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SW Tank Startup - Thinking things through


Learning a lot everyday
I will use this for my FOWLR, thanks to the person who lead me to this sticky.

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AC Members
Wish I had read this alot earlier....this is quality stuff, greech! glad you sent me to the stickies.

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Registered Member
Really good post. I'm just getting started. So thanks for sharing!
I have one question: I have 95% of my live rock in my sump, and I have a real piece of wood (from the fish store) and a very large, beautiful rock that I found in the Rocky Mountains (that I sterilized) ... Should I be using the wood and the large rock??
I would greatly appreciate the help, as my tank seems to becoming cloudy.... what should I do?

Thanks. And thanks again for the post!


AC Moderators
I have never tried driftwood in a SW tank but it will obviously release tannic acid which could potentially lower the pH (not good). Otherwise, I imagine the driftwood would eventually deteriorate in SW. Personally, I wouldn't use wood. Definitely not in a reef with inverts but you may be ok in a fish only system (assuming you are ok with or can combat the yellowing effect of the tannins). carbon should help some with the yellowing but you will go through it pretty quick.

The rock we will need more info on. Do you have corals or other inverts in the tank now or only fish? A rock from that area has a higher likelihood of containing metals and minerals that you would not want in your tank. Did you notice any reflecting from the rock when viewed in bright light?
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AC Members
Awesome thread for newcomers to the hobby. I am contemplating setting up a 20g, it already has a powerful light system, I haven't kept marine in over 10 years and I was just curious about the tap water thing.
You said it depends on location, what variables exactly make or break the tap water?

For example I live in Calgary, our water is hard as liquid rock and limescale is very common here on machines in contact with water. We also do not have fluoride in our water supply. From all outward appearances, the water of this region is mostly what is bottled as mineral water lol.

If I'm not really super interested in corals would using this water to set up a system be a terrible idea? I guess I'm just. Curious what to look for in tap water that's bad, we can check our current output mixture online from the treatment plant.



...and over the edge.
Staff member
This is a pretty old thread. I'd recommend starting a new thread to get your answers. :)

Franco Salinas

AC Members
Thanks for the post man, I'm new to the aquarium scene. Tried starting a tank a couple months ago, a 55g one without researching first, and boy did I just throw my money away lol. Wish I came here first and read a little. Now I'm starting a new tank 20g long, and this time around I'm making sure I do/get everything right. So I got a 20g long tank and a 10 gallon tank I "modded" into a sump. now what I wanted to know since I see that someone talked about it, do I need a RO/DI if I have a sump? Also if interested I will probably start a thread of my build just waiting for a couple more things I ordered online to come in.