Making the switch from Fresh to Salt

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nick709r
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Making the switch from Fresh to Salt

Post by nick709r » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:28 am

Currently i have a 20 gallon Long fresh water set up.

I have a current USA Fresh Water LED strip light to support my plant growth, a normal heater, and an Aqua Clear filter.

I have been recently considering switching over to salt water.

At this point, i have no knolwge at all about the subject. So that's why I'm here.


What will my costs me to switch over my current set up to salt (without the costs of fish) Also, will my tank even be big enough to support salt.
I spent quite a bit of money on my light strip. It says its a fresh water strip, but could it support marine life.

Filter: People have told me that my aqua clear will be fine for a salt water tank, is this true?
Also, what is a protein skimmer, and do i need one?

Live rock: how much money worth will i need?


What else do i need to know?

How cheaply could i set up a basic beginers salt water fish tank?


ALSO, In the next couple years, i am going to have to move. How realistic is it to say that ill be able to move this salt water tank to a new house, without ruining the whole thing.



Basically i need any information you can give me,
I have an extensive knowledge on fresh water. But don't know anything about salt.
I want to have a basic salt setup, something good for beginers

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Re: Making the switch from Fresh to Salt

Post by Pufferpunk » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:39 am

What fish are you keeping?
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"

nick709r
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Re: Making the switch from Fresh to Salt

Post by nick709r » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:43 am

Pufferpunk wrote:What fish are you keeping?
I was thinking *maybe a clown fish
And maybe some shrimps.
I mostly like the live rock, and maybe just want to put some small fish in with it.

Honestly my ideal setup would be a 5 gal with some live rockn and maybe some little simple to keep fish or shrimps

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Pufferpunk
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Re: Making the switch from Fresh to Salt

Post by Pufferpunk » Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:02 pm

1 1/2-2lbs LR per gaon. Look into a local reefer in your area for cured LR from their tanks. Lots of reefers are changing around tanks & shutting down systems, selling off LR for cheap. Personally, I wouldn't pay >$3/lb but for a 20g, you shouldn't have to spend a fortune. Forget the FW filtration--get a Backpac protein skimmer. FW T8 lighting is fine, as long as you arne't keeping hard corals. You could get away with smaller leathers,clove polyps & xenia.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"

nick709r
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Re: Making the switch from Fresh to Salt

Post by nick709r » Sun Nov 22, 2015 2:15 pm

What's the cheapest (and energy efficient) option for lighting?

Ive been told 4 t5 bulbs would be what I need, but I'm worried about the power consumption of all those bulbs

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Pufferpunk
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2 T biocellatus
C valentini
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Re: Making the switch from Fresh to Salt

Post by Pufferpunk » Sun Nov 22, 2015 4:22 pm

Are you planning on keeping corals? Keeping steady parameters enough for corals is difficult in a 20g tank. If not, lights don't matter at all. But if you wanted great colors, I got a pretty cheap LED system on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Aqueon-Aquarium-L ... 2C+30-Inch

There's only a white strip in there, I purchased the blue & red strips separately.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"

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Re: Making the switch from Fresh to Salt

Post by Hillehaus » Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:04 am

My opinion would be to prey on eBay and Craigslist HARD. Saltwater equipment is very expensive. Depending on what you are doing your major costs will be:

1) Live Rock. It can range from $2/lb to $10/lb. If you find live rock at $3, which isn't that hard to do, at 1.5x 20 gallons you are looking at 30lb of live rock. Here is the problem with most live rock bought online, however...shipping. Overnighting (because it is live and you want it to remain live) a 30lb box of rocks is not cheap. It can add $50+ to your order. Through a search online, I found 2 people selling LR on Craigslist within 30 miles of my house. They both seem to be breaking down their tanks and looking to just get rid of it. One at $3 a lb, one at $5 a lb. That is $50 saved right there.

2) Protein Skimmer. These are also really expensive...fortunately, there is a great second hand market on them. Onto eBay...Brand new, $131.99. A brief search on eBay = $35-$80 for a used one. That's another huge savings. I bought a used BakPak and a used Aqua C Remora and both work great.

3) Lighting. LED strips will be most energy efficient to run. That doesn't mean LED strips are the best lights to use, especially if you get into coral. What kind of tank are you setting up? Fish Only with Live Rock (FOWLR)? If that is the case, your current light is 100% fine. You will not need another light. Soft coral? You might be able to get away with what you have but, don't expect them to really thrive. They may however, still look really nice and have great color. A 20g long after all isn't that tall so the light will likely penetrate enough to keep things healthy. They will live just fine but will likely be slow to reproduce and grow. Hard coral reef? Bless your soul. Open your wallet and weep.

4) Refractometer. Be able to measure your salinity. $25.

5) Powerhead or two. You really don't need anything special. Just something to move the water around. $25-$40? This is also something you can get 2nd hand.

6) Sand. again, nothing special here. Don't bother with live sand. Your sand will soon enough become live sand. $20?

7) Salt. Not too expensive. $20 will get you enough to start out.

8) Saltwater Test Kit. These can get pricy but, you already know that since you're buying the freshwater equivalent to check your levels. Once again, price will vary depending on if you have coral or not. With coral you will want Ca, Mg, and Alk tests.

9) Optional if you wont be buying premixed water. A cheap RODI system to make some water. 3-stage, 4-stage, 5-stage, doesn't matter...to avoid algae issues you need nitrate and phosphate free water. These can run from $60-infinity and beyond depending on how crazy you want to get with it.

Here is the good news...not all of it needs to be bought at once. Take your time. Find deals and sales. While you are waiting on all the pieces to arrive, read up on keeping a saltwater system. Also, a 20 gallon tank wont be that hard to move. Just keep your live rock wet during the move and limit the exposed time to air.

Its been a while since I've went rambling like this. Hope you can glean something good out of here other than pre-coffee jibberish. Best of luck with your new system!

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Re: Making the switch from Fresh to Salt

Post by hadla » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:14 pm

^What he said :) if you just mostly want live rock and hermits (how I started), you don't really need a huge tank and most of the expensive stuff... Started it in a 10g, but got hooked into a gsp and mantis shrimp and more tanks came in lol. Rogers tank doesn't have that much lr or a skimmer or a light... I do want to get a power head for it though. I do but premixed water so I don't bother with salt. Yeah don't waste your money on "live" sand
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