Super Newb to salt water aquariums

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by juliegab21, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. juliegab21

    juliegab21

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    Hey guys!

    Total newbie here at salt water aquariums. :) I need some help. Me and my wife decided to start taking care of a salt water aquarium last week. We were so excited and went out and bought an aquarium, filter, sand, corals and fishes without doing any research. Turns out there needs to be a lot of preparation done in starting and now all of our fishes are dead and the corals are starting to die too. :dunno:

    So now I have decided to look around some websites, blogs, forums on starting. I found this forum and looks like I could get some expert pointers and tips from you guys.

    Here are some questions:

    1. The tank we bought is just 5 gallons. Being it our first aquarium we decided to get something small. But one store clerk from a local fish store said that salt water fishes dont survive in a small aquariums. Is this true? Are there any salt water fishes that can live in a small aquarium?

    2. Aside from a filter, what else should I buy to maintain and keep the salt water clean? Can you guys recommend good ones?

    3. Any good tips and pointers you guys can give us?

    Thanks a lot! Hopefully I can get some help from you guys! :)
     
    juliegab21, Sep 11, 2008
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  2. juliegab21

    cgoodman381 can i put whtever i want?

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    1) A lot of people have the mentality "smaller is easier" and in a sense it can be easier to maintain your water parameters, but because the tank is so small they can also go bad very quickly. Some fish will to ok in a 5g, pretty much only small gobies.

    2)A lot of people run saltwater aquariums with HOB (hang on back) filters. It can be done, but it is not the best way. As for filtration you will want about 1 pound of rock per gallon of water.

    3) It sounds like you set everything up way way way too fast. My advice would be to take your fish and coral back asap as they will most likely die. Also try and take back everything else you bought.... I would recommend starting off with a 55g tank or you can even try a 24g biocube or something. Get at least one pound of rock per gallon and anouph sand for about an inch or two. (or you can go bare bottom) Also try and stay away from a HOB filter and get whats known as a reef ready tank.
     
    cgoodman381, Sep 11, 2008
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  3. juliegab21

    juliegab21

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    Thanks for the reply goodman! yeah it seems that we really rushed things. we were too excited! haha.

    Ill keep your recommendations in mind. Right now im reading a lot of articles about starting up a salt water aquarium here in this websites.

    Thanks a lot!
     
    juliegab21, Sep 11, 2008
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  4. juliegab21

    daugherty part time reefer

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    welcome. take this hobby slow and if that lfs sold you everything in one day find a new lfs.
     
    daugherty, Sep 11, 2008
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  5. juliegab21

    dustin_P74

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    have to agree with goodman and daugherty
     
    dustin_P74, Sep 11, 2008
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  6. juliegab21

    Piggy

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    Welcome to the reef. If you really want to get into saltwater do lots of research. With such a small tank it's harder to keep the paremeters stable. You'll have to be consitant with water changes. One mistake could mean disaster. With a bigger tank you have more room for error. I would recommend getting something a little bit larger so you can use a protein skimmer. The main thing is to move slowly. With this hobby you need lots of patience.
     
    Piggy, Sep 11, 2008
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  7. juliegab21

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    Great advice.The worst thing you can do in this hobby is get in a hurry.
    A 5 gallon isnt really that hard to keep,but like already stated,you dont have any room for mistakes.And trust me,we all make them.
    Look at getting the biggest tank you can afford and have room for.
    And remember these 3 words:
    #1-Research
    #2-Research
    And last but not least
    #3-Research.
     
    yote, Sep 11, 2008
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  8. juliegab21

    daugherty part time reefer

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    if you have any questions about what to do ask here first before buying i may not know something you ask or yote may not know but someone here will know what to tell you that will benifet you and the animal the best. remember the lfs is there to make money they will tell you what you want to hear 90% of the time no matter if they know the animal is going to die.
     
    daugherty, Sep 12, 2008
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  9. juliegab21

    stagofdoom Phi Kappa Psi

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    I started off with a 24 gal nano. I recommend if you dont want something big to start off with that.
    #1 Patience
    #2 Research

    Once you get a tank up and running what you will have to do is put sand and liverock in it (1-2 lbs per gal) When this is done you will go through a cycle (where ammonia and nitrites spike) once this is over you can start adding fish and coral SLOWLY. The more fish you add the bigger the bioload you add to your tank which causes other chemicals to rise. You will have outbreaks such as diatomes and either cyano or hair alge, but that is normal and will take some time and effort to fix.

    Once you get it up and running I guarantee that you will be wanting a bigger tank.
    Its an amazing hobby!
    Also welcome to the forums and if you have more questions feel free to ask.
     
    stagofdoom, Sep 12, 2008
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  10. juliegab21

    stagofdoom Phi Kappa Psi

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    stagofdoom, Sep 12, 2008
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  11. juliegab21

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    The bigger the tank, the easier it will be to take care of. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it's the truth. Maintaining a 5 gallon tank will be near impossible for someone new to the hobby. And in a 5 gallon tank, you will be limited to just one fish. Anything more will either fight over territory until there's only one fish is dead, or they will just produce too much waste for the water to handle.

    I think you will have more success if you start with a larger tank. In any case, you must take things slow. You need to let your tank cycle before you can add any living things, fish or corals. Cycling usually takes several weeks, and it's hard to stay patient for such a long time.
     
    Bifferwine, Sep 13, 2008
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  12. juliegab21

    d2mini VIP Member

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    When I first got into the hobby (I had freshwater for years, but never saltwater) I jumped in with both feet and got a 150 gallon tank and all the right equipment. It was sooooo easy! I found saltwater to be much easier to maintain than freshwater, too. But like everyone is saying, I took it slow. And the good thing was that since the tank was so large I was forced to take it slow. I couldn't afford to go out and buy all the live rock and sand at once! So i started with a couple pieces and then slowly added. By the time I had enough live rock to add some fish the tank was well cycled.
    Now I'm getting ready to set up a 46g and I'm expecting it to be harder.
     
    d2mini, Sep 13, 2008
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  13. juliegab21

    sen5241b

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    If a big fish dies it can send the nitrates, ammonia and other bad chemicals off the scales in such a small tank and kill everything else. The beauty of a smaller tank however is that water changes are incredibly easy. Water changes are the most fundamental maintenance you must do on any tank --salt or otherwise. Mix 2 gallons, equalize temperature and salinity to that of the tank and then take 2 gallons out and put the new water in. Also for 5 gallon tank --get small fish! The water changes will eliminate the need for an expensive protein skimmer. And another tip: put the tank somewhere where it won't over heat in the summer. Chillers are very very pricey.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
    sen5241b, Sep 13, 2008
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  14. juliegab21

    Kat

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    I was lucky to have help from a friend in the beginning but I still made alot of mistakes, I started with a 14g and waited almost 2 months before adding my first fish. with a small tank you are limited to only a few kinds of fish and most of the really cool ones are not going to work in it. I got lots of great advice here
     
    Kat, Sep 13, 2008
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  15. juliegab21

    IraqVeteran HOOAH

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    first thing would be to find a different fish store to go to from now on. They should not have sold you what they did if they new you were new to the hobby. A 55gal would be the best starter tank. First things first..... Purchase a good saltwater aquarium beginners book to have on hand for quick reference. A hang on the back filter would be fine for a simple fish only tank.
     
    IraqVeteran, Sep 15, 2008
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  16. juliegab21

    jhnrb

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    Welcome to the site. Seems you have gotten much good advice so far so nothing to add at this point. Glad you found us. You will find that our members will be more than glad to help you with your questions.
     
    jhnrb, Sep 15, 2008
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