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Discussion Starter #1
Currently i keep african cichlids but i am upgrading my 29g to a 55g tank and i would like to turn the 29g into a saltwater tank. Looking around at the fish stores i really like the nemo clown fish and small colorful fish. my question is can you give me a list of what i will need as far as filtration and heating. the only thing i already own is the 29g, stand and hood. and also some prices for the items. and maybe the difference between live rock and coral ( do i need this? ) I really dont know much about salt water at all and would like some help so i buy the right stuff first.

Thanks, Ryan
 

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Hi Ryan
Tough questions.
First off you need to know saltwater is habit forming. What I'm saying is, it's an addiction. Once you start you'll be putting the cichlids back in the 29g and using the 55. Soon after you'll be dreaming of something even bigger.

How deep is your wallet? That will depend on what you want to stock. The size of the tank will make a big impact on the kinds of fish you can have. Many saltwater fish need BIG tanks. You'll need to watch this carefully. You'll also need to study the compatibility charts. Most of the online fish stores will have these. I had one for you but I'm not allowed to post links cuz I'm new here. (Try Liveaquaria .com / general / compatibility_chart . cfm take out the spaces.)

Live rock is a must. It will help with the filtration and inhabitants. Substrate is something to be considered. Bare bottom (yuk) sand or crushed shell. You'll need to have the tank running for months before you can put in any inhabitants.
You'll need test kits designed for saltwater, a hydrometer, skimmer, and chemicals,
a cleaning crew (snails, hermits, shrimp).

Corals are not a necessity but they sure are cool. Keeping them alive is a whole other matter. Lighting is a big factor with corals. Lights will cost you plenty. Bulbs need changing often and they are very expensive. Depending on the units you go with can bring up the electric bill too.

Invertebrates are pretty cool too. Lighting is a factor. Many do not get along well with others. and some fish will eat them and coral.

The clown fish are quite interesting. I love mine. Find some good reading on them. You'll be surprised.

There is so much to learn with saltwater. Read, read and read more.

I don't want to scare you away from this, you just need to know what your getting into.
I love it and will most likely never stop. Like I said, it's an addiction.
Do some internet searches on the subjects of interest. There is tons of information out there. Check with the online saltwater critter dealers. Normally you can find a lot of information on these sites.
Keep in mind, most workers at the pet shops don't know there a** from a hole in the ground and will tell you just about anything to sell you something. Always research before you buy. No impulse buying. (I should practice what I preach.) I could go on for ever but you'll have more fun looking things up for yourself.

Keep in touch and let us know what you decide.
Best of luck.

Fish Keeper
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info, as far as money my plan was to go midline i dont want to go cheap but from what i have been reading i dont have the coin to go all out. i was hoping i could keep a few clown fish in the 29g and maybe something else, if not ill stick with just a few clown fish. but i plan on doing this right. considering i have my cichlid tank to hold me over while this tank cycles i dont want to chance anything.
 

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Hi Ryan
Tough questions.
First off you need to know saltwater is habit forming. What I'm saying is, it's an addiction. Once you start you'll be putting the cichlids back in the 29g and using the 55. Soon after you'll be dreaming of something even bigger.

How deep is your wallet? That will depend on what you want to stock. The size of the tank will make a big impact on the kinds of fish you can have. Many saltwater fish need BIG tanks. You'll need to watch this carefully. You'll also need to study the compatibility charts. Most of the online fish stores will have these. I had one for you but I'm not allowed to post links cuz I'm new here. (Try Liveaquaria .com / general / compatibility_chart . cfm take out the spaces.)

Live rock is a must. It will help with the filtration and inhabitants. Substrate is something to be considered. Bare bottom (yuk) sand or crushed shell. You'll need to have the tank running for months before you can put in any inhabitants.
You'll need test kits designed for saltwater, a hydrometer, skimmer, and chemicals,
a cleaning crew (snails, hermits, shrimp).

Corals are not a necessity but they sure are cool. Keeping them alive is a whole other matter. Lighting is a big factor with corals. Lights will cost you plenty. Bulbs need changing often and they are very expensive. Depending on the units you go with can bring up the electric bill too.

Invertebrates are pretty cool too. Lighting is a factor. Many do not get along well with others. and some fish will eat them and coral.

The clown fish are quite interesting. I love mine. Find some good reading on them. You'll be surprised.

There is so much to learn with saltwater. Read, read and read more.

I don't want to scare you away from this, you just need to know what your getting into.
I love it and will most likely never stop. Like I said, it's an addiction.
Do some internet searches on the subjects of interest. There is tons of information out there. Check with the online saltwater critter dealers. Normally you can find a lot of information on these sites.
Keep in mind, most workers at the pet shops don't know there a** from a hole in the ground and will tell you just about anything to sell you something. Always research before you buy. No impulse buying. (I should practice what I preach.) I could go on for ever but you'll have more fun looking things up for yourself.

Keep in touch and let us know what you decide.
Best of luck.

Fish Keeper
+1. by the way, fish keeper, when u put the live rock in the tank early, it usually takes no more than 2 months to cure. this is because live rock is usually semi-cured when u get it. o and u mention that u can not put any inhabitants in until after these waiting periods-when u put live rock in, u put in a bunch of inhabitants that live on the rocks. thats why they call it live rock. i agree well with everything else u said, fishkeeper. rpc07-i get a single question-do u have an extra tank lying around somewhere? if u do, maybe a 10 gallon or a 20, u could make it a sump. this would be helpful because quality in-sump skimmers are alot cheaper than quality hang-on skimmers. the skimmer and stand(and the lights for a reef tank) are usually the most expensive part of setting up the tank. hope this helps.
 

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thats good. u might also want to look for a heater with the right wpg. between 200 and 400 would suit u. since the the 10 gallon would be a little small for this size heater, u would probably want 2 100 watt heaters, which i believe can fit in a 10 gallon. this way u could have more natural looking main tank if u put heaters filters, algae, etc in the sump.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
so all in all if i have the tank already , and all i want to keep are a few nemo clowns and maybe something else colorful that will get along with that in the 29 gallon, any idea what i might be looking at as far as price wise? and what else will i need? i dont have the coin to go super high end but i would like decent equipment so im not going to cheap out.
 

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I think a 150 watt heater will be plenty, try to get a 20 long for your sump/fuge if you can fit it under your main tank, no more than 2 clowns in a tank of your size IMO and NO MANDARIN!! in that small of a tank. You say you just want a few fish trust me that wont last long you will move up to a larger tank and corals we all do. I see this all the time people want to keep corals and find out they dont have the correct lighting so they upgrade but most will look for the cheapest they can but DONT!! get good qaulity and name brand because there are some brands out there that have been known to start fires and some MH systems that claim to be 250 watts only run like 180-200 watts. I would get about 1-1 1/2 lbs of LR per gallon and get 2 good PH's and a good skimmer that is rated for at least twice the size of your tank and this along with some macro algea in your sump/fuge will be all the filtration you will need. Hey petlover can you send him the link that I sent you for over flow, return pump and skimmer. I would get about 25lbs of dry base rock and 10lbs of good LR, 40lbs of dry argonite sand dont waste your money on LS. I think you are looking at about $400 to set up this tank and about $600 total to set up a 55 gallon tank so like an extra $200 for a tank almost twice as big. I would suggest a 4 bulb T-5 light setup that way if you decide to try some corals and even an anemone you will have the lighting already and not have to upgrade. I tell everyone to think about what you might want a year down the road not rite now and build your tank for that because most people will say that they will probably want some hard corals, anemones and clams and there is no good reason to buy things twice and waste that money.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
instead of a sump can i get away with a fluval 304 or 404 for filtration? plus my weekly water changes, live sand and maybe 10-15lbs live rock?
 

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I WILL POST LINKS AT BOTTOM
1. Really what you need is a tank you got that.
2. You will need sand. I suggest sand for SW tanks, it has nutrients for them.
3. RO water, which can be very expensive. You will need to buy a purifier. for 29g around 150 dollars. I use purified water from wallmart, about 90 cent per gallon.
4.Filter. A sump is great for SW, but a hang on or canister will work fine, as long as its SW safe.
5. Clean up-Magfloat, fish safe scrubber(brush)or something.
6. Skimmer
7. Lighting-(Strong lighting for coral)
8. Flow-powerhead
9. Saltmix
10. Fish food.(other common things, net.etc.)
11. you DONT want air bubble in your tank.(No air pumps. Air is bad for SW)
12. thermometer
13. heater
14. Hydrometer
15. Water testers.
HERE ARE THE LINKS
2. Aquarium Substrates: Nature's Ocean Bio-Active Reef Sand and Reef Substrate
3. Pinnacle Series RO Units for aquariums - reverse osmosis water purification system
4.(Sump) Aquarium Filtration: All-Glass Aquarium MegaFlow Sump Filter Wet/Dry Filter
4.(hang on) Aquarium Power Filters: Marineland Penguin BIO-Wheel Power Filters
4.(canister) Aquarium Filtration & Water Quality: Marineland Magnum Canister Filters
5. Acrylic Aquarium Algae Scrapers: Acrylic Safe Mag-Float
5. Fish & Aquarium Supplies: Scrapers, Scrubbers & Brushes
6. Aquarium Protien Skimmers: Air-Driven, Venturi-Driven, & Turbo-Driven Protien Skimmers
7. Aquarium Lighting: Coralife Lunar Aqualights Compact Fluorescent Strip Lights
8. Water Pumps & Wavemakers: Hydor Koralia Water Circulation Pumps
9. Marine Aquarium Salts for Reef and Saltwater Aquariums: Red Sea Coral Pro Sea Salt
12. Aquarium Thermometers: Submersible, Stick-On, Digital, & Professional Thermometers for Aquariums
13. Aquarium Heaters: Visi-Therm Stealth Heater
14. Marine Aquarium Salt: Aquarium Systems Instant Ocean Hydrometer
15. Aquarium Water Quality & Testing: Red Sea 5-in-1 Master Test Kit For Marine Aquariums
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Deff. looks like a lot to jump into and a lot of money to invest. I think for my i will stick to the cichlids until i get my own house then i can go crazy and have the tanks i really want, which is a 150 cichlid tank and a 150 saltwater tank. So for now my 55g will have to do

Thanks for all the info, Ryan
 

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yep. I have a 12g nano, and for everything plus the tank it was like 250-300. Just giving an idea for a all in one small tank. That was supplies
 

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i started with a 30 gallon a couple years ago when it fell in my lap...those first 6 months were EXPENSIVE and the learning curve for me was frustrating as I went through fish and salt fish aren't cheap. I started with fish only and (years from now) will build up to a reef.

The one thing I think is most important is to do it one piece at a time...every week I would buy a new component...the 2 most costly first...salt first (with a hydrometer), then light (yeah, you don't need it this early but it helps builds the excitement), then heater, then filter, then sand, then rock, then water tests, then a couple of damsels (don't knock them, they're cheap and if your learning curve kills them you don't cry yourself to sleep), then a bleeny (think algae eater and in my opinion the most important part of my tank), then a couple SMALL hermits, then some snails...now you wait a couple weeks to catch up on your mortgage...then add the fun (and more costly) fish...slowly adding some of the helpful luxuries
 

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for a 29 gallon, the total price may get over 600$(using normal lighting).
 
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