New member and newbie to SW.


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Hi all. My name is Mitch and I live in Dallas, GA and just joined a few minutes ago.

My wife and I have decided to give having an aquarium another chance. We had a one gallon and three gallon and they didn't fair so well, not to mention I didn't hardly know anything about fish keeping. Also, space is more permitting now too, as is the cash flow.

Anyway, I was originally looking at a FW setup, but I have always loved the live rock, corals and the exquisite colors associated with the SW reefs. But, I was hesitant about jumping into the deep end with a SW reef for our first real, big, tank. I also had read that there was alot more time and effort involved in keeping a reef than a FW setup, so that discouraged me a little also.

So today I stopped by Marine Fish Inc and chatted awhile with Don and picked his brain. The place was amazing! Super clean, everyone was very nice and extremely helpful and the selection was great. I was debating a 90 long or a 72 bowfront tank, but I kept getting drawn to the SW setups and all of the beautiful fish and coral.

Long story short, Don, was telling me that they employ the same regiment for taking care of the FW as they do for SW and that it really isn't any more work than maintaining a FW tank.

So, now my plan has gone out the window and I am back on the net, researching reef setup's and what goes into them and trying to see if it will be right for us.

Which brought me to this wonderful site and of course I joined immediately and hope to glean much knowledge from this site and hopefully make some new friends and get started into a hobby I look forward to enjoying for the rest of my life.

Sorry for being so long, I have a bad habit of that.

Thanks for hanging in there.

Take Care,


Welcome to the ARC! There's a ton of knowledge here - don't be scared to ask any specific questions. To address your immediate concerns:

1 gallon and 3 gallon tanks are notoriously difficult to keep (at least for SW - not sure about FW) because the size makes them less stable over time. Your choice into a 90 or 72 is perfect. Do keep in mind that a wider tank (front to back) is more desirable than a longer and definitely better than a taller setup. This come into play with lighting and 'aquascaping' - the fine art of making the rock look natural. Oceans are built like flat walls, and an aquarium will look funny if you do the same.

Yes, care for a SW tank is actually not near as much work as everyone thinks. Research and knowledge is key - a good community can help with that immensely. You'll find a dozen different opinions from 10 people; they'll all be right, but only within a certain context. It's up to you to read up and determine what works best for you.

I'd highly recommend coming to one of our meetings- we have one coming up on Sept 12th. It'll be a little deep, but still packed with information. If nothing else, you'll get to meet some more of us.

I'd also highly recommend a tour of tanks, whenever we get one going - you'll learn more from them than any other single source!
Mitch- :welcome: to the ARC site!

<u>Random tips for you</u>
Be sure to get a reef ready setup and plan on having a sump- makes saltwater tanks much easier.

Do research and question everything you hear.

Don't go cheap on a skimmer- I suggest you get feedback from several people before you purchase one. Buying a cheap skimmer that you must replace 9 months done the road doesn't save you any money <-- I made that mistake. :) I suggest Euroreef and ASM. "Don't skimp on the skimmer"

There are many types of sandbeds: bare bottom (no sand), SSB - shallow sand bed (a few inches), and DSB - Deep Sand Bed. There is no right or wrong way to go- it's just knowing how to maintain one. Do your own research and see what you like best.

Patience- This is very important. Setting up a saltwater tank needs to be a very slow process. I prefer to cycle a tank no less than 12 weeks. There is more than just a nitrogen cycle when it comes to tank maturity. "Only bad things happen quickly in a reef tank"

Weigh heavily the origin of your livestock. Wild caught species will eventually hurt our hobby. Try to purchase tank raised livestock whenever possible.

Buy the biggest tank you can afford. Larger water volumes are more forgiving of our mistakes.

Be sure to get an RODI unit.

Have your lights on a timer.

Refractometers are much more accurate than hydrometers.

That's all I can think of for now. Ask questions- we are here to help and keep you from making our mistakes! Just read a bunch of books, read internet forums, and talk to people.

Hope to see you at a meeting!
Welcome aboard Mitch!!! We're glad to have you and your wife...
Personally I have both freshwater and saltwater tanks and put pretty much the same ammount of time into each (tho I really should start putting more time into my freshwater). As far as comparing one to the other, the maintenance is about the same but more "pre-setup" knowledge is required for the SW (salt water). As Chris mentioned, deeper tanks can be more difficult to light (ie, require higher wattage bulbs =ing higher monthly electric bills). Doing research and asking as many questions you can think of will help you get in the right direction. Everyone here is pretty friendly (except that Gwen girl... she's moody lol, just kidding ofcourse) Most of us know eachother in person and the monthly meetings are as much of a friendly get together as they are a place to pick up more information.
You came along at a great time... hopefully youll be able to make it to
Thanks everyone for your help and advice.

I will be spending tremendous amounts of time researching and trying to learn all I can. I have a tendency to want things right now, instead of waiting and trying to learn more about it before I start. But I am happy to say, that I have squashed that impulse and have dedicated myself to learning first, acting second.

Also, I will try the used equipment route first and see what I can acquire that way, as opposed to buying everything new.

And I am a big DIY guy, so I would be interested in building my own stand and finding out other things that I can do to save myself money and also to take satisfaction in knowing I did it myself.

I would love to attend the next meeting, but I do work second shift from 3pm - 12am, but there is a possibility that I might be able to sneak out for a bit.

How long are the meetings typically and how many people show up?

Thanks again for everyone's friendly advice and info, it is much appreciated.

Hope to see you all next Tuesday!

Meetings are 7:30-whenever, but typically the speaker starts at around 8pm and we finish up around 9:30ish. Some people meet afterwards for dinner if we can find a place nearby.

The attendance varies wildly- from 30 to 120, depending on the venue and the time of year.
Meetings last anywhere from and hour to two hours and anywhere from 40-80people... A few people usually get together afterwards for food and drinks too.
Maveri9720 wrote: Thanks everyone for your help and advice.

I will be spending tremendous amounts of time researching and trying to learn all I can. I have a tendency to want things right now, instead of waiting and trying to learn more about it before I start. But I am happy to say, that I have squashed that impulse and have dedicated myself to learning first, acting second....
Hope to see you all next Tuesday!


Welcome to the ARC! :)

While your head is probably swimming with options, I believe that you and your wife should first decide on what animals (fish, invertebrates and/or corals) you want to keep AND THEN provide a suitable environment for them. The needs of seahorses versus a predator tank versus a community reef tank have different requirements.

If you want to read some great material, IMHO, on what is needed to set up a reef tank or any marine aquarium, please read Anthony Calfo's the first 100 pages of his "Reef Invertebrates: An Essential Guide to Selection, Care and Compatibility" book. It is an invaluable treasure chest of knowledge and will save you from taking many mis-steps.

If you want a great and practical book on the different types of marine fish available, their level of difficulty and tank size requirements, please look at Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes: 500+ Essential-To-Know Aquarium Species".

I hope you'll be able to come to our meeting next week.