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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Alright! So I'm just starting up my tank, and I want to know anything and everything that there is to know about saltwater tanks.
It's a 20g, and its just going to be a fish and LR tank.
What are the best fish to get?

What mix well together?

Things like that!



I can't wait to hear back from you all!
 

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Hello. I remember how much I wanted to have a saltwater tank. But finally I do.
It is much easier than what you think (no corals). I have a site of my own if you want to check it out(can't post the link) but go here (hobbyistparadise.com) I hope it can help you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hello. I remember how much I wanted to have a saltwater tank. But finally I do.
It is much easier than what you think (no corals). I have a site of my own if you want to check it out(can't post the link) but go here (hobbyistparadise.com) I hope it can help you.
I will look at that for sure, I'm sure it will help out. Thank you
 

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I did saltwater for several years, and enjoyed it a lot, so i have quite a bit of general knowledge on that topic BUT... there is Staff here that are, in my opinion experts as well as members with tons of great knowledge, so i will defer to them and save my comments to what worked for me, if its needed. Trust me you will do great. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I did saltwater for several years, and enjoyed it a lot, so i have quite a bit of general knowledge on that topic BUT... there is Staff here that are, in my opinion experts as well as members with tons of great knowledge, so i will defer to them and save my comments to what worked for me, if its needed. Trust me you will do great. :)
Well thank you I hope it goes well, I am really excited about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
anything specifc you want to know Courtney?
Well, I mean what kind of fish do you think that I should get?

Then whenever I get sand, (Whenever that'll be), how do I go about taking out my other stuff, and putting it in. Anything that I really need to know?

Then anything else you think I should know.
 

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i would take the water out putting it in buckets to save it then clean the tank and put your new sand in then add the water slowy so you dont make a horable mess, if you want you can come down and pick up that sand and we can fix ya up
 

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Discussion Starter #9
i would take the water out putting it in buckets to save it then clean the tank and put your new sand in then add the water slowy so you dont make a horable mess, if you want you can come down and pick up that sand and we can fix ya up
Awesome, when do you want to do it? Because I want to do it as soon as we can.
 

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This should be a really easy set up to pull off in style.

The recipe...

1. AqualClear 50 (minimum) or 70 (much better)

Any equivelent will do just fine. I like these for a few reasons
a. They are bullet proof as they get for a filter and very reliable.
b. You can adjust the flow for some fine tuning a little bit if needed.
c. Very flexible filter that will allow you to run a variety of media in them.
d. Should it break and they rarely do, many of the parts can be replaced fairly easily.


2. You will need a 50 watt heater.

Unless you live someplace where it gets really cold this should be suffcient. No foul in going to the next size up though. Remeber 2 smaller ones are better than one big one in the event one should malfuction you should be able to catch it before you really have a problem.

3. 20 lbs of sand

This should give you close to 2 inches. If you want more get more. Dont use play box sand! Use calcium based sand. I dont recommend any thing as course as Crushed Coral or courser.

4. 20-30 lbs of Live Rock.

This will easily be the most expensive part of the tank. You can cutr corners and keep cost down by getting some sun dried rock from some place like www.macrorocks.com or another retailer and then add 10 lbs or so of quality live rock with coralline algae on it and you wont know the difference 6 months down the road. The sun dried rock will quickly colonize with beneficial bacteria and become live in a week or so. Coralline algae spores from the live rock will innoculate the roack and soon pretty purpple corallione will start growing on it. Live rock is really crucial. Its part of the biological fisltration of your tank. The lighter and the mopre porous it is the better and the less pounds you need. 20 lbs of Mashall Island or Pukani would be excellent. If using Fiji you will likely want about 25-30 lbs. If using Carribean/Florida rock or Tonga Branch then you will want about 40 lbs as a target weight. If you can get that much in there and still have room left put what you can. You can add a little now and then add a little more a couple weeks later as your budget allows.

5. Light

You can do fine on the standard flo. fixture that comes with it if you use a 50/50 SW bulb in it. However it would be prudent to use something a little more suitable suuch as the Nova Extreme T-5 HO light fixture with one actinic bulb and one daylight bulb. This is a fairly inexpensive fixture running about 50-60 bucks on line delivered. Later should you get cocky and decide to do some easy corals such as Mushrooms, Ricordia, Zoanthids or a number of others you wont have to upgrade your lighting. While you dont have corals you do have live rock and it will do much better under this improved lighting than it would under the cheesy AGA type lights that usually come with tanks. Your fish will look much more vivid under it and it will do the coralline algae on your live rock a lot of good too.
6. Misc.

a. Thermometer, pretty self explanitory.
b. Something to measure the salt level. The swing arm ones are pretty cheap and usually get the job done if cleaned after each use and the water is at 78 degrees. It however isnt nearly as precise as a Refractomerter. Your doing fish so I wouldnt invest that kinda money at this point.
c. Power head. This will be needed to mix the saltwater.
d. 1 five gallon bucket to mix salt water in.
e. 5-7 gallon jug for fresh water.
f. Net, again pretty self explainitory.
g. Test Kit, as a minimum you will need to test PH, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates
h. Salt Mix. Doesnt matter which one, as 90% are made by the same out fit to nearly the same level of minerals and what not. Do avoid the cheap off brands. You do not need anything like Reef Crystals as the added price and Calcium content will be of little use to you as you have no corals.


* parameter in water to shoot for...
PH 8.2-8.4
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 20 max!
SG 1.019-1.026
Temp 74-78 deg.

7. You will need a clean up crew as well to add to the tank right after the cycle is completed. I would suggest a varity of Clean Up type critters as opposed to just 2. If using Scralet Reef Hermits, I would suggest about 4. If using the much smaller and cheaper Dwarf Blue Legs which I presonally prefer then you need about 20 of them. A mix of each ould be acceptable though. For snails....not all snails are created equal. Some prefer to do glass and rocks and some prefer the sand bed. I would suggest about a dozen Astrea or Banded Trochus or Margarita Snails. I would also suggest if you have a finer grade of sand for substrate that you get about a dozen Cerith or Nassarious snails or combo of the two. Turbos are good too and you will only need a couple if you choose these instead of the Astreas/Banded Trochus or Margarita snails. I dont care for turbos unless I have a large tank as they have a tendency to knock small things over and bulll dozer through things. Thier large size prevents them from reaching the little nooks and crannies where deteris will first accumulate and you will start seeing some algae crop up in thise areas quicker.


Fish!

There are about a couple of dozen that would work well in your tank. You will be limited depending on the fish to 1-5 fish depending on how small they are. 1 Big one figuratively speaking or 5 very tiny ones. An example would be 1 Angler/Frog Fish (smaller species of course). Another would be a couple of False or True Perculas. Another would be 1 Royal Gama, 1 Flase Perculas and 1 Yellow Watchman Goby or a simular combination. Unlike a FW tank full of Guppies, you cant stock a SW tank to the same level! Any fish over 3 inches is a no go with the exception of a smaller species of Frog Fish or Dwarf Fuzzy Lion Fish. While these two can get to about 5 inches in length they are very sedate fish that dont swim much and dont require much swimming room. Both being preditors though, you will need a good filtration system and they dont play well with others. So any other fish is out of the question and any decorative shrimp in the tank are "on the menu" so to speak. Both are however very interesting and excellent display fish. I would recommend against any damsel fish other than Clown Fish or Chromis. Many look cute and colorful, but as they grow they often loose the bright colors to a degree or another and become territorial and bellegrant all out of proportion to thier size! A 20 gallon tank is too small for Tangs or Dwarf Angels as well. The only starfish I would recommend are the Serpent or much better yet a Brittle Star. Serpents when large have been known to ambush and eat sleeping fish at night. Octopus's and Cuttle Fish are also not recommended although they can be in tanks like this. They are short lived and sensitive and more for the advanced reefer.

I am sure I left out some details but feel free to ask more questions, and please do lots of research before the first purchase is made.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This should be a really easy set up to pull off in style.

The recipe...

1. AqualClear 50 (minimum) or 70 (much better)

Any equivelent will do just fine. I like these for a few reasons
a. They are bullet proof as they get for a filter and very reliable.
b. You can adjust the flow for some fine tuning a little bit if needed.
c. Very flexible filter that will allow you to run a variety of media in them.
d. Should it break and they rarely do, many of the parts can be replaced fairly easily.


2. You will need a 50 watt heater.

Unless you live someplace where it gets really cold this should be suffcient. No foul in going to the next size up though. Remeber 2 smaller ones are better than one big one in the event one should malfuction you should be able to catch it before you really have a problem.

3. 20 lbs of sand

This should give you close to 2 inches. If you want more get more. Dont use play box sand! Use calcium based sand. I dont recommend any thing as course as Crushed Coral or courser.

4. 20-30 lbs of Live Rock.

This will easily be the most expensive part of the tank. You can cutr corners and keep cost down by getting some sun dried rock from some place like www.macrorocks.com or another retailer and then add 10 lbs or so of quality live rock with coralline algae on it and you wont know the difference 6 months down the road. The sun dried rock will quickly colonize with beneficial bacteria and become live in a week or so. Coralline algae spores from the live rock will innoculate the roack and soon pretty purpple corallione will start growing on it. Live rock is really crucial. Its part of the biological fisltration of your tank. The lighter and the mopre porous it is the better and the less pounds you need. 20 lbs of Mashall Island or Pukani would be excellent. If using Fiji you will likely want about 25-30 lbs. If using Carribean/Florida rock or Tonga Branch then you will want about 40 lbs as a target weight. If you can get that much in there and still have room left put what you can. You can add a little now and then add a little more a couple weeks later as your budget allows.

5. Light

You can do fine on the standard flo. fixture that comes with it if you use a 50/50 SW bulb in it. However it would be prudent to use something a little more suitable suuch as the Nova Extreme T-5 HO light fixture with one actinic bulb and one daylight bulb. This is a fairly inexpensive fixture running about 50-60 bucks on line delivered. Later should you get cocky and decide to do some easy corals such as Mushrooms, Ricordia, Zoanthids or a number of others you wont have to upgrade your lighting. While you dont have corals you do have live rock and it will do much better under this improved lighting than it would under the cheesy AGA type lights that usually come with tanks. Your fish will look much more vivid under it and it will do the coralline algae on your live rock a lot of good too.
6. Misc.

a. Thermometer, pretty self explanitory.
b. Something to measure the salt level. The swing arm ones are pretty cheap and usually get the job done if cleaned after each use and the water is at 78 degrees. It however isnt nearly as precise as a Refractomerter. Your doing fish so I wouldnt invest that kinda money at this point.
c. Power head. This will be needed to mix the saltwater.
d. 1 five gallon bucket to mix salt water in.
e. 5-7 gallon jug for fresh water.
f. Net, again pretty self explainitory.
g. Test Kit, as a minimum you will need to test PH, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates
h. Salt Mix. Doesnt matter which one, as 90% are made by the same out fit to nearly the same level of minerals and what not. Do avoid the cheap off brands. You do not need anything like Reef Crystals as the added price and Calcium content will be of little use to you as you have no corals.


* parameter in water to shoot for...
PH 8.2-8.4
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 20 max!
SG 1.019-1.026
Temp 74-78 deg.

7. You will need a clean up crew as well to add to the tank right after the cycle is completed. I would suggest a varity of Clean Up type critters as opposed to just 2. If using Scralet Reef Hermits, I would suggest about 4. If using the much smaller and cheaper Dwarf Blue Legs which I presonally prefer then you need about 20 of them. A mix of each ould be acceptable though. For snails....not all snails are created equal. Some prefer to do glass and rocks and some prefer the sand bed. I would suggest about a dozen Astrea or Banded Trochus or Margarita Snails. I would also suggest if you have a finer grade of sand for substrate that you get about a dozen Cerith or Nassarious snails or combo of the two. Turbos are good too and you will only need a couple if you choose these instead of the Astreas/Banded Trochus or Margarita snails. I dont care for turbos unless I have a large tank as they have a tendency to knock small things over and bulll dozer through things. Thier large size prevents them from reaching the little nooks and crannies where deteris will first accumulate and you will start seeing some algae crop up in thise areas quicker.


Fish!

There are about a couple of dozen that would work well in your tank. You will be limited depending on the fish to 1-5 fish depending on how small they are. 1 Big one figuratively speaking or 5 very tiny ones. An example would be 1 Angler/Frog Fish (smaller species of course). Another would be a couple of False or True Perculas. Another would be 1 Royal Gama, 1 Flase Perculas and 1 Yellow Watchman Goby or a simular combination. Unlike a FW tank full of Guppies, you cant stock a SW tank to the same level! Any fish over 3 inches is a no go with the exception of a smaller species of Frog Fish or Dwarf Fuzzy Lion Fish. While these two can get to about 5 inches in length they are very sedate fish that dont swim much and dont require much swimming room. Both being preditors though, you will need a good filtration system and they dont play well with others. So any other fish is out of the question and any decorative shrimp in the tank are "on the menu" so to speak. Both are however very interesting and excellent display fish. I would recommend against any damsel fish other than Clown Fish or Chromis. Many look cute and colorful, but as they grow they often loose the bright colors to a degree or another and become territorial and bellegrant all out of proportion to thier size! A 20 gallon tank is too small for Tangs or Dwarf Angels as well. The only starfish I would recommend are the Serpent or much better yet a Brittle Star. Serpents when large have been known to ambush and eat sleeping fish at night. Octopus's and Cuttle Fish are also not recommended although they can be in tanks like this. They are short lived and sensitive and more for the advanced reefer.

I am sure I left out some details but feel free to ask more questions, and please do lots of research before the first purchase is made.
WOW! So thank you for that, you know your stuff about salt water tanks. You filled me in on much that i didn't know!! Really thank you. I plan to get a pair of clown fish, and some others. Not sure yet, and I am getting a power head, forsure.
 

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Well Imaexpat2! You more than covered anything I would have said! So, just for fun small fish ideas, check out this website: Nano Fish. It's "nano" fish
 

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Be mindful of the species of Clown Fish you get. Some of them can get to be of decent size. For example a mature adult female Maroon clown can easily reach 6 inches!!! If you get a pair of clownfish one will grow considerably larger than the other. This will morph into a female. The smaller one will be the male and will remain a male until the female is no longer present at which point it can morph into a female. If your going to add a pair you need to buy the small juvenile ones. They will need to both be added at the same time. This will lessen the impact of creating a huge bio-load for the tank to suddenly have to accomadate. There will also probably be some bickering at first as the two square off and determine whos the domenet of the two. The smaller they are the less damage they are likely to do to each other and the quicker they will settle down and play nice with each other. Normally you would add one fish at a time every 10-14 days, but this rule sorta goes out the window when dealling with clownfish.

Now since you want Clownfish let me go on a head and rain on your parade. Dont get an anemone! I could probably write a short book on all the reasons you shouldnt get an anemone in a tank this small. Trust me on this one and save yourself some money and some head aches and just Dont do it. Your planned clownfish can do just fine without them anyways. Besides there are several suitable substitutes that are much more worthy in a 20 Gallon tank that will serve as a suitable substitute if you really want to see this sort of symbiotic relationship take place. A Xenia, Anthelia or Kenya Tree coral among many others will serve as a "host" to your clownfish. They will fare much better odds wise in your tank than an Anemone would too.

Most clownfish are captive breed and raised these days. As such most dont have a clue and it may take several days for them to figure it out if they havent done so after being at the LFS for a few days on sale. If they havent figured it out then you need to try what I call the "Monkey See Monkey Do" technique. Go on line and print out a large picture of a clown fish hosting in an anemone and take it to the side of the tanks glass. Usually in a few days they will get the idea and start wallowing around in your Xenia or what ever simular coral you have in the tank. I know this sounds pretty ridicuals but hey, after reading about this, I tried it and it really does work! Some fish just get a clue quicker than others.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Be mindful of the species of Clown Fish you get. Some of them can get to be of decent size. For example a mature adult female Maroon clown can easily reach 6 inches!!! If you get a pair of clownfish one will grow considerably larger than the other. This will morph into a female. The smaller one will be the male and will remain a male until the female is no longer present at which point it can morph into a female. If your going to add a pair you need to buy the small juvenile ones. They will need to both be added at the same time. This will lessen the impact of creating a huge bio-load for the tank to suddenly have to accomadate. There will also probably be some bickering at first as the two square off and determine whos the domenet of the two. The smaller they are the less damage they are likely to do to each other and the quicker they will settle down and play nice with each other. Normally you would add one fish at a time every 10-14 days, but this rule sorta goes out the window when dealling with clownfish.

Now since you want Clownfish let me go on a head and rain on your parade. Dont get an anemone! I could probably write a short book on all the reasons you shouldnt get an anemone in a tank this small. Trust me on this one and save yourself some money and some head aches and just Dont do it. Your planned clownfish can do just fine without them anyways. Besides there are several suitable substitutes that are much more worthy in a 20 Gallon tank that will serve as a suitable substitute if you really want to see this sort of symbiotic relationship take place. A Xenia, Anthelia or Kenya Tree coral among many others will serve as a "host" to your clownfish. They will fare much better odds wise in your tank than an Anemone would too.

Most clownfish are captive breed and raised these days. As such most dont have a clue and it may take several days for them to figure it out if they havent done so after being at the LFS for a few days on sale. If they havent figured it out then you need to try what I call the "Monkey See Monkey Do" technique. Go on line and print out a large picture of a clown fish hosting in an anemone and take it to the side of the tanks glass. Usually in a few days they will get the idea and start wallowing around in your Xenia or what ever simular coral you have in the tank. I know this sounds pretty ridicuals but hey, after reading about this, I tried it and it really does work! Some fish just get a clue quicker than others.
Yeah I didn't plan on getting a anemone. I'm not even ready for that and I want a bigger tank whenever I do get one. I've been looking at my tank for the past....30 minutes figuring out what and what not to do. I can kind of get the idea of what I do and don't need. I'm not saying by a far shot that I know anything about saltwater, I'm just lucky that I have someone (Phil) who helps me with whatever I don't know, and what I need and stuff. I'd be pretty much in trouble if I didn't have that.

Now, When you say watch for the clown fish I get, what would you suggest? Like is there a certain type of clownfish that I should get that would be much better in my tank? Or what, because I'm open for anything at the moment, because well theres nothing in there right now.

Also! Is there a certain type of FireFish to get to add into the tank? I just want to make sure I'm getting the right type of fish and making sure that I'm not going to regret getting something a few days after I do get it.
 

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i heard that the maroon ones are the most agressive...i think
 

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My personal preference is the marroon, but they are indeed a little more aggressive, and can get pretty big. Im sure someone here will say the onyx is much more acceptable, It really comes down to preference. And what did i tell you about our staff :)

 

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False Perculas or True Perculas would be the best option species wise for your tank. The other commonly available species such as the Clarkii and Tomato/Cinimon/Fiji varieties are possible but get a little on the big side for two of them in the tank. The Maroons whether its the standard one or the Gold Stripe get entirely too large. jrodriguez and Jim are right, the Maroon is easily the most aggresive of the bunch, especially as they start to get much of any size to them.

Oh, any of the fire fish will be just fine. These are small docile fish that should present no compatibility issues in the least. These are very skittish and jumpy fish that have a reputation for jumping from the tank on a leap of faith and being found the next morning in the form of "Fish Jerky". I would sugggest that if you get one of these fish that you go to lowes or home depot and buy one of those plastic grating sheets used to cover Flourecent lights in offfice buildings and cut a piece to size to fit over your tank. This will allow light inside the tank and keep the fish inside the tank so they dont take that "Great Leap of Faith" on you.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yeah I most deff. have it covered well, so I don't have to worry about any of that. Thats the last thing I need is to come home and find one of my fish out. I would cry. Haha.
 

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Yes that would score pretty high on the "Top 10 Suxs List" for sure. I could hold back the tears probably but that would definitely be the scream herd around the world!*J/D* Explaining what happened to Nemo to Baby Girl wouldnt be any easier either. Im sure that would make for some major drama.
 
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