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Old 01-13-2017, 01:12 PM   #1
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Salt water Newb questions

We've never had a salt water tank, but have been talking lately about starting up a small tank, probably 40g or less. We've (my wife and I) both had fresh water tanks since we were teenagers, so (at the risk of dating ourselves) we have over 50 years of combined experience, but we understand that SW is much different than FW. So, our question are: is it necessary for SW tanks to have a sump, or would a canister filter work on a small tank?; is it better to buy pre-mixed water, or to mix your own?; is tank maintenance done basically the same way as FW? is live rock necessary?; what types of small, colorful fish/invertebrates are good for inexperienced keepers? My wife really likes a red/white striped shrimp that we see at all the LFS in the area, but I can't remember what it's called. I like firefish (gobies?), Blue-green Chromis, and a couple others. We don't have any plans to try live coral, at least at this time. Decor would be artificial. Any input and advice would be appreciated.
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Old 01-13-2017, 03:57 PM   #2
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Yes salt water is different but a lot of your freshwater experience will benefit you .

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So, our question are: is it necessary for SW tanks to have a sump, or would a canister filter work on a small tank?; is it better to buy pre-mixed water, or to mix your own?; is tank maintenance done
No it is not necessary to have a sump , you can get by with a simple hob filter ,
canisters are basically nitrate traps unless cleaned frequently ,

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is it better to buy pre-mixed water, or to mix your own?
depending on your water quality you can purchase a small RO/DI unit to mix your own ,
if you have a local pet store that sells premixed you can also go that way.

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is tank maintenance done basically the same way as FW? is live rock necessary?;
yes maintenance is basically the same ,
you don't have to start out with live rock , you can buy dry base rock it will become live over time . the rocks serve several purposes
1) gives fish a place to hid
2) acts like a natural filtration
3) holds the beneficial bacteria

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what types of small, colorful fish/invertebrates are good for inexperienced keepers? My wife really likes a red/white striped shrimp that we see at all the LFS in the area, but I can't remember what it's called. I like firefish (gobies?), Blue-green Chromis, and a couple others.
here is a good start to find beginner starter fish
Nano Fish
make sure the fish you are looking at are compatible to your tank size.
always remember don't over stock saltwater don't follow that fw tale of inch per fish ,
avoid damsels at all costs they are little devils,
Cycle your salt tank - Aquarium Advice


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Old 01-13-2017, 04:21 PM   #3
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Thanks, 54seaweed. I try to clean my canisters weekly, when I do water changes, but admittedly, I sometimes lapse. I believe that 3 of the 4 LFS in our area sell pre-mixed water, but we live on an acreage with pristine well water, which we have tested yearly. It comes from the tap fairly hard, and with a PH of 8.4, so if we get a SW tank, I may just try to mix my own water. Thanks for your help.
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:25 PM   #4
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I would still recommend a RO/DI unit if you go that direction.
I live in the mountains I have a well also very pure mountain water but still use a RO/DI as there are unknown bacteria ect that's not good for our tanks. saltwater is not a cheap hobby so we need to do everything we can to protect our investments
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Old 01-14-2017, 12:59 AM   #5
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I will admit, 54seaweed, that cost is a factor I'm taking into consideration. I spend far more than I care to admit with my freshwater tanks now, so I'm sure a SW tank will become as big an obsession for me. I'll take your advice about an RO/DI unit however. We're getting more and more serious about a SW tank. I'm hopeful to have something up and cycling by early spring. I could tell you a story about drinking from a pure, crystal clear stream in the Beartooths, and 2 unpleasant weeks spent cuddled up with Giardia(sp). . .
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