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Old 02-23-2011, 05:34 PM   #1
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Fish only... Tap water or RO DI?

Just a few quick questions really... I have seen RO DI filters for $169. But if I want fish only, can I use dechlorinated tap water and add the instant ocean to that? I've kept brackish fish before so I am familiar with the concept. I maintained a 1.005 salinity. The algae (from using tap water mainly) was something I could cope with and no inverts or corals would be involved in the tank.

One question regarding salinity: Is it absolutely essential to always maintain the recommended salinity? With the brackish I would vary minimal amounts and considered this merely a simulation of what those fish encounter in the wild being where fresh and salt water mix. I assume saltwater fish only ever experience the exact same salinity in the wild so any variation is bad? How bad? Does anybody recommend a refractometer? I used a hydrometer with my brackish tank.

Another question related to pH. In my brackish tank I had dead, dried coral and limestone to keep the pH high, but with a lot of freshwater and brackish fish it simply doesn't seem to matter too much what the pH is as long as it remains stable. Is this the case with some saltwater fish (I understand there is never a one-rule-fits-all, I know sensitive fish are always going to need ideal parameters).

Of course, my primary interest is to get my foot in the door with saltwater, not much more right now. Tank size will be a 29 gallon, no sump. I have HOB filters and I do have a protein skimmer (tried it with my brackish and the pickup wasn't enough to bother running it). Would like to keep Clown(s).

Thanks folks,

Tim
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:36 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Wheatley View Post
Just a few quick questions really... I have seen RO DI filters for $169. But if I want fish only, can I use dechlorinated tap water and add the instant ocean to that? I've kept brackish fish before so I am familiar with the concept. I maintained a 1.005 salinity. The algae (from using tap water mainly) was something I could cope with and no inverts or corals would be involved in the tank.
You could get away with dechlorinated tap water for FOWLR, but everyone recommends RO/DI. You will just need to have fish that don't require pristine water conditions. Ebay prices on units are $100-150 and they work great. I would get one just in case you see an anemone/coral/fish that you really want, but can't have because the tap water might not sustain them.

Quote:
One question regarding salinity: Is it absolutely essential to always maintain the recommended salinity? With the brackish I would vary minimal amounts and considered this merely a simulation of what those fish encounter in the wild being where fresh and salt water mix. I assume saltwater fish only ever experience the exact same salinity in the wild so any variation is bad? How bad? Does anybody recommend a refractometer? I used a hydrometer with my brackish tank.
For FOWLR, salinity of 1.020-1.023, and Reef, 1.024-1.026. You want to keep the salinity in these levels steady because any variation can be disastrous to a certain animal or the whole tank. A refractometer is the best way to check for the specific gravity (salinity). Those you can buy on Ebay for around $30 shipped. Just a piece of advice, keep your $8 hydrometer for backup, my friend gave his hydrometer away, then his refractometer broke.

Quote:
Another question related to pH. In my brackish tank I had dead, dried coral and limestone to keep the pH high, but with a lot of freshwater and brackish fish it simply doesn't seem to matter too much what the pH is as long as it remains stable. Is this the case with some saltwater fish (I understand there is never a one-rule-fits-all, I know sensitive fish are always going to need ideal parameters).
Keep your pH between 7.8 and 8.4. It's kinda hard to get your pH out of this range if you're using LR/Baserock and sand (recommended)/crushed coral

Quote:
Of course, my primary interest is to get my foot in the door with saltwater, not much more right now. Tank size will be a 29 gallon, no sump. I have HOB filters and I do have a protein skimmer (tried it with my brackish and the pickup wasn't enough to bother running it). Would like to keep Clown(s).
Have you completely thrown out the sump idea? My reasoning is because it will give your tank a much cleaner appearance and the filtration would be much easier and cheaper (in the long run) to maintain. Unless of course there's no way to hide the sump (ie cabinets).
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:40 AM   #3
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Awesome response. Thanks!

Yeah I can see myself eventually wanting rock and coral... lol That's kinda how I ended up with so many freshwater tanks.

The sump went out as an idea because of space. Although for a 29 it could be relatively small (I'd always want enough space in the sump for the tank to completely empty to it's overflow level without overflowing itself). This may actually be the deciding factor as to whether this happens anytime soon or whether I wait.

I think I would prefer to wait, but thanks very much for your help. Saltwater seems really scary but having a brackish tank and knowing that basically it just meant monitoring more things. Freshwater can be quite forgiving to a newbie, but I get the feeling saltwater might not be... So I'll wait until I can arrange space.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:02 PM   #4
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I would totally suggest using a sump. I have a 60gal tank with a stand that will not Alow me to put a sump under it... So I went out and got a stand right next to the tank that the sump sits in. Plus it gives me a place to set things on lol. I personally think it makes working on the sump easy. It's a win win situation.
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