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Old 11-10-2005, 01:23 AM   #1
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Brand new...

Hey everyone out there,

This is my first post and im not new to fish. I have a 100 gallon african Mbuna cichlid tank and a 250 gallon oscar tank, but I am new to salt water tanks.

I am making this post to ask you guys out there...I want to start a salt water aquarium and I absolutly have no idea what to do. As you can see im not new to fish so i think I can take the challenge. So if you guys can give me list of items I would need (such as protien skimmer) that would be great and how I would go about starting a tank.

Sorry for such a broad question but I checked on the internet and this is the best site I can find for salt water aquariums. Thanks a million in advance.

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Old 11-10-2005, 10:27 AM   #2
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Its not much different than FW, really. In addition to the tank, an ideal set up has a sump and protein skimmer for filtration. One pound of live rock per gallon of water aids in filtration greatly. Sand for substrate. Then you have a heater (or chiller if you really need one). Dont forget SW test kits as well. RO/DI water gives the best results.

You can start the tank with the popular fishless cycle (there is a link floating around somewhere in here). It involves using a raw, fresh shrimp to kick off the cycle, and allowing the nitrifying bacteria to come about. After the cycle, youre ready to add fish/inhabitants a a slow rate to keep things in check. Hope this helps.

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Old 11-10-2005, 11:08 AM   #3
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My advice is to take the time to read everything you can get your hands on, especially the posts on AA to decide what you want to do before you start spending money. And don't rush. It's better to save up and get the best quality skimmer, lighting (assuming you want a reef), etc that you can rather then going cheap and regretting it and buying the good stuff further down the road.

Here is a book that i see recommended here a lot you might think of checking out

Welcome to AA and good luck
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:25 AM   #4
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I second that. Read that book before you buy a thing. Got some good articles at this site also.

Need to think this thing out armed with info. Like whether you'll do fish only or reef. (sorry, I'm reef biased ) The info will guide your purchases a lot better.

Good luck... and of course, the requisite - Welcom to AA!!

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Old 11-10-2005, 11:30 AM   #5
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Any chance we could make this a sticky? It would be a great aid to have a single definative thread we could all refer and contribute to for people that are getting their feet wet for the fist time. It's too broad a subject to put into a single thread, obviously, but if Ternaldo is asking for a list of saltwater equipment why don't we all start one. THE list, if you will. It could save a lot of time as we all know that we'll have another new member asking for the same thing in another day or so (which is great!).
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:49 AM   #6
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Basically for getting your saltwater tank set up, your main equipment will be dependant on the type of tank you choose. I've found that for every piece of equipment you'll buy, someone somewhere on this site has used it and can tell you the pros and cons of it. Don't be shy about asking for help, you'll search online for a long, long time until you can get the kind of support that you'll find here.

Your basic list should be:

Lights - make sure you know what kind of tank you want to decide on your lighting choice (ie: only fish, reef tank with corals, etc). It's probably the single biggest decision you'll make, and more than likely the most expensive too.

Heater - salt tanks are generally warmer than fresh, but not always.

Protein Skimmer - a must, as you'll have to control waste a lot more diligently than with a freah tank. Make sure you ask around for advice on good ones as there are a lot of ones out there that people aren't happy with.

Powerheads - you'll need a lot more circulation, depending on the tank you get.

Test Kits - you'll have to pay more strict attention to the levels of phosphate, nitrate, and calcium than you do with a freshwater setup. You may need a higher range pH kit too, but if you have a cichlid tank you probably already have one.

Live rock - live rock and live sand is great for flitration, as was mentioned above.

Books - again, as was said above you really can't research enough about what you are getting yourself into. Read, read, read! What really helped me was either asking a specific question here, or just cycling through all the old posts and just browsing for information. It's tedious, but better than waiting a day or two for a reply. There is a ton of really good information on this site alone.

You'll find everyone has a different opinion on pretty much everything, and they've all had success doing it. For every person that prefers a deep sand bed, you'll find one that doesn't like them at all. For every person that likes to cycle with fish, you'll find one that would never do it. Just be prepared to take a lot of time to do things and to make sure you have an idea of what you are trying to do before you start taking steps. The more you find yourself thinking long term, the better off you'll be.

Hope this helps.

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