Advice on Freshwater to Marine

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Hi guys :)

I have a bunch of questions that I'd really appreciate answered. No need in reading all the random bits and pieces; the important parts I've put in bold. :razz:

I've had a 175L freshwater tank for about 3 months now, and have had very few problems, thanks to months of reading up before ever starting the hobby. I've now been inspired by some of the marine tanks I've seen, such as at Northlands Pets in Durban, as well as some of the photos you guys have posted.

At the moment I only have a spare 2ft tank, and so I thought I may as well use it to get started. Space is a bit of an issue, so I don't see myself upgrading anytime soon. Now my question is this: is it difficult moving from a freshwater setup to a marine setup? There are very few tests that need to be done regularly with a FW tank (ammonia, nitrites, pH, and KO) and as long as one has a decent filter and heater, the fish will be happy. What tests would I need to do regularly, other than ammonia, nitrites, pH, and specific gravity (and by association salt concentration)?

My biggest worry is the expenses involved in setting up a new SW tank. I'm not in a rush to get it set up, so I'll invariably be browsing the classifieds regularly in search of all the equipment I'll be needing so I can save myself from spending a fortune. All inclusive, I've spent over R5000 on my FW tank alone, but at least it only costs me around R50 a month to keep it maintained and healthy. How much can I expect to fork out on a monthly basis for a 2ft nano SW tank? I'm still quite naive as to what chemicals and additives are required for marine tanks, so I still have some reading up to do... I don't mind spending money where it's due, but being a student gives me limited time to do part time work, so I'll just have to save up for a few more months. I'm hoping to spend less than R4000 on a complete setup, including live rock and all equipment, but not including fish. Is this a realistic goal?

Advice is much appreciated. :clap:
 

Warr7207

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Firstly welcome.

Not sure how difficult freshwater is, but Marine tanks take quite abit of care. Especially the smaller volume tanks.

You should be able get a tank up and running with your budget, long as you spend wisely and find a good 2nd tank.

You seem to have pretty much covered the test kits. You can get more, but probably not worth it.
 

Warr7207

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Well I already have a spare 2ft tank. Why do I need another tank? To use as a sump?
That would be ideal, DSB and macro algae or even a algae scrubber will make life very much easier.

Existing FW tanks, will need an overflow system of some sort.
 
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Yeah, I'm still figuring out how to implement an overflow system, but it shouldn't be too difficult.
Thanks for the welcome and the info, by the way :)
 

Rory

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Welcome Richard. Being in durban is great because you can at least collect your own fish with the required permits (pretty cheap). As for R4000 that is quite a tight budget even for a 2ft. You will need to plan very carefully and spend quite a bit of time to see how you can cut costs etc.

As for monthly you can save quite a bit by using natural sea water instead of synthetic salt. You will probably find it more cost effective to use sea water for water changes and to buy RO water from an LFS for topups. In the long run however it seems always more cost effective and better quality controlled to get your own RO unit (2nd hand look around R800). As for the testing of the water etc there are quite a few parameters to keep in check however you can negate the need to do this by doing regular water changes (about 25% every 2 weeks) and following the "nano reef" school of thought which relies on plenty water changes and fairly minimal equipment. This would keep your costs down to just the pumps, lights etc. You wouldn't even need a skimmer if doing regular water changes (a big debate as to whats better but skimmerless is obviously cheaper).
 

scubaninja

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welcometomasa why not come round to our club meeting this thursday? meet some people face to face?On my phone right now so i cant forward the address but why not check out the first and second meeting threads in our masa Durban reef club thread? try a search cause i'm not one hundred percent on which forum it in and don't want to lead you astray;)
 

Tobes

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Welcome to Masa Richard, glad to see your doing homework first, could save you quite a bit ;)
Ask all you want, we are all here to learn and share experiences :)
 

Alan

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is it difficult moving from a freshwater setup to a marine setup?
This is not very difficult and is probably the right way to go, as it is all about water management at the end of the day and the basics are very much the same.
What tests would I need to do regularly, other than ammonia, nitrites, pH, and specific gravity (and by association salt concentration)?
Once your system has settled, not very many the main ones being Calcium, Alkalinity, PH and temp. the rest are only tested when there is something wrong.
How much can I expect to fork out on a monthly basis for a 2ft nano SW tank?
This again all depends on what you planning on keeping and if you prepared to lug sea water from the coast for water changes. But on a 2ft it really wont break the bank.
I'm hoping to spend less than R4000 on a complete setup, including live rock and all equipment, but not including fish. Is this a realistic goal?
A marine system can be as simple or as high tech as you like, so yes i reckon for R4000 you could get a 2/3ft going.

By the way welcome to MASA and hopefully we will get to see you on Thursday evening.
 

scubaninja

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I'm hoping to spend less than R4000 on a complete setup, including live rock and all equipment, but not including fish. Is this a realistic goal?
finally on the computer so i'm able to reply properly. Its extremely possible as alan says. I have a 4ft which i got all the basics for and got up and running for R5000, does get a little bit more expensive down the line with some stuff if you decide to improve on things but bigger is som much better. you must just shop around a lot and ask about what you find here. most of the problems and mistakes etc you might end up doing can be avoided by asking here because we've all been through them at some point
 
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I won't be able to make this Thursday unfortunately since exams are nearing, but time permitting, I'll be there for future meetings :)

My main restriction is space, which is why I was thinking of sticking to a 2ft tank. With a bit of luck I'll be able to make space for a 4ft tank and use my 2ft as a sump. Will have to see.

Again, thanks for all the advice!
 

jacquesb

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A VERY WARM WELCOME to MASA Richard! Very glad you joined us! Seems like the okes have already taken care of your questions ;)

Good luck with your journey into marines. In the end: IT IS INDEED WORTH IT.
BUT - it requires 2 VERY important things:
- A LOT OF PATIENCE!
- And SOME expendable cash at the end of the month ;)

Good luck mate! And please don't be scarce or scared off. Rather ask questions and ask for help - if need be!

That's what we are here for!
 

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