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Small saltwater aquarium questions

Discussion in 'Fish and Aquarium - all types' started by dragonfire10987, May 23, 2007.

  1. dragonfire10987

    dragonfire10987 New Member

    Hi! I was thinking about starting a saltwater project, and I wanted to know how small I can go. I don't want to spend thousands (or too many hundreds for that matter), but I would love to have a saltwater aquarium. How would I go about setting this up? I can only find diys on huge ones, and what could I keep in this little aquarium?
    Thank you for your time :D
  2. Used

    Used New Member

    Hello DragonFire. Saltwater aquariums are difficult to maintain and the startup as well as the upkeep costs are usually more than freshwater. For someones first saltwater aquarium I would go with at least a 20 gallon although larger is always better. I would personally recommend doing a Fish Only With Live Rock tank as in my opinion it will be the easiest to maintain. Basically a FOWLR tank is a tank that houses fish, live rock, and also can house inverts.

    Filtration for a smaller saltwater tank can be very simple depending on the specific livestock. I would recommend using a adequate amount of live rock which is around 1 pound of gallon of water. Live rock in the majority of saltwater tanks is the primary filtration. However investing in a good quality protein skimmer is a wise choice. Protein skimmers remove organic compounds before they breakdown which in turns helps improve and maintain water quality.

    Proper circulation in a saltwater tank is also very important for many different reasons. For a Fish Only With Live tank I would have a minimum of 15x turnover rate. So for example a 20 gallon tank would need a total of 300 gph. This can be accomplished by placing 2-3 powerheads at various locations in the tank.

    Lighting isn't something you need to worry about too much when setting up a FOWLR tank. A simple Normal Output Fluorescent fixture would be fine to use. However if you wanted more light or additional features such as moonlights, switches, etc I would go with a PowerCompact fixture. When choosing the right kelvin rating go with 10k or with multiple bulbs a mixture of 10k and actinic is best.

    Perfroming routine maintenance on saltwater tanks is crucial. Weekly water changes of 10-15% is needed using a quality marine salt mix and preferably reverse osmosis water. Although depending on the quality tap water along with a dechlorinator is fine to use. Measuring the specific gravity as well as testing the water parameters should also be done on a regular basis. Other things to do include removing algae, checking equipment, cleaning pumps and skimmer occasionally, etc.

    Stocking is something that needs to be considered also especially with a smaller tank. Since this will be your first saltwater tank I would go with small peaceful fish. Gobies, Firefish, Some Clownfish, Some Wrasses, etc are good choices. Depending on the tank size try and keep a low bioload meaning only a couple small fish. A good cleanup crew is essential to your aquarium. They help with eating uneaten food, waste, and algae. Cleanup crews usually consist of a variety of snails and crabs. Only add a few to start out with and add more as needed.

    Here is an article that I wrote for another forum: http://aquatopiaforum.com/index.php?showtopic=772. It lists the various items needed for a saltwater tank and a little information about each one.

    Hopefully this helps you out some. Good luck and if you have any more questions just ask. :)
  3. dragonfire10987

    dragonfire10987 New Member

    Thanks so much! I was actually thinking about starting this project for my dorm in a couple of years, so I could save up a saltwater fund. If I ever have any questions I'll ask you!

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