New to Saltwater


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I have had many freshwater aquariums throughout the years and have always wanted a saltwater. I would like to start out with a fish only tank then upgrade to a reef tank a few months down the road. At the moment I have a 29 gallon tank with water in it in (nothing else). I was wondering what I needed to start the tank. I talked to my LFS but am still a little confused about what I would need to get it started.
Welcome to the ARC forums!!!

Here's an example of my first saltwater tank(29 gallon).

-40lbs of reef sand
-30lbs of live figi rock
2 x 300gph powerheads
1 x hangon back skimmer
1 x 130w PC Day/Actinic light fixture

You can adjust the amount of sand depending on how deep you want the sand bed to be. Here are some picture of the tank.
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First purchase should be a Reverse Osmosis (RO) filter, unless you plan to buy water from your LFS. If you can afford it, get one with a De-Ionizer as well (RO/DI). This item is the "solid foundation" on which a successful aquarium can be built.

I got mine from Air Water Ice:
I agree. If you don't mind buying Ro/Di water than get a hang on back skimmer (NEEDED) about 2 power heads to move the water through and around the rock and a power compact light. In fact I am running a 55 just like that right now and very successfully I might add.
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truthfully to do a fish only you dont really need much. If you want basic basic, alls you need is water, salt, some sort of filtration ( some use hob penguin type, some use canisters, and some just have skimmers) and fish, and maybe some sand. Live rock isnt needed, although it is a good natural source of filtration. Skimmer isnt needed if you do your water changes weekly.....I didnt have a skimmer on my tank for quite some time, and it was a reef tank too, but once you go reef its a nice added extra to have a good skimmer. Lighting is another thing you can get away with just the basic.....but you need to keep in mind that if you do want reef, you might want to just buy a good light rig and be done with it. It really all depends on how in depth you want to go with it. Befor you jump into anything, I'ld recommend reading up on starting a sw tank, and a reef tank, so you can get the full idea of what youre going to need...that helps so you dont have to rebuy/upgrade things later down the line. Dont forget to ask as many questions as you'ld like, were all happy to help!
Thanks for all your input. I think the first thing on my list is going to be a skimmer. What kinds do you recommend for a hang on back for a 29 gallon? Also what powerheads do you recommend? Don't forget I am college student with limited funds. I don't want cheap equipment but I can't afford the top of the line.
I went out and bought two books on aquariums.
Check the classifieds here. There are usually people going larger, getting out, or moving. you could post a want to and see what is offered. Just remember to do your research on the equipment that is offered. You know if I'm selling it, it is the best and you gotta have it!LOL Make sure it is the piece you need at the price you want.
for a hob skimmer I'ld reccommend an Aqua C Remora or Remora Pro. Usually people are getting rid of them or ebay has them. I believe the only difference between the remora and remora pro is the pump, you get a Mag3 with the Pro and a maxi jet 1200 with the regualr remora. I have two of them and I love them!
dont forget youre going to want a skimmer that will over skim your tank, meaning have the power to skim at least twice your tank size....that remora will do great on a 30.....I have one on a 25 and my reef it over kill on the 15....maybe, but the tank is also BB so it needs great skimming power.
I got my sand and salt for the tank. The local fish shop had a sale on SATELLITE 24-HOUR SINGLE LAMP HIGH-OUTPUT COMPACT FLUORESCENT LIGHTING SYSTEMS. Does any one know anything about these lights and will these work?
I am going to get a skimmer for my birthday in Jan.
The single bulb fixture will provide enough light for most low light corals. You would be much better of with the dual bulb fixture.
glxtrix wrote: dont forget youre going to want a skimmer that will over skim your tank, meaning have the power to skim at least twice your tank size....that remora will do great on a 30.....I have one on a 25 and my reef it over kill on the 15....maybe, but the tank is also BB so it needs great skimming power.

I have to say this i the best thing I did. I got a 125g skimmer for my 75g and it works awesome! I do a 15 gallon change every week as well until I get my sump and overflow box setup. That makes the biggest difference in clarity. Just have to stay on top of that buffer and don't over feed DA FISH!
I set the tank up yesterday, so it has been running for about 24 hours. I got a test kit today and everything looked good except for the pH. It read 7.8. What should I do? The other numbers are all 0(nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia), is this normal?
Thanks for all your help
<span style="color: black;">You can add pH buffer to help level off your pH to 8.1-8.3. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle. It can take 1-2 weeks for you to level out your pH. You should purchase a alkalinity test kit to keep an eye on your alkalinity especially if you are going to does buffer.</span>
I got some ph buffer and 16 more pounds of rock. I have a total of 22 pounds of rock now.
Can I have more than the 1 pound per gallon or will that hurt the tank?
Also I am having touble finding a way to set up the rock that I like?
Are there any special way the rock needs to be set up?
Can it touch the walls of the tank?
all that depends on you man, you can have as much rock as your heart desires, tho dont add too much so the water displaces so much that youre loosing water volume. As far as rocks on the glass, you can do that, some people dont because they like to be able to clean all sides of the tank if need be, but thats really all on you. Setting up rocks is purely aesthetic, and dont worry man, noone has set up their rocks the first time and fell in love with it :) its all trial and error.
what i did was i didn't buy all the rock at the same time because i couldnt afford it but i would get a Ro/Di unit first it makes all the diffrence in the world. I would have spent so much money on salt water at the LFS if i didnt work there. They pay off in the long run.