A little help setting up a marine tank!

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23 Aug 2007 17:02 #1 by Zulu (Vinny Keane)
Hello folks.
I'm hoping the good people here will give a sympathetic hand to a total noob!

I have a Juwel Rio 240 tank (approx 240litres) that years ago I used to keep fresh water fish in. I've decided to dust it off and start a marine tank, and it's daunting! I'm researching things as I go, so please forgive the odd stupid question.

Basically I've bought the salt and sand, and this weekend I'm going to wash the sand and start off. I'm planning on a reef tank, so in a week I'll buy some live rock from my local dealer.

My main question is - what next?
My dealer has told me I'll need \"ocean rock\" - is live rock not enough?
Do I need an Eheim Canister, or will the built in filter in the tank do the job?
How important is a protein skimmer?

Also, on the live rock - how much do I need? I was hoping to pile it neatly around the built in filter to hide it, and keep one side of the tank \"open\". Is this practical?

Sorry about the long post, and if you got this far - thanks for reading! Experience is invaluable, so I'd really appreciate your help.

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  • SabrinaSummerville (SabrinaSummerville)
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24 Aug 2007 23:26 #2 by SabrinaSummerville (SabrinaSummerville)
Replied by SabrinaSummerville (SabrinaSummerville) on topic A little help setting up a marine tank!
Wish I could help, but I'm just getting over baby stages of a freshwater setup.

Looking forward to hearing how you get on!

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26 Aug 2007 17:07 #3 by Tetra (Tetra)
Hi Zulu setting up marine tank is not difficult at all it may seem daunting at the begining but with lots of research and help you'll be grand.
The 2 most popular types of filteration are FO (fish only) and FOWLR (fish only with live rock)
To set up a basic FO system all you need is sand to buffer the PH heater and a filter with filter floss and carbon will do.
This is the cheapest option and many people start off on this then move onto a FOWLR system later just by adding live rock.
If you decide that you want to go for a FOWLR the live rock acts as the filter so all you will need powerheads to move the water around.Some people also like to place a small amount of carbon to soak up any pollutants.
you can also buy a small amount of live rock and place ocean rock into the tank the live rock will soon seed the ocean rock then turning it into live rock I think this is what your LFS is telling you.
Now for the skimmer they have pros and cons they remove dissolved organic compounds but when removing these they can also remove trace elements which can benfit your system.
I personally in your case would leave the internal juwel filter in fill it with filter floss and and carbon.
Then get two tunze hydor powerheads for good turnover then a small amount of liverock and fill the rest with ocean rock then cycle for 2 weeks.
A skimmer is not an essential and can be added later on.
But if you are thinking about adding one also look into a refugium.
Hope this helps just quickly wrote it so if anything doesnt make sense dont hestiate to ask.
Padraig

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26 Aug 2007 18:53 #4 by ChrisM (ChrisM)
Replied by ChrisM (ChrisM) on topic A little help setting up a marine tank!
Im not a Marine expert,not even a Marine novice come to think of it.But I do know the most important thing in starting keeping fish (or invertebrates or live rock etc!!) is to know the particular area, potential pitfalls and basic groundrules.I would not rush in.Go and see some Marinekeepers setups and get some first hand advice.

Know what suits your needs and wallet!!

Where are you based.I know of a few Marinekeepers who would be more than happy to help and have you round to see their setups and offer advice.

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02 Sep 2007 21:05 #5 by Anthony (Anthony)
Replied by Anthony (Anthony) on topic A little help setting up a marine tank!
First things first.
Decide what filter method you want. The Berlin is best
and you will require plenty of Live rock.
A little mistake people make when using this method is to go
straight for Live rock only.
It best starting off with a biological filter too.
Believe me I know from experience.


Here is a basic way of starting up.

Here is a list of the basic equipment you are going to need.
1 Mechanical/biological filter.
2 At least 1 power head that can turn over the water volume
around 10 times an hour.
3 A Protein skimmer.
4 T5 (minimal) or Metal halide lights. Essential for certain
corals. Certain corals don`t need Metal halide lights but
going into that here. Leave it for a more experienced Marine
keeper.



1 Empty out all the fresh water and sand from your tank and give it a good rinse.

2 Fill the tank with fresh water (ro is best but not essential yet)and get the temp up to around 24/25c.

3 Start adding your salt.You can prepare the water before but IMO it takes longe and is bit arduous.
Keep checking the water with a hydrometer until you have a SG of betweem 1.021 and 1.024. It can be as high as 1.025 if you have corals but this is best for fish.

4 You can start adding the rocks once the SG is correct.
It cheaper to start with porous ocean/volcanic rock as a base.
Cover this with some live rock and start up your filter/power head and Skimmer. Some say you don`t need the skimmer till you add the fish but you live rock will contain dead animals
and rotten sea weed/corals. Not worth taking a chance plus its
less for your filter to deal with.

5 Leave you tank running for at least 2 weeks. Get some filter
squeezings (marine) from a friend/pet shop. This will speed up
the maturing process. Keep testing the water.
Even though you are buying cured rock you will still get a
Ammonia spike, I did.

6 When you Ammonia and nitrite have reached 0, do a small water change and add your cleaner crew. Snails/Hermot crabs/Cleaner shrimp. Keep testing the water.
Leave your Skimmer running for about 10 hours a day every day.

7 You are now ready to add your first fish. Make sure if you intend keeping corals that your fish is Reef safe.Check out what fish he is compatable with.

8 Clean any Brown algae from the glass/sand rocks.If not it will just keep multiplying. After a while this go and you will
get green algea. I clean this from the glass but not from the rocks. Eventually you will get the purple coraline algae.

9 Best to wait till you have your fish before before adding the corals IMO and don`t rush into things.
Patience is the key. Wait at least 2 weeks-1 month between
adding each fish depending on size and amount of waste produced.

This is us a beginner helping a beginner. I`m sure there are
more experience people here who will help you along the way.
Any problems just pm me and I will send you my number.
Best of luck with your new venture.

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