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Old 05-31-2013, 01:15 PM   #1
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Maybe thinking of starting a FOWLR...

I have the vague beginnings of an idea to start a FOWLR in my old 29 gallon tank. Not sure if I'm ready to go over to the salt side or not!

I know I would need instant ocean for the salt and a refractometer to check the specific gravity. I'm assuming I would need to get a marine specific API test kit. Marine compatible sand substrate and around 25lbs of live rock.

My vague thought for stock would be a couple tank bred clowns and maybe like 3 blue damsels. Easy fish suitable for a beginner is the goal! Understocking probably a good idea at this point too.

Would I need a powerhead in this small a tank?
Protein skimmer?
Could I use a HOB like an Aquaclear or similar?
Could I use filter media from my freshwater tank to help jumpstart the cycle in a salt tank?
Would the stock LED lighting be alright?
Is treated tap water really that big of a no no for a FOWLR? I don't have a lot of room to store a tank of RO saltwater for PWCs...this is my main concern for thinking of NOT starting a salt tank, lol.

Sorry for a billion questions!

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Old 05-31-2013, 07:50 PM   #2
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You can look at my Build Thread. I started out FW then converted over to SW. I used my HOB filter for a while and it worked out fine but eventually you will want to go with a sump and overflow system.

You would need a powerhead.

I went a good bit without a Protein Skimmer till I found a good used one on Craigslist. It's recommended to use one though.

I wouldn't recommend using any media from your freshwater setup unless you thoroughly clean the media, but even then your taking a chance.

What kind of lighting do you have? The LED's need to be at least 3W each for corals (Eventually you will go that route, promise lol)

I use tap water, You're not supposed to because it will give you algea problems later on but some people have had some success with it. But eventually you will want to go with RO water or water from your LFS.

Here's the best list I've found on starting a SW tank. This is from Reefing Madness, he knows his stuff.

These are the things you are going to need to have a succesful Salt Water Tank.
#1-Dry Rock, there are a few hitchhikers on Live Rock that people want to stay away from, so they opt for using Dry Rock, or Dead Rock. Macro Rock is a good place to start looking for that. Either way you go you will need a minimum of 1lb per gallon.

#2-Replacement filter media like filter floss and activated carbon (if you get a filter) Which is really not necessary.

#3-Multiple Power heads (2 or 3) 10x your water volume for just a Fish Only With Live Rock, and at least 20x your water volume for a Reef Tank. So lets say your going reef, and you have a 100g tank, you would need flow in that tank at minimum of 2000gph, or 2 1000gph power heads.

#4-Protein Skimmer, rated at 2 times your water volume

#5-Saltwater Test Kits. Reef Test Kit. Test for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, PH, Phosphates, Calcium, ALK and Magnesium.

#6-Saltwater fish food. Mysis Shrimp, Squid, Cyclopease, Algae Sheets, Romaine . Flake food is not really a good food to feed your marine fish.

#7-Aquarium vacuum. This one is iffy. Most don't use one, if you have enough flow in the tank you won’t need one

#8-Rubber kitchen gloves

#9-Fish net

#10-Two, clean, never used before, 5-gallon buckets

#11-Aquarium thermometer, digital being the best.

#12-Brush with plastic bristles (old tooth brush) - needed for cleaning the live rock if you don't get Fully Cured Live Rock.

#13-Power Strip, possibly GFCI outlets by the tank.

#14-Optional but definitely recommend getting a Reverse Osmosis or RO/Deionization filter for the make-up water, and a barrel for storing the water.

#15-Possibly a Quarantine Tank for your new fish. They sit in here for a few weeks to kill off parasites and bacteria, to keep it from getting in your main tank

#16-Heater rated for your size tank.

#17-Saltwater Mix. Marine Salt. Instant Ocean is the cheap Salt that beginners and Advanced use alike.

#18-Saltwater Hydrometer or even better a Refractometer, which is more accurate. There is also a Digital Meter that is way advanced if you have the cash.

#19-Aquarium filter (not absolutely necessary if running with adequate amounts of live rock, but nice to have if you need to use a mechanical filter or activated carbon, or GFO and such)

#20-Aquarium substrate such as live sand or crushed coral. Some go bare Bottom, others choose the 2-3" bottom, others, more advanced will try the Deep Sand Bed, which is over 6" deep.

55 Gallon SW FOWLR; AquaPro 75 Sump, CPR CS90 Overflow, Power-head, Seaclone 100 Protein Skimmer, 3 clowns & 4 Blue/Green Chromis55 Gallon Build
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Old 06-01-2013, 12:49 AM   #3
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Thank you! That is very helpful. I realized I posted this in kind of the wrong forum, so sorry about that!

I'm fascinated by the live rock thing. Watching stuff grow off of it...too cool. I'm almost more excited about that then I am the fish, lol.

I must put some serious contemplation into this. If I decide to go for it, I'm sure I'll have tons more questions!
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Old 06-01-2013, 12:50 AM   #4
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Can you pick me up?
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Old 06-01-2013, 01:57 PM   #5
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I don't know. How heavy are you?

After doing some more readings, I'm still really wanting to do this. Haven't talked myself out of it yet!

Looking at this powerhead maybe? The Aquaclear model 30: Aquarium Water Current: Hagen AquaClear Powerheads

This skimmer maybe? Aquatic Life Internal mini skimmer 115: Aquarium Protein Skimmer: AquaticLife Internal Mini Skimmer 115

I have heard it is better to buy LR online than at an LFS. Is Liveaquaria an okay place to get it from?

I agree I should do things now that will lend itself to a reef later even though I currently have no big desire to try corals. When I started back up my freshwater tanks, I had no intention of doing planted...now I'm having to buy new lights! lol
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:13 PM   #6
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Nevermind! I think I may go with whatever I can get used! lol

I think as I move forward, I will start a thread in the getting started forum, which is where I should have put this to start with! lol

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