Where to start???

j trigger

Okay i am very new to keeping a saltwater fish tank, or any fish tank for that matter.
So I really dont know where to start.
I would like to start out with a 10g tank (possibly 20g if I have enough $$$), and have a clown, maybe one other fish, possibly some live rock...
What exactly do I need to start out (filters, lights, etc...) and what would be the minimal startup cost for each item? (I dont want to spend a lot considering im a college student).
Also are there any good websites or articles for people just starting out, and how-to's on setting up your first tank.
Ive really found this site to be informative, everyone seems to be very helpful, yet im still kind of lost! :)
Thanks in advance!


Just keep reading the boards and get as many opinions as possible. What kind of tank do you want? Fish only with live rock or reef? Reef tanks will be a considerable amount more than FOWLR.


well if your only going with Fowlr you would need the following to start
-some type of lighting
-Salt mix
-water--- reason I put this is because I dont think you should use tap water
-Live sand
-Live rock
-Power heads for circulation
-test kit
-Protein skimmer - this is a very useful peace of equipment and I would get the best one you can afford.
-Hang on back filter (hob) to put you Activated carbon it once a month.
I think that is it.....
feel like I'm missing somethin:thinking:
and welcome


I would buy aragonite sand instead of live sand.Live sand is just a waste of money,if you have live rock then the rock would seed you sand.
latino you missed the food!


FOOD???? who need's FOOD

yeah that. as far as the LS. I like as much diversity as possible and that is why I say LS


j trigger you can buy a nano cube its a 12g tank and it comes with light with hood,filter,powerhead and a mag float and its only 100 bucks i have one and very happy with it.see if your lfs has nano cubes and take a look at them.

j trigger

They have this 10g tank with hood at walmart for $30. I believe its made for freshwater, but would that work?


you can use any tank but you would have to buy powerheads and filter the nano cube has it all and the light are especially desigened foe keeping coral and plant life and still only 100 bucks if you buy that tank from walmart you will spend more money so i would go to your lfs and look for a nano cube.

j trigger

Okay so far ive compiled the following basic things to get started, see if im missing anything. (keep in mind im on a tight budget).
10g tank with hood - $30
Aquaclear power filter 200 - $18
Digital thermometer - $6
25-50watt heater - $15
Red sea marine test kit - $35
10lbs live sand - $25
7.5lbs oceanic salt - $15
Live rock - $7/lb
How much live rock should I get to start?
And is this an alright starting list just to get the cycling going?


you are getting some good advice about going with a nano cube i went the 10 gal route and I WISH I would have just bought the nano cube.
now I'm setting up a 100 gal and I'm going to use my 10gal as a qt. and I'm going to buy a nano cube anyway
and if you add up the tank filter & heater you get 69 dollars so for about 30 more dollars you get 2 more gallons and a built in light that you can keep some corals under (witch I bet you will want after a while) plus IMO its a much better looking tank and a much better deal


plus you forgot the powerhead thats another 20 bucks trust me go with the nano cube its got it all and more room for the fish to swim.i would look in to it go by your lfs and check it out before you buy that 10g from walmart.


Active Member
I thought i'd just throw this out and see if anyone else agrees.
I don' t want him to get frustrated with SW keeping starting off with a Nano.
Nano's are a lot harder to keep, which is the opposite of Freshwater.
Think of it as a hot cup of water, if you leave it out a few hours it's cold.
Now take a 55gal barrel of hot water. You can leave it out for days it's still going to be warm.
The more water you have, the more stabile it is.
With a small tank, you have to keep CLOSE tabs on it. NExt thing you know your PH with be too low, then after a little bit of Evap, your salinity is too high!
I'm going through this right now with my 15g



Originally posted by obarrera
I would buy aragonite sand instead of live sand.Live sand is just a waste of money,if you have live rock then the rock would seed you sand.
latino you missed the food!

Argonite and LS is the same price at my LFS :confused:


i have a nano cube and its my 1st sw tank had it up for 2mths and all my readings are good i check them once a week and just top off with fresh water about every 2 days.but thats just my 2 cents good luck with what ever you get sw fish are the coolest.


The Nanocube is a good idea. I have a 7 gal bowfront AGA tank that I got on ---- for 15 dollars and I love it, but after having a hell of a time retrofitting lights and finding the right filter (I wouldn't even consider something without a biowheel especially if I wasn't going to do a skimmer) I think I've spent more than if I had gone with the much cooler looking nanocube. Plus they are coming out with a larger one this month - 24 gal I think.


New Member
The $30 kit at Walmart, my daughter has one for her goldfish, the only problem I see with that kit, it the hood, it's an incandescent hood, and doesn't put out very much light for even fish, I'd listen to these guys above and check out the nanocube, I've looked into them and they are sweet! It's best to spend a little more up front than a buttload of cash if something goes wrong.

j trigger

Okay im gonna head out to my lfs this sunday to see if they sell nanocubes... Okay now if i decide to get the nano cube, what else do I need to get started?
And how much live rock should I start out with?
Thanks for all the help so far!!! :)