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launching saltwater tank, please help
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Joined: 07 Mar 2005
Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: 2005.03.07(Mon)21:50    Post subject: launching saltwater tank, please help Reply with quote

hi, I'm a college student from orlando, florida. somebody in my apt complex moved out recently. they have upgraded tanks and left the old one behind. the maintenance men know I'm into fish because I have a 10 gallon and a 2 gallon in my apt. I've had my tanks since the 1st week of 2005 and was only using them to breeding bettas. thus far, I've attempted 2 spawns but only the second was productive - nearly 50 fry. well, the guys brought me the tank and here it sits next to me now. I've always wanted a nice big tank so I could take my shot at a saltwater aquarium. I'm not sure of its size - I suspect its 55 gallons. also, its very very dirty with green algae on most of its 4 sides of glass and what looks like corrosion up around the rim. across the bottom of the tank is about 3 maybe 4 inches of neutral colored gravel still barely covered by dirty shallow water. and then of course, theres the fishy smell. these are the questions I was hoping someone could help me out with:

1. how can I confirm the capacity of the tank?
2. whats the best way for me to really clean the old gravel to or should I trash it and get new gravel?
3. whats the best way for me to clean out the tank itself? the algae off the glass? and the build up of corrosion around the top?
4. when these issues have been taken care of can I deem my tank safe for fish?

I'm very excited about the chance to have a saltwater tank & I'm sure ill have
more questions as I move along but I'm appreciative of the help you guys might be able to give me.

looking foward,
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Joined: 07 Feb 2005

PostPosted: 2005.03.07(Mon)22:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just set up my first marine tank a few weeks ago, so I'm not the expert( they'll be along, shortly Smile ) I think I can answer some of your questions, though ( at least your thread will go back to the top)

1) There is a volume conversion formula based on tank measurements (don't know it, try a search)
2) Trash the old gravel. Even if it is appropriate for a marine set-up, I'm sure its real foul in a bad way.
3) Cleaning is about elbow grease. Hot water ( no cleaning solutions!) and a sponge. Corrosion is probably mineral deposits and vinegar may help if they're real stubborn.
4) Check for leaks, then read, research, read, research.....about salt water. The real question is "are you safe for fish?" I don't mean that in an insulting way. It's a question I asked myself! Wink

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Joined: 25 Jan 2005

PostPosted: 2005.03.08(Tue)17:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

try steri clean for cleaning tk can get it at most lfs stores new substrate a must and read read read ck for leaks and go slow also
most important step is cycle the tk when its set up
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Joined: 15 Nov 2004

PostPosted: 2005.03.08(Tue)19:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

To calculate the volume of the tank, multiply length, by width by height, all measured in inches. Then divide by 231.
For example, the new tank I'm looking at is 30gallons.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Location: colorado springs

PostPosted: 2005.03.09(Wed)12:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

if it was a fresh water tank previousley then you will need to scrub the heck out of it. the previous owner may have used some kind of coper treatment for it. Salt water is very expensive. You will be very suprized at the cost of the initial set up. once it is set up however it can be very rewarding, and relatively cheap to take care of. after you get the tank scrubed, and leak checked you will need to do some reserch on lighting and filtration. Lighting will depend upon weather it will be a fish only, Fish and invert, or reef tank (Fish/Corals). I would highly suggest spending some time at the library or get good book. The main elements of a saltwater tank is filtration, Good lighting, good flow, stable water parimiters, and patience. you will need to look into getting cured live rock, or curing it yourself (would recomend curing it your self), Substrate. usually sand. a good salt test kit and hydrometer, protine skimmer, and lots of other fun things. You might look into a second job while your at it.
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2005.03.11(Fri)9:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marine fish tanks need not be complicated or expensive.
This hobby will get as complicated as you let it.
Since you're a college student with limited budget and time, forget the reef tanks and inverts. Forget live rock, protein skimmers etc... Go fish-only, undergravel filter/powerheads/crushed coral, one strip light and stick with hardy species. Buy a NEW submersible heater and a specific gravity meter.
Make sure you have a cover/glass top and a sturdy stand. Review my list on the sister forum; Marine fishes and corals, called "Marine species NOT for the beginner." Consider your time window in current location, if less than a year it may not be worth it, but you can have a great marine tank if you want it.
Keepin' marines happy for 25 years
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Taylorsville, KY

PostPosted: 2005.03.15(Tue)19:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second Florida Boys' advice. The only thing I will add is that I am a huge supporter of protein skimmers, even on a 10 gallon aquarium. If nothing else, buy an inexpensive internal air-driven model. Coralife makes a few simple models. Honestly, if you look at the designs, almost anybody can make an inexpensive skimmer out of PVC. I have even made small designs out of empty tennis ball cans and the "fat" uplift tubes from old undergravel filters. Very easy. Also, the Skilter model is usable on a 10 gallon tank. The benefits of skimming are just to plentiful to miss out on and within a few months they will pay for themselves by reducing water changes.
Check out for a reliable company and great prices.

{ I am editing my own post because that last comment almost sounds like a commercial! I recommend them from my personal experience, not from any affiliation. }
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