Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

My First Ever Saltwater Tank. Need Lots Of Help Please!

Discussion in 'Marine & Reef Journals' started by guitarplayer97, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. guitarplayer97

    guitarplayer97 Mostly New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    US
    I have decided to start my first ever saltwater tank. I currently have a 10 gallon tank, with the normal measurements of 20x10x12. I have a bio-wheel filter that cleans 100 gallons of water every hour, so it's cleaning my tank 10 times in an hour. I also have a heater. Also got the hood with the LED lights in it. Basically a 10 gallon starter kit. So I was wondering what more do I need for saltwater? Will my filter and heater work with saltwater? Also, i have heard something about live rock and live sand? Could someone tell me some information about it and how much I need of each? This is my first saltwater tank ever, so I need all the help I can get please. (I also know that I have a relatively small aquarium, but money is a restriction for me) Thanks in advance for all the help!
     
  2. Chad

    Chad Reef Tank, Crustacean, and Puffer Enthusiast
    Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    8,640
    Likes Received:
    155
    Location:
    US
    You can do a marine tank with the standard bio wheel filters or other kinds but many people, especially those who keep reefs use what's called the Berlin Method. This method uses the live rock you refer to.
     
    Here are some links that might help.
    For sand I recommend a fine grain aragonite sand. My favorite is Nature's Ocean Live Sand.
     
    Keep in mind that 10 gallons is a very small marine tank, it's a nano tank on the small side of nano tanks. I normally recommend a 55 gallon tank for a first marine tank so just know you will have some challenges.
     
    Evaporation will be one of the main ones. As water evaporates salt does not. That means as the water drops the salt content goes up. So you must keep the tank topped off with non-salt water. The best way to do this on a small tank is with an auto top off unit because just a bit of evaporation in a tank that small can really raise the salinity and cause havoc with livestock.
     
    There's much more to learn of course but that's some to digest for now.
     
  3. kevingrods

    kevingrods Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2013
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    US
    hey good luck with this tank!!!  when your all set up I would love to see some pics!
     
  4. guitarplayer97

    guitarplayer97 Mostly New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    US
    Thanks man! I will add pics when it is all setup
     
  5. kiwi210

    kiwi210 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    US
    Your filter and heater should work just fine and your LED light will be okay regarding you don't want to add coral. I would recommend getting a hydrometer to check the salinity(how much salt is in the water) and a powerhead. Brown algae is very common in beginner saltwater tanks. It is usually caused by lack of circulation and the powerhead will help create a better flow in the tank.
     
    If you want sand as a substrate, be aware that the vacuum will most likely suck it up when you do water changes. I use crushed coral in my saltwater tanks. 
     
    You want to get about 10 pounds of live rock or 1-2 pounds for every gallon. Live rock might be expensive; where I buy mine it is $5.99 a pound. You can use something called dry rock which is essentially the same thing as live rock it is just not cured and your tank will take longer to cycle. This is because the dry rock technically needs to be converted into live rock before it can provide your tank with its biological needs. Dry rock is about $1.99 a pound. May sound confusing right now but just know there is nothing you need to do different as long as you understand your tank may take longer to cycle and you need 1-2 pounds of live rock for every gallon. If you want to use dry rock, I would recommend doing 6 pounds of live, 4 pounds of dry. I used all live rock with my 10 gallon tank but my 75 gallon I did about 55 pounds live and 20 dry. 
     
    Next, you will need some salt. LFS sell boxes of salt for 10 gallon mixes but I would highly recommend getting something for a 25 gallon because you will need more salt in the future and it is always handy to have around. DO NOT dump all of this salt in your tank. Get a large 30 gallon container(I use a trashcan) and fill it with water to the point where there is about 5 gallon left. Dump all of the salt into the container. This will allow all of the salt to dissolve correctly this way it is not too concentrated when you add it to you tank. Once the salt is dissolved, mix the water up so all the salt doesn't sit on the bottom and add about 4 cups of the dissolved saltwater to your tank. Check the salinity in 24 hours with the hydrometer and make sure it is at least 1.018. This may be low for some fish and corals but it will keep your live rock alive while you allow your tank to cycle. 
     
    Like Tcamos mentioned above, evaporation is a problem with saltwater tanks and because salt does not evaporate, you can top it off with freshwater when this happens. 
     
    A myth about starting saltwater tanks is that it will take FOREVER to first cycle. Some people say to place a dead piece of shrimp at the bottom of the tank and allow it to decompose to help your tank cycle. This method will take forever; however what I do is just add the live rock, salt mix and conditioner right away, run the filter, and add a little bit a food after about three days(tropical flakes are fine.) It honestly took my tanks a week at most to fully cycle and once I got the salinity levels correct, I was able to add fish two weeks after I set it up! I set up my saltwater tanks over a year ago and my beginner clownfish are still living!
     
    Just remember to be patient and eventually you will have a really nice saltwater tank! 
     

Share This Page