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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am looking into buying a saltwater aquarium. I have been reading articles and forum posts, and it seems like it's hard work. I found one (150g glass) on CL which comes with a full set up, but I wanted to get some opinions from you guys. Here is what it comes with:
-some live sand (will need to buy more though)
-60g sump
--high powered lights
-octopus protein skimmer
-wave maker

I don't really know any more of the details, but I am supposed to go see it tmrw. He's also throwing in some salt mix, and a couple of more accessories. What should I be looking for before buying a tank? Should I do live rock, or bio balls? Is it more convenient to buy or mix your own saltwater? Would a 60g sump suffice? Again, sorry for the noob questions. Hopefully I wake up tmrw with some awesome input!
 

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Aquatic Beginner
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60gal is good... live rick 100 persent... no to bioballs at all 99.9 persent of people here will agree on that

210 gals of water volume will be great for water quality it will be easier to keep stable
I wouldnt use his live sand... starting with new sand will be best you dont want the old sand because it has detritus stuck in it...

I would recommend about a 3/4 of an inch sand bed since it is a lot easier to stir up and siphon .

What are you planning to do... fowlr or reef?


Water:
Conveniences is key then id say buy it from you lfs to save money mix it yourself

Do not use tap water to make youer own or for top offs you will fight an up hill battle...
If you dont have an ro/di unit spectrapure sells a factory referbished unit for 130 they are the gold standard

Hope I am not to jumbled
 

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If the price is good and the tank is in good shape I would say go for it. Most of the expensive parts are in the list you posted.
 

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Export with Care!
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"High quality lights" you'll want to make sure what they are if their a big factor in the price. Most all lights are labeled that lol but most are sub par
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks James and Invic for your help! Here is some additional info that I got after speaking with him over the phone.
Lights are not led, but are used to help coral grow (he had a reef with fish tank). He is currently running the tank with one coral, small crabs, a sand starfish, and some snails. Has about 20lbs of live rock in the sump, he thinks the protein skimmer is a reef octopus diablo skimmer (unsure though). Aquarium also comes with 3 power heads for waves, a wave maker, a 55 gallon drum with a mixing pump, salt water mix(he said its the more expensive salt mix), magnet float for cleaning algae of glass, hydrometer, and magnet clip for seeweed to feed fish. He's also selling a uv filter/light.
He's also giving me buckets full of his saltwater, but he told me to buy 40-50g of premixed saltwater before adding his.And then to let the tank run for a week before adding fish.
What salt mix do you guys recommend? I'd rather pay extra for the salt mix if it'll make the maintenance easier. Is instant ocean good? What test kit(s) should I buy? I am planning on doing fowlr until I get used to doing the maintenance. My 2 yo son wants a clown fish, and my wife wants a seahorse, lol. I'm leaning towards 2 clown fish, 1-2 gobies, and a couple of damsels just to see if I can keep them alive. I don't want to buy expensive ones until I get the hang of things.

Everything that I mentioned above is 500, but he said he will work with me. He also said that the live sand that it has was the previous owners sand as well. If I don't get the sand, then I cannot take the sea creatures, right? Thoughts please...
 

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Salt Viking
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For 500, that's a really good price. You don't need a UV sterilizer. And you don't need the old sand. If you really want the livestock i'd figure out a way to put the live rock and sand in the sump temporarily to keep the tank from cycling. That way you can put fresh dry sand in the 150 gallon display. You don't know how old his sand is so it could be almost loaded with nutrients. It'll be ok to use to prevent a cycle, but I wouldn't keep it.

A cycle takes about 3 weeks to 3 months depending on conditions. My first one on my 36 gallon system took a few months with no live rock. My 75 gallon took 3 weeks with premium quality live rock.

I wouldn't bother with his water either, no need to. Just buy a new bucket of Instant ocean salt and fill the tank and the sump up with fresh saltwater mix. There isn't any reason to use old water. It's not really worth it in my opinion. If your going with a Fowlr just get instant ocean, and if your going with a reef you can buy instant ocean reef crystals. There are other brads but they may be harder to find at local stores. Don't buy store brand (petco).

As for test kits, in order of accuracy you can go with the following, API, Seachem, Redsea, Salifert, Elos, LaMotte, and Hach. You'll probably see API, Seachem, Or Redsea at your local store. API will work fine for starting out, and should last you a while. Seachem is good, but takes time to get used to. I have Redsea and it's probably my favorite so far.
 

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Salt Viking
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And just a bit of advice. Seahorses are a whole different ballgame.

On a scale of 1-10 in terms of maintenance and attention to details.

Freshwater is a 2

Saltwater Fowlr is a 5

Saltwater Reef is a 7+

Seahorses are an 8+

I had two seahorses. I really kept my old 36 gallon setup clean. At the end of it's 2 years of use I didn't have any serious algae problems and my Nitrates were under 5ppm. My seahorses didn't make it.. Even at the level I kept my tanks, it wasn't enough. They are a different animal.

If you want them, you need a species only system. Not too big, and not to small so you can watch the details closely.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Brassaxe...Is there any other chemicals/fluids that the aquarium will need besides instant ocean? I just found a red sea test kit for calcium magnesium, and alkalinity on Amazon for $41. I don't have the ro/di unit. I'm willing to mix my own water, but that means that i would have to by the ro unit, right? How much time/money do I save by buying the saltwater already mixed and ready to dump in the aquarium? I found an ro/di unit on craigslist for 140 obo (corallife pureflo 2). The reason I am leaning towards mixig my own water is bc he's giving me a 55g drum with a mixing pump. Thought one could use regular water and just use salt mix.
 

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Salt Viking
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That's about what I paid for my Redsea kit. It's a really good kit if you're getting the Marine Care kit.

There are a ton of additives that people will try to sell you when you start out. You don't need hardly any of it for a Fowlr..

Here's what you need.

-Good water. RO/DI with quality salt mix, or purchased saltwater.
-A Good test kit.
-A Good filter (Live rock and Mechanical filtration).
-Good routine maintenance.
-Maybe a skimmer depending on the size. (55+ gallons)

-And Carbon. It's your choice whether to run carbon. I don't see a reason why not.


I will put this as simply as I can.. I've studied an unimaginable amount of things you can do with a Fowlr.. The above list is all I use.. My fish have never had ich, never gotten sick, and are always in good health. The only fish i've had die from disease were my Seahorses. And I attribute that to putting them into a tank with other fish, which made water quality control difficult.

Don't overthink things is my advice.

Also, you can just buy saltwater from your LFS. The non-franchise ones are better.. It'll be fine till you get an RO/DI and your own salt mix.. RO/DI water costs less than a few cents a gallon when you factor in filter changes. Salt mixes run about 30 cents a gallon. Get a Spectrapure if you get an RO/DI. I have an AWI, but after all the research I would go with a Spectrapure.

The chiller is something that you'll only figure out if you need once you've run the tank for a while. It all depends on your house temp, your type of pumps, your tank evaporation rate, your lights, etc etc etc..
 

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Salt Viking
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Oh wait, the Redsea Kit you're talking about, you don't need if your starting out..

Get the Redsea Marine Care. It tests, Ph, Alkalinity, Ammonia, Nitrtite, Nitrate.. You'll need that one regardess of fish or corals.. Worry about the Magnesium etc etc etc later.. You'll for sure need Ammonia, and Nitrite to check your tank cycle. And Nitrate to check the condition of your tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thanks again Brassaxe for the input. Over thinking is exactly what I have been doing bc of all the stuff that I have been reading on forums/articles online. I found someone nearby that sells live sand for $30/40 lbs and live rock at $1.75. You guys recommend buying sand/rock online?
Is there a hydrometer that I can leave in the tank so I can conveniently check it when I go and admire the aquarium?
Is $150 good for a new ro/di unit?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the skimmer the filter? A skimmer is included with the aquarium, but it's not a needle wheel skimmer. Are those skimmers better? Thanks again!

Forgot to add that he didn't mention anything about a heat source. You think that he may be using the lights as the heat?
 

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Salt Viking
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Thanks again Brassaxe for the input. Over thinking is exactly what I have been doing bc of all the stuff that I have been reading on forums/articles online. I found someone nearby that sells live sand for $30/40 lbs and live rock at $1.75. You guys recommend buying sand/rock online?
Is there a hydrometer that I can leave in the tank so I can conveniently check it when I go and admire the aquarium?
Is $150 good for a new ro/di unit?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the skimmer the filter? A skimmer is included with the aquarium, but it's not a needle wheel skimmer. Are those skimmers better? Thanks again!

Forgot to add that he didn't mention anything about a heat source. You think that he may be using the lights as the heat?

There are many types of skimmers..

Needle wheel
Pinwheel
Venturi
Downdraft
Aspirating
Injector
ADCC

Or sometimes combinations of these..


Protein skimmers are a type of filtration. They remove Dissolved organics. Which is the bulk of what we want to remove in an aquarium. But they don't remove everything. You still need to remove some of the things a skimmer can't get. Like chemicals and larger particles.


You can buy live rock most anywhere. I would invest in high quality stuff. I got premium Fiji live rock from Liveaquaria for $145 for 45lbs including shipping. It's not cheap to buy online, but it can be less time since it was harvested.


Lastly, you do not need live sand.. At all.. The live rock will make the sand live. Don't waste your money.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Hey Brassaxe and the rest of thereeftank community, I wanted you guys to check my setup, tell me if I did something wrong or if I am missing anything. I currently have a heater down in the middle of the sump with some LR and seaweed. On the left with the red top is the Skimmer. In the middle (outside the sump) is the carbon filter with two hoses going into the middle of the sump. And on the right is the aquarium pump. Inside the tank is like 10-15 lbs of LR and the Livestock (coral, starfish, and some snails). I also have three power heads and some t5 Sun sytem tek light. Is it true that you need to only use the lights for about 3 hours once a week, and increase it the time every week to avoid, algae burn, I think? Thanks!

Here are a couple of pics that I took:




The pump side is empty bc I didn't fill the tank completely. I have to go buy more water tmrw. I don't have the system running.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Nice buy! Congrats!!
Thanks! The guy didn't have change for for a 20, so I got the tank for $490, plus 150 for the movers. Unfortunately, it didn't fit in my kid's room upstairs, so I had to put it in my family room with my beardie, and my two Pomeranians.
 
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