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amandaleighxo

Where do I go next!?

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amandaleighxo

Hi Everyone! 

 

My names Amanda & today I finally set up my first tank. I’ve had a freshwater tank for a long time and have always wanted to try saltwater. I’ve been holding off for a few months so that i’m able to do as much research as possible, but I feel like the knowledge is endless between forums, books, youtube videos, etc. 

 

I couldn’t help but finally give in when I saw the fluval evo on sale on black friday on Amazon. It came today and I got it all plugged in. In addition to the basic kit (including the light, filtration, etc), I purchased: 5 gallons of sea water (as well as salt, but I figured buying the sea water was a little easier for my first setup), a heater, live rock, and live sand. I also purchased some water conditioner and “speedy” bacteria. I know that a small tank like 5 gallons probably isn’t ideal for a beginner, however i’m very limited on space and am motivated to put a lot of time and effort into keeping my tank clean and healthy! 

 

I know that I want the “typical” basics, a pair of clowns and some cool coral... but i’m already feeling overwhelmed. I keep reading that it’s better to add the fish first, but I’ve read conflicting articles that say it’s better to hold off on fish and go straight for the coral first. I’m not sure what to do! 

 

If anyones actually reading this, what were the first things you decided to add to your tank? Some “easy” components for beginners? I want my tank to be colorful and am open to ideas! I know i’m really limited on selection considering the tank size, but i’ll try to work with what i’ve got. 

 

Super excited to start this journey and be a new member! 

 

I’ll attach a few photos of my setup. 

 

Thanks for reading!!! 

 

Xo 

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Dreichler

Congrats on the setup!  Have you considered upgrading the stock components of the tank?  It wouldn’t be very costly at all since it’s a very small tank.  It would really boost your filtration and ability to care for corals and fish much easier and a little less maintanence.  Do you have a budget if you are going to upgrade?  From here, your gonna want to buy some test kits to make sure your cycle is running properly.  You’re going to see ammonia spike, then go down, then nitrite spike, then go down, and then nitrate will spike, and remain there until you eliminate it with water changes.  From there your ready to start adding your inhabitants.  I would say start with the clown(s) and maybe one simple coral like a small zoa frag.  If you want to upgrade, I have some really good recommendations for that tank.  Also, start thinking about what you want to keep in there because it’s easy to buy things that look good in the store but maybe not at home.  Good luck and just tag me for any help or questions!

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Clown79

Hello and welcome to nano and the reef obsession.

 

Congrats on the tank.

 

That's the 5g fluval spec. I have the same tank.

 

The stock lighting will not work for corals, you will have to upgrade. The lighting is for freshwater low light plants.

 

I also recommend making a media basket with eggcrate (light didfuser) and zip ties. Super easy diy project.

Use your own media because sponges are a nutrient trap.

 

You want to use filter floss. This collects particles and we switch it out twice a week.

 

Buy media bags at the lfs and use a good carbon like matrix carbon, Kent, or brs.

We rinse the bags weekly to remove gunk buildup and replace the media every 2-3 weeks.

 

Purigen is another good media to look into and phosguard for if when you have phos issues.

 

If you plan on corals, upgrading the stock pump or adding a powerhead will be necessary. The hydor Pico is a good powerhead.

 

You will need to test during your cycle, you may not have much of one if you uses liverock (wet) but it's still good to test to ensure you watch ammonia rise, process, and drop to 0.

 

Once your cycle is done, a waterchange needs to be performed before adding anything. The size of waterchanges depends on nitrate levels. 

 

Topping up with freshwater 1-2 times a day is important. I marked the side of mine to ensure I top up to the exact level every day.

 

Using a refractometer is important, hydrometer aren't very accurate. 

 

Using distilled or rodi water is a must in a reef tank. 

 

If you have specific questions, don't hesitate to ask. Everyone here is great and really helpful.

 

Going through pop's journals is a great way to see how ppl run their systems

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amandaleighxo
1 minute ago, Dreichler said:

Congrats on the setup!  Have you considered upgrading the stock components of the tank?  It wouldn’t be very costly at all since it’s a very small tank.  It would really boost your filtration and ability to care for corals and fish much easier and a little less maintanence.  Do you have a budget if you are going to upgrade?  From here, your gonna want to buy some test kits to make sure your cycle is running properly.  You’re going to see ammonia spike, then go down, then nitrite spike, then go down, and then nitrate will spike, and remain there until you eliminate it with water changes.  From there your ready to start adding your inhabitants.  I would say start with the clown(s) and maybe one simple coral like a small zoa frag.  If you want to upgrade, I have some really good recommendations for that tank.  Also, start thinking about what you want to keep in there because it’s easy to buy things that look good in the store but maybe not at home.  Good luck and just tag me for any help or questions!

Thank you so much for the quick response! I know that everyone raves about how important lighting upgrades are, but I haven’t looked into that yet. If you have recommendations for a more successful tank then i’m all ears! I have no life (lol) so I don’t really have a budget- all of my “fun” money goes towards the tank! 

 

I bought the marine master test kit on amazon that tests for levels of all of that so hopefully it comes soon! Freshwater is really easy to maintain so getting used the science  of constantly testing the water contents, temp, etc makes me a little nervous! Don’t want to kill anything but I guess it’s a learning process and everyone has to start somewhere. 

 

I think zoanthids look super cool and heard they’re “bulletproof” for beginners so i’ll probably start there! 

 

Thanks again ?? 

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amandaleighxo
5 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Hello and welcome to nano and the reef obsession.

 

Congrats on the tank.

 

That's the 5g fluval spec. I have the same tank.

 

The stock lighting will not work for corals, you will have to upgrade. The lighting is for freshwater low light plants.

 

I also recommend making a media basket with eggcrate (light didfuser) and zip ties. Super easy diy project.

Use your own media because sponges are a nutrient trap.

 

You want to use filter floss. This collects particles and we switch it out twice a week.

 

Buy media bags at the lfs and use a good carbon like matrix carbon, Kent, or brs.

We rinse the bags weekly to remove gunk buildup and replace the media every 2-3 weeks.

 

Purigen is another good media to look into and phosguard for if when you have phos issues.

 

If you plan on corals, upgrading the stock pump or adding a powerhead will be necessary. The hydor Pico is a good powerhead.

 

You will need to test during your cycle, you may not have much of one if you uses liverock (wet) but it's still good to test to ensure you watch ammonia rise, process, and drop to 0.

 

Once your cycle is done, a waterchange needs to be performed before adding anything. The size of waterchanges depends on nitrate levels. 

 

Topping up with freshwater 1-2 times a day is important. I marked the side of mine to ensure I top up to the exact level every day.

 

Using a refractometer is important, hydrometer aren't very accurate. 

 

Using distilled or rodi water is a must in a reef tank. 

 

If you have specific questions, don't hesitate to ask. Everyone here is great and really helpful.

 

Going through pop's journals is a great way to see how ppl run their systems

Your reply was perfect! Thank you so much. The tips you gave are exactly what I needed. I’ll defunutely look at upgrading my lighting ASAP, since you have the same tank, what do you use? 

 

Ill also do do some research on the DIY media basket, filter floss, etc! 

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Clown79

Lighting depends on the corals you want to keep.

 

There are a lot of options

 

Ai prime

Nanobox

Kessil

Abi par38

Aquamaxx nemolight

 

During your cycle I'd test ammonia daily and nitrates every other day. Don't worry about calcium, alk etc at this point.

 

Temp, get a digital thermometer, keep an eye on the temp.

 

Salinity. That ones important. At first you'll want to keep an eye on it until you get comfortable with the tank.

 

Test salinity when the tank is full. Make a mark or put a piece of tape where the watermark is at the return pump chamber.

When water evaporates, Top up to the tape level with fresh water. This will ensure your salinity doesn't constantly change.

 

I have to top up my spec 2 times a day. Morning and night- I have a lot of evaporation.

 

Zoanthids are hit and miss. Some tanks have great success, others not so much. Personally, I've had more issues keeping zoas than sps.

 

Easy beginner corals:

 

Leathers, xenia, Duncan's, frogspawn, hammers, zoanthids, mushrooms.

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Clown79
17 minutes ago, amandaleighxo said:

Your reply was perfect! Thank you so much. The tips you gave are exactly what I needed. I’ll defunutely look at upgrading my lighting ASAP, since you have the same tank, what do you use? 

 

Ill also do do some research on the DIY media basket, filter floss, etc! 

Yw 

 

I use an Abi tuna blue on my spec another good option would be the aquamaxx nemolight and if you want a light that you can use if you upgrade to above 10g, the Ai Prime is fantastic.

 

I have 3 tanks, all different lights.lol

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Clown79

I forgot to answer your livestock question.

 

There really is no perfect first addition.

 

If you have algae after the tank is finished cycling, I recommend starting with a small cuc.

A couple of trochus snails and hermits are good. Later you can add as needed.

 

You can start with 1 small fish or start with a coral or 2.

 

I've done all 3 methods.

 

The fish will be the 1 addition that adds the most bioload so starting with only 1 at a time is best and giving a few weeks in between.

 

2 clowns in a 5g is a lot. Ensure they are small ones and when they grow you will have to upgrade.

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Lula_Mae
4 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Hello and welcome to nano and the reef obsession.

 

Congrats on the tank.

 

That's the 5g fluval spec. I have the same tank.

 

The stock lighting will not work for corals, you will have to upgrade. The lighting is for freshwater low light plants.

 

I also recommend making a media basket with eggcrate (light didfuser) and zip ties. Super easy diy project.

Use your own media because sponges are a nutrient trap.

 

You want to use filter floss. This collects particles and we switch it out twice a week.

 

Buy media bags at the lfs and use a good carbon like matrix carbon, Kent, or brs.

We rinse the bags weekly to remove gunk buildup and replace the media every 2-3 weeks.

 

Purigen is another good media to look into and phosguard for if when you have phos issues.

 

If you plan on corals, upgrading the stock pump or adding a powerhead will be necessary. The hydor Pico is a good powerhead.

 

You will need to test during your cycle, you may not have much of one if you uses liverock (wet) but it's still good to test to ensure you watch ammonia rise, process, and drop to 0.

 

Once your cycle is done, a waterchange needs to be performed before adding anything. The size of waterchanges depends on nitrate levels. 

 

Topping up with freshwater 1-2 times a day is important. I marked the side of mine to ensure I top up to the exact level every day.

 

Using a refractometer is important, hydrometer aren't very accurate. 

 

Using distilled or rodi water is a must in a reef tank. 

 

If you have specific questions, don't hesitate to ask. Everyone here is great and really helpful.

 

Going through pop's journals is a great way to see how ppl run their systems

There's actually a 5 gallon version of the Evo, it's the Spec with upgraded lighting. It might be enough for softies and maybe LPS.

 

I'd skip the clownfish in this size tank, though you might get away with one, it's really too small for them. I'd look at small blennies and gobies for this size. 

 

And welcome to a great hobby! My fish tanks were tiny, you just have to be dedicated to it and you should be fine.

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Clown79
48 minutes ago, Lula_Mae said:

There's actually a 5 gallon version of the Evo, it's the Spec with upgraded lighting. It might be enough for softies and maybe LPS.

 

I'd skip the clownfish in this size tank, though you might get away with one, it's really too small for them. I'd look at small blennies and gobies for this size. 

 

And welcome to a great hobby! My fish tanks were tiny, you just have to be dedicated to it and you should be fine.

I know there is the 5g evo but the pic is of A spec 5.

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NanoRox

Just wanted to chime in and say welcome.  Another noob here myself so all I can add is this...prepare to become very, very addicted.  Once things get relatively settled in your tank, it is VERY hard not to buy up every pretty piece of coral, etc you come across.  

 

Have fun and post lots of pics...we love pics around here.  :-) 

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Lula_Mae
5 hours ago, Clown79 said:

I know there is the 5g evo but the pic is of A spec 5.

I have a spec 5 too that I bought for my husband a while back. It was actually buying that and examining the Evo 5 in person at an LFS that had both Evos set up which convinced me I would not like the narrow dimensions of the Evo 5. Literally the only significant difference is the light and maybe filtration components are different (not sure)--the tanks are identical. Anyway, I'd assume the OP knows what she bought so if she's got the Evo light, she may be able to use that till she's ready to upgrade. :)

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