Hello! Contemplating Saltwater

liquisix

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Hi guys,

ive had fresh water fish for maybe the last 8 years or so with different types of fishies, i've always had an interest for saltwater but always thought it was too difficult or intimidating to start, but now that im older and working, mistakes can be more forgiving in that sense and the ability to spend isnt as hindered. My problem at the moment is that through doing my research ive managed to confuse myself or have found contradicting information and for every step forward im taking in my quest for knowledge i seem to be going 2 steps back. i would love if someone could clarify a few things and some terminology as I've gotten stuck with trying to make a decision, i have in a nutshell 3 options available:

1. Use my existing big tank (4ft long x 1.4ft deep x 1.8ft high) my understanding here is that bigger tanks are more forgiving on mistakes but more expensive

2. Use my not in use small tank ( 2ft long x 1ft high x 1.2ft deep) my understanding here is that small tank is easy to run but less forgiving on mistakes

3. Buy a Fluval Sea Evo XII Saltwater Tank Kit 13.3Gal this would have essentially everything i assume i would need minus things like a protein skimmer,heater,wavemaker although having an existing small and larger tank just sitting there kind of makes this seem like maybe its a waste of money and i could put that towards equipment.


The problems that i have is with information understanding which is leading to my indecisive confusion

For a beginner which setup do you think is ideal?

For smaller tanks i have seen mixed information regarding a protein skimmer that it isnt needed for that size and others saying its good to have? for the larger tank that i have would it be a requirement for that size or is that tank also considered as not needed?

i have a canister filter at the moment that runs on the big tank, i have seen that many people are not a fan because of the factory perspective, although i would ideally not like to use a sump at the moment as it would be an additional cost id rather do right now given the pandemic circumstances, i would also like to refrain from using my small tank as a sump because it has sentimental value to me. i have a few HOB waterfall style filters that could be used

is that waterfall style HOB filter sufficient for a small tank aswell? or should i be looking at a HOB with a skimmer integrated or can i use my canister filter for the small tank to achieve strong filtration?

which tank would mean less frequency in water changes (its not that im not up for it but longer intervals would be better)? in my research i have come across people going with long periods of time between water changes from months to even annually, what is needed to achieve this? is it recommended?

would dry rock be advised for its safety reasons vs live rock? would it be better to get dry rock and live sand to avoid the unwanted critters or could they be in live sand aswell?

i do have more questions that arent in my head right now, i do apologise as im sure these have been answered some where on the forums but as mentioned, the more i read i keep finding conflicting information or general confusion across multiple forums, or information that is from years ago and times/technology has changed since then

the other alternative is i just get one nice looking betta and put that in a tank instead or look into restarting my freshwater properly with something else in the cichlid world

many thanks for your inputs







 
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Ryan3313

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Welcome. If it was me I would go with the big tank. I wish I would've gone with a bigger tank. If your on the fence about saltwater maybe you want to start with the smaller tank wich would be less of an investment. Don't get to overwhelmed with all the options of doing things I believe that in this hobby there are multiple paths to success.
 

LordofCinder

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people with big tanks say big tanks are better, people with smaller tanks say smaller tanks are better, both have advantages and disadvantages, do whats best for you.

Google the berlin filtration method, which is what most of us use, just rocks and flow as the main filtration, everything else is bells and whistles.

I also switched from freshwater to saltwater, I would probably never have a freshwater tank again, its so drab and colorless and boring next to a reef tank. But it is a lot more hands on and a lot more expensive than freshwater. My best advise is just read, not only the forums, but also published articles.
 

N.Sreefer

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Big tank=more rodi water and salt mix for every water change. And changing alot of water is not always easy so you may actually want to start with a smaller tank more parameter fluctuations but alot less work to fix things (salinity, moving corals/rock) and do water changes. Never realized how much 50 gallons of water weighs until I decided to put my rodi in my basement. Def think out your design before implementing it instead of being stuck doing things the hard way. Also it takes forever to fill a bigger tank with coral to the point where it looks full.
 

BiggestE222

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For fish only you can just have basic flow. And I would recommend a skimmer. If lightly stocked a HOB skimmer should be ok. Dry rock for a fish only would be fine and cheaper. You can get Marco rock from BRS for 4 dollars a pound. A reef tank is a whole different beast.
 
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PeterC99

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Welcome to R2R!

Very difficult to say what’s best for your first saltwater aquarium. You know yourself and situation best.

Look for someone upgrading their aquarium or leaving hobby. You can find some excellent aquarium setup deals. Maybe a cost effective way to get into this hobby.

Good luck!

C064F53A-76BA-4C52-B711-7D8BB08702DA.gif
 

EricR

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From another newbie -- well-presented post and I'm watching to see the suggestions as well.

I'm about 4-5 months into a minimalist 37 gallon tank with just 2 HOB pumps/filters (only 2 fish and some inverts).

So far so good but I echo your sentiments about "managed to confuse myself" and "contradicting information."

Good luck and have fun...
 

Dbichler

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Big tanks are more forgiving, have more fish/ coral options, and a lot more work. Small tanks are less forgiving and much easier to work with maintenance wise but less fish and coral options. I personally have had 54 gallon first tank 29 gallon for my second and now a 210. All have advantages and disadvantages. Filtration depends on your stocking levels. You can get away with just rock and power heads if you don’t overstock. Take your time and go slower than you think by a lot and you will be fine.
 

dbowman5

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Welcome to R2R! there is a lot of info available right here. when you look at all the build threads what inspires you?
when you look at the fish, inverts, corals what says 'you want me!!' to you?
sometimes the requirements of the animals will direct you to a size of tank and the type of equipment you will need/want. i have only been in the hobby for a short time, but am enjoying the discovery and experience phase even though my efforts are not 'show' quality. I would look around for ideas and decide if you like to DIY or to have pre-designed and manufactured equipment.
Being in Sydney, i am thinking you might have access to water and animals, rocks and sand, that might provide a wonderful aspect that land locked types do not have; that's presuming it is Sydney, AU, not Sydney, Kansas, US
 
RAP

LuizW13

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Welcome!

One thing people don't mention when giving advice about tank sizes is living situations. Do you live in an apartment or foresee yourself moving in the next few years. If so, I'd probably go with a small tank. For instance, with an IM 25g lagoon, which is what I have was a PERFECT step in reef keeping for me. I moved it twice, once from one apartment to another, and then again recently to a house.

Also, with an AIO, you get a sump, it's small, but it's enough to have filtration media, hide heater, it even has room for some skimmers if you really want one. I have the Ice Cap k1 nano , but haven't used it in MONTHS because the pump failed, and I just didn't bother buying a replacement pump.

You can certainly use an existing standard euro brace tank, the Aquaclear 70 HOB (I think) is cool because you can customize it to include carbon, small heater, even a small refugium- MightyNanoTank on youtube did a video about it.

One thing I wouldn't skip out on is an Auto Top Off and quality lights. I started with a cheap led fixture, from an American company, mind you, and for an entire year or so, I could not figure out why every coral would die. Until I realized my lights were crap.

last thing, watch the 52 Weeks of Reefing on Youtube on the BRSTV Channel; it's gold.
 

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