Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
How To Setup a Super Simple Saltwater Reef Aquarium for Beginners

How To Setup a Super Simple Saltwater Reef Aquarium for Beginners


Are you currently searching all around
YouTube trying to find a video that is going to help you set up your very first
saltwater tank? Stop searching you found it. Hey how’s it going guys and welcome to
Aarons Aquarium now if you are looking at setting up your very first saltwater
tank whether you make in the transition from a tropical tank into a saltwater
tank or your just going straight in there and you starting off with a
saltwater tank hopefully this video is going to be the one that gets you going
because today we’re gonna be setting up a super simple reef aquarium now at the
end of this video if you find it helpful if you can hit that like button please
that’d be awesome because other people will see all of those likes and think
that videos helps other people out maybe it will help me also so if you can hit
that like button that would be super cool and if you want to follow along
with this tank after we’ve set it up because month or month we’re gonna do a
little update and see how it’s getting on make sure that you hit the subscribe
button. Alright so what is the first thing that you need when you want to set
up a saltwater tank? Well you probably think it was a tank one yard nope
the first thing that you need is knowledge and understanding the first
thing that you definitely need to learn is the nitrogen cycle now the nitrogen
cycle is the foundations of your hobby the foundations on what you’re going to
build your saltwater tank on now imagine you was building a house on a swamp
eventually that house would start to move starts a Creek because the floor
underneath it isn’t solid and your house would fall down and that is exactly what
can happen to your saltwater tank if you don’t build good foundations now
throughout this video you’re going to see a little card pop up just like this
one the one of my head right now is for the nitrogen
cycle I’ve done a little video that explains it
now go and watch that video learn it and understand it because that is what is
going to give you the good foundations for your saltwater tank once you’ve got
that in there then you can move on to the next stage which is oh we’re gonna
need the tank back out there now when choosing a tank what do you choose which
one do you go for the tank that you choose is the one that suits your
lifestyle best now you will hear many people say get the biggest possible tank
you can get but with big tanks comes big cost and you’ve got to bear that in mind
when setting up a saltwater tank because this hobby is not a cheap hobby
everything has a price tag say for example this tank in total is 1,300
liters now it’s brilliant because it’s huge and it looks great and everything
but just to fill this tank up with water on the first run is going to cost you a
few hundred pounds are dollars so choosing a tank should be based on what
space you have available in your home and also what does your budget allow
because with big tanks as I said comes bigger cost so really think about that
and choose a tank accordingly now a lot of people will tell you that you need to
get a big tank because you get better stability and you do but if you do your
foundations right if you get that knowledge into your head at the
beginning then it doesn’t really matter what size of tank you go for okay so now
we’ve got the tank what do we do next well we need to filter it we need to
work out how we’re going to keep the water that sits inside the tank nice and
clean each and every day now a bit you’ve probably heard that if you’re
gonna set up a saltwater tank you have to use as some I bet you’ve heard that
having you because that’s what a lot of people think in the saltwater huh bit
now don’t get me wrong a son is very very versatile and a sump
is probably a better option just because of its versatility now again as I said
earlier just above my head here we’ve got another video that links to my video
that is called salt versus canister filters now that video gives you more
information about the pros and the cons of salt in canister filters so this
video we’re going to use a canister filter mainly because I want to show
people that you can use a canister filter on a saltwater aquarium you don’t
necessarily need to get a sump canister filters are a lot easier to
access mol shops will sell a canister filter they’re dead easy to just clip
off the back of the tank and away you go whereas some salts can be quite
difficult to install if the display tank isn’t set up for them so today we’re
going to be using this this is the Ehime professional for 250 now throughout this
video I’m going to be showing you all of the different things that I’m going to
be using on the tank there will be links for all of these different products in
the description of this video the our affiliate links and if you
decide to use any of those links I will earn a small percentage from those at no
extra cost from you and it’s a great way to help support the channel and support
me making videos just like this one now just up there is another link to a video
for this filter in that video I unbox the filter and I put it together if you
want to check that out go and check that out now if not I’m just going to put
this on the aquarium now okay so hopefully you watch the unboxing and
assembly video of this a high-end canister filter because now was going to
be installing it on the tank so all we really need to do is just get the door
open we need to place obviously the canister filter into the aquarium and
then what we’re going to do is we’re just going to spin it around so you guys
can see what’s going on at the back okay so what the back of the aquarium
what we’re going to do is we’re going to pull the pipe work through now if you
notice we’ve got one length of pipe in the last video and it wasn’t cut in half
or anything like that and I haven’t cut it yet I fit it to a fitted it to the
canister filter but I haven’t cut it yet because what I want to do now is work
out how much pipe I actually need and then I can see how much I need to cut up
okay so our pipes are in place now we’ve got them situated here so now we can get
this pipe out and see how much we actually need so if we just hold it up
like this we can see that this one we need to cut about here and this one we
don’t need anywhere near as much so we will can cut that round about that eHome
size so I’ll do that now I’ll stick it on the pipe all right so that’s the
canister filter in now and that’s the reason why I selected the canister
filter fire this build because it’s nice and simple and it’s just the versatility
of being able to add it to all sorts of different types of aquariums you know we
just slid it into the cabinet brought the pipes over stuck among with suction
cups done now this is a custom system you don’t see tanks these dimensions
normally and it was able to just go straight into the tank no problem so
that’s why I like canister filters so move it on to the next stage of setting
up a tank and that is the aquascape putting rocks into the aquarium
now there’s loads of different types of rocks that you can go for and what they
tend to fall into two categories dry rock or live rock now live rock does
exactly what it says on the tin it’s alive there’s loads of living organisms
with inside that rock big Yolo the little beasties now some of these little
beasties are great for your tank and they’re really positive and they can
really helping out your tank but there’s also a contour that where sometimes you
can get live rock where it’s got negative things within it now I
personally don’t use live rock because I don’t like that 50/50 chance you know I
don’t like to put something in my tank and not know whether it’s going to be
good I think or but what I used is dry rock
so this is the rock that I’m going to be using in this build now the reason why I
go for dry rock is just like I said there’s nothing Guinea in some this is a
man-made Rock as well there’s nothing in it at all I’ve not got to worry about
any beasties in here any you know parasites or anything in here because
it’s completely dry and you know it is what it is also as well I like the look
of it you know it’s a nice shape this piece and it’s already purple so
straight from day one you get something like a mature looking tank and straight
from the earth this one in fact is the Walt Smith 2.1 rock so if you’re if
you’re looking for it like I said earlier there is links in the
description and if there isn’t a link for your area for this rock I will
provide an alternative something like carob see life rock that’s also a nice
rock which is purple dot so there’ll be a link in the description for that what
I’m gonna do now is I’m gonna do an aquascape and then I’m going to explain
to you why it looks the way what all right so this is the aquascape that
I’ve been able to create with the rocks that I had and I’m quite happy with it
number one because you know it sits right in this aquarium and because what
I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve never done before is have a shallow tank and
just have the rocks coming out of the water ever so slightly so if you have
things like hermit crabs or you know stuff like that
they might climb up to the top and come out of the water and just chill out on
the top so I really really hope that that happens because that would be an
awesome photo opportunity all right so we’re moving along now I
went we’ve got our tank in place our filtrations in and now we’ve got the
rock how we like it so what do we do now well now we’re going to wrap the sand to
the aquarium now the reason why I didn’t add the sand before I added the rock is
because you can have cave-ins now if you put like a nice thick layer of sand on
the floor and then you put the rocks on top of it you could get something like a
goby which likes to dig in the sand you know with its mouth and filter food out
of the sand for it to eat it could start digging underneath the rocks and cause
the Sun to move away and then cause the rocks to collapse because they’re not
being supported by the sand anymore so I always put the rocks on the floor of the
aquarium first and then I’ll take the Sun and I’ll put the sand around the
rocks now the fun that I’m going to be using is this stuff this is one
millimeter crushed coral so basically they’ve taken old coral skeletons and
crush them down into a 1 millimeter grain size I really like this because
it’s not so small that it becomes like dust in the water yeah it’s not too big
that it just looks it just doesn’t look right
you know it’s perfect and it’s great for things like gobies if you’ve got sand
sifters because you can very easily put it in the mouth and sift it through the
gills and take food out of it I just think this is a nice size and I think it
just looks really really good now you can get you know larger grains of coral
if you want to you can actually get sand where it’s very very fine or you can get
something that’s called live sand which again it’s a bit like live rock which
contains you know little organisms and things like that some people like it
again me personally I don’t like it because it’s adding a sort of like a
potential for doubt in my aquarium it’s adding something in there which I don’t
know what it is so I don’t like doing that so this is dry one millimetre crush
Coral I have actually rinsed it out I’ve rinsed it out first so that I can get
all the dead you know the dusty finds out so that when I actually fill this
aquarium with water it won’t be as dusty right at the beginning all right so
we’re nearly there now we’ve just got a few more things to add and we’ve got our
very first saltwater aquarium now saltwater aquariums have to be warm
because most of the stuff that we’re going to put in here comes from tropical
climates so we can’t just leave the water cold so we have to provide some
form of heater to this aquarium so that the water stays one now for this build
I’m going to be using this same thermo control now these also are known as
Jager heaters these are really really good heaters many people will swear by
these heaters so we’re going to be using one of these in the aquarium all right
so that’s the heater in and now our fish and coral are going to be nice and happy
in their warm environment but it’s not enough we still need to add a little bit
more we’ve got some alright flow in this aquarium at the moment courtesy of the
spray bar coming from the canister filter but it’s not enough if you
imagine it the floor is going to be coming from that into the tank and
coming across here down and back again cross down back again it’s gonna be the
same all day corals are not gonna like that
they’re just going to be like this all day you can imagine they’re not gonna be
happy with that so we’re going to add one of these these are called wave
makers and basically what they are is just a
little pump with a propeller in it and it just pushes water all day long it
doesn’t filter it doesn’t do anything nice it just pushes water
now we’re gonna ride one of these to help diversify the float because like I
said before flow is very very important so we’re going to use this and we’re
going to pop it on this side of the aquarium blowing that way what that’s
going to do is the water this way is then going to intercept the water that’s
coming this way and it’s going to create turbulence it’s going to make random
water movements so your corals are getting alike
yeah okay rather than boom so that’s what we’re gonna do so this one is the
j-card s ow4 and it’s a tiny little thing look
how cute I look at that ah but that’s going to be perfect for this size tank
number one it’s not going to be massively in your face it’s not going to
stick out like a sore thumb but at the same time is going to provide the right
amount of flow that we need so what we’re gonna do with it you just get it
and we’re gonna stick it over the tank place it on this side with a magnet
that’s provided and we’re going to aim it so that it’s just brushing the
surface on the flow is coming upwards so you’re gonna get surface agitation and
we need surface agitation just in case you don’t know what that means is
basically it you know when you look at water and it’s all Ripley on the top we
need that because what that does is it sort of like it opens the door so to
speak and it allows oxygen to come into the water and it also allows carbon
dioxide to get out of the water whereas if the water is just stagnant if it’s
just still got the carbon dioxide struggles to get out and the oxygen
struggles to get in so if we create flow movement on top it’ll create movement
and it’s not like opens the door and allows oxygen to come in and carbon does
dioxide to go out so that’s what we’re gonna do we don’t place it in there and
we go around now we’ve only got one more piece of equipment to write for this
tank but this piece of equipment is probably the
piece of equipment that you’re going to spend the most on or you should and that
is the lighting now adding a light to this aquarium will dictate what type of
corals you can keep now if you do in the end want to keep you know the more
difficult corals like SPS corals then you’re gonna need to spend a little bit
more money on a life now don’t see it as a purchase see it as an investment
because although right now you’re probably thinking oh I don’t think I’ll
be able to handle stuff like that a year down the line or maybe more or maybe
less you probably will want something a little bit harder or something a little
bit more difficult to keep them what you’ve got right now so investing in a
good light now is the best option otherwise you’re gonna buy a cheaper
light get rid of it lose money on that one maybe get a little bit more of an
expensive light get rid of it lose money on that one and so on and so forth until
you get to that light so if you can and know it’s not always possible but if you
can buy one of the best lights you can get straight away so the light that I’m
going to be using for this build is the Kelo ray AE 200 now this light isn’t
really accessible it’s not easy to get you can pick this light up on em
Aliexpress or Alibaba and one of those things what is it it’s basically a
Chinese like what this light is an absolute beast of a life now you can
find this light on the different brand name so if you’re in America and the
light that’s very very similar to this one is called the cobalt sea ray so if
you are looking for this type of light you know you can check that one out if I
can find any links for that light I will put it in the description so there we go
that is everything that we need to set off a saltwater aquarium we’ve got
lights we’ve got a heater we’ve got a wave maker and we’ve got a filter and
that is all we need to run a nice simple saltwater aquarium now you may
speak to people and some people may tell you that you need a skimmer and you need
a reactor and you need all of these other things but you don’t these are the
things that you need all of the other things are extras so a skimmer for
example a skimmer is nice to have it can help you out if you’re struggling to
maintain your water parameters but if you can run a tank properly if you can
maintain it keep on top of your maintenance and run everything as it
should a skimmer isn’t needed you don’t have to have one and it’s the same for a
reactor as well reactors are basically just tubes that can that hold some sort
of media you don’t necessarily need one of those either
so say for example if you had put your phosphate issues and you needed to get
your phosphates down you can very easily just get a bag of phosphate remover and
puts it into one of the trays in your canister filter and that’ll do you just
fine so you don’t need those products but if you’d like to have them then go
for it you know I’m not saying don’t but it’s not something that you need to
spend your money on just yet anyway right so is that what’s done that’s
what’s finished in it course not put anything in there come well there’s no
water now the reason why I’ve left water to last is because I want to make sure
everything’s in place I want to make sure that everything is exactly where I
want it to be before I commit to add in water because once I’ve added water
that’s it and in it you know everything’s wet and you know it’s ready
so before committed to that I want to make sure that everything is where I
want it to be I’m happy with it now I’m golden now when it comes to
mixing saltwater it’s not that difficult at all now I’ve decided to go with the
fritz rpm blue box for my tank because it has nice base levels and what I mean
by that is the levels that you get an assault things like your calcium your
alkalinity your magnesium are very similar to what you would find in the
sea but you can actually buy salts that have
elevated levels for example the Redbox version of this and that is ever so
slightly are quite a bit more than what you would find in the sea a lot of
people like using old salts because it gives them a bit of head room it gives
them a bit of a buffer so if they forget to do a while to change or something
happens they’re up here and they’ve got a long way to go before the drop below
what would normally be found in the sea now it’s personal preference what you
would like to use but I personally feel it’s better to just keep on top of your
tank and run levels that are as close to the sea as possible so the salt that
we’re using recommends that you mix 35 grams of salt to 1 liter of ro/di water
now we’ve got 25 litres of RO di water here so we’re gonna times 35 by 25 and
that will give us 875 grams of salt we’re going to take
that salt and we’re going to mix it in the water we’ve got the wave maker that
was in the tank in here so that’s gonna help mix the salt around and get the
salt mixed in with the water this is 875 grams of salt is it really
now don’t just throw it all in and launch it in because you’ll get it
clumping at the bottom of the barrel just bit by bit fit this all in give it
a chance to get circulating around the water with the wave maker just bit by
bit by a bit throw it in until this container is empty and then allow the
water to clear wait for that water to completely clear so you can see down to
the bottom of the barrel once you’re there get your refractometer and your
pipette what you need to do is just soak up a little bit of water place it on top
of your refractometer close the window make sure there’s no bubbles that you
can see place it up to your eye look through and
that will tell you whether or not you’ve got enough salt in there in comparison
to water if you’re getting 35 PPT or if one point zero to six you’re laughing
you can throw it into your tank so guys here it is this is the Aaron’s aquarium
super simple reef tank now you finally got everything set up and everything
running all of your waters in and everything now you need to make a choice
you’ve got two options now on what to do now you can do what is called a
traditional cycle where you add a form of ammonia to this tank whether it’s
ammonia itself a raw prawn fish food or something like that where you add it to
the tank and that breaks down becomes ammonia and starts your nitrogen cycle
remember part 1 of this video remember the first thing that you needed to note
this is why you’re needed to know it because now you need to make a decision
or you can take the more modern approach and add bacteria to this aquarium at the
exact same time that you add your first fish now I will be doing that method
because the way I see it is is nowadays we don’t bake our own bread we go to the
shop and we buy a loaf now using bottled bacteria is a bit like that we’re still
getting to the same point we’re just getting there in a different way and a
little bit of a faster way so what I’m going to be using this Fritz turbo start
on this aquarium so all I’m gonna do is basically tip the bacteria into the tank
at the exact same time I add fish and I’m golden
that will be my tank set up so I’m not going to do that right now because I
don’t have any fish but if you want to follow on with this tank make sure that
you’ve hit the subscribe button there is also a playlist to this video series
just there if you click on that playlist you’ll see all of the videos that are a
part of this video series so if you want to keep up with it make sure you
subscribe and you can see how this tank progresses guys I hope this video has
been official to you if it has make sure that
you hit the like button and share it with your friends share this video as
far and as wide as possible thank you so much for checking out Aaron’s aquarium I
will see you all in the next video

67 comments on “How To Setup a Super Simple Saltwater Reef Aquarium for Beginners

  1. Would you like to set up a Saltwater Reef Tank but don't know how or where to start? This is the video for you. In this video, I'll show you step by step how to set up a saltwater reef aquarium that's perfect for beginners. #AaronsAquarium

  2. Great video Aaron. I'm going to be setting up my first reef tank in a few weeks and this was a great watch so thanks for that 🙂

  3. I was gonna wait til the end of the video to like but the tip with the sand put me over the edge. You are fantastic, thankyou for this!

  4. Viparspectra lights are better and cost about 1/6th that light.
    ($800 for a 200 watt led is retarded)

  5. I have a fish only marine tank. No live sand or rock. What should my correct nitrate level be. Any advice would be good thanks

  6. How do you clean/prep the rock and sand for the tank? Can I rinse in TAP water? Some people said it's not a good Idea if I do, do I let it air dry ?

  7. Does someome have the size of the custom built tank ?
    Cannot find the informations and that's a cool setup! Thanks

  8. great video plenty of information giving I am looking forward to doing marine and glad I have came across this video feel more confident now.

  9. Thanks for your video. Ive done freshwater and my last tank was a 120gal. Im starting my first saltwater tank next week. The things you discussed in this video are exactly how im starting mine. I just subscribed to your channel. Looking forward to more videos.

  10. I have an empty 55-gallon tank set up. I'm debating whether or not I should make it salt water, I have eight other freshwater tanks and I kind of want to do something different, this video was great gave lots of good information. Thank you

  11. I'm getting a old 4ft office cabinet with electrical sockets already inside it has 4doors on it the middle to have vents in the bottom of the doors off Facebook I have a jewel rio 180l tank and a 2ft 60l tank that should fit in the middle of the cabinet only thing is would this be a bigger enough for a sump with a 180l tank and I would be making a move from tropical fish to marine

  12. Question 1 what's R O I water question 2 I bought a pond solution canster filter for my tropical tank and it was so noisy I had to turn it off are sumps less noisy question 3 why do people add iodine to the tank

  13. This is the first video am watching from this channel n loved it.. truly helpful.. subscribed 👍
    😍 from India..

  14. i used this very helpful video to set up my tank but my tank is cloudy (but you can kind of still see through it) and it’s been around 2 days any help?

  15. I'd like to have a salt tank. My grandma used to have like a 75 gallon reef tank with some clown fish and a starfis. She had others but thats sll i can remember. That was about 12 years ago and i was only 3 years old. Everything is just so expensive. Reef rocks are $200 for 2. Coral buds really arent that bad where i may get them if i start a reef tank. The fish arent that bad either. About $40 for about 6 fish in a 25 gallon. Coral buds are about $15 each and right bow im thinking of a couple anenomes. Hope i spelled that right. And then there was another one with a weird name. It looks kinda like a mushroom.

  16. Can you use a HOB filter for a saltwater tank? And how small is the smallest you would go? And what is RODI water? Can't you just treat water from your tap and add salt? Thank you!

  17. Man I wish I had the time and budget for saltwater.. but all that extra beauty comes with a price tag and sacrifice unfortunately doesn’t it 🙁

  18. Wanting to set up my first salt tank. I live right by the tropical sea. Can I cheat and use beach sand, live rock pool rocks and clean saltwater for the setup process. Live creatures ane not a problem as creepy-crawly and small crustations are ni abundance. Looking forward to your reply. Also can hang on back filters be used or other types of fliters as a canister filter is expensive and I am poor.

  19. Brother you made me laugh so mush when you explained why you put the wavemaker. That made my day. It deserves a like and a subscribe.

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