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Here are some of the Basics for newbies to follow

Tank size.
Most fish need room to grow and to swim about as they don’t stay small forever. A small neon goby can be happy in a 10 gallon tank, but a 20 or 30 gal tank will let you add more fish or inverts in the future, but is also important for keeping a stable environment for these creatures to live in.

Water.
To avoid nuisance Algae from growing in your tank, it is wise to get Distilled or Reverse Osmosis De-Ionized water. You can often times buy this kind of water at the fish store where you found your saltwater pet. You can also buy RO and distilled water at your supermarket. One horrible thing to do is use tap water. It contains the nasties that are bad for your tank. Chlorine, Phosphate, Nitrate, Fluoride, etc. are common things found in tap water, but pure water helps keep things healthy.

Salt.
Marine salt is readily available at most pet/fish shops and Instant Ocean is very popular and easy to find. When you are setting up your tank, or when you do water changes, you always mix the salt in your water before you add it to your tank. You’ll need a hydrometer or refractometer, which gives you a “salinity reading” to mix the salt to the correct level. You want your salt level at 1.024 ppm. As water evaporates, you only need to add new RO or distilled water, because only water is evaporating from your tank and the salt stays behind, topping off with more salt is a no no.

Heating.
Your tank needs to a stable temperature of about 76° F to 82° F is your allowable tolerance. Keeping it around 78° F is the ideal. A small reliable heater will keep the tank from cooling too much at night, Also a fan blowing across the top of your tank will avoid overheating on those hot days

Food.
Many marine fish will eat Flakes (make sure they are marine flakes). You can also purchase frozen foods at the fish store to feed your fish such as frozen Spirulina, Enriched Brine Shrimp, Frozen Mysis, Frozen Blood Worms, Frozen Plankton are all good choices, and you can rotate through these over the period of a week, mixing their diet will keep them healthy. Make sure it is all consumed in a couple minutes or you have overfed, adjust accordingly.

Lighting.
usually tanks come with a single fluorescent bulb, which is alright for fish. If you would like other things such as corals or anemones, you’ll need far more lighting to allow them to live. When you get to that point, you can choose from VHO’s, Power Compacts, and Metal Halide. And are usually very expensive, but the corals will respond with healthy growth. If you ran a timer so the lights are on around 10 – 12 hours a day would be good.

Parameters.
Most important of all, your tank needs to be kept at stable parameters, to ensure the health and life of your fish and especially corals, pH should be kept around 8.0 to 8.3. Ammonia and Nitrite should be 0. Nitrate should be 20 ppm or less, And salinity weekly to make sure it has remained stable at 1.026ppm. water changes should keep these in check

Filtration.
This can vary a bit, but just make sure the filter you buy will match the tank size you’ve chosen. You don’t want a tiny filter on a 55 gallon aquarium. Many people in the saltwater hobby prefer natural methods of filtration, which involves the use of live sand and live rock. Buying cured live rock is also extremely valuable, but costs are high. 1 to 1.5 lbs per gallon is recommended, and cured live rock will cost between 5$ – 6$ a lb. Putting 4” of sand to create a deep sand bed in your aquarium will create a great natural way of DE-nitrifying your tank, which keeps the nitrates down. However, the live rock will be filled with tiny creatures, that all help eat the waste that occurs in your tank, keeping your system clean and healthy.

Protein Skimming.
This is a greate way of keeping your water clean and pure. There are many types of protein skimmers on the market, some are great and some are are just worthless cr*p. The top brands are EuroReef and Aqua C.

What a skimmer does is pull out waste before it can decay into ammonia and nitrites, which are both toxic to your inhabitants. What the skimmer does is inject air into the unit by use of a power head, which creates tiny micro bubbles that carry Disolved Organic Compounds out of your tank and into a collection cup that you can pour out and rinse out into a sink. An added benefit of this device is it adds oxygen to your tank. Unlike a freshwater tank, saltwater tanks don’t need an airstone pumping bubbles into your tank. But can cost upwards of 100$ - 200$

Circulation.
Using a power heads to eliminate dead spots in which algae can grow is very helpful
Pointing the powerhead to the top of your tank causes the water to ripple which will help with gas exchange. Letting out CO2 and O2 in. and also keeps the surface clean of scum

Cycling the tank.
Unlike a freshwater tank, it takes a pretty while for a saltwater tank to be ready for a new fish or coral. The moment your tank has fully been setup you can add live rock. What your tank needs is bacteria to grow and populate before anything is added. An easy way to do this is to buy one or two uncooked shrimp from the deli at the supermarket then throw them in the tank and let them rot for a week, and when the system is balanced out you can take them out.

Patience.
As you add livestock to your tank, you increase the bio-load in your tank. It can only handle so much at one time, so it is wise to add things very slowly to your tank, rather than all at once. That way the beneficial bacteria in your tank can accommodate the new load and not create a sudden Ammonia spike in your tank thus possibly killing your newly added stock. This is a very patient hobby and requires a lot of it, but after some time you will learn to appreciate what it has done for you.

Clean Up Crew.
Adding some snails and hermits will help keep your tank clean. By eating excess waste and algae in your tank and keeping it squeaky clean J. But you can’t add them to your tank until it has fully cycled. If you see a snail on its back be sure to flip it over as not all can upright them selves or a hermit may eat it and take the shell as its new home.

Cleanliness.
Make sure your hands and your equipment are free of soap or hand lotion , food chemicals, etc. before placing into the tank. Be sure to never clean any equipment with soap. You can often times clean things with a brand new rag or sponge(make sure it has no chemicals) specifically for your SW tank only and mixture of common white vinegar and hot water, to remove calcium deposits.

As long as you follow these basics you will be on your way to a successful Marine Tank you can enjoy :)
 

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To avoid nuisance Algae from growing in your tank, it is wise to get Distilled or Reverse Osmosis De-Ionized water. You can often times buy this kind of water at the fish store where you found your saltwater pet. You can also buy RO and distilled water at your supermarket. One horrible thing to do is use tap water. It contains the nasties that are bad for your tank. Chlorine, Phosphate, Nitrate, Fluoride, etc. are common things found in tap water, but pure water helps keep things healthy.

I dont agree with that at all..... Stay away from Bottled Water... through there process they take away bad things, but they also take away good things that your fish need. Ive seen so many fish die because of this mistake... dont use bottled water.... you will just end up killing your fish... ;/

EDIT: uh...yeah.... folks, once you add the salt mix in, it's going to be HIGHLY mineralized, so distilled water is just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
true, it takes away essential minerals that fish need to survive, but that really only occur in FW the being because salt already contains those minerals and many more thus replacing the needed minerals removed from the process of filtration, if i remember right salt has everything fish need to live, and if i am guessing correctly is why people add rock salt to fw tanks where their fish are a bit sick so the salt may be able to help them "revive"
 

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wow, glad i read this. I am thinking about changing my 20 or 40 over to SW , the only thing holding me back would be the high cost of the protien skimmer, but at least now i know what they do :)))) :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
lol, getting money out of parents isnt that hard :) :mrgreen:
 
G

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I dont recomend the use of any Bottled water with Mineral water or Spring water on the label. Both of these contain just this.. minerals.. and its these minerals that are dangerous to a marine tank.

Far better to use RO water as you can be sure of its purity then.

As for skimmers... Its not essential.. If you use a mud system then a skimmer is not needed. Of course you need a refugium of Sump to use such a filtration method but a skimmer is not required for tis type of system.
 

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great info ... as soon as i have the room for my 20 gal tank i plan to start my first forray into the saltwater fish ...
 

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definately the best filteration is a combination of a sump(mud) refuigum and skimmer. I ALWAYS recomend a skimmer. The distilled water works well dispite the wave against it in this thread. Sam - your right, the salt we add to the water is usually great for the fish/inverts and ro/di water takes out all the nasties.
 

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Thanks for the info I recently purchased a 12 gl nano cube. Im currently cycling with live sand, live rock, and nitro-max bacteria and oxy boost. Is the nano cube equipped with everything I need or do i need to upgrade anything? Any advice would help.
 

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Future Marine Biologist
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DONT LISTEN TO A LFS!!!!
IT WILL REALLY HURT YOU IF YOU DONT RESERCH THE TOPIC FIRST!!

:chair: :chair: :chair:

:withstup:​
THAT IS THE ADVICE I NEEDED BEFORE ASKING THE LFS FOR ADVICE...

IF YOU ASK THEM IT MAY SOUND GOOD EXPECIALLY IF YOU REALLY WANT A CERTIAN SPECIMIEN THEY WILL TELL YOU WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SELL SOMETHING...
 

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Not true, I work at petsmart and will tell people not to buy fish if I know they will die. My boss will be extremely mad but it is not worth it. I always tell every customer about the nitrogen cycle, and inform them. Although... when people buy bala sharks for 1.5 gallons I just give up...
 

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"You want your salt level at 1.024 ppm."

later in the article... "And salinity weekly to make sure it has remained stable at 1.026ppm. water changes should keep these in check"

which is it? 4 or 6?
 

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the answer is both. Natural sea water is anywhere between these two parameters... and he's actually talking about specific gravity, not true salinity.
 

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another, faster way of cycling your tank fishlessly is to put a some clear, unscented ammonia into your tank. when you put the shrimp in to rot, you are just letting it decompose into ammonia. putting in straight ammonia will skip the decomposition step.

also, it is very important to check your nitrates after this process. saltwater fish (and even more so with inverts) are more sensitive to changes in this value than freshwater. putting more ammonia in your system will eventually yield more nitrates. If you have high nitrates, change your water.
 

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Is the nitrifying bacteria in freshwater tanks the same as in saltwater? Could I seed a SW filter with media from one of my freshwater tanks?

I know this is a really old post buy I just saw it today.
 

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Darth Ichthyos
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Yes, as a matter of fact, you can. You will wipe out most of the bacteria, but some will survive the transition and get things going.

You'd be better off though by using a bottle of saltwater bacteria in the first place such as "BioSpira" or "Stability." Those two will have you cycled and good to go within a week or less.
 
G

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Or just use some nice cured liverock and livesand. Liverock from an established tank is great. Its full of beneficial bacteria plus all the cool critters that come with it.
 

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My RO/DI filter has been CASREP and another is on order BUT while in Wal-Mart I noticed a Culligan water dispenser. It claims to have a 4 stage filtering system i.e. mechanical, Carbon, RO and ultraviolet. Would this water be ok to use in a FOWLR? Can’t believe everything I read! OOPS? I let my RO run off run into the washer to eliminate as much waist as I can; even at $1.64 for 5 Gal seems like a great price and time saver. Any opinions?
 
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