Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by zeeter, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. zeeter

    zeeterWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, the dreaded newbie, but I'm harmless and a nice guy.

    Here's the deal. I have on occasion set up freshwater aquariums and they're neat at first, but there's little interaction with the tank and the fish aren't very exotic. So I'm thinking of starting up a salt-water system.

    I have been reading up on these for several weeks and have a general understanding. Most of my understanding tells me that if I screw up all of the fish will die and a plague of locusts will overtake the earth, leading to the doom of all mankind. I don't want that hanging over my head.

    One would think that I should start small, master the basics, then move up. However there's a problem with that. I'm the type of person who, if I don't go all in I'll lose interest. So I want to start moderately big. I'm thinking of a 55g tank or so.

    With that knowledge, I've been reading how each tank type has it's own benefits and deterrents. Ideally I would like to have a reef tank, but am open to suggestions. My kids would love to see a little nemo swimming around.

    I guess my question is this: What is the easiest tank set up? While I'm not daddy warbucks, I am willing to spend some coin if it's going to be worth it. I've been reading how under gravel filters are the best, but then overhanging filters are the best, then cannister filters, well it's a bit overwhelming. I'm looking for ease of setup, aesthetically pleasing, and possibly wiggle-room for changing things around. I am also not completely adverse to getting a smaller tank, learning the basics, then getting a bigger tank and using the smaller one as the quarantine tank.

    Any thoughts on the matter?
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  2. NaeusuValued MemberMember

    Well, here's what i've learned in my 6 months experience:

    The easiest setup is fish only with live rock. the live rock helps to cycle the tank and keep everyone happy as well as providing places for the fish to explore and being aesthetically pleasing. YOU DON'T NEED AN ANEMONE TO KEEP A LITTLE NEMO.

    I had a clownfish that i got an anemone for and she loved it! almost to death...

    a 55 gallon tank is great! that's what i started out with. For fish only with live rock a hang on back filter is okay, but IMO sumps are much better! I had all sorts of problems with my water quality that practically vanished when i put in my sump not to mention that because you only have the overflow (pipe water going into sump) and the return pipe it makes your tank look less cluttered. My black cardinal likes to skulk under my overflow box <.<

    The hardest to keep:

    REEFS (duh)....For a reef you need a WELL established tank (6 months or more) with pristine water conditions which are very hard to maintain and lights that could burn retinas! But seriously...I have two t5 HO bulbs (the whole setup cost me about 150 bucks bulbs included) over my 55 and they're sustaining my zoas, leather coral, and my rose anemone. I had some star polyps but i don't know if it was the lights or the fish that killed them...

    Another problem with reef tanks besides the cost is the fact you have to build your tank around the corals you want to keep. Depending on what kind you want determines the amount of light you need as well as the fish you keep because some will eat them or knock them over or just be jerks to them because that's what they do in the wild.

    MY HONEST OPINION--> Get a fish only with live rock at first as your basis. When your water parameters are good and you can get a better light setup (after all those nasty stages of algae growth) go ahead and add in some low light corals or buy a great setup and add in some great corals just keeping in mind to make sure all your fish are reef safe. And Nemo will survive his entire happy life without an anemone as well as breed without one.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  3. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    I'm from the FW section of the forum, just want to welcome you to Fishlore. :)
  4. OP

    zeeterWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for your great advice. I figured the fish only with live rock would be easiest, but didn't know just how fragile reefs are. It's good to know that I can add them on later (assuming I get reef friendly fish to begin with). This is what I meant by wiggle-room in my original post.
    Since I'm just starting out I'll probably be back here quite often to ask dumb question, but remember, for every question that gets answered another fish lives! Thanks again.

    And Meenu - thanks for the welcome!

    Well, I bought my tank. It's a used 75g with stand. Got it pretty cheap from a reputable dealer in the area. So that's done. Now I have to clean it up - lots of salt residue; the guy had just dropped it off recently. Then I suppose I need to cycle the tank. I've been reading about cycling with and without fish. The guy at the store told me about this SmartStart cycling fluid that will dramatically decrease the cycling time. Lastly, I've read from here about using live rock while cycling.

    This brings me to a question. I've been researching fish for a few weeks now. Most of them come from four or five different regions of the world (Fiji, for example). Assuming I don't get a fish that requires unusual needs, should I stick with fish from a particular region or does it really matter? I'm seeing live rock from different regions so I figure if the fish should be the same then so should the rock. So does it matter or am I over dramatizing things?

    Also...what is a good size sump filtration system to use? I know the common answer is that it depends on how much water I want to have, but what is a good amount of water to have, and thus what is a good size system to use?

    :animal0068:Hello. I have merged your posts to save some space. There is an EDIT key at the bottom of every post that you can use for corrections and additional thoughts should there not be any responses.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2009
  5. PeterpiperWell Known MemberMember

    First welcome to Fishlore zeeter,
    Where do I start.... I started with sea horses for my first tank, it was good for a while then I found out that I required a skimmer to keep the water quality were it should be. But the skimmer made a heap of micro bubbles...... a real pain, so then I tryed adding a sump... more pain....
    I have now set up a 85g tank with a sump, i have little to no sound coming from the overflow. my sump is located outside the house and plumbed through the window.
    It is a work in progress adding LR and fish when I see a item I like.
    IMO, Run with a sump to hide all the equipment, get a top of the line skimmer and remember that keeping the water spot on is the key to having a lovely tank.
    If your going DIY I may be able to help.
    Here is the link to my tank build.
  6. OP

    zeeterWell Known MemberMember

    Great looking system you have there. Very clean. I've seen pictures of homemade systems that look kind of junky. Yours is very professional looking.

    While having your sump outside is a GREAT idea I had to laugh. Where I live, as I look out my window there's about two feet of snow. That's probably not conducive to having a good aquarium.
  7. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to Fish Lore Zeeter. I hope you enjoy the site. I hope you can share some photos once your up and running.

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