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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everryone. I am in the process of starting a new 30 Gallon tank and everything I have read says that I should join a fish forum for any questions that I might have; so, here I am......

:banana:Like I said in the first line, I am currently in the process of starting a new 30 Gallon marine tank :banana:. I have always had freshwater tanks in the past, but I have always loved marine tanks and so I am diving in to this new hobby. I am wanting to do a tank with fish and possibly introduce a few corals once I am a little more experienced.

I currently have the aquarium setup on the stand where I am going to be putting it in my home. I have already purchased a fluval canister filter for this tank at strong recommendation of several people. It is rated for a tank twice the size as mine just to make sure I get the maximum filtering needed for this tank.

I am also going to be using live sand with this setup to get the maximum nutrients needed. I do not have any of the water or substrate in the tank yet because this is where my questions start.

1. From looking at several processes that others have used, some people use a protein skimmer and others don't. What would be the best?

2. I also need to get a powerhead for this tank but what would be the best for a tank of this size?

3. Now that I have finally gotten the rest of my substrate, I am also ready to start adding my water, salt and substrate.

4. An experienced friend is also helping me set up the tank and instead of fully cycling the tank they want to "clone" another tank. Is this ok or would it be better to just do a full month cycle?

I am still a beginner so any advice that you can spare would be greatly appreciated.:beer:
 

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it is relatively new that i actually knowing what i am doing, kind of, but early on i could have told you that the protein skimmer in my tank was doing a lot of work, based on the cup fulls of goo i empty out of it.
 

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Question one From looking at several processes that others have used, some people use a protein skimmer and others don't. What would be the best?

Answer: Since you plan on going into corals in the near future it would be best to get a protein skimmer from the onset. Skimmer do an important job of ridding the tank of unwanted orgainic and keep the water clear. while some skimmers are better than others they are generally for the higher volumn tanks and so any skimmer that is rated for your tank size of slightly larger will work for you.

Question two. I also need to get a power head for this tank but what would be the best for a tank of this size?

Answer: Power heads come in a variety of sizes and again since you have a smaller tank you will want one that fits well in your tank and is small enough but will move about 250 gallons of water per hour.

Question three. Now that I have finally gotten the rest of my substrate, I am also ready to start adding my water, salt and substrate.

Answer: yes now that you have gotten the sand and I would presume the rock you should think about getting the tank going. I am curious- if you have the rock is it live rock or base rock?

Waht I would recommend is getting some egg crate and cutting to the size of the tank floor and then placeing the live rock onto the egg crate and then adding the sand around the live rock. This will help stabilize the rock and keep it in place if you get fish or inverts that dig into the sand.

NOTE: live rock is much different than base rock and must be kept in salt water.

Question four: An experienced friend is also helping me set up the tank and instead of fully cycling the tank they want to "clone" another tank. Is this ok or would it be better to just do a full month cycle?

Answer: Cycling is a mater of time not precise days. If you have live sand and and a fair amount of live rock your cycle time can be cut down significantly. Aged live rock can make a difference of weeks down to days. The term cloning is not one that is used often in the hobby so i presume your friend want to have you take some sand from his tank and add to your tank. This isn't a bad idea as it will get the necessary viable bacteria into the substrate however your tank will still need to cycle through the ammonia - nitrate cycle before you add fish. So to address the question, cycle time will be dependent on the amount of time the ammonia is converted by the bacteria in the tank to nitrates.

Hope this answers your questions.
 

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Yeah what he said..... :p


The canister filter is good we only run carbon and a pad in ours but the live rock is where all the real filtration happens.average amount is 1 to 1 1/2 lbs per gal you can use more dry rock and seed it with stoee bought live rock to make it easier on the pocket book
 

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hey and welcome to trt!

ok, where to start? these are exciting times, for sure, but now is the time to take it a b it slow and get everything set up properly from the beginning. a little time spent researching now will pay off big time later!

ok, first suggestion I have is to begin reading through the reef keeping made easy thread. it is the "easy link in my sig and is a looooong, but must read. you wont understand most of it, but keep at it and it will start to make sense eventually as you keep asking questions!

now, the first thing that should be on your shopping list is an ro/di machine. www.spectrapure.com is the gold standard and the 90gpd refurbished unit is the one you want. water quality is everything in marine aquaria, and, imo, tap water has no place in a salt water tank. there are far more things in tap water than chlorine that are harmful to our tanks. nitrates and phosphates will lead to prolonged algae problems, and copper will kill any invertebrates. water is the single biggest and most important part of our systems and it doesn't pay to skimp on quality here.

now lets talk a bit about salt water filtration. it is indeed simpler than most freshwater setups, as far as equipment goes. unfortunately, you will not want to use the canister and id suggest trying to return it. filtration for a saltwater tank uses live rock, good in tank flow, and a protein skimmer. that's it! really, it is that simple. the live rock, along with good flow, does the lions share of biological filtration in our tanks.

canister filters, or any mechanical filter for that matter, is not recommended for saltwater. heres why:

it has to do with the nitrogen cycle. this is the cycle by which toxic substances(ammonia) in our aquariums are reduced to less toxic substances(nitrate, nitrogen gas) by bacterial action. ammonia is converted to nitrte and nitrite is converted to nitrate in the presence of oxygen. this process happens pretty much everywhere in the tank. all surfaces, the surface of the live rock, and inside any filter. however, nitrate is converted to n gas only in anoxic, or low oxygen areas. these areas are found only in the deep pores of live rock. as you can imagine, there is far more oxygenated area than anoxic, thus the need for periodic water changes to keep nitrates in check. now, as you can probably imagine, the inside of a canister filter is a turbulent, thus oxygenated, area. great at converting waste into ammonia, then to nitrite, and to nitrate. but that's where it stops. the better option, imo, is to allow the detritus to bump around the tank and settle in a low flow area where it wont rot as quickly and you can remove it with your periodic water change. phew.....that's a lot of typing and reading!

you've gotten some good advice here so far for sure. ill toss my .02 in as well.

1. protein skimmers are always a plus, imo. ive read that they tend to be a little less cost effective on tanks under 40g, though. id suggest exchanging the canister for a skimmer, though. reef octopus is a solid brand. I use an in sump model and am very happy with it.

2 there are a few different brands of powerheads at different price points. it depends on what ya wanna spend! the "cadillacs" of the powerhead world are eco tech marine vortechs. they are VERY expensive, but very well made and have a ton of great features for the money. on the other end of the spectrum are hydor koralias. from everything ive read, also well made, but with far less features. still a solid performer for the money though. id suggest grabbing a couple hydor koralias. you want to look for two that will give you somewhere in the area of 30-50 times your tank volume per hour in turnover. so you want 900-1500gph in flow. best to split that between 2 powerheads. you can definitely have more, but imo, 30-50 is a good starting point.

4. I would not suggest any sort of "short cuts" to try and cycle your tank faster. the initial cycling process is as much about you learning the tank and how to care for it as it is about establishing the biological filter. take the time to get your flow righ, break in and learn how to use the equipmet, and get your maintenance routine down. there are also more things going on than just the nitrogen cycle that we all wanna watch.


have you alredy bought the "live" sand? if not, don't. "live" sand is a marketing thing and offers no real benefit over "dry" sand, imo. dry sand will become "live" in short order anyway. also, id suggest shooting for no more than 3/4" of sand in the bottom of the tank. I have 1/2" or less, really. just enough to cover the bottom glass. this way it is easy to keep siphoned and clean.

have you bought rock yet? if not, ill give a couple things here to be aware of.

there are basically two kinds of rock you can purchase. "live" rock and dry rock. "live" rock comes from a tank of some kind and has a population of bacteria already established. note that the "live" in live rock refers ONLY to the bacteria, and any other life on it is termed a "hitchhikers"

some pros of live rock are that your tank may complete the initial cycle a bit quicker. you may get some neat hitchhikers. some cons are that you may get some seriously not cool hitch hikers that may be difficult to remove. you will also probably wanna do your aquascaping in a tank full of water. some pros of dry rock are that you will get no bad hitch hikers(this was enough to sell me). you can also take your time and aquascape in a dry tank. some cons are that it will come with no cool hitch hikers. also, it may take a bit longer for the initial cycle. to me, dry rock won out, but its up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide whats important to you. you don't need any set amount, really. just enough to make a cool looking aquascape.


ok, that is a LOT of info to take in there! hopefully it helps a bit and didn't just totally confuse you. take a look through that thread I suggested and im sure youll come up with some more questions to ask!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you everyone for the advice. I had a long day at work so I am just getting back on here. Tomorrow I am planning to go take a look at a few new items (a powerhead and protein skimmer). I am getting very excited to start the process and hopefully tomorrow will be the setup day.

My next question is probably a stupid one.... I know that I will be using live rock and some dry rock as a base, but does anyone use other decor besides that rock???? I just know that there are some cool ideas that I would like to use for a themed tank that would look really good.
 

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I got an old tiki man about 10in tall with a hiding spot which my odonous niger trigger has desided is his and his alone...


I wanna do surfer theme with tiki hut surf boards and stuff like that its more to cleaner I pull the tiki man once a month and clean off tje alge
 

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you can use things like that in a tank, but you have to be sure it wont leech anything into the water. the stuff they use on those shows is coted in something before they put it in the tank. im not sure what they use, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good evening everyone..... again thank you everyone for the help and the advice. Today was going to be the day to start adding everything to my tank but I ran into a little snag. I went to the store to go check out protein skimmers and I picked up two different ones: one with an airstone and the other without...........

1. My main question is which one do I need??? I know that there is a difference but I'm not sure which one would be best.... if anyone can help I would greatly appreciate it.

2. I am also in the process of setting up a second fish only tank that is a 30 gallon hex. It is a taller tank so I am going to be placing the live rock in the center piled to the top. My question is will pvc piping be ok in a saltwater tank? I am thinking that I am going to build a support beam through the center so that I can have a support to make the rock a little more stable. I really don't want to risk the rock falling and either crushing a fish or cracking the tank.

Thanks and REEF ON!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I know one of the skimmers was for like 100 gallons and the other was for a 30 gallon.
 
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