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10g Hex setup questions


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So I've noticed I can't find a lot of information on tanks that aren't integrated systems. But, being the huge thrift store junkie I am, I don't find a lot of those. I got a 10 gallon hex tank from my cousins because they gave up on fishkeeping a while ago. The thing is in excellent shape and came with a hood and light fixture, an undergravel filter and a backhanging filter.

I got the aquarium about a year ago, and had a successful freshwater set up with a few hold-overs from my dorm days. Now the aquarium's residents have either been relocated or died.


So. Getting to the point.

I have been gradually upgrading this aquarium so that it can take a saltwater setup. I'm still dragging my heels though, because I don't know what I should do for lighting or stocking. I've never had a saltwater tank before!! My mom actually got me The Nano-Reef Handbook for Christmas, and it's fantastic, but I guess I want a bit of personal input.


So... here are my specs.


10 Gallon Hex with UG filter, back hanging filter, full hood and 12" fluorescent fixture

filter: http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3500066 (20)

powerhead: http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?...&lmdn=Brand (30) (yeah that broke pretty much immediately but I ninja'd it right back to life using some serious engineering skills and a rubber band! It pumps great now)

heater: http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2754055 (50)


I really wanna keep the hood I currently have because it just makes me really nervous to be without one, so if I can get a fixture that will work with my hood that would really be great. What I ended up doing with my planted tank was using an incandescent hood with CFL's, but I'm worried in such a deep tank that that set up won't cut it. I'm pretty tempted by the Coralife mini aqualight T5, has anyone had good experience with that?


Furthermore, I know I want a pair of clownfish, and I'm not picky about motile inverts for cleaning. I have been told by an employee of my semi-lfs (I say semi because there isn't one too close to my college, I have to go home or resort to Petsmart :P ) that it's possible in a really stable aquarium to keep an anemone, but it's very difficult. I would either want to stock a single anemone as a centerpiece (and that's only after I've kept it for a while and am absolutely assured that the thing won't spontaneously die), or have different kinds of soft coral on the sides and back of the tank.


I'm sooooo bad at deciding these things! Can I get help from a veteran Hex keeper? Any advice would be great!




(zomg this post is so long... sorry guys! XD )

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I don't have a hex, but I can help a little. Get rid of the undergravel filter, and you don't need a hang-on filter either. The bubbles from the undergravel filter will pop at the surface and you'll have salt creep all over that hood, and undergravel filters are out now for saltwater use anyhow. Use about 15-20 lbs of live rock (LR), this acts as natural filtration for your tank. The powerhead will be enough to keep a current moving, you want to angle it a bit so the stream of water breaks the surface.


I don't know anything about the light you're asking about, but maybe someone here will have suggestions. It's fine to obtain a pair of clowns, but you don't need an anemone. Tank-raised ocellaris clowns will often host with other things besides an anemone (corals such as toadstool leathers, mushroom anemones, etc.-these are soft corals that are easy to keep). You will need to have good lighting and good water conditions to keep an anemone, so don't get one until your tank has been stable for a couple of years. Also, each species of clown only hosts with certain types of anemones- you can't just buy a random anemone at the pet store and have them bond.


So- get some Instant Ocean (or salt mix of your choice), a refractometer, a basic test kit for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, a heater, a thermometer, about 1.5 inches of aragonite sand about the consistency of instant coffee grounds, and about 15-20 lbs of good live rock. The rock should be covered in encrusting purple coralline algae, or at least have a good growth of it, and be porous. I think it's fine to add a few hermits too if you'd like to have some critters and see some movement in the tank. Put all this together and wait 4-6 weeks for the tank to cycle. When that much time has passed and your test levels are all at 0, it's ok to add a pair of clowns.


That's all I can think of for now, it's how I started (I had a 10 gallon, but not a hex).

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