any marine aquarists here?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Philip_G, Mar 19, 2002.

  1. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I've been considering changing my 29 gallon freshwater over to marine, fish mainly as I can't afford much else at this point, maybe a few inverts of some type later, never know.
    I haven't read much, but it looks like most of my equipment will be useful, I can pick up a used protein skimmer to cut costs, and use my existing power filter and biowheel, replace the gravel with crushed coral and ditch the plants, no need to worry about lighting for now my existing hood looks like it'll be OK. Looks like people recomend a 50 gallon tank or larger as a buffer, but I can't afford to scrap the 29 and start again.
    has anyone else done this? how was it?
    how's the maintenance on a saltwater tank once they're up and stable? I've read it isn't bad, but you always hear horror stories [​IMG]
     
  2. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Jay
    If you're only doing a SW fish only tank, it's not that bad, it is recommended to have a larger tank than a 29gallon but you can find small fish that would be happy. If you ever do get any inverts/live rock and stuff, you'd most likely need better lighting.
    As far as maintainance, you'd need to probably get a salinity tester as you need to make sure your salt levels are adequate and stable over time. Water evaporates but salt doesn't.
    As far as small tanks, consider shell dwellers, most of them are tiny and small and live in seashells. Sometimes you'll see displays in fishstores of shell dwellers so check them out.
    Oops, silly me, the shelldwellers I'm thinking of are freshwater Africans from Lake Tangayika in Africa... They are really cute though... [​IMG]
    Jay
     
  3. Chad Isaacs

    Chad Isaacs Supporting Actor

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    I would try a brackish tank first,that way you can get used to the new stuff and the fish should be ok as they are from areas where the salinity changes constantly..I am hoping to start a brackish tank soon.Nice thing about brackish fish is they can be switched to all salt and some people have had luck going all fresh with them as well.For a brackish tank,try some puffers and mabey a reed fish.There are some very intersting puffers out there.I just saw a dogfaced puffer and I swear its face looked like a pitt bull.I am not sure of the name but there is one that looks like a gremlin..well,before they get mean,what ever its called.

    Have fun and read read read,do alot of online research...its free!
     
  4. Brian Mansure

    Brian Mansure Second Unit

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    Jay already pointed out a lot of good suggestions.
    You defenitly will need more lighting than a hood with regular NO (normal output) bulbs to keep most corals.
    I have a 65 gallon FOWLR (fish only with live rock) saltwater tank. Here are some pics from 3 years ago of how the tank started out.
    There have been a few changes since then but it looks most like the top middle picture now.
    There's no reason you can't setup a 29 gallon saltwater tank but keep in mind you will have to do more regular water changes and maintenance to keep the water quality up.
    You don't need a large budget to change over but extra patience and time will be absolutely required for a thriving saltwater tank, especially for a 29 gallon.
    Do some more research and I'd suggest starting by going to www.reefs.org and www.reefcentral.net and lurk two of the best saltwater/reef tank web forums out there.
    Good luck,
    BRian
     
  5. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    Brian- your tank is exactly what I'm looking to do, I'd like to build a small reef because I like the varied colors, thanks for the links!
     
  6. Brian Mansure

    Brian Mansure Second Unit

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    Thanks Philip.
    My family and I really enjoy watching all the life in our tank. It's very peaceful and calming.
    Just to let you know my tank is not classified as a "reef" setup. I still use the NO lights 4 (30 watt) bulbs over the tank and only keep a few polyps and mushroom corals, most of which came with the live rock that I've purchased over the years.
    I've been toiling with making it a full fledged reef but that involves more intense lighting which can get expensive and I'd also like to get a bigger tank, something more in the range of a 90 or 120 gallon tank.
    I guess upgraditis really does extend further than just Home Theater. [​IMG]
    Brian
     
  7. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I'm not sure I can afford a full reef tank, at 3-5$ a pound for live rock I can't afford 80 pound of it and 30 pounds of live sand, it puts me in at $200 plus the protein skimmer, hydrometer, and lighting down the road, before I even put in a single fish [​IMG]
     
  8. Brian Mansure

    Brian Mansure Second Unit

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    Yeah, unfortunately the start up of any tank, especially a reef tank can get expensive.
    All though depending on exactly what type of tank you want and what type of inhabitants you would like to keep you can keep some costs down.
    For instance...
    Some tanks do very well with "under-skimming" or no protein skimming at all. The debate of pros/cons n protein skimming has been going on for some time and there is information to back up both sides of the argument. I run a protein skimmer but it is setup to under-skim. I have a light bio load and I don't feed heavy which helps keep proteins and other unwanted byproduct levels down.
    Another area you may be able to save money is the live sand. A year or so ago, some reefers have found that a "playsand" sold at Home Depot and other stores for much less can be safely used as a substrate. Live sand can sometimes be a few dollars a pound, Southdown sand from HD is more like $4.00 a 50 lb. bag. Don't confuse any old play sand for Southdown though, there is some differences. The main one being, South Down sand is sterilized sand from the Caribbean compaired to most play sand dug up from any old place and treated with chemicals. After you add the South Down sand in your tank you can purchase detrivore kits that will seed the "dead" sand and after a few weeks, your sand bed will be teaming with life.
    Live rock is expensive but there are deals to be had on the internet, not to mention you can make your own. See www.garf.org/howtodoinformation.htm#Aragocrete for details.
    One area where I suggest not skimping on for a reef setup is lighting. Again, depending on what corals, invertebrates you wanted to keep, you could be spending anywhere from 200 dollars on up.
    Brian
     
  9. Stan

    Stan Producer

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    I did exactly what you're planning 6-7 years ago, only difference was my tank was 27 gallons. Wouldn't recommend it.

    Followed all the proper procedures getting it set up, had the water tested and everything was perfect. Within about 18 months, I had two complete die offs of all fish in the tank. Started with one fish dying, then within two days everybody else was gone. Even after the die offs the water tested fine. All the chemicals were fine, wasn't overfeeding, didn't have to many fish in the tank, they were all healthy, everything was fine for eight or nine months, then zap!, they were gone.

    Never did figure out what happened, but I've got friends now with salt water tanks that say 27 gallons was way to small. I'm going to give it another try later this year, but with nothing less than a 50 gallon tank.

    Stan
     
  10. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    Brian-

    I can pick up a decent used simmer on ebay for say, 30-50 bucks, a red sea or something.. even the bakpaks are sub $100 I think, or maybe I can buy one off someone on a fish msg board, never know. I don't think they really wear out do they?

    thanks for the tips on sand, there's no home depot here though I guess I can buy sand from the local shop and seed it, a few live rocks and add more later.

    I need to see what they charge locally for live rock and sand to compare with online prices.

    the last hurdle, I live in an apartment (senior in college still..) so I will be moving sooner than later, not sure if setting up an expensive tank is wise at this point if I intend to make a major move in the next 2 years.
     
  11. Brian Mansure

    Brian Mansure Second Unit

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  12. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    well it's on now. Got rid of the freshwater and filled the tank with dead/live sand and some REALLY crappy live rock that I got locally.
     

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