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Author Topic: Converting Freshwater tank to Saltwater?  (Read 3119 times)
DJ-2012
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Tanks: 10g SE asian biotope, 30g amazon biotope
Posts: 96


« on: May 27, 2013, 08:04:50 PM »

Hi all!  30g has been doing great, in no small part thanks to the help of this forum's contributors.  I moved to a larger apartment, and sadly did lose a few fish along the way Sad

30g is currently stocked with a dozen glowlight tetras, six peppered cories, and a single german blue ram.  Lightly planted with swords and a piece of driftwood in the corner imitates the look of a tree root, giving me a nice amazon look.  Pics will follow once my phone is charged up again!

However, I moved fish from the 10g to finally piece together the 30g.  That leaves me with a 10g quarantine tank that has basically been empty for a couple months now.  My friend used to have a large marine tank and has been suggesting that I would really enjoy it.  I really don't have the funds to get a new tank, so I am wondering how difficult it would be to convert a tank that has been built for freshwater fishkeeping into a saltwater setup, maybe even a reef tank.  I know the basics, that I would need to dig out the substrate in favor of live sand to facilitate a health environment, live rock, some coral, and very light stocking.  A ten gallon would probably have 1-2 fish, maybe a shrimp, and even that would take a month or two to safely stock. 

My question is in regards to equipment.  Would I need more than the filter I am currently using, a Top Fin Power Filter 10 model?  What about additional hardware?  These are the areas I am least familiar.  As always, help is much appreciated!
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Cunados
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2013, 11:59:34 AM »

IMHO - depends.

Personally I've had limited success w/ small saltwater setups powered/filtered by an U/G filter. I kept a couple of damsels for several years in such a "primitive" setup. Take it much beyond that and the requirements and/or equipment grows quickly. Protein skimmer, sump, circulating pumps, specialized lighting etc.

Personally I find freshwater less demanding, less expensive and more forgiving.
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Karen
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Tanks: 450 pacu community, 70 tropical community, 125 tropical community 70 coldwater community, 30 shell dwelling cichlids
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2013, 05:50:41 PM »

Small fish tanks are not very forgiving.  I would NEVER encourage anyone that has never had a salt water tank to try and learn how to care for one with a tank smaller than 55 gallons.

At 10 gallons you are talking about a tank that will have salinity swings of several ppms inside of 3-4 days simply due to evaporation. 

If you were accomplished with salt water tanks and knew how to do it... I'd still say don't go smaller than 20 gallons.  Yes it can be done, but the water chemistry would need daily monitoring and adjusting.  A week long vacation and its quite likely that the entire tank would die.
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Put me back out to sea to play with the fishies...I don't belong on land!  SmileyCentral.com" border="0
DJ-2012
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Tanks: 10g SE asian biotope, 30g amazon biotope
Posts: 96


« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2013, 09:00:13 PM »

Fair.  I obviously would not want fish to die on my watch.  Plus, to look at the economic side, marine stock is way too expensive not to put forth the best effort possible.

Due to budget concerns, however, I have been looking to craigslist for a new possible tank.  I found a 40g that could fit my needs.  Yes, it's smaller than the 55 you recommend, Karen, but I really want to try.

So let's say I do get a tank 40g or more.  That goes to the original question:  what all new would be required.  So far I have two posts clearly saying "don't do saltwater, you nincompoop."
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Karen
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Tanks: 450 pacu community, 70 tropical community, 125 tropical community 70 coldwater community, 30 shell dwelling cichlids
Posts: 10,657


I wish I was a fish!


« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2013, 09:07:46 PM »

That all depends on what you want to put in the tank.
At minimum...
A protein skimmer (don't get a cheap one!)
A hygrometer/ photospectometer of some variety
A mixing vat with a heater and power head to make salt water for your water changes
A chemical test kit for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH that is for salt water

If you go FOWLR you don't need fancy lights, if you want anemones, corals or other photosynthetic inverts you need halide lights or some other version of high end lighting.  Depending on the inverts you keep you will need iodine, calcium, and other supplements along with test kits to test the levels.

A salt water tank need to move its entire volume through its filters 11+ times an hour, almost twice what a fresh water tank requires.

I suggest buying a book to learn what is required.
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Put me back out to sea to play with the fishies...I don't belong on land!  SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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