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Old 01-20-2004, 01:28 PM   #1
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Switching from freshwater to saltwater

I am not certain this is the right Forum. If it isn't feel free to redirect this post.

My setup:
I currently have a new 30 gallon long (36-in.) with 50lbs of lava rock, 20lbs of sand recommended for african cichlids, a 65w corallife 50/50 aqualight, pengiun 330 and Bio-wheel pro 60 driven by an aquaclear 402 powerhead w/sponge attachment. The Tank has never had any fish.

How feasible would it be to switch this tank over to a lightly loaded saltwater fish only plus a few hardy inverts (shrimp, crabs, etc.)?
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Old 01-20-2004, 01:40 PM   #2
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com

If you're looking for fish only you have a good start. I'm thinking you'll want to remove the lavarock (unless that will work ok as baserock, I don't think i've read anything on that yet, see what others say) the sand should be ok, you might actually want to add a little more to give you at least 4" of sand in the tank. This will become a DSB and be part of your filtration. The light will be just fine for a Fish Only SW tank. the bio-wheel filter, unfortunetly, won't be of much use other than for water movement. If you use it for water movement, pull out the bio-filter as it will lend itself to increased nitrate levels.

so with that, you've got pretty much a small SW tank. I would consider adding a few pounds of LR for filtration, view this article on how to Cycle Without Fish. As the first step once it's set up is to cycle the tank.

First two rules for SW are these:
1) Patience! Things move very slowly in SW and rushing only leads to disaster.
2) READ! You've already taken the first step and have gotten here to ask questions, check out our Articles Section and read through this forum and the General Discussion forum.

Looking forward to updates!
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Old 01-20-2004, 01:44 PM   #3
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I had a couple of additional thoughts:

Other things you'll need:

Good quality salt. Crystal Reef is what I use, Instant Ocean should be fine for FO tanks.
A hydrometer for checking the salt level in the tank, fairly inexpensive at most LFS.
A good set of test kits. At a minimum you'll want Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and Ph.

Water quality should be near these numbers:
Specific Gravity (how much salt is in the water): 1.023
Ph: 8.2
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 25 or less for FO tanks
Temperature: 82 degrees F.
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Old 01-20-2004, 03:21 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I've been battling with the ammonia and nitrites. I tested the tank on 1/14 and had .5ppm Ammonia and Nitrite. I added some amquel+ on 1/19 and after 2 hours the Ammonia had dropped to .25ppm and the nitrites to 0ppm. I tested again today (1/20) and the ammonia and nitrites were at .25ppm. PH has been pretty steady at 8.0 through the whole process. If I decide to switch to salt will I have to cycle all over again? Should I even consider this as a cycle or just an annoying problem with my water supply?
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:04 PM   #5
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if you don't already have saltwater in the tank, then you will have to start a new cycle all over again, yes.

I'm not sure what you've done so far to the system to get the levels you have so I'm not sure what advice to give you.
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