I’m a total SW noob and need advice

Texasfishkeeper

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So I’ve been keeping my salt water tank up for a month now. And I’ve just used prime to dechlorinate my water ( I know I’m supposed to be using rodi) but I was wondering if I should just buy an rodi machine. I’m 15 and don’t have a car and ion wanna tick off my mom everytime asking her to go to the LFS to get water. I’ve been keeping 2 clowns (which I recently got) and a Green spotted puffer in the tank and they’ve been doing great. Do I have to buy rodi water when I eventually try a reef ( yes I know there’s a chance the puffer is gonna nip on the coral, but I think if I chose the right type it won’t mess with it) or should I buy it now and just put them in the Ro water now. I was thinking of buying the aquaticlife ro buddy for it if I do because I don’t have that much money to spend.
 
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One Reefing Boi

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Welcome! super awesome that you can get into saltwater at such a young age! Can be a beautiful life long hobby :)

I would 100% recommend getting an RODI uint. I have that exact unit (Aquaticlife RO Buddie Four Stage) and get 0 TDS with it and would deff recommend it. Haven't had an issue with it yet.

So.. in theory.. yes .. you can use tap water with a dechlorinator for the water and use it. It isn't recommended for a few reasons. One, other additives in tap can be harmful to the Marine life. Two, the other additives in the water usually leads to excess nutrients to feed nuisance algae which can be a headache and an eyesore.

It will totally pay for itself in a few weeks/months (depending on the size of your tank) and would recommend it.

best of luck with the tank and be sure to post pictures of it :)
 

jpnegrete14

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I started this hobby the same age you are now so I can relate. I’ll help you word your pitch to your mom.

Making your own RO/DI water and mixing your own saltwater does cost more upfront but will be significantly cheaper than buying ro/di and saltwater from a LFS in the long run. I’m not talking like 10yrs long run. Like nearish future you will recuperate your cost on the equipment through the savings of making your own water.

Some added benefits are time saved not going to the store, quality control of your water, becoming more informes of a different and important aspect Of the hobby, Learning some DIY skills from building your own water station ie. Carpentry and plumping, and avoiding temptation of buying new livestock when you walk into the store.

So I say work and save up your money and go for it! Good luck.
 

jpnegrete14

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Here’s a link to a affordable and quality RO/DI system. Three words you need to remember when it comes to equipment. Bulk reef supply. Also buying used can be a great and more affordable option.

 

One Reefing Boi

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I started this hobby the same age you are now so I can relate. I’ll help you word your pitch to your mom.

Making your own RO/DI water and mixing your own saltwater does cost more upfront but will be significantly cheaper than buying ro/di and saltwater from a LFS in the long run. I’m not talking like 10yrs long run. Like nearish future you will recuperate your cost on the equipment through the savings of making your own water.

Some added benefits are time saved not going to the store, quality control of your water, becoming more informes of a different and important aspect Of the hobby, Learning some DIY skills from building your own water station ie. Carpentry and plumping, and avoiding temptation of buying new livestock when you walk into the store.

So I say work and save up your money and go for it! Good luck.

see -- the whole 'save money not buying livestock when going into the store' sounds great but then I discovered the live sale forum ;Greedy

but I agree with this 100%. I am only about 6 months into my saltwater journey (had freshwater from about 15 years) and so learning about controlling your own water parameters and knowing what to do when (not if) things eventually go wrong is extremely beneficial.

The upfront is higher (RODI Unit, 5gal mixing bucket from Lowes, 1 spare powerhead for mixing the salt, the salt, a heater for the mixing water, and a refactometer) will probably run you ~$150 but other then the salt and occasionally the filters, that is pretty much it.

Also you can control the water exactly how you want it for what you keep, and can always make some (even if it is late at night and need to do w water change and the LFS isn't open).

Just when filling buckets, don't forget about them like me for 3 hours and flood your parents entire laundry room:rolleyes:
 

PatW

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Many years ago, I had a 20g high with a tiny sergeant major and 2 yellow headed jaw fish. I topped it off with tap water (well water). It worked pretty well.

But if you can afford it, get a decent RO unit and a storage container for the RO water. RODI water is better but RO water is far better than normal tap water. It would be very desirable to set up an Auto Top Off to keep salinity pretty constant.

If you are running a fish only system, you can probably get by with filtration and regular water changes.

If you want to keep photosynthetic corals, things get far more complex and more interesting.

For research, there are all sorts of good you tube videos on all sorts of subjects on reefing: lights, pumps, powerheads, skimmers, water chemistry, test kits, corals, and so on. Bulk Reef Supply has quite a few of them. And Vivid Aquariums has some good videos.
 

Dallascowboys16

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I remember being a younger kid relying on other people to get rides to buy supplies for my tank. I am only 21 and have been going to local fish club events since I was 13! :) It is such a great hobby for younger people to get involved with and you can make a lot of great friends through it. I recently just purchased my first RODI unit and it has been so much better than driving to the LFS to buy rodi that has unknown contaminants that I can not control. It is a great project to do and also gets you familiar with the ins and outs of plumbing a water supply which can come in handy down the road when building sumps and filtration systems for your tank!
 
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Texasfishkeeper

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see -- the whole 'save money not buying livestock when going into the store' sounds great but then I discovered the live sale forum ;Greedy

but I agree with this 100%. I am only about 6 months into my saltwater journey (had freshwater from about 15 years) and so learning about controlling your own water parameters and knowing what to do when (not if) things eventually go wrong is extremely beneficial.

The upfront is higher (RODI Unit, 5gal mixing bucket from Lowes, 1 spare powerhead for mixing the salt, the salt, a heater for the mixing water, and a refactometer) will probably run you ~$150 but other then the salt and occasionally the filters, that is pretty much it.

Also you can control the water exactly how you want it for what you keep, and can always make some (even if it is late at night and need to do w water change and the LFS isn't open).

Just when filling buckets, don't forget about them like me for 3 hours and flood your parents entire laundry room:rolleyes:
What is the live sales forum?
 
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Texasfishkeeper

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see -- the whole 'save money not buying livestock when going into the store' sounds great but then I discovered the live sale forum ;Greedy

but I agree with this 100%. I am only about 6 months into my saltwater journey (had freshwater from about 15 years) and so learning about controlling your own water parameters and knowing what to do when (not if) things eventually go wrong is extremely beneficial.

The upfront is higher (RODI Unit, 5gal mixing bucket from Lowes, 1 spare powerhead for mixing the salt, the salt, a heater for the mixing water, and a refactometer) will probably run you ~$150 but other then the salt and occasionally the filters, that is pretty much it.

Also you can control the water exactly how you want it for what you keep, and can always make some (even if it is late at night and need to do w water change and the LFS isn't open).

Just when filling buckets, don't forget about them like me for 3 hours and flood your parents entire laundry room:rolleyes:
Have you ever used the ro/di water in your freshwater tank? I’ve been keeping freshwater for 5 years and I have 1 cichlid tank and 1 turtle tank with some small fish in it. Can you put rodi water in any of those tanks?
 

One Reefing Boi

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What is the live sales forum?

the place where your money goes to die :)


but actually it is a great section of this site where people post fish/coral (anything living) for sale and you can usually get better quality corals/fish for cheaper then what you can find at your LFS or other online sellers. Got a few of my first and favorite corals on there :)

there is also a forum for dry goods (lights/pumps/tanks etc..) where you can get some great things second hand

 
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One Reefing Boi

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Have you ever used the ro/di water in your freshwater tank? I’ve been keeping freshwater for 5 years and I have 1 cichlid tank and 1 turtle tank with some small fish in it. Can you put rodi water in any of those tanks?

I did for a bit. I kept a RCS (cherry shrimp) tank for a bit and my water in my college dorm was crap quality with copper in the water so I had to go buy one gal jugs from CVS (only a 5 gal tank) which then I added back the shrimp powder mix to add nutrients to the water. And tbh no, I wouldn't use RODI for freshwater because you will need to add some sort of additive to it (just like salt for reef tanks) because the RODI water is SO pure it strips the fish/other freshwater organisms the nutrients they need. Other then that shrimp tank, I have had a 40gal freshwater tank for 15 years and never once used RODI water --strictly tap and AquaSafe dechorniator and have had great success with it
 

reef4life!!!

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hi all,i am new (kinda) to fish keeping too...i had a tank for about 5 years and i was too young(i am 18 now) to maintain it or at least try to...i am trying to control my nitrates too as now they are far from the needs a reef tank has(they are between 50-100 with salifert kits) and i got told to buy a RODI system...i wanted to ask if i need to replace things along the way...what i mean is,do i have to replace filters after like 6 months or change something.... my bugdet is not really high so i want to know if there will be more expenses along the way in order to make my plans and be ready when the time comes
 

Perthegallon

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hi all,i am new (kinda) to fish keeping too...i had a tank for about 5 years and i was too young(i am 18 now) to maintain it or at least try to...i am trying to control my nitrates too as now they are far from the needs a reef tank has(they are between 50-100 with salifert kits) and i got told to buy a RODI system...i wanted to ask if i need to replace things along the way...what i mean is,do i have to replace filters after like 6 months or change something.... my bugdet is not really high so i want to know if there will be more expenses along the way in order to make my plans and be ready when the time comes
same age as you and make lots of water. My normal water comes out at 250 tds and I have yet to replace my filter because I have a 7 stage and its way overkill for that much but when I first moved in there was high level of tds in the water (there was no water softeners and the well had not been ruined yet) and I had to replace them every 100 gallons about not that expensive even with all those filters around 20$ for all the resign and if i had to replace often Id buy in bulk.
Definitely would recommend it and money saver if your shop charges a way over priced like 1$ a gallon for just water like mine does
 

One Reefing Boi

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hi all,i am new (kinda) to fish keeping too...i had a tank for about 5 years and i was too young(i am 18 now) to maintain it or at least try to...i am trying to control my nitrates too as now they are far from the needs a reef tank has(they are between 50-100 with salifert kits) and i got told to buy a RODI system...i wanted to ask if i need to replace things along the way...what i mean is,do i have to replace filters after like 6 months or change something.... my bugdet is not really high so i want to know if there will be more expenses along the way in order to make my plans and be ready when the time comes
welcome!

so the high nitrates shouldn't really have anything to do with the water you are putting in the tank -- more likely overfeeding your fish or not doing frequent enough water changes.

But to answer your question yes -- the filters have to be replaced. It isn't so much a 'in X months replace it' but more often "after X gallons replace the Y filter". Some filters need to be replaced sooner then the others. The RODI unit mentioned above has how many gallons it treats before needing to be replaced right on the from of each cartridge. I don't actually keep track but for me it is roughly every year for my 15gal tank I need to replace the filters.

Some filters change color to let you know you need to replace it. The filters range in price depending on which canister needs replacing and the unit itself. a bundle of 3 of the 4 filters on my unit costs $30
 

reef4life!!!

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Oh alright then,good to know that,thanks...as for the tank yes indeed there was too much feeding and a little water changes but i got the salifert test kits for nitrates and i saw that my tap water contains 25 nitrates ppm...so in my thread exclusively about nitrates they told that it's quite high and i need the RODI system
 

PTXReef

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RODI Unit is one of the best purchases for the hobby! Saves so much money/trips to the LFS where you will be tempted to spend more money!

Very envious that you get to start the hobby so early! Enjoy it and take it slow! Patience and research will save you so much time, money, and headache. Happy reefing!
 

Mr. Fishy Fish

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Definitely get an RO/DI unit. If money is an issue, you could always cut people's grass, many people would be glad to let you cut their grass for a fee to help you out. Just explain how you're trying to save money for RO/DI unit on your own, most people would love to help someone your age achieve their goals even if they don't necessarily need their grass cut. This depends on the amount of COVID cases in your area, if there is alot of cases ignore my advice, good luck.
 

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