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Posted: 8/19/2008 2:25:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/19/2008 2:26:35 PM EDT by Shooter-Mike]
I have decided to set up an aquarium again after over a year of not having one, and I am considering a saltwater tank instead of freshwater tank.  I have a run of the mill 10 gallon tank with a suitable light, filter, and stand and a 20 gallon "long" tank that used to house a ball python (died because I decided to buy from a local pet store not a dealer and it had parasites) with a stand, but I am not sure which I should use.  If I go with freshwater I will probably get around 2-3 small cichlids and a bottom dweller.  If I go with saltwater, which I have no experience with, I would like an ocellaris(sp?) clownfish, an anemone, and maybe another small and hardy fish that would co exist.  I have $240 bucks reserved if I go saltwater because freshwater will be muuuch cheaper.  Anyone know of a good guide for a basic clownfish set up and know what other species will coexist? I understand it takes around 4 weeks before a fish can be introduced.  Here are 2 pics of the tanks.  

The 20 gallon is the one on the stand and is 30 inches wide, 12 inches deep, 12 inches tall.  The 10 gallon is 20 wide, 12 tall, and 10 deep.

Link Posted: 10/1/2008 1:30:22 AM EDT
It's a shame no one answered your post on here. I started with a 29 gallon saltwater aquarium myself back in 2004, then upgraded to a 75 in 2006.

As of March 2007 (looks a lot worse now ):

Here are some good message boards where you can ask specific questions and gain some general knowledge:
1) My personal favorite, www.myfishtank.net. I post under the name of dbacksrat but haven't been online for awhile. You get lots of personalized attention over there. Also there are not a lot of flaming lib tards and quite a few are retired military.
2) This site has a lot of great information if you ever want to set up a reef tank: www.reefcentral.com. However, it is very impersonal and full of liberal idiots. I have been banned from there a few times and have since handed my account over to a buddy.

Anyway, back to your tank. A 20L is perfect for starting out with saltwater. Most of your freshwater equipment will be compatible with saltwater too. You would probably want to pick up a powerhead, a protein skimmer, and about 20 lbs of live rock.

As far as fish go, an ocellaris clownfish is fine, that was my first fish in 2004 (I still have him). I would advise against the anemone for now because they are difficult to care for and need intense lighting, perfect water, particular water flow, etc.
Other fish you could have are gobies, blennies, damsels, cardinals, grammas/basslets, etc. A great site for browsing and looking at possible fishes: www.liveaquaria.com.

If you have any further questions feel free to ask. You'll find that saltwater tanks can be just as bad as an addiction as ARs.
Link Posted: 10/1/2008 1:12:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/1/2008 1:28:23 PM EDT by jackal2001]
Link Posted: 10/1/2008 11:23:45 PM EDT
I worked in the salt water fish industry for a few years. If you have alot of time and extra money salt water fish are very cool to have.

As jackal2001 pointed out the smaller the tank the more hands on you have to be and there is alot less room for error.

Salt water tanks are not somthing you can just half ass or lose intrest in or they will go to shit fast.
Link Posted: 10/2/2008 12:00:04 PM EDT
Thanks for the compliment Jackal. Unfortunately, I haven't had time in the past year with school and work, as as Staffy said, things go to hell pretty quickly. Living in AZ my biggest problem is the effect of heat on corals.

I only have five fish kicking around in my 75 along with a few hardy corals. Eventually I'll get it back to fully capacity. For now I'm topping off water, feeding, scraping glass, and doing the occasional water change.

Jackal summed it all up very nicely by hitting some details I left out.

I'm surprised at how many members on this board are into saltwater tanks.
Link Posted: 10/2/2008 1:34:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/2/2008 1:43:12 PM EDT by jackal2001]
Link Posted: 10/2/2008 9:04:45 PM EDT
mp_moody if you have heat problems you should look into a chiller for the tank. That would fix the temperature flux. Not a cheap fix though.

As jackal2001 sed study and figure out the type of fish you want to keep. I have gone through the whole rainbow of fish and animals.

Also on a the other thing jackal2001 sed fish stores do link some of there tanks together. Not a bad way to go for a home set up. I have linked a couple small tanks together to keep animals that required the same water conditions but could not live together. Its pretty simple to do.

On another note about fish stores with small tanks you have to remmber its a fish store there are people there every day to maintain that little tank.
Link Posted: 10/2/2008 9:07:46 PM EDT
Well, I've heard the addage, " the happiest day in one's life is the day the buy their boat, and the day they sell it".  I've head the exact same thing about fish tanks, especially $$$$$$$$$$ salt water fish tanks.
Link Posted: 10/4/2008 6:35:29 PM EDT
Another site that you might want to check out is Nano-reef.com as it is a site that is geared toward salt water tanks less than 75 gallons.  Lots of good info there.  I'm swingr1121 over there.
Link Posted: 10/4/2008 7:01:31 PM EDT
My AR in 6.8 spc is a bargain compared to the 90 gal reef tank I sold to finance it. Best advice I can give is to listen to all of what these great folks have told you. Also, never skimp on lighting. get the best you can possibly afford. Use between 3 and 6 watts per gallon. Pay attention to the spectrum you use for the species you have.
Link Posted: 10/5/2008 1:22:45 PM EDT
I recently bought a book called "The New Saltwater Aquarium" (or something along those lines)...Got it at PetCo.

GREAT starter book.
As pointed out by others in this thread, the book says a smaller tank is less forgiving, and requires more frequent water changes.

The author of the book is a big proponent of live rock filtering, and he goes into pretty good detail about all the different filtering options out there.

There is a guide to setting up your tank, cycling it, culturing live rock, picking the right substrate, etc.
It even has a guide to help determine WHAT fish you can put together, and HOW MANY of each type.

He does say that some of the biggest mistakes made by saltwater aquarists include: Trying to get up and running to quickly, over stocking, over feeding, failure to cycle long enough before adding fish, failure to have a quarantine tank for new fish, and lack of diligent maintenance.

I am getting ready to set up a 100 gal reef tank with...I'm heavy into the "research and procurement of equipment" stage right now.

I'm planning on a 100g display tank, with a 30g quarantine tank.
I'm going to use live rock.

OP I see you want an anemone... According to the book I am reading, they require very good lighting, and special care.
Link Posted: 10/26/2008 4:37:22 PM EDT
Hey, I gave up on this thread because no one answered it for a while, but clicked on my topics just now to find some responses.

I found and do use reefcentral.com and nano-reef.com alot and actually have separate windows open for them right now.

My setup

20 gallon long display

10 gallon sump/fuge

10 gallon quarantine tank

Current USA 130 watt power compact lighting

protein skimmer (cant think of the brand)

maxijet 400

~26 lbs live rock and ~3 inch sand bed

clean up crew of snails, hermits, and a emerald crab

After nitrates ammonia and nitrites were 0 (took about 6 weeks, I got cured rock from my lfs and an order of precured from live aquaria.com), I added an ocellaris clown and a royal gramma basslet.  Everything was fine until after a week of so I noticed signs of ich and then after researching I set up the QT and put them in there with copper.  The Royal gramma (who already had cloudy eyes, was lethargic, and stopped eating) lasted a few hours only, and the clown had stopped eating and made it a few days.  This was last week.  So now I am carefully adding my corals (have a xenia, 3 shrooms, 2 zoa colonies) and waiting the 8 weeks for ich to die out of my display tank before getting and quarantining a new fish.

My planned stocking list

-black/white false percula

-yellow clown goby

-coral beauty dwarf angel

Link Posted: 10/26/2008 6:13:38 PM EDT
Keep a close eye on the Coral Beauty if you do indeed end up with one.  When they are hungry I have heard of stories where they like to nip at corals.  Otherwise, your stocking list looks pretty good.  Any idea on what kinds of corals you're going to go with?  Personally, I like Euphyllia sp.  mostly being frogspawn and hammer corals.  Good luck with everything and keep an eye on your water quality.  Sounds like you're off to a good start though.  Prepare to be broke.
Link Posted: 10/26/2008 8:23:19 PM EDT
haha, the saltwater aquarium hobby is depleting my wallet faster than black rifles.

For corals, I was planning on...

-tree coral

-yellow fiji leather

-ricordea mushrooms


-trumpet/candy canes

-brain coral

-other lps and soft corals
Link Posted: 10/27/2008 6:00:46 PM EDT
Sounds like a good mix of corals.  They should all be fine under your lighting.  Speaking of lighting, don't worry about watts per gallon.  Lighting should be based on Intensity vs. depth of tank.  Since you've got a 20L, there really isn't anything to worry about.  If you have any questions, just give me a holler.
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 4:47:49 AM EDT
Nice to hear you got it up and going. Now that it should be getting going this thred needs pic's.

Link Posted: 11/21/2008 4:56:46 AM EDT
Ive only had nano tanks(7 and 12gallons) and they have both done great. My mom has had a 55 and then up to a 75 now and struggles to keep things alive. While typically it is the other way around(small is harder to keep) Ive found it to be the opposite.

Ive got 3 clowns and a few crabs in my 12g Nanocube with tons of shrooms and a few zoos.

Damsels/clowns/golbys are all very tough fish. Watch the clowns as they are sometimes very aggressive.
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