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BigFishGuy

Setting up my first saltwater tank

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Hello everyone and Thanks for reading,

 

Objective: 

I am new to saltwater but I am ready to learn and do what is necessary to have a stunning tank filled with coral and livestock.

 

Size:

This will be standard ten gallon tank from Petco. I do not have any knowledge of getting the bottom of the tank drilled in order to have a sump and from what I have read, it does not appear to be necessary with a nano tank. 

 

Background information:

I am a college student living two hours away from home. I will keep the tank at home with my brother doing maintenance while I am away. 

 

Equipment:

 

I am looking for quality equipment that is not going to break the bank. After hours of research, this is what I have thought about getting.

Ten Gallon Standard Tank - $10

Air Pump -  Hydor Koralia Nano 240  - $24

HOB Filter - Aquaclear ?? - What size should I get? I have seen AC20s AC30s and even AC50s.  ($22, $29, $37)

Heater - Probably going to get a 50 watt aqueon pro - $30

Light - Help me pick out a light please. I am not trying to spend more than $150, but I want a quality light that will grow all corals. 

Refractometer - $23 

Test Kit - API Reef Test Kit - $18.50

Total before stocking: $142.50 + Light

 

Substrate:

10-15 Pounds of Live Rock

Live Sand

 

Livestock:

Not definite on anything yet. Some ideas I've had though

Fish - Clownfish, Damselfish, Royal Gramma. Note: I am aware that I cant put certain fish with others.

Coral -  Anything that has nice color that can grown from the light I use. Nothing advanced

Inverts - Snails

 

 

 

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Light-wise I am leaning towards current USA orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light 18-24 inches. For $100 I think it is a good price. 

Please give me feedback! Thanks

 

 

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Welcome!  Mmm, do note the first months if not even longer usually can be potentially quite tedious when considering maintenance so make sure your brother is comitted IMO!

 

If you want a HOB go for bigger IME, you’ll add water volume and AC’s have adjustable flow rates anyway.

 

I like my new Ai prime hd, a bit over your budget but worth it. Sorry not familiar with orbit.

 

I have heard API don’t have the best tests, but they can be adaquate in the beginning. 

 

Look forward to your build! 🙂

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Aurortpa said:

Welcome!  Mmm, do note the first months if not even longer usually can be potentially quite tedious when considering maintenance so make sure your brother is comitted IMO!

 

If you want a HOB go for bigger IME, you’ll add water volume and AC’s have adjustable flow rates anyway.

 

I like my new Ai prime hd, a bit over your budget but worth it. Sorry not familiar with orbit.

 

I have heard API don’t have the best tests, but they can be adaquate in the beginning. 

 

Look forward to your build! 🙂

Thanks for the reply!

I will be starting the tank in late May, but I like getting equipment sorted out now so there are no suprises later on. I will be in charge of the beginning though 🙂

Which tests would you recommend? API were the only ones I am familiar with.

Ok so the AC 50 would be a better option 👍

Spoiler

 

 

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Hello and welcome.

 

There are a lot of ways of running a reef tank.

 

Starting out with easy corals allows you to gain experience and also while at school have less maintenance to do.

 

Soft corals are easy and it won't be necessary to be so rigid with testing and even waterchanges could be done every 2 weeks.

 

My favorite hob filter is the seachem tidal. It has a surface skimmer, fully adjustable flow, huge media basket amongst other features. 

 

You will want to get custom media regardless as stock hob filter media is for freshwater.

 

The aqueon pro heaters are great. Mine has been very accurate.

 

The hydor 240 will be good.

 

Lighting options vary. 

The orbit will be fine for your needs.

 

Other light options:

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/HIPARGERO-LED-Aquarium-Light-Saltwater/dp/B0727V8C5Q

 

https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/a80-tuna-blue-nano-led-light-kessil.html 

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B017GWDF7E/ref=sspa_mw_detail_0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

Test kits

For cycling api ammonia, nitrite are fine. You generally don't use these after cycling.

 

Nitrate, ca, and alk: salifert or red sea are good kits.

 

Liverock, you should only need 7-10lbs for a 10g tank.

 

You could do 2 clowns or a clown and gramma, or a clown and blenny...to give you some idea.

 

Corals: toadstool leather, ricordea mushrooms, rhodactis mushrooms, xenia, gsp, zoanthids, clove polyps

 

 

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In a 10 gallon you could do an AC70 or even modified 110. I had an AC70 on my 5.5. A smaller heater like Cobalt Neotherm will fit in the filter. Do you get home often enough to be able to enjoy the tank? Will your brother be happy doing maintenance every day (e.g. topoffs)/week (e.g. water changes)?

 

I might suggest you consider a smaller pico that you can take with you to college and keep in your dorm. A standard 2.5 with AC30 or 50, or standard 5.5 with AC 50 or 70 would give you a nice little tank that's easy to transport and you can enjoy it while you study. Fish options would be limited but you can always go bigger once you're out of college (I kept pico reefs for 9 years before I went bigger and tried fish. Inverts are cool!).

 

Of course, whether that's an option depends a lot on whether you'll have the space for maintenance equipment, but I know people have kept dorm tanks so it can be done. 

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Looks pretty similar to this build.  

 

If you haven't already seen this video, This is the light used. 

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7 hours ago, Lula_Mae said:

I might suggest you consider a smaller pico that you can take with you to college and keep in your dorm

 

I would recommend the same to be honest. Something you can take to college. First off, you'll be learning a lot about your tank in the first few months, especially given that it's your first saltwater aquarium. Also, your brother will have quite a bit of maintenance to do (top off evaporation daily,  prepare the RO/DI water, water changes every other week, turning lights on/off if they aren't automated).

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idk if this has already been suggested but the kessil a80 is great

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Kessil A80 will grow just about it all. Learn from my mistake and look into getting a RODI unit as well and a TDS meter.  

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2 hours ago, Nevvy said:

Kessil A80 will grow just about it all. Learn from my mistake and look into getting a RODI unit as well and a TDS meter.  

Honestly, for the meantime, I think it'd be easier to go with distilled or purchasing RODI from the LFS (TDS meter not a bad idea with LFS water though).  I used distilled (mostly from Walmart) for years because I was bouncing from place to place and didn't have a place to set up an RODI unit.

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22 hours ago, BigFishGuy said:

Light-wise I am leaning towards current USA orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light 18-24 inches. For $100 I think it is a good price. 

Please give me feedback! Thanks

 

 

It is an okay light, but IMHO you can do better for the money.  A Kessil A80 would be a good choice for 10 gallons or less and should grow about anything in a tank of that size.  Although if you want full customization you will need to spend around $200 plus mount for an AI Prime HD (fully programmable out of the box).  

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