29gal fish-only tank in small apartment - is it worth it to get RO/DI water?

thomascummins

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I'm a college student at Virginia Tech and live in a small apartment while at school. I have lots of experience with saltwater aquariums back in marine biology class in high school, and I have a 10-gallon freshwater tank at home. I am hoping to invest in a 29-gallon saltwater aquarium, but with fish only - maybe two clowns, possibly another small fish or two, and some hermit crabs/snails. I have a couple of questions about the process...

1) I'm transporting back and forth from school and home about 250 miles for winter and summer break. Would my setup be possible/safe for the fish? I have no issue transporting my 10-gallon freshwater tank and fish, but I know that saltwater fish might be more sensitive in those situations...

2a) I'm confused about RO/DI water. I've been told that I need to buy a system if I get a saltwater tank, but I've also read that it's only really necessary if I'm making it a reef tank with corals (which I'm not). Which is it? Keep in mind that I'd only have 2-4 hardy fish like clowns and some inverts - no live rock or corals, or anything else too fancy.

2b) I have no problem buying an RO/DI system, BUT I don't know how practical it is given my apartment setup. I am living with two other guys and we only have one shower, so I don't want to use that to fill up buckets of water. We have a communal laundry room in our apartment complex that is separate from our actual apartment, so I can't hook up the system to that. Any other places that I can hook it up to that wouldn't be a total nuisance to my roommates?

2c) If owning an RO/DI system isn't entirely necessary, what are some other options? There are no local fish stores anywhere near where I go to school, atleast that I know of. Is the Petco "oceanwater" safe, or are there any other alternatives?

Thanks!
 
Reef Chasers Aquaculture

Elaine123

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I started out with a 29 gal and ended up buying an RODI unit. It's not absolutely necessary for a fish only tank but it will pay for itself. Bulk Reef Supply sells RODI's and I bought mine from AirWaterIce. The latter has a lifetime warranty. You can buy attachments to hook up to the kitchen sink, a hose or your washing machine hookup.

On transporting the fish, there are threads here about moving tanks. You need to supply oxygen with a portable air pump. This is an example:

You will also have to maintain the temp. Do a search and see if you can find the threads.
 

Grumblez

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About 30 minutes north in roanoke there's 3 fish stores. For my fowlr tanks what I used to do was use those 5 gallon jugs you can buy at the grocery store and exchange when empty. I wouldn't get a 30 gallon that's alot of work to break down and move. Look at a 15ish gallon All In One you can keep 2 clowns and one other fish in something that size.
 

jtp7004ft

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I'm a college student at Virginia Tech and live in a small apartment while at school. I have lots of experience with saltwater aquariums back in marine biology class in high school, and I have a 10-gallon freshwater tank at home. I am hoping to invest in a 29-gallon saltwater aquarium, but with fish only - maybe two clowns, possibly another small fish or two, and some hermit crabs/snails. I have a couple of questions about the process...

1) I'm transporting back and forth from school and home about 250 miles for winter and summer break. Would my setup be possible/safe for the fish? I have no issue transporting my 10-gallon freshwater tank and fish, but I know that saltwater fish might be more sensitive in those situations...

2a) I'm confused about RO/DI water. I've been told that I need to buy a system if I get a saltwater tank, but I've also read that it's only really necessary if I'm making it a reef tank with corals (which I'm not). Which is it? Keep in mind that I'd only have 2-4 hardy fish like clowns and some inverts - no live rock or corals, or anything else too fancy.

2b) I have no problem buying an RO/DI system, BUT I don't know how practical it is given my apartment setup. I am living with two other guys and we only have one shower, so I don't want to use that to fill up buckets of water. We have a communal laundry room in our apartment complex that is separate from our actual apartment, so I can't hook up the system to that. Any other places that I can hook it up to that wouldn't be a total nuisance to my roommates?

2c) If owning an RO/DI system isn't entirely necessary, what are some other options? There are no local fish stores anywhere near where I go to school, atleast that I know of. Is the Petco "oceanwater" safe, or are there any other alternatives?

Thanks!
No its not necessary (but, always recommended)
Just don't use tap water. Buy distilled water from the store like @NashobaTek suggested.
 
Zoanthids

blasterman

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Tap water is a variable. You can't just say it's bad when it varies from locality to locality.

Fish only tanks can get away with less water changes than coral tanks depending on nitrate levels. If nitrate is reasonable you can go a long time without water changes.
 

JumboShrimp

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29-gallons of distilled water (initially) = $29.00

Up to 2-gallons (est., open top tank and sump) per week, top-off water = $2.00 / per week

Assume a 5-gallon water-change on the FOWLR per month ('just because') LOL = $5.00 / per month

I'm a big 'RO/DI unit guy'-- but for a college dorm, a small tank, how cheap distilled water is... you just might want to lug some jugs until you tire of it. Best wishes! :cool:
 

MaxTremors

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Even if you’re doing fish-only, I would still recommend either an RODI unit, buying distilled, or buying either fresh or saltwater from an lfs. If you buy a small RODI unit, you can hook it up for a few hours to get 5-10 gallons of water and then disconnect it. While some might say tap water is okay, and it very well may be, virtually all tap water will lead to nuisance algae. Also, if you’re planning on moving the tank frequently, I would recommend getting a 15 or 20 gallon AIO (if you get one that is enclosed it’ll save you around a gallon of water a day in evaporation, plus you won’t need an ATO), it’ll be much, much easier to move. Something like the 16g biocube or evo (I think JBJ makes a smaller nanocube as well). And lastly, even if you’re doing fish only, I would strongly recommend you still use live rock. It will make your tank far more stable (which is important if you’re moving it a lot), will allow you to keep more kinds of fish (some fish require LR), will allow you to add corals down the line if you want to, and is far more aesthetically pleasing than artificial aquarium decor.
 

fish farmer

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I think that tank would be fine for moving back and fourth. I did similar moves in my college days with FW 15 gallon, 20 gallon and SW 20 gallon and 38 gallon.

I used tap water with dechlorinator back in the day (80's and 90's).

This is what I used for moving, a couple buckets and a big cooler. I would put fish and some of my rock/gravel/bioballs in the cooler. Any other rock would go in buckets with water. Get yourself a battery powered air stone or two.

The best thing is to have a plan and if you have other tanks at home that could be partially set up when you get home it would make the transition easier.
 

PatW

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For fish only, you might be able to get by with Tap Water with salt mix if your water quality is good. My tap water is 1 ppm nitrate and .3 ppm phosphate and that is pretty marginal plus I probably have copper in the tap water and that is death to inverts so good by clean up crew.

You could buy RODI water or just RO water. There are RODI systems that hook up to a faucet. My unit makes about 3+ gallons per hour (about par for the course). I doubt that you would need to make more than 10 gallons and you can store that in a small brute trash can. By the way, mixing your own salt water from RODI is far cheaper than buying saltwater.

Also, you really should have an auto top off on any marine aquarium even fish only.
 

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