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Old 01-06-2013, 10:15 PM   #1
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Red face Starting Over.

I've been keeping freshwater tanks for years now but I'm still a beginner with Marine tanks and I recently had one going for my Mom's Snowflake Eel. Unfortunately, he died on Christmas Eve (bad timing much?) after being with us for a month and I tore the whole thing down. He always sat in the filter and would come out when he was hungry (we gave him all sorts of hides but he just liked the filter more). He was very fun to feed and my Mom liked him quite a bit as she would always be on the lookout for hides that weren't sharp for him (something she never does for any of the fish but hers lol). I'm thinking of starting up another Marine tank for her maybe next year or the year after for her Birthday or Mothers day. Before that though, I think I should relearn everything there is to learn about salt water fish keeping and to set up slowly. Hopefully, I'll have a job this summer if not then I could just skip a few meals for the cash (theres no point in giving a present if I used her money right?lol)

She's been dreaming of having a colourful marine tank in a big stylish house. I can't give her the house but the tank is manageable lol. I plan to put another 8" snowflake eel in there with a few hermit crabs for her but I hear that corals are bad for them? If I can't have corals than what other things could I put in to make it very colourful? I'm also obviously lacking in basic marine care knowledge. What does a protein skimmer do? Would it be better to have live rock or wait...what exactly is live rock? Does it require alot of lighting (I don't think my Mom would appreciate a bigger electricity bill)? What fish should I absolutely avoid? ( My Mom will probably pick out what ever fish she falls in love with afterwards so I need to know exactly where I have to step in and say "no I can't take care of that thing ") I will for sure NOT be going into the 100g+ tank range. I'm thinking closer to 55g-70g long tanks. What are the best filters (for performance and price) for tanks this size? Hopefully, I can get over this obviously steep learning curve and compile a checklist of things I need to save up for over this year.

Sorry for the long post and your help is much appreciated
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:53 PM   #2
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Ok first a protein skimmer is a tool that helps get rid of all the harsh Bactria in your aquarium, it helps a bunch for the filtration. I would recommend live rock and live sand the only "living" part of live rock/sand is it has good bacteria from the ocean ( get the live rock pre cured) if the live rock isn't cured then it brings a bunch of bad bacteria into your tank, you have to clean the rock first and I think it's a headache, yes it's more pricey but its worth it. For a beginner I wouldn't get any aggressive fish, the corals are Beautiful I think, but I've heard they are hard to start with. Overall it is pricey, but I think it's worth it. I only have a 28g and its getting close to about 1,000. I would save up, then buy it so you don't have to worry that everything died and you can't pay for it. I saved up and I'm glad I did because now I can get what I need without worrying. Another thing is don't buy ANYTHING at first glance, you can always get a better price somewhere, just don't get it to cheap because then you won't get good quality. Just do some research first you will be fine the out come is amazing!good luck with the tank best wishes!
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:46 PM   #3
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I think you need to take a large step back and a small step forward.

Firstly it sounds like you're unsure on what sort of tank you want. Predator, Reef, FOWLR etc. Get this understood first. Personally i would re think the eel.

Use google and youtube loads as it helps everyone starting out in the SW world. You neeto know your equipment and species. Start with simple species and slowly progress.

If you're budget is tight then you're going to struggle. Especially if you wants to keep corals as you will need nice clean water conditions and good lighting. Those 2 things along could be what cost you the most out of your entire setup so research that a bit too.

Live rock..... IMO the most important part of your SW aquarium. Research it!

Good luck You'll be fine just make the right decisions first!
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:30 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Swimfaster View Post
Ok first a protein skimmer is a tool that helps get rid of all the harsh Bactria in your aquarium, it helps a bunch for the filtration. I would recommend live rock and live sand the only "living" part of live rock/sand is it has good bacteria from the ocean ( get the live rock pre cured) if the live rock isn't cured then it brings a bunch of bad bacteria into your tank, you have to clean the rock first and I think it's a headache, yes it's more pricey but its worth it. For a beginner I wouldn't get any aggressive fish, the corals are Beautiful I think, but I've heard they are hard to start with. Overall it is pricey, but I think it's worth it. I only have a 28g and its getting close to about 1,000. I would save up, then buy it so you don't have to worry that everything died and you can't pay for it. I saved up and I'm glad I did because now I can get what I need without worrying. Another thing is don't buy ANYTHING at first glance, you can always get a better price somewhere, just don't get it to cheap because then you won't get good quality. Just do some research first you will be fine the out come is amazing!good luck with the tank best wishes!
Petsmart was having a sale on Protein skimmers the other day....I now wish I had gotten one. My Uncle and Cousin both run HUGE SW tanks so I guess I could snag a few buckets of sand live rock for the very low price of nothing I heard something similar about corals not being beginner safe as well. Perhaps I can just get some of the fake ones and add a few to make the place look nicer that way it won't cause mayhem to me and harm any fish. I always try to not be impulsive (it went well for my ropefish when I saw a ropefish for the first time in a local petstore going for $30 but then went home and did some research and calling before going to Big Al's for a $20 fish.) but sometimes when your Mom who is feeding you, clothing you and housing you and your pets asks for just one fish you can't really reject XD
WOAH I hear this is one of the most expensive hobbies around but really $100 0 on a 29g? That's crazy....actually I kinda expect that It'll go over $1000 for me as well lol. To be honest though on Kijiji people are often selling their full SW systems for like $400-$800 it usually just requires adding what type of fish you like. Thanks .
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:56 AM   #5
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total costs of systems is one of the very rare subjects that i try not to get tangled up in. reason being because there are wayyyy too many variables to be able to accurately guide someone. case in point, faster has $1,000 in his 29g setup, i have about 7-800 in my 125.... so it really depends on your budget and willingness to build things yourself
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by begginersluck View Post
I think you need to take a large step back and a small step forward.

Firstly it sounds like you're unsure on what sort of tank you want. Predator, Reef, FOWLR etc. Get this understood first. Personally i would re think the eel.

Use google and youtube loads as it helps everyone starting out in the SW world. You neeto know your equipment and species. Start with simple species and slowly progress.

If you're budget is tight then you're going to struggle. Especially if you wants to keep corals as you will need nice clean water conditions and good lighting. Those 2 things along could be what cost you the most out of your entire setup so research that a bit too.

Live rock..... IMO the most important part of your SW aquarium. Research it!

Good luck You'll be fine just make the right decisions first!
It's a good thing I've alotted myself alot of time to think this through and work on it.

I'm thinking I might just start out with a FOWLR with some fake decorations to make it look a little reefy and that way I can avoid alot of the extra real reef hassle. I know many people would avoid the eel as they're kinda difficult to find things to stock them with and even then they're still a risky fish but I think it would be the highlight of the tank as it's really the only salt water fish my mom took a liking to so far.

I totally forgot that I could use Youtube to help with things like equipment and such.

Nope. No Corals. Not now at least.

Live rock seems similar to the filter media in FW that have developed their bacteria. I'm trying weigh out how heavy this is going to be though...don't want the floor collapsing now.

Thanks I've always been a touch and go type of person (which works okay with FW sometimes) this is really the first time I'm really slowing down to learn everything before starting instead of learning as I go.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:08 AM   #7
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Look on Craig's list for deals on a tank and possibly accessories. If you want some types of corals, then lighting could be very expensive for that size tank. If you're willing to go with just mushrooms and other low light corals, then lights won't cost as much. You can do an eel, just know that they are great at escaping, so you'll need a very tight lid. Do lots of research. Check out liveaquaria.com and read about types of fish and coral- the site tells you tank size needed for fish, compatibility for fish and light level needed for corals. Read lots and lots of threads on here. Can never read too much. Good luck!!
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:10 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by huma-huma View Post
total costs of systems is one of the very rare subjects that i try not to get tangled up in. reason being because there are wayyyy too many variables to be able to accurately guide someone. case in point, faster has $1,000 in his 29g setup, i have about 7-800 in my 125.... so it really depends on your budget and willingness to build things yourself
I understand what you mean it's very varied in the SW hobby. Also, sometimes buying second hand things is alot cheaper than going all out on new things.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:15 AM   #9
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Look on Craig's list for deals on a tank and possibly accessories. If you want some types of corals, then lighting could be very expensive for that size tank. If you're willing to go with just mushrooms and other low light corals, then lights won't cost as much. You can do an eel, just know that they are great at escaping, so you'll need a very tight lid. Do lots of research. Check out liveaquaria.com and read about types of fish and coral- the site tells you tank size needed for fish, compatibility for fish and light level needed for corals. Read lots and lots of threads on here. Can never read too much. Good luck!!
Thanks. Honestly, Craigslist where I live is dead. We use kijiji. It's the same thing basically. I think I may look into some very low light, low maintence corals but right now I would rather go with fake ones to start and some live rock. Oh yes, I also have a Ropefish and their ability to escape is absurd. I've only been able to stop him latey because I meshed down the lid. He did manage to escape ones from the mesh but he's stopped now after I weighed that corner down. I'll pop by over there and see.
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