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Old 02-22-2005, 01:32 AM   #1
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Need help on setup...

This is probably a real common question but im gonna go ahead and ask anyways. I just aquired a 55 gallon tank from my g/fs mom for free (YAY). I have a 20g and 10 g freshwater already so i was looking for something a little more interesting and colorful. Right now i just have the actual tank and stand and i dont know what all she is bringing down this weekend that went with it. So assuming that that is all i have to start with, i need help in figuring out what i should expect to buy. I have NEVER messed with saltwater so treat me as dumb as you want. Also, I am on a college budget but would like as good a system as i can afford.

Not sure what other information i need to provide.


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Old 02-22-2005, 01:41 AM   #2
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Hah! I'm first to welcome ya!!!


There's 1094120382 things we could advise you to get. Bare minimum I would start out with a couple powerheads, and a skimmer. What kind of tank do you want? Fish Only? Fish only with live rock? Reef? This might be a good start.

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Old 02-22-2005, 01:48 AM   #3
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First thing I recommend is reading a good book on sw like: "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" By Robert Fenner.

Second look around here and read, read, read.

What kind of sw tank do you want?
A) Fish Only FO B) Fish Only with Liverock FOWLR C) Reef

Along with the tank, and stand of course you will need IMO:
2 Heaters
Protein Skimmer (Can Wait A While)
Aquarium Salt
Substrate (CC or Sand. I perfer sand)
Couple Powerheads (PH)
Filter (unless you do liverock in which you will need at minimum 1lb per gallon. 2lbs per gallon would be optimal)
Test Kit (Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, PH)
Hydrometer (test salinity)
QT Quarinteen Tank (this tank will be used to quarinteen all new fish for desiese or parasite before adding them to the main tank, or in the case of a sick fish that needs treatment. At least 20g or as big as you can get)

I am sure I forgot something, but it is a start.

By the way Welcome to AA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS. Don't want to scare you with this long list, you can do it, but keep in mind SW is not cheap at all.
Remember to Keep Christ First!
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Old 02-22-2005, 02:39 AM   #4
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ok, well, im thinking a FOWLR system since i wont be required to buy expensive lighting for the LR. Not as pretty but i can suffice. Now seeing how i am REALLY new to this saltwater crap.... what exactly are the powerheads used for... i feel so dumb asking this.
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Old 02-22-2005, 07:39 AM   #5
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powerheads are used for water movement. the closed system in a tank does not have currents such as those fouind in nature. The powerheads will create an erratic current when the flows are directed at each other. For a FO or FOWLR you want flow that is 10x the tanks volume. A reef setup would require 20x or more to be optimum.
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28gal bowfront
40lbs livesand(bag from LFS), 30lbs live rock(LR.com)
2 O. Clowns
1 peppermint shrimp, 5 red leg hermit crabs,
4 mexican turbo snails, 15 nassarius snails
ricordea mushroom, candy cane coral,
super color polyps, hairy mushrooms
bubble coral, hawiian feather duster
coralife lunar 2x65, HOT magnum canister
10 Gal refugium(chaeto) & seaclone skimmer
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Old 02-22-2005, 12:14 PM   #6
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defective, you have much to learn but you are on the right track posting
questions here. PH's are for water circulation, current, like found in the
ocean. Turns out our tanks do best with this current also. It helps keep
the system vibrant by exporting waste and oxygenating the water. You will
need at least 2 ph in a 55g, each with 300-400gph IMO. SW especially needs this as it holds less oxygen than FW, hence the rule of FW tanks supporting more fish per gallon.

A 55g FOWLR will cost you, I figure, about $300-500 to get going. You can
cut a few corners like Home depot Southdown tropical sand ($5 instead of
$50) see here: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=22188.
Another cheat is to use dry base rock (calcium carbonate) (50/50) with LR,
the base rock gets seeded and turns to LR in time. LR costs $3-6 lb, base
rock $1-2. To put this into elementary steps, here is what you need to do:

1) clean the tank, rinse well to be sure no detergents or bleach is
2) add sand or crushed coral (aragonite sand, not silica)
3) add water (use conditioner such as Prime or use purified R/O)
4) add PHs and heater
5) add salt (this is the only time you will add salt directly to tank,
afterward you mix in a separate container) to around 1.023-1.025 sg
6) add live rock (and a chunk of raw seafood)
7) set temp to 80F and let the tank cycle (2-5 weeks depending on LR)
8 ) keep reading articles and posts on this forum
9) when ammonia and nitrites = 0 do a large water change then you can
SLOWLY add hardy fish / inverts
11) start looking for a skimmer (don't skimp on this, it removes organic
waste from the water; unlike a filter that just traps some solid waste)
12) start doing regular water changes (every 2 weeks) mixing the salt in a
bucket (I use a 13g tuppeware container) with a ph or airstone for 24hrs -
freshly mixed saltwater is not good for fish or inverts (chemical

hey half the fun is dreaming it up!
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