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Old 03-15-2013, 10:49 AM   #1
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I think im in over my head!!

I purchased a new 36g tank with the intention of upgrading my FW. Well my husband talked me into setting up a SW. So here I am, a week later going through a cycle, with a little bit of LR, and A Livesandbed. I have bubbles, standard filter/lights, and a power head I haven't yet set up. All I'm seeing right now is $$$$!!!! I'm starting to feel defeated and unsure. I've been shopping around and wandering into lfs and every one of them gives me different answers! I feel like they're all trying to sell me w/e.
so... Here's my questions...

Do I need a protein skimmer? If so what kind/brand?

Do I need to upgrade my Fluro lights? If so what kinds/brands?

Do I need to upgrade my filter? If so...??

Will putting in a clean up crew speed up/help my cycle?

Do I need a refugium? (I've only just touched on them! I don't even really understand what they are?)

I've looked through the forums, and found some helpful info! And I'm sure these questions have been answered before so I'm sorry in advance! I'm just loosing faith!
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:54 AM   #2
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It's tricky because there is no right or wrong answer to your questions, there are so many ways you could do this. If it was me, with that size tank I would ditch the filter altogether, add a bit more live rock and def get that powerhead running. You got a heater to keep the temp stable? You could run a skimmer but that is something you could add later as your stock list grows. It is not necessary but can be helpful. Not sure what a bubbler is but get rid of it, you don't need it, powerheads will keep the water oxygenated. Invest in a text kit for salt water so you can monitor your cycle. Throw a raw shrimp in there and let it rot to get the ammonia levels rising. No need for clean up crew just yet, the cycle could take up to 4 weeks. When you see the ammonia spike, turn into nitrites then eventually nitrates you should be good to add fish. Amm and nitrite should be 0 in a cycled tank. What's your future plans for the stock? Your light will be fine for now but should you wish to add corals down the road you will need to upgrade for sure. Hopefully that won't be for a while... Was that everything? Any other questions just ask
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:57 AM   #3
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Oh you don't need a refugium, they are helpful but not necessary. Also something you might want to add at a later stage when you are feeling more confident. Another thing I just thought of, make sure your water is source is ro-di, you can't use tap water in salt water tanks, will cause algae problems down the road...
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:08 PM   #4
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You don't need a proteins skimmr right away, and one for a 36g isn't going to break the bank (piggy bank maybe). You can shop around for one, but for now its not going to be necessary. in 6 to 9 months, if you've started in on a few corals and have a decent bioload going we can talk about what kind of skimmer you'd like.

can you provide a link to your light fixture? maybe from ebay/amazon? if nothing else a picture would also help.

what kind of filter do you have? there are hang on the back (hob), canisters, sumps, in-tank filters.... you get the idea, we'll need to know what you have before making any recommendations...also a picture would help.

The clean up crew will not help speed your cycle. For now you don't have much to clean up, so they'd be kind of bored you see.

Refugiums are for growing macro algae (the good kind) and then removing a portion of them for nutrient export. They are also a place to shelter 'pods (tiny crustaceans) that will help feed a tank. Not something you need yet, but maybe in the future.

There are many different ways and types, products both diy and manufactured, my best advice is just to start reading about them, and ask any questions you have here, you'll get a more varied answer than from a local fish store (lfs), and that helps to formulate your own opinion.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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Oh, and best advice for right now would be not to add any livestock, other than that cocktail shrimp Bectan was talking about
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:53 PM   #6
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This is the tank. Like I said, it's standard. Was just meant for my FW and I was going to upgrade the filter!

I have a heater (a better one than the one listed in the link. I have it running at around 81f while there's no fish.

The bubbles (air stone lol) were something I had prior so I threw them in there to help with oxygen and circulation after I added the SW.

I've been testing the kit over the last couple of days. Amm was .5ppm then .5, then 0.
Nitrite. 1.0 then 1 again.

http://m.petsmart.com/mt/www.petsmar...tAvailInUS2FNo
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:54 PM   #7
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And thank you! Keep the advice coming! I'm so lost with SW!
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:45 PM   #8
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What is the long term goal of this tank? Are you going to just have fish or do you plan to do corals, if it is a fish-only, then lighting does not matter at all. A skimmer would help, but is not critical. A wel-maintained filter should even be fine for a tank that size and with enough live rock, that would be purely for mechanical filtration (to get the poop out).

It is great that you found this site. Lots of good, un-biased information to be had and it comes from people that are not looking to make a buck off of you, which LFS are going to do to some extent. Ask questions here, especially prior to buying fish and you will be fine.

Cycle with an uncooked shrimp and the process will happen. Plan on about 4-6 weeks. Having your own test kit is almost a mandatory purchase, IMO. Beats the heck out of always having to take water samples to your LFS.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:26 PM   #9
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Thanks! I did post a link with the tank info but it hasn't shown up yet. It's just the regular aqueon 36g now from petsmart. I do have a test kit and have been using it to test amm and nitrite to get familiar with the numbers.

I'm just looking at putting some easy fish in. Clowns, gobies? I would definitely love to eventually put some sort of corals/inverts etc. but not untill I'm very established and have the correct equipment!

Any suggestions on starter fish?
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:37 PM   #10
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Check out sites like liveaquaria.com. They have pictures, recommended tank sizes, compatibility charts, etc. they even have a Beginners section with suggestions on low maintenance fish. i strongly encourage people to keep those tank sizes in mind, as many will make the mistake of buying a fish that is beyond their tank size and will have stress-related problems later.

Clowns are strong and a good choice for that size. The 36 will limit you, but there are many really cool smaller fish that will work. Run ideas by on here and you will get good feedback.
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