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Protein Skimmer/Calcium Reactor And Tank Size Requirement


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Hello, this is my first post here. Im really wanting to start my first reef tank. Ive been doing a ton of looking around on the internet trying to figure out just excatly what to do and what i want. I have thousands of questions and i have no idea why im starting with this one. I want to start small, nothing bigger than 10 gallons if possible BUT i know that the smaller you go the more important water changes become. So my question is if you can use protein skimmers and calcium reactors in small reef tanks (10gallons or less). What is the cut off size of tanks able to use these? Thanks

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Water changes are not the only thing to think about small tanks. You should first consider what livestock you want to keep and then decide what setup would be optimal. At 10 gallons or less, you're looking at one or two small fish; corals are usually less concerned about space (except in terms of direct territoriality). There are many costs, especially for a new SW owner, that are independent of tank size.


For example, calcium reactors are for calcium dosing and therefore useful for only specific livestock (a high density of stony corals or clams); moreover, reactors are rarely sized small enough for nano tanks, making other dosing schemes easier choices. In general, chemical supplementation is complicated because there are many products/compounds that are not useful. Likewise, there are many skimmerless tanks in this site because of the general idea of frequent water changes.


I suggest reading the links in the library section at the top of the page and the "important topics" that are found at the top of each subforum.

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Energy/money determines where this line is drawn.


I personally wouldn't skim on anything under 20g and wouldn't bother with any sort of cacium reactor till about 60g+ unless you are keeping tons of sps and/or clams.


With most tanks, a 2-4g water change is sufficient to keep the water clean, and even in moderatly stocked nanos, two-part chemical suplimentation is an easier, more reliable method than a reactor.

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