Turning A Freshwater To A Saltwater...

iDon'tCare

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Hello! I'm a person who has always been in the freshwater hobby, but all my life I've also adored saltwater tanks. I've gone on and off about owning saltwater as I've been so intimidated, but I want another opinion. So, I currently have a 10 gallon tank temporarily housing a Dwarf Gourami who will be moved to a new 30 gallon planted when it's done cycling (Estimated Remaining Time - 1 Week) Anyhow, I have a 30 gallon, the 10 gallon on my desk, with another 3.5 gallon with a betta on the other side of my desk. As you can tell, I don't have space for any other tanks in my home.

My current substrate is sand that I wash constantly, I'm using a submersible filter (Can CONSIDER get a HOB if I decide it's worth sweating and cutting the screen top like I did with my 30.. Worth it tbh..) I'm also set on a heater and am holding off buying new lighting (Still looking for better lighting..) Tell me, is the tank worth a makeover for my FIRST reef tank? (I know generally you should get the biggest tank size you can..) Or should I just stick to turning it into another freshwater tank? (Which I'm fine with, and already have a plan for that in case my saltwater plans fall through..) If the tank DOES have a good chance for re-modelling, what should I change? What else should I buy? And if you have any tips or stocking ideas let me know, so far the best match I've seen were clownfish.. Judge all you want.

Thank you!
 

Jesterrace

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So are you thinking of converting the 10 gallon into saltwater or one of the others? A 10 gallon is do-able for saltwater, but IMHO the 30 is really the only one you listed that is suited to house clownfish long term and be happy. Most clownfish are captive bred these days and they are VERY active and need plenty of room. With a 10 gallon you will be limited to a pair of fish at most and Firefish and a Small Blenny or Goby are often the choices for a tank that small. If you could replace the 10 gallon with a 20 Long your options open up quite a bit as it would comfortably house a pair of Occ or Percula clowns (forget the others as they get bigger and are pretty mean to boot). If you want an idea of what a captive bred clown is like for activity, here is a 1.5 inch snowflake clown in my old 36 gallon bowfront:

 
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iDon'tCare

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Jesterrace said:
So are you thinking of converting the 10 gallon into saltwater or one of the others? A 10 gallon is do-able for saltwater, but IMHO the 30 is really the only one you listed that is suited to house clownfish long term and be happy. Most clownfish are captive bred these days and they are VERY active and need plenty of room. With a 10 gallon you will be limited to a pair of fish at most and Firefish and a Small Blenny or Goby are often the choices for a tank that small. If you could replace the 10 gallon with a 20 Long your options open up quite a bit as it would comfortably house a pair of Occ or Percula clowns (forget the others as they get bigger and are pretty mean to boot). If you want an idea of what a captive bred clown is like for activity, here is a 1.5 inch snowflake clown in my old 36 gallon bowfront:

Hello! Although I would normally be wiling to get a new tank, I don't currently have space and am imited to only 10 gallons. Getting a 20 high is possible but only in the future, a 20 long is off the chart since the aquarium rests on my desk. And I got the 30 gallon to move my dwarf goruami, I will be having a community there. I am okay with not having many fish in the tank, as long as it's a start.

iDon'tCare said:
Hello! Although I would normally be wiling to get a new tank, I don't currently have space and am imited to only 10 gallons. Getting a 20 high is possible but only in the future, a 20 long is off the chart since the aquarium rests on my desk. And I got the 30 gallon to move my dwarf goruami, I will be having a community there. I am okay with not having many fish in the tank, as long as it's a start.
I also hear that clownfish are good on 10g, but if not I don't want them to be upset in my tank and will not get them. Could I maybe get a pair of firefish and one clownfish? By all means, give all the criticism and advice but I won't be upgrading for a while.
 

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Firefish don't tend to do well in pairs in a small tank as they don't care for each other (unless you happen to find a mated pair). As for clownfish doing well in a 10 gallon tank for the long term that is debatable. I would say that a wild caught clown would be better suited then a captive bred as a wild caught clown tends to stake out it's area in a tank and stick to it. I would stick to 2 fish total in that tank as smaller tanks are a challenge to keep water perameters stable. Be aware that despite what websites tell you ALL CLOWNFISH are territorial/semi-aggressive to an extent. There are many examples of them biting owners when they stick their hands in the tank once they become established. Just be aware that "nemo" is not the cute little guy that the movies portray and are fiercely territorial. Also, I'm not sure how much research you have done but tap water is almost always a no-go with saltwater tanks. You really need to use RODI water to have the best chance of success. In saltwater setups the tap water minerals often produce out of control algae blooms and can have metals in them that do not do well with marine wildlife. The good news is that if you have a reliable LFS nearby you could simply purchase 2-3 water safe 5 gallon jugs with lids and then buy saltwater pre-mix and plain RODI from them, with a 10 gallon tank it might actually be more cost effective and space efficient then buying an RODI system and setting up a mixing station. Keep in mind that as water evaporates that salt doesn't, so you will probably need to add a little fresh unmixed RODI water to your tank each day to keep the salinity balanced out. I'd recommend a 2.5-3 gallon weekly water change on a tank of that size.
 
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iDon'tCare

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Jesterrace said:
Firefish don't tend to do well in pairs in a small tank as they don't care for each other (unless you happen to find a mated pair). As for clownfish doing well in a 10 gallon tank for the long term that is debatable. I would say that a wild caught clown would be better suited then a captive bred as a wild caught clown tends to stake out it's area in a tank and stick to it. I would stick to 2 fish total in that tank as smaller tanks are a challenge to keep water perameters stable. Be aware that despite what websites tell you ALL CLOWNFISH are territorial/semi-aggressive to an extent. There are many examples of them biting owners when they stick their hands in the tank once they become established. Just be aware that "nemo" is not the cute little guy that the movies portray and are fiercely territorial. Also, I'm not sure how much research you have done but tap water is almost always a no-go with saltwater tanks. You really need to use RODI water to have the best chance of success. In saltwater setups the tap water minerals often produce out of control algae blooms and can have metals in them that do not do well with marine wildlife. The good news is that if you have a reliable LFS nearby you could simply purchase 2-3 water safe 5 gallon jugs with lids and then buy saltwater pre-mix and plain RODI from them, with a 10 gallon tank it might actually be more cost effective and space efficient then buying an RODI system and setting up a mixing station. Keep in mind that as water evaporates that salt doesn't, so you will probably need to add a little fresh unmixed RODI water to your tank each day to keep the salinity balanced out. I'd recommend a 2.5-3 gallon weekly water change on a tank of that size.
Thank you, and do I need to get rid of anything? Should I get rid of my filter and buy a new one? Get new sand? I know my heater is suitable for saltwater as well, but is it possible to use my freshwater filter (Also works in saltwater) there? Also, no. My LFS doesn't sell that water, it's not easy to get saltwater fish in Calgary since they're not sold in stores (Online) and are limited on supplies. And is there anything else I could use/get away with? (Use conditioned freshwater and use the aquarium salt on it?) As you can see.. I'm still researching.
 

Jesterrace

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iDon'tCare said:
Thank you, and do I need to get rid of anything? Should I get rid of my filter and buy a new one? Get new sand? I know my heater is suitable for saltwater as well, but is it possible to use my freshwater filter (Also works in saltwater) there? Also, no. My LFS doesn't sell that water, it's not easy to get saltwater fish in Calgary since they're not sold in stores (Online) and are limited on supplies. And is there anything else I could use/get away with? (Use conditioned freshwater and use the aquarium salt on it?) As you can see.. I'm still researching.
All the equipment needs to be sanitized via tapwater and distilled white vinegar. Throw out any filter media (unless it's a new carbon bag) as the good established bacteria does not translate from freshwater to saltwater. You can get an RODI system but it will add about $150USD to the cost of your build (although it would be necessary in the long run since city tapwater will cause you problems in the long run (conditioning doesn't help remove the minerals).
 
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iDon'tCare

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Jesterrace said:
All the equipment needs to be sanitized via tapwater and distilled white vinegar. Throw out any filter media (unless it's a new carbon bag) as the good established bacteria does not translate from freshwater to saltwater. You can get an RODI system but it will add about $150USD to the cost of your build (although it would be necessary in the long run since city tapwater will cause you problems in the long run (conditioning doesn't help remove the minerals).
So far I'm loving the advice, my only predicament is the RODI since I'm struggling to find a unit near me. I've seen people using those circular mixers (What are they? What for?) But I know some people use bio spira.. Not sure what it's for. I'm sill looking around for an RODI unit.
 

Jesterrace

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iDon'tCare said:
So far I'm loving the advice, my only predicament is the RODI since I'm struggling to find a unit near me. I've seen people using those circular mixers (What are they? What for?) But I know some people use bio spira.. Not sure what it's for. I'm sill looking around for an RODI unit.
You can find them on Amazon in Canada, this unit is decent:

https://www.amazon.ca/Aquatic-Changing-Deionization-Cartridge-50-Gallon/dp/B00204CQF6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1524705751&sr=8-3&keywords=RODI+system
 

Jesterrace

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Yup, i'm not sure what it's Waste water ratio is (keep in mind that RODI units generally produce 4-7 gallons of waste for every good gallon of RODI water that they produce). The good news is that the waste water would be great for your freshwater tanks, since they provide a good balance between the essential minerals in tapwater that are needed for a healthy freshwater environment while removing the excess plus chlorine that might be giving you some algae trouble. I have an LFS that does this and their Freshwater tanks look great.
 
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