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Old 05-18-2012, 12:48 PM   #1
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Starting my first saltwater tank

K so in the next month or so I'm going to be getting started on my very first saltwater reef aquarium. Definitely going to be 55 plus gallons depending on the deal I can get when I purchase the tank so I basically need to know everything I'm going to need to get this thing set up and started cycling. So what's the best filter to use in this application anything else I will need to know will be helpful I have currently 4 freshwater tanks set up and running in almost perfect condition so now it's time to try reef? Any help is appreciated!
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Old 05-18-2012, 04:37 PM   #2
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Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank.
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Old 05-19-2012, 11:00 AM   #3
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I have a refugium/skimmer sump setup and am impressed with it. I used to have a canister but ended up canning it as it turned into a nitrate factory.
I also had a massive skimmer too. I was big on mech filtration and dsb filter. But over time my husbandry skills lacked and never devoted the time to my tank.
Slack on my behalf to the point my tank crashed and looked like a nuclear wasteland. I canned the sump all together with everything in it and cleaned the tank out and setup a smaller sump with a refugium / miracle mud and a smaller skimmer that runs 3 hours a day. As for maintenance it's just changing half the mud every year and harvesting the macro algae, as well the usual pump / equipment maintenance that comes around. Found it a lot better as it was easier to maintain and cheaper.
With this setup over time my tank matured a lot better. Life was coming up everywhere and it's the best it's ever been. I had a bleached coral dying come back to full color and has grown back.
Dunno if any of this helps but just my experience. I have a busy lifestyle and this type of setup made up keeping more achievable.

I used to have metal halides as well. But changed to LEDs and works fine. Big advantage for this was my elec bill dropped heaps and my chiller is only used half the time over summer.

Might be some ideas to think about.

Also if u can get ocean water from ya lfs, that's not bad either.

As for live rock I went with 1.5 - 2 lbs to 1 gallon of tank volume.

Prob getting of the track a bit but just some helpful tips maybe.
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Old 05-19-2012, 11:49 AM   #4
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Good choice on tank size. A 55 is a great starter tank IMO. Figure out if you want to be a FOWLR or reef system. This will change the future equipment that you need. Once you get your tank, get about 60 lbs of sand and 55-60 lbs of live or macro rock. Fill it up with water and toss in an uncooked shrimp and watch the cycle go. While you cycle, you can research more into what you want to do with the tank, what you will need, and what you want to live in it.
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Old 05-19-2012, 02:57 PM   #5
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The sand bed depth will depend a little on the type of live stock you go with, burrowing fish like jawfish require a deeper sandbed.

1-1.5 pounds of live rock per gallon of water. You can get a few pounds of live rock with some purple coraline algae and the rest can be base rock to save money. It will become live over time as the tank cycles. As was stated decide if you want fish only or a reef and invest in a quality light. I suggest spending money on a good light as to not go cheap now just to end up upgrading a few months down the road when you want coral.

I think a protein skimmer is a great thing to have on any tank, but its almost a must on a reef tank. If you have enough rock to act as a biological filter you wont really need a wet/dry or canister type filter.

To cycle the tank you need a source of ammonia, seems like most popular method is to drop an uncooked shrimp into the tank and let it rot. Test for ammonia nitrites and nitrates during the cycle to know when your done.

I am no expert but this is what I have learned so far.
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Old 05-19-2012, 08:51 PM   #6
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I have dosed ammonia in all of my freshwater tanks rather than guessing I just used industrial grade ammonia so I knew exactly where I was going to be is that possible in a reef tank or just use the shrimp. I will probably go skimmer canister and ton of live rock I love the reef setups I've been seeing so I think I'll go that route I live in Florida do coral frags are pretty readily available. I know in freshwater there is no such thing as over filtration but I'm completely new to saltwater so idk if I'm going to be going overkill or something thanks for all the help so far anymore will be awesome as well. I'm basically setting this up for a nice tank in my soon to be kids room/nursery so I want it to be really fun and colorful.
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:42 PM   #7
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No canister for reef tanks. Live rock and skimmer only. Canisters are nitrate factories and coral do not handle nitrates well. Skimmer and live rock is best. Also before you go any further the firat step to any reef tank is deciding what you want to keep in it. Certain fish you may want may require larger tanks also what you want will help you plan the rest of the tank, stocking a reef tank successfully without a lose is no easy task unless well planned for.
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:56 PM   #8
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You can dose ammonia, that would work great too.

You can use canister filters but they are a lot of work to keep from them becoming nitrate factories. Honestly, enough live rock and a skimmer should do the trick.
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:23 AM   #9
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Ok that's good to know a little money saved there, I'm more on the side of the size of the tank determines what I can keep.
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlaseMrNiceguy
Ok that's good to know a little money saved there, I'm more on the side of the size of the tank determines what I can keep.
That is large part of it, however many fish and inverts cannot live together and have special needs. So choosing your tank size and stock list should be first order of business. The rest of the tank is planned around this.
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