I've never done more than a betta fish before. Any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Star_Sapphire22, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Star_Sapphire22

    Star_Sapphire22

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    Hi!

    I'd like to get a saltwater aquarium for my boyfriend's birthday coming up in May. I've been shopping around, doing research and learning what I can...if you guys have any suggestions, I'd appreciate it. Especially on things like equipment, general care/setup info, and fish compatibility.

    Right now we are looking at probably a 75 gallon, fish only with live rock tank. I am thinking an ocellaris clown as our first fish, and provided he can keep that alive for a while, a royal gramma, and after our tank is fully established, a green mandarin goby. We'd love to have as many fish as our bioload will allow, but I'm not sure how much our tank can handle. Is the inch per 10 gallon rule really accurate? I know pumps and filters and things like that affect it too...but if you think we could have more fish and have suggestions on what we should put in with those three species, let me know.

    Any recommendations on brands or models of equipment to buy let me know as well. Preferably nothing too outrageously expensive. My budget will be $750-ish max (we are getting a free tank with stand from a friend who outgrew it).

    Thank you so much!
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
    Star_Sapphire22, Feb 29, 2012
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  2. Star_Sapphire22

    MikeG Ex-Member

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    Welcome and Hello. :D

    I don't want to start out bursting your bubble, but a 75 gallon is too small for a yellow tang, much less three. A paiir of clowns would be a good set of fish to start out with, they are hardy and fairly easy (as far as sw fish go) to care for. Stay away from Damsels as they are extremely agressive and will attack any fish you add later.

    You will need live rock to act as your bio filtration. Get dry rock (check out www.marcorocks.com) for good dry rock and add a piece or two of live rock to seed it. Dry rock will save you lots of $$$ and become live in no time.

    For a 75 gallon you might want to consider going with a sump. It adds extra water volume and gives you a place for protein skimmers, heaters, etc. That way they don't take up room in your display tank.

    Reef Octopus makes a good and reasonably priced protein skimmer, Hydor Koralia is a very poplular brand of powerheads.

    Usually your looking at about 7 to 8 fish for a 75 gallon tank. Depending on their size.
     
    MikeG, Feb 29, 2012
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  3. Star_Sapphire22

    R3verb Time to add some coral!

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    Hi! Glad to hear you are getting into the hobby! If you are looking into doing a FOWLR tank (fish only with live rock) then just about any lighting will do. Look for a cheap LED or T5 bulb system (I really like LED but they are more expensive). What exactly is your friend giving you? Just the tank? Tank and stand? Tank, stand and sump? Does the tank have an overflow? As for pumps, you will want probably 2 powerheads (maybe 2 koralia 1100-1400, from what I hear they are on sale on MarineDepot today) to give your tank some flow. You will want to do some sand, try and stay away from crushed coral, it can become a nitrate factory (nitrates are bad). You will probably want to get a protein skimmer, this will help a lot with your water quality.

    As for your fish selection. You CAN NOT keep 3 yellow tangs in a 75. In fact, you can't even really keep 1 yellow in a 75. Tangs needs lots of room to swim around and a 75 is unfortunately just not big enough. Sorry! There may be some other types of tangs that you can get (guys help me out here) but you may want to look at some other types of fish. Spend some quality time on liveaquaria.com and look at all the different kinds of fish. Look at the min tank sizes and what they are compatible with. Choosing compatible fish is a big deal. Do it wrong and you can have a lot of very dead very expensive fish. $750 should get you started but please remember, these are live animals you are keeping and this hobby is expensive and takes a lot of time and care. I am sure others will give you more advice but for the time being, check out these articles here on the site:

    https://www.livingreefs.com/choose-your-fish-t27083.html

    https://www.livingreefs.com/basic-equipment-list-t19611.html

    https://www.livingreefs.com/water-chemistry-t31270.html

    https://www.livingreefs.com/marine-aquarium-disasters-and-prevent-them-t20514.html

    It is very critical that you learn about water quality. Chances are with a beta, you just put him in a cup, replaced all the water with tap water and put him right back in. With a 75 gal saltwater tank, you can't do that. The water in the tank has to be well taken care of so that your fish can live in it. This is a constant battle that some find to be very frustrating and some find to be a piece of cake. Remember this, nothing happens fast in the hobby. So if you have poor water quality, it's not going to shoot back to perfect in a few hours. You will have to baby it and doctor it, sometimes over months, to get it back to a sustainable place. The best way to do this is to never let you water parameters get bad in the fist place. This requires weekly water changes and weekly to daily testing.

    The last thing I'll leave you with is a list of what you should look at for equipment wise. Everybody has their favorites but this is what I am using for my 90 gal tank with a few modifications to keep cost down for you.

    Pump: [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-One-Lifegard-Aquarium-991-Gallon/dp/B000256E76/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1330508715&sr=8-5]Amazon.com: Quiet One Lifegard Aquarium Pump, 991-Gallon Per Hour: Pet Supplies[/ame]

    Heater: [ame=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001VMSK0I/ref=oh_o01_s00_i00_details]Fluval E 300-Watt Electronic Heater: Amazon.com: Pet Supplies[/ame]

    Powerhead: Hydor Koralia Evolution Circulation Pump/Powerhead

    Lights: Marineland Double Bright LED Light Fixture

    Sump: Berlin Sump (Sump Only)

    Protein skimmer: Reef Octopus Needle/Pin Wheel Protein Skimmer


    That is just some stuff to look at! Look around on some fish store sites for equipment and fish. Another good site for equipment is BulkReefSupply.com and another good site for fish is saltwaterfish.com. Hope everybody else gives you good input as well!

    (This is all just my personal experience and my personal opinion. Everybody does this hobby differently and everybody has their own opinions. Forum people, if I said anything wrong point it out!)
     
    R3verb, Feb 29, 2012
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  4. Star_Sapphire22

    Star_Sapphire22

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    About the tangs, a site I read said 55 gallon recommended...then I checked a few more and realized I'd kill my fishies. My bad! :/ Edits were made to my original post. :)

    Holy cow, so much info! Thanks guys. I'll have to take some time to read through all these links. I just discovered liveaquaria about 2 minutes before you posted....so helpful!

    The tank I am (probably) getting is a 72-gallon bowfront with stand and a "$400 filter". He said I'd just need to get a light and chemicals, live rock/sand, salt, etc...so I don't know if everything else is in there minus light and stuff or what...it's currently in use so I would assume it at least has things to keep fish alive, and whether its missing "optional" things or could maybe use some upgrades I don't know.He's supposed to get back to me on that tomorrow, I think.

    Thanks again guys!
     
    Star_Sapphire22, Feb 29, 2012
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  5. Star_Sapphire22

    Star_Sapphire22

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    This is the picture of the tank he sent me (I feel bad for those fishies in that empty ol' tank!). I don't know what exactly is all pictured in it, but if that gives you any clue as to what's going on with it....

    imgur: the simple image sharer
     
    Star_Sapphire22, Feb 29, 2012
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  6. Star_Sapphire22

    Star_Sapphire22

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    We'd love to have some schooling fish too.
     
    Star_Sapphire22, Feb 29, 2012
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  7. Star_Sapphire22

    MikeG Ex-Member

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    That's a nice lookoing tank and will make a great start in the world of sw aquariums.

    Glad to hear you got on Live Aquaria, they have some very accurate descriptions of minimum tank sizes for different fish. A good place to go to get basic info on fish you're interested in.

    Read as much as you can and ask as many questions as you want, that's the best way to go. Do it right the first time, saves a lot of headaches, money and fish. And the best advice is to "Take it slow, nothing good happens quick in this hobby".
     
    MikeG, Feb 29, 2012
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  8. Star_Sapphire22

    Star_Sapphire22

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    Ok....so tentative stock list:

    -Ocellaris Clown (I'm thinking just one, rather than 2. I want my fish to keep it in their pants. Will probably be my first fish.)
    -Royal Gramma
    -Firefish
    -Blue Reef Chromis (4, I think? To be a decent school size, but not too much for the tank)
    -Green Mandarin (after tank is established).

    Thoughts, suggestions, warnings? From what I've read, everything should be ok together, but let me know if you think otherwise.

    Also, what about invertabrates? Do I need them and, if so, what kind? Do they affect my bioload? There's some crab at our local store that my boyfriend is in love with, but no one knows what he is...he was a live rock surprise apparently...so if anyone knows a good crab too? The one he liked had these funny fin-like things on him that flared when he ate (sorry if I make NO sense!).

    Any recomendations on certain pieces of equipment I should or shouldn't get with this list?

    You all are wonderful! :)
     
    Star_Sapphire22, Feb 29, 2012
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  9. Star_Sapphire22

    MikeG Ex-Member

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    Don't think you'd have to worry about a pair of clowns "Keeping it in the Pants" chances are they may never breed. But it's ok to have just one.

    As for the Firefish, I have a pair and I feel that they are more comfortable when kept with at least another Firefish. I would probably go with two there, but that's just me.

    I personally like Blue/Green Chromis, have a school of 7 in my 180 and they are fun to watch and always on the move. Some sites recommend an odd number, I'm not 100% sure why, but that's what I went with. But I think 4 would be OK. Again they are a fish that do better in a group as oppose to single.

    For a Mandarin your gonna want one that eats frozen food or it will eat thru your pod population in no time and starve to death. A refuguim would help here as a place to raise/grow pods.

    I also have a Royal Gramma and mine is a great addition to my tank. Peaceful with all his tank mates. A good choice.

    All of your fish choices stay relative small and should have no problem getting along together.

    You'll want a clean up crew, consisting of snails, hermit crabs (if you want), etc. They eat the uneaten food and algae to help keep thing clean and water quality up.

    Inverts do NOT count against your bio load.

    A sump and skimmer along with powerheads are equipment I would start researching. And a good light especially if you want to keep any corals down the road.
     
    MikeG, Feb 29, 2012
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  10. Star_Sapphire22

    MikeG Ex-Member

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    You can see pics of my Firefish and Royal Gramma on the link to my 36 gallon.
     
    MikeG, Feb 29, 2012
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    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Since you're going fish only, later on down the line you could get a coral beauty or flame angel :D Get them last because they can get aggressive (but my coral beauty is as sweet as sugar -- she's one of the last I added)

    A foxface would be an AWESOME addition, too! I absolutely LOVE my foxface! He's the biggest fattest fish in my tank, but he's also the wimpiest :) He's got lots of personality, though.
     
    wontonflip, Feb 29, 2012
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    Smitty

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    Hello and welcome to the site...glad to have you aboard.
     
    Smitty, Feb 29, 2012
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    little_fish Moderator

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    Hello and Welcome!

    Lots of great advice so far!

    However, I do want to point out that liveaqauria is very good about giving accurate sizing info, but they are not perfect either. In the end, they are still a business and I have noticed that many of the most popular fish (like yellow tangs or triggers) have a much smaller recommended tank size than they should because they will sell more that way.

    Always take the advice of the LFS with a grain of salt, they are in the end a business and just because someone works there doesnt mean they actually know what they are doing.

    Edit: Also can you post what this filter looks like? Sounds like a freshwater thing, which isnt very useful for saltwater. The equipment for fresh doesnt really translate very well to salt.
     
    little_fish, Feb 29, 2012
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    Zissou What about my dynamite? VIP Member

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    Since it will be a FOWLR, look into dwarf angelfish. You can only keep one in that size tank, but there dozens of dwarf angelfish to choose from, and almost all of them are pretty. Without any corals to worry about you can choose almost any of them.
     
    Zissou, Feb 29, 2012
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  15. Star_Sapphire22

    Star_Sapphire22

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    I have no idea what the filter looks like or is...but my friend used to work at our LFS, so I feel like he would have told me if it was freshwater? I'll definitely check with him though. Thanks for the headsup.
     
    Star_Sapphire22, Feb 29, 2012
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  16. Star_Sapphire22

    Star_Sapphire22

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    He said it is a Rena XP4. I have no idea what that is or means, it's all greek to me. If you can make heads or tails out of it, let me know.
     
    Star_Sapphire22, Feb 29, 2012
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    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    That's a canister filter. Good for freshwater, not good for saltwater -- they are nitrate factories, unless you clean them regularly -- but it's just adds extra work. But it's good to have for running carbon in a pinch.

    Sorry, but a lot of knowledge I've seen/heard is pretty old school. He worked at an LFS, but doesn't mean they keep up with the times (no offense) :)
     
    wontonflip, Feb 29, 2012
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  18. Star_Sapphire22

    Star_Sapphire22

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    I don't expect him to be an all-knowing fish god. But he knows more than I do! :) What filter would you guys recommend then, that isn't SUPER expensive? (A little expensive is ok, I know they're important...but I'm on a budget right now, and I still need to get a light and other equipment, and all the salt/chemical type things, and live rock/sand...and you know, FISH eventually. ;) )

    A recent text message says that the tank comes with the tank, stand, filter, and heaters. (He doesn't remember what kind of heaters it has)

    Wontonflip, I enjoy your fish/vulcan hybrid over there. :)
     
    Star_Sapphire22, Feb 29, 2012
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  19. Star_Sapphire22

    Samhain Satin, Lace, and Sequins

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    Honestly, I don't recommend a filter at all, per se. Your live rock will be your "biofilter" such as it is. I do, however, highly recommend a protein skimmer. Those are priceless for helping to maintain your water quality, as they remove a ton of crud that would otherwise be floating in your water. The cannister, biowheel, and other filters that you typically see in fish stores are really for freshwater and just don't translate to saltwater. They just end up jacking up your nitrates and ruining your water quality (voice of experience here) So there! A really cheap filter recommendation is "don't buy one!" :D

    You can actually get away with not having a protein skimmer, but it just means a lot more water changes, which are time and labor intensive in a larger tank.
     
    Samhain, Feb 29, 2012
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    R3verb Time to add some coral!

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    Try and sell that Rena XP4 on craigslist and roll that money into a sump/protein skimmer. You will be so happy you did. Also, check that heater, if it's old, it may need replacing. Heaters are one of the ways tanks crash and it's a pretty inexpensive replacement.
     
    R3verb, Feb 29, 2012
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