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Complete Newbie

Discussion in 'Newbies Corner' started by AlonsoOrtiz, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. AlonsoOrtiz

    AlonsoOrtiz Registered Users

    Hi I want to setup a Saltwater tank, I doubt ill do a reef just a simple saltwater with live rock probably. I have never setup a saltwater tank I have done freshwater for years andI want to try my hand at saltwater for the first time. Can a couple of you give me a run down of you know basically everything from setup/equipment needed to everyday maintenance? Much appreciated, Alonso
  2. zombie

    zombie Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    The key differences off the top of my head between saltwater and fresh are: (this changes a bit with coral)

    1. The days of treated tap water are over. Only use RODI water or you will not be a happy camper (especially with coral)

    2. Invest into an auto top off unless you want the burden of topping off with fresh RODI 4 times a day.

    3. Moderate flow is very important even in a FOWLR since the rock is your filter. Don't use mechanical filters at all as they turn into nitrate factories.

    4. Water changes are much more important to keep on a regular schedule. It is very important that you add the same volume you removed (marks on buckets help with small tanks, line in sump for large tanks) and that the water change water is heated to temp and is within 0.5 ppt of the water in the tank.

    5. A regularly calibrated refractometer or conductivity probe is a must and should be checked every water change (don't try to save 10 bucks and get a hydrometer it's not worth it).

    6. SW tanks need a lot longer to mature before your first fish. Exact timing is debatable but I recommend no less than a month with mature rock (from a tank at least 1 year old and covered in corraline) no less than 2 from live fish store live rock, and no less than 3 with dry.

    7. Be very careful with species selection. Many are more territorial than Oscars, some only play nice with certain species, and others need a very mature tank brimming with copepods to thrive. Liveaquaria helps a lot here.

    8. Consider the pros and cons of an aquarium controller (apex, reef keeper, ghl) as these can streamline your setup, give you peace of mind, and are often cost neutral since they can replace single function controllers, timers, and power strips.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.
    AlonsoOrtiz likes this.
  3. AlonsoOrtiz

    AlonsoOrtiz Registered Users

    Thank you that was very helpful what i need to grasp better (I'm no going to startup a saltwater tank until I fully understand everything) is the new cycles that are involved? Because now i don't just have to worry about the standard nitrogen cycle correct?
  4. zombie

    zombie Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    The nitrogen cycle still applies but takes longer and unlike freshwater which are only sensitive to ammonia and to a lesser extent nitrite, saltwater fish are sensitive to all three and algea is much harder to control.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.
  5. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C President M.A.S.C Webmaster

    Ya the nitrogen cycle still occurs but much longer and has a much bigger impact to the tank as a whole. Initial cycle can take months and full mature cycle takes over a year, so be sure you know and understand as much as you can about this cycle before adding animals.
    A fowlr tank is a great way to get into SW though, and not much harder then most fresh water systems. By far the easiest setup and maintenance. Corals start complicating things as they need more expensive lights, regular and consistent water changes, more flow, expensive controllers, more testing, dosing, ect...
    With a fowlr you dont really need any of those and can get by with the basics.
    Basics for a Fowlr tank include, skimmer, basic light, circulation pump or two, return pump, heaters, ATO, and RODI

    Rules to live by for saltwater:
    - Go slow, and be patient
    - Dont put anything in your tank that you havent researched fully. Always have a plan and avoid impulse buys.
    - Dont put anything in your tank you arent prepared to care for, for its entire lifetime. Many saltwater fish live 20-30 yrs, and get very large, which means inevitable and unavoidable upgrades if you started with a smaller tank.
  6. TheRealChrisBrown

    TheRealChrisBrown Barracuda M.A.S.C Club Member

    Cherub likes this.
  7. AlonsoOrtiz

    AlonsoOrtiz Registered Users

    NO but i will begin watching it now it seems like exactly what I was looking for. Thank You
  8. jda123

    jda123 Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    Use live rock and sand. Get a good export mechanism like a skimmer and/or a refugium. Change water.

    When in doubt about how to do things, bet on the rule and not the exception - there are lots of folks who will claim that something out of the ordinary work for them, and it might for a while, but chemistry and chemistry and bacteria are bacteria and the rule nearly always wins.
  9. AlonsoOrtiz

    AlonsoOrtiz Registered Users

  10. AlonsoOrtiz

    AlonsoOrtiz Registered Users

    Additionally are there any red flags any of you see or possible problems with the tank?
  11. zombie

    zombie Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    Price is pretty high for what is included. Also, the canister filter might as well be tossed (or repurposed for a freshwater tank) as canister filters are a huge no-no for a saltwater tank. The other problem is no sump or built in overflow, which is a huge PITA. HOB skimmers have priming issues and aren't reliable. If you wanted to add a sump to run a proper skimmer and refugium you would need a HOB overflow (most 75 gallons are tempered so you can't drill them) which I can attest are a huge PITA and lose siphon easy leading to many hours of saltwater in your mouth and on your floor.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.
  12. AlonsoOrtiz

    AlonsoOrtiz Registered Users

    Your words of wisdom are much appreciated? As a newcomer to saltwater it seemed good but I have now noted that canister filters are a no go and ill keep looking thank you!
  13. zombie

    zombie Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    Here are some things you ideally want to look for in a complete package (you can get all this separately too If any items arent includes) and the classifieds here are usually gonna have better setups than CL but the tend to move fast so you have to check often to snag the good ones.

    IMO "must haves"

    1. Tank is "reef ready", "built in overflow", drilled, or AIO with skimmer and refugium chamber.

    2. Includes a sump (unless you go with AIO) with space for refugium and protein skimmer (these will make your rocks and glass prestine).

    "Nice to have"/will need to buy either way stuff.

    1. A canopy, mesh netting cover, or other to prevent fish jumping on your floor (lots of fish like to jump and they aren't cheap to replace).

    2. Adequate lighting. T5, LED, or PC for FOWLR, but if you ever get the inkling to try coral (you will likely get that bug eventually) you want MH, lots of T5, or powerful LED (dimmable are nice as they can be dialed down to save energy as FOWLR but can be dialed up later if/when you want coral)

    3. Circulation pumps. Wavemaker types are awesome.

    4. In-sump skimmer rated for 1.5 or more the size of your display.

    5. Auto top off.

    6. Heaters. You want 2 or more rated at roughly 3-4 times the display volume in watts each.

    7. Return pump rated for 1-3 changes per hour after head loss.

    "Likely will need to buy seperately"

    1. RODI unit

    2. Storage tanks for RODI, ATO reservoir, and reserve saltwater.

    3. At least a 5 gallon bucket of salt on hand.

    4. Live sand (enough to fill 2 inches)

    5. Live rock (1 lb per gallon of display volume is a good target)

    I also don't suggest dealing with a tank move with livestock as this can be disastrous if you don't have experience. Best to buy the tank and equipment (live rock and sand is okay and easy to move) let things settle in and then pick out your dream fish yourself.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.
  14. zombie

    zombie Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    Happy to help. I wish I had been active like you are being before I went into saltwater myself. The amount of money I wasted on crappy equipment that wasn't gonna work long term was astonishing (I probably blew 2 grand on equipment that didn't work long term) and I could have easily built my dream tank with just the money I wasted on poorly planned equipment (granted I sold most of it but still). Best to get it right the first time and have no regrets later.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.
  15. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C President M.A.S.C Webmaster

    That tank wouldnt be a horrible starter, and 400 is not over priced at all. Think there are better deals to be had though, so I'd wait.
    Canister filter can work in saltwater, but I would only use them on a fowlr, or softy tank, which that tank is. Canisters become problematic for corals for various reasons, mainly maintenance reasons, so you would need to ditch that for something else eventually.

    Better options imo
    https://denver.craigslist.org/for/d/...237589220.html just needs rock and youre good
    https://denver.craigslist.org/fuo/d/...252261890.html would need to call and see since no pics, but pretty good price for a 125
    https://denver.craigslist.org/for/d/...240003086.html nicer stand then the one you posted, is reef ready, but about same setup for less $. I would ditch the canister on this and put in a sump instead, but otherwise could be a great fowlr starter tank
  16. zombie

    zombie Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    That third one isn't reef ready...more reasonable price though than the original 75.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.
  17. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C President M.A.S.C Webmaster

    Look carefully, looks to have a center overflow, but ya, doesnt state that its reef ready
  18. zombie

    zombie Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    Maybe. Really hard to tell if that's a center overflow or just the angle of the light. If it is a center overflow that would be a great starter tank for the price.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.
  19. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C President M.A.S.C Webmaster

  20. TheRealChrisBrown

    TheRealChrisBrown Barracuda M.A.S.C Club Member

    Look at the third picture in the ad, right by the yellow tang you can see the overflow.....I think it is RR. And a nice looking setup!

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