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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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need help starting a saltwater tank

I want to start a new autolinking image aquarium, right now I have african cichlids and i want to get another tank for autolinking image. I have been doing research and want to do a fish only tank. I am looking at a 55-100 gallon tank. I have been to two fish stores and asked about starting a saltwater tank and have been told different things. the first guy at the fish store said that i NEED all this:
canister filter
protein skimmer
1-2 powerheads
60 lbs of live rock (which would cost $400)
The guy at the next fish store said that I wouldn't need a protein skimmer or powerheads, could get a hang on back filter, and only get a couple pieces of live rock and then get a bunch of regular rock.
Do i really need all of the stuff the first guy told me to get? or can i get away with what the second guy recommended? or somewhere in the middle?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 01:36 PM
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Re: need help starting a saltwater tank

Not sure if you're running a fish only tank or a reef. If you want a reef read this article.

What you Need to Start a Reef Tank - Beginner Topics

Starting a Reef Aquarium
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 01:42 AM
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Re: need help starting a saltwater tank

Do i really need all of the stuff the first guy told me to get? or can i get away with what the second guy recommended? or somewhere in the middle?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 05:30 AM
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Re: need help starting a saltwater tank

Well, even for a fish only tank you need some sort of filtration. But it doesn't have to be exactly what they were recommending. Overall I'd say the second guy was being more honest with you. A few pieces of live rock mixed in with dry rock and a HOB filter should do fine. I'd still recommend the protein skimmer though as they really are great at both pulling lots of crap out of the water as well as keeping the water oxygenated. As for the powerheads you don't absolutely need to buy them now, but you may need to add some later if there's insufficient flow among the rockwork.

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30 fw housing one elderly mayan cichlid (12+ yo now)
33 fw community (mostly a ball of swords)
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 10:41 AM
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Re: need help starting a saltwater tank

#1-Dry Rock, there are a few hitchhikers on Live Rock that people want to stay away from, so they opt for using Dry Rock, or Dead Rock. Macro Rock is a good place to start looking for that. Either way you go you will need a minimum of 1lb per gallon.

#2-Replacement filter media like filter floss and activated carbon (if you get a filter) Which is really not necessary.

#3-Multiple Power heads (2 or 3) 10x your water volume for just a Fish Only With Live Rock, and at least 20x your water volume for a Reef Tank. So lets say your going reef, and you have a 100g tank, you would need flow in that tank at minimum of 2000gph, or 2 1000gph power heads.

#4-Protein Skimmer, rated at 2 times your water volume. Unless your tank is under 30g, in which case you can do 10% water changes a week to rid the system of detrius. But, you'll have to watch the water parameters close, if things go haywire, you'll have to do more water changes.

#5-Saltwater Test Kits. Reef Test Kit. Test for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, PH, Phosphates, Calcium, ALK and Magnesium.

#6-Saltwater fish food. Mysis Shrimp, Squid, Cyclopease, Algae Sheets, Romaine . Flake food is not really a good food to feed your marine fish.

#7-Aquarium vacuum. This one is iffy. Most don't use one, if you have enough flow in the tank you won’t need one

#8-Rubber kitchen gloves

#9-Fish net

#10-Two, clean, never used before, 5-gallon buckets

#11-Aquarium thermometer, digital being the best.

#12-Brush with plastic bristles (old tooth brush) - needed for cleaning the live rock if you don't get Fully Cured Live Rock.

#13-Power Strip, possibly GFCI outlets by the tank.

#14-Optional but definitely recommend getting a Reverse Osmosis or RO/Deionization filter for the make-up water, and a barrel for storing the water.

#15-Possibly a Quarantine Tank for your new fish. They sit in here for a few weeks to kill off parasites and bacteria, to keep it from getting in your main tank

#16-Heater rated for your size tank.

#17-Saltwater Mix. Marine Salt. Instant Ocean is the cheap Salt that beginners and Advanced use alike.

#18-Saltwater Hydrometer or even better a Refractometer, which is more accurate. There is also a Digital Meter that is way advanced if you have the cash.

#19-Aquarium filter (not absolutely necessary if running with adequate amounts of live rock, but nice to have if you need to use a mechanical filter or activated carbon, or GFO and such)

#20-Aquarium substrate such as live sand or crushed coral. Some go bare Bottom, others choose the 2-3" bottom, others, more advanced will try the Deep Sand Bed, which is over 6" deep.

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Water Parameter: Alk-8:PH-8.2:Cal420:Phosphate.05:Temp77:Nitrates-20:Mag1250:SG1.025
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 08:19 AM
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Re: need help starting a saltwater tank

i got a power head for my tank, that did wonders, the water flow causes more oxygen and flow and i was able to see the tank "thrive" with some reef we got.
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