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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read many times , hobbyist who have been keeping freshwater fish forever, say man!! if Saltwater wasnt so expensive and difficult, id sure like to give that a try. Well Ladies and Gentlemen, im here to tell you, if you want a saltwater tank , you can have one without taking out a loan Smile Mind you it wont be a full blown reef with corals so thick, you cant see the rock but, It will none-the- less be your first saltwater aquarium.

You probably have an empty tank setting around somewhere, if youre like most of us so dust it off, and lets go. First you need substrate, the method i chose for my first tank was the DSB (deep sand bed method) which is somewhat controversial, but it worked for me, This should consist of at least 1# per gallon of an aragonite mixture as follows; * 15% Live Oolitic Aragonite Sand to seed the bed taken from an established system that has been in operation for a year or more to allow for as much colinazation as possible by all kinds of beneficial critters from the system.
* 45% Dry Oolitic Aragonite Sand
* 25% CaribSea Reef Sand
* 15% CaribSea Aruba Shell
I started with the live sand on the bottom and the above mixture placed on top to a level of about 3 inches.

Next add some base rock at about the same ratio, this is just as good as premium rock but less expensive and will make up the bulk of the rock in the tank, next if you want you can add some nice fiji or other rock placed throughout the reef, pick some with nice coraline coverage (pink and orange if possible, It will spread as the tank matures.

Now mix your water( at the rule of thumb ammount of 1 cup per gallon of water, use any good sea salt, i prefer instant ocean. which should give you about a specific gravity of about 22-23. I found with type of system i didnt even need a big expensive filter so i just used a small aqua-flo, this was on a 20 gallon tank, so i also added a small powerhead to effect circulation of water thru the rock and purify and remove waste produced by the fish, and eventually broken down into harmless residue.

I purchased a small yellow tailed damsel as my cycling fish, as they are cheap and serve the purpose very well, Thats it, youre now a saltwater hobbyist on a budget. The lighting doesnt matter because fish dont really care about the light, and you dont have corals to worry about with this setup, so just set back and enjoy.

I recommend a 20% water change after about 2 weeks with the same mixture listed above. I chose to always use R/O water which i purchased in 5 gallon containers pre-mixed from my Dealer, but you can mix your own and save some more money. as time goes on you can add a few more small fish and a few inverts, but keep the stocking very low, remember this is a small tank, so dont blow out the system by putting too much load on it. cheers
 

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thanks so much!
i think i might follow your method with my 55gallon. any recomendations on filters?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmmm, well filters, on a budget. First of all if stocked lightly and fed lightly, you will have very little need for a filter. I prefer always, anything with a double bio-wheel, Penguin makes a good one without filters pads ( these, unless changed a lot are just rotting the stuff in the filter instead of the tank) or-and a Aqua-flo sized to over-filter the tank by size. (never buy filter pads just rinse and reuse.
 

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+ 1 also keep in mind that if you plan on keeping saltwater inverts your sg needs to be at 1.026 to 1.027 otherwise they will be short lived , as the majority of saltwater inverts like very salty water. Second thing is lighting plays a major role in the health of your tank, such as Coraline alga, the health of your marine life and fauna. And filtration plays a big part in the overall health of your tank and it's mates, as all saltwater life requires pristine parameters. WATER CHEMISTRY, PATIENCE AND QUALITY IS THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL MARINE TANK EVEN IF IT IS A FOWLR ! It's not a hard hobby in just requires you to put in the effort, time and research and of course your husbandry skills have to be number one.

REMEMBER IN THE MARINE HOBBY YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR:shakefish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I have to disagree on the 1 cup per gallon it should be alot closer to 1/2 cup per gallon to get to about 1.023 SG
Discussion is about disagreement :) 1/2 cup of reef crystals will produce 1.20 SG give or take a couple of points at 75 degrees, as i kept mostly high end inverts and Red sea varietys of fish The red sea has an average SG of 1.028-1.035 but you are correct if you only keep animals from other than the Red Sea the lower SG is acceptable. As far as the lighting issue, i didnt say it was unnecessary, just not important. in a basic fish only set up. :) the fish do need some lighting which will vary according to the fish. Is it in nature something that lives at a depth of 100 feet or in tide pools?? they need lite only to regulate their biological clocks, but by no means metal halides, and moon bulbs. This thread was intended for the guy who wants a couple of damsels and a serpent star in a 10 gal setup. Complication is why most people never try saltwater. I had close to $10,000 invested im my 150 reef set up , but that would scare most folks away :)
 

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I had close to $10,000 invested im my 150 reef set up , but that would scare most folks away :)
that is the problem when new people want to come into the hobby, they see how much coral, skimmers, and lighting cost and they run for the hills when if you just did fish only the only other expensive you would have compaired to freshwater is salt(not expensive at all when you by bulk)

On the other hand i personally know someone who lost $10,000 in live stock one day in his 150 reef setup but hey if your going to be buying thousand dollar corals its going to happen, thats why they say start with something cheap and hardy like mushrooms
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thats spelled heard :) This thread was intended for the guy who wants a couple of damsels and a serpent star in a 10 gal setup. Complication is why most people never try saltwater. i bow to the folks who would rather argue than attract new saltwater hobbyists. Thank you for your corrections. :)
 

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Jim,
Thanks for the spelling correction
Did you keep coral in your tank with such a high SG if so were they only red sea native?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In the little set up this thread was written about there were no corals at all. and my SG was usually always at around 1.20 , which helped to keep down disease. I would like to attract new saltwater hobbyist by showing that even though you CAN spend a fortune on the hobby, you can have a fish only setup for very little investment, as they grow they can learn and improve. In my reef set up everything was Red sea specific, i prefer animals from the red sea, even those found elsewhere in nature such as the sailfin Tang which is just more colorful and attractive, to me at least from the red sea.
 

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I agree with what you were saying in this thread as far as SW on a budget. I helped a friend set up a 180 reef with a 100 gallon stock tank and a 30 cube for a RDSB, the display was in his living room and all his filtration was in his basement along with an external skimmer for about $2500 total for everything. I tell people you can set up a SW tank or even a reef tank fairly cheap if you dont mind waiting to set it up and look for quality used equipment. I also recomend for people to join boards like this and local clubs because that is where you will find the deals and someone to help you on your setup to help reduce mistakes that can be costly.
 

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+ 1 also keep in mind that if you plan on keeping saltwater inverts your sg needs to be at 1.026 to 1.027 otherwise they will be short lived , as the majority of saltwater inverts like very salty water.

REMEMBER IN THE MARINE HOBBY YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR:shakefish:
i guess this is why my peppermint shrimp died within a month of me getting him
 

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i just set up a 24g nanocube dx. I have to say that once the thing was set up and cycled it was as easy as my 75g cichlid tank. the hardest part about salt water to me is not over stocking as all the life in the ocean looks so nice. but in reality it is not that expensive if all you want is a few fish to look at. i personally have more coral that i do fish. what a great hobby. and the truth of the matter is that the hobby will pay you back if you keep a healthy tank
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Very true Matt, thanks for your post, keep em coming :)
 
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