Help me setup my first saltwater tank (30gal long)

Sleepyflea

Here is a picture.
I currently already have lights, a filter, and a heater.
The current filter was used in freshwater, but since its already broken in im just gonna switch over to salt.
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I plan on hosting clownfish and some type of sand dweller to clean the black sand.
Here are my questions:
- Will i need a wavemaker?
- What brand of salt do you use?
- What type of rocks should i get for my corals?
- What type of corals should i get?

Thank you if you took the time to read this or answer me!
 

Frank the Fish guy

No you don't need a wavemaker

I use Instant Ocean

You should get some pieces of live rock. You never know what you will get on live rock. Just random stuff. Hopefully no parasitic worms, but you never know!? They call this a FOWLR tank - Fish Only with Live Rock.

Just get whatever coral the live rock has. See if it will grow.



Regardless of what you might have heard, salt water is really not much different than fresh. And the only way to learn is to go for it. A FOWLR tank is great fun and you really don't know what will be on that live rock!

Don't forget that you will need to re-cycle your filter. The salt water bacteria is not the same as what you had for fresh water. Cycling salt water takes longer. Many of use Damsel fish for cycling since they are pretty hardy. I would not get any live rock until your tank is cycled.
 

Sleepyflea

No you don't need a wavemaker

I use Instant Ocean

You should get some pieces of live rock. You never know what you will get on live rock. Just random stuff. Hopefully no parasitic worms, but you never know!? They call this a FOWLR tank - Fish Only with Live Rock.

Just get whatever coral the live rock has. See if it will grow.



Regardless of what you might have heard, salt water is really not much different than fresh. And the only way to learn is to go for it. A FOWLR tank is great fun and you really don't know what will be on that live rock!

Don't forget that you will need to re-cycle your filter. The salt water bacteria is not the same as what you had for fresh water. Cycling salt water takes longer. Many of use Damsel fish for cycling since they are pretty hardy. I would not get any live rock until your tank is cycled.
I am about to order some salt, and some bacteria to get my cycle started.
Id rather not get damsel fish since i dont want to keep them.
I have a LFS i can head over to after my salinity is stable and get some live rock with coral.
I noticed he sells tiny individual corals, so idk if he sells live rock, but i will look.

My plans are some clownfish, saltwater snails, maybe some shrimp, and who knows what else.
 

PNWAquatics

Will i need a wavemaker?:

I think wavemakers/ powerheads are always helpful for increasing aeration. I would recommend one. What do you have in your HOB filter for filtration?

What brand of salt do you use?

I use instant ocean. I have a 30 gallon, 90 gallon, and 15 gallon that all do well with it.

- What type of rocks should i get for my corals?

This really depends on what you want. I always recommend real live rock. Common sellers are KP Aquatics and Gulf Live Rock. It is more expensive, but provides a huge variety of life/biodiversity and an almost instantly cycled tank. However, live rock can come with pests. For instance, in my last batch, I received two polyclade flatworms, curly que anemones, and a mantis shrimp. If you don't want to deal with pests, you can use bottled bacteria and dry rock. This will take longer to cycle and, overall, your tank will take longer to mature.

What type of corals should i get?:

Softies are good beginner corals. I like mushrooms, zoas, and toad stools. Kenya trees, Xenia, and GSP are other good recommended corals, though they can take over a tank quickly. You definitely don't want to add coral too early. Once you have softies growing well, you can try LPS and depending on your lighting situation, some SPS.

Clownfish are good nano fish. So are fire fish, royal gramma, pygmy/possum wrasses and tailspot blennies. I would advise against a damsel, as they can get mean. For dry rock cycling, I'd recommend dosing ammonia instead of adding live fish. If you add live rock, you probably won't have much of a cycle and can add fish slowly once your rock cures. You'll need to find rock before you add fish.

Some questions for you:
-What lighting do you have?
-Do you have a way to check salinity?
-What sand did you use?
-Are you using RO/DI?
 

Sleepyflea

Will i need a wavemaker?:

I think wavemakers/ powerheads are always helpful for increasing aeration. I would recommend one. What do you have in your HOB filter for filtration?

What brand of salt do you use?

I use instant ocean. I have a 30 gallon, 90 gallon, and 15 gallon that all do well with it.

- What type of rocks should i get for my corals?

This really depends on what you want. I always recommend real live rock. Common sellers are KP Aquatics and Gulf Live Rock. It is more expensive, but provides a huge variety of life/biodiversity and an almost instantly cycled tank. However, live rock can come with pests. For instance, in my last batch, I received two polyclade flatworms, curly que anemones, and a mantis shrimp. If you don't want to deal with pests, you can use bottled bacteria and dry rock. This will take longer to cycle and, overall, your tank will take longer to mature.

What type of corals should i get?:

Softies are good beginner corals. I like mushrooms, zoas, and toad stools. Kenya trees, Xenia, and GSP are other good recommended corals, though they can take over a tank quickly. You definitely don't want to add coral too early. Once you have softies growing well, you can try LPS and depending on your lighting situation, some SPS.

Clownfish are good nano fish. So are fire fish, royal gramma, pygmy/possum wrasses and tailspot blennies. I would advise against a damsel, as they can get mean. For dry rock cycling, I'd recommend dosing ammonia instead of adding live fish. If you add live rock, you probably won't have much of a cycle and can add fish slowly once your rock cures. You'll need to find rock before you add fish.

Some questions for you:
-What lighting do you have?
-Do you have a way to check salinity?
-What sand did you use?
-Are you using RO/DI?
First of all thank you for this detailed response!
Sorry for the late response, i had just started working nights.

For my Lights: White LED(2x long bars with about 15 LEDS in each) Just basic lights that came with my tank.

I got a Salinity reader that has that arrow that moves when you put water inside of it.

My sand is Flourite black sand, theres about 30lbs of it in there.

And i dont use rO water. I dont have access to it at a cheap price at home. So i use tap water with seachem prime as a conditioner.
 

Mcasella

First of all thank you for this detailed response!
Sorry for the late response, i had just started working nights.

For my Lights: White LED(2x long bars with about 15 LEDS in each) Just basic lights that came with my tank.

I got a Salinity reader that has that arrow that moves when you put water inside of it.

My sand is Flourite black sand, theres about 30lbs of it in there.

And i dont use rO water. I dont have access to it at a cheap price at home. So i use tap water with seachem prime as a conditioner.
You will need to get a better light than the ones that come with the freshwater setup as they won't grow coraline algae much less coral. There are a couple less expensive box lights that will do saltwater setups just fine. You can get into higher cost lights like kessils and other higher end led lights, but just starting out it may not be in the budget or it may.

Distilled water will be as close as you can get to RO if you don't have an RO system (distilled water for babies has even less mineral content). Just get your calcium, phosphate, and other levels tested so you know what you have going on and can alter as needed.
 

Jesterrace

I would strongly recommend getting a Powerhead/Wavemaker of some kind. Tank will be very prone to Cyanobactria among other issues without one. Need either Live Rock or Dry Rock (Dead Live Rock which becomes live as the tank cycles/matures). Light definitely needs to be replaced in order to do Coral and an RODI system or reliable RODI Water source will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
 

PNWAquatics

I would agree on the RO. If you don’t have RO and you don’t want to replace your lights, I would highly recommended going fish only with live rock.

There are RO systems you can looking into that are affordable (around 50 dollars I think)

Is the sand you have made for planted aquaria? I don’t think I’d use that in a reef. You typically see aragonite sand in reef tanks.
 

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