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Old 07-31-2019, 02:06 AM   #1
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New to Saltwater! Help Is Appreciated!

Hey guys! (Forgive me if this is long)

You may or may not have saw my post on the freshwater side of the forums regarding this but I won a Marineland 55g tank kit from a Petsmart raffle when I went there to buy some Prime. Lol. I was thinking ahead about stocking options for this baby in terms of freshwater but with the limits I have in terms of space nothing really interested me.

So now I'm here in forbidden territory: saltwater. Like most people I've always wanted to try it out but was always too afraid. This time, I might be willing to give it a try if you all think I can with what I'm working with.

I'm pretty much a headless chicken in terms of saltwater knowledge. I've done a lot of research but it still confuses me, especially the differences with what a standard saltwater tank requires compared to a reef tank. I'm 100% set on trying just a standard saltwater tank since this is my first time, and with that being said I'm confused with what equipment I need.

I have a wooden stand built and ready, my tank, and the heater (200W?) already, but what raises some concern for me is the filter it came with: a Marineland Emperor 400 HOB bio-wheel filter. I've heard many things stretching from not needing a mechanical filter all the way to being told my HOB would work just fine. I CAN NOT install a sump for numerous reasons, the main one being I simply don't have a spot for it. I've heard about the "nitrate factory" with HOB & Canister filters so I'm hesitant to use either since I'm a college student who comes home bi-weekly for tank maintenance and I don't know if I could keep up with cleaning them.

I also plan to get a protein skimmer, and I plan on adding live sand. I also plan on adding live rock, but I've heard mixed opinions on how much. I know the go to is 1 pound per gallon, but if I don't need that much I would rather save the money, so please let me know your thoughts on that. I was told to start with 10-20 pounds of live rock and then add in dry rock periodically.

The last thing I wanna make clear is I plan on buying pure saltwater from the LFS and storing it in buckets and heating them up for water changes, and having pure freshwater on hand for top-offs. Let me know if that's ok to do.

The stock I had in mind was this:

2x Ocellaris Clownfish
2x Bangai Cardinals
1x Royal Gramma
1x Flame Angelfish
1x Watchman Goby or a Firefish
1x Dwarf Puffer? (It was a cute little puffer at the LFS that they said is compatible with my stock list, but idk if I would be pushing it)

Let me know if there are any issues with this or if maintenance would be too much for my biweekly schedule. Also, I have family at home who watch my tanks, feed, and top off but are unwilling to water change.

Thank you for your time and let me know if I missed any equipment or anything that I'd need.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:53 AM   #2
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1 lbs per gallon on both rock and sand is the standard. You don't want to go lower than that as it is the main biological filtration in saltwater. You can start with all dry rock as it will become live once your cycle is complete, which will take about a month.
You will want to make sure you are using ro/di water so you aren't adding in any of the stuff into the system that you don't want...anything from nitrates to even fluoride.
Since you are going to college allow me to suggest that you hold off until you graduate. Saltwater can be as easy as you make it, but not being around to see what is going on first hand can be a major struggle and almost always leads into a post about something going wrong in the tank but you aren't anywhere near to provide details...and once you are its usually too late.
This is an expensive hobby and I would like to have you come into it with us and enjoy it and thrive rather than run into issues and have all that money wasted...it'll leave a sour taste in your mouth and you might never try the enjoyment that is saltwater again.
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:28 PM   #3
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Thank you for your time and help.

If you dont mind me asking, what could go wrong while I'm gone that's different from freshwater? My freshwater tanks have the same biweekly schedule and haven't had any issues while I'm gone.
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Old 07-31-2019, 01:48 PM   #4
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Ime a lot of the marine diseases/parasites seem to move a lot faster in sw, also the fish are more sensitive to excess nitrate in the water. Youíll also need daily top offs with ro di water and minimal feeding. I agree with hank, is wait until schools over, if just so you can really enjoy the experience
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Old 07-31-2019, 03:17 PM   #5
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Well, that's 3 years from now. I'm not sure I'm willing to wait that long for the off chance something goes very wrong. But if you're certain it's a bad idea I guess that's that.
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:38 PM   #6
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Planning on college 3 years in advance? Fair enough.

The plan sounds fine. Though most puffers won't fit into a 55. Only ones I'm aware of being close is a spotted and blue spotted.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:10 PM   #7
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Sorry, I meant 3 years until I graduate college, not 3 years until I start college. If I were to do this now I would still have to be away from the tank often and rely on my non-fish keeping family to do basic stuff.

If you guys really think biweekly water changes isn't good enough I should take your advice. I don't want to kill anything or tear down.

But if you think there's a chance of it working, I might still try it.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:27 AM   #8
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I'd hold off. It'll be for the best long term. I'd use all that time to save up too.
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