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Beginner 29 Gallon Nano Reef Tank Questions


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I'm in the process of receiving all my gear for my new 29 Gallon Reef Tank and I just wanted to run by my equipment and thoughts for stocking. Any advice or comments are much appreciated, so thanks in advance. I've been doing as much research as I possibly can, however there is so much information to take in, and there are so many different opinions for the right way to do things.



29 Gallon Tank

36" ATI T5HO Bulbs (2) Blue+ and (2) Coral+

Hydor Koralia Evolution Pump (1050-1150)

Hydor Koralia Nano (425)

ViaAqua 50-Watt Heater

HOB and 5 Gallon Sump Tank with an Aqueon Quietflow Return Pump

Aquatic Life RO Buddie (for homeade RO water) along with 160 Gallon Instant Ocean Salt Mix

API Test Kit, Gravel Siphon, Hydrometer, Mag Float



40 LBS Reef Cleaners Dry Rock

40 LBS Reef Cleaners Sand

10 LBS Live Rock


Stocking (in this order):

Clean Up Crew (TBD)

2 Tank Bred Ocellaris Clownfish (20 gallon min)

Various Soft Corals, Polyps, Mushrooms and LPS Corals (TBD)

Saddle Valentini Puffer (30 gallon min)


My questions are:


1) Does my equipment look OK? I haven't opened anything yet so I'd still be able to return it.

2) Should I run my sump and my lights when I perform the initial cycle on the the tank?

3) Is there any particular media I should put in the sump or should i just throw in a live rock and attach a filter sock?

4) While still far from stocking anything in my tank yet, do you think my 29 Gallon would be sufficient for 2 clownfish and a Saddle Valenti Puffer?

5) Is there anything I'm forgetting?


Thanks again for any and all help!

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1. A quick glance over your equipment list looks fine.

2. Lights are up to you, but yes to the sump.

3. Rock rubble and any extra sand (if you want) are more than enough. I would recommend keeping cheato in your fuge too.

4. The 29 is fine for those fish, but just be aware that puffers aren't considered invertebrate safe.

5. That's a lot of rock and sand for a 29 gallon tank. I'd also recommend upgrading your RO to and RODI filter if you can.



Good luck with you tank!

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Your equipment looks pretty good. There are a few things I would have done differently. The API test kits are iffy at best. A 50 watt heater might not be enough, a 50 watt heater in my BioCube 29 could only get the water up to about 75*. Hydrometers, especially if you paid under $10 for it, are finicky and can easily give you inaccurate readings. A refractometer is much more accurate and can be had fairly cheap. Your IO salt mix, is that reef crystals? They sell 2 different types for fish only or for reefs.


I would run the sump during cycle but no need for the lights, they will just fuel unwanted algae. I wouldn't run live rock in the sump unless you want very little in the display. There are lots of options for filtration in the sump and HoB. I wouldn't run any during the cycle except for filter floss, change that out every few days. After the cycle you can use macro-algae in the sump or run a skimmer or use chemical products. You can do all 3 if you have the room.


No problems with the clowns, but I know nothing about the puffer, sorry.

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Thanks for the help! I was wondering if the 50 watt heater was enough. I originally purchased that for a 12 gallon fluval. Is it better to have two 50 watt heaters or one that's more powerful. Would having two be beneficial if one fails?


I will definitely purchase the DI cartridge addition for my RO Buddie, as well as a refractometer. I didn't think about the reef salt vs the salt mix. Is that something I can add in later on down the road during water changes when I'm incorporating the corals to my tank or would that be detrimental to the fish?

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The normal IO is fine for coral. Reef crystals is "better," but it shouldn't matter for your softies and lps. If you decide to start going for an SPS dominant tank, then you might get better results from reef crystals, but yes, you can slowly mix this in during water changes without much stress on your livestock.


Two 50W heaters would be better than one 100W. But the 50W might work for your tank, there are a lot of factors such as your location, house ambient temp, type of pumps, type of lights, etc... That being said, I'd go ahead and buy another heater.

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In my experience heaters typically fail in the on position, so having 2 smaller ones won't be of help. Get a 100 or 150 and keep the 50 for emergency back up and to warm up your water change water. A heater controller, if you are not planning on a full blown reef controller, is a good thing too. It uses its own sensor to determine tank temperature, then it applies power to the heater when needed. When the set temp is achieved it removes power from the heater. So even if a heater sticks 'on' the controller saves you from reef soup. I use this one and of course it is even cheaper now than when I bought it!

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