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10 Gallon owners, help me get started


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Hi everyone, I've been lurking for a while and had a few posts, but I am thinking of setting up a 10 gallon reef tank in the future. I currently have an empty 29 gallon, but I can't afford all the live rock/sand/pumps/etc for that size of a tank. I think a 10 gallon would be a good fit for a student such as myself, as it will be a good home hobby for me in between doing homework during the year. I don't have much money so it'd be nice to have a hobby I can enjoy at home. I've also debated between moving up to a 15 gallon, but additional powerheads, rock, and other things slowly increase the price. And I could slowly increase the price all day with my desires!


ANYWAYS, I've done some research and I think I have a basic list set up for a basic 10 gallon reef tank.



Fish store RO/DI, keep 10g at home at all times - $10 initial

Bucket - $5

Aquarium Salt (Instant Ocean Reef Crystals) - $18

Heater - Have an old one

Pump (Maxijet or any used powerhead) - 24

Thermometer (Floating Alcohol) - $5



10 Gallon tank off Craigslist - $10

Powerhead (Koralia Nano 425gph) - $30

Heater (Ebo Jager 100w) - $25



Odyssea 20" T5HO - $50 (I know it limits my bulbs, but simplicity is my game and it has good reviews for a 10 gallon)

Glass Canopy (Fish jumps and evap. loss, how big of a problem is this for a 10 gallon?)



Live Rock (10-15lbs) - $35-40 off Craigslist

Cleanup Crew (Reefcleaners.com 10 gallon crew) - $18

Live Sand (10 lbs, 1" bed) - $20



Fuge lights - $10

Penguin 150 Biowheel Filter - Converting from old tank, will fill with chaeto and purigen

Purigen/Chemipure Elite - $12



Refractometer - $40

Testing Kits (API Master Saltwater, etc) - $40




Do I have my bases covered? Is there any place I could save money without sacrificing safety for my livestock? I plan on going very slow and acquiring things off Craigslist. Until I have everything I will keep doing research etc. I am also looking to join the Washington Area Marine Aquarist Society which has frag swaps etc. to get quality, affordable lifestock (I don't trust my LFS that much) and meet other hobbyists.


I could go on, but I'll stop. Thanks for any assistance!

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My cousin just got in the hobby. He was able to get a biocubue 29g with LED light rocks sand water some coral, extra powerhead, skimmer, random misc stuff for like $400 ish.


than he just bought another 29g with stock hood, stand, rocks, sand, random misc stuff, fluval filter, skimmer for $150.


There are deals that you can find. Just throwing it out there, cause I know you're on a budget.

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+1 on used setup slightly larger


btw if your really on a budget its possible without a 40$ test kit, if you have some sort of a feeling for fish tanks. you dont need such a expensive refractometer.

resun pumps are a half cheaper and there nothing bad about them (the 2000 litre is a little more than a koralia nano)

i have a 50w heater in my 14g= 15$

you dont need a refugium for start or even not at all..

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I put the list together as a 'worst case' price list. I've seen many people (myself included) budget a hobby buying used things and quickly find they've spent more than new either making sure things work or adding things they didn't include. I think my best bets to save money on a tank are lighting, live rock, and testing supplies. Bigger tanks need more light and more live rock, hence why I was looking at a 10 gallon. I've read horror stories about hydrometers and I would prefer to spend more on that instead of replacing dead fish or corals down the road due to user error.


I DEFINITELY plan on scouring craigslist etc. for deals instead of buying everything at once. I have considered a 15 gallon also to give myself a little more room, but I don't want to get caught up in 'just a little bit bigger' syndrome. A 10 gallon would fit well with my budget and lifestyle, a 15 if I can get talked into it. I just wanted to make sure I have the proper shopping list.



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a 15 if I can get talked into it.



What do i need to tell you? :D


What if you get to know local reefers and you could get all corals you ever wanted for 5$ and you have no space.. you may want to cry! :D

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thats a good list, you'll end up spending about that much after coral and such depending on what you get, mine is a ten gallon and im out of room almost for coral but im telling you these ten gallons are super easy to take care of because of there size. id like a larger size but the ease of this size is too nice lol. i did mine off of a Walmart set that was only 29 bucks for the tank and filter and hood lights. then i bought 50/50 half atnic blue and half full spectrum CFL bulb for 13 bucks a piece since those go into regular bulb sockets. then bought another 15 gallon hob filter to go with the one that came with the kit. Then a 450 GPH power head for circulation. 20 pounds of live rock at 6 bucks a pound, and then 20 pounds of live sand for about 20 bucks. then added corals about once a month and added my two fish. so yeah it adds up fast but it also doesnt have to be a complicted expensive set up. Mine is for sure the poor man version of nano reefing. As long as you do your weekly water changes youll be fine. but yeah i love my ten gallon. keep in mind that a light setup like this is fine for the soft coral. ALso some of the hard coral, my hydnophora is doing fine but only because its at the top of the tank. yeah if you want it then do it is what i say, bigger is not always better. MY tank isnt the best by far, but i love it for sure, and this hobby is way too addictive . so expect to spend waaaaaayy more than what you think you will :lol:



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Im in the process of building a 10G reef set-up myself. I am building a false wall with 3 chamber filtration kind of like my 28JBJ nano. I am using a MJ1200 for my pump and a Korilla Nano and a heater. Chamber 1 will be my heater and carbon, 2nd will be live rock rubble, 3rd is my sponge, filter floss and MJ pump, KISS is my motto.




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Im in the process of building a 10G reef set-up myself. I am building a false wall with 3 chamber filtration kind of like my 28JBJ nano. I am using a MJ1200 for my pump and a Korilla Nano and a heater. Chamber 1 will be my heater and carbon, 2nd will be live rock rubble, 3rd is my sponge, filter floss and MJ pump, KISS is my motto.






I did something similar to this but I only made 2 chambers... 1st chamber houses heater and cheato, purigen and chemipure, 2nd chamber is return pump...

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I would cruise craiglist for a while to save yourself money. I got my whole 54g setup with mh lighting sump skimmer cc crew and about 75lbs LR with a couple corals for 400. Used systems ftw!

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I would cruise craiglist for a while to save yourself money. I got my whole 54g setup with mh lighting sump skimmer cc crew and about 75lbs LR with a couple corals for 400. Used systems ftw!

Hell of a deal if it's aged LR. Retail on the LR alone could be in the 500-750$ range. I know people that would consider buying that thing just for that much LR.

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I'd hold off on the lighting if I were you, I've seen alot of people change out the odyssea light after just getting it. I was going to get one myself but decided to hold out for some par30 bulbs. If you're going to get corals I don't think that odyssea will last in the long run unless you mod it. i.e. changing out bulbs all the time doesn't seem too fun for me or my wallet.

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Have you checked your local PETCO? I know that the ones in my area are having a sale on 15 gallon kits that have everything (heater, hood, filter etc.) for 39.99... like twpeek said, you can throw some 50/50 bulbs into the incandescent sockets and you're good... also, I've seen a video where they painted the underside of the hood glossy white to help reflect more light into the tank... check out these series of videos, pretty good and detailed... http://www.youtube.com/user/ipsfdotcom?fea.../29/ovwew1xZuHs

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I would stick with the 29 gallon, your not going to have an instant reef one way or the other and you will get more out of the 29



Distilled or RO/DI water---------------------------------------------------------- $29.00 max

Bucket FREE get a pickle bucket from a deli they will probably give this to you, just wash it out.

Aquarium salt Oceanic sea salt 25gal (mixes more than that) ----------------------------$14.00

Heater you have

you don't really need a pump for water changes, mix the water and pour.

Digital Thermometer with titanium probe (EBAY)---------------------------------------$ 1.50



29gallon you have.

Powerhead Maxijet 400 pro -------------------------------------------------------$16.50

Heater you have, you don't really have to heat your make up water, just let it come to room temp.



LIGHTS-DON'T SKIMP! EDIT: Oddesea lights are garbage do not waste you money, the ballasts burn out quickly.

workhorse 3 electronic ballast------------------------------------------------------$20.00

T5HO single bulb reflector kit (Aquaticlife does 2 bulbs---------------------------------$15.00

ATI aquablue bulb T5HO----------------------------------------------------------$20.00

ATI Aquablue plus T5HO----------------------------------------------------------$20.00

T5 sockets cheapos --------------------------------------------------------------$1.50/pr



Live rock a couple pounds of the good purple stuff-------------------------------------$12.00

Base rock, normally cheap 15lbs----------------------------------------------------$18.00

Live sand 5lbs-------------------------------------------------------------------$ 10.00

Aragonite sand 20lbs (about a 1inch bed)--------------------------------------------$ 15.00

Reefcleaners (you might as well make a $50.00 order so you get free shipping, include some

macroalgae, otherwise you will be spending about that same amount anyway

if you include the price of shipping with less livestock included, so get the most

bang for your buck.



fuge light-ebay--------------------------------------------------------------------$5.00

penguin filter you have

your refugium with macroalgae and your sandbed will do all the denitrifying all you need for filter media is filter floss.



API master liuquid test kit------------------------------------------------------------$29.00

Deep six hydrometer (mine is pretty accurate)-------------------------------------------$ 8.00



TOTAL COST $286.00 + or - the same amount of shipping for your original list, you get T5HO lighting

AND a bigger cleanup crew, not to mention a much bigger tank.


you don't need to purchase ALL your rock and sand as "live" buying a little bit and adding it to non-live rock and aragonite sand will seed the sand bed, seed the rock and do the same for a lot less


this post has many edits, the biggest thing about reefing is don't be in a huge rush, patience is key, save your pennies and get the best you can afford, the best lights, a brand new tank, top end heater etc.

you don't necessarily need to go by my or anyone elses list, you could buy everything seperately as you can afford it (live sand will keep for a couple years in the bag, hardware can be left in the box and stored away, a tank can be filled and left to cycle without lights or livestock (probably your best bet to start with)


anyway i hope you have a good time with this hobby it's fun and extremely addicting, and most of all don't get discouraged.

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