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Old 02-23-2009, 08:06 AM
Canadian Chic
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 948
Default RE: Saltwater Tanks

ORIGINAL: huntingirl89

I kept a 150 gallon salt water tank for 10 years. They're pretty easy once they're established, but very expensive to get going. It can cost hundreds of dollars just to establishing the tank, not to mention the monthly costs of maintaining it. Have you looked into pricing or know exactly what type of environment you'd like to set up? Most people when they go with salt water choose tropical, warm water fish. A beautiful choice with lots of specimens to choose from, but can be a hassle if you live in a home that is prone to being cold. It takes quite a bit of energy to heat the water to the proper temperature and keep the filters going, so keep that in mind when budgeting an electric bill because these things have to run constantly. You're also going to want to aerate the water and get some bottom feeders to keep it clean. Don't put the tank in front of any windows or in a place where it will get any sunlight. The sun will make bacteria, fungi and algae grow like wildfire.
yea the more we look around at things we are going to need or things we want we are realizing how long and how much we are going to have to save for everything but we want to do it so its just a matter of time. we are going to keep it across the room from the windows, the only thing is it will be beside the door but im not too worried about drafts because 1) if the doors open for a second the water temp. shouldn't change and the door is coming from the hallway outside the apartment which is usually around the same temp as our apartment. our utilities bill is fixed so it wont fluctuate unless they decide to raise it for everyone

There are a lot of chemicals to purchase, and you're always going to want to have a good stock of salt on hand. You'll have to test the water weekly to make sure everything is running smoothly. You'll need a test kit for the pH, ammonia, nitrate (NO2 and NO3) and a hydrometer to test the salinity (salt content) of the water. This will have to be tested on a regular basis.
we were looking at all that stuff. what about a refractometer though. we were reading this other website and there was a guy on it saying you absolutely need one. we have been asking a bunch of people about everything though and seeing what other opinions there are because we don't really know to much, obviously

You're also going to want a combination filtration system. I found that the best system was an undergravel filter along with a regular filter at the top of the tank. The Penguin brand filters I found were the best.
would an undergravel filter be ok with sand. we really want sand or a really fine substrate. we were looking at a bunch of different brands for everything. i think jay wants to get a Fluval filter.

Something not entirely necessary but certainly helpful in the long run is a protein skimmer. It oxygenates the water and removes organics that can harm your tank.
i think we are going to get a Marineland brand protein skimmer but im not sure yet

When you first get the tank, wash it out with nothing but water. Don't use any sprays or chemicals on it. Wash all items in hot water that you plan to place in the tank prior to putting them in. If you plan on using live rocks, you must first get the water at the proper salinity, temperature and balances. Fill the water in the tank until it is about 3/4 full and remember exactly how many gallons you used. You don't want to fill it all the way because the rocks you will add later will offset the water.
thats a good point. i probably wouldn't think of that until after. we aren't going to put any little item things like pirate ships or stuff like that. we want it to look really natural.

Add the salt according to the directions on whichever brand you choose with the correct amount of gallons you've added. Connect all of your filters, heaters, etc. Let it run for 24 hours. Test it for salinity, if you've added too much then vacuum off the excess salt crystals that will collect on the floor of the tank. If you haven't added enough then add more and let it sit another 24 hours. It is vital that you let the water in your tank settle before adding any life to it.
it think that we are going to get the instant ocean salt all the pet stores that we go to seem to use it so it must work.

Now add your bottom substrate. Usually sand is best for saltwater tanks because it is cheap and easy to clean. After it is added, test the water again after 24 hours. If everything is doing well, its time to add your live rocks. Don't add the rocks and the fish at the same time! The fish shouldn't be added until the 2nd-3rd week. Arrange the rocks however you like, but make sure you really like it and are going to be happy with it. Take your time with this, because once the tank starts growing they can't be moved easily. Let them settle in for about a week and test the water daily during this period. Make sure the temperature is constant on both sides of the tank and at the bottom center of the tank. This is most often overlooked and having temperature inconsistencies can cause illness and death to your reef and fish. If all is going well, its time to get your fish!
i think what we are going to to is get two smaller heaters instead of one big one. i think it would help with temperature inconsistencies.

Be very careful selecting the proper species of fish for your tank. You're going to want to make sure your tank is adjusted to their needs. Some fish prefer warmer temperatures with more salt while others prefer cooler and less salt. Research each type of fish you're considering before buying. Also remember that many species of fish don't get along. Some of the most beautiful fish are often carnivorous and will eat the other fish unless you select tank mates that are within the same feeding habits. This is where you need to remember how many gallons of water are actually in your tank. Certain fish need a specific amount of water. On the average, each individual fish needs 1-2 gallon of water to maintain health and keep stress levels low. So if you have a 20 gallon tank, but it only has 15 gallons of water in it due to your decorations, it is advisable to only keep 10 fish in the tank. Of course a fish that will grow very large will need more water to itself, so you'll be able to keep less fish. I've found that its far more entertaining to keep many smaller fish that prefer to school. Clown fish were my absolute favorites to keep, along with the anemones.
yea they more we look at fish we like, the more we realize what we can and cant have because of the tank size needed for certain fish. in total honesty i wanted to get the nemo and dorie fish and then i realized how big dorie really gets, so thats not happening. but we are definately getting clownfish, i think the kind we are getting is the percula clownfish.

Have fun! If you need anything else feel free to PM.
if you could tell me your opinion on what i wrote on here that would be awesome. thank you so much for all that information!

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