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I am buying a tank on Saturday its a 175 ltr Akvastabil been told there nice tanks and it looks it, only problem is I am going to have to convert it to marine, all I am going to require is the skimmer and the pump.

When I have it established I dont intend to have coral, I am hoping for live rock and fish only, I am hoping to go Indian ocean only I know this limits me but I dont want to throw fish in there for the sake of it.

Any help you peeps can give me will be greatly appreciated
 

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Hello! I started my first saltwater tank about 6 months ago and I'd be happy to share with you some lessons learned...

1. Research in advance what kind of fish you'd like to start with. I'd suggest looking through the beginners forum in the saltwater side of the house and look at suggestions people have made in the past (i.e. damselfish are hardy, but they're territorial so you'd need to be careful of who their tankmates are and how many you have). If you want an Indian Ocean theme but the fish you want are a little difficult or particular to maintain, a lot of fish places will let you purchase hardy, easy fish to start with and let you bring them back for store credit once you feel comfortable managing the tank (my LFS requires the pH to be within a certain range when I bring a fish in for an exchange). This also avoids any tank calamities causing a costly loss... It's better to start your tank with some hardy, $6 fish to get the hang of things instead of that gorgeous $55 fish that demands special feeding and chemical supplements.

2, part A. Once you have a basic idea of what fish you'd like, pick a substrate. Sand, crushed coral, aragonite, etc. Each has its pros and cons. I bought several pounds of "live" crushed coral substrate (live meaning it's already got good bacteria cultures and tiny organisms established in it, as opposed to something that's freshly made and bare of life). Your local fish store should be able to explain basic guidelines of how much substrate you want to buy for whatever depth you wish to create. I'd aim for around 4-6"; deeper than that and you'll have additional "deep sand bed" concerns.

2, part B. Rinse the crap out of your substrate. Put it into a bucket and fill it to the halfway mark, swish it around with R/O water, and carefully pour the water out. Do that 4-5 times per bucket of substrate to rid yourself of excess dust/silt. If you don't, your tank might look like you filled it full of milk for the first week while the silt settles down.

3. Google some photos and figure out the idea of the aquascape you want. THIS IS THE FUN PART. Just get an idea of the "look" you want. Do you want the rock wall across the whole back with lots of waterspace in the front? An island of rocks in the center with sandy patches surrounding it? An asymmetrical cluster? The possibilities are endless, so don't limit yourself to what you saw at the fish store. Be creative! The key is to make your structure sound (so that settling or an accidental bump won't send your rocks tumbling), but to also allow water flow (you don't want a column of rock to block the flow from your powerhead, since it would create stale water pockets in the tank). Plenty of options for 'scaping the rocks securely: epoxy (permanent), zip ties (not permanent but also not pretty), drilling holes in the rock to slide them onto plastic rods (work intensive, but both attractive and removable), etc. Just do some searching!

4. CYCLE YOUR TANK. Even a tank made with live rock, live sand, and premixed seawater needs to cycle. Mine took a good 5 weeks to finally settle out. During the cycle, your lighting setup is not required (although it might speed it up, maybe), so just run your skimmer (running the pump during the cycle is argued both for and against, so read up a little) and let the bacteria/microorganisms do their thing. Also, do the tank the fishless cycle method. Works just as well as putting a fish in there and it means you won't be overstressing a creature unnecessarily.

5. Once the tank is settled and cycled, add your cleanup crew (a fleet of crustaceans/invertebrates to eat the garbage that has accumulated in the tank) and a week later you should be fine to add fish! The fish store should be able to tell you which fish to add first and how to add them, usually the drip method.

That, in a nutshell (albeit a large nutshell haha), is the summary of things I wish had been put into one post while I was figuring out where to start. This forum and its members are EXTREMELY helpful and friendly. Feel free to ask us anything, no matter how complicated or silly the question might seem. Good luck with your set up and send us some photos!!!
 

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Thanks for the advice, I've watched a lot of videos for some research and some of them are mixed opinion, I intend to use live sand and have been told rinsing this isn't a good idea as it will get rid of a lot of the minerals and needed bacteria.

The tank I am getting is not as wide as I would usually get but pretty tall, it 175 ltrs, I am going to have a central coloumn of rock in the middle built up around a aquarium sage removable rod, the rock will be drilled and tied into place with fine fishing line ( no hooks lol ). I don't think I want much coral maybe a few soft later in the tanks life, I will only have a few fish as I think to many is to much to focus on, was thinking 2 clown, 2 fire fish, 1 red dragonet. An emerald crab a few red shrimp and a couple of snails
 
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