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Jens_Reef

Nano reef setup?

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Jens_Reef

Hi,

 

My name is Jens and I am new to the saltwater hobby. I have kept planted tanks for the last 5 years but a reef tank always been on my bucket list.

Because a few people told me it is very hard and it is a little bit scary when you read everything you need to keep an eye on. I never went for it.

But now it is time to start my first reeftank.

Before I buy all the equipment I wanna hear you guys opinions on the setup I am thinking about.

 

-Waterbox 20 gallon cube   (I might go crazy and buy the Waterbox aio 30.2 but whit the same brands of the equipment from below and the stronger versions of it)

-Tune silent 150- 800l 

-AI Prime 16HD (the new one)

-Tunze Doc 9001 skimmer

-Red Sea live pink reef sand

-CaribSea South Seas Base Rock ( box of 18kg)

-AutoAqua Smart ATO micro 

-RODI Premium line 190 (Not sure about this one yet)

-Jecod/Jebao SLW-20 Wave maker

-Seachem Matrix bio media

-Aqua Medic Titanium Heater 100 W whit the heat controller

 

I also have a 20 gallon long laying around that I can turn into a sump but I don't know how I would make it work whit the waterbox cube whit build in filtration.

 

Any more recommendation before I buy all the equipment?

 

 

Greetings,

Jens

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WV Reefer
1 hour ago, Jens_Reef said:

Hi,

 

My name is Jens and I am new to the saltwater hobby. I have kept planted tanks for the last 5 years but a reef tank always been on my bucket list.

Because a few people told me it is very hard and it is a little bit scary when you read everything you need to keep an eye on. I never went for it.

But now it is time to start my first reeftank.

Before I buy all the equipment I wanna hear you guys opinions on the setup I am thinking about.

 

-Waterbox 20 gallon cube   (I might go crazy and buy the Waterbox aio 30.2 but whit the same brands of the equipment from below and the stronger versions of it)

-Tune silent 150- 800l 

-AI Prime 16HD (the new one)

-Tunze Doc 9001 skimmer

-Red Sea live pink reef sand

-CaribSea South Seas Base Rock ( box of 18kg)

-AutoAqua Smart ATO micro 

-RODI Premium line 190 (Not sure about this one yet)

-Jecod/Jebao SLW-20 Wave maker

-Seachem Matrix bio media

-Aqua Medic Titanium Heater 100 W whit the heat controller

 

I also have a 20 gallon long laying around that I can turn into a sump but I don't know how I would make it work whit the waterbox cube whit build in filtration.

 

Any more recommendation before I buy all the equipment?

 

 

Greetings,

Jens

:welcome:

 

seems like you have a pretty solid plan. Can’t wait to see it in action! 😊

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Clown79

Welcome to nano,

 

 

Reef tanks don't have to be as difficult as they are made out to be.

 

Keeping things simple really helps.

 

Its usually very hard for those that just jump in without doing research beforehand.

 

Reading journals, totm's, and various threads can be really helpful.

 

Everything looks good in your plans. You don't really need the skimmer, I'd hold off and see if you actually need it.

 

The bio media isn't really needed either as you have biological filtration in your rock.

 

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A.Berry

Welcome to the addiction! 

 

Clown is absolutely right (and a wealth of knowledge, read his posts, you'll learn alot) 

 

Saltwater can really be as easy as freshwater once it's established, it's just daunting when you see how much can go into it. Your equipment list is pretty comprehensive. Start with that and once it's cycled, zoa's and mushrooms are great starters. 

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Jens_Reef
1 hour ago, WV Reefer said:

:welcome:

 

seems like you have a pretty solid plan. Can’t wait to see it in action! 😊

Thanks! 🙂

1 hour ago, Clown79 said:

Welcome to nano,

 

 

Reef tanks don't have to be as difficult as they are made out to be.

 

Keeping things simple really helps.

 

Its usually very hard for those that just jump in without doing research beforehand.

 

Reading journals, totm's, and various threads can be really helpful.

 

Everything looks good in your plans. You don't really need the skimmer, I'd hold off and see if you actually need it.

 

The bio media isn't really needed either as you have biological filtration in your rock.

 

Thanks!

I have been reading forums a few months now. The only thing that scares me is all the testing.

Why won't I need a skimmer?

 

1 hour ago, A.Berry said:

Welcome to the addiction! 

 

Clown is absolutely right (and a wealth of knowledge, read his posts, you'll learn alot) 

 

Saltwater can really be as easy as freshwater once it's established, it's just daunting when you see how much can go into it. Your equipment list is pretty comprehensive. Start with that and once it's cycled, zoa's and mushrooms are great starters. 

Thanks!

This gives me a lot more confidence to start saltwater.

Zoa's are definitely on my list to put in the tank. Mushrooms will not go in the tank, I am not a big fan of them. (for now)

 

 

 

 

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mcarroll

I agree that jumping in without preparing yourself is one of the more common newb mistakes. 

 

READ!  😎

 

One of my best threads, in case you need reading ideas:

Chime in with your reef-oriented reading list!

 

Online resources are great as secondary sources, for confirming things, getting more detail on a subject, sanity checks, etc.  But online doesn't replace reading a book.   

 

In fact, read SOME books.   When you do, everything online will make more sense and be more useful.

 

The last book I picked up to read (2-3 days ago) was my copy of Volume 3 of The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium.

 

Reef books rock.

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mcarroll
14 hours ago, Jens_Reef said:

Tune silent 150- 800l 

If you're going Tunze for the return, you might want to consider their flow pumps too instead of the pumps you listed.

 

The 20 cube you mentioned is 17" on a side I think.  Any of their pumps could work in that tank space, from the smallest $40 pumps (6015, 6020, 6025) on up....decide what type you like and how much power you want.  Could be that you'd like two pumps better than one....that's true in most tanks.

 

14 hours ago, Jens_Reef said:

Seachem Matrix bio media

I would skip out on the excess bio-media, BTW.

 

Also...

 

If you can opt for live rock of any kind, do that instead of the base/dead rock. 

 

At minimum, if possible, use at least a percentage of live.  Personally I wouldn't suggest dead rock as the best way to start out your first tank.  Especially not 100% dead.

 

If live rock is available to you (even via mail order) but cost is the issue, then I'd still suggest spending whatever budget you have for rock on live rock.  If that means the tank is a little more empty-looking at first or that you need to use a somewhat smaller tank to get the look you wanted or that you need to add only a small amount of dead rock to fill in, then so be it. 

 

(This is an old-fashioned approach that bows to the importance of live rock in the formula.  See:  the Berlin Method.  This is the method that gave us successful coral tanks, BTW.)

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Clown79
14 hours ago, Jens_Reef said:

Thanks! 🙂

Thanks!

I have been reading forums a few months now. The only thing that scares me is all the testing.

Why won't I need a skimmer?

 

Thanks!

This gives me a lot more confidence to start saltwater.

Zoa's are definitely on my list to put in the tank. Mushrooms will not go in the tank, I am not a big fan of them. (for now)

 

 

 

 

Skimmers aren't absolutely necessary, with nano's they can help but they can also cause issues with maintaining nutrient levels in the tank.

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Seadragon

Personally, I just skim off the surface of the water with a few clean paper towels every so often when I see an oily build-up forming on the surface.

 

Keep it simple and cheap.  And one less piece of equipment that I have to purchase and maintain.

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A.Berry

take some time and watch some of The King of DIY's videos on youtube. They are directed towards freshwater but alot of the stuff does apply and even if you don't build anything, they can help you understand how things work. 

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Clown79
8 hours ago, Seadragon said:

Personally, I just skim off the surface of the water with a few clean paper towels every so often when I see an oily build-up forming on the surface.

 

Keep it simple and cheap.  And one less piece of equipment that I have to purchase and maintain.

Surface skimmer is different than a protein skimmer.

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Seadragon
2 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Surface skimmer is different than a protein skimmer.

 

You're right, but between my new mechanical filtration + chemical filtration + manual surface skimming, I'm pretty happy with the results and I don't get the downsides of a protein skimmer.

 

According to one site: "Technically, protein skimmers are also mechanical filters as it removes particulates and proteins from the water. A protein skimmer utilizes tiny air bubbles to pull out waste in the form of proteins. It helps to keep you water clean by removing waste before it breaks down in to ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/phosphate."  And I guess some protein skimmers have attachments for surface skimming.

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Jens_Reef
15 hours ago, mcarroll said:

I agree that jumping in without preparing yourself is one of the more common newb mistakes. 

 

READ!  😎

 

One of my best threads, in case you need reading ideas:

Chime in with your reef-oriented reading list!

 

Online resources are great as secondary sources, for confirming things, getting more detail on a subject, sanity checks, etc.  But online doesn't replace reading a book.   

 

In fact, read SOME books.   When you do, everything online will make more sense and be more useful.

 

The last book I picked up to read (2-3 days ago) was my copy of Volume 3 of The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium.

 

Reef books rock.

I will check the link and the book out. Thanks!

14 hours ago, mcarroll said:

If you're going Tunze for the return, you might want to consider their flow pumps too instead of the pumps you listed.

 

The 20 cube you mentioned is 17" on a side I think.  Any of their pumps could work in that tank space, from the smallest $40 pumps (6015, 6020, 6025) on up....decide what type you like and how much power you want.  Could be that you'd like two pumps better than one....that's true in most tanks.

 

I would skip out on the excess bio-media, BTW.

 

Also...

 

If you can opt for live rock of any kind, do that instead of the base/dead rock. 

 

At minimum, if possible, use at least a percentage of live.  Personally I wouldn't suggest dead rock as the best way to start out your first tank.  Especially not 100% dead.

 

If live rock is available to you (even via mail order) but cost is the issue, then I'd still suggest spending whatever budget you have for rock on live rock.  If that means the tank is a little more empty-looking at first or that you need to use a somewhat smaller tank to get the look you wanted or that you need to add only a small amount of dead rock to fill in, then so be it. 

 

(This is an old-fashioned approach that bows to the importance of live rock in the formula.  See:  the Berlin Method.  This is the method that gave us successful coral tanks, BTW.)

I might look into the tunze flow pumps. The only reason I actually want the coral box one is because of the small and slim design.

At first I wanted to start whit live rock but the problem is, where I am from (Belgium) the saltwater hobby is not that big I think. (that I know)

The places where I can find live rock have ridiculous prices.

 

But from the things I have found online about live rock is that it can maybe introduce pests in my tank?

Would it not be safer to start whit dry rock and do a longer cycle? 

 

 

 

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Clown79
56 minutes ago, Seadragon said:

 

You're right, but between my new mechanical filtration + chemical filtration + manual surface skimming, I'm pretty happy with the results and I don't get the downsides of a protein skimmer.

 

According to one site: "Technically, protein skimmers are also mechanical filters as it removes particulates and proteins from the water. A protein skimmer utilizes tiny air bubbles to pull out waste in the form of proteins. It helps to keep you water clean by removing waste before it breaks down in to ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/phosphate."  And I guess some protein skimmers have attachments for surface skimming.

Well for a nano a protein skimmer can reduce your nutrient levels to 0 which isn't optimal.

 

Certain systems do need them, heavily stocked with fish or heavily stocked with nps corals often need them.

 

Otherwise, there are many articles that explain the downside of them on small systems.

 

A nano really doesn't require one, many of us run our systems without and do just fine. 

 

I run my tanks with no skimmer, no fuge, no ato, and I struggle to keep nutrients up. 

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Tired

Live rock can maybe introduce pests, yes. But it also introduces useful bacteria, and vital biodiversity. Pods, for one. Plus, the more species of algae that you have, the more competition you have for the pest algae, and the harder it is for any one species of algae to go nuts all over the place and cause problems. You WILL get pests in your aquarium- it's not a matter of if, it's when. Especially pest algae. And you're better off having more species already to help keep things balanced. Plus, live rock brings fascinating things with it. Mine came with chitons, snails, two types of amphipods, copepods, a type of rock-boring clam, another type of clam, a sea squirt/tunicate, two types of corals, at least five types of macroalgae, and all manner of interesting and largely harmless creatures, all on about 5lbs of rock.

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mcarroll
1 hour ago, Jens_Reef said:

At first I wanted to start whit live rock but the problem is, where I am from (Belgium) the saltwater hobby is not that big I think. (that I know)

The places where I can find live rock have ridiculous prices.

You'll have to define what "ridiculous" is. 

 

But I'll reiterate that even if price is high, it would be better to start with live rock even if it meant starting a smaller tank or making other essential design changes.  Using a small percentage of dead rock as "base rock" would be the most I'd suggest.  You'll still notice more problems with the base rock for the first year or two, even assuming everything else goes smoothly.

 

You might change my mind when you tell me the price they want for live rock there, but in general it's expensive and worth it -- especially for your first tank.

 

FYI when I was starting my tank (10+ years ago), it was typical to set aside 1/3 of your overall budget for the live rock.  Since then, it's become the norm to use about 50% of the live rock we used to specify though....so it's already much cheaper to start a tank on that basis alone than it used to be.

 

1 hour ago, Jens_Reef said:

But from the things I have found online about live rock is that it can maybe introduce pests in my tank?

Would it not be safer to start whit dry rock and do a longer cycle?

As for the "longer cycle" theory....

 

Using a little live rock to make a lot of live rock out of dead rock is possible.  Aquacultured live rock is cultured for (depending who you look at) for 1.5-2 years to get something like 60% coralline coverage before it's considered "live" enough to ship as live rock.  So if you budget that kind of time -- totally possible.  Mind you, that's under oceanic conditions that should be a lot more ideal than conditions your or I would provide.  1.5-2 years could be optimistic in our situation.

 

As for live rock....

 

There doesn't seem to be much good written about rock online for some reason. 

 

All the articles and posts from the years before dead rock took over seem to be Google-hidden.  That could be some of the reason for the perception.  E.g. A Google search I just did for "live rock" just turned up 2+ pages of nothing but links about live rock from commercial entities, with the Wikipedia article on live rock being the only exception.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_rock  It's a fine article and includes some good info, but it's hardly scientific, complete or authoritative on the topic.

 

Sometimes it seems like bad advice is the most popular advice on live rock out there:  guidance to use dangerous processes and dangerous chemicals to process dead rock so that it can be "better" than live rock.

 

🤦‍♂️

 

It's completely twisted.  I don't think our state would be much different if we switched back to undergravel filters with dead coral skeletons in the tank like in the 1960's and 1970's.

 

Dead rock is cheap.  (It must be almost free judging by the retail prices of it.)  So IMO don't make any mistake about the main reason that it's so popular.  Beyond the superficial cost benefit, there's nothing actually better about it in an apples-to-apples comparison.

 

"Pests" are a whole other topic of bad information....  

 

To put it simply, their frequency and magnitude are both greatly exaggerated. 

 

Tanks you read about that have bad pest problems can often, at least in some way, be a good negative example of How NOT To Reef.

 

Personally, I would be very leery of following any online setup advice or even mimicking someone else's setup for your tank unless you've read at least one or two good books on the topic that should help you understand what you're emulating and why.

 

Check out my book thread if you need any good reading ideas:

Chime in with your reef-oriented reading list!

 

Lots of cheap used books available online if budget or access are issues where you are.

 

Personally, I'd probably suggest Martin Moe's books to start with.  VERY complete.  But there are a ton of good ones.

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Seadragon
7 hours ago, Jens_Reef said:

But from the things I have found online about live rock is that it can maybe introduce pests in my tank?

Would it not be safer to start whit dry rock and do a longer cycle?


As you may know, there are Pros and Cons to everything.  And it really depends on the individual and what you value most.  Do you even have access to something like Instant Ocean BIO-Spira and Coralline Algae in a Bottle?  The good thing about live rock with real Coralline algae growing on it (not that fake paint crap) is that you will jump start your cycle and in time have Coralline algae spread to other rocks.  The downside is possibly getting some nasty pests along with it.

 

If I didn’t have access to those products that I mentioned, the live rock doesn’t sound so bad. Since I have access to almost anything, I went with a 6 week cycle, seeded my tank with nitrifying bacteria and coralline algae, and now I enjoy it all without anything like bristle worms.  Some people like all kinds of pests, while others like me try to limit them if possible.

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Clown79
24 minutes ago, Seadragon said:


As you may know, there are Pros and Cons to everything.  And it really depends on the individual and what you value most.  Do you even have access to something like Instant Ocean BIO-Spira and Coralline Algae in a Bottle?  The good thing about live rock with real Coralline algae growing on it (not that fake paint crap) is that you will jump start your cycle and in time have Coralline algae spread to other rocks.  The downside is possibly getting some nasty pests along with it.

 

If I didn’t have access to those products that I mentioned, the live rock doesn’t sound so bad. Since I have access to almost anything, I went with a 6 week cycle, seeded my tank with nitrifying bacteria and coralline algae, and now I enjoy it all without anything like bristle worms.  Some people like all kinds of pests, while others like me try to limit them if possible.

Unfortunately, bristle worms occur with or without liverock.

 

They aren't pests, they are part of the ecosystem and keep things clean.

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Seadragon
Just now, Clown79 said:

Unfortunately, bristle worms occur with or without liverock.

 

They aren't pests, they are part of the ecosystem and keep things clean.

 

I never got any and don't want any either.

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Seadragon

Here's just one site that talks about the dangers of bristle worms...

 

https://reefbuilders.com/2007/06/09/bristle-worm-removal-from-saltwater-aquariums/#

"Bristle worms can be, and usually, are a real problem for reef hobbyists. Indeed, they create havoc in the aquarium, especially when they grow to larger sizes. Bristle worms grow quickly! Real quickly! They feed on anything they can find in the tank and grow to sizes that amaze most hobbyists. This process does not take long either.

 

Whereas small bristle worms may look really harmless, larger specimens that have grown to sizes of 24 inches or more in length are quite impressive and can cause serious damage. Remember too that the size you see is not necessarily the size of the worm. It may be retracted and look short and thick, but it can stretch itself to a real long size and be very thin. In either case it is a voracious eater."

 

And there's a ton of other articles out there.  Just not for me.

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Clown79
3 minutes ago, Seadragon said:

 

I never got any and don't want any either.

You can't always see them, it does mean they aren't there.

 

Here's one that I never saw in my 15g tank until I transferred the tank.

 

I also had a huge one 3 times the pictures on in my 5.5g that wasn't ever seen until I transferred that tank.

225.jpg.e472c0e57084490fb8d3f3bca82cc709.jpg

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Clown79
4 minutes ago, Seadragon said:

Here's just one site that talks about the dangers of bristle worms...

 

https://reefbuilders.com/2007/06/09/bristle-worm-removal-from-saltwater-aquariums/#

"Bristle worms can be, and usually, are a real problem for reef hobbyists. Indeed, they create havoc in the aquarium, especially when they grow to larger sizes. Bristle worms grow quickly! Real quickly! They feed on anything they can find in the tank and grow to sizes that amaze most hobbyists. This process does not take long either.

 

Whereas small bristle worms may look really harmless, larger specimens that have grown to sizes of 24 inches or more in length are quite impressive and can cause serious damage. Remember too that the size you see is not necessarily the size of the worm. It may be retracted and look short and thick, but it can stretch itself to a real long size and be very thin. In either case it is a voracious eater."

 

And there's a ton of other articles out there.  Just not for me.

Ya theres a lot of crap talked about in this hobby. 

 

If this was truly a case of them being a huge issue - so many of us wouldn't have tanks.

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Seadragon

Out of curiosity, how tiny do they get?  And if you cut one in half, do both halves live?

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Clown79
3 minutes ago, Seadragon said:

Out of curiosity, how tiny do they get?  And if you cut one in half, do both halves live?

They can be tiny. I have seen ones that are 1 cm in length and maybe 3mm wide.

 

There is tons of stuff the naked eye cannot see in the tank.

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Seadragon
5 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Ya theres a lot of crap talked about in this hobby. 

 

If this was truly a case of them being a huge issue - so many of us wouldn't have tanks.

 

I'm not sure about that for pests in general.  I've seen so many tanks have Aiptasia, Mejano, Flatworms, all kinds of nuisance algae, it's just something hobbyists live with.  Any of those might be considered more of a bigger issue than let's say bristle worms, but even then, hobbyists don't usually break down their tanks.  Instead, they'll do things like huge water changes and dump tons of chemicals and end up causing more harm themselves and killing off the good livestock.

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