Originally Posted by safish
This is my first post and I will try to provide as much as information as possible before asking the question.
I have placed an order for 55G SeaClear system II with a water heater and a Venturi protein skimmer. I am planning to keep it as a fish tank and if everything works out well, may be put few corals (I hope that should be OK).
Since this is my first saltwater aquarium, I have few questions.
1. Do I need to buy anything other than what I specified for tank (not fishes)?.
Most likely, yes. You'll want to get test kits for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH at a bare minimum. A test for phosphates might be nice too. As you get ready to introduce corals, you'll want tests for calcium, alkalinity, and perhaps magnesium. As noted earlier, a refractometer will allow you to keep tabs on the salinity of your water.
Regarding the tank itself, you'll most likely want a couple powerheads like a MaxiJet, to provide for water movement within the tank itself. If I remember right, those SeaClears have a kind of built in overflow/sump in the back of it. The return flow from that won't be enough to really get good flow, so you'll want to get at least one powerhead to help out with that. You're looking for between 10 and 20x turnover, which means for a 55g, you're looking for 550 gal
/hour to 1100 gal
/hour in water movement through your pumps.
There's other stuff you'll need, like a separate tub to mix and store saltwater, as well as a heater and powerhead for that. If you're going to quarantine your fish before putting them in (strongly suggested) then you'll need a small quarantine tank... say 10g.
2. Do I need reverse osmosis?. My house has complete water treatment system. Can I use this water?.
You may or may not need a RO
system. A home water treatment system is not a RO
system. Your best bet is to get those test kits I mentioned, and test your tap water for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and phosphates. If you're zero for all those things, it's probably OK to use it. You'll want to mix a dechlorinator with it, unless your home system takes that out of your water.
3. How long do I need to cycle the water before adding fish?.
As long as it takes. Read the articles here...
... and they'll let you know how to cycle a tank. A cycle will take anywhere from a couple weeks with fully cured live rock, to six weeks. It just all depends on what you start your tank with. You're not cycling "the water", but building up a population of bacteria that will convert your fish waste (ammonia) into harmless nitrates, that can then be exported with partial water changes. Read up, and ask any questions you may have.
4. Last question, during cycling time, how often and what quantity of water do I need to replace/refill?.
During cycling, for the most part, you don't touch the tank. No water changes are required or needed. The only reason you might do a water change is if your ammonia levels shoot really high and you have things on your live rock that you may want to keep alive. Again... to really know what's going on in your tank while you're cycling, you'll need test kits.
Welcome aboard, and keep coming back with questions!