First-time Saltwater Setup, Need Help!

Andrew99p

Hello guys! As the titles says, I’m about to set up my first saltwater tank, and want some help with stocking ideas and good equipment. I’ve had freshwater for over a full year now, and think I’m ready to take on saltwater! I already bought the tank, it is a 35g hexagon. I plan on using a small canister filter, and plan on stocking it with some clownfish! (Generic, I know, but I love them!) So what are some tank mates for clownfish of this tank size? Also do I need a skimmer? And I know clownfish like anemones, but are they required? If so, what is needed to have an anemone? Thanks for any replies!
 

penguin02

There are many options for tankmates, so why don't you do some research and tell us what you like!

I've been told that skimmers aren't needed at the beginning because they do more harm than good. Some people don't recommend them at all in small tanks. Do you plan to have corals eventually, or is it fish only?

Anemones are not required. I'm in the process of setting up my own saltwater tank, and after a little research, I decided that anemones just aren't for me. There aren't many small ones, and I don't want it to take over the entire tank. Plus not all of them are reef safe.

How are you planning on cycling the tank? How will you mix your salt? Do you have a refractometer?

Also, do you have a quarantine tank? I learned that lesson the hard way... thought I could get away without one since I only have a 28g tank.... I ended up getting ich and it wiped out all of my fish. I strongly recommend one so you don't end up the same situation. It doesn't have to be high tech; all you need is a tank, filter, and heater.

Culprit Nart stella1979 (Let me call the experts )
 

Andrew99p

I’ll look into more tank mates! I plan on only going fish at first, but hope to get into corals later down the road!

I plan on added ammonia by the bottle to cycle the tank at first, first time for that too!

I have a few spare 20 gallon tanks, would work to quarantine some clownfish? Thanks for the reply!
 

Jesterrace

Hello guys! As the titles says, I’m about to set up my first saltwater tank, and want some help with stocking ideas and good equipment. I’ve had freshwater for over a full year now, and think I’m ready to take on saltwater! I already bought the tank, it is a 35g hexagon. I plan on using a small canister filter, and plan on stocking it with some clownfish! (Generic, I know, but I love them!) So what are some tank mates for clownfish of this tank size? Also do I need a skimmer? And I know clownfish like anemones, but are they required? If so, what is needed to have an anemone? Thanks for any replies!

1) Nix the canister filter as they are the most problematic mechanical filtration method for a saltwater tank (they become nitrate factories very easily). HOB along the lines of a Fluval 50 or 70 would be best as they offer the flexibility of various media bags.
2) All Clownfish are territorial/semi-aggressive to some degree so I would go with fish that aren't overly aggressive, but will stick up for themselves. Stick with the Ocellaris (ie Nemo) or Percula variety clownfish for best results. A pair at most would be what is suitable for your tank.

Among the better tank mates for clownfish are:

Cardinalfish
Captive bred Orchid Dottyback (make sure it's an Orchid as other Dottybacks can be just plain mean)
Royal Gramma Basslet
Bottom Dwelling Gobies
Blennies

3) Protein Skimmers are nice but not necessary IF you are willing to commit to weekly water changes, not overfeeding your tank and going with frozen foods like LRS Reef Frenzy (has less fillers and other stuff that gunk up your tank).

4) No the clownfish don't need anemone. In point of fact most clownfish are captive bred these days and don't have a clue with what to do with one. It's a good thing as anemone's generally require a well established tank with intense lighting to thrive. Just get one or two captive bred clowns and call it good.

I’ll look into more tank mates! I plan on only going fish at first, but hope to get into corals later down the road!

I plan on added ammonia by the bottle to cycle the tank at first, first time for that too!

I have a few spare 20 gallon tanks, would work to quarantine some clownfish? Thanks for the reply!

Yes a 20 gallon tank would be fine as a quarantine tank for any thing that would work well in a 35 gallon tank.
 

Andrew99p

1) Nix the canister filter as they are the most problematic mechanical filtration method for a saltwater tank (they become nitrate factories very easily). HOB along the lines of a Fluval 50 or 70 would be best as they offer the flexibility of various media bags.
2) All Clownfish are territorial/semi-aggressive to some degree so I would go with fish that aren't overly aggressive, but will stick up for themselves. Stick with the Ocellaris (ie Nemo) or Percula variety clownfish for best results. A pair at most would be what is suitable for your tank.

Among the better tank mates for clownfish are:

Cardinalfish
Captive bred Orchid Dottyback (make sure it's an Orchid as other Dottybacks can be just plain mean)
Royal Gramma Basslet
Bottom Dwelling Gobies
Blennies

3) Protein Skimmers are nice but not necessary IF you are willing to commit to weekly water changes, not overfeeding your tank and going with frozen foods like LRS Reef Frenzy (has less fillers and other stuff that gunk up your tank).

4) No the clownfish don't need anemone. In point of fact most clownfish are captive bred these days and don't have a clue with what to do with one. It's a good thing as anemone's generally require a well established tank with intense lighting to thrive. Just get one or two captive bred clowns and call it good.

Thank you for the suggestions! Good to know canisters aren’t the best for saltwater tanks. I remember my dad always having trouble with his, just assumed it was the brand.

What do you suggest to use for decorating the tank? Is live rock sufficient? Also for sand, should I do live-sand or is pool filter sand fine for saltwater also? I’ve used PFS in multiple of my freshwater tanks, not having a problem!
 

penguin02

I would do live rock and live sand. They'll help speed up your cycle as well

What's your CUC plan? Those should ideally be added before the fish.
 

CrisisQuaid

I would do live rock and live sand. They'll help speed up your cycle as well

What's your CUC plan? Those should ideally be added before the fish.
Hope you don’t mind me piggy backing off of this comment, but could you explain live rock to me? What is it? I added a rock to my aquarium today, will the eventually become home to the beneficial bacteria and act as live rock, or does live rock have to come from the sea?
 

penguin02

I can't tell you much, because I'm quite new to saltwater. But I know that live rock is home to colonies of beneficial bacteria. I would wait for the experts to come and answer your question.
 

Andrew99p

I would do live rock and live sand. They'll help speed up your cycle as well

What's your CUC plan? Those should ideally be added before the fish.

Honestly I’m not too sure about the CUC. I’m a huge noob when it comes to saltwater. I just know of generic cleaner shrimp and snails. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know!
 

penguin02

Cleaner shrimp are great, but my LFS didn't have them so I settled for a Coral Banded Shrimp. I love my turbo snails so you could try those. Emerald crabs are a little boring; mine hides 24/7.

As for oddballs, you could do a tuxedo urchin. I have one and it's great It travels all over the tank and they aren't venomous.
 

stella1979

I'm late! So let me try to catch up.

Don't worry about being generic with clowns, I think we all love them! Jesterrace gave you some good ideas for tank mates, but I would like to add that it's important that you stock the tank starting with your least aggressive fish and work your way up to the biggest aggressors. Again, the clowns will be semi-aggressive, whereas bottom-dwelling gobies and rock-dwelling blennies are not. This means that if you want these guys, then they should be stocked first and given at least a couple of weeks to acclimate to their new surroundings before a potential aggressor is added.

What do you suggest to use for decorating the tank? Is live rock sufficient? Also for sand, should I do live-sand or is pool filter sand fine for saltwater also? I’ve used PFS in multiple of my freshwater tanks, not having a problem!
Rock is sufficient for decorating the tank. Try to get creative with it and give the fish room to explore and areas to get away from others.

Pool filter sand will not work because of the flow that is required for saltwater tanks. You need to have enough flow to turn your water volume over 15-20x per hour, and it can get a lot higher than that in certain reef tanks with high-flow demanding corals. PFS doesn't work in saltwater because it is so light it will get blown around. I'd suggest going with live sand to aid in your cycle. You can then use dry or live rock to create your scape.
Hope you don’t mind me piggy backing off of this comment, but could you explain live rock to me? What is it? I added a rock to my aquarium today, will the eventually become home to the beneficial bacteria and act as live rock, or does live rock have to come from the sea?
The term live rock is sometimes used sort of loosely. Technically, rock is alive when it has anything living in or on it, even if it is only beneficial bacteria that we can't see but know is there because the tank is holding a cycle. Mature live rock will come with lots of other critters like copepods and feather worms, maybe some lovely coralline algae, and possibly some pests that you don't want like aiptasia. That last bit there about pests is why I decided to use dry rock only when starting my tank. My dry rock was technically live as soon as it was cycled, but it's got all kinds of life in and on it a year later.
Honestly I’m not too sure about the CUC. I’m a huge noob when it comes to saltwater. I just know of generic cleaner shrimp and snails. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know!
Snails are great for cleaning algae, so don't count them out. Personally, I prefer banded trochus snails. They are workhorses and are able to right themselves should they fall upside down. Some snail species cannot do that so you have to reach in and flip them or the may become victims of predation or starve.

I personally do not keep crabs because I fear they'd go rogue and start munching on corals. Most of my reefing buddies think I'm crazy and I'd say the majority of saltwater keepers wouldn't run a tank without some hermit crabs at least. The Scarlet hermit crab is a pretty safe choice if you plan on corals in the future. Emerald crabs are great for eating the types of algae that other cleaners won't, like the dreaded bubble algae or bryopsis. With any invert, you probably want to make sure that they are reef safe. You may not be planning corals yet, but the day may come sooner than you think and inverts can be hard to catch.

Urchins are great little cleaners too as are brittle sea stars.
 

CrisisQuaid

I'm late! So let me try to catch up.

Don't worry about being generic with clowns, I think we all love them! Jesterrace gave you some good ideas for tank mates, but I would like to add that it's important that you stock the tank starting with your least aggressive fish and work your way up to the biggest aggressors. Again, the clowns will be semi-aggressive, whereas bottom-dwelling gobies and rock-dwelling blennies are not. This means that if you want these guys, then they should be stocked first and given at least a couple of weeks to acclimate to their new surroundings before a potential aggressor is added.


Rock is sufficient for decorating the tank. Try to get creative with it and give the fish room to explore and areas to get away from others.

Pool filter sand will not work because of the flow that is required for saltwater tanks. You need to have enough flow to turn your water volume over 15-20x per hour, and it can get a lot higher than that in certain reef tanks with high-flow demanding corals. PFS doesn't work in saltwater because it is so light it will get blown around. I'd suggest going with live sand to aid in your cycle. You can then use dry or live rock to create your scape.

The term live rock is sometimes used sort of loosely. Technically, rock is alive when it has anything living in or on it, even if it is only beneficial bacteria that we can't see but know is there because the tank is holding a cycle. Mature live rock will come with lots of other critters like copepods and feather worms, maybe some lovely coralline algae, and possibly some pests that you don't want like aiptasia. That last bit there about pests is why I decided to use dry rock only when starting my tank. My dry rock was technically live as soon as it was cycled, but it's got all kinds of life in and on it a year later.

Snails are great for cleaning algae, so don't count them out. Personally, I prefer banded trochus snails. They are workhorses and are able to right themselves should they fall upside down. Some snail species cannot do that so you have to reach in and flip them or the may become victims of predation or starve.

I personally do not keep crabs because I fear they'd go rogue and start munching on corals. Most of my reefing buddies think I'm crazy and I'd say the majority of saltwater keepers wouldn't run a tank without some hermit crabs at least. The Scarlet hermit crab is a pretty safe choice if you plan on corals in the future. Emerald crabs are great for eating the types of algae that other cleaners won't, like the dreaded bubble algae or bryopsis. With any invert, you probably want to make sure that they are reef safe. You may not be planning corals yet, but the day may come sooner than you think and inverts can be hard to catch.

Urchins are great little cleaners too as are brittle sea stars.
So if I buy a dry rock, and put it in my tank will it eventually become “live”? Also does this rock have to be covered in holes, or can it be a relatively solid rock?
 

stella1979

Yes, dry rock will become live in your tank. There are different varieties of dry rock available, some more dense and solid than others. A good example is Fiji, (dense, heavy, pretty solid, but still full of holes) vs. Pukani, (less dense, more porous, lighter weight, full of lots & lots & lots of holes.) It's relatively unimportant which you go with as long as you stick with reef rock as opposed to something like river stones. All reef rock will be porous enough to hold your cycle, but something like granite or river stones would not. This is why you don't see those type of stones in reef tanks.

The other thing to consider is rock curing. Curing is a simple process where the rocks are placed in a container with saltwater and flow, and the water is tested for nitrates and phosphates. The reason for curing is that natural dry rock will contain some dead organics. Imagine all the life that was in those rocks when they were live... so, when the dead organics are exposed to flowing water, they will begin to break down, possibly causing an ammonia spike and ultimately leading to nitrates and phosphates. You don't want high levels of these things occurring in the tank because it will lead to a nasty algae bloom. Much better to take care of this in a separate container without a light to limit algae growth.

So, a very porous rock like PukanI will contain more dead organics and take longer to cure, while a less porous rock like FijI will take less time. I did not cure in a separate container because I went with FijI and didn't turn my lights on during the cycling/curing process. The rocks cured and cycled in about a month with minimal algae growth. There are also man-made options that will not need curing at all. FYI - Florida dry rock is relatively dense like Fiji, is abundant, and sold on Amazon.
 

Jesterrace

Thank you for the suggestions! Good to know canisters aren’t the best for saltwater tanks. I remember my dad always having trouble with his, just assumed it was the brand.

What do you suggest to use for decorating the tank? Is live rock sufficient? Also for sand, should I do live-sand or is pool filter sand fine for saltwater also? I’ve used PFS in multiple of my freshwater tanks, not having a problem!

For decorating the tank, live rock is fine but if you really want that reef tank look then corals are the way to go. Just be aware that corals are less forgiving for water perameters and require more expensive lighting. If you are going to do live rock (ie Fish Only With Live Rock aka FOWLR) and want a little more color right off the bat without the hassle of corals you could go with the Caribsea Life Rock:

I use it in my tanks and it's pretty nice stuff here is what 40lbs of it looked like in my 36 gallon bowfront:


As for pool sand, I don't recommend it because generally you want a mixed substrate. I go with live sand, not because of the bacterial benefits (which all sand establishes over time) but because I find it to be the perfect grain mix for fish, inverts, etc. and it looks great as long as you have some form of cleaner snail or fish.
 

Andrew99p

I'm late! So let me try to catch up.

Don't worry about being generic with clowns, I think we all love them! Jesterrace gave you some good ideas for tank mates, but I would like to add that it's important that you stock the tank starting with your least aggressive fish and work your way up to the biggest aggressors. Again, the clowns will be semi-aggressive, whereas bottom-dwelling gobies and rock-dwelling blennies are not. This means that if you want these guys, then they should be stocked first and given at least a couple of weeks to acclimate to their new surroundings before a potential aggressor is added.


Rock is sufficient for decorating the tank. Try to get creative with it and give the fish room to explore and areas to get away from others.

Pool filter sand will not work because of the flow that is required for saltwater tanks. You need to have enough flow to turn your water volume over 15-20x per hour, and it can get a lot higher than that in certain reef tanks with high-flow demanding corals. PFS doesn't work in saltwater because it is so light it will get blown around. I'd suggest going with live sand to aid in your cycle. You can then use dry or live rock to create your scape.

The term live rock is sometimes used sort of loosely. Technically, rock is alive when it has anything living in or on it, even if it is only beneficial bacteria that we can't see but know is there because the tank is holding a cycle. Mature live rock will come with lots of other critters like copepods and feather worms, maybe some lovely coralline algae, and possibly some pests that you don't want like aiptasia. That last bit there about pests is why I decided to use dry rock only when starting my tank. My dry rock was technically live as soon as it was cycled, but it's got all kinds of life in and on it a year later.

Snails are great for cleaning algae, so don't count them out. Personally, I prefer banded trochus snails. They are workhorses and are able to right themselves should they fall upside down. Some snail species cannot do that so you have to reach in and flip them or the may become victims of predation or starve.

I personally do not keep crabs because I fear they'd go rogue and start munching on corals. Most of my reefing buddies think I'm crazy and I'd say the majority of saltwater keepers wouldn't run a tank without some hermit crabs at least. The Scarlet hermit crab is a pretty safe choice if you plan on corals in the future. Emerald crabs are great for eating the types of algae that other cleaners won't, like the dreaded bubble algae or bryopsis. With any invert, you probably want to make sure that they are reef safe. You may not be planning corals yet, but the day may come sooner than you think and inverts can be hard to catch.

Urchins are great little cleaners too as are brittle sea stars.

Thank you so much for the detailed reply! I’ll definitely add some gobies and everything else non-aggressive, then quarantine the clowns as they’re getting adjusted! Did the same thing with my discus tank, added the discus before adding anything else so they can get used to their new home!

Currently I do not plan on doing a reef tank, but I also didn’t plan on doing live plants at first. Now I’ve got 4 planted tanks! If I ever decide to add corals, what would I need to add? New lights? New chemicals? As I said, very new.

I’ll look into the clean-up-crew first before adding the fish, let them get established and make sure the tank is balanced with the current cleaners before adding fish.

Any specific blennies or gobies you suggest? One fish I love but know nothing about, is a flame angel! How would that do in a clown tank? Do they need more than 35 gallons? I’ve heard mixed answers! Thanks so much for the help and replies everyone!

For decorating the tank, live rock is fine but if you really want that reef tank look then corals are the way to go. Just be aware that corals are less forgiving for water perameters and require more expensive lighting. If you are going to do live rock (ie Fish Only With Live Rock aka FOWLR) and want a little more color right off the bat without the hassle of corals you could go with the Caribsea Life Rock:

I use it in my tanks and it's pretty nice stuff here is what 40lbs of it looked like in my 36 gallon bowfront:


As for pool sand, I don't recommend it because generally you want a mixed substrate. I go with live sand, not because of the bacterial benefits (which all sand establishes over time) but because I find it to be the perfect grain mix for fish, inverts, etc. and it looks great as long as you have some form of cleaner snail or fish.

The tank looks great! How much did you pay for all that live rock? And did you just got your LFS for it? I have no stores near me that sell any, so I’m trying to find an option for ordering or where to go.
 

stella1979

Perfect plan on introducing the peaceful fish and letting the clowns quarantine while they acclimate! I applaud you for breaking out the qt nice and early! I can't stress the importance of quarantine enough, as inverts and corals pretty much negate the use of medications in the display.

You do not need special chemicals for corals, using pure (RODI) water and a decent marine salt is enough. I'd imagine that you're quite used to pure water and testing TDS for your discus, no? For corals you want to start with 0 TDS and your marine salt will add everything you need. You'd also require more test kits. Maintaining a stable alkalinity is very important for corals, and you'll need to keep an eye on calcium and magnesium as well.

You do need a very good light for corals or other photosynthetic creatures like anemones.

Hmm, I'm probably biased based on some of my favorite fish that I see here on the forum, but I think you'd probably like a Tailspot or Starry Blenny. For gobies, some of them are known as pistol gobies and will pair with pistol shrimp. The Yellow Watchman and Yasha gobies will pair with a Tiger or Randalls pistol shrimp. They will form a symbiotic relationship where the nearly blind shrimp will build and maintain their burrow and the goby will alert the shrimp to potential dangers. They do stay in or very near their burrows, so aren't the most brave or active critters, but they're fun to watch imo.

The Flame Angel - this one is a tough one for me. Plenty of sources state that 30g's is enough, but some say they need 60 or 70g's. They are aggressive little fish and have been known to nip at corals. If the tank is to be a community, these fish should always be added well after the others have gotten comfortable. Aggression is also much more likely in smaller tanks, so I just don't feel that a 35 with smaller peaceful fish is a great idea.

I'm not all that familiar with hex tanks. How wide and tall is it? You probably could have at least 5 small fish as long as each has territory space. This will partly dependant on how you set up your rockscape. You might want to look at some examples online and do your best to create swim-throughs, caves and such.

So, for example, you could have a sand-dwelling pistol goby/shrimp pair who will dig and burrow around the base of your scape. A Tailspot or Starry blenny will hang out in and on the rocks, but not under them with the goby. A couple of clowns would occupy open space... who knows, maybe they'll host a powerhead, lol. Then you could add something along the lines of an orchid dottyback who will also dwell among the rocks and be fairly active and brave but will still need places to hide and feel safe.
 

Jesterrace

The tank looks great! How much did you pay for all that live rock? And did you just got your LFS for it? I have no stores near me that sell any, so I’m trying to find an option for ordering or where to go.

I gave you a link to order it from Amazon above. I paid $200 for the first 40lbs from my LFS but got the second batch in a 40lb box from Amazon for about $127. I believe the 40lb box now runs about $147. It is definitely more expensive than dry rock but because it has a bacterial coating already on it, it establishes the filter quicker IMHO and definitely looks more appealing than the standard bleached white dry rock. It's all about what budget and what look you want though.

Thank you so much for the detailed reply! I’ll definitely add some gobies and everything else non-aggressive, then quarantine the clowns as they’re getting adjusted! Did the same thing with my discus tank, added the discus before adding anything else so they can get used to their new home!

Currently I do not plan on doing a reef tank, but I also didn’t plan on doing live plants at first. Now I’ve got 4 planted tanks! If I ever decide to add corals, what would I need to add? New lights? New chemicals? As I said, very new.

I’ll look into the clean-up-crew first before adding the fish, let them get established and make sure the tank is balanced with the current cleaners before adding fish.

Any specific blennies or gobies you suggest? One fish I love but know nothing about, is a flame angel! How would that do in a clown tank? Do they need more than 35 gallons? I’ve heard mixed answers! Thanks so much for the help and replies everyone!

As a former Flame Angel owner I can tell you mine was an aggressive butthead and a coral nipper to boot in my 36 gallon and Flame Angels tend to be more aggressive than some of their counterparts (ie Coral Beauty). Within 30 seconds of entering my tank he chased my Purple Firefish into his cave and would chase him the moment the Purple Firefish popped his head out, tried to bite my scissortail dartfish, and chase and intimidation behavior on my Diamond Watchman Goby. Here is a vid showing exactly how my Diamond Watchman Goby would respond when the flame angel got near:


Needless to say it would be a poor choice for a 35 gallon hex config and honestly I don't even think I would put a pygmy angel in there since you don't have the length needed to keep one happy long term. Horizontal swimming length with spread out rockwork seems to be what many marine fish value most in terms of space.
 

Andrew99p

Alright definitely no to the flame angel! Maybe after a year or so I’ll upgrade this tank to a larger one so I can get one.

The tanks dimensions is a 2 feet from every corner, and 2 feet tall I believe (currently out of town so I can’t measure it right now). So I can only add 5 fish in total? What about chromis? I saw some of those at my LFS and they were very pretty!

I’m definitely planning on doing live rock, but it is so much more expensive than I thought! Oh well, maybe I’ll try to find a deal near me.

How do you get RODI water? Do you have to buy it from a store? With my discus I’ve always used my well water and never had a problem! But I assume corals are much more complicated than that.

Again, thanks for the replies and all the help! You both are making this process very easy for me!
 

penguin02

You can buy it from your LFS if they carry it, or you can buy your own unit. Being able to make your own water is worth it in the long run.
 

Andrew99p

You can buy it from your LFS if they carry it, or you can buy your own unit. Being able to make your own water is worth it in the long run.

How much would a unit cost? And is it hard to set up? Definitely wouldn’t wanna but it from a store, as the only store near me that has it, is over an hour away.
 

penguin02

Mine was 80 dollars I believe. And it’s super easy to set up! Trust me, if I can set it up you totally can. Because I am terrible with directions. YouTube is your best friend
 

Jesterrace

Alright definitely no to the flame angel! Maybe after a year or so I’ll upgrade this tank to a larger one so I can get one.

The tanks dimensions is a 2 feet from every corner, and 2 feet tall I believe (currently out of town so I can’t measure it right now). So I can only add 5 fish in total? What about chromis? I saw some of those at my LFS and they were very pretty!

I’m definitely planning on doing live rock, but it is so much more expensive than I thought! Oh well, maybe I’ll try to find a deal near me.

How do you get RODI water? Do you have to buy it from a store? With my discus I’ve always used my well water and never had a problem! But I assume corals are much more complicated than that.

Again, thanks for the replies and all the help! You both are making this process very easy for me!

Stay away from Chromis. They tend to pick each other off and will almost certainly do so in a smaller tank like that. That and there is an increased prevalence of them shipping with disease.
 

stella1979

I definitely agree with getting your own RODI filtration unit. It's easier and safer to make your own water and mix it with the marine salt of your choice. Plus, it sounds like you have pretty good water to begin with. This means that upkeep of the RODI unit will be minimal.
 

Andrew99p

Wow I didn’t know the RODI system was so cheap! All the others I have seen were so expensive!! Would anyone mind sending me a link so I know what I’m looking at?

That really sucks that chromis are picky. I really like the way they look. My dad used to have some and he said his kind of did the same thing in a 55 gallon.

Also, off topic here, but how do I multi-quote? I really wanna know how so I can reply to all of you properly and not multi-post! Thanks again everyone!
 

stella1979

I spent quite a bit more than $80 on my own RODI system so can't really help with that. I would suggest looking at Bulk Reef Supply just to get an idea what's out there.

To multi-quote just click the + Quote link at the bottom right of each post, then click in the reply area and select Insert Quotes at the bottom left of the reply box. Each quote will begin and end with [QOUTE ......... QUOTE] with the text in between. You can write your replies between the quoted posts.
 

penguin02

I'll get back to you tomorrow on the brand of my system. I bought it at my LFS, not online, so that might be why the price was so drastically different from Stella's. Or it could have been on sale and I just didn't realize it. It's also a pretty small unit, which could be the reason it's so cheap.
 

Jesterrace

There are a few explanations on the price disparity between RO and RODI units. It is entirely possible that Penguin bought a regular RO system and not RODI (as there are some regular RO units out there in that price range), also some of the cheaper units are full fledged RODI systems but produce much more in terms of waste water. A nicer/more expensive system might produce 3-4 gallons of wastewater to every 1 gallon of RODI, while a cheaper unit might produce as much as 7 gallons of wastewater for every 1 gallon of RODI water. Cheaper units also tend to need more frequent resin replacements (and the resin replacements themselves might be more expensive). Not saying that a cheap RO or RODI unit isn't worth while (it's still much better than tap water), you just need to be aware of what corners they cut in order to make a cheaper unit and understand that it may not save you money over a more expensive unit in the long run. Then again it's also possible the OP just got a screaming deal on a nice unit from his LFS.
 

penguin02

We have the Aquatic Life RO Buddie. I don't know if it's quality or not, but it gets the job done. We've had it for two months and haven't had to change the DI.
 

CrisisQuaid

There are a few explanations on the price disparity between RO and RODI units. It is entirely possible that Penguin bought a regular RO system and not RODI (as there are some regular RO units out there in that price range), also some of the cheaper units are full fledged RODI systems but produce much more in terms of waste water. A nicer/more expensive system might produce 3-4 gallons of wastewater to every 1 gallon of RODI, while a cheaper unit might produce as much as 7 gallons of wastewater for every 1 gallon of RODI water. Cheaper units also tend to need more frequent resin replacements (and the resin replacements themselves might be more expensive). Not saying that a cheap RO or RODI unit isn't worth while (it's still much better than tap water), you just need to be aware of what corners they cut in order to make a cheaper unit and understand that it may not save you money over a more expensive unit in the long run. Then again it's also possible the OP just got a screaming deal on a nice unit from his LFS.
For the sake of price, could one use Imagitarium Pacific Sea Water for water changes, rather than use a RODI system?
 

Jesterrace

For the sake of price, could one use Imagitarium Pacific Sea Water for water changes, rather than use a RODI system?

No, IMHO that stuff is the equivalent of snake oil. Also at $13 for 5 gallons that's $2.60 a gallon. Most LFS sell premix RODI/Salt mix for $1.50 a gallon or less (mine charges 75 cents a gallon). So I wouldn't risk it. Either buy RODI/Salt premix from your LFS or get an RODI system.
 

Jesterrace

We have the Aquatic Life RO Buddie. I don't know if it's quality or not, but it gets the job done. We've had it for two months and haven't had to change the DI.

Yeah, I've seen those on Amazon for around that price range. So how much waste water does it produce?
 

penguin02

Yeah, I've seen those on Amazon for around that price range. So how much waste water does it produce?

I put waste water directly down the drain, so I can't be totally sure. But at least double the amount of RO water.
 

CrisisQuaid

No, IMHO that stuff is the equivalent of snake oil. Also at $13 for 5 gallons that's $2.60 a gallon. Most LFS sell premix RODI/Salt mix for $1.50 a gallon or less (mine charges 75 cents a gallon). So I wouldn't risk it. Either buy RODI/Salt premix from your LFS or get an RODI system.
Problem is nobody near me sells premixed water
 

CrisisQuaid

No, IMHO that stuff is the equivalent of snake oil. Also at $13 for 5 gallons that's $2.60 a gallon. Most LFS sell premix RODI/Salt mix for $1.50 a gallon or less (mine charges 75 cents a gallon). So I wouldn't risk it. Either buy RODI/Salt premix from your LFS or get an RODI system.
Could I use Distilled water mixed with Salt Mix?
 

stella1979

Could I use Distilled water mixed with Salt Mix?
Yes. It would still be best if you picked up a TDS meter. What it boils down to is that you want to mix a marine salt with water that measures zero TDS.

I still feel like a RODI system is a better long term investment, but distilled water should have 0 TDS, so if that is an easier option for you right now it should be fine.
 

Jesterrace

Yes. It would still be best if you picked up a TDS meter. What it boils down to is that you want to mix a marine salt with water that measures zero TDS.

I still feel like a RODI system is a better long term investment, but distilled water should have 0 TDS, so if that is an easier option for you right now it should be fine.

Actually distilled water doesn't have zero TDS in many cases. There was a guy on here who did a comparison between distilled water and RODI and the difference was night and day. After a partial water change with distilled he had brown algae covering his rock, sand and glass within 2 days, after 7 days with a partial RODI water change he had barely a light dusting on his rocks. chris Quaid, it may not be the best system but it would be a much better option than anything else mentioned, you can get this system with 50 gpd (50 gallons per day, which is really all you need unless you have a massive tank) is a 4 stage RODI system for a whopping $60, you would easily spend that on distilled water within a month or two:
 

Jesterrace

We have the Aquatic Life RO Buddie. I don't know if it's quality or not, but it gets the job done. We've had it for two months and haven't had to change the DI.

Yup, seen those for a while. They have gotten dirt cheap, although the replacement cartridges seem a bit pricey. Amazon has the 4 stage 50 gpd model for $60. At that price you could almost buy it just to get you started and then when the cartridges wear out upgrade to a nicer system with cheaper cartridge replacements.
 

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