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Old 05-24-2011, 03:28 AM   #1
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What Do I need To Get Started?

Ok guys I made a thread last week to try and get started and i picked a few things up. My dad says its really difficult and expensive to maintain saltwater fish. Is it really? Outside of water changes what more work do I need to do? I assume there is some kind of meter to detect salinity(link me if you can please). I learned in my previous thread that I need a ro/di unit. Outside of the ro unit what other hardware do i need? What temp should I keep the tank at? What salt - water ration should I keep?
What I have is a 60 gal tank(with stand) with 60 pounds of gravel(originally planned to be freshwater. On the fence about salt/fresh water).
I know I Need
ro/di unit (have a link to one on ebay)
sand (link me, I heard argonite is good, but haven't seen it for sale)
live rock (available at my lfs
filter (easily obatinable)
heater (easily obtainable)
salt (???)
am i missing anything?
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Old 05-24-2011, 03:59 AM   #2
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Lights my friend! depending on what type of sw tank youre going for, lights is one of the biggest buys youll make. One thing i've learned from my newest tank is: buy everything you need first after researching what it is you want. youll need some sort of submersible powerhead. i have three in my 46. youre on the right track making that list. dont waste your money on excess chemicals. all the nutrients your tank needs will be added with your salt mix when you make your PWC, I'm excited to see what your going to do with this tank! PS: if you have the means...GO REEF!!!!
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Old 05-24-2011, 04:04 AM   #3
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I had a feeling I was missing lights. Can someone break it down for me? like watts per gallon and the "k"? what brands?
Whats the difference between a reef tank and a non reef? Coral?

I currently don't plan on getting coral(maybe some dead ones, my dad brought some back a few years ago from Hawaii/Mexico). Just live rock, fish and anemones(do they need coral?).

I also made a thread regarding my stocking. Advise on this would be cool too.

Can I get a Dwarf Lionfish with a couple of clownfish? Now how about a snowflake eel? Anemones?
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Old 05-24-2011, 04:27 AM   #4
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an anemone would need a well established tank. people recommend a year two make sure the water is in pristine conditions. very hard to keep. plus they need really good lighting. if youre not planning on going reef for the meantime, but may want to add a few easy corals, i would highly recommend T5 lighting. it's really great for just fish, brings out great colors but is also great for most corals. unless you have the money to dish out, LED would be the way to go. highly efficient, long life, and seems to be the future lighting for any saltwater system. if you go with clowns to begin with and want them to host something similar to an anemone, i would suggest a frogspawn coral. very hardy and can be kept with t5s. a disclaimer though, not all clowns will host anything. i've kept anemones and corals and my clowns just loved staying behind a filter. i would not suggest keeping a dwarf lion fish with anything smaller than it. anything could be lunch. plus the maintenance for a predatory fish would make a beginner saltwater tank unbearable. i'd start off easy, couple clowns, if your not keeping a reef a dwarf angel makes a great addition. bicolor angels are great. i'm keeping a coral beauty who OWNS the tank and makes a great small tank center piece. Gobies are nice as well. dont forget the clean up crew! some hermits, emerald crabs and snails! steer clear from arrow crabs and sally lightfoot crabs. both get big and become fish killers sooner or later, IME.
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Old 05-24-2011, 04:30 AM   #5
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oh and yes, reef means fish with coral. FOWLR means fish only with live rock. the latter is easier, but the reef is very rewarding!
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Old 05-24-2011, 05:29 AM   #6
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Thanks. I think I am gonna pass(maybe) on the coral/anemones for now, but what kind of lightering do i need? 6500k? and how many bulbs? 1 for each hood?

for the clean up crew i was thinking chocolate chip starfish and a black sea urchin
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:52 AM   #7
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You need to be able to measure the SG a refractometer is better than a hydrometer.

You will get a lot of algae with a 65k go with at least a 10k this is a decent light to consider 4Ft/4Bulbs fixture if you want later on you could keep soft corals with it and maybe some LPS corals.

You will want to get a liquid test kit for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates to begin with.

The clean up crew you are wanting probably won't be the best because the amount of algae urchin will eat. They need a stable aged tank to thrive.
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Old 05-25-2011, 12:58 AM   #8
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When mixing the salt with the water before add to the tank, should I add declorinator before the salt or after the salt?

Clean up crew: shrimp(suggestions on species?) and starfish?

should I get the clean up crew first, or the fish(starting off with clownfish)?

how often do i do PWCs and how much water do take out?
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Old 05-25-2011, 02:17 AM   #9
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If you are doing saltwater get RO water from the beginning it will save hours of frustration in the near future.

CUC I like snails over crabs but I have crabs in my tanks as well.

Star fish should only be in well established tanks. If you get live rock chances are there will be brittle stars in it.

Get the CUC first then the fish.

Plan on doing about 20% ever week. Always have a few gallons mixed up for emergencies.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:30 AM   #10
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Here's two websites for the sand:

ReefCleaners.org | Clean Up Crews and Macro Algae - Sand (40 pounds)

Sand

Reefcleaners only offer fine grade sand which is kinda small IMO. Its almost like sand you find in a playground.

If you want some larger grade sand, marcorocks offer coarse, but I have no personal experience with it so I don't really know how big the difference is.


If your on a budget, cheap lighting would work for FOWLR. The lighting is mostly for your viewing, doesn't help with growth very much.

If you're using RO/DI water, there isn't any chlorine in the water so the de-chlorinator isn't needed.

I would suggest the fire shrimp for looks. It does clean but is nocturnal so it doesn't like to come out into the open very much. A skunk cleaner shrimp is very good since it can clean your fish also and it is much more active than the fire shrimp. My skunk cleaner climbs onto my hand all the time and just swims around like crazy during feeding time, very fun to watch. Both shrimps are compatible with each other so you can get both. If you want multiple shrimps, stay away from a coral banded shrimp since it will attack other shrimps and kill them.
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