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Old 12-28-2012, 12:49 AM   #1
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Tips and tricks

Im starting my first saltwater FOWLR tank and being new to the saltwater area I was wondering what kind of tips or little tricks you all have learned along the way. What to expect in the beginning or look out for or absolutely do not do.

I'm interested in hearing your experiences.

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Old 12-28-2012, 08:19 AM   #2
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a few tips ill give you which people seem to write on here with mistakes about are;

make sure your tank is cycled properly and do it with a fishless cycle so many people buy expensive fish that die or damsels that they can't get rid of.

Do lots and lots of reasearch on compatibilty and tank sizes before you buy any fish so you dont end up with a trigger eating your favourite clownfish or a tang in a 20 gallon tank and biggest tip of all lfs lie a lot to sell you anything! this doesnt mean to say all your research will be right as every fish as every person is different. for example I have heard of people keeping trigger fish with lion fish but also heard of them ripping them apart sometimes its luck of the draw. best place I use for my information is on Liveraquria they usually go a little on the causious side so if you go by them shouldn't go wrong until you have more experience to know differently.

one that I learnt from mistakes is to not use tap water even with the chemicals that make it safe and to ensure that you top up your tank with fresh water to conteract evaporation buy good test kits too as first thing people on here will ask when you have a problem is what are your parameters

last one as i have realised I am going on a lot is that less is more in saltwater as these fish need room to swim grow and just need good water. this means putting less fish in and increasing water volume with sumps etc will help you keep your tank in shape. this should definitley be something you think about when adding too as if you add all your fish at once yo will over load the tank be sure to take time on it.

hope all this helps but if you hve any specific questions just pop ut on here sure me or someone else will be happy to help if the can

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Old 12-28-2012, 10:17 AM   #3
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I agree with Woody

Research your fish!! Know what fish you want before putting them in the tank! Also don't buy a fish that is too big for your tank, even if they are babies! Most people make the mistake of buying a small little baby fish and throwing it in a tank too small for it. Thinking they will upgrade soon. They never upgrade and a Blue Tang ends up swimming in a 29 gallon tank for longer than it needs too. Remember when you buy fish, you buy them as babies and not their full adult size! Always buy a fish with adult size in mind, and never buy a fish that will soon outgrow it's tank thinking you will upgrade soon. Buy fish that can live their full lives in the tank you have!!

Throwing it out there because of importance! DON'T be fooled by bottle bacteria! The stuff does not work like they say it does. It can be ok to add when your cycling your tank, and as a booster for water changes, but that's about it. You will need to go though the cycle without fish for a while. Mine took 3 weeks to cycle!

Next add fish slowly. One or Two at a time so you don't overload the bio-load in your tank. I added two clown fish to my tank as the fist fish, because they were a pair. I waited a whole week and will be adding a fish tonight. Slow wins this race!

Buy the good equipment not the cheapest you can find. You will save money in the long run!! Plus your fish will be a lot happier. :-p

Depending on your tank size add that much live rock. I have a 29 gallon tank and I added 50 pounds of live rock. I spent a little more doing it, but my Bactria colonies are strong and my filtration is awesome. If you have a 29 gallon tank, by at least 29 pounds of live rock, and get more base rock. You can seed the base rock with the live rock, so it can all become live rock in about 6 months.

A nice sand bed also helps. I know some people go bare bottom, but to me that looks tacky and I don't see any benefits (Easier cleaning, I guess). A nice deep sand bed can also help with filtration. I got 60 pounds in my tank. I might have went a little overboard. :-p

I might have went overboard in the Live sand and Live rock department, but it's my first saltwater tank and I don't want it to fail. I did about 5 months of research ahead of time while saving up for the parts and tank. I am still working on it, as all the fish are not in yet.

Last but not least, and I know this has been said but want to make sure you know how important it is. Cycle your tank before adding any live animals in it. You can do this buy setting up your tank as if you had live stock, with everything running. Get a clean pair of panty hoes (New ones), and go to your local supermarket. Get some uncooked raw shrimp and put them in the hoes. Set it in your tank and let nature take it's course. You will notice a white slime and it will get nasty! The panty hoes are so you can take it out once the tank has cycled without the shrimp causing a mess in your tank. I didn't do it with panty hose and I was picking out shrimp guts for a week. :-p
Fish Sticks, the best thing you can do with your dead fish.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:06 PM   #4
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This is good stuff, I'm liking it.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:41 PM   #5
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Whatever tank you are thinking about starting with, double the size. You won't regret it and it will save you from doing it any way in 6 months.

Test kits are really important. And while we're on test kits, you don't want to dose anything you're not prepared to test for.

Compatability is crucial when considering a fish purchase. But don't be surprised if you get that one rare fish with a nasty personaility that defies the recommendations made on their temperment.

Get a controller for your heater. It will save you from a heater sticking on and frying your tank. This is really common.
where's me money
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:03 PM   #6
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I would love to double my tank size, but I'm not sure I have the room for it. 360gal is a big piece of furniture. Lol. I have a 180gal dt a large wet/dry filter underneath.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:10 PM   #7
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I purchased a seachem master test kit.

And on that note. What all am I supposed to test? I know nitrite, nitrate, ammonia , ph, high and low. But is there anything else? Calcium ? Am I supposed to add calcium if its a fish only no coral?

What's the policy on running carbon . In my cichlids tank I used a sock full of carbon in the sump. What are the pros and cons of thAt in saltwater? The same? Calcium reactor in a FOWLR tank?
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:34 AM   #8
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Calcium is for corals. You dont need carbon. Get a good skimmer instead.

Kind Regards,
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