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I just got a30gal tank, ahood w/alight, heater, andfilter. Ive never had a saltwater aquarium.Its going to be afish only tank with just some sand in the bottom and some drift wood or something.I know how to measure the salinitywith a hydrometer and how to dosome ofthe chemical tests but i have some questions.

Can I use saltwater from the bay/beach or shouldI mix my own? Do I need aprotein skimmer? The filter I havehangs on the back and waterfallsin,do I need morewater movement than that?DoI have tolet the water cycle for a whilebefore I addbait fish like pinfish or bull minnows?Should I add turtle grass or something to the bottom ( isit legal to take turtle grass)?

Any suggestions or tips?
 

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Best bet is to make your own. Wild saltwater has to much bacteria in it. Willcause problems for your store bought fish. I don't know much about it. But I was told never use the water from out in the Gulf or Bay.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Im not planning on using any store bought fish, should the bacteria harm wild fish?
 

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Join our forum here. http://reefcentral.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=379

As far as using natural seawater, I would advise against it. You never know what impurities are in the water. Get a goodRO system and make up your own saltwater. Mechanical filters like a hang on is astart but will need frequent cleaning. If you don't run a protein skimmer I would recommend weekly water changes if your just trying to keep bait.
 

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Where do you get the filters? and how do you mix up the water? I've been trying to keep bait alive for long periods of time about best i can do is a week then the water is trashed.
 

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You can buy all of the things you need at any tropical fish store. I mix my saltwater in some large plastic water camping jugs that I bought at Walmart. Its not hard. It has instructions for how much salt to add. You will need to test it and it will take you a couple of times to get it dead on. Then you just add the same amount every time. But always test!

When you start it up, you need to get some "live sand" and "live rock". I think it is 1lb for every 10 gallons minimum. Even if you do not want it. It is essential. All of the organisms that are needed to maintain the water conditions are in there! Put you water, sand and rock in. Let it cycle for at least a week and test. It will cycle out of spec a few times ding the first week or two. Then you can add a fish or two. It will cycle out of spec again. Then you can add a few more...Just dont overfeed... That is the quickest way to an aquarium disaster! Except maybe using bay water. It will get WAY out of control FAST. Oh and when you make your water, use a de-ammonia/de-chlorinator.
 

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I am wondering if we arnt getting way out of line here? Are you wanting to set up a aquarium for display or are you wanting a place to keep bait alive for a longer period of time.
 

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I used to work on a shrimp boat and we used to catch some pretty cool stuff, I set up a saltwater aquarium (55 gal) that had only local fish that I cought. I had some live rocks that were collected locally and stuff like that. I used clean water that I got from the gulf and when the water was really dirty I even used water softening salt (much much)cheaper. I know that it dosent have all the minerals etc.. that is required for great water quality, but for only local fish it worked fine. I never had any problems with the aquarium at all. I kept the tank for about three years in which time the balckedge moray eel that I had put an end to all others in the tank. I got it when it was about 8" long and by the time I got rid of it it was about 3'. The only thing that I found to be verry important is do not add alot of fish at one time.. Especially when you are first starting.. Until the tank gets acclimated, it will only be able to handle verry little.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Bewndel, Its going to be a tank like you had, just want to be able to take some local fish that I catch and put in there.Anything diffrent that I might catch throwing a cast net or other small fish.
 

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Yeah I had no problems, I am sure that there will be alot of people that will disagree with me. But I do understand all of the science behind setting one up but just be sure that when you go collect water be aware of whats going on at the time. I always collected my water from the gulf when it was clean. Be aware of heavy rainfall events, tide incomming is cleaner than outgoing, dont collect water near where stormwater comes in. I had several black snappers, groupers, a lookdown, some ornamental crabs. flounders, I found out to stay away from the baitfish.. they actually were verry aggressive for their size. I fed mine all clean squid, and like I said never had a problem. It will take about 6 weeks to establish the aquarium.. I used instead of sand on the bottom crushed oyster shells (you can buy a bag cheap from any local feed store, it is used for raising chickens.) the calcium carbonate in the shells is helpful in balancing out the chemical balance of the tank. be sure to rinse the shells well at first (they will be dusty) but it will clear in time if you dont rince well enough. I found it to be a nice looking bottom. putting live grass in the tank will prove to be difficult. you need to get proper lites for growing and the water quality has to be on the better side. be aware of the fishes requirements, ie. you wont be able to keep fish alive that need alot of space. I had a small barracuda (3") that kept getting stuck in corners and LY's need roaming space these kinds if fish will not make it. If you have any other questions PM me and I will give you my phone #,
 

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before you set up anything do some research, get on reefcentral or many of the other saltwater sites these are all subjects that have been asked with lots of advice. I have been doing saltwater tanks for some time now and as we all know each tank is diffrent, I feel I have a beatiful 100 gal reef but I only change water every two months no addatives. you dont have to have a protien skimmer in my oppinion to a fish only tank, but you may need to do more frequent water changes, it comes down to what you want and how you want to maintain, do the reading before you start.
 

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inshorecatch (10/22/2007)before you set up anything do some research, get on reefcentral or many of the other saltwater sites these are all subjects that have been asked with lots of advice. I have been doing saltwater tanks for some time now and as we all know each tank is diffrent, I feel I have a beatiful 100 gal reef but I only change water every two months no addatives. you dont have to have a protien skimmer in my oppinion to a fish only tank, but you may need to do more frequent water changes, it comes down to what you want and how you want to maintain, do the reading before you start.
I second this info. The water changes are the most important aspect, involving 90% of the time and effort and cost of the whole fishkeeping idea. I kept mine to a minimum, and was MUCH happier with the results. I bought a fairly cheap reverse osmosis filter setup at Sams club, and it worked fine. Lighting is much easier in a fish only setup too.

Last timeI cycleda new tank, I got 3 Damsels to be the guinea pigs. One died, but the other 2 helped get the balance right, and then ended up living for 2 more years , until I sold them back to the fish store. They are very forgiving. I would like to see how some sardines or whatever do in a tank.

Hmmmm. All this fishtank talk makes me want to get another big tank. I still have my original 55 gal.
 

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There is an easier way to cycle a tank without using live fish. Just use fresh dead peeled shrimp. I used 2 & a half large ones for my 100g & it cycled just fine without using live fish.
 
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