Need Help Starting a Tank

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by yams08, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. yams08New MemberMember

    Okay, so I have a 50 gallon tank that I used to use for freshwater, but then I got my 60 gallon so it's empty now. I've never done saltwater before, but my mom kept going on about how she wanted "little Nemo fish" and seahorses. I know it'll be a while before seahorses would be safe to add. My mom is visiting her sister for 4 months though so I wanted it to be a welcome back gift. I know you need live rock, but it's wicked expensive. I read that dry rock turns into live rock if you put it next to live rock, is this true? Also, how much of each rock would I need? I also need to know the basics on how to get it set up really nice and what needs to be done before the water is stable enough for fish and established enough for seahorses. I'm also not sure what a protein skimmer is and what it does. Any info would be helpful, thank you!
  2. alinkWell Known MemberMember

    LiterallyHydro can help you. :) I am too cheap to take the leap to Saltwater. Plus it seems like too much work for me with getting the salinity right and all that stuff lol. Good luck with your project!
  3. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    It seems we FWers have dubbed him the go-to guy for SW beginners and SW starter tank related questions. It's the 2nd person I've seen this week alone being referred to him...

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  4. AquaticBrandonWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore yams! :)
    It's nice of you that you want to set up a SW tank for your mom as a gift. Yeah live rock can get pretty expensive, some prefer to start off with dry rock to not go through the trouble with hitchhikers. Since your tank is a 50 gallon tank you will need 50 pounds of live or dry rock. The rock will be your main filtration in your system. You can purchase some Reef Saver rock from Bulk Reef Supply   you will also need some powerheads for the tank. Water flow is really important in saltwater to prevent any dead spots on rock and stuff. If you haven't already, I would purchase an RODI unit. This will help a lot with water changes. It is not recommend to use tap water in SW tanks. You can also use RO water, but having an RODI unit will be much easier and cheaper in the long run. For a tank this size I would run a sump. This sump will allow you to have space for skimmers, heaters, etc. A skimmer is a device used to remove organic compounds such as food and waste from the water. I don't run a skimmer on my reef, but I keep up with water changes and the tank is doing really good. A skimmer will help with doing less water changes. If I'm not mistaken,I believe you might go with a FOWLR tank which is a tank with just live rock and fish. You won't really need any special lighting because you're not growing corals. Any LEDs or T5 light will do. I think seahorses require their own tanks, meaning that they need to be kept in species only tank. But claireputput can help, she has experience with seahorses.

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  5. LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, dry rock will turn into live rock with time and having a piece of live rock to seed the other rock. The way to know the tank is ready for fish is exactly the same with the only difference being the salinity needs to be set around 1.025.

    A protein skimmer is basically a device that uses an impeller to create very small bubbles that will pick up dissolved organics in the water. Then the bubbles carry the organics to the collection cup where it can be removed from the tank. I recommend having a skimmer in anything larger than 30 gallons.

    As for cycling the tank, if you had full live rock you don't need to dose ammonia as the die off will be enough to feed the bacteria colony. If you go with mostly dry rock, you'll still need to dose ammonia. And seahorses should pretty much be in a species tank, I wouldn't recommend keeping them with other fish since it can be such a hassle to get them eating in a tank where there's a lot of competition for food.

    Ask as many questions as you can, the more knowledge you have before starting, the better chance you have of success.

    One big thing I'll suggest is starting with reef saver rock or BRS's pukani dry rock. Both won't carry any pests that will infest your tank such as bubble algae or aiptasia.

    You say that like it's a bad thing.. ;D But I am honestly happy to have a place where I can be made useful. I tend to suffer from depression a lot so feeling like I can help others makes me feel like I have some value. So I devote as much of my free time as I can to helping others.
  6. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Oh not at all, I just meant you're the only guy I know on the SW side that does FW also, so I would have no one else to refer the newbies to lol... But yes, you're a very helpful person on both sides of the spectrum!
  7. LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    I appreciate the compliments :) You're also very helpful and active on the forums. I'm sure many of us appreciate having you around as well.

    And to the OP, make sure to use RODI water. Get yourself an RODI unit from Bulk Reef Supply for $149. It seems like a lot but it will save you tons of money in the long term. Having 0 TDS is going to save you a lot of headache from not having to deal with massive algae outbreaks.
  8. GeoffWell Known MemberMember

    Ehhh I don't know 'bout that!


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