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Old 05-22-2011, 06:22 PM   #1
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Exclamation New to Saltwater Aquariums - Where to begin?

Hello! I've wanted a saltwater aquarium for the longest time, but never acted on it. Now I decided I really want one so I'm going to get starting figuring out what to do, I just don't know where to start.

I have not purchased anything yet.

I'm looking for probably a 30-50 gallon aquarium. I don't need a stand, I have a table that is 39" long, and 18" deep, so I will set it on there. Can someone point me in the right direction? I'm looking for a fish-only tank I believe, unless you can recommend something else. I want the aquarium to look like a part of the ocean (cleaner too of course!).

Some links to an aquarium, heater, filter, etc would be greatly appreciated. How much money can I expect to drop at the beginning? And over time?

Thank you!
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:28 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA! You have asked for A LOT of information, lol. It is ok, just be patient and we will get through this. Is the table solid wood, or particle board? Saltwater tanks (Even small ones) are HEAVY! After that, a good rule of thumb is that the larger the tank, the easier care and maintenance will be. Especially if your new to the hobby, more water volume is more forgiving if unfavorable conditions arise.
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:33 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply, I appreciate it. I know I asked for a lot of info, I'm BRAND NEW to this so I'm just looking for a kick in the right direction

The space I have for the tank is actually my dresser. It's very sturdy, so I don't believe there will be any problems with the weight on it. About how much does a 50 gallon tank weigh? 200lbs? 300lbs?

Also, how many fish can fit comfortably in a 50 gallon tank? I'm sure there is no actual limit, but I want the fish to have good lives! All the I'm wanting to get will be 3 inches and smaller.
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:49 PM   #4
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Well, there is no "number" because it depends entirely on what kind of fish. For example, a puffer is a messy fish and counts as more bio load then say a clown fish. So the next question is what kind of fish interest you. Most people say tangs right off the bat, and many LFS will sell you a tang and say your tank is sufficient. Tangs need a 6 foot tank, so usually a 120 or larger depending on the species. So it really is going to depend on what kind of fish you want to keep.
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Old 05-22-2011, 07:09 PM   #5
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Looking for a clown fish, one moorish idol, one pacific regal tang, one yellow tang, and one pacific cleaner shrimp. Exactly like in Finding Nemo. lol

So if I have a 50 gallon tank, that won't be good for the tangs right? What type of things do I need to buy to get started? Because I do know I have to let the tank cycle for a few weeks before I put the fish in there right?
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:26 PM   #6
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LIST OF REQUIRED MATERIALS:

Tank-Larger is better for a newcomer. Remember each gallon of water weighs about eight pounds though so you need something very sturdy

Light Fixtures

Stand

Salt To mix in or pre bought water

Water Testing Kit-Preferably API Master Saltwater Kit

Atleast one heater

Some form of Filter- The reason I say this is you can use a canister filter or build a sump with a wet/dry trickle filter, or a sump with live rock rubble and sand or.... or..... or....

Powerheads for water circulation and breaking of the surface tension for gas exchange

Substrate- The bottom of the tank, look for Aragonite, but avoid the extra price tacked on for a LIVE label, bacteria does have a shelf live

Protein Skimmer- this is an optional but very very very helpful device, it's a form of filtration that keeps your water clean and oxygenated just get one, don't buy a SeaClone 100 though, is not a very good skimmer unless modified

A five gallon bucket labeled FISH ONLY used on for fish related tasks

Optional:

Live Rock
Base Rock

Moonlights-build these yourself, much cheaper

Tank Decorations

Bubbler- I would advise against this as it tends to cause salt creep

Quarantine Tank: this is an option but it comes STRONGLY recommended.
but most of all have fun and enjoy the hobby.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:53 PM   #7
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You would need about 180 gallon tank for that. Search the forum, there is an article about making a "finding memo" tank, very difficult to say the least. The moorish idol alone is extremely difficult to keep alive.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:56 PM   #8
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The Nemo Tank Guide

I am at home and can provide better information now. Sorry to bail on you, I had something come up. The above article is a guide to the fish seen in finding nemo, as you will see many are exceedingly difficult to keep, and only a handful of them are small enough for a 55 gallon tank.

However, on the positive side, there are plenty of fish you CAN keep in a 55 gallon. I would not advice putting one on top of a dresser for the simple fact that maintenance would be difficult, and it would leave you no room for a sump. Look into blennies, wrasses, clowns (there are several kinds of clowns),here is a link to "beginner fish" on live aquaria.

Beginner Fish: Tropical Fish for Beginners in Saltwater Aquariums

There are a million ways you could go as far as tank size, filtration, lighting, livestock, what kind of budget do you have to work with? Feel free to PM me anytime and I will stick around this thread to help you along as much as I can. The list above is pretty accurate as far as items you will need.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:22 AM   #9
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I figure about 10 pounds of weight per gallon, it probably is more than that because of the weight of the rocks and the amount of water they displace. A 50 gallon tank would weigh about 500 pounds. Honestly I wouldn't put even a 20 gallon tank on a dresser because it doesn't support the edges properly if it was to warp.

Three things you will want is a refractometer, test kit it and patience.

While your tank is cycling research.
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