Hello all!! Glad I found this site! Starting my FIRST saltwater tank period have questions

vetteguy53081

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So I guess my question in regard to lighting is for the Hydra which will I need 26 or 32? Since my tank is only 40 gal tall making it not very wide I'm thinking the 26? Agree?
If this is going to be a seahorse tank and No coral, by all means that light you showed Would suffice. Seahorse need basic lighting with subtle water flow and no occupants that will both annoy them and steal their food. For decor, stuff they can hang onto with their tails such as platic chains that float, dry sea whip or gorgonia and silmilar are sufficient. I recommend live sand when setting up and also wish the best with enjoyment
 
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Ya I totally get it and gathered that from what I've read .....thing bigger problem is how to convince the kiddos lol
The best way to convince the kiddos that it's a bad idea is to buy 4 seahorses - and watch them die in your experiment. Again - this is not meant to be harsh. Do 2 tanks - a simple one for the kids and a nano one for your experiment. A mangrove tank does not necessarily = coral + seahorses + fish. Not quite sure why you asked for advice as 'a first time salt-water aquarium owner trying to make something for his kids[ - but - (last post ) - you're approaching it totally in the wrong way - and before the attacks on me start - he asked for comments and advice. It just seems like he is just going to do what he wants - no matter what advice people have given him - which he asked for
 

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If this is going to be a seahorse tank and No coral, by all means that light you showed Would suffice. Seahorse need basic lighting with subtle water flow and no occupants that will both annoy them and steal their food. For decor, stuff they can hang onto with their tails such as platic chains that float, dry sea whip or gorgonia and silmilar are sufficient. I recommend live sand when setting up and also wish the best with enjoyment
He wants a reef tank - with the Walstad method - with coral fish and possibly seahorses. Re-read the OP.
 
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Hello All,

My name is Mike, I'm here in California.....I chose the name FreshSaltyGuy because I've only ever ran Freshwater tanks successfully for the past 15 years. I started off with a 20 gallon, then 50 gallon is where I ended up which was plenty. I was able to breed lots of fish in my freshwater tanks such as Gouramis, Guppies, etc.. I'm currently still running both the 50 gallon and 20 gallon successfully with my 50 gallon actually moved outside under a covered patio that we have, and so far so good, Algae is under control, with lots of shrimp and nirite snails to keep the glass perfect...... everything is healthy for the past 8 months. I should also mentioned about 10 years ago I moved over to the Walstad method on all my freshwater tanks and have amazing success with all of them as mentioned above.

Soooooooo now that I'm bored with that and really looking for a much larger challenge (& cleaner water) and my 3 girls constantly bugging me to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE daddy get a saltwater tank going, I figure I'd jump into a Saltwater hobby. I was able to get a AquaDream AD-620-RW 40 gallon tall tank brand new in box for $100 at auction so I figured if that's not a sign I don't know what is lol!! The tank doesn't come with the best equipment, but it does have a tiny 4 gallon sump with a 210 GPH submersible pum, Wet-Dry Filtration System with designated filter media divider. It also came with the cabinet. This tank sells for $1299, so I'm hoping it is decent. I know they say to start with 125 gallon if possible to help control water parameter better etc.. but I couldn't pass up the deal so here I am :)

With all that info out of the way, I do have LOTS and LOTS of questions, but I'll start with some basic stuff to make sure what I've read so far is true and accurate as I'll look to everyone here with experience to help me out please :)
My daughters want a pair of Sea Horses and knowing they aren't that easy to care for from what I've read especially for a beginner in this hobby, I'm working on talking them out of it for now to let them know how pretty we can make things look with SPS & LPS and some softies, with a huge cleanup crew, and a pair of clown fish or something like that to start. I know this MIGHT some crazy to some, but I will be running a Walstad type tank on my salt tank as well, meaning - No dosing, very very few water changes, etc... I've watched several videos and read lots of articles on this so it's obviously possible. I'm not doing it for the lazy hands off approach, but more for the natural aspect of it, and the basic challenge of keeping this tank beautiful with minimal work.

So here are some questions I have:

I know I want to go with Live Sand and Live Rock....is there one you all recommend and what to stay away from? I was looking at Carib Sea Argonite Reef Sand that has a size of 0.5mm-1mm as I did read about how it's better and more surface for anaerobic bacteria activity etc.. Also, if I later choose to do Sea Horses I read that is the best size??? So on that note I found for the live sand PetSmart has 20lb CaribSea Argalive Reef Sand on sale for $14.99 a bag right now ....is this a good quality sand and good grain size that I'm looking for? Also, do I need to use MagicMud for a base and then a 1" top coat of Live Sand if I'm looking to plant anything and as part of the walstad method?

For the live rock I've read Fiji Live rock is one of the best because it is very porous etc..etc. is there another rock that is just as good? I know it depends on my Aquascape, but how many pounds on average should I look for on a 40 gallon tank (really 36 gal because of the 4 gallon sump). ? Also, good site to buy live rock or should I just go to my LFS who I know has a ton but may be a bit more?

How soon after I place the Sand & Rock in there and the take cycles, can I start putting invertebrates (Clean up crew) is it as soon as the water clears or ?

Lighting - I know this is one of the more important aspects of the build especially once I get some corals in there. But on that note I don't want to break the bank, but don't want to go to cheap. Does anyone recommend a good bang for the buck light I can put on this tank? I saw this one on amazon and seems to have great reviews with videos from consumers and all -
Wave makers - This one will take a little more time for me to figure out. Right now I'm just planning on the sand, rock, and a few small fish once the tank is ready and the cleanup crew. Then next steps after a couple months will be corals, What wave maker should I be looking at for this 40g tall tank and how many of them? Any recommendations on placement?

Saltwater for the tank - What do most of you do mix your own or buy it at LFS? How difficult is it to mix it yourself and ensure the salt breaks down before using it and then testing it with a refractometer? How many days ahead can I prepare the saltwater and keep it without issue ?

Power outage - I'm already looking to get a battery backup is there a decent good bang for the buck you all recommend? What can I do since I'm running such a small sump to ensure if power & Battery go out that I don't get water everywhere? I've read about drilling a hole in the pipe, but is that the suction side or return side?

I apologize so much for all the questions, but this is years in the making and want to be sure I do this right to a certain extent and then learn and grow from this journey to hopefully help others. I'm also here if anyone is looking to go freshwater walstad method I have lots of experience with it so I can really help you out there.

Thank you so much for your time reading this and hopefully providing some answers. I'm looking to start filling the tank this weekend.
for the light, try noopsychreeflight.com they have good lights
welcome to the saltwater world
1664482973025.png
 
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The best way to convince the kiddos that it's a bad idea is to buy 4 seahorses - and watch them die in your experiment. Again - this is not meant to be harsh. Do 2 tanks - a simple one for the kids and a nano one for your experiment. A mangrove tank does not necessarily = coral + seahorses + fish. Not quite sure why you asked for advice as 'a first time salt-water aquarium owner trying to make something for his kids[ - but - (last post ) - you're approaching it totally in the wrong way - and before the attacks on me start - he asked for comments and advice. It just seems like he is just going to do what he wants - no matter what advice people have given him - which he asked for
I'm trying to get an understanding from all the video and articles I've watched like I've mentioned. I haven't settled 100%. The kids wanted sea horses however after research and hearing watch others say it sounds like they aren't the way to go especially if I want to add colorful fish and coral.
 

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I'm trying to get an understanding from all the video and articles I've watched like I've mentioned. I haven't settled 100%. The kids wanted sea horses however after research and hearing watch others say it sounds like they aren't the way to go especially if I want to add colorful fish and coral.
I wish you well - I think its awesome to do an experiment with mud, etc - but perhaps - not with the fish your kids are going to fall in love with - because - the methods you're proposing are at best experimental in saltwater. I'm not trying to be mean - I'm going through the time when I thought I'll buy a simple saltwater tank for my 2 daughters - easy - clown-fish - which died quickly - multiple years ago - they have no interest in fish, aquariums or anything related. IMHO - Start slow, use established techniques for your kids - do whatever you want with the other method in a separate tank. AGAIN - best wishes
 
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I wish you well - I think its awesome to do an experiment with mud, etc - but perhaps - not with the fish your kids are going to fall in love with - because - the methods you're proposing are at best experimental in saltwater. I'm not trying to be mean - I'm going through the time when I thought I'll buy a simple saltwater tank for my 2 daughters - easy - clown-fish - which died quickly - multiple years ago - they have no interest in fish, aquariums or anything related. IMHO - Start slow, use established techniques for your kids - do whatever you want with the other method in a separate tank. AGAIN - best wishes
absolutely no matter which I choose I'll go slow I am in no hurry tbh. I just need to do it right from the beginning so that it's successfully, meaning the right lights, sump setup correctly, after cycling then add tons of cleanup crew and feed algae wafer until tank starts it's own, etc..etc.. I don't need anything instant for the kids....they will enjoy it no matter what, and they will learn like me along the way.
 

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absolutely no matter which I choose I'll go slow I am in no hurry tbh. I just need to do it right from the beginning so that it's successfully, meaning the right lights, sump setup correctly, after cycling then add tons of cleanup crew and feed algae wafer until tank starts it's own, etc..etc.. I don't need anything instant for the kids....they will enjoy it no matter what, and they will learn like me along the way.
Going slow is a good move. To me, adding a clean up crew that you have to feed is going about things backwards. Most folks start out adding a bunch of inverts to a tank with nothing growing in it only to have them starve over time. Instead I recommend getting the tank going, adding some initial fish, and once you start seeing green, slowly introduce the cleaners. The idea is to have a balance between algae growth and cleaners feeding. As you add more fish, you will need to adjust the nutrient export methods to match. Early on, water changes and sand vacuuming to remove the fish and cleaner poo will go a long way. Down the road you may have a skimmer or filter sock.

TLDR: The “do it right from the beginning” means making changes as the tank matures and evolves. Adapting to the changes and adjusting course as needed is key.
 

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for the light, try noopsychreeflight.com they have good lights
welcome to the saltwater world
Thank you, it lack an "e":) the correct website is noopsychereeflight.com
Hello All,

My name is Mike, I'm here in California.....I chose the name FreshSaltyGuy because I've only ever ran Freshwater tanks successfully for the past 15 years. I started off with a 20 gallon, then 50 gallon is where I ended up which was plenty. I was able to breed lots of fish in my freshwater tanks such as Gouramis, Guppies, etc.. I'm currently still running both the 50 gallon and 20 gallon successfully with my 50 gallon actually moved outside under a covered patio that we have, and so far so good, Algae is under control, with lots of shrimp and nirite snails to keep the glass perfect...... everything is healthy for the past 8 months. I should also mentioned about 10 years ago I moved over to the Walstad method on all my freshwater tanks and have amazing success with all of them as mentioned above.

Soooooooo now that I'm bored with that and really looking for a much larger challenge (& cleaner water) and my 3 girls constantly bugging me to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE daddy get a saltwater tank going, I figure I'd jump into a Saltwater hobby. I was able to get a AquaDream AD-620-RW 40 gallon tall tank brand new in box for $100 at auction so I figured if that's not a sign I don't know what is lol!! The tank doesn't come with the best equipment, but it does have a tiny 4 gallon sump with a 210 GPH submersible pum, Wet-Dry Filtration System with designated filter media divider. It also came with the cabinet. This tank sells for $1299, so I'm hoping it is decent. I know they say to start with 125 gallon if possible to help control water parameter better etc.. but I couldn't pass up the deal so here I am :)

With all that info out of the way, I do have LOTS and LOTS of questions, but I'll start with some basic stuff to make sure what I've read so far is true and accurate as I'll look to everyone here with experience to help me out please :)
My daughters want a pair of Sea Horses and knowing they aren't that easy to care for from what I've read especially for a beginner in this hobby, I'm working on talking them out of it for now to let them know how pretty we can make things look with SPS & LPS and some softies, with a huge cleanup crew, and a pair of clown fish or something like that to start. I know this MIGHT some crazy to some, but I will be running a Walstad type tank on my salt tank as well, meaning - No dosing, very very few water changes, etc... I've watched several videos and read lots of articles on this so it's obviously possible. I'm not doing it for the lazy hands off approach, but more for the natural aspect of it, and the basic challenge of keeping this tank beautiful with minimal work.

So here are some questions I have:

I know I want to go with Live Sand and Live Rock....is there one you all recommend and what to stay away from? I was looking at Carib Sea Argonite Reef Sand that has a size of 0.5mm-1mm as I did read about how it's better and more surface for anaerobic bacteria activity etc.. Also, if I later choose to do Sea Horses I read that is the best size??? So on that note I found for the live sand PetSmart has 20lb CaribSea Argalive Reef Sand on sale for $14.99 a bag right now ....is this a good quality sand and good grain size that I'm looking for? Also, do I need to use MagicMud for a base and then a 1" top coat of Live Sand if I'm looking to plant anything and as part of the walstad method?

For the live rock I've read Fiji Live rock is one of the best because it is very porous etc..etc. is there another rock that is just as good? I know it depends on my Aquascape, but how many pounds on average should I look for on a 40 gallon tank (really 36 gal because of the 4 gallon sump). ? Also, good site to buy live rock or should I just go to my LFS who I know has a ton but may be a bit more?

How soon after I place the Sand & Rock in there and the take cycles, can I start putting invertebrates (Clean up crew) is it as soon as the water clears or ?

Lighting - I know this is one of the more important aspects of the build especially once I get some corals in there. But on that note I don't want to break the bank, but don't want to go to cheap. Does anyone recommend a good bang for the buck light I can put on this tank? I saw this one on amazon and seems to have great reviews with videos from consumers and all -
Wave makers - This one will take a little more time for me to figure out. Right now I'm just planning on the sand, rock, and a few small fish once the tank is ready and the cleanup crew. Then next steps after a couple months will be corals, What wave maker should I be looking at for this 40g tall tank and how many of them? Any recommendations on placement?

Saltwater for the tank - What do most of you do mix your own or buy it at LFS? How difficult is it to mix it yourself and ensure the salt breaks down before using it and then testing it with a refractometer? How many days ahead can I prepare the saltwater and keep it without issue ?

Power outage - I'm already looking to get a battery backup is there a decent good bang for the buck you all recommend? What can I do since I'm running such a small sump to ensure if power & Battery go out that I don't get water everywhere? I've read about drilling a hole in the pipe, but is that the suction side or return side?

I apologize so much for all the questions, but this is years in the making and want to be sure I do this right to a certain extent and then learn and grow from this journey to hopefully help others. I'm also here if anyone is looking to go freshwater walstad method I have lots of experience with it so I can really help you out there.

Thank you so much for your time reading this and hopefully providing some answers. I'm looking to start filling the tank this weekend.
Congrates on that you have come to a really friendly forum, the reefers here are very kind and helpful for newer or professioners, hope this thread continue updated. Good luck and success:)
 
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Going slow is a good move. To me, adding a clean up crew that you have to feed is going about things backwards. Most folks start out adding a bunch of inverts to a tank with nothing growing in it only to have them starve over time. Instead I recommend getting the tank going, adding some initial fish, and once you start seeing green, slowly introduce the cleaners. The idea is to have a balance between algae growth and cleaners feeding. As you add more fish, you will need to adjust the nutrient export methods to match. Early on, water changes and sand vacuuming to remove the fish and cleaner poo will go a long way. Down the road you may have a skimmer or filter sock.

TLDR: The “do it right from the beginning” means making changes as the tank matures and evolves. Adapting to the changes and adjusting course as needed is key.
Thank you for that tip. Sometime I think adding 1 fish and then maybe 3 or 4 cleanup crew and do the same for each fish I add, I'd hate to fall behind and then have to play catchup....what do you think?
 
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Another thing I'm wondering about is Wavemakers for my tank. Since it is a 40 gallon TALL tank and not long, would I be good with 1 for now and what GPH should I be looking for or should I get 2? I figure get 1 for now to get nutrients moving, and to start with a couple soft corals once I get to that stage, but then if I get more corals down the road do you think I'd need a 2nd wave maker? Most importantly if your live rock is mainly in the middle and towering upwards, where would you put the wavemakers? On the side of the tank or the back and how far down? Thank yoU!
 
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While I'm up late reading still lol another question.....I'm reading about difference between Sumps & Refugiums. My tank comes with a small Sump like 4 or 5 gallons but I guess better than nothing. So if there are dividers in the Sump, can part of it be a Refugium? Or is that a totally different part? Kinda confusing and where does the Refugium go?
 
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By definition, a refugium is a place the fish can’t access that you use for growing macro algae (chaetomorpha typically). A section of the sump is the most common place to do this. My first sump was a small 5G tank with a skimmer and ball of chaeto. As it’s used for nutrient export, you will want to wait til you have fish before setting one up. Like the clean up crew, it needs nutrients from other sources.
 
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By definition, a refugium is a place the fish can’t access that you use for growing macro algae (chaetomorpha typically). A section of the sump is the most common place to do this. My first sump was a small 5G tank with a skimmer and ball of chaeto. As it’s used for nutrient export, you will want to wait til you have fish before setting one up. Like the clean up crew, it needs nutrients from other sources.
Awesome thanks for the quick and straight forward answer.
 

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