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Old 10-07-2009, 02:47 PM   #1
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confused newbie

Hi
i am new to saltwater... i have had fresh water tanks for years, currently run 2, a 50gal and 75 gal, gold fish and tropical with no problems and well established.. we are now wanting to venture into saltwater, to explore the new breeds and so forth saltwater can provide...
however, i have been spending time reading up on here and other websites as well as various documentation and so forth and it has just made me more confused than anything, seems there are so many different opinions on what is best, worst etc. i am hoping someone can lay it out for me and tell me what i am still in need or, or what i have that i shouldnt...
currently i have a 55gallon tank. i have an emperor 400 bio wheel filter on the back and a gravity fed filter behind with a maxijet 1000 pump. i am using filter pad and bio balls in the gravity filter at the moment.
the substrait is natural gravel with live sand over it, about an inch of sand, varies across the tank, as i let it fall naturally and gave a nicer bed than flat... maybe this is wrong...
i have a single heater, currently keeping it at 75oF but it not maxed out so can turn it up..
lighting is just a single 32inch flourecent, powerglow bulb, 40W.

we are wanting to obviously have fish, i have been told the best fish to start with are damsels, which is what we shall use and then go from there. as far as coral goes, id like to have some, im not looking for a huge coral reef tank, although they look nice it is expensive and plan on doing this over time, so for now just live rock and some coral, but keep the start up costs down until i am confident i have it all right. unlike fresh water tanks, if you screw up and kill everything, thats a huge chunk of change you just destroyed...

i have heard bio balls are actually bad, but then i have heard, they are great... some people say, put sand in the sump, other say, it will just ruin your pump...
the pump is old now, i plan on replacing it but it works fine just doesnt always restart on its own if power goes out so will be replaced.
currently, i calculated im pushing 660gph from both filters, i was told looking at between 7-10 times tank capacity which i am well within, is this correct?

basically i just need someone who knows, to just let me know what i need to change or add or remove, before i start spending money on live rock and eventually fish... its been cycling for about a week in its current form, im in no rush, just want to make sure least get a good start...

thanks...i hope...
nick
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:29 PM   #2
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1)Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank.

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Old 10-07-2009, 08:27 PM   #3
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haha, Mike those two things were what i wa going to post, but you beat me to it lol.

okay, so if you want corals, you are going to need to have some good lighting, and unfortunately, its one of the most expensive, and important, parts of having a saltwater tank.

the water flow seems about right, but if you have frequent power outtages, then getting a new one is definitely going to be nessecary.

you are also going to need a protein skimmer, and also an RODI unit for sure.
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Old 10-08-2009, 01:08 PM   #4
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thanks..
yes i read through that stock list, that was what confused me, as it contradicted other peoples opinions, hence my confusion on some aspects...
protein skimmer.... now, have to forgive me, as i said, i been fresh water up until now and not really messed with a lot of these fancier filters.. but my understanding is, its a filter that takes the water from the surface, skims the surface, correct? my gravity filter ( i may be calling it the wrong thing) uses a, box, which hangs on the back of the tank and has slots in it, taking water from the surface, its currently set about 1/2 inch into the water. it then uses a syphon to pull this water out and into the sump below... is that doing the same thing as a protein skimmer?

i will have to look into RODI..

thanks... ill follow the above guide.. i guess its like a lot of things, different people have different ideas of how to do things... the lighting i did look into yes and that is going to be an expensive part.. but should just be a one time set up cost and not require much more financial input as long as nothing breaks...this tank is built into a wall and the top is hidden, so the lighting doesnt need to look fancy or anything, long as it outputs what it needs to, it wont be seen.

thanks..
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Old 10-08-2009, 01:15 PM   #5
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you don't want sand/mud in your sump but in the refugium.
its really optional, depend on what u r gonna put in your refugium, you may want to put some sand.
but someone in here also told me if u r not putting 4"+sand to great a DSB, then there is no use putting sand.
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Old 10-08-2009, 02:42 PM   #6
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I've also been told to avoid damsel fish. They can be very aggressive and nasty. If you are going to get them, get them last.
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Old 10-08-2009, 04:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclebobsuncle View Post
...
protein skimmer.... now, have to forgive me, as i said, i been fresh water up until now and not really messed with a lot of these fancier filters.. but my understanding is, its a filter that takes the water from the surface, skims the surface, correct? my gravity filter ( i may be calling it the wrong thing) uses a, box, which hangs on the back of the tank and has slots in it, taking water from the surface, its currently set about 1/2 inch into the water. it then uses a syphon to pull this water out and into the sump below... is that doing the same thing as a protein skimmer?.
No.

A protein skimmer can pull water from anywhere, but essentially is a thing that make a ton of little tiny bubbles and creates a frothy foam of your saltwater. The foam then rises up through a tube and spills over into a collection cup. Y'know that line of foam you see along the beach? That's essentially what a skimmer is trying to recreate. The tiny bubbles attract organics before they break down into ammonia/nitrites/nitrates and get them out of your tank.

A surface skimmer attachment (which you're describing) is not the same, although you can use one with a protein skimmer.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by unclebobsuncle View Post
Hi
we are wanting to obviously have fish, i have been told the best fish to start with are damsels, which is what we shall use and then go from there.

For goodness sake, don't put a damsel in first. I learned the hard way. That little $5 demon cost me about $200 in fish. Just my two cents!

Oh and read everything you can find on cycling your tank. I was told how to do this from the guy at my LFS and it's been a real problem getting the tank properly. Read this article if you haven't already done so:

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...ank/Page1.html

I'm still a newbie myself but I would hate for anyone else to make the same mistakes I did. Just trying to help save you some time and money. Lessons learned right!

Enjoy your new tank!
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:01 AM   #9
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Hey Unclebob,
I was in the your exact position 6 months ago.
In my opinion start with a FOWLER system. They are actually pretty self sustaining aside from some water monitoring and water changes.
FOWLER systems give you a chance to work with and get familiar with saltwater without dropping a lot of money right away on lighting and other filtration.
You can always upgrade later.
No matter what you decide you have great resources here at AA!!
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:08 AM   #10
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yeah, the protein skimmer takes organics out of the water, and the RO/DI unit filters your tap watter before it goes into the tank. your gonna need both.
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