Setting up a saltwater tank


New member
I have been keeping freshwater fish for about 2 1/2 years now and want to setup a saltwater tank but need a bit of advice first.

First of i am looking to get a 20 - 25 gallon tank.

I know the general maintenance and setup for freshwater, but does anything change for saltwater (apart from Salt)?

What extra equipment would i need

Any good guides to help read up on care?

What fish are easy to keep/ hardy ?




Team RC
Welcome to Reef Central! A good start is to read the web pages at the top of the New to the Hobie forum, for convenience I copied the links below. Nearly everything is different with salt water, take your time to read up on saltwater before you take the dive. Best of luck, feel free to ask about anything you do not understand, there are some very experienced reefers here willing to help.


New member
Read, read, and read some more!!!!! It's a blast, but requires a special amount of patience. I've had 2 tanks for three years and I'm still a "newbie". I don't know jack----. I know I'm addicted for life though.


New member
tom check out the stickys(posts at the top of the that are always there in new to hobby section) my advise is that they are totaly different you should do as much resurch and planning ahead as possible.Decide what you want to keep(types of fish -marine fish can out grow there tank,do you want coral-this is what would be considered a reef tank then you need to know what type to figure out lighting you will need.The first thing to learn about is cycling your tank.The waiting period sucks but its the only thing you can do,add fish slowly( as in not too many at a time also learn about acclimation it is quite a bit different than freshwater)This is a great forum read and learn as much as you can I've been doing saltwater for about 15 months or so (a relitive nubie)and love it.It seems so much rewarding than a freshwater (i've had freshwater as long as I can remember and i'm 33)I'm kinda asnob now and would never go The last thing I can say is the bigger the better,the more water in your system the more forgiving it is from sudden changes(evap.,nitrates,some thing dying and nuking your tank)I started with a 55 gal and now added a 75 to play with.Things can get a little overwhelming but take your time,read,and ask questions.Good luck hope you enjoy the hobby as much as I do.


New member
I have come up with a list of things I need. Have i missed anything of?

Tank (20 - 30 Gallons)
Protein Skimmer
Reverse Omosis/DeIonizer
Sea salt (Instant Ocean)
Hydrometer or Refractometer
Test kit: Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, PH, Alkalinity, Phosphate, and Calcium
Live rock (Fiji)
Algae Scraper/magnet

Do I need a filter?

Also I have read about supplements. I think you need Salinity. Is there any other essentials?

Do i need chlorine remover if i have a reverse omosis?

Is there any good threads about the types o fish?

Cheers for all the help!!


New member
Yes you need a filter sumps are the best to use.
You can add supplements, the salinity is how much salt is in the tank.
YOu do not need to add chlorine remover if you have a reverse osmosis.


New member
Sounds like you have a good start. Make sure your thermometer won't rust, happened to me when I made the switch. Knowing what lights to have is dependant on what you want to keep, you can get away with less intense lights with softies and some LPS. If you want to keep SPS and a nem you'll need more intense lights.

If you meant Salinity, as in the salt, that's a primo salt, but more expensive. You can start with the cheap salts and go from there. Just ask if you have any questions. I understand space limitations, but the larger tanks are more stable and generally easier to maintain, but have higher costs for equipment. I saved up $1000 to startup, blew through it pretty quick. You can get cheap pricing if you buy used.

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12-5 Chiefs record
your filter will be your live rock and skimmer, you can add on a carbon and GFO reactor though and that will help.

Do i need chlorine remover if i have a reverse omosis?
no, the RODI unit will be fine by itself

Also I have read about supplements
only add something to the tank that you test for. adding without testing 1st can do more harm than not adding anything

I would also add a mag test kit to your list as cal, and alk go along with the mag.

as for fish, look at fosters and smith they have a good list of fish and what size tank each fish needs. also a section for just nano fish.


New member
You have not mentioned if you want an only fish tank or a reef tank with corals. This will affect which fish you will want to consider. My experience has been that if the fish is bright and pretty its either agressive or eats corals.

While I just restarted this hobby only a couple months ago I made sure to buy the best equipment available and have had a fairly solid/stable tank thus far. There are lots of ways to get good equipment if you are on a tight budget just make sure you get the best pieces you can afford. Check out the DIY section; if you are handy there are some great ways to build inexpensive systems.

I have a 34 gallon Solana and it has a lot of space restrictions on fish choices so get the biggest tank you can afford. I just started setting up a 75 gallon at work and if business keeps growing I will upgrade my home tank to 100+ gallons.

This is a great forum and you can learn alot but make sure you have thick skin because some users have very strong opinions and won't be afraid to point out why your plan is wrong. Do lots of research on each piece of equipment and fish and you will be fine.

Good Luck!!!


New member
Oh I highly recommend an ATO(automatic top off) system. I didn't think I would need it at first but after replacing my daily evaporation of 1/2 gallon of water everyday it has been a great addition to the system. With my 5 gal fresh water tank in the stand I only have to replace the fresh water every 10 days. A worthwhile investment.


New member
I have decided that to begin with I will keep a couple of clownfish. I was thinking of getting coral when the tank is set up. What sort of coral is best for clownfish?

Cheers :)