View Full Version : How To Set Up Salt Water Aquarium

03-07-2008, 07:30 PM
Yes, I'm a beginner. And I know it. So please, don't tell me that over and over again. Thank you.

I'm very interested in setting up a reef/salt water aquarium. I have the money to do so (approx $1200), but I need some help with selecting the right tools to do so. So please, any of you have expertise or advice in this area, please select one or all of the questions below to answer:

1. What size tank is recomended?
2. What fish will get along okay (At least 5 types, preferrably colorful & active fish) with a Peppermint Shrimp? (A friend of mine raises them, and offered me one or two to help free up some of her own tank space.)
3. What conditions are required for the water?
4. Is live rock an okay thing to buy?
5. I'd also like to have starfish and/or anemones in the talk, if possible, what are requirements for them?

Please, don't rude if I have misunderstood something or have something all wrong. I really don't like when people post comments saying "You really have no idea what you're talking about, do you?" It's just rude. Please simply state what I don't understand, and explain it. That helps more. Thank you if you do have time to answer my questions and/or offer advice.

03-07-2008, 08:24 PM
1. Your budget is going to limit you to about a 20-30g tank, depending on how much you spend on various items. I don't know if you can get deals where you live, so it is hard to say. A very general rule, is that you should expect to spend $50/gallon on setting up a SW tank (not including livestock). If I had that budget, I would set up a nice 20g, so that I could buy nice equipment and so I had some extra $$ for livestock.

Keep in mind, that is not recommended for beginners to keep small tanks, because they are generally more difficult to keep healthy. I would do a lot of research and reading before you get started. SW is not something you want to learn on the fly!

2. Most fish get along with a pep. shrimp (assuming the shrimp are not very small). You only need to watch out for a few species, and online retailers will alert customers to fish that eat ornamental shrimp. I would start here to look at some potential occupants:


BTW, your friend is not saving you too much $$$, peps go for $4.99 where I live.

3. Here are the parameters:
pH - 7.8 to 8.6
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrite - 0ppm
Nitrate - less than 5ppm
Calcium- 400ppm to 450ppm
Temperature - 24C to 28C

4. Live rock is a must have, so it is VERY ok to buy.
5. Starfish and anemones require large, mature tanks. Anemones also require high intensity lighting.

You might want to start by reading the Basic Marine Guide:

If you want to see how much is involved in setting up a nice, large SW tank, read through this:

Finally, you don't have to worry much about people being rude on this forum. It is a very friendly community.

03-07-2008, 08:41 PM
Finally, you don't have to worry much about people being rude on this forum.

...and if they are rude, let one of us Mods know so we can correct the situation.

03-07-2008, 10:14 PM
coach said it all!

and yeah, noone here is rude, i remember when i first joined a saltwater forum a long time ago all that happened was i got BASHED about everything i did

03-07-2008, 11:02 PM
Coach gave you a great start. I completely agree that excessive research is necessary before you do anything. You will easily blow your budget if you dive in and mess something up early. You are off to a great start by asking good questions. Keep them coming.

Also, I'm almost done reading Natural Reef Aquariums by John H. Tullock and it is an excellent book. I recommend aquiring a copy and giving it a read. It will give you an excellent head start to your research.

- Bill

03-08-2008, 12:18 AM
If you are open to any tank size, a 55g would be good. Cocoa pleco reccomends the 55g highly, and says it is good for a green bubble tipped anemone.
Yes, Live rock is a must. In a 55g, you can get some pretty nice fish.
Look on http://liveaquaria.com/product/categ.cfm?pcatid=15 for some fish with a minimum tank size you can provide.
For a filter, you should get an Aquaclear or bio-weel. I've heard they are good for SW.

03-08-2008, 12:28 AM
Follow what Coach said.

You could get a nice 20-30g going for the budget that you have.

03-08-2008, 12:32 AM
a 55g is really the starter size but on that budget a 33g is best

05-28-2008, 06:14 AM
The bigger the tank the easier to maintain. Low volume tank can be tedius. Yeah a 40 - 50 gal tank can be a good start up.. but I would suggest, if you can, go to atleast 75gal and even more.

Cost is relative, you can always start slow.. get a tank and some rocks. A skimmer is a must but if you're not gonna stock it with many livestock, you can temporarily do without it. The important things, cycle it and let the biological filter develop.

Corals are nice but I suggest you start with a fish and move on from there.

Hope this help.

05-28-2008, 11:20 AM
Good advice on up! Yes s/w is very expensive. To put into prespective I have spent well over 3 grand on my 55g and closer to 4 grand. That my friend is a lot for one tank but if you see it you will understand some what. for a 30g alone you are looking at roughly 250-300 dollars in LR and then you got the light (200$) and about 3 powerheads (14$ each) and a protein skimmer (100$) and then the tank and stand (150$) and then you have others bits and pieces like the sand, test kit, mixes, and several other little things. The way most ppl do s/w is to do a little bit at a time. Maybe buy the starting stuff and then just build it up slowly. You think I whipped out 4 Grand to pay for my 55g at one time? No it has been over a year that I have spent that and I am still buying a little bit here an there.

05-28-2008, 02:04 PM
old thread

05-28-2008, 09:36 PM
Didn't notice that but it is still informative on the issue.