Staring a Marine Tank..Advice please


New member
I recently decided that I wanted to start a marine tank after talking to my friend about it and seeing one set up in my marine biology class. Im doing a bit of research before I decide anything but im looking for guidance and advice on what I should do to get started (i.e. tank size, filters, clean up, etc.). Im also looking on an estimate in pocket money to be used on this, i know it will cost money but I dont watn to spend to much on something that might be a waste after a few months or so. I would appeciate any advice and guidance. Thank you.
The best tank to get for a reef is the largest one you can afford or get within reason. I dont mean go out and buy a 300 gallon tank to start with.
Usually a 75 or 90 gallon works well since the tank is wide and aquascaping the liverock isnt a big problem.

For a filter I would go with a berlin type sump, thismeans no bio balls or anything else. The sump will only be used for water circulation, and hiding your equipment like heater, skimmer, retun pump.
Liverock will be the actual filter for the tank.
Usually people go by $30 gallon or so. This hobby isnt cheap, so read and learn as much as you can before you even buy a tank.
thats just too big of a question... tank size can range from our nano tanks-to several hundred gallons!!!! nano tanks SEEM less expensive, but they aren't.

My favorite size tank so far has been in the 30 gallon range: the temp doesn't fluctuate too much, evaporation is limited, and water changes are easier cause they aren't too huge. My first tank was a ten gallon, just too small... I had a 55, and downgraded BACK DOWN to a 29 gallon... my perfect size, I guess.

most people use a skimmer and live rock as filtration. thats the standard, and probably the easiest for a newbie to do. DON'T get a cheap skimmer: I love my CPR bakpak, cost around 100 a few years ago: and they last forever. the live rock helps with the filtration also... thats something to research. theres a MILLION threads on here, and about 99,999 of them the tanks have live rock (aka LR)

clean up=snails, hermit crabs, things like that.

pocket money-yeah, RIIIGGGHHHTTT. my current seahorse tank, iun perspective:
35 gallon hex-new woulda been around 100-got mine used, in trade
sand-5 bucks at home depot
live rock-150-ish from pacificeastaquaculture
skimmer-new is at least 100+ if you fall to temptation and get a cheap one, then a good one, it'll be around 150+
various other things to seed the tank: 50 (just my, well, junk)
fish=200 (that includes shipping)
corals (softies-I had to have em!!!) 50
powerheads-oh, I don't even know, but guesstimate 50 bucks for stuff here
mistakes=100 we all make them!!!
salt-so far, in three months buying it from the LFS, its around 90
ok will defenately research more but the things im thinkin about puttin in it include fishes, LR, corals, octopi, perhaps even a shark, and a horde of inverts, i have a average room to place it in my room...any advice is appreciated
Just with what you named off to keep as far as fish go, you will be looking at getting a tank of atleast 600 gallons, that would be just for the shark.
To have a shark and care for it properly and keep it healthy, you will need one heck of a filtering system. O decent one would range at the very lowest over $3000. Sharks are very sensitive to all and any changes in water chemistry, salinity, temp etc, same go for a octopus.
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6923307#post6923307 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Blown 346
Just with what you named off to keep as far as fish go, you will be looking at getting a tank of atleast 600 gallons, that would be just for the shark.
To have a shark and care for it properly and keep it healthy, you will need one heck of a filtering system. O decent one would range at the very lowest over $3000. Sharks are very sensitive to all and any changes in water chemistry, salinity, temp etc, same go for a octopus.

ok say i decide not to put in a shark and jsut some fish, corals, inemoies, and an octupi, what kinda tank woul di need for lookin to get a 55gal to 75 gal maybe 90 gal
Its not only the tank size but filtration and lighting. To give you an idea of what it would cost to build a 75 gallon reef tank on a budget.
I spent with my 75 gallon reef about $3000 with the tank,stand,canopy, lighting,filter, heater, retun pump, skimmer, rock,sand. That doesnt include salt, fish, corals.

With what you want you will be way over that price range.
Since you want to keep anemone's I would highly reccommend a halide system. They arent cheap, they start off at low hundreds and go into the thousands.
I've seen some big tanks on this site, and none of them that I know of has a shark (one guy has a stingray.) Most people leave shark keeping to the public aquariums. My suggestion is for you to do the same.

Other than that, do lots of reading. This has saved me quite a lot of money for one thing. This can be done on a budget, but plan on overspending no matter what!! Think long term as well. Salt water animals can live quite a long time.
FYI... octopus can have no tankmates. Well, not for long ;) They are very interesting pets to have though. They require a dedicated tank (no fish tankmates, no snails, no crabs, no shrimps, no nothin). The tank must be sealed tight - they are extremely strong and can squeeze through the tiniest openings. Mine would hold onto large pieces of live rock and when it would grab onto the feeding stick and I'd try to pull it away he would pull the rock along with him. They are strong!

lets say you get a 75 gallon aquarium. it seems you want interesting fish, so I'd say go get a MH light for your anemone (6 months after the tank is set up though!!! they need a very stable tank) then you can keep 'interesting' corals-small polyp stony corals, large polyp stony corals, and various others.
fish that would be ok in a 75 gallon and not eat your corals: some wrasses, a lionfish is a cool fish that you may like. clownfish can also be in this tank: they do NOT need an anemone!!!

and may I interest you in a plate coral instead of an anemone? they don't have the care needs, and many people would mistake it for an anemone if they don't know much about marine tanks.
I never totaled my startup costs, let's see, roughly off the top of my head. (~=about)
90 gal tank = ~220
skimmer = ~230
sump & plumbing parts = ~250
2 pumps = ~90
heater = ~60 forgot how much
lights = ~650
test kits & refractometer = ~100
Southdown sand = ~30
LFS bought saltwater = ~200 (no RO/DI yet, but RO/DI = ~100-150)
Live rock 50# = ~120 I think
Base rock 60# = ~90
IPSF inverts & amphipods = ~100
Skunk cleaner, clowns, other = ~80
1st corals = ~55
Foods dry & frozen = ~30
Other misc = ~100
lfs top off fresh water = ~15 (30 gal per month at .50/gal)
stand = ~150? (built my own)

Comes out to about 2600. Glad I did not spend it all at one time!!! I don't have a fuge yet. Need more base rock, corals and fish. This does not include the electric bill for those 24x7 pumps and the lights!
Well if you are looking for advice on whether or not it is going to cost a lot of money out of pocket the answer is yes. I probably spent close to $1500 to convert my 30 gallon Cichlid tank to a reef tank. This includes skimmer, live rock, sand, lights, sump, saltwater supplies, external overflow, and the list goes onââ"šÂ¬Ã‚¦. The point is that even if you have a tank and stand it is still extremely expensive. I recently upgraded to a 72 gallon tank and that has cost me close to another $1300 just to upgrade. I tried to take the cheap way out by buying base rock to supplement my LR, buying a used Euro Reef skimmer, and building my own sump/fuge. I did splurge and get a Tunze but IMO that was the best money I spent on the tank. The point is that you should do as much research as you can possibly do and understand the costs before you decide to jump into this hobby. It sounds as if you have a bit to learn based on your original selection for tank inhabitants. Take your time and learn as much as possible. I spent a long time on this forum before I converted my original tank and I spent a lot of time designing my first system based on what I learned. I did very well with my first system because I had patience and I tried to learn as much as possible. If you do it properly there is no reason why you canââ"šÂ¬Ã¢"žÂ¢t succeed. Just take the time to learn. Good luck.
OMG!!! Before you buy anything, read. Then read again. Buy a book about setting up a saltwater or marine aquarium. My first book told me step by step how to set up a 30g marine tank with live rock and just 3 fish in it. That's the best way to start. Figure out how much you can spend, and then start adding up the costs. Plan to spend $500 just to get a small (30 gallon) tank set up.

Better yet, look in the selling forums for someone local selling their entire setup. If you buy used and all together you could save a ton! I just saw a 55g setup with fish, corals, rock, skimmer, lights, etc. sell for $600.