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84mick
06-02-2007, 07:17 PM
G'day guys, Just wanting to know what is needed to get a salt water tank set up and how do you maintain it?
P.s you dont need to go into to much detail, I wont be getting one for a while.
Thanks in advance.

Cheers, Mick.

Feral
06-02-2007, 07:39 PM
For what? the lounge room?

Scalem
06-02-2007, 08:00 PM
I'll presume you mean for the house to, on which I can comment, having recently converted my 3ft over to salt.

There's 3 secrets. 1 - Filtration 2. Bacteria 3. Partial water changes. Points 1 and 2 are related. More filtration = more bacteria activity which will cope with your fish's toilet and excess food particles better.

You can elabourate from here till the cows come home, and any serious saltwater aquarist will tell you that you need to invest in test kits for all mannor of things, Amonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, PH etc etc. They all cost money around $100.00 for a reasonable test kit that does most of what you want. I have not yet bought one, only having recently set my tank up without going into the red with my savings account. And when I ask the question " I test my water and find I have higher levels of Nitrate than what is considered normal, what do I do?" The answer is " the quickest way to control higher levels of Nitrate is to do a partial water change" - hence my point # 3

Start a new tank slowly, just one junk fish you caught in the river with your cast net, and wait several weeks to see how it's going before getting any more fish, and even then, one fish at a time, or you will tip the balance of the tank where the bacteria colonies have not had a chance to multiply to sufficient numbers to deal with the fish excrement, which usually results in high levels of amonia.

That's the start.. I got my girls a Nemo and several types of small Damsels a few months ago, and they are going great guns!!

Good luck!

Scalem

P.S One more thing that is essentail is the thing that measures salinity. Looks like a thermometer that you drop into the water to measure the amount of salt you have in the water. Buy a bag of salt and add until you are in the green section of the ( I think it's called a hydrometer)

snelly1971
06-02-2007, 09:31 PM
All the commercial tanks here have there bacteria started of by adding a crab leg.....and when the water level gets low they top up with fresh water only..

rick k
06-02-2007, 10:02 PM
a lot of saltwater fish are territorial, particularly angelfish and butterfly fish, and will bully a newcomer into a back upper corner.

A way to fix that is to move the rocks etc in the tank around a bit just before you introduce the newcomer. That way they all get to establish a new territory.

RobGoesFish
06-02-2007, 11:17 PM
Check this website out as a place to help get started http://fins.actwin.com/mirror/sbegin-setup.html , you will find plenty of information if you search in google.

cbs
07-02-2007, 07:14 AM
First question you need to answer is:

What do I want to achieve? Fish only, Reef (with coral and inverts) or even specific biotopes. Many options.

then the other answers can follow.

Marine aquariums can be a simple affair, or a much more serious (read expensive) proposition. My own tank started out as a small (30 litres) with two locally caught fish sitting on the phone table several years ago and is now an 850 litre fully presentated reef system that draws more power than a small city. It cost more than my boat. (that could be a warning to you) I don't regret a thing.

cbs

ps, no need to add "junk fish" to start the system, all you need is a food source to establish the bacterial cycle. Nothing worse than purposefully subjecting some small critter to amonia burn, then having to answer a little girls questions about why the little fishie has cloudy eyes and its fins are half missing.

gilbo
07-02-2007, 07:17 AM
Hi - make sure you have plenty of good quality "live Rock", this provides most of you baterial filtration and make sure there is plenty of water movement over it. There are various techniques around one of the most popular being the Berlin method which is the Live rock and a good protein skimmer. Depending on who you talk to you will get pros and cons for every method. I keep a 5' tank in the house and it is plumbed into 2 3' sumps outside. 1 is full of live rock and my return pumps and the other I let overgrow with algae and it basically just adds to the volume of water. I also have a protein skimmer in one of the sumps and a chiller plumbed it, as letting the water temp get to high with stress your fish and corals quite quickly. I dont change the water as often as I should but do try to change at least 25% a month. Usually gets changed a bit more if I have been out in the bay as I bring natural salt water back whenever I am out.

There are lots of good sites on the net and if you do some exploring you will be as confused as everyone else out there when they start down this road.

Good luck

Shane

devocean
07-02-2007, 11:49 AM
Watch out for hot days, best to have tank in aircondtioning especially if youmare going to keep invertabrets. If your water is cloudy you have problems and the most imporatnt rule dont over feed your fish will create huge imbalances in nitrates

4x4frog
07-02-2007, 01:59 PM
Years ago I learnt that the best way to keep a salt-water tank healthy is water movement. Not the typical suck through the sand type filter but a 2 outlelt type where one outlet is piped under the gravel/sand/shell grit in the bottom of the tank, which is on a small airating platform and the other pumps a current around the tank. This way no organic matter is allowed fall to the bottom and rot causing nasty bacteria. We used to do bi-weekly I think it was 1/3 water changes with Maroochy river water and never had any environmental issues that lead to unexplained deaths. The tank had a barramundi-cod, bream, juvenile red emporer and whatever small live food we caught in the drag net last. Live food is the best as the fish will only eat what need......hope this sin't too much detail:)

FIlter types and mediums are a whole different and personal choice really and as you don't want too much detail I won't elaborate yet


Mick, how close to the sea/bay are you? The best water is obviously natural if you can manage....also does away with the need for elaborate test kits and salt and chlorine nuetralisers:-/

efc
07-02-2007, 02:20 PM
when starting a marine tank it is important to establish the basics (being) filtration, lighting, water.
The tank should be 200L + to counter against sudden fluctuations in water parameters (salt levels, temp., ammonia / nitrite levels, etc)

Filtration could include either a sump or an external canister with heaps of biological filter media (seachem matrix). A good protein skimmer is needed aswell + power heads for water circulation ( tank volume being turned over 10+ times an hour by filters). Live rock is still the best form of natural filtration

If you want coral a metal halide light is needed but for a fish only tank a couple of fluros should do the job.

Add heaps of bacteria-in-a-bottle to the tank when cycling (seachem stability is one of the best) and make sure you use good quality synthetic salts as well as RO water (reverse osmosis, pure water) when doing water changes

84mick
07-02-2007, 04:14 PM
Thanks guys for all the info! I wasnt expecting that much! :)Like I said before I wont be getting one for a while or till I buy my own home. Now that I do have a little idea of what I need I can start looking around.
Its going to be a coral/reef/fish tank hoping for a size of 6"x 3"x 3" depending in where it will be going.
Once again thats a lot guys!

Cheers, Mick.

cbs
07-02-2007, 05:10 PM
double post.....

cbs
07-02-2007, 05:10 PM
Its going to be a coral/reef/fish tank hoping for a size of 6"x 3"x 3" depending in where it will be going.
Cheers, Mick.


This is the information you need to provide in the first post. A lot of the information given in the above posts will not cut it to do this properly.

To see what can be done these days go to www.reefkeeping.com (http://www.reefkeeping.com) and read all the back issue "tank of the months" .

Other than that,

Research research research.
Patience, Patience, Patience
Do it right, once only.

Be prepared to spend big $$$$ for a tank that size.

Good Luck.

Archer
07-02-2007, 07:11 PM
http://masa.asn.au/phpBB2/

The Aussie Reefing forums: Very helpful bunch (most of the time). A few of them are "go search" nazi's but Meh ya get that ignore them there's plenty of very knowledgeable and friendly people on there who are more than willing to help no matter how silly the question may seem.
Kept a reef tank for 5-6 years great and very rewarding hobby and as soon as we finish reno's (if we ever do!!!) i will be getting another tank.

Joe

Feral
07-02-2007, 07:44 PM
Mate look around second hand for your tank. Or have a glazier make it. A Tank with about $50 worth of glass will cost you thousands from your average pet shop. Same with filters etc, Big W is your friend!

My freshwater tank cost $10 from recycle land, it is a 120litre unit, same size at the local pet shop on a fancy stand over $1000 (I Just put mine on a nice old sideboard)

Scalem
07-02-2007, 08:21 PM
First question you need to answer is:


ps, no need to add "junk fish" to start the system, all you need is a food source to establish the bacterial cycle. Nothing worse than purposefully subjecting some small critter to amonia burn, then having to answer a little girls questions about why the little fishie has cloudy eyes and its fins are half missing.

Your method of establishing a bacterial colony may be more honorable than mine at face value, but if a novice has not got any of the other parts to the equation right, including an adequate filter, or salinity, your "Little girl" may not be the only one asking questions if the $100.00 fish he bought is swimming around with cloudy eyes and fins half missing.

Scalem

cbs
07-02-2007, 08:54 PM
Scalem,

My point was that you do not need a fish in order to introduce a food source (ammonia) to kick start the biological cycle which contains processes and chemicals which are toxic to fish. Feeding the tank as though you do have fish in there (when you don't) will achieve the same ammonia source (as would live rock/sand etc etc). Why torture the animal?

The other things you mention are part of the setup and testing in any case.


For those watching on the sides, a tank normally requires biological (bacteria) and mechanical (skimmer) to convert/remove harmful chemicals.

The cycle is waste (ammonia - toxic) is converted to Nitrite (toxic) by one bacteria, then to nitrate (generally safe for fish but not corals) by another bacteria. Nitrate can then be converted to nitrogen gas by yet another bacteria (or a couple of other methods also)

Each bacteria takes time to develop and maintain populations. Each part of the cycle can be tested for using easily available test kits so you know where you are at during establishment.


some of the above is generalised, its a complex subject, and not even I know all of it (by a long shot)

Scalem
08-02-2007, 02:40 AM
Scalem,

My point was that you do not need a fish in order to introduce a food source (ammonia) to kick start the biological cycle which contains processes and chemicals which are toxic to fish. Feeding the tank as though you do have fish in there (when you don't) will achieve the same ammonia source (as would live rock/sand etc etc). Why torture the animal?

The other things you mention are part of the setup and testing in any case.


For those watching on the sides, a tank normally requires biological (bacteria) and mechanical (skimmer) to convert/remove harmful chemicals.

The cycle is waste (ammonia - toxic) is converted to Nitrite (toxic) by one bacteria, then to nitrate (generally safe for fish but not corals) by another bacteria. Nitrate can then be converted to nitrogen gas by yet another bacteria (or a couple of other methods also)

Each bacteria takes time to develop and maintain populations. Each part of the cycle can be tested for using easily available test kits so you know where you are at during establishment.


some of the above is generalised, its a complex subject, and not even I know all of it (by a long shot)

All good, thanks for the explaination.... But you see the logic in my 1st point? Not everyone, and me included, can afford to throw a lot of money at test kits in finding out whether it's safe to introduce the 1st fish. Yes, I know you can start with a basic test kit for around $50.00, but not likely to be a very good kit that does all the essentials like amonia, Nitrate, Nitrite. If I start thinking about live corals or anenomies, and spending serious amounts of money, I would be foolish not to get a good test kit. My Partial water changes of about 10 - 20% on weekends are holding all that off for the time being;)

Scalem

Archer
08-02-2007, 06:11 AM
Scalem, The only real "danger" chemical in slatwater for fish is Ammonia nitrite is all that potent in saltwater and nitrate isnt potent at all....Least not as far as fish are concerned.
You should be able to pick up a Amomonia and nitrite test kit for about $20 for the 2 of them once theres no nitrite you will have no ammonina either. So in theroy you could get away with just a nitrite test kit for starters.

gilbo
08-02-2007, 07:29 AM
if you have any detectable ammonia in your system you are in trouble trying to keep livestock. The usual biological filtration should take care of getting it to the nitrate state. Removing the nitrate is then why the water changes need to occur. As nitrate can only be remove by anerobic bateria which usually only occur in areas where there is little or no water movement. Algae is another way to remove nitrates and hence an algae bloom can be a sign of high nitrates in the water (or high phosphates). To get started I would recommend, lots of live rock, good water movement, and a good protein skimmer, in that order. This will allow you at a minimum to keep fish which are a lot easier to keep than any corals. After that then you can worry above lights, chillers, calcium reactors, UV sterilizers, etc etc etc. When it comes to reef keeping it is really "How long is a piece of string" or how big is your wallet.

Find someone that has a tank, has been running for awhile, looks good, the fish look healthy, find out what they did and how they do it and copy them.

Your forums on reef keeping are a better source of information than your local fish shop as all they want is a sale.

Good luck.

Cheers

Shane

cbs
08-02-2007, 09:13 AM
Gilbo has given some good advice here. :)


There are no real shortcuts to be had when starting a tank if you want it to be successfull. time & patience is the key. Bloody hard when first starting out.

84mick
13-02-2007, 04:35 PM
Thanks guys alot, thanks for all that info theres so much of it haha.
Once again thanks.
Mick.:)

4x4frog
14-02-2007, 09:17 AM
Mick,
For ease of maintainence the system I spoke of had a 'home made' filter and just ran off two pumps. We had a second small tank mounted at the end of the main tank and the water was pumped through this one with filter wool, charcoal and shell grit as the 3 media for filtration. Simple and very effective

seabug
14-02-2007, 11:14 AM
"Its going to be a coral/reef/fish tank hoping for a size of 6"x 3"x 3" depending in where it will be going."::) ::)

Hi 84mick,
Was that a typing error ,or were you getting in early for April 1st:) :)

6"x3"x3" Be good for breeding Silverfish;) ;) ;D ;D

Regards
Seabug

84mick
14-02-2007, 07:22 PM
Haha I ment 6 foot etc etc, sorry guys. :D

Manjilad
14-02-2007, 09:45 PM
Nice thread. Thinking of starting a marine aqm for 1st time later in 2007 after great success with tropicals. Lots to learn. keep the thread going please.
One of my goals would be to try the catch my own "wild" reef fish for the aquarium. Is this realistic? doable? how?. How do I get around bringing home "undersized" fish?
Any tips on how to catch your own? Anyone care to share their experiences please.
Thanks

Scalem
14-02-2007, 09:58 PM
Nice thread. Thinking of starting a marine aqm for 1st time later in 2007 after great success with tropicals. Lots to learn. keep the thread going please.
One of my goals would be to try the catch my own "wild" reef fish for the aquarium. Is this realistic? doable? how?. How do I get around bringing home "undersized" fish?
Any tips on how to catch your own? Anyone care to share their experiences please.
Thanks

Don't know where the legality starts with collecting your own fish. If you go in snorkling with nets, you could be considered to be "collecting" and I guess if you are caught with the wrong type of fish - I think it's somewhere I would rather not tempt fate. However, what I did find a hoot for all the family was fishing very light line in amoungst the rocks at the southport seaway. I started my tank with a Sargent Major referred to earlier. There's literally hundreds of these, and easy to catch on the smallest fly hook you can find, and a dab of prawn on it as bait. But they are agressive in the tank. Same goes for the wrasse family we catch in our waterways. Pretty as, but burrow in the gravel and make a real mess excavating all the time

Scalem

cbs
15-02-2007, 01:21 PM
Collecting fish for the home aquarium comes under the same set of laws for "normal fishing". you must obey size limits ie no taking of baby bream etc. There is a limit of 5 fish per person per month.

Your best bet is hand nets and snorkel. The best fish won't take a baited line. collecting on scuba is illegal.

That's the basic jist of it. You can decipher the entire cans and can'ts by downloading the fisheries act and regulations and going through it. All of the above and more is in it.

cbs
15-02-2007, 03:55 PM
Should've said the above rules are queensland only, Other states have variations.

Check the rules yourself though.

Manjilad
15-02-2007, 08:24 PM
Scalem, CBS thanks for the guidelines folks. I might try the light line catching for starters. I will make a few calls to appropriate depts to catch their gist ... but I guess bringing home illegal squire and fattening them up is out of the question!!!!!
Cheers