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Old 01-26-2013, 07:01 PM   #1
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Newb advice - 40 gallon saltwater plans

Hello Everyone,



I am new to saltwater aquariums. I currently have a 40 gallon FRESHWATER tank (picture shown). I spoke with my local fish store and they will take all of my fish and plants as I plan to upgrade to saltwater.

My Vision:
Beautiful rocks, 2 clown fish (possibly breed them), 1 star fish and 1 anemone. Nothing crazy I don't want to spend a million hours testing it and cleaning it.

My Questions:
1) Can I keep my gravel from my freshwater tank for the saltwater tank? Aka do I need sand?
2) how many pounds of live rock should I buy? 40?
3) I found a place online selling Purple live rock which is gorgeous... Is this ok to start with?
4) how do I go about buying mating clownfish?
5) besides salt and hydrometer what other supplies do I need?




Thanks,
Jeff

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Old 01-26-2013, 07:34 PM   #2
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Hi there, Name here is Bill. I to am new to salt water and have had my system running for a month now. I will answer what I can and someone else will jump in and help to.
Firstly you need to take everything out of your tank and clean it completly. You should use a solution of vingar and water to kill everything that might be in the tank.
It is not recommend to use the gravel from your present tank. You should be looking at getting live sand. You will need about 40 lbs of live sand and 40 lbs of live rock. You should invest in a hydrometer or a good refractometer for accurate salt readings. You will need some power heads to move water for flow, a good test kit to measure all the parameters in your water. One thing I have learned and the hardest thing of all is GO SLOW. Very slow. You do not want to rush putting fish into your tank until your system has cycled. It is a killer to wait and wait and wait. But if you do, your system will be so much easier to look after. I have only had a very few fish in my system for a week but they are happy and stress free. It is so cool to think that you have created an ocean. I also know people will tell you this over and over. READ READ READ and reserch everything. Don't trust the lfs because they are there to sell. As for buying a mated pair of clowns, read about it, talk to local hobbiests and best thing is to try and find a mentor that you can trust. I was so lucky for find someone very close to me who keeps me in check and glad he does. We have had so much pleasure watching my fish do what they do in there natural habitat. I wont go on any more because I don't want to tell you things, I am not sure about, but remember one thing. GO SLOW
Bill
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:38 PM   #3
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one other thing I meant to say is keep a journal of everything you do on your tank and record everything. It is so helpfull to go back and see what the parameters were, where they are now, and what you did. That way ifyou do something, and parameters change, you can go back and see what might have caused it.
Bill
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:46 PM   #4
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Thank you Bill. I really appreciate it!
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:18 PM   #5
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You do not need live sand. the term "live" just means covered with bacteria. Any surface will become live eventually.
Aragonite based sand is used because it helps to steady ph. You can use any substrate you want, but I prefer to make it resemble a slice of the ocean, or as close to that as I can, as does most people that move into salt.
I suggest you use a fine sand if any, so you don't have to maintain it. Using your gravel, it will have to be vacuumed on a regular basis.

Rock from the ocean is surface area, plus it has low oxygen zones deep inside it that also house anaerobic bacteria, which process nitrate into nitrogen gas. This rock has been deemed "live rock" as a result, and is an excellent filter. The suggested amount is at least a pound per gallon. This is why Bill came up with 40 pounds. Try to choose rock that feels light, and appears very porous if possible. Stay away from dense boulders if you can.

If you did a fish only, with live rock( also known as a FOWLR), you don't need to be as precise. If you are dead set on an anemone, you'll have to purchase strong lighting and you'll also have to be a lot more careful with your water parameters.
Clown fish do not need an anemone, so you can use something else for them to hide in without consequence.
The same goes for inverts like snails, shrimp, crabs, and starfish. These are sensitive creatures.

What else do you need? A salt water test kit. API is fine for the basics.
You also need salt. Virtually any salt will do.
The purple on rock is a calcium based algae called coralline. It comes in many colors, and will grow everywhere in time. You don't have to buy rock with coralline on it. As long as you have a little bit somewhere in the tank, it will grow.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:29 PM   #6
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Thanks Mr-X


Another question... Dead or dried rock can it become live again?


I am obviously trying to go as cheap as possibly for starting off and 200$ of rock then another 200$ for chemicals/sand/equipment gets expensive quick for 18$ fish haha
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:42 PM   #7
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Yes, it will become live again. Check out dry rock. Bulk Reef Supply has it. Marco rocks, and a few others sell dry reef rock.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:02 PM   #8
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Reef rock.net looks like they have good rock for a good price. Bulk reef supply.
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