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Beginner Saltwater Got questions? This is where you post them.

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Old 01-05-2013, 12:12 PM   #1
br00tal_dude
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Default Long time FW looking to take the plunge into SW

I have been keeping freshwater fish for about three and a half years now and I am starting to develop a strong interest in salt water.

That being said I am interested in a couple of species tanks; I would like to do a sea horse tank and an Octopus tank. I have been doing some reading and understand that this is a long term goal because of the needs these species have. If anyone has any experience with either of these kinds of tanks i would be very interested in any advice you could give on them and on making the transition from FW to SW keeping in general.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:48 PM   #2
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octopus would be freaking awesome... now youve got me interested.....
if you do we want pics... lots of em
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:33 PM   #3
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Okay, slow down. Gotta learn to walk before sprinting.
Seahorses and Octopuses are expert-only critters absolutely not for beginners.

You can keep seahorses IF:
-- you are willing to buy the very expensive captive born ones
-- you are willing to feed them their expensive, labor intensive food
-- you are ready to pay attention to new things you never before considered like water flow and dissolved gas saturation.

Those things covered, seahorses are pretty cool and easy enough to keep and even breed. Otherwise, forget it.

Octopuses:
-- Will break your heart every time.
-- Are extremely sensitive to any traces of pollution, while being heavy polluters
-- WILL escape any tank not built to prevent it.
-- Will usually wreck aquarium equipment, usually harming themselves in the process
-- Eat a LOT
-- only have a natural lifespan of around 200 days.

I cannot recommend that any beginner ever try either of these, but they do it every day anyway. Just know what you're getting yourself into before you start.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:54 AM   #4
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well that just killed it lol
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:30 PM   #5
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I think you should do a lot of research before you take the plunge. Saltwater is different than freshwater in many aspects. I would try and keep a regular beginner SW fish before you try a seahorse, or especially an octopus.

That being said, here is a good article on seahorse care http://www.seahorse.org/library/arti.../careguide.pdf
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:39 PM   #6
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! am 100% in agreement with TOS. Seahorse and octopus are not for beginners.
Weedkiller - killed it? LOL! Try reality. Both are delicate animlas to keep. Thank god he didn't decide on jellyfish. They need specialized (and expensive) tank set-ups. Def not for a beginner.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:24 PM   #7
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I guess that when I said Long term goal I should have specified that means maybe a year or even two after I get setup with a SW tank, right now I am hoping to do a mini reef that one day could be converted into an octopus tank, and seahorses are just a pipe dream, not as focused on that. I have been doing some reading about octopus and how they need a stable environment and a well cycled over filtered tank; I've also prepared myself for a short time with a pet that will most likely climb to the highest spot in my heart not held by a mammal.

That all being said I am more looking for advice on how to get a 50 - 60 gallon reef setup started (keeping in mind that it will eventually be an octopus tank). I am hoping to move into a house (out of an apartment) some time in late spring early summer and want to get rolling on a SW tank once we are in a new place, so I am currently in the early recon phase of this mission looking to get newb advice on how to setup a SW tank in the first place. IE what in the world is a protein skimmer and what does it do? Info along those lines.

While I do appreciate you guys looking out for me and try to talk me out of making a huge mistake I think maybe i didn't quite make myself clear in the OP.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:09 AM   #8
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Protein skimmer is a must-have. It pretty much acts like a filter to remove waste from your tank using micro-bubbles. I suggest you invest and read The Conscientious Marine Aquarist to learn more about saltwater aquaria keeping.

Not sure if you're aware but SW is very expensive. Be prepare to spend thousands of dollars on equipment, salt mixes, RO/DI unit, refractometer, top quality test kits for pH, SG, Alkilinity, calcium, phoshate, magnesium, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, etc... (individual tests are very expensive [$50 ea.] but do stay away from strips - they're garbage), sump, live rock, sand, powerheads, lighting for corals, QT tank set-up, etc...
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:42 PM   #9
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Well, it can certainly get out of hand like that, but it doesn't have to. You can set up a reeftank, even an octopus-ready one, for a much more affordable amount. Of course, for the best results, you might consider getting all of the equipment a little at a time so the cost is more manageable.

Ok, a skimmer--- ordinary filters trap waste and break it down, right? The problem with that is that that waste is still in the water, polluting it while it rots. Ordinary filters are also limited in that they can only trap particulate matter.

Skimmers are different. They remove waste on a molecular level, and remove it from the tank's water completely.
How cool is that?

The advent of the skimmer is what finally made reef tanks possible. Until then, it simply wasn't possible to keep the water clean enough to support the very delicate invertebrate life we love. In short, it's absolutely essential, and you need one.
( ok, you can almost get by without one if you use the ecosystem method, but even the ecosystem method performs much better with skimming. )
Molecules of waste stick to bubbles. Those bubbles rise up out of the water and pop into a collection cup, thereby dumping their carried waste out of the tank. Out of the tank, this waste doesn't rot in and pollute the water, keeping the water much cleaner than mechanical filtering alone could have done it.

There are three books you should get and read several times each before you get started. The first is the aforementioned The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner. The second is Mike Paletta's The New Marine Aquarium. Last and not at all least is Anthony Calfo's Invertebrates. That last one is probably the finest and most useful book ever written on the subject of reefkeeping, so don't be fooled by the title. Studying these three books will almost guarantee your success, no joke. Get them, read them, and save yourself a ton of hassle and money.

Last edited by TheOldSalt; 01-07-2013 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by br00tal_dude View Post
...I am more looking for advice on how to get a 50 - 60 gallon reef setup started (keeping in mind that it will eventually be an octopus tank)...
Regarding your terminology, by "reef setup" do you mean a SW stocked with live corals or a SW aquarium aqua-scaped with a lot of rocks minus the corals?

There are three general categories of SW tanks: Fish Only (FO) - little or no live rock, filtration is via hang on back or canister filters, very similar to most FW set ups); Fish Only With Live Rock (FOWLR) - the tank contains live rock (primary biologic filtration) and fish; and finally Reef (similar to an FOWLR but with the addition of live corals and invertebrates).

It's my understanding that actual reef tanks and octopuses are not exactly compatible with each other: most corals are photosynthetic and require intense lighting (octopuses may shun this sort of lighting); many corals require prestine water conditions (octopuses are messy eaters and have a high bio-load); many corals (primarily those within the LPS category) are capable of stinging octopuses, octopuses may re-arrange the tank and dislodge/displace/'trample' corals or coral frags, etc, etc.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:44 AM   #11
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Octopuses, jellies, and seahorse are cool. But a season pass to the GA aquarium is a lot easier and cheaper.
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