additives that the water treatment company puts in it and in turn will allow you to have a proper SW tank.

All things said if you dont have the money for a protien skimmer right now and you just cant buy it and cant wait to set up the tank till you can afford it then fine start up the tank but dont wait 3 months to add your skimmer. But whatever you do NOT set up your tank without at least 2 powerheads you will regret it.

Cutting corners in the SW hobby will cause you to get fustrated and leave the hobby because you wont enjoy it. Saltwater needs to be more balanced then freshwater. The more cornors you cut the harder its going to be. Set up your tank right the first time and not try to fix it later because you will spend way more money later then you will upfront.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:40 PM   #8
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You know what cleverbs your right about everything im sorry that the tank I have set up is such a failure and that I should have looked you up from the very start to seek all my aquarium needs. Thank you for your wisdom oh wise sage Ill start taking your advice by tearing down my entire setup and starting from scratch and doing it exactly how you propose!
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:13 PM   #9
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Dont get all upset, I am not attacking you I am just saying the advice you are giving is not the best advice and that is the point of these forums. By telling him he doesnt need things that should be used you are setting him up for failure. Is that what we want to do on these forums is say to people oh yeah you dont need this or this when we all know that one of the most important things in this hobby is to set up your aquarium right the first time from the start. I never said a word about your tank, I have no idea what it looks like. I do know that not however power heads is a terrible idea unless you have a Closed loop system. No Saltwater tank over 30g should be without a skimmer. I dont see what wrong of me to inform him of the proper way to set up a tank beings thats what hes asking for. Your advice of not having power heads until he gets corals doesnt even make sense beings the reason to have power heads has nothing to do with having corals it has to do with water movment that fish need as well as the beneficial bacteria in your tank to have it process waste properly. If you want to get all mad for correcting you and giving him advice go for it. Just get your facts straight. I tried my best to be as nice as possible about your poor advice but now you are making it rather difficult.

Hope you can see I was not putting you down I was giving the OP the information he was looking for and If you take the time to research you will see that going the route you are suggesting is not the ideal route to take.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:17 PM   #10
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One of the most important things IMO is circulation of the water. Making sure food doesn't settle so it can get picked up by filtration, rather than settling and decaying, will save you hassle in the long run.

In terms of a protein skimmer, that would depend on what kind of setup you are wanting to go. FOWLR setups don't require as pristine of water as some reef setups. You could skip over a skimmer if you aren't wanting coral. This will be assisted by having increased water circulation, as described above, and using either ro/di water or even straight distilled water rather than tap (which can come in with the high nitrates you are trying to avoid).
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