How Do I Take Care Of A Saltwater Tank?

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Setup' started by BettaFishKeeper4302, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. BettaFishKeeper4302

    BettaFishKeeper4302 Well Known Member Member

    So i am new and i have thought about getting a saltwater tank but i do not really have the time for one. If i did i would buy a 20g and have liverock,sand and clownfish. But how does the water work exactly? Do you just add aquarium salt? It confuses me.
     
  2. CanadianFishFan

    CanadianFishFan Well Known Member Member

    30 gallons is minimum for starting one. I dont know much about saltwater but you are not ready yet. I suggest a lot more research and its more then adding salt.
     
  3. D

    DutchAquarium Well Known Member Member

    I'm guessing your not going to want to spend thousands of dollars on your aquarium, so their is no real way to keep a low maintenace salt water aquarium with out prior experience. Don't get me wrong, their are low maintenace ones out their, but these are maintained by experts or high tech systems to do the work.

    If you do decide to go on and do put work into your aquarium...salt is added to the water using a salinity checker which measures the salinity in the water. Normaling, saltwater aquariums are around 1.026 parts salt.
     




  4. Jesterrace

    Jesterrace Well Known Member Member

    A 20 Gallon Long would be about on par with a standard 30 gallon tank (and more useful dimensions to boot). Pick one up this month for $20 at Petco's dollar per gallon sale. The biggest thing that confuses freshwater converts is that you don't use treated tapwater, you generally need to get an RODI system (Reverse Osmosis/De-Ionization) this strips the metals and minerals out of the tap water and prevents nasty algae blooms and then you mix in something like Instant Ocean salt. If you don't feel comfortable with getting and using one or the mixing process, you can buy the water pre-mixed from your LFS (unless you live out in the boondocks) and many smaller reefers prefer this method as it takes the guesswork of RODI and salt mixing out of the equation for you. You will also need some regular fresh RODI water for top offs as water evaporates but salt doesn't. This video gives a basic setup of what you will need for a 20 Long Fish Only with Live Rock (no corals) setup, about the only thing it forgot was the 10-20lbs of sand if you want a substrate on your tank. That runs anywhere from 50 cents to a dollar a lb depending on what you get:

     
  5. stella1979

    stella1979 Moderator Moderator Member

    Yes indeed, more research is needed, but it's not all that hard once you learn to provide saltwater. Do you have time to do water changes each week? Do you have a few minutes every day to feed carefully, ensuring food is getting eaten rather than just dumping some in? Are you willing to invest in the correct equipment? It certainly doesn't have to cost thousands, especially if you aren't getting corals, but you would need the basic equipment and would probably also want an ATO, (automatic top off unit.) As you probably know, water evaporates. Salt, however, does not, so freshwater needs to be added to a saltwater aquarium daily or the water will get too salty. An ATO used properly will detect water levels in a tank and add fresh water as needed to maintain salinity.

    You guys aren't completely wrong... yes, more research is needed, and equipment is generally more expensive on the salty side, but a 20g long is a perfect starter SW tank, and a fish only build can be done for much less than $1000. I would kindly ask that if you are unsure of your information, that you not scare people away from the wonderful world of saltwater. Thanks!;)
     
  6. Jesterrace

    Jesterrace Well Known Member Member

    Agreed with stella, tired of freshies with zero experience spreading myths (particularly the one about spending four figures minimum on a tank). The video above clearly shows how to build a 20 Long FOWLR for under $400. Nart has a video for how to build a 15 gallon for even less than that if someone really wants to go a bit smaller and incidentally a 20 Long saltwater FOWLR tank could be done as a person's first tank of any kind as it really isn't that much more difficult than a freshwater tank as long as you do the proper research.
     
  7. D

    DutchAquarium Well Known Member Member

    You guys aren't completely wrong... yes, more research is needed, and equipment is generally more expensive on the salty side, but a 20g long is a perfect starter SW tank, and a fish only build can be done for much less than $1000. I would kindly ask that if you are unsure of your information, that you not scare people away from the wonderful world of saltwater. Thanks!;)[/QUOTE]

    Let me say it again because it appears to be unclear. If you want a maintenance free aquarium "0% maintenance" as stated by the op, you need to be either an expert or spend a lot of money on a system. Maintenance free includes everything, from food to water changes. That is when it gets pricy.
     
  8. Jesterrace

    Jesterrace Well Known Member Member

    I guess I am missing something here. Unless it was edited it didn't say that the OP was looking for a zero maintenance aquarium. I agree there is a huge difference between zero maintenance and low maintenance. The reason Stella and I disagreed with you initially is because you stated it took an experienced expert to maintain a low maintenance aquarium (not a zero maintenance aquarium). To me whether you have freshwater or saltwater things like feeding, water tests, water changes and filter changes are a given for 99.9% of aquarium owners. Really though about the only difference between properly maintaining a 20-30 gallon freshwater tank and a 20 Long FOWLR tank with 3-4 fish is some initial extra equipment cost and maintaining salinity (which can be made easier by an Auto Top Off System) and it doesn't need to cost anywhere near $1K either. Just saying it is possible to maintain a relatively easy smaller saltwater aquarium for someone on a busy schedule without being a major burden.
     
  9. D

    DutchAquarium Well Known Member Member

    I guess stuff is lost in translation between saying it and typing it out. I guess i implied 0 % maintenance because they said no time for one. I'm not inexperienced with salt, so i understand your low maintenance systems could be gotten for $70 if you tried. i have a macro algae system set up right now and another system holding Sepia bandensis.
     
  10. Nart

    Nart Well Known Member Member

    If you don't have time, I generally wouldn't recommend caring for pets as a whole. Just my two cents.
    Do look back into a saltwater tank when you have time in the future. Things like weekly water changes can be time consuming, all the way down to addressing any issues as it arises. Like battling algae, requires time and patience. Good luck!
     
  11. Taylorbudd

    Taylorbudd Valued Member Member

    I set up a 55 gallon reef tank with 10 gallon sump for way less than that.
    55g tank and stand $60 used
    10g sump $10
    Bag of live sand $25
    10 lbs live rocks $50
    Used skimmer $30
    2 power heads $30
    1 circ pump $20 amazon
    165watt led light $75 amazon.
    $60 home depot sump return pump.
    About $10 in pvc stuff for plumbing
    $7 bag of red lava rock for sump filtration.

    Fill up the tank. Plug it all in. Rock n roll.

    5 gal bucket of salt was $100 but you dont need that really. You can buy water or a smaller salt tub.

    $30 reef test kit.
     
  12. Jesterrace

    Jesterrace Well Known Member Member

    It is true that a complete used setup can be had for much cheaper, however it also depends on what is available in a given area, what the condition of the equipment is (ie is the tank scratched up, will the seals still hold, etc.), and whether or not a person has the time to properly clean or sanitize the equipment to begin with. Having purchased my 90 gallon used, I can say it was a mixed bag. The stand, sump, skimmer, return pump and virtually all the plumbing for $250 was well worth the effort to sanitize and clean it. The tank on the other hand was another story as i spent several hours over the course of a week sanitizing it with vinegar water, cleaning it out, wiping it down, etc. and then when all was said and done I happened to stick my light bar over the tank and discovered this:



    I then had to cut the pipe on the tank and get rid of it and buy a new tank and do a minor re-plumbing job. You also don't get any kind of warranty on used equipment and quite frankly the best used deals are on larger tanks (which some do not have the space or time for the upkeep).

    Also I think you missed a few things on the cost of your setup, you mentioned 10lbs of live rock for a 55 gallon setup, so either your tank is woefully understocked for your biological filter or you forgot the cost of 40-50lbs of dry rock that was seeded with said live rock, you also make no mention of whether or not you needed an overflow box for the tank/sump setup. I did the math and everything you have combined (without the possible couple of things missing) came out to $367. The price range of the 20 Long with all brand new stuff was $362-$415, so it really isn't much cheaper and the additional hassle factor of plumbing and maintaining other equipment. I agree that if you want a larger sized setup that used can save you a ton, but if you want to start small and keep it simple, the method listed by nart or the video listed above is the way to go.
     
  13. Taylorbudd

    Taylorbudd Valued Member Member

    All true.

    As for my live rock, i only have one 2" timor wrasse and some frags but i should probably get some more rock lol
     
  14. Jesterrace

    Jesterrace Well Known Member Member

    Definitely get more rock as even for that wrasse it will be pushing it when it reaches it's max length of 5-6 inches in terms of it's ability to handle the bioload. 10lbs would work for maybe a couple of 3 inch max fish and that is about it's limit. There is a reason why it is recommended to have at least 1lb of live rock per gallon of tank.
     




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