Planning my first Saltwater Aquarium. Please HELP! !!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by garethels, 15 Nov 2012.

  1. garethels

    garethels

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    I am planning my first saltwater tank, previously I have had freshwater tanks with varied success.

    I am planning a 108 liter tank.

    I have read and researched a great amount on the Internet with no success. They all tell you what you should have but don't go into much details.

    My query relates to the following:
    1) what gravel is best? Can I use shingle(Crushed shells found abundantly here on our beaches in South Africa))?
    2) what is the most effective filtration system /method?
    3) how do I make a simple sump? Diagrams and full details are required please!
    4) what is the best pump to use? Should I use 1 or 2?
    5) what is a protein skimmer?
    6) is live reef or coral better that rocks?
    7) what are the best 5 fish to start with?
    8) is sea water better or salt water?
    9) Do I need a powerhead?

    Thank you
     
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  3. Easy Tiger

    Easy Tiger Day Dreamer Deluxe

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    Welcome to MASA! Spend a little time trawling through the forums and you will find the answer to all of these questions. And then you'll have more questions ... and more answers . And on it goes .
     
  4. Gesiggie

    Gesiggie Challenge accepted

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    Firstly, Welcome to MASA!
    See answers in blue

     
  5. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    first, please update your location. It can help to know if you can harvest the sea or not.

    Sea sand, is better than crunched shells. And depending on where you collect, a better option.

    Your questions is so wide. There is enough answers on this forum, please start reading. Think previous poster did give you enough to start with.

    And powerheads, yes, you do need them. The sea have stronger water flows than a river or dam.
     
  6. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Also, first you must decide what you want from your system. Your filtration system will depend on your live stock options. Softies is OK with some phosphates. But SPS wants cleaner water. Same with water flow, softies are ok with less but SPS want higher flow rates. Lights, SPS wants better, stronger lights.

    DSB is good for beginners. And the simpler, cheaper setup is better to start with. No point in spending mega bucks on all the bells and whistles while you still need to learn how to keep your system stable. No point in buying SPS corals if they will be overgrown with algae.

    Buy a T5 light unit, secondhand. Start with Sun Sun powerheads. But buy the best skimmer you can afford. Start with low bio-load and DSB. If you are still around in a years time, you will upgrade, look around, almost everybody here on MASA do upgrade.

    But, first, learn how to maintain a system.
     
  7. garethels

    garethels Thread Starter

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    Thanks for your advice.
    I have decided to change my tank, it is no longer a 110 liter it will now be a 420 liter. Only query I now have is what thickness glass ? Can I use 4mm? Or should I rather use 6mm? I am worried that 4mm won't handle the pressure of 400+ liters .

    Should my inlet from the sump and powerhead be on the same side or can they be on opposite sides?

    Also what are "SPS" and "DSB" ? Sorry if I am stupid!
     
    Last edited: 16 Nov 2012
  8. Easy Tiger

    Easy Tiger Day Dreamer Deluxe

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    Yes -4 mm is too thin. If you can afford it go with 10mm minimum I would say. Better safe than sorry...

    But yes - a 420 ltr tank would be much more enjoyable ! More space for fishes to swim and corals to grow.

    SPS are small polyp stony corals
    DSB is a deep sand bed , in your sump - part of the filtration if you are going for that sort of filtration set up. That is a traditional " Berlin Style" set up) These days there are other options, like NP Bio pellets for example. Or a combination of both ... good idea to check out other MASA members system build threads from start to finish and get an idea of what other guys are doing, and how.
     
  9. Albert Terego

    Albert Terego

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    Basic sump design - good for most set-ups
    http://www.marineaquariumsa.com/showthread.php?t=19418

    Depending on you set-up/configuration, but I think it is better if you can have your sump return to the tank on the opposite side to the overflow, but it is not essential.

    Glass thickness - 10mm would be safest. There are glass thickness calculators available that can assist with this - I am sure one of the tank builders will chip in soon enough.

    Powerheads (=flow pumps) can be placed anywhere in the tank really (backs, sides, even hidden behind,under rock work) to give you nice random in-tank flow.

    In your sump you would generally have 3 compartments. Compartment 1 (from tank) would contain skimmer), Compartment 2 would contain typically your deep sand bed (DSB) which is a form of biological filtration, assists in breakdown of nitrates) and Compartment 3 would contain the return pump pumping water back into the tank)
     
  10. garethels

    garethels Thread Starter

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    Thank you
     
  11. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    A very WARM WELCOME to MASA Gareth!
     
  12. Dillan

    Dillan

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