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3. 70-90 Gallon Marine Fish Tank
The following guidelines and product selections will help you successfully create a “fish only” or fish and non-light-sensitive invertebrate aquarium. The guidelines and product selections are applicable to tanks from 70 gallons up to 90 gallons. When considering a saltwater aquarium, always remember the price of added filtration will easily pay for itself in fewer fish losses and less labor to keep the aquarium clean. In some cases, the recommendations include a second option. Since every aquarium is placed somewhere different and physical space limitations may be a factor, other viable choices appear for specific purposes where applicable.

Tank
Choose one from a local dealer where you'll buy fish. Since this is the vessel that keeps your fish alive and your spouse from killing you for damaging the floors, be willing to pay a little more for a quality name brand such as All Glass Aquarium Inc., Oceanic or Innovative Plastics. Buy “Reef Ready” or drilled tanks if possible.

Hood/Lighted Hood
Only purchase an aquarium with a glass top. Plastic hoods are not acceptable for saltwater setups. Plastic hoods limit the ability to add extra lighting and do not prevent “saltwater creep” from causing a mess. Standard lighting fixtures are acceptable but opt for higher quality lamps such as the T-8 Reef Sun by Zoomed. These lamps are designed specifically for saltwater. If a heavy blue coloration or stronger lighting is desired, consider purchasing an Aquatic Life T5 HO Link Marine. These great fixtures are available in configurations bright enough to keep corals and they look great.

Stand or Cabinet
Make sure the cabinet is properly constructed for handling up to 10lbs per gallon of water. If something other than an aquarium stand is used, it should be able to support the weight and hold the entire rim of the aquarium bottom level with no spaces between the rim and the support.


P1200 Package #1
This package contains everything needed to hook up a UP1200 to an aquarium up to 130 gallons. This great package uses a 700gph submersible pump so it uses less electricity. UP1200 Package Deal #1 includes:
1-#AL120 - P1200 with media
1- #AL2205 - Micro Siphon Box
1- #DA4427 Mag 7 Pump, 700gph
1- #5068 1/2 Female Adapter, Insert x Fipt
1- #AL3024 1/2 Advanced Return
1-#5094 1/2 Combo 90 Mipt x Insert
#AL2894

For drilled aquariums:
P1200RR Trickle Filter
All 'RR' filters include:
6' - 3/4" tubing & no return and the following items required for hookup
1 -Plastic Hose Clamp 3/4`` #5126
1 - #DA4427 - Mag Drive 7 Pump, 700gph
1 - #5094 - 1/2" Combo 90, Insert x Mipt
These filters have room for placement of two revolutionary chemical media, Chemi-Pure and Polyfilter - both of these media should be used in a saltwater tank of this size to ensure success.

Why a trickle filter?
As with any size system, filtration is the most critical component. Adequate filtration means the difference between a healthy thriving system and disaster or frustration and disappointment. Good mechanical and biological filtration maintains good oxygen levels and keeps harmful fish waste and other decaying debris from polluting the water and killing fish. Trickle filters, because of their size and expanded biological surface area, perform these tasks better than any other form of filtration and should always be considered the first choice. Trickle filters are more reliable and easier to maintain. Since there are no costly cartridges to replace, trickle filters are also more cost effective to operate.


Protein Skimmer
Protein skimmers, while not mandatory on a fish-only system, are considered one of two options on the “ultimate” system. Because of the maintenance required, they are not for every system, however, they are beneficial to any system. Protein skimmers remove proteins and waste aiding in algae and water quality control while lessening the need for carbon in fish-only systems. They are not needed for aeration in a system with a quality trickle filter like the P1200. Remember, all skimmers require cleaning and regular checking. The best choice for the systems here is the Model 22V Protein Skimmer.

UV Sterilizer
The second of the two options for the “ultimate system” is a Ultraviolet Sterilizer. These units kill unwanted bacteria and parasitic pathogens thus reducing the chances of disease outbreaks or spreads. No store central systems go without them and that speaks for itself. Like protein skimmers, UV's can be added at any time. Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizers are compact and well designed. See All UV Sterilizers

 
• Hydrometer
This important instrument is used to measure the salt concentration (salinity or specific gravity) of the aquarium water. A good economical and accurate choice is the CoraLife Hydrometer. Another quality hydrometer is the Ammonite Hydrometer.
  • Synthetic Sea Salt
Brightwell Neo Marine, 50# bag, because of its high quality and repeatable performance, is used for all EPA lab testing studies. Tests have shown this to be a superior aquarium salt. For other high quality salts available online, see SeaChem Reef Salt.


For saltwater enthusiasts with an interest in a more precise and sophisticated instrument to measure salinity, the Milwaukee Refractometer with automatic temperature compensation is a consideration.

• Grounding the tank
Grounding the tank prevents more sensitive species from getting Lateral Line Disease. The origins of this ailment are controversial. A Titanium Grounding Probe eliminates one of the suspected causative agents.


• Substrate
40-60lbs Choose a CaribSea product. Natural, calcium based substrates are best for saltwater aquariums.
• Fish Food
Nutrition is second only to filtration importance. Saltwater fish should be fed 80% frozen foods since these foods most closely match their natural diet.



• Water Conditioner
The water must be conditioned and prepped for aiding the slime coating of the fish. AquaLife Complete is an excellent dechlorinator and it detoxifies chloramines if they are present.
• Do not overfeed the fish. Feed fish only what they will eat in two to three minutes 1-2 times per day. Vary the diet. Different types of frozen foods from Ocean Nutrition and San Francisco Bay with VitaChem dripped on them combined with occasional feedings of OSI foods will ensure the health, longevity and color of your fish. It is important to try and duplicate the foods eaten in the wild.


• Starting Bacteria Culture
Use Activate Saltwater. Seeded biological media is sometimes available to speed up the cycling process. Super Porous Filter Media is an excellent media for this purpose.
• Algae Scrubber
Mag-Float 130 cleaning magnet for glass
Magical Cleaning Rod 22"
• Fish Net
Fish Catcher Net
• Thermometer
Hagen Thermometer, Floating
 
 
• Never underestimate the importance of water testing. Fish trapped in water with even small amounts of ammonia and nitrite can die within hours. Water test on a regular basis and be prepared to act quickly is something goes wrong. A Mini Master Test Kit Freshwater & Saltwater contains accurate testing supplies for pH, ammonia and nitrite.
See All Test Kits
See All Controllers & Monitors

• Do a 25% water change monthly or a 10% water change twice a month. Remember to dechlorinate the water and adjust it to the same temperature as the aquarium water.

• Always add a high quality dechlorinator anytime tap water is added to the tank. AquaLife Complete is an excellent product that not only dechlorinates but adds important elements to maintain slime coat integrity and reduce stress. AquaLife Complete also detoxifies chloramines if they are present.

• Keep the aquarium between 76-78°F. The best fully submersible heater is the Hydor THEO UL Heater 150W.

• The pH should be 8.2 High quality salt such as Brightwell Neo Marine has added buffers and with proper water changes, pH should be stable. Aquavitro Salinity is sold only at our local store. For other high quality salts available online, see SeaChem Reef Salt or Marine Salt. However, if water changes are being done and pH is a problem, use Marine Buffer by SeaChem. Further information is available on water parameters in the Log Sheet section.




Further Reading:
9. Mixing Saltwater
11. Supplements & Additives
12. Understanding the Nitrogen Cycle



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