Salt Water Aquarium start up...Help Hints??

  1. Have a friend at work who has expressed interest in setting up and maintaining a salt water aquarium tank. Any of my email fam out there with experience that I can pass on to him? Appreciate the help.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   akcarmean
    Quote from Thunderwolf
    Have a friend at work who has expressed interest in setting up and maintaining a salt water aquarium tank. Any of my email fam out there with experience that I can pass on to him? Appreciate the help.
    We have checked into this before, & I believe that you have to let the tank set up and get the chemicals correct for about 2 months before you can add any fish. (Don't count on this to much it's been a long time ago). But any place that sells fish should be able to help him and answer his questions.

    Angie
  4. by   suzanne4
    1. Go to a shop that specializes in salt water fish...........do not buy from a commercial pet store.............
    2. Tank must be set up for at least two weeks before adding fish, depending on what you are using to set it up with.
    3. Do not use live fish for setting up the tank, it will automatically kill the fish. You can use pieces of uncooked shrimp to do the same thing.
    4. Add only a few fish at a time. Do not purchase a whole tank of fish right away. Slowly add, it will take months before it gets to what it will lok like.
    5. Read as much as possilbe before getting started.
    6. Decide before you get started what type of tank that you want to have...All fish, fish and some coral, or mainly corals and just a few fish. Not all can go together without causing damage to something else. Some fish are carnivores and will eat the smaller fish. Some corals will also eat fish.

    Hope that this help..........(I had 6 tanks in Thailand)---it is also a very expensive hobby in the US. The larger the tank, the easier it is to keep.)
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I agree w/the above. My dh is a really experienced aquarium enthusiast (we have 90-gal salt reef/fish tank in oak stand now) .

    I have to say if there is ONE way to sum it up: DO NOT RUSH IT and don't be CHEAP.....you will lose fish, you will spend a LOT OF MONEY getting it right. BE patient.

    Get a really good book on the subject. Go to a trusted store where they have people who KNOW what they are talking about to HELP YOU. (NOT Petco, Petsmart, etc). Find an individual business if you can. Ask around.

    My dh is a member of an online aquarium enthusiast's group (the forum is the same as allnurses is, actually) and these guys have BEAUCOUP knowledge. Some have tanks exceeding 500-1000gal in their homes. I will get the web addy for you and you can just go check it out and read up. (if you are interested).

    Truly, It's a whole lot of trial and error and patience, my friend, but the results are stunning. We never cease to draw attention and compliments on our amazing and beautiful tank. It truly is a work of art and blends into our motif well. It's the centerpiece of our living room, and the first thing many people see when they come into our home. And I take ZERO credit for it.

    If you ever want tips or helps, I can put you in touch w/my husband. He has been keeping tanks and fish for nearly 15 years and knows so much. Good luck.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Apr 21, '05
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    To expand on what Suzanne said, my dh would argue only one point. You do need a live fish to "cycle" the tank. He bought a cheap damsel to do the trick and lo, 3 years later, that sucker is ALIVE AND WELL. He will argue nothing but a LIVE fish will cycle it properly (this is done before you fill the tank GRADUALLY with other fish and corals).

    Plan ahead. Do you plan a coral tank? A fish tank? A combination? Well you have to learn what will cohabitate peacefully and synergistically. And that is a trick sometimes. Make sure your fish mix, if you plan a community tank. Some can and will eat the others, and you may be surprised at how many are extremely aggressive that don't "look that way". For example that cute little clown fish from the Disney movies is one of the MEANEST SUCKERS there is IRL. And clown fish do best when they have an anemonae to live with and in. Also know, if you plan to have coral reef, what fish DESTROY CORALS and AVOID THEM. Lesson learned the hard way here.

    IMO, the most beautiful and fascinating tanks are community tanks that combine coral and fish life. It's a delicate and ever-changing ecosystem you are creating here, so be prepared for some frustration. But like I said the end product is worth it.

    Best of luck to you.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Apr 21, '05
  7. by   akcarmean
    Good Luck to your friend !!!

    We thought about a salt tank at one time but dh was to impatient and didn't want to wait that long; plus the other is cheaper. Also a factor that we had to consider.

    So glad you guys could help. I sure don't know much.

    Angie
  8. by   KrisRNwannabe
    we set one up in january. 130 gallons. we are pretty much done now. they do take tons of time and money. we have spent probably 5000 grand. we buy lots of stuff from the internet. my hubby has met lots of people from the michiganreefers.com website. go here and you should be able to find one for your state. he has made lots of friends from it and this is where we get lots of stuff. we do lots of trading plus people sell their stuff when it gets too big. we never buy anything from stores. they are way over priced. plus on this website you can find alternatives for some of the chemicals. it is a good place to find stuff. tanks do have to be cycled with a couple of fish. we used damsels. right now we are trying to keep a couple of clams. also websites will tell you what fish to keep with corals. some fish will eat hard corals so you have to be mindful. i suggest lots of research before making any purchases. it is a lot of work!!
  9. by   suzanne4
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    To expand on what Suzanne said, my dh would argue only one point. You do need a live fish to "cycle" the tank. He bought a cheap damsel to do the trick and lo, 3 years later, that sucker is ALIVE AND WELL. He will argue nothing but a LIVE fish will cycle it properly (this is done before you fill the tank GRADUALLY with other fish and corals).

    Plan ahead. Do you plan a coral tank? A fish tank? A combination? Well you have to learn what will cohabitate peacefully and synergistically. And that is a trick sometimes. Make sure your fish mix, if you plan a community tank. Some can and will eat the others, and you may be surprised at how many are extremely aggressive that don't "look that way". For example that cute little clown fish from the Disney movies is one of the MEANEST SUCKERS there is IRL. And clown fish do best when they have an anemonae to live with and in. Also know, if you plan to have coral reef, what fish DESTROY CORALS and AVOID THEM. Lesson learned the hard way here.

    IMO, the most beautiful and fascinating tanks are community tanks that combine coral and fish life. It's a delicate and ever-changing ecosystem you are creating here, so be prepared for some frustration. But like I said the end product is worth it.

    Best of luck to you.
    On the website that you were speaking of, I also was very active on it when I was still overseas..............the big talk was not to use the living fish, that the freshly dead shrimp would work just as well. Most of the first fish die when placed in an aquarium............and most use damsels to do this, but personally I hate them..........they actually kill off many types of fish and can be super aggressive for a fish of that size..............glad that your husband likes his damsel.............

    And to the original poster: Take it very slow. Figure on it taking you about one year to get the tank to what you want it to look like.........it cannot be rushed at all.
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I guess different schools of thought dictate different practices.My dh has kept numerous tanks and has always used live fish for cycling. I have heard of the practice of using shrimp. Like I said, I am totally IGNORANT-----I just know what my dh with all his years of experience with fresh water and salt tanks would do. To each his /her own.

    Ps: the damsel does just fine with 9 or 10 other fish in this same tank. If you want to know the truth, it's the CLOWNS you better watch in a community. They are MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEan. I guess having the corals and large size tank is helpful. The damsel minds his own Ps and Qs rofl.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Apr 22, '05
  11. by   suzanne4
    In Thailand when my first office tank was set-up they put in damsels. And of course we decided to turn it into a seahorse aquarium, practically had to spear the damsels to get them out of there...........they were also bothering the few other fish in there........

    All of my other friends over there never use the damsels anymore. They also try to stay away from them...........

    It all comes down to the type of fish that are going to be in the tank, as well as the type of corals............
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Well in the end, I guess, we all find out what works, dont' we Suzanne?

    I wish the OP's friend good luck setting up the tank; I think we can all agree, it's quite an adventure setting up salt aquarium tanks!
  13. by   suzanne4
    The forum that I was speaking of is called www.thesea.org.
    There is quite a bit of useful information. Quite impressed with all of the info that was available there, similar to www.allnurses.com but just for salt water tanks...................
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I think the forum my dh uses is different. I will ask him tonight.

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