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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've heard it said that if you can keep African Cichlids, you can pretty much keep anything. I've recently taken an interest in saltwater, but have no experience in it. I'm thinking about a 30+ gallon tank, looking for a good compromise between dilution factor(size) to keep the difficulty down and cost. Money is something I don't have coming out of my ears, but my car is about to be paid off which will lighten the load considerably. I have no time frame and plan to learn everything I can before I spend a cent on a tank or equipment. I'd love suggestions on good starter sizes, filtration, substrates, everything that has and hasn't worked for you.
 

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30G is the smallest I would go with. I've tried smaller tanks and they can make it much harder than it has to be as far as maintaining proper salinity.

Do you plan on going fish only (FO) or fish only with live rock (FOWLR)? Or, do you want to go whole hog and add the proper (read "expensive) lighting to go with corals, anemones and such?

It's a huge investment to start out with, and unless you plan on going fish only, I wouldn't recommend doing a 30G tank until you had about $1000 to spare. Of course, things are probably cheaper there than they are here (almost everything is), so I could be way off for your area.

Live rock is anywhere from $6-10 per lb here, and you want about a pound per gallon.

Protein skimmers, filtration, refugiums, test kits...The list goes on and on, but it all will depend on what you want from the tank.

As far as comparing them to keeping cichlids, it's a whole different world. I actually got into cichlids because I wanted to try salt water but didn't want to sink the $ into it. A few years later, I gave SW a try. The hardest thing for me to adjust to was the limited amount of livestock you can actually have with SW. Other than that, it's great. :thumb:

The more you read, the more intimidating it can be, so my recommendation would be to set up a fish only tank to start with, keeping in mind that you might want to expand the tank later.

I have a couple of great books at home, and I will try to remember to post the names of them for you later.

Kim
 

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I started with a 35 gallon long SW tank, then moved up to a 100 gallon (5' x 20" x 20"). I found keeping my SW fish no more difficult than keeping my fresh water species. The inverts are a bit of a different story. SW takes a little bit more time to set up, but once everything was running I found everything to be quite hardy. I used a protein skimmer, 2 HOB filters, a trickle filter and a refugium as well as multiple power heads. I did the lighting myself and even with purchasing all the components separately (and cheaply) it still cost me an arm and a leg. The initial start up is expensive and time consuming, but once everything is settled its really not that much more maintenance than your fresh water set ups. Of course if you're like me and you can't leave well enough alone there are loads of ways to waste your time tinkering with your SW setups.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great stuff guys. I'm thinking of fish w/ live rock and some easy to care for soft corals. There are several I've found that don't require much in the way of special lighting.
 

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I have just started a saltwater tank, my first big scale tank (my other tank is a little gold fish bowl)

It a 55g, I was going to have fresh water but the girl at the LFS talked me into the saltwater.

As mentioned above all the research seemed to say that unless you want to go reef with your tank it isnt that much more expencice to have salt.

The main differences that I have found in costs are:

the salt... can be dear, around $50 to fill the tank.
the fish... even the little ones start at $15 and can be upto hundreds
and if you want live rock it is around the $15 a kilogram mark, and you dont get much for $15
lighting for corals... way dear

I have just got fluro lighting at the moment and that is fine for the fish, cost under $20 from the hardware...

So if you are interested in salt I would say go for it, its really not too bad.
 

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Saltwater can be a challenge. Right now, I've got a 72g FOWLR set-up going. The hard part was the initial start. From there, it was pretty easy. My biggest problem at the moment is aggression. A lot of SW fish just have bad blood in them, including the damsels. Not to mention you can only have so many fish.

Good luck,
Art
 

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Damsels are hardy little fish, and commonly used in initial tank set ups, but they have some of the nastiest dispositions out there, and it can be very frustrating to try to remove them once you realize you don't want them!

There are also many fish (Mandarin goby, scooter blenny, etc... ) that cannot thrive in a tank that isn't well established (6+ months), and the LFS won't always warn you of that.

It really pays to do your homework before hand.

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have an off-shoot type of question. I've been told that you can acclimate Bumblebee Gobies to full marine conditions, like mollies, how is this done if is in fact possible?
 

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Are you asking how to acclimate salt water fish in general?

Kim
 

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Keeping african cichlids is not quite the same as keeping saltwater!! :p There are fish that are specialized feeders or fish that have never, ever eaten aquarium food before and must be trained over; fish that are much more aggressive than any african; corals that can kill fish, each other and sting the heck out of you too!

What you really need to do is sit down and ask yourself what kind of tank you want to end up with. What is your final goal? Full blown reef? Or aggressive predator tank? Is there a certain fish you feel you must have, certain coral? It's important that you make that decision now, before you start buying equipment. No sense in spending money twice.
(ie: lighting; you could just use a regular hood and replace the light bulbs for a FOWLR tank, but if the end result is reef, you might as well save up to buy the lights you will need right off the bat)

www.reefcentral.com/ is a good place to start.

There is one saying in saltwater that is absolutely true: Nothing good happens fast in saltwater.

Good luck! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The bumblebee is a brackish fish, just heard though the grapevine that these interesting creatures can be acclimated to saltwater. Just wanted to know if there is any truth to it.

Believe me, I plan on researching for quite some time before actually making any purchases.
 
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