Newcomer to Saltwater Aquariums


Reefing newb
Hello everyone, new forum member here looking for advice and guidance!
I just bought a 30 gallon hex (24" tall, 20" across) that was previously used for a freshwater set up. So ill be using it to set up a saltwater aquarium with fish and live rock. I am brand new to saltwater aquariums, i have been reading some about it but some the advice from an experienced forum member i find to be much more helpful.

Here is the utilities checklist:
30 gallon Hex (24" tall by 20" across)
BAK-PAK 2R+ Skimmer with Filter

Coralife 20 Inch Aqualight With 1-96W 50/50 4-Tube

Powerhead (Not sure with what kind i want/need, any suggestions?)
Visi-Therm Deluxe Submersible Aquarium Heater 150 Watt
Salt Mix
25-30lbs of liverock
Test Kit for saltwater/reef

I think thats about it. Am i missing something? Any suggestions on the set up, can anyone recommend a reliable online supplier with good pricing?

Ill be cleaning the tank this weekend, the local fish store say that by just using tap water would work fine because of the chlorine in it. Keep in mind the tank was used before for a freshwater set up, so i dont want any left over bacteria making things difficult in the future! Thanks for the advice guys!
Thermometer definitely, 2 powerheads (most are the same, just make sure its not too powerful, most powerheads say what size tanks they are designed for)
Vinegar will work great for cleaning the tank.

I think you have the check list down. Do your already have the stuff or is the list stuff you still need to buy? If it is things you still need to get I would go with a different skimmer. I dont know how well the bacpak works but I have read there not the greatest, however there are mods to make them better if you already have one. I just picked one up my self but my new tank
is still cycling so I'll know how good it is soon.

On the lighting are you wanting to keep corals or anemones? If you want anemones you will need alot more lighting, if you want corals that light will work for some but not all, if its fish only the regular strip lights will work just fine.

Well let us know, and if you have anymore questions just shoot em at us.
One more thing you dont need to spend the extra money on live sand you can get the regular arganite sand and it will be live over time, and I have also read on alot of pages by the time the live sand gets to you most all of the bacteria and other critters are already dead.
Welcome to the site!!! If it were me, and I hadn't bought the hydrometer yet, I'd skip it and go with a refractometer. Hydrometers wear out over time, which is pointed out in an article here on the site, and a good refractometer will account for temprature when measuring specific gravity.

Here's a link to a pretty afordable one: Portable Refractometer

Don't forget that there's a ton of helpful articles here on the site. Be sure to check them out, they've helped me learn ALOT!!!!
Welcome To Livingreefs !! Everyone Here Is Way More Then Helpful! I Just Started Myself And Everyone Here Was More Then Helpful Answering My Questions. I Have A 35 Gallon Six Sided Tank That Was Also A Freshwater Tank At One Time. Good Luck !!
Hi and welcome
Your list looks pretty good.
Are you planning on adding any corals later on? If you do want to have corals,you'll have to upgrade your light.
For powerheads,maxi-jets would work fine,you want at least 20x turnover rate so you'll want at least a combined 600 GPH.You can get that out of one powerhead,or 2.your option.
Tap water will work fine for cleaning your tank,so will vinegar.Just be sure to rinse it out good.
For online venders,try Home - Pet Solutions Aquarium Fish: Tropical Freshwater Fish and Saltwater Fish for Home Aquariums and
Ive ordered from all 4 of those,and probably will again.Great customer service,fair prices.
Hope this helps,and remember to post any question you might have.
Welcome to the site!
Your checklist sounds about right,you didn't list a thermometer but I'm sure thats on your checklist.With your lighting,I would stick to a mainly soft coral tank.Powerheads Maxi-Jets are good or if you want something with a wide flow try one of the Hydor Koralia(model 1) pumps.I use all these online vendors:Marine Depot,Dr. Foster and Smith,Big Al's,That Pet Place.

Enjoy the hobby and welcome again.
Thanks for the cheerfull welcome guys!
I will probably have a lot of questions over the next couple of days so bear with me!

make sure you treat that tap water if you use that. I use RO-DI water (reverse osmosis/dionized water)
So i probably be using tap water as it is the easiest and cheapest option i suppose. Do i need to run it through a filter first, or is just treating it good enough?

Do your already have the stuff or is the list stuff you still need to buy? If it is things you still need to get I would go with a different skimmer.
No not yet, these are the items i will be planning to buy. I kind of like that BAK-PAK2 because it is a skimmer/filter in one, and i can just hang it on the back of my tank. But let me know how it works for you!

Are you planning on adding any corals later on? If you do want to have corals,you'll have to upgrade your light.
I think it'll just be the liverock for now, but an option for adding coral in the future would be nice. I will be putting tank-raised clown fish in the tank, so i dont think i would need the anemone, plus i read that they are hard to take care so its not something for a beginner like myself. If i do decide to add coral later, what sort of light would you suggest?

Thank you all for the quick replies and welcomes.
I serious believe that you could keep many soft corals with that PC light.A better option is a medal halide pendant hung from the ceiling or clamped to the tank.The reason I recommend the MH is because of the shape and size of your tank.Something in the 150-250w will do,of course the higher wattage the better.A 14k bulb would be my choice,it will give the tank a blueish color.

I would serious think twice about using tapwater.You can buy RO/DI water from walmart for 35 cents a gallon.Many grocery stores sell it and LFS also or buy a RO/DI unit.Tapwater is usually high in nitrates/phosphate and contain heavy metals like copper.Those chemicals can be detrimental to the inhabitants of your tank.It can also lead to algae,cynobacteria(red slime algae) outbreaks,which is very difficult to remove.

I don't know how good of a skimmer the Bak-Pak is but don't rely on the bio-bail as much of a filter.Live rock is a much better biological filter.The LFS had them on some coral tanks about 7-8 years ago,I think there has been better advancement in skimmers since the like the needle wheels and ''force induction''.Depending on your budget look into the Coralife SS,Aqua C Remora,Euro-Reef,ASM.
hello and welcome!!! nothing new to add...enjoy the site..and fell free to ask any question you may have...dont forget to post pics soon...
The bio bail could lead to exsess nitrates which in turn will lead to algae.

Like reeffreak said I would only use RO or RO/DI water there are too many contaminates in regular tap water.

There are alot of good skimmers out there and it can make it hard to choose, there are coralife super skimmers, remoras, tunze, octopuss, and I have read a big artical on RC about how good the typhoon works and its only 68.00 on foster and smiths site.

That light will work good for softy's. I have a 30 gal reef and I have the fixture with 2 96 watt bulbs but since my anemone passed I only use one of the bulbs and I have several kinds of softy's in the tank. Your only troulbe might be in how deep your tank is, you might not be albe to put them on the bottom of the tank maybe more near the top. The deeper the tank the less the light that will get to the bottom and if I remeber right your tank is 24" deep.