New, Many Questions

AbeTheMudokon

HI guys joined recently and have been lurking the beginner threads and taking a bunch of notes/learning having read the stickied posts multiple times and reading other bits of info I feel like I am getting mixed answers so I wanted to ask a bunch of questions. I need all the help I can get I'm very much a beginner to the hobby, have never had fish before so any input at all would be great. I think my heart is set on saltwater hence posting here and was looking at a fowlr but on other sites I was reading that beginners should start with freshwater as it is more difficult to start on a sw.

Do you guys recommend starting off with fw for someone who has never had fish before? I do plan on spending the time learning, I certainly won't be purchasing anything straight away.

I have read that sw tanks should be bigger in general but see people also having 10 gallon tanks/nano tanks. My plan is to start with fowlr and move towards a reef setup and would probably like to start with something like 2 clowns, green chromis, goby and eventually add more. Is it fine for the tank to be that small or is this not recommended? I was probably looking at around a 30 gallon.

Is a sump necessary?

For a 30 gallon tank how much is the upkeep as an average over a month?

Do I need a Quarantine Tank or is there another approach? Prefer to do it the safest way for the fish.

Is it best to cycle with or without fish? I don't mind waiting will do what is best for the tank.

Any recommended websites for buying tanks/fish/live rock etc (basically everything ) in the UK?

As a beginner would you recommend going straight into a reef if that was the goal or would you start with fowlr and then slowly move to a reef?

If you were starting a brand new tank (fowlr or reef) what items would you say are mandatory to have (sump/skimmer etc)?

Do you guys purchase extra heaters, lights, powerheads etc incase something goes wrong with them?

This is just all research at this point I'm just trying to get information/learn, I'm not just going to jump straight in. Sorry for the long post I just have a ton of questions at the moment. Any help is very much appreciated.

Thanks
 

Fanatic

Hello, and welcome to fishlore!
Hopefully, our salty fish keepers can assist you today
 

AbeTheMudokon

Thanks for the welcome. Yeah hopefully I can get a few of the questions answered and continue learning, have a few books on the way aswell to assist.
 

Jesterrace

Okay here goes:

1) If your heart is set on saltwater, and you are prepared to go slow (ie small to medium sized FOWLR tank) then I would say just go with saltwater. Just be sure to spend tons of time researching the heck out of everything that you plan on doing (ie forums on the internet, talking to people at your local fish store, youtube vids, etc.). Be prepared for newbie mistakes (that can be expensive), you are probably going to make them. It is true that starting with freshwater will teach you some good basic fish keeping principals at a significantly lower cost (ie the basic principals of the nitrogen cycle, feeding, cleaning tanks, water changes and testing water parameters, but I have also seen some folks come over from freshwater who assumed that they had things figured out who made a bunch of bone headed mistakes with saltwater. Among them: Using treated tap water vs RODI, setting up a saltwater aquarium with gravel, air bubblers, fake plants and then wondering why the tank is failing, not understanding the purpose of live rock, etc.

As a side note, my very first tank was a 36 gallon saltwater tank and then I upgraded to my current 90 gallon saltwater tank. Then a few months later I broke down and got my first 10 gallon freshwater tank for my office at work. So I had over a year of experience with saltwater before I had any with freshwater.

2) A 30 gallon tank is fine for starting, it's big enough to give you some options for smaller sized fish (ie Ocellaris or Percula Clownfish, Gobies, Blennies, Cardinalfish), but small enough not to need a sump or extra equipment required on a larger tank. As a note of caution I recommend against Chromis, because they tend to pick each other off in smaller sized tanks. Like Clownfish they are members of the Damsel family and Damsels are well known for their territorial behavior.

3) QT (aka Quarantine Tank) is highly recommended as it gives you the opportunity to screen your fish for diseases and treat before entering the tank. The best known cure for ich and velvet in marine fish is a copper based formula which is easy to administer to a QT tank, but can wreak havoc with invertebrates and substrates in a regular display tank, hence another reason for QT

4) Definitely without, cycling with a fish in exposes them to toxic things (ie Ammonia, Nitrites) which can hurt the fish's longevity at the very least (if it doesn't kill them in the process). If anyone every recommends a fish in cycle these days, DON'T TRUST THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5) The UK unfortunately is not a great place for the hobby as they are more limited on options and the cost tends to be higher. Amazon UK does okay for many of the supplies you will need.

6) You have the right idea with FOWLR first and then going to reef. You can learn basic fish keeping and water parameters with FOWLR and then add in the additional tests, upkeep and coral and lighting costs after you gain some experience. A basic aquarium LED light will work just fine for Fish Only With Live Rock, once you add corals you need full spectrum fixtures which cost quite a bit more and the corals themselves are surprisingly spendy.

7) As mentioned above the sump is not necessary, nor is the skimmer. Just don't overfeed, do a partial water change on a weekly basis and don't overstock your tank and you should be fine without.

8) A backup tank heater or powerhead probably would be wise, but I wouldn't worry about backup lighting. Fish can live on ambient light for a week or two if necessary.
 

AbeTheMudokon

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, appreciate it. I won't go straight into it definitely plan on doing a lot of research before I begin to do anything. About adding the Chromis, where do you look to find this info? I started to make a spreadsheet last week for the fish that I like and the site I got it off said that you could put chromis in with anything as they were peaceful fish. Is there like a "go to" site for this type of stuff or is it just a case of comparing multiple sites and coming up with a conclusion given I don't have any experience.
 

Jesterrace

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, appreciate it. I won't go straight into it definitely plan on doing a lot of research before I begin to do anything. About adding the Chromis, where do you look to find this info? I started to make a spreadsheet last week for the fish that I like and the site I got it off said that you could put chromis in with anything as they were peaceful fish. Is there like a "go to" site for this type of stuff or is it just a case of comparing multiple sites and coming up with a conclusion given I don't have any experience.

I am a member of about 15-20 different forums with folks who share their personal experiences and the recurrent theme I have observed over the last couple of years is that Chromis pick each other off over time (makes sense given that they are damsels) and my LFS (Local Fish Store) has shared similar experiences. If you had a 100 plus gallon tank with 10 or more, you might have some success but there is no way a 30 gallon could support a school of that size and even if you could you couldn't have any other fish. Don't get me wrong, there is some good info on supply sites but a lot of them overgeneralize things (ie claiming that chromis are peaceful. I'll take recurrent reports from individuals over generic info on sites any day of the week. Chromis are generally peaceful towards other fish (just not each other). The other big myth is that Ocellaris (ie Nemo Clownfish) is that they are Peaceful as well, when there are plenty of examples of them being very territorial/aggressive once they are established (even going so far as to biting their owners).

If you don't believe me on Chromis, simply put the phrase "Do Chromis pick each other off" into google and see what comes up.
 

AbeTheMudokon

I believe you, it wasn't that what I was getting at I was more just asking how to determine what is correct when sites are saying otherwise etc but you answered that now too. I appreciate your input and as you said it is better to have that info from people like yourself who have experienced this first hand. Thanks again.
 

AbeTheMudokon

I have read through it a few times now and will continue to do so, thanks for posting it, lots of info to take in.
 

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