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Old 08-29-2003, 12:55 PM   #1
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Some n00bie questions

Hello all,

I recently got into aquariums and have been running a 10 gal freshwater for several months now. (Great forums here, by the way. ) I now have a small ocean crab that I'd like to try to keep permanently and I was wondering if maybe I could start a marine aquarium as well.

My neighbor gave me his old tank a while back; I'm not sure how much it holds, but it's big, to me at least; maybe 30 or 40 gallons? He gave me a heater/filter as well.

Is that bascially all I'll need to start, as a bare-bones beginning setup?

The crab is living in ocean water that I brought back with me and is surviving all right as far as I can tell. It ate some meat, (mmm chicken) so I guess it'll survive for now. Would a bag of that 'instant seawater' salt mix stuff in the lfs be ok for the crab? Is it about the same as the seawater it's used to?

And what exactly is "live rock"? Do I need rocks in the tank? How about sand for the bottom of the tank? Is that a good/bad choice? What kind of sand works?

How is a marine aquarium different from a freshwater one? Does it cycle the same way? What kind of marine life handles cycling well? (I'd rather have fishful (?) cycling than fishless.)

I don't want a fancy setup; just a place to keep the crab alive, and maybe be able to add one or two interesting marine fish some day.

What marine life is easy to start with? Damsels, I heard? Would a crab attack it at all? Of course, this is a rather premature question, but if anyone would like to answer it...

Thanks for your patience with my questions!
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Old 08-29-2003, 05:14 PM   #2
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Let me just start with a warning. Your freshwater experience gains you almost nothing in the way of saltwater. No offense intended, I have about 5 years freshwater experience and had no clue of SW requirements. I quickly realised that I knew nothing. SW is alot of work and personally I would reconsider your plans, IMO it wouldn't be worth the time and cost to just support a crab, but hey you may love the little guy. I spent more money on sand and rock in my 29G than I did last time I had the driveway redone! 8O

Live rock is pretty much exactly as it's name implies. Well the rock isn't alive but there are all kinds of life on and in the rock. bacteria/coraline algae/worms.......The same applies to live sand. Any sand or rock will eventually become live considering it has the correct inviroment to do so. These organisms are all part of the biological filter.

Yes that salt will work fine, DO NOT USE TABLE SALT!!!

what type of crab is it?

you may or maynot catch some slack from fellow enthusiasts for wanting to use fish for cycling. It's common for some to be upset by one of two reasons
1) adding fish to an uncycled aquarium puts it's life at risk
2) Many of these fish are pretty agressive and won't play well with others. So you are buying a fish that you will probably just pitch aside later on.

GL with what you decide. Just remember that patience is a virtue in the SW hobby.
research research and research some more. Theres hundreds of DONT'S for SW that were DO's for freshwater. Don't buy anything or add anything to the tank until you know the consequences.

For a reference, search the net for converting a freshwater to saltwater. You'll find alot of info that you'll prob miss out on by just searching for SW

HTH
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Old 08-31-2003, 04:45 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice and warning. I figured SW is a lot more expensive than FW, and FW was more costly than I had thought.

I have no idea what kind of crab it happens to be. It's small now, got it in RI; might be the edible kind (haha). I guess I have a tiny bit of "live sand", as in sand from the beach.

I've got the 'instant ocean' salt water mix, but I can't find a thing to measure water salinity in my LFS. I can't tell how "salty" the ocean water is, and I can't tell how salty my mix will be when I make it. Is there a way to make a tester at home?

Thanks again!
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Old 09-01-2003, 12:54 AM   #4
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Your going to need a hydrometer to measure salinity. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...=6&pCatId=4690
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Old 09-01-2003, 12:04 PM   #5
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I would look for another LFS if they do not stock a hydrometer. It sounds kind of scary to me, if they do SW and do not carry one of the most important tools.

Most stores will test your water for you. That doesn't help much on the mixing though.
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Old 09-02-2003, 04:36 PM   #6
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IMO, jumping into the SW is the biggest mistake you could make. As mentioned above, you owe it to yourself to do a lot of research to understand what it takes to set up and maintain a SW tank, before you attempt to do so. I have had a FW 55G tank for many years and let me add my opinion that they are two very different worlds. Understand too what it takes from you in time and maintenance expense for SW versus FW. If you really want to get into it, there is a ton of advice here on this board for any aspect of setting up and maintaining a tank for all kinds of species. If you just spend some time reviewing the threads here, you will get a sense of what is involved. Secondly, get some good reference material to review. The more informed you are the better a decision you can make as to if you have the money (it can get expensive), time and patience for establishing and maintaining a SW tank. Good Luck 8)
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