Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Saltwater and Reef > Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 03-18-2006, 07:31 PM   #1
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I need help starting an aquarium

I would REALLY like to start a saltwater (fish and reef) aquarium. I only want 1 or 2 clownfish and a few anonymes ( or if there is other plants that clownfish prefer). Where I live there is no place to buy saltwater fish or corals so im stuck with ordering of the internet But i want to have the smallest possible tank (possibly nano?) to keep cleaning to a minimum. i no these questions will sound stupid but i need to know. How much salt do you put in for every gallon and what do i need to measure salinity. can you make it with a regular freshwater pump or do i have to get a skimmer and a sump? I just need to learn the basics so all your input would be greatly appreciated!!

thanks!
Marty
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2006, 08:42 PM   #2
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: vancouver island
Posts: 526
Hey Marty....

First off, welcome to AA.

I know you think you asked a pretty simple question(s), but the matter is much more complex.

It is always recommended that a beginner SW aquarist should buy the BIGGEST tank they can afford. The ocean is a huge body of water that sees virtually little fluctuation and therefore the creatures within it have adapted to a minimal changing environment. When we recreate a slice of the ocean in an aquarium, we are only dealing with a small volume of water with MANY variables that will cause the quality of the water to change. So.... The larger the volume of water you start with, the better chance of success you'll have because these fluctuations won't go as noticed by your livestock when compared to a Nano tank you suggest.

Here's another thing.... You mentioned you want to keep cleaning to a minimum and that the reason you want a nano/small tank. The fact is that smaller tanks such as nano's WILL be more work. No way around that.... for a successful nano, you'll need constant supervision and testing to maintain the needed water parameters to sustain life.

If you go with something like a 46G or a 55G you'll greatly increase your chance for success and reduce your amount of tank supervision.

With a 55G tank, you could put a couple of clowns and 3 other fish of your choice plus several invertebrates that really make SW different than fresh. Not to mention corals and anemones as you mentioned. Anemones are invertebrates just to let you know and only advised for mature tanks at least 6 months to a year old.

I would worry about salt measurements yet, just read EVERYTHING you can get your hands on to research this if you are serious about it. A hydrometer is generally used or refractometer and about 1/2 cup per gallon seems to work but it is synthetic sea salt that is used.

Skimmers are HIGHLY recommended and a sump is an option.

Cheers,
ryan
__________________

__________________
ryguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2006, 08:57 PM   #3
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I have really poor water quality, because we live out of the city and have our own well( i drink bottled water) So what should i do for the fish? i have found a 44 gallon tank(pentagon) that looks like it would be good, but where would i get that much water if my fish cant take my tap water?

thanks for your help
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2006, 10:15 PM   #4
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: vancouver island
Posts: 526
Hey,

I wasn't really refering to your tap water when I mentioned water quality but it brings up another good point. You'll need to invest in an RO/DI unit for purifying your water and removing all the stuff that is BAD for your tank. Tap water has lots of things that you don't want in your tank, things like phosphates and silicates that will allow algae to get out of hand in your tank and cause an uphill battle trying to keep your tank looking pretty. Again, if you want minimal hassle with cleaning, RO/DI unit is a must!!

When I first mentioned water quality, I was refering to your specific gravity, nitrogen levels, pH, temperature and DOC levels in the tank. I was assuming that the fresh water added to the salt mix is already purified. These are the values you need to constantly monitor with a nano tank.

As water evaporates, it will quickly cause a swing in your SG because salt doesn't evaporate and the amount of salt is increased in lessened volume of water.

Pentagon and hexagon tanks aren't recommended either for SW tanks. They are tall and have limited surface area for gas exchange per volume of water. Same with tall and skinny tanks, they have limited surface area too. The best are standard tanks that aren't too deep with respect to their other 2 dimensions.

I would do a search on the following subjects and read as much as you can before buying anything and starting up. The only thing that happens fast in this hobby is disasters. I strongly recommend arming yourself with as much info as possible before jumping in. It's an awesome hobby, but knowledge is key.

topics:
- nitrogen cycle
- protein skimmers
- RO/DI
- Live Rock
- DSB
- recommended lighting
- GFCI
- Quarantine tank

That should get you started!

I hope you don't get discouraged by anything I said, but I feel its important to pass on this type of info BEFORE you spend your money and end up frustrated trying to keep things alive and possibly feeling like you bought the wrong equipment.

Cheers, and feel free to keep asking questions....that's what everyone is here for.

ryan
__________________
ryguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2006, 10:23 PM   #5
AA Team Emeritus
 
austinsdad's Avatar


 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Accokeek, Maryland
Posts: 7,694
Great post Ryguy. Really good advice.
__________________
-Ray-

"Life may not be the party we hoped for but while we are here we might as well dance!"

austinsdad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2006, 10:36 PM   #6
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Wow!, this sounds like ALOT of work, but I'm still up for it. I've always wanted to be a marine biologist so i guess thats what got me into this...if i purchased the gallon bottle water would that work for a fish tank? and if i had a lot of cleaners would'nt they be able to keep algae levels low? I've used my water wish freshwater fish and crabs and i havent had to much trouble, but that would change with saltwater? The biggest aquarium ive seen in here is a 30 long. would that be big enough for a reef and saltwater fish? could i use basically the same equipment of a freshwater tank and convert it to saltwater?

thanks again
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2006, 11:06 PM   #7
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Well all the advice was great I agree, with one exception.. An RO/DI unit is not a must and should not be recommended as so.. I have never used RO/DI and have no issues with water conditions or algae.. Nor has the lack of one increased any form of hassle.

I say test the tap water coming from the faucet first.. If it contains undesirable contents. Then consider RO/DI... But if all test fine then why even bother adding the extra expense..

Also for the record, I currently live on a farm with well water... The water I won't drink.. It has Iron issues.. Which tends to stain showers and sinks..I drink bottled. However, using a tap water conditioner which detoxifies metals, works nicely.. I've had my reef tank for years and have had no issues.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2006, 11:24 PM   #8
AA Team Emeritus
 
austinsdad's Avatar


 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Accokeek, Maryland
Posts: 7,694
Just assuming since Marty said they have poor water quality...
__________________
-Ray-

"Life may not be the party we hoped for but while we are here we might as well dance!"

austinsdad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2006, 11:28 PM   #9
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Our water is the same as yours we have iron problems.... what kind and where do i get the test kits? what kind of water conditioner do i use on the water??
thanks!
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2006, 11:56 PM   #10
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I use Tap Water Conditioner by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Here's a link of what it looks like... http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...1&N=2004&Nty=1

It can be found at most LFS and online.

As for test kits, I like Salifert the best, with Seachem a close second... These also can be found at LFS and online.. You'll need kits for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosphate, Clacium and Alkalinity and pH.. Those are IMO a main stay.. If you plan on dosing with additives, then you'll need a test kit for those as well.. If you do regular water changes, you shouldn't need to worry about dosing any additives..
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2006, 08:48 AM   #11
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
lando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Savage, MN
Posts: 7,889
Hey Marty...Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
All very good advice, nice job ryguy. I suggest the first thing you do is get a good book on SW aquariums. I like "The Conscientious Marine Aquarium" by Robert Fenner. It is a great resource on starting and maintaining a SW tank. As you are finding out, keeping a SW tank is much more then filing a tank with water and adding fish. When I first got into this hobby I was very surprised by all of the extra or less-glamorous stuff people said I needed to buy. Test kits, books, and RO/DI unit, skimmer, LR...the list goes on. Take it from me, the less-glamorous things you need to buy will make the difference between success and failure in this hobby. Good luck and keep researching!
__________________
Some people are like slinkies...they serve no real purpose yet can still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs!:p
Have a great day! Brian
lando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2006, 09:18 AM   #12
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
So with the nitrogen cycle, the live rock would take care of it mostly?? with the live sand what does that do, or could i use regular sand you find by lakes-rivers? is there a big difference in live rock because i've seen prices from 2.25 a lb to 6.00 .the more expensive the better? How much live rock should i order if i wanted an overhang and an archway ...maybe a cave too

thanks for all your help!
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2006, 09:25 AM   #13
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
lando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Savage, MN
Posts: 7,889
After your tank's cycle the LR/LS will help maintain good water quality by acting as a biological filter. It will give the beneficial bacteria a good place to colonize. This bacteria is what the "live" in live rock.
Quote:
could i use regular sand you find by lakes-rivers?
Not a great idea. It is best to use prepared sand from the LFS (dry) or get some aragonite play sand from a place like Home Depot. No need to spend the money on the LS in a bag from the LFS.
Quote:
is there a big difference in live rock because i've seen prices from 2.25 a lb to 6.00 .the more expensive the better? How much live rock should i order if i wanted an overhang and an archway ...maybe a cave too
Thre is a difference. LR comes from various areas around the world. Some is taken from the reefs and some is aqua-cultured. There are several areas online to purchse LR and have it shipped to you. Do a google search under for "live rock" and you will be surprised what you find.
__________________
Some people are like slinkies...they serve no real purpose yet can still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs!:p
Have a great day! Brian
lando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2006, 10:54 AM   #14
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
what kind of LR do you reccommend I get for a 40 gallon aquarium and how many pounds?
How many invertibrates and what ind would live in an aquarium that size?

Marty
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2006, 11:11 AM   #15
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
lando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Savage, MN
Posts: 7,889
The kind of LR is really up to you. I like carribbean or Fiji. For a 40gal tank you should shoot for 60-80lbs of rock for good biological filtration.
Quote:
How many invertibrates and what ind would live in an aquarium that size?
This is really a pretty vauge question. So is the answer...it depends. You can have a very large variety of inverts from reef hermits to snails to several species of shrimp. Other types like anemones and corals and clams require special lighting and attention. Interms of fish...it also depends. Reef safe or not, community vs. aggressive. Like I said, lots of research ahead.
__________________
Some people are like slinkies...they serve no real purpose yet can still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs!:p
Have a great day! Brian
lando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2006, 12:56 PM   #16
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: vancouver island
Posts: 526
First off, thanks guys... it's nice to know I've learned enough here to help others.

Marty,

I'm glad to see you didn't get scared off and are taking all the right steps. I think you'll be happier in the long run with a 40G tank over your original, smaller plans.

I too agree that the Conscientious Marine Aquarist is a great starter book. Reef Secrets by Alf Nilson is another one I like as well.

As far as amount of live rock, Lando's 60 - 80 lbs is a great goal but I wanted to add that you need to be mindful of the type you buy because 80 lbs of a porous rock will barely all fit and not look too good if it does. I bought 55lbs of a porous rock for my 46G and was thinking on adding more after I judged how much more I needed after the initial 55 lbs.
By the time I finished aquascaping ledges, archways anc caves, (as you mentioned as well), I didn't feel I needed any more in there. Also, research the typical shapes and avg. pounds per piece weight in different types of rock. If you want a dramatic aquascape, you don't want to receive a shipment of 60 lbs and find two 20 lbs pieces in there, it can be limiting.

For a heads up, Many people just stack their rock until pieces "lock" together and look good. Other options are aquascaping epoxy putty and pvc framing support. I mention these because they will allow you to dream up, and carry out the various caves, archways and overhangs that you want to have. I too had the same in mind when I was waiting for my rock. Luckily, I got very cool shapes and only used a limited amount of putty. (placed after aquascaping for peace of mind)

As Lando said, there are tons of ways to go about stocking a tank this size, and tons of inverts, fish and corals waiting for you to discover and get excited about!! This site is an invaluable resource.... just keep reading and asking questions and I'm sure you're gonna find this hobby to be unlike any other.

Cheers,
Ryan
__________________
ryguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2006, 07:04 PM   #17
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
what breeds of fish are usually group safe?. i used to want puffers but i quickly learned they like to kill other fish. How do you introduce live rock to your aquarium? and does it require any assistance after you place it in. and that epoxy putty do you just stick in to the live rocks and form it out or do you need pvc pipes? with the salinity is it as big of a deal as i think it is on how much salt you need put in? if i don't get the shapes i want can i still "break" it up into smaller pieces?? im planning on getting zoanthids ( different colors) but if i got them earlier would they survive in a 1 gallon tank with a airator and a filter or is that just ridiculous thinking?

marty
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2006, 09:32 PM   #18
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: vancouver island
Posts: 526
A good book for aquarium suitability for fish is Marine Fishes -pocket guide, by scott w. michael. This will let you flip through lots of photographs and give you adult sizes, behaviours, reef suitabilty, food needs etc... A great source for finding the fish that will interest you.

We could easily give you a list of what WE would keep, but that takes the fun away from you and at the end of the day... you're the one looking at them. The general recommended amount of fish in a beginners tank is 1" of ADULT fish per 5 gals. (not including the tail). So this loosely translates to 8" to 10" for an aquarium the size we are talking about. If you stick with 2" adult fish, behaviour aside, you should be safe with around 5 fish. Depending on your choices, maybe not.

You can buy your LR and place it in the tank and let the LR start the nitrogen cycle. Wait until the cycle is done then slowly start adding fish. Introducing LR to a stable and existing ecosystem with fish and inverts requires some work however. LR goes through a die-off stage during transit and the amount of die-off is directly related to the time out of water, from its place of origin to your retailer then finally to you. LR that has die-off occuring needs to be "cured" to render it safe for your tank. If it was added straight into your existing tank, then the you'd see an ammonia spike which would cause another cycle to occur and jeopardize the life in your tank. It is OK to put uncured LR in your tank at startup, because you don't have any life in tere yet and you need to start that cycle anyway.

You don't need pvc or epoxy to secure your rocks, I only mentioned it to let you know you can use either of these to assist you with your aquascape. pvc frames and zip ties go hand and hand when going this route. Epoxy is just another option to stick 2 rocks together in order to make a structure stable. You can break live rock and drill it if needed.

Getting the proper salinity is not difficult. you just need to add 1/2 cup of salt per gallon and then test. If you're luucky, that recipe got you in the 1.020 to 1.021 range which is acceptable. Personally, I aim for 1.023.

I wouldn't get ANYTHING living until you've completed your cycle. Zoo's need a fair amount of lighting and I don't think its wise to purchase before you have a suitable home for them.

Ryan
__________________
ryguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2006, 10:34 PM   #19
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
ok ive been looking at saltwaterfish.com and this is what ive came up with for fish invertibrates and coral so could you look it over?
invertibrates
-1 cleaner shrimp
-10 blueleg hermits
-3 emerald crabs
-10 hawaiin zebra hermits
-1 lettuce Nudibranch
-flame scallop
-10 Nassarius snails
-and cucumbers, feather dusters, starfish ( would really like but dont know if safe with other items), or urchins??
Fish
-2 percula Clowns
-1 yellow pygmy angel
Corals
- Finger-leather
-Green Ricordea Mushroom polyp
-Zoanthids
-Orange Sun Coral

i dont know of a cheap sight but saltwaterfish.com is selling 20-25 lbs of cured liverock for $109 thats really all i can afford(still in high school).so unless i buy all used stuff tis gonna take me ahwile to get on my feet anf going. would you have a website to recommend thats cheap? could i add rocks i get from the pet store and combine them with the live rock?

thanks for your help
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2006, 11:31 AM   #20
AA Team Emeritus
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: VA
Posts: 3,391
Send a message via Yahoo to tecwzrd
Fish/invert selections look pretty good with the exception of a couple I noticed.

The pygmy angel will probably nip at your corals and I would hold off for 4+ months before adding the Nudibranch just because they require fairly stable water conditions.

The Flame Scallop & cucumbers I wouldn’t even attempt for 1+ years since they require a mature well established reef tank and tons of experience!

For star fish avoid red/chocolate (they eat coral) and personally after 6+ months I’d get a brittle star fish.

Make sure you read all the sw articles on this site. (Especially about fishless cycling & acclimation). The articles on liveaquaria.com are invaluable as well.

I’d highly consider getting a qt tank also.

Take your time and research/ask questions on purchases of fish/inverts/equipment before acquiring to make sure it’s ok for your tank
__________________

__________________
tecwzrd is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
starting

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
starting a new aquarium AnimalXXman Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started 10 06-02-2009 01:32 PM
Starting out - Which aquarium should I get? impulse83 Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started 17 07-14-2007 05:23 AM
Help starting a new aquarium sjkelly817 Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 8 06-26-2006 01:54 PM
Starting a new aquarium kciolek Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started 2 01-16-2005 01:38 PM
Cleaning out Aquarium and starting over takelly Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 8 10-04-2002 08:34 PM







» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:23 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.