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ok so im not even sure im in the right place. this is my first post. here goes...i have a 55 gallon tank. right now it is a freshwater, but i am about to convert it to a saltwater. I am frustrated with the amount of questionable advice i keep getting from people trying to sell me stuff that i dont need, dont know how to work, and cant afford. It just cant be this difficult!!

I dont have space for a sump; i paid 500 dollars for my current setup, with tank and stand, but the stand is not open in the bottom, just has shelves. I have two AQ 110 HOB filters and i would like to use them for my saltwater setup. i also have a water wave thing that blows my water around. I also have an airstone that lays across the length of my tank. I think that all of this is plenty of filtration for my 55 gallon.

I would prefer not to use live rock, instead i have drilled Tufa, which i really like and i think will make a great reef look once i rearange them in my tank. I dont want the corraline algea all over, i prefer a very clean, crystal clear look. The problems and questions im running into are these....

1. Do I need specialized lighting in order to keep my fish healthy and happy?
2. Do i need specialized lighting in order to have an aeneomity? i think i spelled that wrong...i might like to have a couple peices of coral on my rocks as well.
3. Do i need a skimmer? with the setup i have?
4. What kind of base should i have, sand or rock? I like sand and would like to have the "cleaning crew" sand dwellers,
5. if i use sand, is there a special kind i should get? Is there heavier sand, if that makes sense, so my water doesnt get all sandy and cloudy?

Anyways. thius is a start..the people at the fish store just want me to buy the tanks they have and the filters this and that and a sump and a skimmer and a overflow box...and omg...im like i already have a tank!! i cant afford to buy another!! the nthey say ( we have layaway) and im like, no!...someone tell me that i can have the tank i want and it can be nice without spending a fortune..please!!! I know the fish can be pricey..i dont mind investing in livestock, just not equipment that is not necessary.
 

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cheese and beer... mmmm
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Welcome to TRT BTW.. :D
You certainly can have a one tank setup in this hobby, and as long as you maintain a good weekly schedule of cleaning and WC's to export alot of the nutrients and and detritus in the tank, you should be fine...

As far as no LR.. you may not be able to get a way with that and still have athriving system.. I may bve wrong but most of the Biological filtration in a SW tank s done by our LR.. it has a much larger surface area, being pourous, to harbor these bacteria benificial to our system..

on a 55 you may not need a skimmer but WC's are a must... siphoning is a must, and most importantly.. patience..

Id suggest reading this link before making any decisions to give yourself an idea of what is going on in your tank. Its lengthy but packed with tons of useful info..to give you a better idea of what to expect..
http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f6/reefkeeping-made-easy-what-was-not-explained-160389.html

FW is alot different SW in soo many ways.. knowledge is power and asking questions is a great start.. Im sure the folks here are more than willing to help you make informed decisions and not just tell you what to buy..

Good luck in your adventure..
 

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Sorry to tell you , but this is a very expensive hobby!!! To be succesful you will need to buy equiptment, skimmer and light at minimum. Even salt isnt cheap!! Especially if you don't run a skimmer, then you have to do more water changes. Best thing is keep researching before you take the plunge and then decide its not for you.
+1 to Evil Aces

I am also new to this hobby nikki, i am just in the planning stages.
I have spent almost 2 months, just reading a few books, i have spent countless nights untill 2-3-4 even 5:00 am in the morning asking questions and researching here on TRT.
It has taken me a week just to figure out what Skimmer and sump i want and need, to operate a SW tank successfully.

By the sounds of your ideas/thinking about a SW tank, IMO you need to do a lot more research, really make sure you have the money and the commitment to get into this hobby.

If i may, i would highly encourage you to read this thread from beginning to end http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f6/reefkeeping-made-easy-what-was-not-explained-160389.html If at that time you think , ok this is still for me, then get planning and happy reefing.

Good Luck Nikki
 

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Id suggest reading this link before making any decisions to give yourself an idea of what is going on in your tank. Its lengthy but packed with tons of useful info..to give you a better idea of what to expect..
http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f6/reefkeeping-made-easy-what-was-not-explained-160389.html

FW is alot different SW in soo many ways.. knowledge is power and asking questions is a great start.. Im sure the folks here are more than willing to help you make informed decisions and not just tell you what to buy...
HAHA Ratts, we have to figure out how to put this link in our signatures, it was/is invaluable to me and any new people that come along.
 

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Welcome to TRT!!

:wavey:

reefkeeping does not need to be as expensive as it seems. there is no way around needing to buy a salt mix, but a lot of the expensive equipment you see is not needed it the tank is setup smartly from the beginning.

i unfortunately have tough news. i suggest not converting your 55g to salt. the 55g tank is a fantastic shape for freshwater, but is very problematic in saltwater. i think you will find yourself getting frustrated and annoyed because of this. 55g tanks are just to tall. they do not have enough surface area to allow good aquascaping and allow good movement to get a siphon into the tank, which is what you will need to do if you are going to do a budget reef.

G~
 

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cheese and beer... mmmm
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If that tank is cleaned well enuff I do not believe copper would be an issue.. glass doesnt leech into water like stone.. no pores in it..

my tank was FW for 25 yrs before switching over.. vinegar cleans very well.
 

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I think you can make it work but you need to do more maintenance. A skimmer would be great but not a deal breaker. Live rock is a must, that will be your main filtration. If the tufa is porous enough it will eventually become live rock and filter your water(although Im not familiar with tufa). The look of sand is nice but will require more work to keep clean(more syphoning ) . as opposed to bare bottom where you can see the crud and take all of it out before it becomes a problem. also a must is a couple of powerheads to circulate the water and get the crud to your filters . Add some kind of felt or pad to your filters to catch the crud and remove it before it starts to decompose.(clean pads every as often as possible). If you can submerge some rocks in your HOB it will help with filtering the water.

For fish only you don’t need special lights. Anemones require expensive lights. Lps and soft corals less expensive lights. I suggest to start with rocks and fish and see how that goes for you.
Agree with geof on the 55, I have one and it’s a pain to work around the rockwork
Oh, and welcome to TRT
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Appreciate the help

wanted to say thank you all for your answers and for the welcoming. The tufa i have is very porous, much like lava. I have never used any kind of chemicals in my tank aside from stress zyme and water conditioner. I am not new to fish, just new to saltwater. I believe in a natural set up, natural wiht least chemicals possible.
 

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there is no way to do a natural salt water system, unless you live on the coast and can get natural sea water.

there are very few chemicals that people put in their systems that are not "natural". the salt used to make salt water is not "natural".

G~
 

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Live rock is the better choice but it can be pricey. There is a product a product called micro bacter that will help start a new tank if you are using dry rock. I usually dont put any thing in my tank water but my salt mix but i did try this because my trates would not go under .25. I chose to use sand because I just dont like the bb look. Its only about 1in deep but I'm pretty shure its still the culprit. Any ways after the first week of dosing my trates were 0 and now i just add a cap full to the sump when I do my WC every other week. Live rock also brings other good things like pods which fish love and make for a good snack between feedings. It also can bring in alto of bad things like apitsa,worms,and other pests. Start with easy fish like clowns try and stay away from damsels I know they have great color and there cheap but when they get bigger and it doesn't take long most of them lose that color and they become very mean and catching them is not easy. A fish only tank is alot more forgiving with the right fish and also a lot cheaper just stay away from coral and your money is safe.
 

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please do not use fish to cycle a tank. ammonia is destructive to fish's gills. use a piece of raw seafood shrimp. you do not need any bacterial jump start kits. the bacteria is already all around us. as long as there is food in the system, then the bacteria will self populate to match, hence the reason or the raw shrimp.

G~
 
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