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View Full Version : Converting Fresh to Salt water.



off2wildblue
01-26-2015, 09:23 AM
I have a 50 gallon tall and a 265 gallon tank. I want to eventually make the 265 Salt but I want to practice and learn on a 50 gallon. So I will move my fish to the large tank and start there.

I don't want to spend extra money on things for this tank because I would like to purchase the nicer things for the larger tank.

That being said, I have a hang on the back filter and a circulating pump on the 50 gal right now. I also have had cichlids in the tank and to keep the PH higher I had the Carib-Sea salt water sand in the bottom with normal lake type rock in it. I would add Salt to the water but it doesn't say SEA SALT but it is the other type for medical purposes.

Anyway, what do I need to do convert to Salt Water?

1. New carbon and foam packs for sure.
2. Can I reuse the sand or do I probably need new sand because of the different micro-organisms?
3. I really don't want to spend money on a hang on the back skimmer but if I really need it for this system I will get it.
4. Someone said to clean everything with vinegar, is this correct, and if so, how?

Any help would be great! I want to learn as much as possible from this tank.

Thanks!

SAM

Garfieldnfish
01-26-2015, 01:06 PM
If I were you I would not do any of that until after you move into your new house. You may have to use the 50 gal to put your current fish into so you can move the larger tank, than set up the larger tank, move the fish into the 265 gal and then move the 50 gal. After the move you should find homes for the fish you already have so you don't run into the same problem you already found out you had with Lucy.
There some member on this forum that have salt water set ups as well as fresh but the better place to get the answers you are looking for is the Atlanta Reef Club.
http://www.atlantareefclub.org/

off2wildblue
01-26-2015, 05:01 PM
Thanks for the link. I only have three or four cichlids and I have a third tank that can house everything. I don't have a fish problem anymore. Lucy is doing great at the pet store and I think he may keep her. All his clients love seeing the large Pacu.

I will check out the link. If anyone else has any suggestions, please let me know.

SAM

aXio
01-26-2015, 05:52 PM
As Sybille mentioned I would absolutely wait to do all this if you are planning on moving into a new home soon.

Do you plan on doing a reef tank or a fish only saltwater?

But here are few answers for you...

1. New carbon and foam packs for sure.

First if you plan on using a hang on the back filter, which isn't recommended. I would not use the filter cartridges at all. They will be pretty much useless for you other then the small amount carbon in them. Which on a 265 isn't much at all. I would have some kind of basic filter pad in there first and in the rest of the filter pack as much bio-media as possible into that thing. Something like crushed up live rock or Seachem Matrix. the "bio-wheels" hold a very small amount of bacteria as well. So using the setup I mention will be a much more sustainable way to run the filter for a saltwater setup. You can use carbon but biological is MUCH more important then using carbon in a reef tank setting.

If you plan on doing a reef tank do your best to follow the "pound of live rock per gallon of water" rule. Especially if you will be stay with a weak filter such as a hang on the back. It is very important to have as much bacteria growing in that tank as possible.

2. Can I reuse the sand or do I probably need new sand because of the different micro-organisms?

Yes you can reuse the sand no problem. Especially because you mentioned it was a sand for saltwater use. I would give it a really good rinse to get rid of any left over waste from your previous setup. The bacteria growing in the sand now will be useless in a saltwater setting. You will have to let new bacteria "reseed" the sand afterwards. But the sand itself is absolutely reusable.


3. I really don't want to spend money on a hang on the back skimmer but if I really need it for this system I will get it.

The real answer no you don't absolutely need a skimmer on a saltwater tank. It helps you pull out organics from your tank. So you can obviously do this other ways such as more water changes. But good skimmers do amazing jobs at pulling waste out of your tank. On reef tanks they do more for the tank in my opinion then the filter itself. If you are going to do a fish only saltwater setup you can probably do with out it. If you want to do a reef tank and keep coral it is very very strongly recommended to use a skimmer. Most people have lots of issues keeping reef clean with out skimmers running.


4. Someone said to clean everything with vinegar, is this correct, and if so, how?

Yes this is a good easy way to clean up left over residue from used tanks. But if you kept the tank as a freshwater previously then you might not need to do that. We use vinegar to help break up left over salt creep and coraline algae off of used saltwater tanks. What you do is get yourself a couple of gallons of vinegar from the grocery store. Pour it all into the tank. Then fill the rest of the tank up with warm/hot water. Let it sit for at least 24 hours... but sometimes if the crud is really on there then you need to leave it sitting for 48+ hours. Once it has sat for a good while you drain the tank and any salt creep, hard water lines, coraline, etc should just wipe off very easily. But we usually never have to do that for freshwater tanks unless it is to remove hardwater residue. Most freshwater tanks we just give them a super good rinse and wipe down and they are good to go.


Definitely sign up for the ARC forums with the link Sybille gave you. Lots of good people on there willing to lend a helping hand. Also you might want to going a local saltwater store and speak to some one in person about the swap as well.

off2wildblue
01-27-2015, 12:15 PM
As Sybille mentioned I would absolutely wait to do all this if you are planning on moving into a new home soon.

Do you plan on doing a reef tank or a fish only saltwater?

But here are few answers for you...

1. New carbon and foam packs for sure.

First if you plan on using a hang on the back filter, which isn't recommended. I would not use the filter cartridges at all. They will be pretty much useless for you other then the small amount carbon in them. Which on a 265 isn't much at all. I would have some kind of basic filter pad in there first and in the rest of the filter pack as much bio-media as possible into that thing. Something like crushed up live rock or Seachem Matrix. the "bio-wheels" hold a very small amount of bacteria as well. So using the setup I mention will be a much more sustainable way to run the filter for a saltwater setup. You can use carbon but biological is MUCH more important then using carbon in a reef tank setting.

If you plan on doing a reef tank do your best to follow the "pound of live rock per gallon of water" rule. Especially if you will be stay with a weak filter such as a hang on the back. It is very important to have as much bacteria growing in that tank as possible.

2. Can I reuse the sand or do I probably need new sand because of the different micro-organisms?

Yes you can reuse the sand no problem. Especially because you mentioned it was a sand for saltwater use. I would give it a really good rinse to get rid of any left over waste from your previous setup. The bacteria growing in the sand now will be useless in a saltwater setting. You will have to let new bacteria "reseed" the sand afterwards. But the sand itself is absolutely reusable.


3. I really don't want to spend money on a hang on the back skimmer but if I really need it for this system I will get it.

The real answer no you don't absolutely need a skimmer on a saltwater tank. It helps you pull out organics from your tank. So you can obviously do this other ways such as more water changes. But good skimmers do amazing jobs at pulling waste out of your tank. On reef tanks they do more for the tank in my opinion then the filter itself. If you are going to do a fish only saltwater setup you can probably do with out it. If you want to do a reef tank and keep coral it is very very strongly recommended to use a skimmer. Most people have lots of issues keeping reef clean with out skimmers running.


4. Someone said to clean everything with vinegar, is this correct, and if so, how?

Yes this is a good easy way to clean up left over residue from used tanks. But if you kept the tank as a freshwater previously then you might not need to do that. We use vinegar to help break up left over salt creep and coraline algae off of used saltwater tanks. What you do is get yourself a couple of gallons of vinegar from the grocery store. Pour it all into the tank. Then fill the rest of the tank up with warm/hot water. Let it sit for at least 24 hours... but sometimes if the crud is really on there then you need to leave it sitting for 48+ hours. Once it has sat for a good while you drain the tank and any salt creep, hard water lines, coraline, etc should just wipe off very easily. But we usually never have to do that for freshwater tanks unless it is to remove hardwater residue. Most freshwater tanks we just give them a super good rinse and wipe down and they are good to go.


Definitely sign up for the ARC forums with the link Sybille gave you. Lots of good people on there willing to lend a helping hand. Also you might want to going a local saltwater store and speak to some one in person about the swap as well.





I am building a house and won't be moving for 6-8 months.

The tank I am going to go with for this project is a 45 gallon tank, not the 265. This is why the hang on the back filter and not wanting to buy a skimmer. However, after more research, I will get a hang on the back skimmer and use the hang on the back filter for this 45. On the 265 I will plan on a nicer system with more bells and whistles such as a refugium. I just want to see if I like the salt water tanks and maintenance of them. Just to get accustomed with them before I move into the new house. After I move, I can either go salt on the larger tank (use this smaller one as a quarantine tank) or go with a large rocky cichlid tank.

I did get on that forum but I don't see a section such as this one where people ask for help.

I will also go with a fish tank vs a reef tank until I get more experience. Another good reason to start on this smaller tank.

Thanks for the info!

SAM