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

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Old 01-04-2016, 06:12 PM   #1
Goldeen
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I have just recently gotten back into keeping fish... kinda forgot how much I love it. But my question is about saltwater and the filters. I have a 55 gallon tank I'd love to use and I've always wanted to do saltwater. Thing is, do you NEED all the crazy filtration for them can you use a normal carbon filter like you use for fresh? I'm not asking for everyone to get on my case. This is a general question people ask me a lot and I didn't know considering I've never done a saltwater tank. All answers will help tons thanks! Also lighting tips and prices would be nice
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Old 01-05-2016, 07:06 AM   #2
EquineSoul7294
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I think that, like in most things, "need" is a relative term with different varying opinions attached. Fishkeeping is no different.

If by "crazy filtration" you mean wet/dry, sump, skimmers, spending crazy amounts of money, etc.."need" is not the word I would use.

If all you want to do is keep a single fish alive, you can have nothing, but you're going to constantly be fighting water quality and it's just not worth the extra work of constant large water changes and stress on the fish (as you probably already know). But they can live. Not that I'm recommending, lol (to be clear).

It kind of depends on your goals as to what filtration may or may not work best.

I keep a FOWLR system, and with all my proportionate live rock, live sand, and a skimmer, I don't see the need for anything else, as my water quality is right on point. Clearer water with the skimmer. But has it affected my water parameters since its addition? Only a bit. I also have a very small bio-load, too, though. So again, many differing variables from person to person.

I know of many people that do use regular hang-on-back filters in their saltwater systems (mostly on tanks under 75 gallons, though). Just have to make sure the sponges don't rot and such from the salt.

It seems to be a somewhat general consensus in the saltwater world that canister filters aren't a great choice because of an issue with nitrates. However, I can't really offer much on that one, as I don't use them.

As for carbon: to me, carbon itself is kind of useless unless you're trying to get medicine out of your tank.

Lighting is *mainly* an issue when it comes to corals. My live rock and fish have done just fine with basic LED strip lighting.

You will get a multitude of different opinions, but it really comes down to what works for you, your tank, and your fish. There are just so many variables from person to person. As long as you're testing your water along the way and making the best decisions for your fish in terms of improvement, you can do whatever you want.

No two people are going to have the same exact experience. And learning/ experimentation is part of the fun!
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:16 PM   #3
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No don't do it,

A sump or a wet dry will work better in the long run
As said above don't do canister or hob

A hob filter would need to be cleaned daily

Filtration for a salt tank would be a skimmer, a sump or wet dry for mechanical filtration, as far as biological your live rock and sand acts as that.

I don't run carbon on my tanks, I had issues running carbon and having fish die since I stopped I didn't have issue, my one surviving fish from carbon days has a horrible case of hole in head and lateral line erosion so I don't run it anymore.

Hope that helps, pm for any questions
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:51 AM   #4
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You can run a salt tank just like a fresh one... as long as you don't mind performing heavy maintenance and performing it often.
This is one of those times when the fancy stuff is worth it.
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Old 01-14-2016, 03:04 PM   #5
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So what effect does carbon have on fish?? I wasn't aware that it was bad for them? Does the same apply for fresh water fish or am I being silly haha sorry it's been a few years
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Old 01-14-2016, 09:36 PM   #6
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Carbon takes out traces of dissolved stuff in the water. It can be good or bad. It gets rid of old meds and the oil from foods that floats on the water. After a month or two it stops working and just acts as a bio-medium or even releases some of the stuff its snagged. Some people claims is snags essential trace elements that fish and plants needs and therefore contributes to hold-in-the-head (suspected to be related to a deficiency as well as a disease organism) or algae issues. I suspect that is mostly an issue in low-dissolved solids (soft) water with insufficient water changes and very high-quality carbon. For most aquariums carbon is sort of neutral, neither the wonder filter makers tell you to replace monthly, nor the demon some claim. But if you have a strange health issue, going carbon-less may be worth a try. But I've never tried carbon is SW.

Like a said before, a lot of people I've met try the HOBs in SW, but then swap them out. I would advise you just skip this step.

Last edited by emc7; 01-14-2016 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 01-15-2016, 05:02 PM   #7
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Ok thank you I will definitely save myself the head ache. Now, should I even do live rock? Or does that require certain lighting? I don't plan on doing coral until I'm comfortable just keeping a few fish alive. And that comes to my next question; what can I put in my 55 gal? I know clown fish and damsels but what else? And how many I know SW stocking is much different from FW.
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Old 01-20-2016, 03:42 PM   #8
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It depends on your rock. If you get bald base rock which is porous and full of bacteria but has nothing growing on the outside, then it needs no lights at all. If you get fancy rock covered with goodies, though, you'll need the same lights you'd need for corals.
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