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need help starting a saltwater tank

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Post Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:13 pm
DiscusAddiction User avatar
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Im trying to setup a 29g saltwater tank as a beginner.
i was wondering how much would it cost for everything. As in the salt mixture sand, and to make sure the water is safe.
Any other advice would be great too please.
"Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of god, which is why we call it the Present"

Post Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:06 pm
K_Discus Level 11 Member
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you will find all the answers you need on this site and a lot of those great guys will guide you one step at a time to help you setup one. I tried once with a 20H and it cost more than $200 just to get it run without adding the cost of the 20H setup. The actual cost to setup one is depending on what on your mind for your setup. If you plan to grow corals or sps, it will cost a lot because you will need a strong light for them. Also, do you have a RODI system?

Just my opinion but below is the site and most of the members are local:

TCMAS.ORG

Good luck
MONSTER FISH & TROPHEUS

Post Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:44 pm
DiscusAddiction User avatar
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K_Discus wrote:
you will find all the answers you need on this site and a lot of those great guys will guide you one step at a time to help you setup one. I tried once with a 20H and it cost more than $200 just to get it run without adding the cost of the 20H setup. The actual cost to setup one is depending on what on your mind for your setup. If you plan to grow corals or sps, it will cost a lot because you will need a strong light for them. Also, do you have a RODI system?

Just my opinion but below is the site and most of the members are local:

TCMAS.ORG

Good luck



I don't have a RODI system, would you recommend it? or is it required?
But I don't plan to have such a fancy tank, I just want a regular simple tank, Some corals, and some fish.
Maybe if i can find an example then it'll be better.
"Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of god, which is why we call it the Present"

Post Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:56 pm
storrisch User avatar
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spend some time reading over the posts at TCMAS. I would only run a saltwater tank on RO/DI water otherwise algae will be a constant struggle. Start to learn the basics before putting them into practice.

I would start by figuring out the water chemistry you are looking for and what it is gonna take to get there.

Salinty/Specific Gravity
Ph
Calcium
Alkalinity
Magnesium
Garrett B.

Post Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:59 am
~Rush~ User avatar
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Here's an article that is written for people who have freshwater experience, but not saltwater experience. It should give you a decent grasp of the basics and how to go about getting started. Once you know what you want to do, asking questions will be easier and we will be able to help you out more. :D

http://www.oscarfish.com/article-home/f ... water.html

Post Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:06 pm
storrisch User avatar
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pretty good article explaining a general overview.

Lighting
Actinic lighting is not necessary in order to grow coraline algae. That is more dependent on your calcium, alkalinity, magnesium levels being in the correct range. I personally think 10,000k lighting is far too yellow of a spectrum for my liking. I prefer a bulb that casts more of a 14k spectrum. Do some researching in the lighting section of reefcentral and you can get a better idea of lighting options.

Skimmer
If you are going to run a reef tank that isn't a small nano, get a skimmer. Few people will argue that they run a super nice reef tank and don't use a skimmer but if you want a nice reef get a skimmer. Look at all the nice reef tanks online and find me one that doesn't run a skimmer. Good luck keeping your nitrates in the range you need without one.

Live Rock
Be careful what you buy. If you get live rock with aiptasia, bubble algae, acro eating flatworms, red bugs, hair algae you are gonna be in for a headache from the start trying to eradicate the stuff. You can buy dry live rock or give it an acid bath with muriatic acid to know you are not dealing with those issues.


My suggestion is to spend a lot of time researching online and head over to one of the high end saltwater stores in the metro to get hands on advice.
Garrett B.

Post Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:25 pm
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I just started a 29g last month, so I know where you're coming from. The biggest costs so far for me have been the live rock $100 and lighting $90. The thing I love about SW tanks is that they are complex eco-systems, but that means lots of small costs that add up quick like a clean-up-crew $50 (snails, crabs, snails, stars), live sand $20 to give your system a jump, crushed coral $20 to help buffer the water, water additives $10, salt $40, Hydrometer $11, SW test kit $30, powerhead $35. As mentioned before a RO/DI unit you can get away without but you're going to fight the algae.

Also, I'm sure you've noticed that the fish are more expensive as well as the coral.

Post Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:10 pm
touchuemoua User avatar
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+1 on that, I also just started not too long ago and it can get a little expensive, but its all worth it at the end
It's not just a hobby, it's an addiction.

- Tou

Post Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:13 am
storrisch User avatar
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fisherman7 wrote:
I just started a 29g last month, so I know where you're coming from. The biggest costs so far for me have been the live rock $100 and lighting $90. The thing I love about SW tanks is that they are complex eco-systems, but that means lots of small costs that add up quick like a clean-up-crew $50 (snails, crabs, snails, stars), live sand $20 to give your system a jump, crushed coral $20 to help buffer the water, water additives $10, salt $40, Hydrometer $11, SW test kit $30, powerhead $35. As mentioned before a RO/DI unit you can get away without but you're going to fight the algae.

Also, I'm sure you've noticed that the fish are more expensive as well as the coral.



You can cut some of those costs very easily.

$50 clean-up crew is unnecessary. For a 29g I would get 5 nassarius snails to take care of any uneaten food that makes it to the sand and a mix of 10 cerith and nerites.

Live sand is also not needed and IME will not speed up the process. Either the live rock is ready for livestock to be added to the tank or it's not and the sand is not going to have an impact. Crushed coral is not going to help you buffer the water because when you add the marine salt mix that will contain your buffer in it. At that point the ph level is high enough that the water will be too alkaline to dissolve the crushed coral so you will just have a bunch of random white pebbles in your tank and $20 less in your wallet.

I would recommend taking the money you are saving from these items that are not pertinent to you having a successful reef tank and invest in high quality test kits. ELOS are what I prefer. You will want to test your water after mixing it up and figure out what chemicals your water is lacking in. I have yet to see a salt that doesn't need some additional help prior to being added to the tank to be perfectly balanced. You'll want your basic test kits ph, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, as well as calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity. Those will probably eat up all the money you "saved" above but will also be the window to all of your answers when something seems off in your tank and you aren't sure where to turn.

I've seen too many people turning to a blind google search for the answers on how to set up a reef tank or they ask their uncle that kept a clownfish 30 years ago what he did. Instead ask more questions here if you can't find the answer on minnfish or check out TCMAS.org/forums or reefcentral.com Listen to the people working with reef tanks everyday. The more you read the more you'll figure out what is snake oil and what works.

Sorry if it seems like a rant. I'm just sick of hearing about people getting their money taken with no actual return on investment.
Garrett B.

Post Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:46 am
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I'm going to paraphrase here, but what I believe storrisch is saying is that there are a lot of opinions out there, many which seem contradictory. You have to take it with a grain of salt and decide for yourself what you want to spend money on. Some things are necessary depending on the type of tank you have. Obviously you need salt, but what type you use is up to you. Yeah, a $50 clean up crew isn't necessary, but I find it enjoyable to watch the hermits, shrimp and snails. I think a mix of crushed coral and live sand makes for a realistic looking substrate, but as storrisch said in his opinion its not necessary. Some people say you need a skimmer on all saltwater tanks, and some say you don't need one on smaller tanks such as a 29g.

I'm not telling you what you have to spend money on, just some possible costs you may come across.

Post Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:18 am
~Rush~ User avatar
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storrisch wrote:
Live sand is also not needed and IME will not speed up the process. Either the live rock is ready for livestock to be added to the tank or it's not and the sand is not going to have an impact. Crushed coral is not going to help you buffer the water because when you add the marine salt mix that will contain your buffer in it. At that point the ph level is high enough that the water will be too alkaline to dissolve the crushed coral so you will just have a bunch of random white pebbles in your tank and $20 less in your wallet.


+1
Crushed coral is a thing of the past. Today your salt mix has everything you need. "Live sand" is a big crock of @#$% so no need to waste your money on that. I've seen plenty of bare bottom salt tanks that are successful reefs. I am actually running black tahitian moon sand in my salt tank from an old freshwater setup.

I'll also mention used items. You can save a lot of money by shopping craigslist. My little brother picked up 20lbs of live rock, and a 20 gallon bowfront for 40 bucks... Deals are out there so keep your eyes peeled.


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