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Cadence108

Advice for starting my first saltwater tank

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Cadence108

Hello!

So I’ve been keeping freshwater for years, and I thought it’s time to branch out a bit and try saltwater.

Never had saltwater before, and I know nothing about it, so I’ve come here to get some advice before I start purchasing the tank and everything else.

I’m going to get a 55 gallon aquarium, and I know I definitely need to get clownfish, they’re gorgeous. I’m also looking for other options for tank mates, maybe a puffer of some sort, or goby? I just want to say that I don’t know anything about the fish that I just mentioned (though I have done a bit of research on ocellaris clownfish) I just think they’re cool, and would like to have some. I don’t know if they’re bad for beginners or get too large, so any guidance on that is appreciated. And if those don’t work what are some other options?

I don’t yet know whether or not I want to have some beginner corals, if they’re too difficult then I won’t, any pointers?


How might I maintain this tank? How do I mix the saltwater?

I don’t have room under the tank to put a sump or wet dry filter, so I’m thinking a canister filter might work better for me. I know about the aquarium cycle already. 
Any and all advice is appreciated, and I’m sorry this was so long and for all the beginner questions. Thank you!

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Shifumi

Interms of puffers. Most puffers get too big. However tobys stay small and several species would fit your tank. 

 

Corals really arent as hard as most people seem to think.  Just stick to easier to keep species.  Mainly a good light is whats important.   Soft corals and easy lps arent particularly difficult.  

 

Canister filters tend to not work well for saltwater. It is doable. But most likely without anything inside it. As they get dirty very fast . 

 

Salwater cycles are a little different from freshwater 

 

Gobys are fine fish to keep. 

 

Dont go for very agressive fish. 

 

If you do keep a puffer or toby. They need snails and hard food to grind the teeth/peak down.  

 

A sumpless aquarium is definitely possible.  Have you thought about an all in one aquarium? 

 

Checkout youtube for tutorials and tips and info. Aswell as this forum. 

 

Saltwater is mixed in a bucket before you add to the tank. Do not mix saltwater in the tank unless it is initial fill and no living things. Starting with live sand and rock really helps your tank cycle along faster aswell as more biodiversity 

 

For saltwater consider a rodi filter . Otherwise you may suffer algae and other issues related to tapwater. It is based on area you live in . Not all water is same. 

 

 

 

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Cadence108

Thanks for the reply!

I’ll look into the toby puffers and gobies further.

 

You mentioned cycling is a bit different from freshwater, how so?

Also, if canister filters aren’t the best, and I can’t have a sump, what other types of filtration would you recommend?

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Hud

Hob skimmer and hob filters are good.like Shifumi said all in ones are good because they have a filter in them and you can stick a  hob skimmer on it.

Also patience is key

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Cadence108

I’ll look into everything you both have suggested. Thank you!

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Shifumi

Unlike freshwater. Cycling doesnt take place in the water itself or in a bio wheel or filter. Its almost all biological filtration comes from the rock. Well the bacteria in the rock and sand. Thats why its possible tl Jumpstart it with mature rock 

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blasterman

Bacteria in fresh and salt are the same. Cycling is the same.

 

The difference is what happens after the tank initially cycles. Its known as the ugly phase.

 

With freshwater all your nuisance issues are algae. With marine you have a greater diversity and more aggressive diversity of competing organisms ranging from dinos at one end to cyano outbreaks to turf algae to hair algae. With fresh you just fix everything with water changes and export waste brute force. With marine keeping nutrients too low can result in a tank full of brown snot called dinoflagellates. With fresh you can pack a tank full of cheap plants and out compete algae. With marine you have to wait years for a coral load to build up, or resort to chaeto or skimmers.

 

Mechanical filtration (cannister filters) are more practical on fresh water tanks if they are planted. Planted tanks tend have a lot of debris floating around and there's a tendency to over stock more due to cheaper fish and much lower prices. If your nitrate hits 100 in a fish only fresh water tank nobody cares. If it hits 20 in a marine tank you have a problem.

 

In a marine tank mechanical filters like cannisters are frowned upon. You dont have big S American plants with fast growing,  decaying leaves or big Oscar's mucking up the tank. Substrates are based on coral skeletons in a marine tank, not dirt to keep plants happy. You want to remove decaying matter out of a marine tank as fast as possible. Cannisters are awkward in that respect. They are excellent at mechanical filtration.. my point being mechanical filtration is rarely a problem on a marine tank. 

 

 

 

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M. Tournesol
2 hours ago, blasterman said:

In a marine tank mechanical filters like cannisters are frowned upon.

Love your comment, but still wanted to react on canister filter. The term we need to concentrate on is "frowned upon". There is some successful tank using a canister filter but it is more of a curiosity in the saltwater due to the fact that it was for a long time view as a "nitrate/phosphate factory".  For example, in the following video, you have somebody from the planted aquascape world that decided to apply the aquascaping rule to his saltwater tank. To have lily pipe, he decided to use a canister filter.

 

 

In conclusion, you do not need a canister filter in a saltwater tank if you have live rock. Having one shouldn't be a problem.

I personally have one filled with big live rocks that work like a small cryptic zone (you can see a picture in my following topic). 

 

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Kindanewtothis

I'm a newb and I have a 50g with a canister filter.... right now my tank is a nightmare... but it doesn't have to do with the canister filter.

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debbeach13

Hi welcome to NR. I was glad to read that you are researching before buying. There are many way to have a successful salt water or reef tank. Take the time to check out some more videos and read WV 12 gallon long and dirty thread for an excellent example of a simple tank without any mechanical filter. I like to use a Hang on the Back power filter with just filter floss (pillow stuffing) and a small amount of carbon. I find this style so easy to remove and clean because I am lazy.

!st you need to decide on the tank. Option one is a less expensive standard rectangle or an All In One which is more money but has built in compartments allowing you to place filter media, heater, and a pump hidden from view.    IMO to get started you do not need a skimmer or a sump. 

If you want the simplest way to get started it is with live sand that has been rinsed before putting in the tank and you can not beat the biodiversity that is provided by using all live rock if possible. If you want to keep cost down dry rock can be used but I would still add about 1/3 live rock. 

 

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Cadence108

Thanks for all the information!

I’ll try to find an all in one tank for a decent price if possible, it would be nice to be able to hide the filtration system and heaters better.

How long should the salt dissolve in the water before adding it to the aquarium?

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blasterman
On 7/25/2021 at 2:32 AM, M. Tournesol said:

Love your comment, but still wanted to react on canister filter. The term we need to concentrate on is "frowned upon". There is some successful tank using a canister filter but it is more of a curiosity in the saltwater due to the fact that it was for a long time view as a "nitrate/phosphate factory".  For example, in the following video, you have somebody from the planted aquascape world that decided to apply the aquascaping rule to his saltwater tank. To have lily pipe, he decided to use a canister filter.

 

 

In conclusion, you do not need a canister filter in a saltwater tank if you have live rock. Having one shouldn't be a problem.

I personally have one filled with big live rocks that work like a small cryptic zone (you can see a picture in my following topic). 

 

I could use an under gravel filter in a salt water tank and be successfull. It doesn't mean they are logical. 

 

Cannister filters are mechanical filters. Mechanical filtration in a salt water tank is not a priority as it is in fresh because of the husbandry involved. What exactly are you filtering? Jelly fish?

 

With a properly maintained salt tank nothing should be in the water column that can be caught in a mechanical filter anyways. Food should be eaten and not sucked into filters, and DOCs can only be scrubbed with a skimmer or ozone. Most beginners i know who buy cannisters do so to try a remove bacteria blooms and the heavy marketing that pushes them. Or they load up a cannisters with bio media which makes no sense. 

 Its nice to have something trap debris when I scrape my glass or blow off rock, but cannisters aren't the best tool for this. 

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M. Tournesol
20 minutes ago, blasterman said:

Cannister filters are mechanical filters

you forgot the ", chemical, and biological filtration."

 

Yes, cannister filters should not be the first option for beginner. Not even the second or third option ...

 

 But ... if you don't want a sump and want an inline filter and love Lilly pipe 🤷‍♂️.

Mine is not even us as a mechanical filtration but as live rocks inline holding zone. I juste didn't want to trow away the Indonesian live rocks 💸 that didn't fit in my nano.

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Jakesaw
On 7/25/2021 at 1:32 AM, M. Tournesol said:

Love your comment, but still wanted to react on canister filter. T

 

 

FYI - the local guy who sold me coral frags had a canister filter on his main display tank.  His tank was a well populated 6o gallon reef tank with 2 or 3 AP Primes and looked amazing. 

 

I've never used a cannister filter, so not sure how it all works, but there are people who successfully use em.  I just don't see em talked about much online.

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