Testing Saltwater

Lorekeeper

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You test for the same basic things in SW as you do in FW. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and PH.

If you know about the Nitrogen Cycle in FW, the same things apply to SW. Ammonia is produced by decaying things in the tank, bacteria eat that ammonia and make it into Nitrite, and then more bacteria grow and eat that Nitrite to make it into Nitrate. PH should be between 8.0 and 8.4 in a SW tank.

You'll likely have a few week cycle with any tank. It's very, very rare that you get Live Rock that won't cause a cycle. If you don't have a test kit, get one soon. You can use the API Freshwater kit, if you already own one. If not, the SW kit is the same price and will give you a bit better results.

As for the fish... I'm not sure I'd put a maroon clown into a 13.5 gallon. They should really be in 20 long minimum. Most maroons can get up to 5-6", and are much more aggressive than other clownfish.

Have you though about maybe just a couple of false percula clowns? You can get some really nice looking fish.
 

Jesterrace

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Actually there was a test comparison done recently between the API Freshwater and Marine test kits and they found the only difference was a couple of small differences on the color chart. Personally I wouldn't touch API with a 10 foot pole as it is horribly inaccurate for nitrates and can occasionally give false positives for ammonia. Red Sea or Salifert are better test kits for saltwater.

 

Jesterrace

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Oh and as for the maroon clowns in a 13.5? Definitely not. Maroon, Cinnamon and Tomato Clowns are super aggressive and you would have one mean cranky fish in that size tank. The ocellaris (aka False Percula mentioned by Lorekeeper) or the Percula varieties are the only ones I would keep in a 13.5. Realistically I would say the Teardrop Occ are your best bet since they stay smaller.
 

Jesterrace

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Lorekeeper said:
Red Sea and Salifert DO offer better kits. But, if you already own an API kit, they'll get you started.
Fair enough on that one, I definitely do recommend switching over though once the cycle is done.
 

Jesterrace

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Lorekeeper said:
Agreed. I use Red Sea, and am much happier with these than I was with an API kit.
Funny story, I started with saltwater and always used Red Sea, then about a year later I got a freshwater tank for work and tried API and wanted to chuck it out the window. I couldn't believe how much those cheap vial caps leaked and the chemicals burned my skin (after reading reviews elsewhere it seems I am not the only one with this problem).
 
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