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FAQs on Going from Freshwater, Brackish... to Marine Systems 2

Related Articles: Converting from Freshwater to Marine Set-Up,

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Small Marine Aquariums
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Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
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Fresh to Marine, Come to the Dark Side  12/13/05 WWM Crew, <Hi John.>     You have an awesome website. <Thank you.> I am looking to upgrade my 90 gallon all glass Cichlid Tank to a 180 gallon tank.  What brand would you suggest for a FOWLR setup:  All-glass, Oceanic, Perfecto, Inter-American??? <Well I prefer acrylic myself but for glass I like Oceanic and All-Glass (made by the same company).> I live in Central New York State. <Cool, I've never been that far east.>   The 90 gallon was setup with a FOWLR for two years prior to the current Africans. I am looking to have the tank predrilled and use a 55 gallon sump w/ a good protein skimmer. <Throw in a refugium with that skimmer and you've got a great set-up.>   The fish I would like to keep are: Yellow Tang, Blue Hippo Tang, Threadfin Butterfly, Flame angel, royal Gramma. <Sounds like a do-able list, just be sure to research the specimens individual needs and be sure to quarantine all specimens.> Happy Holidays,  John A. <And to you too, Adam J.>

Freshwater to salt conversion I've read through what's on your site regarding converting.  I was wondering if I could ask some questions more specific to my conversion.  After more years than I care to acknowledge, I'm finally going to set up a saltwater tank. <Welcome to the club ha ha ha >  I have a 45 gal. corner tank that previously housed African Cichlids.  (After come careful acclimation of 2 tanks, I combined my Severums with the Africans and everyone seems to be healthy happy and well.  If the Africans ever quit reproducing, I'd like to set up the bigger tank too eventually as salt.  Most of the original fish are around 8, but I have new fry). My current equipment is an UGF powered by a powerhead, Whisper 4 powerfilter, and heater (I know now from your other articles I need to make sure is salt safe).  I was planning on using crushed coral as substrate over the UGF.  I have a Seaclone protein skimmer that I bought last time I got the bug without much research.  Since then I've used its powerhead, so before I replace the powerhead is this big enough? <Honestly many people are not happy with the Seaclone protein skimmer without substantial modifications. I personally have never had one and cannot speak about them.> What about wet-dry filters if I wasn't planning on using live rock? <Depends on the fish you want to keep.> I have a large supply of lava rocks that I was planning on using to build a rock wall.  I was only planning on small fish and maybe a couple of hermit crabs. <Dawn if you just went with the damsels you could probably get by with not so intense filtration, but here's the thing. Most people end up getting deeper and deeper into the hobby and getting more involved and changing what they want. Its always better to set up your tank for the best possible scenario.>  Would this be ok? <Good luck, MacL> Thanks, Dawn

Converting to saltwater I currently have a 55 gallon freshwater tank which I was going to convert to a FOWLR in a couple of months. I want to buy a Eheim canister filter and use it for freshwater and then I'll use it when I convert to saltwater. I was deciding between the Eheim professional 2224 and the professional II 2026. The 2224 is rated for 185 gph and aquariums up to 66 gallons. The professional II is rated for 250 gph and for aquariums up to92 gallon, plus it has the self priming button (which I don't know how hard it is to prime a regular canister). I can buy the 2224 for 65 dollars cheaper than the 2026, so its hard to decide which one I want to buy. I'm going to have a SeaClone skimmer rated for 150 gallons, at least 30 lbs of LR and about 50 pounds of aragonite/live sand when I do my saltwater. What do you think would be a better buy considering the price??? <I can only tell you a lesson I have learned as I've gone along.  Buy the biggest you can, you can always tone it down.  Also before you buy the sea clone read up on it on the boards.  Many people have not been happy with them and others have.  But know what you are buying before you get it.  Good luck Joe, MacL> thanks, Joe

From Freshwater to Saltwater 19 Aug 2004 I have a quick question. <Hi Eric, MacL here.> I am planning on setting up a new fish only salt water tank.  I have a current fresh water tank setup.  What do I need to change in order to setup a salt water tank? <They are entirely different systems but you do have the basics. A tank, water. I'd like to suggest you take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marineSetUp.htm its an amazing place to start when you are looking to set up a marine tank.>  My tank is a 35 gallon hexagon tank. <Great tank!> Would all I need is a protein skimmer, and some type of filtration system? <There are things like hydrometers to measure the salt and a few other things that you might think about but you have a pretty good start seriously Eric. You can think about something as simple as the live rock as a place to get filtration as well. And you are on the right path. Decide what you want to keep in your tank saltwater wise and it will determine what you need. Good luck, MacL> Thanks for answering my questions. Eric

Change Over TO FOWLR Good evening to all. <Hello Vince, MacL here with you tonight.>  SW rookie here. I read your site daily and have been unable to find a better source for information and knowledge. <Thank you.> As many have told you, I wish I had found you before I began this hobby.  My wife and I started our first SW adventure last December when we set up a 65 gal FO. It took only a couple of months before we wanted more! (For our new aquatic family members and for the beauty it adds to our living room). In March we upgraded to a 150 gal FO and after reading the info on your site I decided that our current set up could be improved by adding live rock and upgraded lighting. I have been curing 100 lbs of Walt Smith Premium Fiji Rock in a 50gal Rubber Maid for 3 weeks now.  Ammonia is gone and Nitrites down to .25. I would like to start adding it to my tank when Nitrites are 0 for at least one week. I have a few questions about making these changes and would greatly appreciate your advice/opinions.  My current set up is as follows: 150 gal acrylic 48x24x24 w/center overflow drilled at the bottom Wet/dry with bio balls - Quiet tone 5000 return pump/1300gph Euro reef ES5-2 protein skimmer (I know, not enough) 2 6" bubble stones w 2 tetratec 150 air pumps. 1" crushed coral Dead Coral and Faux D?or 2 24" 20w T-12 CoralLife 10000k 2 24" 20w Marineglo Blue lights. Water - Specific gravity 1.024, ph 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 40-60, Temp 79. 5 gal water change twice weekly. 1 - 5" Blonde Naso Tang 1 - 4" Cuban Hog 1 - 3" Flame Hawk 1 - 3" Fiji Puffer (Canthigaster margaritatus) 3 - Green Chromis 2 - Neon Gobies Questions: When I begin adding the LR, how much should I add? >I personally would add it gradually, adding the base rock or the lower rock first then adding the upper rock a bit later.> Do you recommend adding in stages? <I do since you have a good place to keep the other rock.> How much? <A third of it or a forth of it a week works. The big thing is to test after you add and see what kind of levels you get. Just in case.> Is 100lbs sufficient to eventually discard the bio balls?  When should I start removing them? <I'd get the rock in first and get the tank stable, then start removing them the same way. A bit at a time to let the tank adjust slowly.>  Would the LR benefit from the use of additives (Seachem Calcium, Strontium, Iodine). <The rock might not but what grows on it might need them. Depends on the rock.> I purchased 2 24" CoralLife Aqualife 2x65w PC's.  One 65w 10000k daylight - one 65w Actinic 03 Blue each.  Will this be enough for the LR to flourish? How about if I add the 2 24" T-12's. <Personally I love adding as much light as you can however you also need to do this slowly so it doesn't stress the fish.>  How should I introduce the new lighting to my set up without putting undue stress on my livestock? <Short times a day, say five hours or so and increasing it.> Lighting will be on separate timers. Can you suggest an Angel that would be compatible with my current livestock? <My immediate thought was a flame angel.> Can you suggest any cleaner crews that wouldn't end up in my Puffer or Hawk's stomach? <Not sure on that one, that's a toughie, although with adequate hiding places they might not bother cleaning shrimp. Gobies swim so they might chomp on them. They will go for crabs and shrimps out in the open.> I was thinking of the Aqua C EV-180 or ASM G-2 to upgrade my skimmer.  <Very nice choice.> Your thoughts? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I know I have many questions and I'm sure I'll have more in the future. Like most of your readers I am trying to provide the best conditions to ensure a happy and satisfying life for the creatures I chose to remove from their homes.  Thank you for your time and your continued efforts to help others succeed in this hobby. <Sounds to me like you are well on your way to a fantastic tank Vince. I just would like to suggest that you make all changes very slowly and give your tank time to adapt to the changes as you go. MacL> Vince   

29 Gal Set-up Oh Great SW Masters... << Sorry, you have to settle for me instead. >> I have been all over the internet and imbedded in reading material, but seeing as how I have a pretty specific issue, I felt it necessary to drop you guys a line. I am converting a 29gal cichlid set-up over to a FO SW tank.  I plan on having mostly artificial decorations (bleached and dried LR, etc), a handful of 5-6 fish, and 1-2 pieces of LR just for filtration and bio needs. My question...I am running a Penguin 170 w/ BioWheel right now with a separate powerhead which keeps the water really clean (especially with my religious water changes).  I would like to be able to make the conversion without buying a new filter. My LFS is recommending just adding a Skilter 400 to my current set-up, but I read little about them that is positive.  Instead of messing with a Skilter, can I just add a good skimmer and keep the Penguin running? << Oh yes of course.  I would clean out that penguin and make it like new, but a good skimmer is a big help. The key here is how many fish you have, and how much feeding.  Live rock will definitely help out, so I highly recommend you get plenty of it.  But your penguin and a good skimmer provide a lot of leeway. >> I'd really appreciate your help! << Now don't write me back asking what is a good skimmer.... because I don't know. >> Thanks, << Best of luck >> Matt <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Fresh-->Brackish-->Salt?  Which Way do You Swing? >Good day to you. >>And to you, too. >We are having a discussion on the possibility of a marine fish living in a freshwater environment.  >>It is possible, but then that fish would not be defined as a "marine" fish - the usual definition of which is any fish that requires a minimum salinity level for its life processes. If you're speaking of a fish, such as mollies, Monodactylus, some puffers, etc., then these are strictly defined as "brackish" water fish, meaning that they can swing both ways. Most often these fish inhabit estuarine and/or river mouth areas. >I know that bass, salmon and some (or all?) sharks can live in both conditions. What about the commonly available fish for the aquaria like, tangs, angelfish, clownfish, damsels? Is it possible? Many thanks for the reply. Jeto >>This may be harder to nail down than some might initially think, so I can only deal with generalities here. Now, an excellent "for instance" fish is the Centropyge loricula - Flame Angel. It's commonly considered to be an exclusively marine fish, but, because of where it's found in nature, and the range of salinity levels in these areas, it is actually a brackish water fish. Tangs, the ones we see most often for sale, are not often defined as brackish fish, so would definitely normally be considered to be fully marine fishes. The difficulty is when we get into things like housing fish in hyposaline conditions (often considered to be so when below 1.020 or so - my rough guesstimate here) long term. This may not be natural for them, but they do just fine. In the end, it all has to do with how the fish has evolved to do a few things, mostly elimination of wastes and balancing osmotic pressure between surrounding water and their tissues. If you're interested in doing more research on the subject, I suggest Googling with keywords such as "Osmo-regulation". Marina 

Acclimate a BW fish to SW  2/11/04 Hey Crew, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I got referred to you by several people on another message board. I'm hoping your expertise can once again help a hobbyist in need.  :) <Of course!> I am having to dismantle a brackish tank of almost three years old. My moray eel is that old as well, and since I have heard adult morays enjoy full marine tanks, I would like to slowly move him into my marine set-up before the brackish tank is sold off. <They actually prefer SW.> What process do I use to move my moray from a tank that is 75% saltwater to a full marine tank? How many days, what process, and anything else that you could help with me. <Whenever I change a fish over from FW-BW, BW-SW, or visa-versa, I use a drip system.  I put the fish in a bucket below the tank I will be moving it into, covered by water from the tank the fish was living in, about 1" over its head.  I tie a knot in an air hose until it drips enough water into the bucket to raise or lower the SG in the bucket .001/hour. This method has always worked for me without any problems.> His end tank will be my full marine tank with only a lionfish and the moray, with plenty of LR for him to enjoy. Thank you in advance for your time and assistance, Scott Melchior <Sounds like a great tank! ~PP>

Brackish to Full Marine (1/07/04)  Hi Bob,  <Hi! You get Ananda at the keyboard tonight...>  I have a 46 gallon bow front brackish tank with a current salinity of 1.006 specific gravity. This was a converted freshwater tank for about 2 ? months now. I have a Marineland Emperor 280 Bio-wheel, 2 Eclipse Natural Day Light F15T8 Halogen bulbs, and a Marineland Visi-therm 300 watt heater.  <I'd suggest a second Emperor; I prefer to use a lot of turnover for my tanks -- my brackish tanks have had turnover rates of 13x and 16x per hour on the main filters.>  I also have 3 pieces of Hard coral and about 25 lbs. of crushed coral along with about 10 lbs. of white Tonga Rock gravel. I have some other rocks along with some clam, scallop, and marine snail shells.  <If you're thinking of going full marine, it would be good to know what those other rocks consist of.>  The fish that inhabit my tank is a 6" Silver Scat, a 3" Green Scat, three 3" Mono's, Two 1 ?" figure 8 puffers, a 1 ?" Green spotted puffer, two 2 ?" yoyo loaches, a 2 ?" fan-dancer goby, a 6" freshwater Barracuda, a 1 ?" Archer fish, and Four 1 ?" flounders in a separated "cage" (breeding house).  <...and a partridge in a pear tree... Sorry, I know it's past the season, but honestly, my eyes got progressively bigger as I continued reading that list. You need to thin those out.>  I am looking to get trade the barracuda & the silver & green scats to my LFS, and acclimate the two yoyo loaches back into one of my other freshwater tanks.  <That's a start... but you would still have too many fish.>  My main question is, do I have all the right equipment to go to full Marine in the next 4 months? Besides a protein skimmer, what else do I need?  <I would suggest a larger tank, because those Monos aren't going to stay that small. I saw some at the Shedd aquarium that were the size of a dinner plate. Further, not all of the fish you plan to keep should be kept in saltwater. A woman on the WWM brackish forums (start at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk  ) had a green spotted puffer a bit larger than yours, and when she moved it to a full marine system, it became stressed. She had to reduce the specific gravity well below full marine before the puffer's stress marks disappeared. Depending on the species of archer fish, it may not be able to survive full saltwater. So do consider getting a bigger system to go marine, and keep the current system as a brackish tank.>  Will the flounders work in full marine?  <It depends on the species....>  I plan on adding maybe a clown and some tangs.  <A few points... a 46 gallon bowfront is too small to house one tang long-term, let alone several. Not all tangs get along peacefully when they're in captivity. To keep multiple tangs in one tank, you should have (IMO) at least 100 gallons in the display tank. And your green-spotted puffer is likely to nip the fins of everything else in the tank when they get older.>  I already have Sea Salt, and I use either Kordon's Amquel+ & Novaqua, or Marineland's Biosafe & Biocoat. I have been hearing a lot about BioSpira, and am wondering if it is the real deal?  <It seems to be. I have used the freshwater version with success.>  Maybe I would like to go to a reef system in 6 to 9 months after I have I feel like I am comfortable with the full Marine.  <Please do a bit more research before you dive into this project... I researched for three months before I started a marine tank, and I wish I'd researched longer.>  If you would like a picture of my current set-up, that wouldn't be a problem at all for me. I need your help!  <Hopefully this will give you more ideas... also, you can get more feedback and answers from the people on the discussion boards, too (web site listed above).>  Thanks in Advance!!!!  Jeff  <Best of luck! --Ananda> 

Going From Fresh to Salt (1/3/04) I have dealt with freshwater tanks for so long that I want a new challenge. <Salt is certainly a challenge. I made the same conversion myself. Steve Allen here tonight.> I am currently building a custom stand for a 55 gallon aquarium that I wish to inhabit with marine life. <Good starter size; bigger is always better.> My current freshwater setup is the usual 2 power heads, under gravel filter, heater, and trickle filter as well as a normal 40 watt fluorescent lite. <Heater should be OK, check with manufacturer to see if SW compatible. Powerheads also good for circulation. I'm not a fan of UGF in SW--too much maintenance in my book, but there are those who still ear by them. Lights OK for fish-only. Aesthetic is all that matters there. I would not use a trickle filter in a marine set-up.> Is any of this equipment salvageable or do I need to buy new saltwater compatible equip. <as above>  Also, what other products specifically for saltwater do I need to purchase? <A top-notch skimmer. Do not skimp here. If you don't want a sump, go with an AquaC Remora Pro HOT.> I would like to keep the budget within reason, but I am willing to spend what it takes to get the job done right. <Always the best policy. Skimping costs more in the long-run and leads to immense frustration.> The live rock filtering system. <The best way in my book.> Can you explain that? And just how expensive is it? <Prices vary, but good rock ain't cheap--one of the most expensive parts of the set-up, along with the skimmer. For corals, the lights cost the most.> What would I need for a 55 gallon tank? <Varies by type.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. <My best advice: Run out and buy "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael S. Paletta. Read every word before you spend a penny. Also consider buying and reading Bob Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" which is a fantastic resource. Additionally, read extensively on WWM regarding your many questions. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fw2mar.htm Read all the articles about marine set-up and the associated research. Patience and learning will be your most important tools.> Edwin Jeffords <Hope this helps.>

Something's New in Denmark -- FW to SW in Scandinavia (12/07/2003) Hi Crew! Sorry about any spelling/grammar mistakes-I'm a wwm fan from Denmark, Scandinavia. <Goddag. Hilsen fra Utah.> I'm currently planning to set up my first marine tank after I've been in the freshwater hobby for about 10 years (I'm 21 years old). <Congrats. It took me 30 years on/off of FW to take the SW plunge.> I'm currently down to 3 small freshwater tanks with fish in them (it's a twelve step program-fish addicts:-)..) The size of the tanks are 140L, 120L and 30L and the two biggest have metal frames. Would any of these tanks be convertible? <Not really. 30L is too small and you can't use metal-frame aquariums with saltwater.> I'm actually planning for a bigger tank, a 960L dimensions-200cm*80cm*60cm <78 x 31 x 23 inches> bowfront all glass (around 253g). <Sweet! Now we're talking!> Except for the costs-would this be a good size for a beginning marine aquarist? <Bigger is always better if you have space & money.> Tank pro's are that it's quite big so the fishies and other animals would have more room and since it's a standard here in Demark also cheaper than a custom made with different dimensions. Tank con's are that people tend to upgrade their systems to BIGGER tanks lol! (I've seen pictures of a 20000L(5285g) marine tank here in Denmark-but hey then a 960L would be a nice size for a quarantine tank eh?) <O, I love it--music to my ears--start big & go bigger!> Are the dimensions appropriate for saltwater? <Absolutely. I'm already green with envy.> I've heard that some dimensions on a tank will give it a blurred look-would this be the case with this tank? <Bigger tanks have thicker glass, which can be harder to see though. This depends on the quality fo the glass. Starfire glass is crystal clear but very expensive. Acrylic is lighter and clearer, but costs more and scratches easily.> Is it true that a shallow tank like this will be cheaper in MH lamps? <23 inches of depth will be easy to light. You only need MHs for corals/clams. For FOWLR, choose the cheapest lights that provide the illumination that pleases you.> Also, one of my fave fish ever are the Imperator Angel. (Expensive here. Not reef safe. Can be difficult to keep, but doable.> Of course the tank is still very much in the planning stage, but I would like it to be a red sea biotope aquarium, with the Imperator as the centerpiece (that's why I need the big tank). Can you tell me if you know of a book or website where I can find specific information about the red sea, salinity etc <salinity of the oceans is very consistent worldwide> and a list of species that can be found there? <Start here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redseafwgv1.htm   For books, start with The New Marine Aquarium by Michael Paletta and The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner. If interested in reefs, check Reef Secrets by Alf Jacob Nilsen & & Svein A. Foss?(fra Norge)> My last question are regarding to the emperors diet (did you know, in this part of the world we call these fish emperors instead of angels?). <Emperor Angel is the alternative here.> I checked a bunch of the LFS online both in Denmark and Sweden and none of them seem to have Selcon, zoe or any of those special angel formulas-will the fish be malnourished if he don't get these food items in his diet? <Check here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pomacanthus/imperator.htm> wauv, sorry didn't mean this to be so long. I hope you can help me with these questions. I think it's so great that you people take the time to help so many people all over the world! <Det var s?lidt. Lykke til! Steve Allen> Thanks in advance Joanne from Denmark    

Doing It Right in Denmark (12/08/2003) Hi thank you for that quick reply! You speak very good Danish Steve (er der danskere I familien?! ) <Actually, I lived in Sweden for 4 years and have been married to a Swede for 20. I know a few Danish phrases and can read some due to the similarity. Can't understand spoken Danish very well--too different that way.> I'll be getting all the books you mentioned after Christmas + a few more. <Fun. Read up. It pays to research such a big time/money project thoroughly. Much easier to do it right the first time than try to fix things later. Once you set up and plumb a 250-gallon aquarium it's a lot of work to change things.> I'll consider getting an asfur angel instead of the imperator, it's only under half price from the imp. <a great choice> and your site describe it as more hardy. If I do decide to try the imperator I'll get a red sea specimen for sure. The angel will be the last fish I add, no matter what species and it won't be added until after the system has been up and running for at least a year and maybe even two. But I really just wanted to thank you for your help-now I can really start PLANNING!  <You are off to a great start. Continue to be patient and do the research and you will be rewarded with a beautiful and successful system. I look forward to hearing how it's going along the way. Be sure to check WWM frequently. As before, lykke til (og glaedelig jul!)> Joanne

- Freshwater to Marine - G'day WWM crew I have had fresh water tanks for 3 years now and finally want to get into saltwater. Basically I want to know what mistakes people in my situation make? (if you have a FAQ that refers to this please point me in the right direction). <Yep, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fw2mar.htm > I have a tank (60inchesx28x28) so it is a good size with a trickle filter (I also intend on getting quite a bit of live rock) and protein skimmer (I have been recommended these by a couple of Aquarium shops around my area) and my lighting is going to be from down lights on a bulkhead above the tank. <Sounds good so far.> I plan on having coral and lion fish so is there anything else I will need or you recommend? <You're on the right track... perhaps some good additional circulation [powerheads] in the tank and consider building a cave for the lionfish to chill-out in and you should be on the right track.> Sorry to keep asking question but what would be the best process when setting it up? <Start with that link I sent you, then move to the other articles beyond.> Thanks Blower <Cheers, J -- >

- Reusing Freshwater Equipment and Livestock Selection - I am a newbie to salt water aquariums, actually I am in the planning stage to set one up. So here it goes. I have a 100 gallon freshwater that I am going to convert to saltwater. For filtration I have 1 AquaClear 301, and a TetraTec 2. My question to you is can I use the same filters that I did for fresh water in my salt water. <Yes you can, but even in combination it's my opinion that this amount of filtration is woefully inadequate for a 100 gallon saltwater tank.> Money is tight, so I am going to try to use any equipment that I already have. <Can appreciate that, but everything about saltwater is more expensive, and most importantly the livestock which means you'd better prepare yourself.> I plan on trading in my 9" Arowana, and some large South American cichlids for some in store credit to help me buy what I'll need. <Don't think that will cover it entirely.> One more question, can you advise me on any fish that would get along with a Panther Grouper. <Actually, I'd advise you to skip the panther grouper - while a striking fish, these grow much too large to be safely kept with much of anything except a large puffer or trigger. All but a few groupers get quite large and can inhale just about anything including fish their own size.> Thank you for your time and expertise. Steve <Cheers, J -- >

- Converting Fresh to Salt - Hi, I have a 100 gallon aquarium that I've been using as a freshwater tank. For filtration I have a AquaClear 300, and a TetraTec 2. Can I still use these in a salt water aquarium? <Yes, but in my opinion these are undersized for a 100 gallon tank - you'd be better with one, larger filter.> I've been reading up on converting a freshwater system to salt water, but I could not find if it was ok to use existing equipment. <No worries - the filters would still have to be cycled so it's not really a big deal.> Any information would be helpful. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fw2mar.htm > Thank you, Steve <Cheers, J -- >

- Acclimating Mollies to Saltwater - Hi. <Hello to you...> I sent an email before but didn't get an answer. <Many apologies.> I was wondering if you could help me with acclimating a mono to saltwater. <Ok.> My boyfriend has a 37 gal freshwater setup that includes 3 convicts, an ugly red parrot cichlid and a Monodactylus argenteus.  They look very crowded, especially as it is a higher tank as opposed to wider.  I would like to move the mono to my 55 gal reef tank.  Right now I have about 40 lbs of live rock, some mushrooms, a coral beauty angel, a purple Firefish, a scooter blenny, a yellow clown goby and a white banded cleaner shrimp.  The mono is rather large (at least compared to my fish).  We bought him about 3 years ago.  He was freshwater when we bought him and I wouldn't even consider the water he's in now brackish.  Would it be possible to put him in my tank eventually? <Sure.> Would this be too stressful? <Not if you take things slowly, although mollies can move from fresh to salt quicker than they can go from salt to fresh.> I have a 10 gallon that I could use to acclimate him in.  Is this too small? <It's a little on the small side but will likely work fine for the amount of time the acclimation will take.> If it can be done. how slowly do I have to increase salinity? <A couple of thousandths a day - say from 1.000 to 1.002, and perhaps even slower if you want to be extra careful.> Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.  Thank you. Nicole <Cheers, J -- >

Crossing Over (New Saltwater Hobbyist!) I love your website, tons of great information for all who are fish lovers. <Glad you enjoy it! We have a blast bringing it to you! Scott F. with you today!> My question(s) to you are on converting my 33 gallon freshwater tank (currently shut down) into a freshwater tank. I have never run a saltwater tank before but have many friends who have/do. I have a underwater gravel filtration system with a 402 powerhead which is suppose to be good for up to a 50 gallon tank , as well as a Penguin bio-wheel 170 also good for up to a 50 gallon tank. Now would I be able to use any of my equipment for a 33 gallon saltwater or would I have to upgrade or change? <You certainly could use the BioWheel filter, but I am a bit hesitant to recommend the UGF. Although under gravel filters were "state of the art" for a number of years, and still have their place in certain situations, they are not really the best way to go for long-term success in marine systems, as they do tend to become the dreaded "nutrient sink" that we all hear about, which can cause pH in the system to decline over time...> Is live rock essential as opposed to the rock I had in my freshwater? <For simple, natural "filtration", live rock is hard to beat. It provides a number of benefits besides serving as a biological "filter": It is a supplemental source of food organisms for the fishes, creates natural and familiar territories, and provides areas for sessile invertebrates to adhere to. I feel that it is essential to a good system...> I do know I would need a protein skimmer. <Yep- I consider a good skimmer a mandatory piece of equipment in any marine system> Finally, would a single lionfish be O.K. in a 33 gallon saltwater tank? <Honestly, this tank would be inadequate for any but the smallest dwarf species, and even then, I'd recommend a larger tank for environmental stability. Sure, they are pretty tough fishes, but this is not a good long-term choice for this sized system, IMO> I know any small fish would not last in a tank with a lionfish but what other kinds of fish would be cool to shack up with a lionfish in a tank that is only 33 gallons? <I wouldn't try anyone else. All can become snacks in a small tank...> What would be the max. number of saltwater fish that could be housed with a lionfish in a 33 gallon tank if any? <Zilch, as outlined above..> Any recommendations? <I think that you'll have a much more successful and interesting system if you start out with some small, colorful fishes that have a reputation for ease of care, such as clownfish, blennies, gobies, grammas, damsels, etc.. These cool fishes (lots to choose from!) will really help you "get your feet wet", as they say, and give you the experience and confidence that you need to become successful in the marine area of the hobby!> Thank you for your time and effort to respond, your info is greatly appreciated. Lucida <Thank YOU for visiting us, Lucida! I think that you might want to do some additional reading on the WWM site. we have tons of great information to help you start on this journey. You should also get a copy of Michael Paletta's great primer for new marine aquarists, "The New Marine Aquarium". It will give you a great deal of fundamental background on the Marine hobby! Good luck, and feel free to write us again soon! Regards, Scott F>

Next Stop: Planted Tank, Then on to Reef Hi, <Hello, Yuell, Sabrina with you tonight> Even though I've been in the hobby for 20 years this will be the first time that I'll do something other than a basic tropical fish tank. <Ah, onward 'n' upward!> I want to turn my 75 gallon (48x24x15)  tank into a tropical planted tank with lots of Neons and Cardinals.  In time though I want to turn this tank into a reef tank. I don't want to have to re-buy any equipment if I can help it. This is what I plan to do: Lights: I will have  a retro light kit put into the canopy 4 - 95watt compact fluorescents (this is better than going VHO's right?).   <That's kinda a matter of opinion....  I have VHOs on my plant tank and enjoy them tremendously, but the bulbs must be replaced more often than PCs.  PCs are a great choice for a plant tank, but when you go reef, if you ever plan on very light-demanding species (clams, anemones, more light-demanding corals, etc.), better to just shell out the bucks and go metal halide.> I will run 2 for the planted tank then run all four with the reef (when I get there).   <You could conceivably run all four for the plant tank, and have some pretty awesome, light-hungry plants.> What is a good company as far as lights go or does it matter?   <I hear good stuff about the Coralife fixtures, I also hear good stuff about Custom Sea Life fixtures; honestly, I haven't used PCs yet, and my next hope is to try out T5s - might want to swing by the forums http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/index.jsp and hear straight from folks who are using PCs what they prefer, and what to avoid.> Filtration:  I have an old style Fluval 404 now. I would like to keep it if possible because you see...I have cats.  Cats who love to get into the cabinet below the fish tank (I use the tank as a room divider). They would easily get into the cabinet and drop the 24hour light you are to use with an eco system or wet/dry system into the sump. If they did this, if I am not mistaken, it will cause a short, the power to the system would be turned off, and that loss of power would empty all 75 gallons of water on the floor. This would be bad...I have lots of books.  Unless the eco or wet/dry systems were completely enclosed (like a canister) so that the light can't be dropped into the sump, I see problems.  Is there a way (if I must get an eco system or wet dry with a sump) to keep this from happening (a switch or special tubing that you buy to stop that from happening?   Do I even need a sump or will my old Fluval and  a protein skimmer work?    <The Fluval will do a fine job for your plant tank, but is inadvisable for a reef tank, due especially to an overabundance of nitrates.  A sump is really a much better route.  But when you do the sump, if you do a plain ol' sump, no light is necessary.  If you do a refugium in the sump, preventing the light falling in is pretty simple - cover it with eggcrate (the grid stuff that you see under fluorescent light fixtures in ceilings).  Plenty of air exchange, but no big stuff (including cats and lights) falling into the sump.> Skimmer: I was thinking of a hang on the back skimmer like the Via Aqua Multi-Skimmer.  Is there a better skimmer?   <Oh, yes.  It'll be shelling out more cash again, but go with an Aqua-C or a Euro Reef; truly, you won't be sorry.> Again I don't want a sump if I can help it.  Do I need the skimmer with the planted tank or can I wait till I'm gearing up for the reef?   <Wait.  A skimmer will be virtually (or completely) useless on a plant tank.> The Via Aqua has a 5watt UV light, would this UV hurt the reef or the animals that might eat the algae the UV would kill?  If it does can I use additives and vitamins or should I just not go there. <Again....  Aqua-C or Euro Reef....  But as far as UV goes, some people swear by 'em, some hate 'em.  They'll kill free-swimming protozoan parasites, etc., could be a good thing to have, but is unnecessary, IMO.  More here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm .> CO2:  I'm sure that plants would love it if I went there but I know nothing about it.  If CO2 is a good idea for the plants or reef (is it good or the reef or bad) can you recommend a system? <Eh, well, with the plant tank end of the spectrum, it's really quite easy and inexpensive to do a DIY CO2 generator; consists of a 2-liter bottle, a rubber stopper, some tubing, and yeast - here's the article that got me started: http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/co2-narten.html .  There are also much more complicated pressurized CO2 systems, that come with a much higher price tag (DIY yeast could be done under $20 easily), but are regulated and well controlled, and require very, very little maintenance.  Worth studying up on.  Also, if you intend to use a calcium reactor in your reef ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm ) the more expensive pressurized canister system will be the better route, and prevent that re-purchasing of equipment you mentioned. can you also recommend a monitor that would monitor / change the PH or Nitrates or whatever automatically? <The pressurized canister systems are usually used with a solenoid that will start/stop the CO2 injection with light hours, which will regulate pH.  The solenoid can also be hooked up to a pH controller, and that will regulate CO2 injection, so that you don't have fluctuation of pH.  Both ways seem pretty efficient.> What else should I do/think about to get this done that I didn't/ haven't yet?  Is there another piece of equipment that I should think about getting or not think about getting?   <Timers for the lights.  Then you don't have to worry about getting the lights on to *your* schedule.  Also, for the plant tank, look into Kent's plant fertilizer line, much good stuff out there!  I would definitely recommend fertilizing your plant tank, and have you considered what sort of substrate you'll use?  And one final comment - if you start this as a plant tank, I fear that you'll enjoy it too much to go reef with it.  You really might wanna take the jump and just go reef now, or perhaps plan on another tank on down the road ;)  Much fun ahead in the tank-planning process!  -Sabrina> Thank you for any help you give me,  Yuell

New Marine Tank Dear Wet Web Media crew, I'm a 14 year old kid from Singapore and I intend to make the switch from a fresh water planted aquarium to a marine reef system. Over here, live sand cannot be found for sale and corals and inverts are limited. The tank in mind is a Juwel Rekord 96. <A 96 liter, roughly 25 gallons/US.> I have doubts about the filter system. Would it be adequate? <Not really for marine use - you would do best in investigate a sump system in addition to a protein skimmer, perhaps even a refugium.> Firstly, I would like to ask if coral sand can be substituted for live sand and what combination of fishes and inverts would be good. <Yes, you can substitute coral sand for live sand. As for a mix of fishes, this tank isn't large enough to go crazy with selection, so you'll need to limit yourself to roughly four small fish. Do look through the Wet Web Media site for more possibilities here.> And how should the corals be place? <However works well for you.> Pyramid or piled against the side? <Mmmm, not either one really - consider that the corals will need really good lighting and exposure to thrive, so you'll have to place these around the tank, not piled on top of each other.> Secondly, I have also read about plenums and am confused. Are they needed? <Not really 'needed' but very useful in a marine system. You also have the option of implementing a deep sand bed which will produce similar results as a plenum. More reading on that here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm > What purpose does it serve and how is it maintained? <This is covered in the reading.> Thirdly, I intend to purchase a protein skimmer but would like to have another opinion its cleaning. Is that done weekly or even monthly? <I wouldn't wait any longer than a week - best to clean it every three days or so.> Lastly, I would like to enquire about lighting and flow. MHs are rare here and is the Reef Sun tube manufactured by ZooMed be ok? <You may have some troubles keeping some of the stony corals with this - again, do your research into the corals you would like to keep, and then try to match the lighting to their needs.> The flow looks pretty slow to me and would pumps be needed? <Yes... a good reason to look into some different filtration as well as powerheads within the tank.> Thanks for your help! really appreciated.. Hector <Cheers, J -- >

Talking Reef/s Bob, I have systematically exhausted your WWM pages, as well as books TCMA and Reef Invertebrates (In so doing, have saved myself much hardship with my flourishing  80G reef tank). However, I don't get out much, so every time I try to talk in person to a fellow reef enthusiast, I get stared at as if encrusting calcareous algae is growing on my face. Do you know of a good handbook that could teach me how to pronounce general and scientific names of commonly held specimens? <To (likely mis)quote Zig Ziegler, "Nothing succeeds like success"... Uhh, what you might do is emerse yourself in the presence of others of similar persuasion, interest. Maybe hang out at your favorites stores, join or even start a marine aquarium society...> You don't want your fans to sound uneducated, do you? <Oh no!> BTW, don't publish a lexicon of acronyms, I have learned more by trying to decode them than if I had been supplied with their meaning directly. Thanks, David Brinson <Such a good idea... I suggest you write up (and sell) such a series of articles to the hobby magazines in our interest. Please do start the collection of arcane, obscure and specialized terminology (and their definitions, pertinent examples) and I'll help you place it/them. Bob Fenner>

The Advanced Beginner (Transitioning From Freshwater To Marine) Dear Scott / Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. back with you today!> Many thanks for the prompt and informative reply - I really hope you  don't mind me tapping you up again with some slightly longer lines of questioning again :) . <Hey- that's what this site is all about> You are right about being in the hobby for life, Marine has been a lifelong ambition since freshwater fish keeping hooked me (I had 2 tanks before I relocated and re-homed them - 1 150 gal large cichlid tank and 1 75 gal Malawi cichlid tank which included a breeding harem of auratus :) <Awesome! That's great experience that will really help you in your marine endeavors!> Plus, and this is possibly one of Bob's maxims that I have assimilated, I have spent a fortune and will continue to spend a fortune, but I want my investment to succeed so why rush :) ? <Yep- It really is a lifetime hobby! And you need to pace yourself. They'll always be a new gadget or fish to spend your hard-earned money on!> I did a little test by running a limestone and air pump inside the Seaclone tube. The lime wood aerator surely did produce more fine bubbles but in the process of fitting it I had to trim the block down to fit. <A minor inconvenience, I'll bet> Then when it got soaked, it of course expanded and I then spent an hour trying to get the bugger back out again. Luckily it was managed without disaster except for it prompting me to modify some plumbing which resulted in a slight pond on my floor; a good test for my GFI circuits! <All in a days work at the fish tank! Get those towels and buckets ready!> Also high praise for the AquaMedic wave module detecting water and shutting down until dry... <Good to hear..> Having read everything on the web I think a different air valve may solve the bubble problem, so I am leaving the skimmer off until I can verify this. <Definitely worth the experiment. Do advise your fellow hobbyists of your results.> In the meantime, the bubbles (plus a freak heat wave over here in England - tank averaging 27 deg. C.) seem to have caused a massive cynobacteria (sp?) bloom. <That heat wave was a real problem for a lot of hobbyists! By the way, the cyanobacteria is caused mainly by excessive nutrients in the water. High water temperatures won't help any, but the real cause is nutrient...Rather easy to solve!> 1 piece of LR already had red hair on it but approx 45% of my LR has brown fine hair cyano all over it, including on some Coralline algae :( <NO fun, I know...> Is this normal when cycling a new tank with LR in it ? Should I be hoovering or letting it be ? <It is all part of a new setup, and will disappear in time with proper husbandry and aggressive nutrient export processes. New systems usually have very high nutrient loads due to all of the live rock, etc., and do not have fully developed export processes. Getting that protein skimmer up and running (and producing substantial skimmate!) will be a huge factor in eliminating this scourge. Don't be discouraged, though- okay?> Bearing in mind the tanks been running for 2 1/2 weeks now, 1 1/2 with LR, I am assuming it would be at least 4 or 5 more weeks before the cycling is complete and I can consider livestock - does that sound about right? <Sounds about right, but keep in mind that every tank is different, and many factors, such as temperature, current bioload, etc. determine when the tank is cycled. Keep testing the water regularly and recording your results. It will be ready soon enough!> At what point might I consider getting some simple :) inverts, i.e. some hermit crabs, snails etc ? I was thinking (dangerous) that they might help control algae a little, is it best to introduce them before or after the first fish arrival ? <Good thought! I'd get the snails and other herbivorous animals in there as soon as the tank is cycled...> I'm about to set up the QT tank (will be about 25 - 30gals) and wanted to seed it with existing aquarium water (15 gals) and RO + Salt mix (like the main). <Excellent! I'm thrilled to hear that you're doing that! As you surmised, water conditions in the quarantine tank should match those in the display...> So when would be the best time to do a partial water change on the main tank to seed the QT? <After the display tank has finished cycling> And as a rule of thumb how long should I then cycle the QT for before I introduce fish no.1? <Well, you'd want to let your water tests determine when the QT has cycled. What I do to prepare my QT is to keep a sponge filter running in my display tank's sump at all times to colonize beneficial bacteria. That way, when the QT is needed, I just fill it with water from the display (removed during my regular, sickeningly fanatical water changes), and that's about it...Ready to go!> I will be testing the params regularly but needed some estimates so I can plan :) <Sure! Nothing wrong with having a plan!> I have read thru everything I can and these are the only questions I can't answer - and although the livestock looks fantastic at my LFS the staff seem less then enlightened... <Well, there may be some good people there...Give them a chance, but take any advice (even ours) with a grain of salt. After a while, your experience and the wisdom that you've already acquired through your previous hobby successes will help you make the right decisions> Cheers and many thanks in advance (you should charge ;) ),  Richard <Thanks for the kind words! I couldn't imagine charging for this...Working with WWM is so fun you can't believe it! Just be sure to share what you've learned with others, and we'll all come out ahead! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Never done salt, never will >I've never done a salt water tank and feel it's best if left to people who know how to do it that way the fish don't suffer.  I'll stick with the freshies and raising baby critters that have been abandoned by mom.  That's what I know best. >>No worries, I just thought you might be interested to know that mollies are a brackish fish.  Marina

African Cichlids to a Marine Tank <Hello! Ryan here> I have kept Africans for 3 years now and I have been researching the possibility of switching to a fish only marine tank. <Great.> I have a 55 gallon and I am thinking of 1 porcupine puffer, 1 trigger fish, 1 coral beauty, 1 flame angel, and maybe 1 black and white clownfish. <No way.  You could have 1 or 2 of the fish you selected, excluding the puffer and trigger. You can't mix angels either.> I have a few questions.   1) Will the puffer and trigger get along? <Sure, in a 200 gallon setup.>  2) Will they eat the dwarfs? <No>  3) Will the dwarfs be compatible because I have read that only one dwarf to a tank. <No, pick 1.  The tanks I have seen with multiple angels are hundreds of gallons>  4) Is it realistic to get a black and white clownfish?  I have seen the perculas everywhere, but not the black and white ones. <May have to mail order it if it's not readily available in your area.  Many LFSs will special order you a fish if a deposit is left.>  5) I have done plenty of research but is there any important info that you can me besides the basics - protein skimmer, live rock, pH, etc.?  <Too much to include in this conversation, I'm afraid.  Keep reading the FAQs.>  6) Africans take a lickin' and keep on tickin' - I am hesitant to (go) with the marines because they seem so delicate.  I understand that they are expensive but are most of the precautions for beginners or what? <Depends on the fish in question.  Also, hardiness is a highly variable term.  Resilient to what?  Toxic water conditions, aggression from other fishes, etc.  Too broad a question.  African cichlids are closely related to Damsels, so I would start there if you're looking for something similar.  Good luck.>

Converting Fresh to Salt >Hello, >>Greetings, Marina here. >I have just changed my fresh water tank into a salt water tank. The tank is 100 liters.  Firstly my fish do not live for more than a couple of weeks - although I seem to have all the necessary filters, etc.   >>Without knowing MUCH more about how you set it up for salt, your cycling stage, water parameters (I'd need to know salinity, ammonia levels, nitrite, nitrate, and pH to start) there's not much I can really tell you. >Secondly the tank now after 3 months has started to get a brown layer on the sand and the hard corals and on the glass. >>My guess would be a diatom bloom, this occurs in the presence of nutrients without competitors. I will suggest you invest in some good books.  Two I will recommend are "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", by Bob Fenner, and "The Marine Aquarium Handbook--Beginner to Breeder", by Martin Moe, Jr.  There are MANY, MANY other very good books that will be of great help, too many to list.  In the meantime, do use our site's search engine and type "freshwater to marine setup", then read ALL results, follow the links within links, etc.  There is MUCH useful information to be found just within our site, including many chapters of the first book I've listed. >Please do suggest what has gone wrong and what I can do... Right now the only fish that is alive is a starfish. >>Eck!  And that's not even a real fish, per se!  However, it's alive, so all is not lost, eh?  Leave things be for now, keep the lighting low and on for only short periods of time.  Do get those test readings, read the results from the search I've pointed you towards, and we can move on from there.   >Which are the hardy fish that I should start with? >>Right now let's wait on the fish, and get you going with good, USABLE information.  Then we'll move on to ensure your tank is properly cycled, and from there we can address what fish will best suit you and your setup.  Looking forward to hearing from you soon!  Marina        

Freshwater to Saltwater in the U.K. - 7/7/03 Hi team, <Cheers, mate> I am in the UK and have a 65 g tank (I think) 42"x 22"x20" which I am going to change to SW (fish only), I tried marine about twenty years ago without much success. <Ahhh, yes... 'tis a very different hobby nowadays. Less maintenance than some FW tanks in fact> As the SW hobby has now came on leaps and bounds I am going to give it a go again. <Excellent to hear! Have you read the magazine Today's Fishkeeper? Fantastic rag without an obscene amount of advertising. I write for them in the UK.> So my first question is this, my set up at present is a Fluval 404  external filter, 300W heater/stat for (SW or FW) substrate is coral sand, tuffa and ocean rock and a single 36" fluorescent light (Aquaglo), I have purchased a 20kg bucket of Red Sea salt, and I plan to buy an Aqua-C Remora skimmer when on holiday to Florida in September, will this be sufficient to start my fish only tank?  I hoped to cycle the tank prior to going on holiday and add skimmer on return and also live rock when the funds build up again, sorry if I've went on a bit just want to make sure I do it right this time.  Thanks in advance, Graham E <All sounds like a very fine start. Do consider a couple good books too like Fenner's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium". Also a brief article here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fw2mar.htm  welcome aboard, and best of luck! Kindly, Anthony>

Fresh to salt conversion... I currently have a 54 gal Oceanic corner tank I want to convert to saltwater.  I'm running an Eheim Pro II canister filter at present.  My substrate is black sand that is suitable for fresh or salt. <I'd recommend removing it and replacing it with a fine grain calcium based substrate (ie. aragonite).> My plan is a fish only tank with perhaps adding an anenome (sp) in the future for clowns. <Pacific clownfish hosting anemones are generally difficult to maintain in captivity, make sure that you have plenty of saltwater and preferably coral experience under your belt before attempting one. We'll have recommendations for specific anemones for you then.> What would be a good, but not over-priced protein skimmer and is it imperative I run a wet/dry system if I plan on using live rock? <I'd recommend an AquaC remora or a Precision Marine HOT-1. They're both reasonably priced and very efficient hang on skimmers. It's unnecessary to use any type of additional bio-filter if you plan on using adequate quantities of live rock.> How much live rock would you recommend and would I be safe using the Eheim in conjunction with a protein skimmer since the live rock will pick up the bio load. <Run the Eheim with only carbon, the filter and bio media become nutrient traps. I'd say 30lbs of LR in combination with a live sand bed would suffice.> I have over 20 years experience with freshwater and now think it's time to make the switch. <Excellent time to get salty! -Kevin> Thanks, Don.

Fresh to salt and salt to fresh Hi there,       I've emailed once or twice before and you all were a great source of info.<thanks, we try our best :)>  So, here is another question for you.  I have made my valiant attempt at salt water, but I find I do not have the proper tank for what I wish to do (Reef tank).  It is a small 45 gallon corner tank, which is deeper than it is wide.<agreed>  I know I can use this tank for a Reef setup, however I would rather wait until I have a larger tank.<ok>  For the time being, I plan on going back to fresh water with the 45 Gal. tank I have now.  I have returned my inhabitants the store where I bought them from.  My question is about my filter (which is a Proquatics canister filter), I have rinsed it all out with fresh water, and the entire thing is disassembled in a plastic tub of fresh water.  Do I need to use any other additives to make it safe for fresh water use. <I wouldn't think so>  I have heard of some people using small portions of bleach to disinfect the equipment.<yes, I wouldn't use the bleach...just very hot water.>  Is this what I should do?  If so, what part bleach to what part water?<again wouldn't use the bleach>  If this needs to be done to the filter, I'm assuming it also needs to be done to power heads and the inside of the tank.<Hot water should be sufficient> In short, what are the necessary steps to prepare my equipment for fresh water use.<just rinse everything thoroughly with hot water, and everything should be alright> Thank You!<your welcome, IanB> Justin

Stocking Up? I'm considering "upgrading" to a marine aquarium.  I have 2 freshwater tanks now, 55 gall, and 29 gall.  I'm planning on a 90 gallon (fish, some rock, minimal invertebrates) and was wondering if my choice of equipment is sufficient: a magnum 350 w/ Biowheel,  4- 275 g.p.h. power heads, 2- 200 watt subm. heaters, a medium grade skimmer, a double fluorescent light hood (one blue, one "day"),  a good air pump, along with the obvious equipment.   Would  14-18 average size fish be too much?  Thank you, James P,  Providence, RI <Well, James- there are a lot of different approaches to maintaining a fish only marine system...You should look into a filtration methodology that can keep up with the types of fishes and animals you intend to keep. DO consider lots of different techniques- check out sump systems as well- they offer lots of flexibility. Check out the many resources on the WetWebMedia.com site for information. As far as the number of fishes that your system can support- well- that all depends upon the size and requirements of the fishes that you are interested in. It's hard to set an arbitrary number based solely upon tank size...Different fishes have different requirements for space, dictated by both  their habits and needs for territory, etc. For example, a 3 inch Royal Gramma has dramatically different requirements than a 3 inch Yellow Tang, which will ultimately grow to a larger size, require more room to swim, and has a more active metabolism than the Gramma...And 20 neon gobies will have vastly different needs than 20 Domino Damselfish, etc. Just do a little research and you'll be okay! If you have a specific set of fishes that you're considering, and would like some feedback, feel free to email us again! Good luck with your new venture! Regards, Scott F>

From Fresh To Salt... Dear Bob, <Actually, Scott F. here today!> I wonder if you could help me with a problem I have that I can't find any advice for. <I'll give it my best shot!> I own a Juwel Delta 100 tank which has the standard Juwel Monolux lighting system consisting of two 18w fluorescent bulbs and the standard Juwel filter system. This has been a tropical aquarium for over a year now but I wish to move over to a Marine setup, preferable fish and invertebrate. My first and main concern is the lighting required for a marine system containing live rock and invertebrates. <Always a valid concern! Glad that you are considering the needs for your system...> I have purchased "The conscientious Marine Aquarist" book which is a big help thanks Bob!! In the book you advise using a 4 fluorescent bulb setup for a fish and invertebrate tank that includes soft corals such as mushroom anemones. The problem is the Juwel Monolux light with the Delta Aquarium can only hold two fluorescent bulbs. I wondered if you were aware of other owners of a Delta 100 who have moved over to a third party lighting system that will fit the Delta, or if any have successfully incorporated the existing Monolux lighting setup for fish and invertebrates? <I do not have any personal experience with this aquarium, though I have seen them before...I'll bet that you could retrofit that canopy with a couple of compact fluorescents. Check manufacturers such as Custom Sea Life, to see if they offer a configuration that will work. Also, check a do-it-yourself lighting vendor, such as hellolights.com, to see if they have something that will work. Finally, you may want to post on the WWM Forum to see if any fellow members have experience with retrofitting this system> Would I get away with one full spectrum and one actinic blue fluorescent bulb in the existing light setup? <Well, depending upon the height of the tank, and the inverts that you are considering, this could work for some hardy ones, like certain mushrooms, LPS, and other less light-demanding corals...> Perhaps you know yourself of a light setup that I could incorporate if the existing is insufficient? The worry is the unusual shape (triangular at the rear) that obtaining another lighting setup that fits this corner room tank design may be tricky. <Yep- try researching a retrofit or do-it-yourself option...> I appreciate the lighting is mandatory especially for certain invertebrates and the last thing I want is to purchase live rock for anywhere between ?160 and ?190 pounds sterling ($271 - $304 USD) and then find  the lighting setup may not be suitable to encourage growth on the cured rocks or keep what's already there? <I applaud you on your thinking! However, don't be discouraged, because there are several species of corals that don't need the high light intensities that we usually associate with reef systems. I suggest a bit of research on the WWM site, and perhaps picking up a copy of Anthony Calfo's awesome "Book of Coral Propagation" and Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" for more information...> Can you offer any help or advise on this thanks and in turn what recommendation you can give, (if the tank is ok) on the type of kit (skimmers, filters, etc) you recommend. <As far as skimmers are concerned, could you provide some approximate dimensions (length, width, height) of the tank, and its capacity? That would help me provide some better recommendations...> The last thing I want to do is jump in head first and waste hundreds of pounds with a system doomed to fail from day one. Many thanks, Martin Wright, Warrington (England). <Martin, I'm sure that you can create a system that you will be proud of. We just need to narrow down the equipment choices, and focus a bit more on the setup...Shoot me an email when you can, and we'll get to work! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>
From Fresh To Salt (Pt. 2)
Scott, <Hello again!> Many thanks for your advise on the lighting etc and I'll definitely look into the options you've supplied. I think as you point out, getting hold of another owner of the Delta 100 on the WWM with a fish and invertebrate setup will be a very good start. If I can get this lighting sorted I'll be cooking on gas. <So many possibilities out there!> The tank consists of the following dimensions: Width  100cm Height 50cm depth  64cm. <About 150 liters, yes? Using my limited metric "conversion" skills here!> The cover is two seperate pieces that both connect to the Monolux light unit positioned in the middle of the tank. This unit can be slid forward or back on it's run to point the light at the rear or front of the tank but it is static with regard to position to the water (in that it cannot be lowered or raised on the water). A little difficult to explain really. <Ah...I actually know what you mean...I've seen this unit before in pictures on the 'net. Seems pretty versatile, in regard to movement. However, I guess you'll want more intensity...I think that PCs would be a really nice upgrade for this tank. You may have to fashion a "pendant" of sorts, but it can be done. The Custom Sea Life retrofits are an excellent choice, too. If you're really crazy (and what fish nerd isn't?), you could even use a couple of HQI halide pendants, or mogul based halides in a retrofit of some sort...Of course, heat comes into play- but there are tons of possibilities!!> The tank capacity is 150 litres approx 39.6 US gallons. <Hey- I was right! LOL> The lighting as mentioned is two 18w fluorescent tubes both 24" in length. I've read on "Seven oaks Tropical Marine" website (or STM for short), which is a company here in the UK that they recommend an "Aqua Medic Turboflotor multi 1000" hang on skimmer (bit of a mouthful) for use in tanks without a sump. Have you ever used or had feedback on this kit at all Scott? <Yes I have. The Turboflotor is an excellent, highly productive skimmer, once you get it "dialed in". You do need to keep it clean, becuase the "needle wheel" assembly can become clogged, and sometimes breaks. That's my only real point of contention with this skimmer. The other thought, if you're inclined to use a hang-on-the-back skimmer, would be the Aqua C Remora Pro, or the CPR Bak Pak- both are excellent units in their own right...do check 'em out as well!> I really want to purchase the best I can that you recommend for a tank this size, whether it be a hang on jobbie or one positioned underneath the tank. Whatever works the best really. <Is it possible to utilize a sump setup? This would give you terrific flexibility and lots of options for skimmers, etc.> If it's any help you can obtain a picture of my exact tank setup on the web by searching on Juwel Delta 100 within your search engine. I did try to attach a picture here but I'm using a pretty low spec mailing system on my ISP's website (as I'm at work at the moment) but it keeps crashing when I try to add the attachment? <No worries- I'll find it.> Hope this info is of help. Many thanks, Martin. <My pleasure, Martin. I think that any of the skimmers that we discussed here will do the job nicely. I tend to always think about using a sump-based setup because there are so many things that you can do with them. You may want to do some research on sumps using the Google Search feature on the WWM site. Another added advantage of sumps is that they increase your overall water capacity within the system! Have I tempted you yet? Feel free to shoot me an email anytime as your system begins to take shape. All of us at WWM are here to help! Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

72G Bow Front from Fresh to Salt Water I have a 72 Gallon Bow Tank, currently set up for Freshwater. I have a Fluval 404 and an Eheim 17?? Currently I have 4 painted parrots and a green terror doing very well in the tank. My wife is insisting that we go saltwater. We've purchased all of the salt and crushed coral and the salesperson told me I really don't need any additional equipment to get started. Although another salesperson told me (at a different store) that I need a Penguin Biological filter and a Protein Skimmer. My question is, do I need those items to start, or can they be added after (or during) the cycling process. Also, what kind of fish and how many (besides Damsels) would you recommend after the tank is cycled? Thanks for any help you can give! <A good protein skimmer is a must. See here on WetWebMedia for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimbestof.htm. Before adding a power filter I would think about adding 30-60# of live rock instead. This is a great biological filter and a great way to aquascape the aquarium. Live rock will help with the cycling process as well. I would add the live rock at the beginning and then bring the skimmer online later (but before adding livestock) if necessary. For fish, you will need to do some research on what you might like. You might try Scott Michael's Marine Fishes or Bob Fenner's Conscientious Marine Aquarist and others to help get ideas. After you get a general list of fish, you can write back or post a message on the WetWebMedia chat form at http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk to help refine the list. Also, check here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fw2mar.htm for an article that Anthony Calfo wrote on the fresh water to salt water conversion. Hope this helps, Don>
Re: 72G Bow front from fresh to salt water
Thanks! I know this is going to be a very tough project and I'm trying to do as much reading as possible. I'm trying to avoid the live rock if possible. We have a beautiful castle in the freshwater tank, can that also go in the saltwater? <Should be OK. If you are really concerned you can wash it in a solution of 1 cup household bleach to 5 gallon water (or equivalent ratio) then rinse thoroughly, Don>
Re: 72G Bow front from fresh to salt water
Help! I bought the live rock and placed it in the tank. After a few days I put in the damsels. Everything seemed to be fine, the water was good, all the tests were in the acceptable rang, and now I have all of this brown stuff growing in the tank, even on the crushed coral! Someone told me that it will turn green after a few days. Is this normal? <Yes, a common occurrence. This is Cyanobacteria and you can look here for more info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm. Should pass in time with proper care.> Also, I picked up 6 small damsels, two dominos, two yellow tails, and two blue ones. They eat very hearty but I don't overfeed them. Now one of each of them has died! I can't figure out what's wrong! The ammonia level is near zero (I've been waiting for it to spike for the cycling process) Could it be the live rock that's killing them? <What about nitrite and nitrate? Should be 0 as well. Or the fish may have been killed by the others. Not unusual. Damsels are very aggressive. If you can, you might see if you can return them to the store. More livestock research before purchasing in the future might be advised.> Someone told me I shouldn't have picked up pairs of the same species because they fight each other. I do notice they are very territorial in the tank. If it is the rock, how can I tell? <It is not the rock, as per above. Some species do not like another in the confines of an aquarium. I do not think that your tank has cycled (not in a week) and that it would have been better to wait 4-6 weeks before adding any livestock. You would be benefited by QTing any new additions for 4-6 weeks as well. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm. Don>
Re: 72G Bow front from fresh to salt water
Thanks! I bought a UV Sterilizer to add to the tank. I hope the three were killed by the others and not the water. You've been a fantastic help! <Glad to assist. Keep in touch, Don>

Skimmer search - 3/25/03 Hello Bob Thanks very much for your insight into setting up marine aquariums. <our pleasure> I currently have a fresh water aquarium and would like proceed to next stage of marine setup. <very well. You are in for a wonderful world of beauty and fascination> I was bit surprised that in your article you did not mention anything about protein skimmers for marine setup. <Plenty mentioned on our site, see here please: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimbestof.htm and follow the links at the top of the page after done researching the various questions and answers. This is one of the most talked about issues on our page. Should be plenty of information to assist you in your quest for knowledge. > I have been getting all types of conflicting point of views re: skimmer. I was hoping that you can shed bit more light on this subject. <Take a look through the many faqs and articles regarding skimmers on our site. Thank you for your question> Thanks very much in advance. Regards <thank you. Pablo> Mohammad Hassan Queensland University of Technology

FW to SW conversion page 3/25/03 Anthony: Just read over your new page - well done!   <thanks kindly> The only thing I would add and I think is VERY important is a "Budget considerations" section. <a good point indeed> I find a lot of people starting out in marine aquaria don't sit down and count the costs and end up doing a halfway job of it, i.e. not realizing that a good skimmer costs over $100, you can spend over $100 on aragonite sand (depending on tank) etc.  Not to mention getting all set up and then learning they need an ADDITIONAL small tank (QT).The only other important element I would add is the "P" factor (patience) again for things like the QT procedure, etc. These strike me as important because these elements are not really much of a consideration with FW setups and will require a different way of thinking, planning. IMO David <on the contrary David... you have hit the nail on the head. QT and patience is equally important for FW as it is SW. Thanks kindly for your input, my friend. Anthony>

Newbie article... whaddya think? Friends... I felt frisky and noticed a page/topic that need an article on WWM: Converting From Freshwater to Marine Aquarium Keeping http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fw2mar.htm I penned the attached with the intention of it being very beginner-oriented (for someone that knows next to nothing about marines). Any recommendations for improving it: content or language? Tried to keep it simple and short. Thanks kindly, Anthony

Re: newbie article... whaddya think? Hey Anthony,  Just got around to reading the FW -> SW conversion page and it looks great! I was wondering about a statement at the end of the required list. "A clean plastic bucket or can" Maybe it's just my Midwestern upbringing, but to me a can is metal. Can of beans, can of coffee, etc. I understand that you are writing 'plastic bucket or plastic can' but…..Maybe container? Or just plain 'plastic bucket'? My 2 cents Don

Setting up 300 gallon freshwater tank... temporarily?? (02/20/03) Hello guys <Ananda here today...(one of the gals)> Our family has been into fish for years on a small scale fresh water brackish, African We have acquired a deal on 2 large tanks with filtration etc.. The 175 gal will be our first reef is was set up and running for years. We will be setting up the 300 gal first as a freshwater tank. The boys would like to have a lot of plants and fish. It has never been set up but has all equipment for a reef which after we get into the 175 gal reef I am sure some day we will convert the 300 fresh to a reef. <Converting a 300 gallon freshwater tank to a reef is no small chore. And if you have plants, it would be an even bigger chore. I have both freshwater planted tanks and a small reef tank. Honestly, I find the planted tanks take at least as much work to maintain as the reef tank does. However, a very large planted tank can be beautiful, and the tank size gives you a very wide variety of freshwater fish to choose from.> The 300 has 2 corner over flows a Life reef lf1-300 Berlin filter sump, 6 ft tall Protein skimmer, Life reef automated denitrifier, 25 w uv, we still need lights. <Lighting is often the most expensive hardware purchase for either a reef tank or a planted tank. You will need metal halides either way; for a reef tank you would probably want 2-3 times the wattage of a planted tank, depending on the types of corals you want to keep. I would contact LifeReef about how to set up the sump for a freshwater system.> I figure we should install the sump. Do we need the protein skimmer the denitrifier and the uv filter or should we put them in the loop when we convert to reef on the 300. <The protein skimmer will not work on a freshwater tank. If you plant the tank, your plants will be the denitrifiers. I would consider leaving the UV system off unless the tank inhabitants become diseased. --Ananda>

Re: salt water tank setup I have a 110 gallon freshwater tank with discus, and would like to switch over to saltwater. I've had tanks for over 10 years now but only freshwater fish. I have a wet/dry filter system. Please tell me what else I'll need for a saltwater tank. <First of all, time spent reading a couple of good books! I suggest Michael Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium" first, followed up by Bob's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist". If you read these books, I can GUARANTEE you will save more than the cost of the two books by not buying equipment and livestock that are not suited to your setup. (I know I did! And I only have a small marine tank.) And supplement those with reading the articles (and FAQs) on marine setups, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm ...yes, there's quite a bit to read, but trust me -- it's better to spend time reading now than time mourning the loss of a fish later! Consider that you will be making a goodly investment in equipment, live rock, fish, etc. and research accordingly.> I was told by someone that i should remove all the filters and make sure there is enough flow through the tank. Also how much sand and fish do you recommend for a 110 gallon tank? <Enough sand for at least a 4" deep sand bed...my apologies, but I can't give you an exact figure for how much sand that would be. You might try asking on the WetWebFotos chat forums; someone there might have a 110 gallon tank with a deep sand bed.> Do you recommend a certain protein skimmer? <There is a lot of information on skimmers (and sand beds) on the articles linked in blue from this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm  > How long do i have to wait before putting fish and which type of fish. <Depending on various conditions, anywhere from a week to a month after you add live rock to the tank. You need to get the tank cycled first, then you add the most docile fish. Then you can add additional fish s.l.o.w.l.y.... There are many, many different species of fish available. My favorite book to flip through while dreaming of future tanks is Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes: 500 Essential-To-Know Aquarium Species", which gives you a photo, short description, and list of environment requirements for each species.> I'll probably just put live rock in the tank. <That's a good start and will help cycle your tank.> thanks Denny <You're welcome. Have fun reading! --Ananda>

Fresh to marine Hello. I am writing y'all concerning my transition from a fresh to saltwater aquarium.  I have kept African cichlids for several years; currently in a 50 gallon tank, but I am dying to convert to a marine aquarium and I want to make good decisions about my equipment etc.  I am going crazy trying to find clear, definite  information regarding  biological filtration! <Very few absolutes in this hobby. Here's how I make decisions: Learn the biology/theory behind what writers propose, then determine if the proposition makes logical sense to you> What, exactly, do I need to have a safe, healthy environment for marine fish?   <Saltwater, live rock, protein skimmer, and lighting> Currently, I use a Penguin BioWheel Power filter. I am aware that my power filter will not support a marine tank properly, but what, EXACTLY, do I need? <Live rock (1-2 lbs per gallon) and a good skimmer is more than adequate. If you're going to have big, messy eating fish, a wet/dry with live rock and skimmer would be better> Can I a) use my BioWheel along w/a protein skimmer (what my aquarium expert has advised me to do), b) use a Magnum H.O.T. canister filter, (can I use a canister alone or do I need a canister AND a skimmer?), <You could do either of the above ideas successfully> or c) should I use the two plus some live sand? <Cycle you tank with live rock and the sand that you put in the tank will become live. No need to cycle with live fish and no need to spend the money for "live sand in a plastic bag." That kind isn't really "live" anyhow...but it costs a small fortune> (I desire a fish only tank). I have not been able to find any clear, straight forward answers about this.  I believe the solution would be a canister filter along w/a protein skimmer and live sand, but I don't want to torture any fish in my learning process and I am only familiar w/freshwater biology. <It would work...although personally, I hate Marineland products. They are expensive to maintain, use proprietary parts and filter replacements, and tend to be inefficient. Your experience may be different. It's all a matter of perspective> Also, is the Magnum H.O.T. a suitable  filter for a fish only tank? <See the above statements. I would be tempted to try a different kind of filter. A Fluval 404 (less than $90 from fostersmith.com) would be better than the Magnum or an Eheim (starting at about $115) would also be good. But if you are setting up a small tank (like under 30 gallons) the Magnum will probably be okay. Want to save lots of money on equipment and liverock? Buy as much as possible online. I always go to the links page here at Wetwebmedia and search many of the stores listed. There really are unbelievable deals online. Bricks and mortar stores can't even get in the same ball park> I am a second grade teacher on a pitiful budget so.....I would appreciate any advice from y'all.   <I am also a teacher (my real job) and I sympathize! A fish only system is relatively cheap to setup and maintain although all fish tanks are work intensive from time to time. The biology of freshwater and saltwater systems are significantly different. If you want to be successful in this venture, you will take the time to learn about setup, maintenance, water quality parameters, stocking, and disease. Do this learning before you buy anything (except books). Wetwebmedia.com is a great place to start!> Thank you and have a great MLK holiday! <You're certainly welcome! David Dowless>

- Switching to Freshwater - Hello guys, <And hello to you, JasonC here...> I have been using your site everyday and have learned tons over the past 5 months.  You have helped me through a number of problems.  I have to say I am getting very discouraged with the saltwater fish hobby.  At first I was having trouble due to ignorance, but now I do so much research before taking any steps and it doesn't seem to be getting any better.  I made it through an initial ich outbreak, the fish also made it, then after 2 months of being fallow, I did everything by the book.  I have 2 quarantine tanks that I use correctly for new fish, doing freshwater dips before QT and before placement in main tank, I do a water change weekly, I keep all my levels good, I got a backup battery for power outages, temperature is always constant, I don't overfeed, my tank was under crowded, seemingly I do everything correctly and still I get no peace or relaxation from my tank. Yesterday, I found my flame wrasse dead, wedged up in some live rock, his tail torn up. <Am sorry to hear of your loss.> I had removed the maroon clown the day before because of heavy gilling, wondering if stress from the purple tang was the problem or some unseen parasite.  Still observing clown who won't eat, under your advice will medicate and treat for amyloodinium, because I can't see any parasites visible to the naked eye, and somehow the ich magnet tang is very healthy, but the clown who was stronger than her and showed less signs during the last outbreak is now starving itself. <Well... all I can say here it to be patient.> My concern is not with the time it consumes or the expense, it has to do with the fact that I am so stressed that something will be going wrong that I don't get any enjoyment with watching the fish, evertime I look in there I am closely inspecting each fish looking for any bad signs. <Trust me when I say, I've been there... I know exactly what you are talking about.> And really I am doing everything correctly and still I get some parasite after the QT of new fish, no temp. or level changes, WHY!!! <When I think of this, I think of a Simpson's episode when Bart wants to play guitar... at the end when Bart quits, Homer tells Bart, "Anything hard just isn't worth doing."> So the question I have is this, is freshwater like everyone says much easier? <To be honest, I don't know... I've only ever kept saltwater fish.> The guy at the LFS seems to think I should switch over, he told me the fish are more peaceful, you can keep more to a tank, they don't get disease as easy, and etc.  blah blah, blah. <That does sound like blah-blah to me, and a chance for him to sell you more stuff.> Now  it seemed like a relieving picture at the time, a stress less peaceful tank of fishes, but also too good to be true. <I agree.> So I have been through your freshwater articles and to me it seems like there is just as much to be worried about with them, species that will go together, a number of different water types and parameters for different fish, still the horrible parasites, and still aggressive fish.  So how can freshwater be easier? <I don't think salt is particularly hard, you've just had a run of bad luck and are experiencing a steep learning curve. I think things will get better.> I guess what I am looking for is someone to guide me to a decision, do I continue to stick it out with the salt, or trade in and start over with fresh. <I would stick it out.> Will I get more peace from freshwater, IYO is freshwater easier, remembering of course that I already have all the equipment for saltwater and more knowledge of salt. <Again, I'm not a good judge of the ease of freshwater, but I agree with your previous assessment that the same potential problems await...> SHOULD I SWITCH TO FRESHWATER? <Is up to you, I wouldn't.> The main thing I hate is fish dying, I feel so horrible and guilty, I cry and then spend every minute of their health dreading the time when another of my little critters will die. <I appreciate this deeply... all I can say is that you need to examine yourself. We all make mistakes, and it's terrible to waste any form of life... but things happen, and hopefully we learn from these lessons.> I love the fish, I don't mind the work, I actually kind of enjoy that, I just can't stand the death part. <Yeah... I hear you.> Maybe the answer is no aquarium. <That is a bit extreme, but if it helps you sleep better at night, you may have to go this route. Only you know this answer.> I have a pond and that does give me enjoyment except for when the rain killed everything or the raccoons, both of which problems I now have solutions to. <Ah ha! See... there are solutions.> Will the aquarium business get more enjoyable and more towards the stress relieving properties I have heard so much about, instead of the stress creator I have? <Give it time.> Sorry for venting and rambling, I am at some type of crossroads and I need some guidance. <The adventure is the journey.> Thank you, Kylee Peterson <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Cheap salt setup Hello all, This will be one of the last (hopefully) question I have. I am just now getting ready to switch from fresh to salt, a 125. I was thinking of doing an under gravel, 2 power heads, 2 magnum 250's, and a protein skimmer. Will that work until I have more money for a fluidized bed filter? <Yes> I really wanted to go with Live sand, but it seems the only way to run a salt water tank with live sand is you need nothing but live sand, live rock and a wet dry. Is it o.k. to use just crushed coral? <Yes> Or should I just go with the fluidized bed, a protein skimmer, Live sand, Live rock, 2 magnums, and 2 power heads? Fish only. <The latter would be better, both will work> I really appreciate all of your help, you can't count on a LFS to supply you with honest information, that's pretty sad. <Keep studying. Bob Fenner>

125 fresh to salt Hello, <Hi there> I am looking to switch my 125 gallon fresh water tank over to a fish only saltwater tank. It's funny when you go to some of the local fish stores to get a little bit of help they all have different opinions and cancel each other out. So I  went through your site (several times) and would very much like your option. Right now I have 2 magnum hot 250 filters. I have been told by several people that all I will need to buy is an under gravel filter, 2 or 3 power heads, some crushed coral, live sand and live and base rock. They say put the UGF down, cover it with an inch of crushed coral, put a screen on top of that, then cover up the screen with crushed coral and live sand. That way any fish I get that digs will be able to but without getting to the UGF. Will that work? <Likely all are concerned about your two canister filters capacity to provide continuous biological filtration... and hence the UG filter idea... You could try just cleaning one of the Magnums out per maintenance schedule... but I'd investigate adding some live rock, possibly a sump to your system. Worthwhile for you to study, delve into what marine filtration is, develop your own ideas re what your options are. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm> Also I wonder about a protein skimmer, will I or should I get one? <Yes. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toskimornotfaq.htm> And one other question, I know already that (for even a short period of time) I  want a shark. I have been looking and there are two that I am interested in. The first is the nurse shark, which yes I know that my tank is too small for something that gets 14 feet. The second is the banded cat shark. There was a third, which if you think would be o.k. (even if for a short period) would be called a port Jackson (that is what is was called in las Vegas/), and would you be able to tell me where I might be able to check online for that species.? They said it was from the horn shark family. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coolh20sharks.htm Bob Fenner> Thank you for your time, Bill 125 fresh to salt Hello, I am looking to switch my 125 gallon fresh water tank over to a fish only saltwater tank. It's funny when you go to some of the local fish stores to get a little bit of help they all have different opinions and cancel each other out. <Yup, different products, different opinions. There are many different ways to achieve the same results.> So I  went through your site (several times) and would very much like your opinion. Right now I have 2 magnum hot 250 filters. I have been told by several people that all I will need to buy is an under gravel filter, 2 or 3 power heads, some crushed coral, live sand and live and base rock. They say put the UGF down, cover it with an inch of crushed coral, put a screen on top of that, then cover up the screen with crushed coral and live sand. That way any fish I get that digs will be able to but without getting to the UGF. Will that work? <That will work, but so would your magnum filters.  I do not like the idea of under gravel filters.  There is no good way to clean out the garbage that accumulates underneath them without tearing your tank apart.> Also I wonder about a protein skimmer, will I or should I get one? <Probably one of the most important pieces of equipment.> And one other question, I know already that (for even a short period of time) I  want a shark. I have been looking and there are two that I am interested in. The first is the nurse shark, which yes I know that my tank is too small for something that gets 14 feet. <PHEW!> The second is the banded cat shark. There was a third, which if you think would be o.k. (even if for a short period) would be called a port Jackson (that is what is was called in las Vegas/), and would you be able to tell me where I might be able to check online for that species.? They said it was from the horn shark family. <Port Jackson's can get rather large as well, close to 5ft if I recall.  We have some good articles on sharks. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharkslvgrm.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm IMO a sump and wet/dry setup would be best in your situation.  That will allow you to use an in-sump skimmer as well.  For the substrate use either less than 1in of sand or coral or more than 3in if you would like to go with the Deep Sand Bed idea. -Gage> Thank you for your time, Bill
Re: 125 fresh to salt
so am i correct in assuming that all i need to buy is some live sand and live rock? and a Protein skimmer? how much sand and rock will i need? <Yes, BUT...  using the two canister filters may cause the tank to be unstable, like Bob had mentioned you may want to clean them on alternating schedules.  You may also find it hard to find an adequate skimmer for the 125gal that is not an in sump model.  As far as the sand and live rock go, it depends on what you are shooting for.  For a reef tank I would go with 1.5lbs to 2lbs or LR per gallon.  For sand, less than an 1in or more than 3in.  Also, I would not start off with a shark, maybe some fish that are a little less demanding. -Gage> thanks bill
Re: 125 fresh to salt I don't understand (sorry, I just want to do this 110%). <not a problem> would I have a good tank if I have live sand live rock 3 power heads 2 magnum 250's and a protein skimmer? <depends on the size of the powerheads and what you are going to keep in the tank, but yeah that sounds good. depending upon the amount of LR.> what do you mean about not being able to use both at the same time? like switch them out monthly?? <Both canisters would be running at the same time, but canisters have the tendency to become biological filters as well as mechanical.  So changing them both at the same time would deplete the biological filter.  So alternate the cleanings, one week, and the next the next week.> what about investing in a aqua clear 500 or something additional (filtration) for under $100.00.  I am looking for the most cost efficient setup with what I already have. <Id go with a DIY sump.  empty tank, Rubbermaid?, some plexi glass baffles (leftover bin at tap plastics), and a pump. http://www.ozreef.org/ > I have searched your site over and over. I just want to do it right. if you could give just a little more help I would be truly thankful. <That's what we are here for. -Gage> thanks bill

- Fresh to Salt Conversion - Hi there, <Hi, Aaron - JasonC here...> Ok, I have read and read and read and have gathered a lot of great information from your web site, and I plan on reading the recommended book. Thanks!  I wish I had stumbled upon it before I started buying things from my LFS.  If you have time, I would just like to get your comments on my particular situation. I have recently converted the following freshwater tank to salt: 120 gallon tank w/ 4 20watt florescent bulbs UGF with two large powerheads. 2 300 watt heaters. The steps I took: 1. Drained it and cleaned it. 2. Re-installed the UGF with about 100 lbs of crushed coral. 3. Filled with tap water, used tap water conditioner, and added Cycle. 4. Added Instant Ocean until it was up to 1.022. 5. After running for a few days, added two damsels to cycle.  PH is at 7.8 6. Bought a protein skimmer that I have not installed.  Also considering a Wet/Dry setup. I understand that I have made a few un-informed decisions, so I have a couple questions: - Without immediately spending too much more money on equipment, or LR/LS, what species of fish (and inverts, if any), would be good for a beginner, be supported in my current setup, but still be beautiful and fun to watch? (I had considered a Maroon Clown, and a Yellow Tang, perhaps some shrimp and crabs). Also, are there any species supported by my setup, that would control algae? <Hmmm... if I were you, I'd consider spending money on live rock first. It's a fantastic foundation for the reef system you want to create, it performs duties as natural filtration, it provides a natural food source, AND [often forgotten] it provides a place to hide and rest to any type of fish you would want to place. Buying any more fish at this point would be putting the cart before the horse.> - Should I add the Wet/Dry, and if so, should I remove the UGF or run it as well? <Bail on the UGF and don't put the money towards the wet/dry either. Spend the money on live rock.> - When should I install the skimmer? <If you add the live rock, add the skimmer at the same time. If not, don't add the skimmer until the cycle is complete.> - As I get more experienced, what would be the next logical step?  Add LR and replace the Crushed Coral with LS (lose the Wet/Dry and/or UGF and use the powerheads for circulation / current) and start moving toward a reef setup? <Ahh... well, depending on if you like my advice or not... at this point you can add fish! Actually, you also need to put some money towards a quarantine system as well - will save you much heart-ache in the long run.> If you have any thoughts I would greatly appreciate it! <You got them all.> Thanks, Aaron <Cheers, J -- >

Fresh to salt I've read over your FAQ's concerning switching from fresh to salt and didn't really get my question answered. I have a 65 gallon tank that I want to switch to salt. I currently have an 18 gallon reef tank that's great, so I'm not a newbie. Anyways, I'm curious if you have an idea on how to fill my 65 gallon with saltwater? With my 18 gallon I just do it gallon by gallon with an empty milk jug, but I don't want to do that 65 times. <Agreed> Should I just put in 1/2 cup of salt for every gallon then fill the tank up with tapwater, or is there a better method. <You could just add the salt and then fill with a hose, but a better method is to use a Rubbermaid garbage can, the kind that you can buy a base with four caster wheels on it. Fill the Rubbermaid up with water (tap, RO, DI, whatever), add a pump/powerhead to mix it up and aerate, also a heater to adjust the temperature, later add the salt, buffers, and when all is mixed up use the mixing powerhead to pump the water into the tank. This setup will come in handy later for water changes.> And also, I have about 60-80 lbs of lava rock currently in the 65, could I use that as base rock for my live rock?   <While you can get away with this, particularly if this is a fish-only tank, sometimes lava rock can become problematic because of traces of impurities in the rock.> Thanks, Jason <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
Re: fresh to salt
Steve you're a genius man. <Oh, I don't know about that.> I didn't think about doing that. I happen to have a mag pump too so that'll work out great. <Supreme Mag-Drives are one of my favorites, so cheap and versatile.> So if I wanted to use my lava rock as base rock, it could work? <It depends on your situation.> Is there anyway thing that I can do to the rock to make sure it is safe to use, like soaking it in water or bake in the sun or something? <No> I just hate wasting all this good rock when I could be growing coralline algae on it. <One of the drawbacks of using lava rock is coralline does not grow on it very well.> But, then again, I don't want to risk losing livestock because of it either. Thanks again, Jason <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

New to Saltwater Dear Sirs, I am thinking of starting a small salt water aquarium.  I have 3 freshwater aquarium but have never had an saltwater one. Do you have any tips? Thank you, Elizabeth <yes... and it is a wonderful aspect of the hobby. So many fascinating marine creatures. Get a good book for starters to teach yourself the basics. Mike Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium" would be a great first choice. The Bob Fenner's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist". Tell Santa you need these books <G>. Also, go to our index page at www.wetwebmedia.com and click the link for Saltwater (at the top). You can then follow many hours worth of reading with links to articles and FAQs on the saltwater aquarium experience. I wish you the best of luck, my friend. Anthony>

Going Salty! I must say I love the site and greatly appreciate it. <Glad to hear that! Scott F. with you tonight!> I am very interested in going to a salt water tank from a 55 gallon tank that I have had setup for a year and a half. The tank I am wanting to setup is a fish only tank with some live rock (not very sure about the fish species yet though), but my question is what kind of marine fish could I have space-wise and temper-wise. Because with the cichlids, I thought that it was funny at first, but I am too frustrated with the temper and the battle for the lead man of the tank. <Aggression in cichlids can be a real drag, huh?> I know that space has something to do with it, but I provide ample hiding spaces for the smaller fish to hide. <Very good idea> I have been lucky to have some breeding go on in the tank with my red zebra's. They had probably 10 fry. <Very cool! Always a great achievement!> And, something else about filtration: I have an aquaclear 300,200 and a small powerhead do I need more for salt water tank ??? Please help and as before thank you for sharing your knowledge, and that is what makes the internet such a wonderful place. <The type of filtration that you will use for a saltwater tank is largely dependent upon the type of animals that you will be running, their ultimate size, feeding requirements, etc. You can certainly adapt your freshwater filters for use in a small marine system, and you will want to make some additional equipment purchases, such as a protein skimmer, and possibly, enhanced lighting for photosynthetic animals. Many different possibilities here, more than I can cover in this response. Why don't you check out the Marine Set Up FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com site for tons of useful ideas and information! And don't forget to share your knowledge with others as you grow in the hobby! Take the time to do your research ahead of time, and you'll thank yourself over and over again as you experience continued success in the hobby! Good Luck! Scott F.>

FW to SW...Can I use the AquaClear 500's on a 140? Hi, <Greetings!> My name is Mark.  I have been reading all the related articles in your site about converting freshwater tanks over to fish only salt water. <Okay> My tank is approximately 140 US gallons.  I have an existing saltwater tank, so I am familiar with how they work, but my question is will the equipment that I have on the freshwater tank be appropriate for the salt water tank?  I have 3 - Aquaclear 500's and 2 large power heads for current. <I am a bit leery of using the Aquaclear 500's. I have used smaller ones on quarantine tanks and even though the filters were rated for a tank twice as large as my QT, I haven't been very happy with the results. The 500's are rated at 445 gph. If you use all three of them and the powerheads, you will have a decent turnover rate. But not much turbulence especially lower in the tank. I'm sure there are probably lots of aquarist that would say that hang-on-the-back power filters are okay...I'm just not one of them. They work alright on freshwater but not on saltwater. That's my biased opinion on the matter.>   I also have access to a protein skimmer (sea clone). <This is one point that most aquarist will agree on: Sea Clone skimmers are junk. They will be of little to no use on a tank as large as yours> I also have a sand filter (lifeguard), <Get lots of LR and you won't need this> but am not sure if I will have enough room for it. I am also interested in knowing what fish I could put into the tank?   <There are 1000's of good choices. Too numerous to mention!> I have read up on several articles, and know that tangs are very hardy, <Hardy but prone to ich...especially if you have fluctuating temperatures within your tank> but if I put some in, they need to be all introduced at the same time.   <Yes...simultaneously. You will definitely need LR to satisfy the tangs need to forage constantly> What other fish do you think would be good with tangs?   <Damsels, clowns, triggers, wrasses...Numerous hardy choices. Just remember that tangs do tend to be aggressive particularly against fish that resemble themselves> At what rate should I add the fish?   <I would add all tangs at the same time...after adding all other fish and allowing them to settle in and get comfortable> I was thinking of using yellow tangs and a variety of smaller fish. <No small passive fish like Dartfish, or long nose butterflies etc. Hmm...You're gonna need better filtration for sure...> Thank you for your opinions.  I enjoy reading your site! <It was my pleasure! Continue reading and learning Mark. You're well on your way to success! David Dowless> Mark

Small Marine Aquariums
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Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
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Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
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