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Converting from Fresh to Salt: HELP
NOTE: I do not want link as questions answers! And I do not want to know anything about PH cause I have a shop that checks it for me. I just wNt to know what to buy.
Okay so for 5 years now I've had a nice 30 gallon tank. I bred guppies and sold them to my local store. I recently sold them all, and now I want to start a saltwater tank. I emptied it all out (except for gravel) and I was all ready, but I don't know how to set it all up, or even if my filtration has saltwater capabilities. Below are some pictures of my tank. Please let me know how I can make it a saltwater tank. Buying a new tank is to much, and I think my tank is really nice. And please tell me everything I need to know about setting it up. I wouldn't have only like 3-5 fish, I like coral more.


I know that I would have to get rid of the gravel and put in some sand. The water simply goes up the tube in the back left corner and goes into the filtartion system (next picture).


It simply shoots out that valve and runs through the three different compartments until it goes back in the tank.
-THANKS!!!

Here are some other questions I have:
-About how many pounds of sand will i need?
-Here are fish/coral that I want please let me know if they go well together
-Fish
-2 Ocellaris Clownfish
-1 Blue Mandarin Goby
-2 Peppermint Shrimp
-2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
-1 Sand Sifting Sea Star
-Coral
-1 Purple Tipped Sebae Anemone
-2/3 Hawiian Feather Duster
-1 Red Sea Pink and White Xenia
-1 Eye of Jupiter Polyp
 

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~/root
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TECHNICALLY speaking you could use any type of filtration you want. However salt water hobbyist use special filtration methods based on what is proven for their style of tanks. Be it sump/refugium, canister, or even regular freshwater filters.


-About how many pounds of sand will i need?
I'm a fan of 1gallon,1pound. Thats just my .02 personal opinion.


-1 Purple Tipped Sebae Anemone
I'm not sure about this guy in a tank so small.

I will let the stock questions be answered by someone more knowledgeable.
 

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-Purple Tipped Sebae Anemone
the can grow up to 1'3'' but a 30 gal can hold them.
they are also aggressive. and check on compatibility with the other fish you have chosen
 

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When I provide Reef tank advice I typically have no absolutes but rather go by odds of success that I have witnessed in the past.

The Ocellaris are an excellent choice for a 30 gallon.
The Mandarin has a low survival rate in nano tanks unless you connect it to a large refugium.
The Shrimp should work very well.
The Sandsifting Starfish has a low survival rate in small tanks

Sebae has almost no chance of surviving long term in a small tank. They typically perish in the first year without the stability large tanks can provide.
Hawaiian Feather dusters will require supplemental feeding. This can be a problem in small tanks. Feeding live phytoplankton instead of dead is helpful.
Xenia should thrive in your environment.
Most polypes will do well in your tank.

I really want to discourage you on the Sebae or any other hosting Anemone when starting out. If you choose to get one I want to steer you in the direction of a hobbiest propogaed Bubble-Tip. They are a lot more forgiving and it prevents an animal from being pulled out of the ocean.

The major differences between fresh and reef tank is energy. Reef tanks require more light and a LOT more waterflow. All of this energy is going to create heat that needs to be handled.
 

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+1 Guy. Definitely NO on the Mandarin. I know they're beautiful but they need lots of live foods and this can usually only be provided by a large tank or a tank with a big sump/refurgium for rearing of copepods, mysids, and other tiny feeder inverts. Ocellaris are perfect. All the shrimps would be good, but the star probably wouldn't live long. They need a lot of sand to sift through in order to stay healthy, and a 30g tank cannot provide them with that. I would nix the anemones for the 30g. Period. But if you really want one you can think about it after your tank has been set up successfully for at least 6 months. Nems need REALLY stable water parameters, something that can be difficult in a new, small aquarium, so I'd pass on them.

Whatever you do, if you're going to add corals, do not add anything earlier than one month after the tank has fully finished cycling. They also cannot survive swings in water quality parameters and need a stable environment to live and thrive. Some really good hardy corals to start with are the following: mushrooms, xenia, star polyps, and leather corals. Zooanthids and some palythoa are good too. Feather dusters would be good, but they have to be fed because they're filter feeders. "Rod's Reef" food is a fantastic product that I would highly recommend.

When buying stuff for this tank, here are some guidlines: 1lb of substrate/g (get aragonite or CaribSea live active sand or something along those lines that will be good for maintaining pH [not freshwater gravel please]), 1lb live rock/g, 1/2 of salt/g, and at least 3 watt/g for lighting. Keep in mind that with sensitive animals like corals, it is very important to test your water often and make sure that there are no swings in WQ parameters.

My best advice when setting up a coral reef, especially from a freshwater tank, is do a lot of reasearch on set-up, don't over-stock, over-crowd, or over-feed your tank, get good lights and good water (preferrably RO), and do water changes religiously. My first reef tank was a 12g set-up. It's very demanding and I'm neurotic about checking the water. It's a beautiful tank, but it's more work than freshwater. Also more rewarding for me. Keep us posted on your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks you so much guys!!! I will definitely go by all of your opinions, they all seem to say the same thing about what and what not to have.
Thanks!!
 

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it never ends
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Everybody has touched on some good points...I do how ever want to say you pretty much want to throw everything you know about fresh water out the window. The two are like apples and oranges. You are starting out on the right foot by asking questions. My first tank was a small tank, but the thing about a small tank is you have to stay on top of it at all times. Small tank can be unforgiving and leaves very little room for error. One thing that was not addressed above was circulation and this is apart from your filtration. And it's a must for you to have your own test kit. During your cycling and early you need to check your levels often. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and Phosphate I know you said you have someone to check your PH but that would be low range PH. You need to be able to test high range PH. And just to touch on lighting I have learn not to cut corners when it come to lighting this way you won't have to upgrade down the road when you find out you don't have enough light for coral you really want you keep. Two things you need to keep in mind is first is information is power and second is nothing good happens in salt water over night. So take your time and welcome aboard.
 
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