Jump to content

10 Gallon Beginner


Recommended Posts


Hello all -


I'm new to this forum as I have been trying to read as much as possible about starting a new nano reef. I have a little over a year fresh water experience and the tanks are doing very well, so I thought it might be a new challenge for myself to try my hand at a small reef aquarium. :)


My thinking is, I'd like to start small, because I figure if I can keep a smaller tank stable, then the big one (later down the road - yeah, already planning Reef MTS - already happened with freshwater) won't be so difficult.


Right now, I have the 10 gallon tank with basic lights/cover (used to be freshwater hospital), with an aquaclear mini power filter, and 100 Watt heater, I know I need my LS/LV/RO water (which I will obtain for right now from my LFS). I believe I'll also need a powerhead as well (I think rio or even aquaclear makes them, correct? And should I stick with a power filter or should I move right into a skilter or protein skimmer? (I think the skilters do the same thing as the skimmer, just a little less expensive)


For lighting I'm leaning toward a 20" 96 Watt quad lamp from marineandreef.com, at $88 it seems like a pretty decent deal compared to some other sites I've seen.


Can anyone help me with what else I need to obtain to get the ball rolling? Any help will be appreciated, I've read until my brain hurts. So much info out here, and I just want to make sure I'm getting off on the right foot and what better way than to ask the experts in a reef forum. :)


Thanks in advance



Link to comment

1st off - a couple alarms went off in my head when I read your post.


The 10 gallon you're going to use was a FW hospital tank. I assume you treated fish for ick in it. That means you probably used copper medication. The copper will stay in the silicone seals of the tank and won't be good for reef critters. 10 gallon tanks are cheap. You should just get a new one if that's the case.


Forget about Rio powerheads. Rio is crap. There are oh-so many more to choose from.


Skilters are cheaper than most skimmers. They also don't work as well. A skimmer isn't a must-have. There are many nice nanos that don't skim. If you do get one, get a decent one. It will save you headaches.

Link to comment

Well, yes, I did buy the 10 gallon to use as a freshwater hospital tank, however, it was filled once with only dechlorinated water as I had a sick fish in one of my tanks, however, by the time the tank was filled and heated (no chemicals yet), it was too late he was already gone. Haven't had to use it since as I haven't had to restock or had any sick ::knocking on wood for luck:::


Thanks for the input ... if anyone else has ideas for me, I'd love to hear them.



Link to comment

Your shopping list to get started:


- 1 or 2 powerheads, together 100gph or more

- Heater (your 100W is fine, if you can fit it)

- Lighting (the 96W quad is fine, if you want fancy get a Current USA Orbit with moonlight, fans, 2x40W for daylight/actinics for $20 more)

- Skimmer (your preference, I like the Prizm, but you don't really need it)

- HOB is good, but not needed (esp. when you have a skimmer, just don't run any filter in it, maybe carbon or a phosphate remover)


- High-quality saltmix (Tropic Marin, Instant Ocean, etc)

- Calcium Supplement

- Buffer


- 15-20 lbs. Live sand or other substrate

- 10-15 lbs. Live Rock


- Good water testing kit (Alk, pH, Nitrite, Nitrate, Ammonia, Calcium)



Hope this helps ;-)

Link to comment

The most important thing is to get your sand/aragonite and live rock in the tank.


Get the water moving then while thats all going, figure everything else out..



Link to comment

And take this to heart never use tap water even if you dechlorinate it theres always guna be bad stuff in it. Use R.O water from your local water store or get a R.O. unit.

Link to comment
Originally posted by demon2

And take this to heart never use tap water even if you dechlorinate it theres always guna be bad stuff in it. Use R.O water from your local water store or get a R.O. unit.


Some people have success using tap water.

Although many experience problems, it really depends on where you live and how water is treated.


I would recommend just buying the water from LFS/supermarket, because I believe that an R.O. unit for a 10 gallon tank is overkill. (unless you want to use one for your fw tank too or future larger sw tanks)

Link to comment

What I have going and has worked wonderfully...


10 gal aga

20 pounds Marshall Island LR

couple pounds of sand just for looks

1 penguin 550 powerhead

1penguin bio-wheel mini with the bio-wheel taken out (running kent's reef carbon)

1 100 watt heater

coralife 96 watt powerquad


clip on fan from the dollar store to keep the light from making the temp 86!

timer for light and fan


I have various shrooms & zoos, an xenia, kenya tree, some GSP, a candy cane and a nice clump of various macro algaes that I prune from time to time... I have 8 or so astrea snails, about 6 nassaris snails, 5 blue leg hermits, two scarlet hermits, a skunk cleaner shrimp, yellow clown goby and that is it!


I feed every other day with a little flake and frozen mysis shrimp, daily tops offs with fresh RO/DI and a one gallon a week water change. O, I also use a cheapy deep-six hydrometer and cheapy Instant Ocean salt.


Sorry if this post has come off a little disorganized and un-spell-checked lol, im tired, this is just my way of doing the 10 gal nano and it has worked great for me! Good luck,



Link to comment

Another one here with a 10 Gal. Check out my link in my sig to get the specs and updates on my tank and what has gone on with it.

Link to comment

WOW, thanks for all the information everyone! I'm checking out links now to finish up my "shopping list". I'm very excited to get things started.


Thanks again and if I have anymore questions, I won't hesitate to ask.



Link to comment

Two things:


1) I know it has already been mentioned, but I just want to stress the importance of good test kits. There are tons of threads on here were people are worried about something and it is all due to false test readings... which if acted upon, could have caused bad things to happen. Tests are the last thing people WANT to spend money on, but you really need to.


2) "Forget about Rio powerheads. Rio is crap."


Why are they crap? I have a Rio 50 and it has worked well so far (although it is still pretty new). If you (or others) have horror stories about them please share... I am curious now. I have to say, they come with lots of nice attachments, but I guess it doesn't matter if they crap out on you.

Link to comment

"Rios are crap" has been standard board talk..(not just on here..on pretty well every message board about reefing) forever now. I'm not sure why either...a lot of people have had bad things happen...the 'heads failing, etc...but I've never had issues with them either. My old 29 had 3 Rios in it and I never had an issue with any of them. Then again..I've never really had any issues with ANY powerheads I've ever used because I generally like to do quite a bit of maintenance on them. I've used Hagen's, Rios, and Zoomed Powersweeps without any issues.




Link to comment

I have a similar list of equip for my 10 gal. Maxi-jet 600, 18" aquafuge, 20" powerquad lights, 50 w ebo-jager heater. I was thinking about doing a closed loop and redirecting the return waterflow so i get no dead spots, but so far its only a plan.


I keep zoo's, button polyps, shrooms, a frogspawn (I think it is anyway, it was regrowing on the rock i got), a beautiful acro frag which is coloring up nicely, and a monti frag. They really like these lights it seems..

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recommended Discussions

  • Create New...