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Ok need some help with this project


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My buddy ask me to make him a list of item that he would need for a marine tank . Not a reef tank but a fish only tank. He would like to know what size fish tank would be good to start with ? What items he would need to go with the tank ?? What type of fish would be good to start with ? & the whole 9 yards and what not . I kind of know what type of fish to start with and the simple things that are needed but j thought I would ask so I could have a nice list of all the items & info that he would need to get in to the hobby and the only reason he ask me is because lastnight when I had to meet my wife to have dinner with her and her coworkers DOH! We got to talking about saltwater tanks and what not (clap) he was telling me how hard it would be to start a swt and take care of one (laugh) so I had to inform him that's it's really not that hard and how easy it is to get started . So I need help to make sure I have all the info and thanks for your time

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I second the "go big or go home" advise. I wish my first tank would have been much larger, so I would not have had to put all the time and money into setting up various upgrades over the years.



I would also, encourage your friend to look at a bunch of different tanks to really figure out what they like the best. Again, I wish I would have done this years ago, so I wouldn't have bothered with my standard 55g or 90g tall, and would have gone straight for the cubish style of tanks.

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There is really only two types of fish only tanks. Pico / nano for small fragile inhabitants or habitat specific like sea horses, mandarins, pipe fish, gobies and most inverts. For that a small cube is great. But if its aggressive or going to have any kind of larger fish in it, the longer and more swimming room is going to give you happier, healthy fish. Fish are for the most part territorial and need their own space so bigger is better in almost all aspects of Fish only systems. Turnover through the sump is critical to keep water quality clean and substrate should not be setup to catch detritus, blow your flow directly into your overflows to create good circular motion and keep feeding and waste leftovers moving and filtered. Adding a refugium to a fishonly system is a big plus but it will need to be sized accordingly to keep up with the bioload.

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It's kind of the Chicken before the Egg.


Your buddy needs to decide what he wants to keep. If he wants fish that get large, he is gonna need a large tank, large skimmer, etc.


Here is a short list:


1. Get a good book

2. Test Kits (PH, Phosphate, Ammonia, Nitrate)

3. Tank, Skimmer, Heater, Sump, Pumps (both flow and return)

4. Lights

5. RO filter setup

6. Salt


There are a lot of steps involved if it is going to be a large tank. Your friend should come to a meeting and ask a bunch of questions.



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there is so much...is he going to buy a use tank? does he want glass or acrylic, why? does it want a sump or run an on the back skimmer? If he does want a sump, does he want an overflow box, or does he want an overflow and is that external or internal? and thats just the tank...


I also think every tank should run carbon...


Is he absolutely sure he only wants fish and no coral what so ever, or is there a chance that he may want coral at some point...because if its a possibility, then I would begin to build it with that in mind...


Budget is also a huge determining factor...it will dictate everything...

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