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Changing 100 gal to saltwater
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tommo2
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Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Location: ireland

PostPosted: 2008.10.02(Thu)16:32    Post subject: Changing 100 gal to saltwater Reply with quote

Just wondering if it is possible. I read most of the stickies here, and the referenced links. All good reading.
First off, I have a 100gal, 450Litre, freshwater, running very successfully the past 2 years. I understand all about fishless cycling, water quality nitrite, nitrate ammonia etc. I've never had a major problem in my freshwater tank.

Just want to know can I drain most of the water out and add saltwater treated. Will this make cycling unnecessary, or is the nitrifying bacteria for saltwater different.

I have 2 external canister filters, are these OK or even necessary. I also have a gravel and crushed coral substrate mix 2 to 3 inches deep. I have loads more crushed coral gravel. Is it OK???

Tank is 8foot long, 1 foot wide, and 2.5 feet high.

I would like a tank with a few hardy fish, clowns aswell, live rock, and a few snails.

Current lighting I have is 2 x 36W flourescent beauty light, 2 x 36w flourescent blue moons, and soon to be added 2 x 36w actinic. All switched seperately and can be put on timers if necessary.
I have the usual freshwater test kits etc. Just wondering what is necessary to purchase to change to saltwater???

Cheers, Y'all
_________________
450 litre custom built in-wall tropical tank. 2400mm(L) x 750(H) x 320(W)... or 110gallon 8'(L) x 30"(H) x 13"(W)
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2008.10.02(Thu)20:13    Post subject: Re: Changing 100 gal to saltwater Reply with quote

tommo2 wrote:

Just want to know can I drain most of the water out and add saltwater treated. Will this make cycling unnecessary, or is the nitrifying bacteria for saltwater different.


The bacteria is different. We are starting over in that respect.

Quote:
I have 2 external canister filters, are these OK or even necessary.


Not my favorite, but can be used, and even without media they will add useful water movement. They are certainly not necessary, and not the best solution for marine applications.

Quote:
I also have a gravel and crushed coral substrate mix 2 to 3 inches deep. I have loads more crushed coral gravel. Is it OK???


Has its place, useful for undergravel filters, but UG's are really not the best long term solution. I prefer a shallow substrate less than 1 inch. IMO, many marine systems fail due to 3 and 4 inch substrates which quickly turn into nutrient sinks. If you must have such material then consider an UG filter and be prepared to vacuum it often.

A shallow sand substrate may be a better alternative, with a large skimmer and perhaps a refugium or veggie filter. In this situation, a large volume of live rock can be used to provide your baseline biological filtration. But maintaining the live rock involves correct water chemistry, your research will help you decide on the best choice.

Quote:
I would like a tank with a few hardy fish, clowns aswell, live rock, and a few snails.

Current lighting I have is 2 x 36W flourescent beauty light, 2 x 36w flourescent blue moons, and soon to be added 2 x 36w actinic. All switched seperately and can be put on timers if necessary. I have the usual freshwater test kits etc. Just wondering what is necessary to purchase to change to saltwater???


Again---consider your goals. For a basic hardy fish setup, you have several options, more than one road to success...
if you plan on getting more delicate animals or corals down the road, now is the time to prepare. Pick of a copy of this book, it will help you with your decisions...
http://www.amazon.com/Conscientious-Marine-Aquarist-Commonsense-Successful/dp/1890087025

More info from my archives below...


LOW COST, LOW MAINTENANCE

It really depends on what you want to keep...
If you can be happy with a few hardy fish species, (and some of those are truly gorgeous in their own right, I.e. the maroon clown, yellow tail damsel, etc.) you could convert your FW tank over to a successful marine system simply by adding an old fashioned undergravel filter and some crushed coral with some powerheads (you may already have that). Other than the monthly water changes, and a bit more science, in my experience a basic marine fish system really isn't that much more demanding than freshwater.

On the other hand, if you want more delicate species, corals and demanding inverts it will require a lot more time and money. As I have said before, the hobby will get as complicated as you let it, but I continue to believe a simple, low maintenance, low cost marine fish system can be had by all.


BASIC FISH SYSTEM FILTRATION

Sure, the UGF will work and I have had good success over the years with them when I needed a simple, low cost method, but as I have stated, they are not a perfect solution. The UGF is self destructive; as the crushed coral eventually becomes heavily impacted with detritus and turns into a nutirent sink. Even with regular vaccumiing, this will be a problem long term.

For your system, I would consider all options; including starting with a trickle filter and some live rock and live sand, then maybe 3 months later adding a powerful, quality-built skimmer; look at the ASM line. Eventually you can add enough LR to remove most or all the bio balls to reduce nitrate production; just be sure to maintain your skimmer. Remember, no system is perfect. Quarantine tanks are still your best overall long term investment, get one and use it religiously.

LIVE ROCK

Knowledge and research will keep your live rock alive.
The thing you want to encourage on your live rock is coralline algae
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Keepin' marines happy for 25 years
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tommo2
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Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Location: ireland

PostPosted: 2008.10.02(Thu)21:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers florida... I read a few of your responses on similar topics, I think they were stickies.
OK, You say the canister filters are not necessary, but seeing as I have them I may as well keep them. They will help with circulation, cleaning and aeration at least. Can't do any harm, right?
I will look at getting a protein skimmer. Is this necessary with live rock???

I will remove the crushed coral substrate down to maybe half inch or so, will that be okay?. I know that the coral raises my water pH to between 8 or 8.5 so that is good, yes? If there is no other reason to use fine sand, will this be okay. Bear in mind I have a huge sack full of the stuff, aswell as what is in the tank at the minute.

Just trying to get a list of what I can keep or will need before trying to change over. The tank I have at the moment was 6 months planning (its an in-wall custom build) and 2 months fishless cycling. Overall cost was about 8,000 euro.

So I am going to take all advice on board, and do it slowly and properly. I want to keep as much equipment as I can (it cost a lot), and ensure it is compatible with saltwater.

That leads to another question. I use some brass fittings on the piping for the canister filters. Will they be okay with saltwater. Indeed will the filters be okay with saltwater???
I also have a separate tank upstairs for preparing the water before changing. This is piped to the tank. A lot of brass fittings, but no copper. Also, 1 lever-valve, probably made from stainless steel. Any probs there?

Cheers!
_________________
450 litre custom built in-wall tropical tank. 2400mm(L) x 750(H) x 320(W)... or 110gallon 8'(L) x 30"(H) x 13"(W)
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art_of_war
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Joined: 17 Nov 2006

PostPosted: 2008.10.03(Fri)8:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

tommo2 wrote:
Cheers florida... I read a few of your responses on similar topics, I think they were stickies.
OK, You say the canister filters are not necessary, but seeing as I have them I may as well keep them. They will help with circulation, cleaning and aeration at least. Can't do any harm, right?
I will look at getting a protein skimmer. Is this necessary with live rock???

I will remove the crushed coral substrate down to maybe half inch or so, will that be okay?. I know that the coral raises my water pH to between 8 or 8.5 so that is good, yes? If there is no other reason to use fine sand, will this be okay. Bear in mind I have a huge sack full of the stuff, aswell as what is in the tank at the minute.

Just trying to get a list of what I can keep or will need before trying to change over. The tank I have at the moment was 6 months planning (its an in-wall custom build) and 2 months fishless cycling. Overall cost was about 8,000 euro.

So I am going to take all advice on board, and do it slowly and properly. I want to keep as much equipment as I can (it cost a lot), and ensure it is compatible with saltwater.

That leads to another question. I use some brass fittings on the piping for the canister filters. Will they be okay with saltwater. Indeed will the filters be okay with saltwater???
I also have a separate tank upstairs for preparing the water before changing. This is piped to the tank. A lot of brass fittings, but no copper. Also, 1 lever-valve, probably made from stainless steel. Any probs there?

Cheers!


tommo,

I would recommend you get rid of those canister filters. I don't know why it's even marketed to the saltwater hobby. They'll eventually become nitrate factories. Sort of like bioballs. As for the aeration? You're probably better off with a airstone (which isn't necessary either).

If you're going to keep coral, you better get skimmer. Live rock only helps with the biological part. If you've got a 100 gallon tank (which is a nice size), you should look into constructing a sump system.
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