View Full Version : Salt water aquarium advice

08-29-2006, 06:38 AM
So Mrs. Zep is remodeling/painting the master bedroom, and I've decided that a nice approx. 50 gal. aquarium would be the perfect relaxation item in the corner.

We've had the typical 20 gallon fresh water tanks, but she wants to go salt water this time. I've always heard that these tanks are quite a bit more expensive- plus, I'd have no idea about the setup/fish/etc.. Any CP experts in this field?

Also- what tank and components will probably cost me, and a good (economical) place to go to get them....

THX in advance- Z

08-29-2006, 06:41 AM
Crapola. Posted to the wrong forum. Oh well. Any mod here, feel free to move to the main forum if so inclined...

08-29-2006, 02:27 PM
Salt water is alot more work...but cool, more colorful fish

Coral etc.

08-30-2006, 03:31 PM
If you've never had a saltwater tank before, you're in for quite the project. Salt water tanks take much more maintenance than freshwater tanks do... and even more so when you get a bigger one. The 55gal tank with a stand will cost you around $250-300. The filtration system (External Biofilter, dual-head internal powerhead filters, tubing) will cost you ~$200-250 depending on how nice of a set you get.

You'll also need a good heater with a temp readout, a protein skimmer, a water testing kit (or else plan for weekly trips to the pet store), and for that big of a tank you'll need live rock. Live rock can be expensive though, 1 to 1.5 lbs per gallon is recommended, and cured live rock will cost between $6 and $8 a pound depending on where you get it. You can get by without putting in any live rock, but the tank will look like crap and won't be as healthy)

When you first set the tank up, plan on waiting at least 3 weeks before being able to put any fish in it. Saltwater fish are more sensitive to changes in their environment than freshwater fish. It will take a while to get the correct levels of pH, salinity, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. It takes a while to get the right bacteria in the tank as well (some recommend dropping in a couple uncooked cocktail shrimp and letting them rot to get a good base of bacteria started). Once your tank is stable enough to add fish, you'll have to do weekly (you can get by with bi-weekly or so) water tests.

I'd guess to get a 55 gal set up with 5 or 6 fish would be ~$600-850.

Here's a pretty good site with more information...

Reef Central (http://reefcentral.com/forums/index.php?s=)

Hope this helps you out a little.....

08-30-2006, 09:08 PM
I did about 40 hours of research on it a year ago, then decided not to go through with it for now. Larger tanks are more forgiving in saltwater, plus you need a pretty decent size tank to accomodate a good variety of interesting fish. I had decided something in the 125 gallon range would be about right.

08-31-2006, 11:57 AM
My direct experience with salt water is limited, I work at a feed store.

My buddy, way back in the day, before he got smart and moved to Vegas, use to have a pet shop that had a vast salt water array. Believe me when I tell you, the upkeep on those systems almost outweighs any marginal enjoyment you may achieve by haveing more exotic fish.

Of course, if you can afford to buy a service contract with the pet shop, or if there is a niche business that offers to service your tanks, buy it, and leave the headaches to someone else.

That was one of the few things that my friend made money on in that venture, servicing Dental offices aquarium tanks.

08-31-2006, 12:35 PM
don't put freshwater fish in it