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Starting a 20 gallon had a few ?s


Nm767

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I'm gonna be starting a 20 gallon nano tank this weekend. I have never had a salt water tank before but have had many FW tanks.

 

I plan on doing live rock and know that's like a natural filter but will another filter be beneficial or harmful to the tank? I have an extra emperor 400 HOB as well as a FLUVAL 305 I could use. If one of these will help the tank I'd like to use it but not if it's going to hurt the tank.

 

Also I planned on using live sand but everyone I talk to seems to use crushed corral. Is there a down side to live sand besides the cost? Are there benefits that make it worth the cost?

 

Also I have a bottle of DR Tims cycling stuff for SW tanks. I read reviews for this and they were good reviews but who knows who wrote them. Has anyone tried it and what was you experience?

 

My plan if possible is corals with maybe three fish. A clown a goby and something else. I'd also like maybe a shrimp or crabs or snails. Does this sound possible in a standard 20 gallon?

 

Again this will be my very first SW tank and I really am looking for all possible advise as I really want this to be successful.

 

Thank you very much.

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Welcome! I set up my 20H without any additional filter, just live rock and I really like the simplicity of it. No filters to maintain, just natures perfect system. i also started with the live sand before cycling my rock and I barely got any readings of ammonia ad a 2 day cycle with minimal dieoff. i didn't add anything to the water besides that.

 

Having said all that, your mileage may vary. It sounds like you have a good plan to start out. Just make sure you give it a few weeks to mature before those fish go in. I had 3 fish in my tank at it's peak and it was a bit too sensitive to me forgetting to do regular water changes and keeping excess food to a minimum when there are 3 fish going after it.

 

Good Luck and post some pics!!

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I'm gonna be starting a 20 gallon nano tank this weekend. I have never had a salt water tank before but have had many FW tanks.

 

I plan on doing live rock and know that's like a natural filter but will another filter be beneficial or harmful to the tank? I have an extra emperor 400 HOB as well as a FLUVAL 305 I could use. If one of these will help the tank I'd like to use it but not if it's going to hurt the tank.

 

Also I planned on using live sand but everyone I talk to seems to use crushed corral. Is there a down side to live sand besides the cost? Are there benefits that make it worth the cost?

 

Also I have a bottle of DR Tims cycling stuff for SW tanks. I read reviews for this and they were good reviews but who knows who wrote them. Has anyone tried it and what was you experience?

 

My plan if possible is corals with maybe three fish. A clown a goby and something else. I'd also like maybe a shrimp or crabs or snails. Does this sound possible in a standard 20 gallon?

 

Again this will be my very first SW tank and I really am looking for all possible advise as I really want this to be successful.

 

Thank you very much.

 

You need some devices for water movement. Your filters will work for that.

 

I prefer the sand over crushed corals, but you can use either. Certain sandsifting/burrowing creatures require a larger grain so they can dig through the sand.

 

Your stocking plan sounds fine but unlike FW you will need a more powerful light if you intend on growing corals.

 

The best advice is to take it slow and ask lots of questions. You shouldn't be adding any fish until your cycle is complete and you test your water, which can take a while. I don't know how much research you have done yet but you will need a source of RO/DI water for mixing your salt with.

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OClownsandNanos

:welcome:

 

Most members here use sand. And many actually start with dry aragonite sand as it's more cost-effective, though they may also add a little live sand from local reefers' tanks, etc. You may want to look in the Members Aquarium forum to see all the 20G tank journals that other members have set up to get an idea of what has worked for others. However, your tentative stocking list sounds fine right now. Many prefer sand to crushed coral because of looks and for functionality - some fish and invertebrates need a softer grain to move on/sleep within. For instance I have a tongue/slipper coral and I was considering a wrasse and crushed coral would not work as well for those animals.

 

Your live rock will be your primary biological filtration, but many also use HOB filters, etc., for mechanical/chemical filtration, so to run things like filter floss, carbon, or phosphate removers. They also may modify certain HOB filters (usually Aquaclears) to create refugiums. I'm not too familiar with the filters you are referencing (as I've pretty much only used AC in freshwater and saltwater), but I'm sure they would work for mech/chemical filtration.

 

Would suggest you not add any additives during the cycle. Buying your live rock will generally kick it off, then you just wait for it to run its course, make sure your ammo and nitrites are at zero for several days before adding anything, then once that is the case start slowly adding a clean up crew of snails and possibly crabs.

 

(Edited to add:) Also, two of the most important things for a reef tank are lighting and flow. The amount of flow and light you need is going to be dependent upon your invertebrate list. So you might want to look at those other tanks and get a tentative list of the types of corals you'd like to stock down the line. Then figure out the type of lighting and powerheads you'll need to sustain those creatures.

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As for water flow I am going to use power heads in the tank. I was just curious if there's any negative affect of mechanical filters added to a reef tank.

 

As for the light I have a new light. It's a 36W 50/50 combo. Will that be sufficient for corrals in a 20 gallon tank?

 

I also was curious on the lid. I've seen alot of tanks that just have open tops. I've read this helps to reduce salt creep. What are your opinions on tops? I have no animals or children so I'd an open top is beneficial to the tank then that's sounds like a good plan. But just looking for input.

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Also is it better to have a painted back or a clear back? Is this just preference? I can imagine it will affect the light.

 

I know I have alot of question but I figure id rather ask as im sure lots have dealt with a tank on both sides and as a noob I could use advise.

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OClownsandNanos
As for water flow I am going to use power heads in the tank. I was just curious if there's any negative affect of mechanical filters added to a reef tank.

 

As for the light I have a new light. It's a 36W 50/50 combo. Will that be sufficient for corrals in a 20 gallon tank?

 

I also was curious on the lid. I've seen alot of tanks that just have open tops. I've read this helps to reduce salt creep. What are your opinions on tops? I have no animals or children so I'd an open top is beneficial to the tank then that's sounds like a good plan. But just looking for input.

 

No problem with mech filters as long as you use them only for mech or chemical filtration. That means if you use filter floss you change it out weekly, use AC only until it is exhausted, etc. You don't want to use the filter for biological filtration at all, as that's what your LR is for. In reef tanks the fact that LR also helps w/ denitrification while conventional biological filtration in mech filters does not do the same is a big difference as you are trying to limit nitrates in your tank for the invertebrates you are stocking.

 

Is your new light fixture a PC or T5 NO or HO? If T5HO does it have individual reflectors? Watts per gallon means little to nothing in saltwater, it's all about reflectors and PAR. If you've got the name of the fixture that would probably help.

 

Open top or screened top is generally preferable because of increased gas exchange, no potential lighting block, and less heat issues (esp. if using MH, etc.); only drawbacks are increased evaporation and it limits the fish you can keep if you do open top (although technically any fish, if spooked, can be a jumper). To be safe you can make a screen top out of window frame and plastic mesh. There are DIY threads which show how this can be done. I made a screen top for my 40BR and it's quite easy to do.

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Here is the light I have to start with. If its not sufficient I can upgrade as the tank gets ready for corrals.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...e=STRK:MEWNX:IT

 

Brand is Odyssea, 20" CFUni Power Compact 36W.

Supports 1x 36W power compact lamps

includes 1x 36W CF 50/50 Combo lamps

 

I dont know alot about lights but i figured this will do until I start doing corrals and then I can use this on another tank. But who knows this may be completely useless on a reef tank.

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