Does anyone have experience with saltwater tanks? I'm thinking about putting one in my living room. I don't know anything about saltwater tanks at all, and I want to make sure I do my research before I get started. Is there a forum that I can join to learn? :) Thanks!!
First and foremost make sure the tank you're using is qualified for use with salt water. Next get a hydrometer, it is imperative that you use keep the alkalinity of a tank at proper and stable levels for the type of fish you're keeping.
Now as far as substrate goes there a few different ones but sand seems to be the most common, however dolomite is better as it helps to buffer changes to the ph.
Also living rock is essential for cycling a biological filter in a saltwater tank as fish are too expensive.
If you have anymore questions please ask and if I don't know my dad probably will and I'll ask him. ^_^
Another few things you'll need is a full range marine test kit and......it's one of those plastic things that hang on the side of the tank that you use to acclimate the fish (I forgot what it's called). But you need it because you have to temper the water the fish came from to bring it's salinity and temp up to where your tank is at.
Here is the list of what you need to start a SW tank.
#1-Dry Rock, there are a few hitchhikers on Live Rock that people want to stay away from, so they opt for using Dry Rock, or Dead Rock. Macro Rock is a good place to start looking for that. Either way you go you will need a minimum of 1lb per gallon.
#2-Replacement filter media like filter floss and activated carbon (if you get a filter) Which is really not necessary.
#3-Multiple Power heads (2 or 3) 10x your water volume for just a Fish Only With Live Rock, and at least 20x your water volume for a Reef Tank. So lets say your going reef, and you have a 100g tank, you would need flow in that tank at minimum of 2000gph, or 2 1000gph power heads.
#4-Protein Skimmer, rated at 2 times your water volume. Unless your tank is under 30g, in which case you can do 10% water changes a week to rid the system of detrius. But, you'll have to watch the water parameters close, if things go haywire, you'll have to do more water changes.
#5-Saltwater Test Kits. Reef Test Kit. Test for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, PH, Phosphates, Calcium, ALK and Magnesium.
#6-Saltwater fish food. Mysis Shrimp, Squid, Cyclopease, Algae Sheets, Romaine . Flake food is not really a good food to feed your marine fish.
#7-Aquarium vacuum. This one is iffy. Most don't use one, if you have enough flow in the tank you won’t need one
#8-Rubber kitchen gloves
#10-Two, clean, never used before, 5-gallon buckets
#11-Aquarium thermometer, digital being the best
.#12-Brush with plastic bristles (old tooth brush) - needed for cleaning the live rock if you don't get Fully Cured Live Rock
.#13-Power Strip, possibly GFCI outlets by the tank.
#14-Optional but definitely recommend getting a Reverse Osmosis or RO/Deionization filter for the make-up water, and a barrel for storing the water.
#15-Possibly a Quarantine Tank for your new fish. They sit in here for a few weeks to kill off parasites and bacteria, to keep it from getting in your main tank
#16-Heater rated for your size tank.
#17-Saltwater Mix. Marine Salt. Instant Ocean is the cheap Salt that beginners and Advanced use alike.
#18-Saltwater Hydrometer or even better a Refractometer, which is more accurate. There is also a Digital Meter that is way advanced if you have the cash.
#19-Aquarium filter (not absolutely necessary if running with adequate amounts of live rock, but nice to have if you need to use a mechanical filter or activated carbon, or GFO and such)
#20-Aquarium substrate such as live sand or crushed coral. Some go bare Bottom, others choose the 2-3" bottom, others, more advanced will try the Deep Sand Bed, which is over 6" deep.
Blennies: Blenny Fish Species Including Bicolor, Striped and other Blennies
Clownfish for Sale: Clownfish Species for the Home Aquarium
Gobies for Sale: Goby Fish Species Including Shrimp Gobies
Chromis for Sale: Blue and Green Chromis and other Reef Species
Beginner Invertebrates: Invertebrates Suitable for Beginners in Saltwater Aquariums
Saltwater Crabs: Hermit Crab Species for Saltwater Tanks
Aquarium Snails: Sea Snail Species and Aquatic Saltwater Snails
Sea Urchins: Live Red, Black and Pencil Sea Urchin Species
Aquarium Shrimp: Cleaner Shrimp Pistol and Coral Banded Shrimp
My dad keeps a saltwater tank, it's 100 gallons and i think he would say never get a saltwater tank under that size if you want a good community but at the same time he also grows coral so yeah it's twice the amount of work caring for the fish and keeping live coral.
A carbon filter will get choked with salt thus removing it from the water, that's why a biological filter is a neccessity. And the biologcal filter is the reason for using live rock, and yes it is always a possibility that any creature added to the tank could be carrying a disease or parasite.
I would also highly advise against putting sea urchins in the tank because they don't do well in anything less than a well established tank, not to mention the fact they often carry diseases.
Actually it was a sea urchin that contributed to the wiping out of my dad's 75 gallon salt tank. Like I said it's always a possibility but that's a truth about any aquarium fresh or salt.