Waterloo’s First (future) Saltwater Tank

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Builds' started by Waterloo, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. Waterloo

    Waterloo Valued Member Member

    ....*Sigh*...so. Just when I think I am set on a game plan I get a curve ball lol

    Yesterday, my boyfriend found a free bowfront tank on the curb and picked it up for me. (#RelationshipGoals...) anyway. Had a clear cut path for my freshwater water builds and now I’m thinking it’s about time I start a saltwater.

    My experience with saltwater just comes from helping my step dad with his 120 gallon reef/fish tank. Sure I helped out and learned some but after revisiting the hobby on my own with freshwater shows I know diddly squat so even more so with salt!

    I am in full research mode only at the moment so requesting links, Facebook groups, YouTube videos, books to buy etc or if you are so kind to drop me a tip below of your own experiences that would be very appreciated!

    The tank I believe is a 26 gallon...was getting mixed gallons from calculators and really isn’t too much bigger then my current 20 fresh so I’m guessing.

    I was told that you could have a HOB filter with salt but not really sure how that work or if it’s an actual realistic option. Really no idea what I need or to get equipment wise.

    I was thinking as far as stocking get a pair of ocellaris clownfish. Would be pretty to watch and active. I think would work for this size tank and always wanted some as a kid. Coral I would love but I’m thinking I’m going to need to start of with something hardy enough to grow in a salty toilet as I’m barely confident in just plants lol

    If you want to follow along get ready for a bumpy ride. But it should be fun!

    Photo below of the tank and currently just stuck on the lead from the 20. Just switched out to a new light so it’s floating. It will not be used for this. Thanks!!!
    IMG_0691.JPG
    (Ps. Mobile app is giving me trouble and couldn’t get it over to Saltwater builds which I’m guessing this should go if a mod can move it that would be awesome! ;) )
     
  2. PonzLL

    PonzLL Well Known Member Member

    lmao stop you're out of control!!
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Waterloo

    Waterloo Valued Member Member

    There is no turning back!!! Lol
     




  4. YATT

    YATT Valued Member Member

    two things
    1. Triple check that tank is sealed well! Free in curb!!!!
    2. Think about money you’ll be spending in salt setup. Man, my freshwater setup has already doubled my original budget.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Waterloo

    Waterloo Valued Member Member

    Water has been in it since I got it. Almost 24 hours full and haven’t seen or felt any issues so far

    Money is definitely a reason why this will be a slow build and why I want to get as much research in first before I jump all all in
     
  6. Jesterrace

    Jesterrace Well Known Member Member

    Okay first things first:

    1) The first thing I would do is either invest in an RODI system or make sure you have a local fish store that regularly changes their RODI system filters and sells RODI or RODI pre-mix. One of the mistakes many folks make when they transfer over from Freshwater is that they assume that they can simply add salt to treated tapwater and be good to go. Tapwater comes with many solids/minerals that do not do good things to captive marine environments (ie out of control nitrate, phosphate, nuisance algae, etc.).

    2) HOB Filters work great for smaller saltwater tanks, although the stock filter media (outside of straight carbon) generally doesn't transfer well to the salty side, so during the cycle just run straight carbon and after that you can switch to something like Chemipure Elite, GFO (Granulated Ferric Oxide) to reduce phosphates from food sources or you can convert to a refugium with Macro Algae (ie Cheato) which will help consume excess nitrates. I strongly recommend either the Fluval (aka Aquaclear) 50 or 70 varieties for HOB as they can take a wide variety of media bags or they can easily be modified into a refugium for the cheato.

    3) A pair of Ocellaris (aka Nemo) or Percula Clownfish will work fine in that tank (stay away from the other varieties as they are bigger and more aggressive), along with one or two other smaller fish (ie goby, blenny or royal gramma basslet). Corals will definitely add more cost as they can be pretty expensive and require full spectrum lights (which tend to be pricey in the LED varieties. For a FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock) any LED light will work. You can start with a FOWLR and a cheap LED and gain some experience and then branch out into corals and upgrade to a nicer light later.

    4) You will definitely want a good fitting lid of some kind as virtually any marine fish can jump out of an open tank (some are more prone than others, but all fish are potential jumpers)

    5) In saltwater tanks the primary filter is the live rock (or dry rock that is seeded with bacteria to become live rock). It is generally recommended to go with at least 1lb of rock per gallon of tank. You have several options, you can go with regular live rock, which is loaded with bacteria and biodiversity, but it is pricey and can come with pests (ie Aiptasia, Fireworms, Xanthid Crabs, Mantis Shrimp, too many bristleworms). You can go with dry rock (live rock which has died off completely) and then seed with bacteria, to start the process of becoming live rock again, it is the cheapest option by far and virtually pest free, but also takes longer to establish a healthy functional bacteria filter. The last option is a recent development of man made options (ie Caribsea Life Rock), it's dry rock, but with a bacteria coating, it is nearly as expensive as live rock, but it is pest free. You could also do a mix of one of the live options with dry rock (ie a couple of pieces of life rock and dry rock for the rest, that way you have a source of bacteria and still save some money). The cycle is maintained by the rock in a saltwater tank.
     
  7. Lchi87

    Lchi87 Moderator Moderator Member

    Moved this for you. :) Congrats on deciding to go salty!
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Waterloo

    Waterloo Valued Member Member


    Um wow! Thank you so very much!
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Waterloo

    Waterloo Valued Member Member


    Awesome, thank you. Honestly knew it was just a matter of time. When I first saw the tank I knew it wasn’t meant to be another freshwater lol
     
  10. stella1979

    stella1979 Moderator Moderator Member

    Yay!! That boyfriend sounds like a real keeper. :D Btw, started this last night but my eyes got droopy, so I left it until today and see that you've gotten a really great reply from Jester already. :) Anyhow, perhaps some of this will still be useful.

    My favorite early resource was BRS's 52 Weeks of Reefing playlist. BRStv is still one of my favorite resources.:) Yes, the 52 weeks is a much bigger tank and an absolute dream build. There's plenty of product placement and expensive equipment mentioned, but there is tons of applicable information too.;) Also, check this out. :) A budget nano guide written by my own salty mentor, @Nart

    Nart's Budget Nano Saltwater Guide For Beginners

    You certainly can, and I do, run an HOB on my 20g long mixed reef tank. :) Without going into too much detail, (because you can find much of it in articles and stickies here), the rock in a salty tank serves as bio media. That is, cycle maintaining beneficial bacteria will colonize on and in the rock, and this is why we don't always see bio media being used at all in salty setups. Often times, on bigger setups with sumps for filtration, we don't see a ton of bio media in there if there is any at all. Sumps may contain mechanical filtration and nutrient reduction methods only... though I must say, if I had a sump it would have a great refugium in it, which would also include rubble capable of hosting beneficial bacteria. Anyhow, I think you saw on my thread that we use an Aquaclear 70 that we modified to contain a mini fuge, and I couldn't recommend this method more. It gives us nano keepers an easy way of getting a benefit that is usually reserved to systems including a sump.

    You've decided on a pair of clowns. :) That's great, and as Jester said, you have room for a couple more. The clowns will likely be your most aggressive fish, and the most aggressive should always be added last. The more timid fish will appreciate a couple weeks aggressor free so they can get comfortable and begin eating in their new environment without worrying about scary guys. So, I'd suggest that you head over to LiveAquaria's site and sort marine fish by tank size. They are actually pretty good about minimum tank sizes, and this is a place to see most of what's available to you. Most LFS's will happily order a fish for you if you'd rather not buy online. :)
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Waterloo

    Waterloo Valued Member Member


    Thank you for the playlist. we don't have patients in the office today so have it playing as we speak as I work. :)

    I was watching a few videos last night about how to convert the aqua clear to a fuge and it seems very straightforward. The only mixed remarks I saw was having a special light on the fuge "filter/tank" do you have a little light on yours?
     
  12. stella1979

    stella1979 Moderator Moderator Member

  13. Nart

    Nart Well Known Member Member

    I'm liking it... another one into the dark side of the saltwater realm :)
    I currently have a 5g budget build that I am doing right now, I've been posting updates on it here and there on my Instagram @mightynanotank if you want to follow along.
    It also utilizes a simple HOB filtration system. I'll be releasing all the info of specs and mods pretty soon once it clears with my sponsor for that build. It might help you with some ideas for yours.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Waterloo

    Waterloo Valued Member Member


    Awesome! And hey we are neighbors! Im in Northern Virginia as well :)
     
  15. Nart

    Nart Well Known Member Member

    @Waterloo I feel like reefers are a rare breed in NOVA lol. the nearest LFS from us is 30mins away... what a drag to drive to each time...
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Waterloo

    Waterloo Valued Member Member

    @Nert My favorite is ReefEscape over in Fairfax. They have some awesome display tanks and one has some gorgeous puffers and lion fish. My daughter loves them. Phil is pretty awesome to talk to there and even gave me some free frogbit for my tank when I asked if I could buy some
     
  17. Jesterrace

    Jesterrace Well Known Member Member

    Sounds like you two are right near where I grew up. I'm originally from McLean.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    Waterloo

    Waterloo Valued Member Member

    Awesome! I have only been in the area for a year. Originally from Kansas and grew up there. Moved here last September
     
  19. stella1979

    stella1979 Moderator Moderator Member

    I wonder if you have any idea how lucky you are to be Nart's neighbor?!?!! He's got the fire and fair prices when you're ready to step up that coral game.:D
     
  20. OP
    OP
    Waterloo

    Waterloo Valued Member Member

    Okay...dumb question number 1 for the day :lurking: I get copepods are beneficial for an aquarium.. I remember my little sister and I in awe at the little Madarinfish sucking them up...Loved watching that bright little fish go to down!...back to question...I do not remember how all of them ended up in my dad's tank. Do you or can you buy them or do they just kind of show up on rock that you buy? BUT if you bought dry live rock (which I think is the direction I am going to go to...) they wont be on the rocks right?

    so where do you get them?! lol :p


    stella if you are lurking I am on week 9 so far of BRS playlist. You are right. Guy has a DREAM tank going on
     




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