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Help me convert my 10g freshwater aquarium to a nano reef tank please!


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So as the title says,I'm converting to saltwater tanks.


I definitely have a tight budget because I want to get my feet wet,not just cannonball in.


In my 10g,I've already upgraded my aquarium with the Aquaclear powerfilter 110V. My tank currently stays around 76-77 degrees.


I definitely want to house a pair of clownfish and a cleaner shrimp...and corals in the near future. I'm so scared of lighting and don't want to buy the wrong thing for corals. I'm getting a custom glass lid so I can't have anything clipped to the tank in the back,so for now I prefer the lights that slightly hover above the aquarium cover. Since price is strict,here's some lights I've run into on Amazon...let me know what you guys think 🙂


Green Element EVO 18"-22" LED Aquarium Light Fixture - Reef Capable 10x3W https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00APBO2XU/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_nFPtBbHM2NND9


EVO 12 LED Aquarium Light Nano Marine Coral Reef Cichlid 6x 3W 3 Watt 30-40 cm by Odyssea



SLR Lighting LED Aquarium Lighting – All Sizes for Fish Tanks, Terrariums, Vivariums – Plants, Coral, Seaweed – Natural Night & Day Light Patterns w/ Brackets & Remote Control [Size: 14-22 In.] https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0759NLDSB/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_dGPtBbAF0Y92Y




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Hows it going. I was in your same shoes a couple of months ago. Now with said this hobby isnt going to be cheap. Yes you can go cheap (like i did ish) but youll spend more money in the long run upgradeing. I have just a regular cheap 10g that came with the lid. 

This is how i went about it. 


Step one: RESEARCH! Look up thing like how to cycle a tank. What Salinity and where to keep it and why. Why water changes are important. Types of filtration. Find out why stability is important. Where a local fish store is (petco will get you by but i mean a actual fish store). If you search the fourm youll find everytjing you need like i did. 


Step two: get your set up. Tank, filter, light (you dont need a reef light just yet but if you plan on getting corals you may as well spend the money now) heater, sand, and live/dry rock. As well as a test kit api has one on amazon for a good price. You may want to up grade in the future. Almost forgot only use rodi water. Useing this will save you a lot of problems down the road. You can get jt from your lfs. 


Step three: add everything together and then its a waiting game. 


You can find more detailed steps on getting set up and cycling the tank in other fourms. 


Heres the equipment i use in my set up. 


-Walmart 10 gal kit. (Trashed everything but the tank) 

-For a filter. Fuval ac 20 (go for a ac 70 or ac 120 they will alow you to do more with it) 

-For a light. Current ic marine led light. The small one. (This is a great buget light and alows you to add wave makers on one controler.) 

-Sand from petco. Look for crushed coral or live sand. 

- 100w heater. (You want skmething that can keep up with the tank) 

-dry rock (keeps down on hichhikers *look them up and learn about them*) 

-red sea coral pro salt. Any aquarium will work fine but as a coral tank this salt has additional things to it to help make them grow 

- auto top off. If you run lidless i would advise getting one its a pain if you dont. 

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If you have any other question dont be afraid to ask everyone here is here to help. If youd like to i also have a journal on my 10 gal with pictures if youd like to see. 

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Hello and welcome


The best advice is do a ton of research.

Not understanding sw is why people give up within 6 mnths. 


Set it up right from the beginning or it will be a frustrating endeavor.


You can do a reef on a budget but it's still going to cost you.


Powerhead, lights, heater, rocks, sand, salt, refractometer, test kits, foods, filter media.



Lighting is the number 1 important equipment. It's the soul of the system.

Then come rocks and water source.


You need to use distilled or rodi water.


Lighting is the life source for corals. All the ones you posted will not work for corals.


The cheapest you could do with the limitations on budget and needing it to be on end brackets is the Current Orbit marine or the Aquamaxx Nemo light.


There are others but you using a glass lid is limiting.


If you want to purchase the type of lights you listed, you will have to do a fish only tank.


Corals have specific needs regarding spectrum of light, par, and wattage.

Unfortunately the lights listed are not designed for corals. 



Filtration- you will want to use custom media. Filter floss switched out twice a week(no sponges in sw), a bag of quality carbon like brs or seachem, purigen is another one to look into.


Refractometer- you need one of these. Hydrometers are not reliable.


Powerhead- corals need flow and a filters return doesn't provide the right kind of flow.

Hydor 240 or 425 would be good and its budget friendly.



You will need to decide on how you are setting up the tank for cycling.


Liverock or dryrock because both are cycled differently.


Liverock is just added to the saltwater.


Dry rock needs an ammonia source and bacteria dosing.


things I've learned through the 7 reef tanks I've had through the yrs:


Research and understanding is the most important


Buy the right equipment once because going the cheapest route costs more in the end.

That doesn't mean you have to break the bank and buy the most expensive, it means make the right choices from the start because replacing stuff frequently, costs more in the end.

There is quality budget friendly items, expensive high end, and then just plain cheap and useless.


Go slow and be patient


Ask lots of questions, don't make hasty decisions, keep it simple.




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Not sure about any of those lights...I suspect none would be great for corals.  there nice lights available second hand in the classifieds.  It would still be a little more than the Amazon choices, but significantly discounted from buying new.  



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