Getting started--what am I looking at here?

Discussion in 'Reef Fishes' started by chazzbo77, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. chazzbo77

    chazzbo77

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    Hello everyone. I know this isn't where you're supposed to introduce yourself, but I also have a question. I'll be 17 in a couple weeks and our school has a beautiful saltwater aquarium, and it has inspired me to take a go at it on my own.

    I have ALWAYS had a freshwater aquarium going. Currently I have a 45-gallon that I'd like to convert to a saltwater. Is it possible for a beginner? I know that keeping a saltwater aquarium is VERY expensive, but that is not an issue. What I'm asking, basically, is if it would be possible for me to do this, and if so, how should I go about doing it?

    Thanks,
    Chalie
     
    chazzbo77, Dec 8, 2008
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  2. chazzbo77

    dustin_P74

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    first off welcome to the site. and yes it is possible. what your going to need to do is figure out if you want fish only tank or if you want a reef, that way you can get the proper equipment. your going to need a good skimmer and if you want a fish only tank then lighting isnt really a priority but if you want a reef then lighting will be one of the most important purchases youll make. so if we can get a little more information that will be helpful
     
    dustin_P74, Dec 8, 2008
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  3. chazzbo77

    chazzbo77

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    I'd like a reef and fish tank. Thanks again!
     
    chazzbo77, Dec 8, 2008
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  4. chazzbo77

    Oscarsdad608

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    Welcome to the reef. Have you looked into what kinds of coral you would like? This will help you make a decision on lights.
    Read a good book or 2 before you get started.
     
    Oscarsdad608, Dec 8, 2008
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  5. chazzbo77

    dustin_P74

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    and also read our articles section, it is full of amazing articles covering everything in the hobby
     
    dustin_P74, Dec 8, 2008
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  6. chazzbo77

    PufferGuy

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    ill have a go at it even though im not the most experienced either so wait for someone to confirm or deny my post..

    To convert your tank you will need:
    saltwater (obviously) -- this can be made or purchased at a store (i buy my water for now to make sure its made properly, water quality has a huge impact on your fish/invertabrates/corals

    live rock -- this is you main source of filtration in a saltwater tank. Again, this can be purchased online, at a local fish store(LFS) or from other people with salt water tanks. You will need about 1lb rock/gal so youll need about 45 -50lbs of rock (live rock is called "live" because of all the bacteria and little critters that live in and on it)

    sand(optional) -- sand can be "live" like the rock or just regular aragonite sand. This is optional but it also helps filter your water

    powerheads -- these are in-tank water pumps that circulate your water and simulate the natural habitat in the ocean for fish and coral. Also, circulating water also brings oxygen in the water.

    heater -- tropical fish need a pretty high temp.

    sump -- a sump is another tank, usually smaller (youll need prolly about a 20gal tank) which holds all of the above equipment. It sits under your tank and has a pump in it and it circulates your water around.

    another thing to know is that after your tank is set up, it will more than likely go through a cycle, which means that your ammonia levels will spike followed by you nitrates and nitrites, during which anything living in there will either die, or get sick and die later on, so after setting up your tank you have to let it sit and do its cycle for a few weeks before you can add anything in there. You will need testing equipment to check your water parameters to know when your cycle is over (ammonia/nitrates/nitrites all are at 0).

    If you want to keep corals, you will need a special lighting setup which can be pretty damn expensive, but otherwise lighting is not all that expensive.

    Im sure im forgetting stuff but look around the site and you'll find all the info you need.
     
    PufferGuy, Dec 8, 2008
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  7. chazzbo77

    PufferGuy

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    oh and a protein skimmer which cleans your water and helps you maintaing good water parameters.

    http://www.drsfostersmith.com look there for all the equitment you will need and prices.
     
    PufferGuy, Dec 8, 2008
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  8. chazzbo77

    chazzbo77

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    Wow, lots of information. Thanks alot! I'm a bit confused on the whole "sump" concept though. Can you elaborate?
     
    chazzbo77, Dec 8, 2008
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  9. chazzbo77

    dustin_P74

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    its just another tank to give you more water volume because the more water you have the more stable your water will be. and also the sump is a hidden tank that hides all of your equipment to keep it out of site
     
    dustin_P74, Dec 8, 2008
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  10. chazzbo77

    PufferGuy

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    PufferGuy, Dec 8, 2008
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  11. chazzbo77

    chazzbo77

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    Ok, I know now what a sump looks like and how it works, but what exactly does it do? I don't exactly understand that concept.
     
    chazzbo77, Dec 10, 2008
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  12. chazzbo77

    dustin_P74

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    ^^^^^
     
    dustin_P74, Dec 10, 2008
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  13. chazzbo77

    chazzbo77

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    Ok I get the more water volume, but when you say "a hidden tank that hides all of your equipment and keeps it out of site" what equipment is that referring to?

    Like do you put the heater in the sump? I'm really sorry I'm so confused but I'm a true beginner when it comes to this stuff. Thanks for putting up with my lack of knowledge.
     
    chazzbo77, Dec 10, 2008
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  14. chazzbo77

    dustin_P74

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    you can put your skimmer, heater, return pump all in there and they are then out of site
     
    dustin_P74, Dec 10, 2008
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  15. chazzbo77

    chazzbo77

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    Ahh, ok. Thanks alot, Dustin.
     
    chazzbo77, Dec 10, 2008
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  16. chazzbo77

    dustin_P74

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    not a problem, thats what we are here for
     
    dustin_P74, Dec 10, 2008
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  17. chazzbo77

    Altohombre The Tennis Pro Reefer

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    welcome aboard and glad to see you taking the time to ask a lot of good questions. I want to add all the little things you will most likely want to get over time because you will see the need.

    -A master reef test kit
    -Test kits for Alk, Mag, Calcium, and Phosphates
    -A Python hose for water changes
    -A long reef thong for grabbing snails that fall over or corals
    -A Mag Float for scraping algae off your glass
    -An RO/DI water filter (tap water will give you hoooooorrible algae)

    there are a lot more, I just can't think of them right now.
     
    Altohombre, Dec 10, 2008
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  18. chazzbo77

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Hi and welcome! Tons of people convert freshwater tanks over to saltwater. Basically, the only redundancy is the tank. If you want to keep corals, you'll need new lights, but regular old freshwater lights are okay if you plan to keep fish only. You'll also need a protein skimmer and a couple powerheads for water movement. The best brands for powerheads are Koralia (expensive) and MaxiJets (cheap).
     
    Bifferwine, Dec 10, 2008
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  19. chazzbo77

    daugherty part time reefer

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    daugherty, Dec 10, 2008
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  20. chazzbo77

    dustin_P74

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    not a fan of the maxi jets, i have one in my trash can to keep water moving and i think it is a piece of junk and a pain in the ass to set up, but thats just me. ok rant over
     
    dustin_P74, Dec 10, 2008
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