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New to Salt, Starting with a nano 5g


jyg

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Just saying hi to everyone. :D

 

I have a Marineland Hex 5g (20L). Its a cheap all-in-one setup. 1 Percula clown, 1 Mandarin goby, 1 Peppermint shrimp, 2-headed Duncan coral (with a bunch of very young buds) and a handful of snails (1 Cerith, 2 Turbos, and 2 which I think are Margaritas). I probably have too much live rock in there, so between that and the live sand, I'd bet I only have 3.5 to 4g of water volume.

 

I'm keeping things simple. This means heater, mech/bio filter and tap water. No skimmer. The only water test I do is for salinity. I do, however, perform frequent, small water changes, about a pint (0.5L) per day. I was at my LFS recently and got my water tested. NO2 and 3 are at essentially 0ppm. My local water is 8.7pH, and my tank was at 7.9. So I'm going to do a bit larger water changes (LFS suggestion). The only thing that's kicked the bucket was a Fighting conch. Otherwise, after 6 weeks, everything's been thriving. So, I figure that whatever I'm doing is a good formula.

 

Any comments or advice would be very welcome :)

 

jyg

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Got any pics?

 

You're doing fairly well, just keep up with those water changes and don't get lazy. As for livestock, try not to add any more fishies. You seem to be doing well with tap water, but I need to insist/persuade you to move to RO/DI or at least Distilled bottled water. Other than that, welcome to the site and looking forward to future updates!

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Got any pics?

 

You're doing fairly well, just keep up with those water changes and don't get lazy. As for livestock, try not to add any more fishies. You seem to be doing well with tap water, but I need to insist/persuade you to move to RO/DI or at least Distilled bottled water. Other than that, welcome to the site and looking forward to future updates!

 

Thanks, SaltyFlip.

 

Yes, I've definitely maxed out the amount of livestock this size tank can consistently house. Infact, I'm sure once they grow a bit large I'll be trading them in. Hey, it might keep my kids interested as the tank periodically changes its residents.

 

One of the reasons I like the small tank is the water changes are easy B) I should be able to do distilled water at least. After all a gallon should last me about a week's worth of water. I do not think I have high concentrations of metals or algae-loving chemicals. (Looking at my local water report) When I had the lights on for 18 hours a day, once the tank had fully cycled I got bad algae blooms (brown). Now that I got around to buying a timer, I keep my lights on for a total of 7 hours a day, the walls and sands are clean once again.

 

jyg

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You must have gotten some decent advice (minus the mandarin)

Also would suggest getting algae for your turbos to eat since they'll run out of food pretty quickly.. Unflavored nori from your local market works well

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You must have gotten some decent advice (minus the mandarin)

Also would suggest getting algae for your turbos to eat since they'll run out of food pretty quickly.. Unflavored nori from your local market works well

 

 

Yeah the guy was a wealth of information, with good LFS hookups... but he's not very modest :lol:

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:welcome: to nano-reef.

 

That's exciting that you've started your first SW tank. In my opinion, however, you may be setting yourself up for failure. I hope this doesn't come off as brash, but 6 weeks is hardly a milestone worthy of gauging whether a tank is successful or not...

 

The primary basis for my above comment is that the tank is simply overstocked.

1) A. Percula reaches 4+ inches as an adult. On top of that they can become even more aggressive as they age. Clownfish of the amphiprion genus are protandrous hermaphrodites, meaning that as they age they change sex. A single clown will eventually become a female, which are more aggressive and grow larger than males. For that reason it's typically recommended that clownfish, even the smaller percula and ocellaris, be kept in a 10g minimum by itself. You may encounter severe aggression in time toward other fish or even yourself!

2) Mandarin gobies (actually dragonets) are beautiful fish, but in many cases not completely suited to nano-tank life. There's pretty much a never-ending debate on what size tank and what kind of care needs to be provided for a mandarin to live longer than a year. Myself? I've never kept one, so I can't really give you any tips on keeping it. There are, however, plenty of threads which can help you out if you keep doing your research. There's also the issue of their finicky diet.

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...=mandarin+guide

 

3) Turbo snails get the size of baseballs. As mentioned, you'll probably need to feed them or they could starve and foul your water quickly depending on their current size. Another option is to exchange them for astrea or trochus snails, which are similar in their foraging. It takes a while for them to grow to full size, but just something to think about.

4) What kind of lighting are you using? Duncans are considered low-moderate light corals, however the standard lighting on that tank probably won't be enough to support it photosynthetically. Try feeding it if you notice it looking a little weary.

 

What's your salinity at?

 

Note that I'm not trying to dissuade you from anything you've done. I enjoy helping people get into this hobby (as many of us here on the forums do). I do try to be direct though, as I want beginner aquarists to be as successful as they can. There's posts all over the place about people who start their tanks either without doing enough research or receiving well-intentioned, but inaccurate/incomplete advice from friends or even LFS employees and have a lot of problems.

 

After 3 fish die, the tank is covered in algae, and they're about ready to throw the tank out the window they finally post a thread "help what am I doing wrong?!" and find out that either they're moving too fast, stocking too much, or making mistakes relating to water quality, illness, or acclimation (among many other things).

 

I would rather none of us had to go through that troubling sort of experience! So do some more research and hopefully you'll be able to make some good, informed decisions on your own about the future of this tank. If you want a good place to start, read up as much as you can on the nitrogen cycle as it's what allows our tanks to function. Don't just look at a diagram though, really get into it and understand the biological relationships. It's fine that people give you advice, but take the time to question it, and ask for reasons why someone is suggesting something, even if it's agreeable to you!

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Hi ajmckay,

 

thanks for the copious advice :)

 

I have 13w of daylight CFL. It is certainly brighter anywhere in my tiny tank than the coral tanks at my LFS which probably has 50+ watts of actinic over each one. As it is, the Duncans opened right away after I got them, have pretty much stayed open, have good color and eat well.

 

I keep my salinity at 1.024.

 

I understand your concern about the ratio of livestock/water. I really have no emotional attachment to the animals and don't need to see them grow large in my tank. I enjoy them and want to see them thrive. My hope is that they will get too big, and when they do, I'l give or trade them away. Infact, I like the idea of a rotating tank. Yeah, I know this has its own set of potential problems. But I'm not worried about it -- even if I should be -- which means you wont see me crying on the forums trying to figure out why my tank failed :lol:

 

There some local folks who have well established tanks, who know what their doing, who help me out. One of them got me hooked up with this little tank. He laughs all the time with predictions about what's going to die. In fact, he thought my original fish wouldn't make it the first 24 hours. He was wrong (he'll be reading this very post, I am sure, sometime this evening B) )

 

Also, FWIW, I kept a 80g, very overstocked Cichlid tank, all which I reared from 1 inch until they got to 5+ inches, with live plants, live food, etc. Almost 80" of fish in 80g. I'm not going to get freaked out to easily, rip apart the tank, dumping chemicals in there, etc, etc.

 

Thanks again. I appreciate the feed back.

 

jyg

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Hmm.... I'm sorry but your comments come off rather irresponsible sounding.

 

By all means do what you think is best, but I don't think your buddy was entirely wrong with his speculations.

 

Not all of the biological principles of FW carry over into SW. For example read up on gas exchange and the solubility of oxygen in SW vs. FW.

 

Or the relationship between ammonia and pH.

 

Good luck!

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OClownsandNanos

Looks like you are probably getting some good advice from locals and sounds like you've been doing some homework, but to be frank, unless you've got some kind of amazing feeding plan in place which will somehow not load down your 5g with nitrates and phosphates and even assuming the little guy's trained on frozen your dragonet will likely starve in that tank over a few months. He's a slow moving guy who's going to be competing with the pep shrimp and the percula for any copepods in the tank. Your regular feedings are supposed to supplement that primary diet. However, those copepods are going to be gone fast. Even if you added a refugium to breed copepods that was the size of your nano it would likely not be enough. He's also going to be competing with those fast guys at feeding time. He may not die tomorrow but I certainly don't consider slow starvation a success story.

 

To put two fish like that in a 5g that are not small gobies (along with a pep shrimp!) is already a very heavy bioload in a SW tank; to have that particular fish as one of them just seems unnecessarily cruel to me. And it seems to me (given your response to ajmckay even after he linked the mandarin info) that you're doing it just to prove a point: that you think you can successfully do it no matter what other people say.

 

I hope you succeed for the sake of the mandarin, but your odds are much crappier than you seem to understand.

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sounds like you're moving super fast man, two fish (incl a mandarin) and a conch with all those snails (nothing to feed 'em and a questionably colder water species in margarita snail)..you should take it slow and read up..get a clown goby and go form there

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danthenewreefman

please switch to RO water at a minimum. You could use DI water from walmart for that size of a tank.

 

please no tap water.

 

please.

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danthenewreefman

i too come from a cichlid background. I bred them for my LFS, jewels & mbuna.

 

The best suggestion I can possibly give you is read every single thing you can possibly find on this site.

 

And forget everything you ever knew about fishkeeping. maybe 1% of your knowledge is applicable here in the salt world.

 

But what you do have going for you is dedication. You will succeed because you'll be dedicated.

 

 

good luck with the mandarin -- look into buying "live pods" for it. You'll have a much greater chance of it making it if you can provide it pods to eat.

 

I suspect the dendro opened immediatly because your nutrient content is soooo high. It probably smelled the food while the bag was floating!

 

just because your test are showing 0 means 0. if you got algae -- you got phosphates/nitrates.

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Avoid "renting" livestock; buying things you aren't prepared to keep in the long run can quickly lead to problems in the short run. This most true for the mandarin if it was not trained onto introduced foods, because buying untrained mandarins (which cannot survive on just nano tank pod populations) is only supporting bad LFS selling practices.

 

Having the clown can make this more difficult because they are more active feeders than mandarins. If you can't get the mandarin trained (search the forums for help), then return it. Although it is still a grey area, one percula in a 5 gallon is much more reasonable in terms of success. If you want more fish, then get a bigger tank (~15-20+ gallons).

 

Also, you should get your own test kits to get more control on their accuracy and precision. API, Salifert, and Elos are reliable brands.

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  • 2 weeks later...
This'll be fun to watch :)

 

You have a tank thread going?

 

Don't know what that is... but I've got an idea, heh. I'll poke around on the site later and figure out what its about. Thanks.

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