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Avi's 15 gallon slice of Reef

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Hello all,

Updating the first post today as I am no longer a newbie and now with 15gallon tank :)


Details :

- Tank

15 gallon Aqueon Tank


- Lights

Aquatic Life T5HO 4 bulbs

1 ATI purple plus

1 ATI Aqua blue

1 ATI blue plus

1 Aquatic life blue


- Filteration

Aqueon Proflex Modular Sump filtration model 1

1st Compartment.

Filter socks, live rocks , Hydor Koralia Nano.

2nd Compartment.

4" sand, live rock, cheato algae , dragons breath , Eheim Jagger heater.

3rd Compartment.

Chemipure elite,filter rings,Sponge

4th Compartment.

Aquatic life Internal skimmer 115, Hydor return pump.


- Movement

Vortech MP10


- Invert

Skunk Cleaner Shrimp

Green Maxi mini Anemone.

2 Sexy Shrimps

4 Hermit Crabs

Nerites,Ceriths and other snails.


- Fish

2 Clown fish

1 fire fish

1 Yellow Watchman goby

1 Neon blue goby


- Corals

Pink Hammer

Green frogspwan

Purple tip frogspawn


Green Toadstool

Eagle Eye Zoas

Red Palys


Red Mushroom

Blue Acro

Kenya tree

Green torch

Gold torch




Green Birds Nest

Pink Xenia

Orange Plate.



Pics :

My 15g saltwater and 29g freshwater aquariums


Latest Pic



History :










09/18 :



11/26 :




Thanks for looking.



Edited by chilled_fire

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Looks great, you will love saltwater. It is not really that scary, and if you are able to maintain a fresh water tank without trouble you will do fine. This site has a good library of suitable fish types. Two fish is possible in a tank that size, but you will want to make sure that they will be able to get along. A good starting point could be two clownfish. Everyone has clownfish and it seems boring, but it is because they are such easy to keep fish, and so active and entertaining compared to many others. Yellow tail blue damsel fish are very colourful and active as well, cheap, and can live in a small tank, but they don'y play well with others so do lots of research into what you want in your tank longterm before adding any fish. Your sand bed looks good, you could easily get away with less, but the finer points of sand bed depth is a long debate, and many people seem to be able to maintain tanks with no sand bed at all, and some with really deep ones. You will get way more benefit from adding live rock than from your sand bed. I recommend lots of thought and effort into this, it is a very challenging part of nano reefing. The more rock, the more biological filtration you will have. Also, the more hiding places you can provide the happier your livestock will be. Most importantly you will want to arrange it so that you are easily able to clean your glass without moving or disturbing it. This being said, the real art is arranging it so that it looks appealing and interesting, without dominating the tank.


Good luck.

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I had two of those little bookshelf aquariums- both saltwater. They were great for a time, but be aware that they scratch super, super easily. In other words- don't skip days between glass cleaning and use a very soft sponge or pad to gently wipe the sides. I used acrylic cleaner pads at first and they scratched the plastic. It was the scratches I'd put on them in the beginning that had me getting rid of them when I upgraded.


As far as fish, I had a yellow tail damsel in one and two yasha haze gobies and their shrimp in another. The damsel tank was full of sps. The goby tank was a macro "forest." All the livestock was happy- the gobies actually more so in that tank than in their new home- a 29gal. The sps grew like crazy (I used 2 of evilc's par 38 bulbs) and were eventually moved to their new home- a 40b.


In the goby/shrimp tank, I wanted enough sand to keep them happy. There was 2" to 4" of sand throughout (depending on where they were burrowing). I don't remember exactly how many pounds of sand I used, but it was way more than I thought I'd need.


Your water should clear up given time. And I agree with phattypeeps, if you can maintain a high tech planted tank, you can handle a saltwater tank. Just go slowly and research everything.


And you know, you could still do this as a planted shrimp tank- sexy shrimp, carpet nems, and macros would be cool. Actually, I think these little tanks have a tremendous amount of options. I just wish they were made out of different material.






Your water should clear up. Just give it a bit more time.

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Thank you very much,

as you said I will read some more for live rocks. will read this whole week :)

And yeah clownfish is my choice too , but i read some where they are agressive with thier same kind (need to read more)

Also any idea about the clouded water ? not sure why isnt it clearing up.

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@Raelin :

Thanks a lot for your comments/suggestions


yeah, the water is clearing up now and as you suggested will use soft pads for cleaning as same is the case with freshwater acrylic aquarium :)

Right now i have about 1.5 inch sand throughout and planing to get like 10 pounds of live rocks , thanks to the space i could spread them out.

As phattypeeps said, i might get clown fish, would it be possible to keep 2 clown and one shrimp ? (i know i need to learn a lot :P )


Also right now in the cycle phase how many hours do i need to keep the light on ?

Sorry for nood question , whats sps ?

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I think two clowns and a shrimp will be fine. What kind of shrimp do you have in mind? Some people cycle their tank with no lights. I do not think there is a hard rule. IMO I would start with about 8 hr.'s. Check out some of the forums library for some great info or the pico forum. Good luck with your tank.

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Two paired clowns and a shrimp are possible, some shrimp are bigger than others, try researching peppermint, cleaner and sexy shrimp to start. Some clowns are bigger than others as well. Ocellaris and false percula are probably the most affordable and commonly available small clownfish, a good starting point.


This online retailer has a good database for fish info http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/aquariu...pplies.cfm?c=15


I have never bought from them, and all research must be taken with a grain of salt, just because most fish of a species act a certain way doesn't mean they all will. Also many people on this site have proven that if properly cared for many fish can live in a smaller aquarium than is common, although it is not easy to create this environment. The biggest issue is that fish are more likely to be aggressive with each other when in confined spaces, in larger tanks they can stay out of each others space.


SPS is short for "small polyp stony," a term describing several species of coral. These include acropora, digitata and montipora. They often grow branches upwards like finger towards light covered with tiny polyps or mouths. These are generally considered more advanced and harder to care for. They require more light than most other types of coral and cleaner water. I have found in my own tank that SPS are easier to care for than many corals considered more hardy and with lower light requirements like zoas and xenia, but that is just a peculiarity of my tank. Research is important, but the only way to really find out what works for you is through trial and error.


Your light requirements will be more crucial once you have coral, to little the coral starve, to much they bleach. You can get away with just a couple hours a day while you are cycling. I keep mine on 8 hours a day to keep my coral happy.


@Raelin :

Thanks a lot for your comments/suggestions


yeah, the water is clearing up now and as you suggested will use soft pads for cleaning as same is the case with freshwater acrylic aquarium :)

Right now i have about 1.5 inch sand throughout and planing to get like 10 pounds of live rocks , thanks to the space i could spread them out.

As phattypeeps said, i might get clown fish, would it be possible to keep 2 clown and one shrimp ? (i know i need to learn a lot :P )


Also right now in the cycle phase how many hours do i need to keep the light on ?

Sorry for nood question , whats sps ?

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A pair of clowns might be stretching it a bit, but so long as you maintain the tank it shouldn't be an issue. A shrimp paired with them may be alright also. If the clownfish spawn though you may have some problems. Just don't get a large shrimp like a blood shrimp. Oh also, clowns are only aggressive to their own kind outside of a mated pair. When you first get them you will see some harassing between them for them to figure out who is who, but beyond that you should be ok.


On your sandbed, if your going to have a sandbed I usually think less is more, until you get a lot. What I mean there is this. You usually want to stay away from a sand bed that is more than an 1"-1.5" deep or less than 6" deep (in a bigger tank only). The reason why is that at more than an inch deep you start getting pockets that can not get enough air. These pockets start to produce harmful gases and trap deterius. If you have something in your tank that stirs the sand bed like gobies then this negates it, but I would stay on the low end of an inch or make sure to stir your sand often.


Also just to add, you can have super deep sandbeds in the range of 6"+, but these are usually only successful in tanks that have a larger foot print. I wouldn't worry about a DSB for the time being.


As for running your lights...that like the sand bed is a big debate. I am somewhere in the middle. I run my lights, but I don't usually think it's needed. It also depends on what type of rock you get. If you get dry rock then there is nothing on them that you need to keep alive so you could keep it in the dark, if you get uncured rock with lots of life on it then you will need lights to keep things alive. If you can't decide run the lights for 4 or 5 hours a day and call it good.

Edited by pyrocreep

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@debbeach13 : yeah for lighst am gonna leave it on for 6 hrs now lets ee, as for shrimps as @phattypeeps suggested a cleaner shrimp should be a good idea.

@phattypeeps : thanks for the info on sps and yeah about the shrimps too, will keep that in mind while adding life stock

@pyrocreep : true i have heard about clownfish behaviour , at my local lfs i saw they kept them in pairs and they were not aggressive should i get one of these pairs ?

also for the sand now that the water has cleared up i see the sand depth of about 1.5" should i remove some to make it like an inch or less.? as you mentioned i wanna play it safe now that worry later :)

Pic of sand bed attached


Thanks all of you for such quick responses :)

Also looks like my live sand got some live creatures too, i see some worms, but not sure if they are pests ?

Pic attached.



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Ya, I would go ahead and get a pair of clowns. Try and get smaller ones though. Just remember, even though were telling you it'll be ok you'll need to fully cycle the tank and let it mature for a while before you add them.


Personally I would say to thin down your sand bed. Your right at the line where you don't have to, but it is always easier to add more in later than to take it out. Anything less that a 1" bed is IMO in the safe zone and can easily be stirred by your CUC. My 20L only has about a 1/2" in there now. So that just goes to show you that you don't need a thick bed to get the look of a sandbed.

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Soft pads for cleaning from the beginning- that's what I should have done. But, I had two "acrylic safe" scrapers. They worked great on my acrylic pico but they scratched the heck out of the two 6.6 gal tanks. By the way, if I remember correctly, those tanks actually hold more than 6.6 gals even after displacement. Not a whole lot more, but still...


As for two clowns and a shrimp...clowns are great. I have a Clarkii in my 40b and a pair of percs in the 29 gal. They are friendly, easy to keep, fun to watch, and colorful. But, remember, they will grow over time so even if you buy two small percs or ocellaris, the female of the pair will end up around 3" and the male slightly smaller. They may not want a whole lot of swimming room, but they do like to eat and you'll need to keep a close watch on your water quality in order to keep your corals happy. When you add your shrimp, you'll be adding even more bioload unless you pick something small like a sexy shrimp (though those seem to like being in small groups). Anyway, think about what types of coral you are wanting to keep. Some are more tolerant of "dirty" water. Others not so much.


As far as running lights during your cycle- I've done it both ways. Mostly because of the big debate- I wanted to see which way was more "correct." In the end, I didn't really see much difference. Basically, do what you want but be patient and even if your tank shows early signs of algae, wait to add your clean up crew until your parameters have stabilized.


As far as pests in your sandbed- most of what you find crawling in your sand and on your rocks will not be "pests." They will actually be an important part of the whole that makes our small pieces of the ocean work. In other words, just because you see a bristle worm, don't panic and tear apart your tank to get to it. They actually do a great job of scavenging. Don't get me wrong- some things can do damage. Others do damage when their numbers get out of control. But, when ever you find something new, research it extensively before taking drastic measures.



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A pair of clowns might be stretching it a bit


A pair of clowns in a 6.6 gallon tank???


I guess you people know more about this than I do, but wow. :mellow:


I might put a pair in my HOB filter.

Edited by LarryMoeCurly

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@pyrocreep : agreed two small ones, but will read some more before i start including live stock.

As for sand will reduce to 1 inch or less, as for live rock I guess 10 pounds should be good enough.


@Raelin : agreed, I was thinking of getting two because of the tank shape and that it provides more space. and yes they actually hold about 7.4 gallon.

Also if everything works out in this tank i might switch to a bigger glass tank (you never know when petco 1$/gallon sale comes)

Lights : will keep it on for about 6 hrs now

and yeah about the worms in sand as you said lets leave them there to enjoy the new tank :)


@ LarryMoeCurly : plz hold on to ur sarcasm as i have not yet added any life stock :)

as for 2 clownfish i have seen my LFS keeping them in betta containers not that i think betta shld be kept in such small containers but at least a 7 gal wide aquarium wld be better than small .5 gallon container.

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Those are temporary holding pens.

You've proabably also seen 50 clowns in a 10g, again, only temporary.


Although I can't imagine a clownfish surviving for very long in a small container like that.

Edited by LarryMoeCurly

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OK, so yesterday night i got 10 pounds of cured live rock from Pacific here in NYC, I get almost all of my fresh water stuff from there , they know me well now :)

The rock was actually a single piece huge one and i knew it would easily fit in the tank and so it did but didn't look good in tank

So i had to break it up in to two ,three pieces and its looking better now. I am surprised even after adding 10 pounds of live rock there is still so much space left :)

I also got an aqueon pump the smallest was 500gph, i used it the whole night and it operates well, am just concerned if its an overkill for a 7 gallon tank and wondering if i should have got the HYdor 250gph nano ?

Although the size of both is almost same and i love how this one hides behind the rocks.

Any advise here guys ?


Attached pics , sorry about the reflection i took the pics now , shld have had taken it last night :)




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on one of the rocks i found this today, it seems its alive as i can see it gets scared and retrieves inside when there is any sudden movement in the water.

I have no idea what it is , any help ??



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It's just a feather duster. No worries, they are a harmless filter feeders.

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It's just a feather duster. No worries, they are a harmless filter feeders.

thanks for a quick response, btw any idea if 500gph is too much for this tank ?

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My favorite part is starting a new tank and watching all the stuff crawl out of the live rock. I have a 6 gallon tank and I only have one fish in it and a peppermint shrimp...and an emerald green crab. You will love that size of a tank. I change 2 gallons of water every week in my tank which keeps me from having to dose with any thing since the tank is so small it would be hard to get the right amount. Plus the new water replenishes everything that the corals absorbed. Also be sure and stay on top of water top offs. With that size tank it can greatly change you salt level. Have fun and welcome to the reef.

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I'm excited to see what you do with this. I have the same tank, but mine's freshwater with a bunch of driftwood and java moss in it. The rocks look good so far :)

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@Cameraman :Thanks for the info, very useful :) I saw your tank and looks pretty good , sorry about the dead corals though , hope everything else recovers soon.


@Curly Joe Reefer : yup , its going to be just one, i have been looking at this one pair of clowns at my local lfs and belive me they look so nice and happy together though they are small now, i am very tempted to get them both.

Also once i get adjusted to this tank, i might get a 20G long. That's the best size tank.


@JulieR : well my plan was to have this tank just for some fresh water shrimps (blue tiger shrimps).But then my frnd at LFS convinced me to try out saltwater as i had been thinking about it for a very long time now.

BTW your 20L looks awesome.

Is it absolutely necessary to add dead shrimp to the tank ? and how long do i need to keep it there ?

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It is absolutely not necessary. Decomposing organic matter on live rock will allow the inital nitrogen cycle to take place. After this just stock slowly, always giving the natural biofilter time to catch up between additions.

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You need to think of the long run...2 clowns is Way to much fish for the 6 gallons...while at first they seem ok....they will grow...We currently have a 5 yr old mated pair of occelaris clowns that were purchased as nano clowns..They were about 3/4 of an inch or less in size...

At 5 yrs old and full maturity...Momma is now close to 4 1/2 inches in length with dad only being less then half her size...They live in 120 gallons of display..

So often people dont realize of the potential size their fish can reach at full maturity...

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@ Nibor, roger that, so no dead shrimp in my tank :)


@shaneandjohn : i totally understand , same is the case with freshwater, in my 29G i have 2 angelfish now, which have paired off they have even spawned and laid eggs a couple of times.

But i know i cannot keep them in a 29G for long as they will outgrow.


As for this tank, i was considering this as a learning tank, as i know small tanks are hard to start up and maintain.As mentioned earlier i might move everything to a 20G by year end if everything goes fine :)

As for 2 clowns i only mentioned it as wont have the heart to separate them from the lfs as they were looking so good together :)


Thanks guys for a quick response, appreciate it. Still need to learn alot in saltwater domain ...


One last thing, is the scape good ? usually i have seen the rocks are kept in the centre , but i decided to go the other way, hope it does not cause any problem.

Edited by chilled_fire

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