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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!!
So I've recently decided to change my 55 gallon cichlid tank into a saltwater tank! So I'm a real newbie!! I've purchased the salt and the lights so far, just waiting to get rid of my (few) cichlids that I have! So my first question is

Do i need to add in new water with salt, or can I just add the salt to my original water?

Second question is, I would like to eventually have this as a reef tank, and I already bought the lights and it uses 2 50w lights, will that be enough lighting?

Can I add in the live sand immediately? And how long do I have to wait until I can add some live rock, and also is it one pound of live rock per gallon?

For filtration I will be probably running a aquaclear 110, and a fluval canister 404, with a powerhead... will that be enough?
I don't plan on using a skimmer just because the tank we have at work does not use one and its been successfully running for over a year now. But any opinions on this is appreciated!!


These are the fish I like, but not sure if it would work and how many I can have in a 55 gallon, I know I'm probably quite limited.
clownfish

Spotted or Bangaii cardinals
multicolour angelfish
tail spot blenny
six line wrasse
dispar anthias
royal gramma basslet
yellow tang (or any other tang that could possibly work)
black and white chromis

corals, I don't really know much about (if you have any info on them please share!!) but these are some that I like:

Purple, blue, pink, brown Zoanthids
Green Palythoa
Purple Clove Polyps
Xenia
colt coral
Pipe Organ
Toadstool Leather
Purple Mushrooms
Hairy Mushroom
Yuma Ricordea

and then I would like to have at an anemone, not sure what would be best!

I'm very new to saltwater, and I would love to learn and have help with this!


Thank you!! :fish:
 

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125 Gallon Tank
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welcome to TRT

about the first question no u need a new water and better of ro or ro/di water cuz tap water may cause u algae problems and alot of other things, mix ur water in a contair before adding it to the tank, and sure u know everything about the salinity...ect right? and that salinity differ if the temprature changes os that so have to make the new maxing water the same tem as ur tank tem
 

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125 Gallon Tank
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the second question need alot of explaining, what kind of lights are they? t5? T5ho? leds?
 

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125 Gallon Tank
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add everything immediately, sand, rock, ur equipments and everything let it run and cycle ... get a test kit and test ur water every couple of days until u get some ammonia spike than ammonia turns into nitrites than nitrate after that wait a couple of weeks to make sure ur tank is stable and from here u can start adding one fish or two max every 15 days but u have to wait at least 9 months to add corals cuz they need a very stable tank
 

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125 Gallon Tank
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u dont need any kind of filtration ur live rock are ur filtration, the becteria on them will make the job, but i say go with a sumb and get a gd skimmer this will help u alot and make things much easier, just a simple sumb with return bumb and skimmer and a heater will be gd
 

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125 Gallon Tank
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no for multicolour angelfish they pick on some corals
no for anykind of tang cuz tangs needs a big tank they get really big and they need alot of space to swim
 

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125 Gallon Tank
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the best advice is not to do anything before reading and searching about it
 

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hey and welcome to trt!

mahmoud has made a lot of great points here, so i hope he wont mind if i add my .02!

as he suggested, i wouldnt reuse anything out of the tank. youll want to empty it and give it a good clean with some vinegar and plain water.

the first item on your shopping list should be an ro/di. as mahmoud suggested, there are many things in tap water besides chlorine that ar bad for our tanks. phosphate and nitrate may lead to algae and copper will kill any invertebrates. water quality is everything in this hobby, and tap water has no place in a saltwater tank. www.spectrapure.com is the gold standard and the 90gpd refurbished unit is the one ya want.

im not a great person to ask about lighting, but 100w of lighting over a 55g is kinda on the lowish side, i think. hopefully someone else will be able to help ya out a bit more. how much light you need depends on the corals you wanna keep, as well. some corals will do fine under low lighting, but others require very intense lights.

you should add the rock as soon as the water becomes "salt" water! live rock is the main site of biological filtration and "cycling" a tank is about building that biological filter. now, there are two types of "live rock" to choose between. each type has some advantages and disadvantages.

"live" rock is rock that comes from a tank and is shipped or sold wet. it is kept in the water. dry rock is rock that is mined from inland sites and is the remnants of ancient coral reefs.

some advantages to live rock are that your initial cycle will probably be shorter. you may also get some neat hitchhikers. some disadvantages are that you will nedd to aquascape in a tank full of water. you will also probably get some very uncool hitchhikers!

advantages to dry rock are that you can take your time and scape in a dry tank. you can cut, drill, and stack all day long and come back and do some more the next day.....lol. youare also guaranteed to get no bad hitchhikers. the down side is that it will take longer for the initial cycle, as your bio filter will have to start from scratch. also, you wont get any neat hitchhikers.

personally, the "no bad hitchhikers" was enough for me to go with all dry rock!


for filtration, id suggest using a sump and a protein skimmer. a skimmer, along with live rock and good flow is all the filtration a saltwater tank needs. canisters and hob style filters are not used in saltwater tanks, and reef tanks in particular. i wouldnt run any tank over 30-40 gallons without a good skimmer and a sump. a skimmer is the only filter we have available that actually removes nutrients from the water. every other type of filter simply traps detritus, and therein lies the problem.

ammonia is converted to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate in the presence of o2. this happens pretty much everywhere in the tank. the surface of the rock, the glass, and in any mechanical filter. nitrate is converted to n gas only in ANOXIC areas, however. these areas are found only in the deep pores of live rock. now, inside your filter is a turbulent, oxygenated area. it does a great job of converting all the way to nitrate, but no further. the better option, imo, isto allow the detritus to move around the system and settle in a low flow area where it wont rot as quickly and you can remove it with your periodic water change.

hope that helps some and gets ya thinking!

oh, and check out the reef keeping made easy thread. its the "easy" link in my sig. a looooong, but very good read!
 

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I agree with everybody. One way Ito clean your tank is to use iodized salt aka table salt . once it it emptied and use an algae brush to get the algae and tank clean. A handful of table salt goes a LONG way! Mix it with a little water. You won't have to apply much pressure to clean the tank! For the calcium or lime build up you will have to use vinegar though. Just an old school trick I thought I would share. Parents used to own a pet store a while ago. That's how they cleaned thier tAnks. Works like a charm for tough algae.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for all the answers!! Yes I plan on doing lots of research! And yes, the salinity I know the water needs to be the same temperature!
As for the lighting, it is a t5HO that takes two 54W fluorescents and it also has two LED moonlights on it.
Which live sand would be better to use and how much for a 55 gallon? And I think I'll use mostly live rock. And for the sump and skimmer, can someone please explain these to me? And I don't need the canister filter? I have a 50 and a 35 filter on there now, will that be enough?
And for fish, any suggestions for bigger bodied fish like the tangs and angelfish that will work alright in my tank?
Thank you very much everyone!
 

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technically, you dont need any sand at all, really. there are some that dont use any sand, and that is called a barebottomed tank. it is mainly used for those that have sps corals and wanna keep VERY clean water.

i dont like the look, personally, so i have a shallow sand bed. id suggest keeping it in the 1/2" range, or just enough to cover the bottom glass, really. id also suggest a bit coarser grain. a shallow bed of a medium coarse grain will be much easier to keep clean than a fine grain "sugar" sand. i use the carib sea special grade reef sand. 1.25-1.95mm grain size and i like it a lot. i can get the siphon down into it and suck up the detritus while the sand stays put. also, no need to waste money on "live" sand. dry sand is cheaper and will become live quickly when you put it in your tank. remember, the "live" refers only to bacteria.


a sump is a tank that sits below your main tank. usually in the stand. it does a couple things. first, it provides extra water volume which is always a good thing! more water meansd a bigger buffer against salinity and temperature swings. a sump is a place to hide all you equipment, as well. so you dont have any unsightly heaters or skimmers sitting in your display.


there are a couple ways to get the water down there. one is a reef ready tank which has a built in overflow. since you already have your tank, though, you have two options. a hob, or hang on back, overflow, or a drilled overflow. the hob is just like it sounds, you hang it on the back and it uses a pump to get water from the tank and int the overflow box. the problem with these, though, is that they rely on a siphon to get the water over the rim of the tank. if the power goes out and you are not there to restart the siphon, you get a wet flooe. the better option is to install a drilled overflow. thses can be found at www.glass-holes.com. you can buy a kit that comes with everything ya need including the drill bit. ive not done it, but the video on there site makes it seem doable. you could also have your lfs or a local glass place do it for ya. id really highly recommend a drilled overflow. much more reliable!

then, to get the water back up, you will need a return pump. ya wanna look for one that will turn over your entire volume of water in the 3-5 times per hour range. going bigger and using a valve to fine tune it is a good idea.

and nope, you wont need your canister!

as for fish suggestions, go to www.liveaquaria.com and take a look. you can sort them by tank size and reef compatible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
oh okay! so that size, would it be more like crushed coral?
so if i were to do an overflow sump, is there a way i can do it myself? like with a 20 gallon tank or something? i don't think i would do the drilled one, and they don't ship to canada! also with the sump, do i really need a refugium? and what is it for?
so if i have this sump, will i still need my hob filter? or just some powerheads?
and the protein skimmer can go in the sump correct?
i'm slowly learning!!
theres a person in my town who is needing to get rid of his SW equipment, and he has a 20g sump that he's made, would that be fine to use instead of buying or making my own?
thanks! :beer:
 

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yup, a 20g tank would make a fine sump, specially if you can snag that one that is already made! see if you can get a picture of it and post it here before you buy it, though. that way we can give ya our .02 on it.


all the filtration a saltwater tank needs is some good live rock, good in tank flow(your powerheads), and a protein skimmer. and yup, the skimmer goes in the sump.

you definitely don't need a refugium. in fact, I don't recommend using one. they are good on some certain systems, but don't really do what most people claim, or think. they don't really make the water cleaner, but actually keep the system dirtier.

a nice plain old empty sump with just equipment is what ya want. easy to maintain and keep clean.

is there a place you could take your tank to have it drilled? you can go with the hang on back style overflow, but a drilled one is much more reliable. if you HAVE to go with the hob style, im sure you can get some help with making it more reliable and less flood prone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
okay, i'll see if i can get a pictures from him! he also has sand and live sand that he can sell me and live rock and some damsels when the tank is ready.
so this is probably going to be a dumb question! but you don't need like biomedia and carbon etc for saltwater then?
is there a specific size of skimmer i should get? (the guy who has the sump doesn't run a skimmer)
where exactly do you drill the tank? i'll ask and see if theres someone who can drill it for me if the overflow causes flooding sometimes!
 

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damsels are really mean u may not want to keep any damsel in ur tank, see even when it come to what fish ur going to put just research... and for sure no fish during the cycle, actually nothing alive in the tank during the cycle but the live rocks and the sand.
 

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yup, as mahmoud said, damsels have a reputation for bring mean little buggers! id skip them if you wanna have other fish in the tank.

the bio media for a saltwater tank is the live rock. that is where the bulk of the waste is processed. i use carbon sometimes, but a lot of people dont and it is not necessary. some people with corals will use it because of the chemical warfare that can be waged between some species of corals. carbon will remove these chemicals.

if you want to run it, is suggest looking into a reactor, as they are called. its just a canisted that holds the stuff. it is better than just chucking it in a canister, though. its not necessary at the beginning and can be added later on, as well.

i wouldnt buy or use any old sand. its likely that it is full of phosphates. id suggest just getting some new dry sand and using that. dry sand will become "live" quickly. and there are no critters in the sand that you will need. the "live" is referring only to bacteria.

skimmers are a bit of a pain to "size", especially for a beginner. the "tank size" rating they use are usually VERY inflated and really dont mean much at all. technically, it is all about water and air flow through the skimmer, but it is difficult to find those specs. usually, youll see the gph spec listed for a skimmer, but more often than not, that is the gph rating for the pump when it is not attached to the skimmer, so that does no good!

ideally, youd like a skimmer that can process as much water as is going through the sump. so say you have a 50g tank and your turnover is 40x per hour. thats 200gph through the sump so you want a skimmer that can process at least 200gph. it is hard to find the actual processing rates for skimmers, unfortunately. i do have a couple recommendations, though! id suggest something in the reef octopus line, as they are kinda mid priced and seem to be solid performers. i use one on my tank and am real happy with it.

id suggest the reef octopus sro1000 or the reef octopus nwb150 or 200. the sro model is a bit more spendy, but it comes with a better pump. the nwbs will do the job, and most have good luck with them as well.
 

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I'm in the same boat as you starting a 24 nano cube. Bit I still have my 2 African cichlid tank that I wouldn't get rid of an a 5 gallon planted tank but really loving this salt thing
 
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