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Hey guys, so I've been out of the aquarium scene for quite a while since I had to move across country. I still have everything from my FW setup (55gal, wet/dry filter, heater, other tubes and bio-balls). I moved from the East Coast to Las Vegas and my fiancee and I decided to start a reef tank.

A few things I've been worried about and wanted to get straight before diving into the setup:

-the water in Vegas is extremely hard (313 ppm / 18.3 grains per gallon)... would this pose a threat to the animals? how hard would it be to do partial water changes?

-obviously I would have to thoroughly rinse the tank and other internal parts... could I still use the same tubes and filter from the FW tank, or would I need to get all new parts?

-if we start off slow (i.e. getting the tank established, adding in the live rock, then the other animals) adding over a period of several months, is it completely necessary to get the protein skimmer, UV filter, actinic lighting prior to even the live rock?


I'm just trying to get an idea, instead of jumping into it and getting frustrated down the road.


Also, I feel that I am fluent in FW tanks and had been doing it for a couple years, so I do have experience with diseases, medicine, and controlling water levels... just so you don't think I have no clue about anything "fish"
 

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Hard water should not pose a problem, however you might want to get an RO/DI for your reef which will bring the hardness down anyway.

Yes, you can use the same filter, its not a problem. Nearly every filter from a freshwater tank can be used on saltwater, although there are other "filters" you may want, such as a protein skimmer, and others.

If you start slow, it is not necessary to have your UV and protein skimmer. You can add them later but get the skimmer before you have a heavy bio-load or corals. However you will want your lighting good at the start (the live rock will thank you).

Happy to elaborate more, hope the info helps.
 

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"Jumping into" any part of our hobby is probably not a good idea, but especially the Marine hobby, due to the potential of increased loss of bucks $ when something goes bad.

The best advice i can think of for anyone starting into the Marine keeping hobby is study, study, and then study more.

Decide what you want to achieve in the end and work slowly toward that, such as when youre completely done, do you want to have a set up that is Fish With Liverock, only? Or do you visualize a complete Reef set up including corals from every type, which also includes fish, inverts, different types of algae, etc.

A successful outcome can be achieved, if you take your time, investigate how all these items affect each other, and probably most importantly talk to lots of folks like Jarred who have been there done that, and can advise you of all the possible pitfalls.
 

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Hey guys, so I've been out of the aquarium scene for quite a while since I had to move across country. I still have everything from my FW setup (55gal, wet/dry filter, heater, other tubes and bio-balls). I moved from the East Coast to Las Vegas and my fiancee and I decided to start a reef tank.
I know the feeling. I would first start with a fish tank keeping in mind reef safe fish. then try the corals after a few months.
A few things I've been worried about and wanted to get straight before diving into the setup:

-the water in Vegas is extremely hard (313 ppm / 18.3 grains per gallon)... would this pose a threat to the animals? how hard would it be to do partial water changes?
Most tap water hardness comes from a limestone aquaifer which is calcium, carbonate, and magnesium. Those are things that are dosed in a reef tank. So at most you'll just have to dose less. But there are nasties in tap water to corals like copper that don't affect the hardness measureably but are toxic to corals. So most use RO/DI water for very delicate corals regrardless of the quality of the tap water.
-obviously I would have to thoroughly rinse the tank and other internal parts... could I still use the same tubes and filter from the FW tank, or would I need to get all new parts?
most FW equipment can be used in a marine tank.
-if we start off slow (i.e. getting the tank established, adding in the live rock, then the other animals) adding over a period of several months, is it completely necessary to get the protein skimmer, UV filter, actinic lighting prior to even the live rock?
The protein skimmer is not needed. Almost nobody I know uses a uv filter. Actinic lighting appears to be helpful IME especially to grow corraline algae and bring out color in corals.
I'm just trying to get an idea, instead of jumping into it and getting frustrated down the road.
good idea.
Also, I feel that I am fluent in FW tanks and had been doing it for a couple years, so I do have experience with diseases, medicine, and controlling water levels... just so you don't think I have no clue about anything "fish"
In a marine tank there almost no meds so water quaity and quaranteen is important.

My usual advice is very similiar to a FW planted tank with the change of "live plants" to macro algaes. I would start the system is macro algaes right from the start. Get them extablished and protected from the fish in a refugium. then do the rest. that way the tank is balanced and stabilized with the plant life (macros).

I have found other filtrations like skimmers, filters, and move rock are unnecessary with the macros present.

I also use common, cheap FW mollys to cycle the tank. 1 male for every 10g is fine and don't add food for a week after adding them. If anything does go wrong (not likely) at least all you have lost is a $3 fish.

you may want to google dr. randy holmes-farley diy 2 part. It uses common and inexpensive materials to maintain calcium,alk, and magnesium in saltwater tanks.


my .02
 
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