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Jai'galaar

Questions of a 10 gallon noob

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Jai'galaar

Hi guys,
I'm planning on setting up a 10g nano reef somewhen in the future (I dunno exactly when since it's kinda costy and I'm not a man of wealth, to say the least). I've been doing my research for a while and I got confused in some topics. 
It's also important to clarify that I've never ever had a saltwater tank, just freshwater, so I'm hopelessly noob. Sorry if I ask something stupid. I thought it would be better if I ask all my questions (that are plenty) at once instead of spamming the forum with it. 
I read somewhere that most of the filtration will be done by the bacteria of the live rock. At another website I read that I'll need the live rock AND an internal/external filter. So what's the truth? Live rock AND filter? 
Will I have any disadvantages in maintaining the reef if I start with dry rock instead of live rock? I dunno about you guys but for me live rock is kinda expensive so I can't make the entire reef from that. 
Obviously I'll have to wait longer if I use dry rock but are there any more problems with it?
Since I'm a college student living in a rented room, I'm not there at weekends. Will it cause major disasters? More specifically, do I have to feed the future livestock every day and do the topoffs every day or else I'll have some horrible disasters? 
Another thing coming from the fact that I'm a college guy that I can't leave the tank in the rented room at summer (and during the winter exam period) since my hometown is too far from the university town to visit the tank everyday or even every third day. So I have to take it home for these two month periods. My question is, does marine life tolerate transportation well or is it just a veeery bad idea? I know I can do it with freshwater but that's a whole another story. 
My other question (well... pack of questions) is about livestock. It's said that if you're a beginner don't you try to keep corals if life is dear for you, but there are also things as "coral for beginners", "beginner coral" and so on. So... what's up with coral keeping? Should I avoid it at all or can I try for example GSP or something similarly less sensitive species? 
Another confusing thing I've been doing research about is suitable fish for a 10g nano. As legend has it "it's the internet, bro, some people will say yes, some will say no and some will say f*** you" so I didn't really get well informed in this topic, to say the least. Sure, I saw some good species but for example I don't know how much fish can I keep in there. Some guys say only one but other guys managed to keep more in 10g tanks. Since I'm an absolute beginner in saltwater aquaristics I don't really want to make it an unnecessarily hard challenge, meaning I wanna keep the bioload down and all the things. Basically I want to achieve a balance between having low bioload and having an active, colorful tank. 
As I saw it there isn't so big of an agreement about suitable species either. I've read that ocellaris clownfish or yellow watchman goby or damsels are good sized fish for a 10g but almost the same amount of peole say that they're too big and I shouldn't keep anything in 10g apart from neon goby. (For example, I saw people stating that you can keep a pair of ocellaris clowns in 10g while others said that yiu can1t even keep one in that.) Damsels have some beautiful looks but... well, over the years I've experienced the unpleasant fact that basically all the species I like for some reason tend to have an unsufferably agressive behaviour so I assume they're not a good idea. So what would you recommend for an absolute unlucky noob beginner? 

Oh well... that was a big bunch of questions. Sorry. Also, if you find some grammatical mistakes in the text, that's no wonder, I'm not a native speaker. 
TYIA

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Murphych

Welcome to Nano-reef. 

I won't be able to answer all of your questions but here are a few. 

 

Starting with which type of rock. It's always great if you have the spare cash to start off with live rock it brings all sorts of benefits including bacteria as well as hitchhiker critters (this is also a negative to some people), that doesn't mean you need to use only live rock. I started with a few bits and used dry rock as the "base". The live rock will seed the dry. 

You could indeed start with only dry rock no problems at all. But you will either have to start with a source of ammonia and let the bacteria establish or add bacteria, there are a host of products available. 

In terms of filtering, in a 10 gallon tank, the rock should be enough. Though you may want to run a hob or other small filter filled with floss to catch detritus, though you could syphon it off the rock and sand when doing a water change. 

 

In terms of being away at the weekend. 2 days isn't really going to cause any issues as long as you have a tight fitting lid to reduce evaporation. You shouldn't have to feed the tank daily, in fact I feed every 3 days. 

 

Go have a read at this thread for some ideas on fish for your tank size 

https://www.nano-reef.com/forums/topic/74703-lgreens-ultimate-guide-to-nano-fish/

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jservedio
37 minutes ago, Jai'galaar said:

Hi guys,
I'm planning on setting up a 10g nano reef somewhen in the future (I dunno exactly when since it's kinda costy and I'm not a man of wealth, to say the least). I've been doing my research for a while and I got confused in some topics. 
It's also important to clarify that I've never ever had a saltwater tank, just freshwater, so I'm hopelessly noob. Sorry if I ask something stupid. I thought it would be better if I ask all my questions (that are plenty) at once instead of spamming the forum with it. 
I read somewhere that most of the filtration will be done by the bacteria of the live rock. At another website I read that I'll need the live rock AND an internal/external filter. So what's the truth? Live rock AND filter? 
Will I have any disadvantages in maintaining the reef if I start with dry rock instead of live rock? I dunno about you guys but for me live rock is kinda expensive so I can't make the entire reef from that. 
Obviously I'll have to wait longer if I use dry rock but are there any more problems with it?
Since I'm a college student living in a rented room, I'm not there at weekends. Will it cause major disasters? More specifically, do I have to feed the future livestock every day and do the topoffs every day or else I'll have some horrible disasters? 
Another thing coming from the fact that I'm a college guy that I can't leave the tank in the rented room at summer (and during the winter exam period) since my hometown is too far from the university town to visit the tank everyday or even every third day. So I have to take it home for these two month periods. My question is, does marine life tolerate transportation well or is it just a veeery bad idea? I know I can do it with freshwater but that's a whole another story. 
My other question (well... pack of questions) is about livestock. It's said that if you're a beginner don't you try to keep corals if life is dear for you, but there are also things as "coral for beginners", "beginner coral" and so on. So... what's up with coral keeping? Should I avoid it at all or can I try for example GSP or something similarly less sensitive species? 
Another confusing thing I've been doing research about is suitable fish for a 10g nano. As legend has it "it's the internet, bro, some people will say yes, some will say no and some will say f*** you" so I didn't really get well informed in this topic, to say the least. Sure, I saw some good species but for example I don't know how much fish can I keep in there. Some guys say only one but other guys managed to keep more in 10g tanks. Since I'm an absolute beginner in saltwater aquaristics I don't really want to make it an unnecessarily hard challenge, meaning I wanna keep the bioload down and all the things. Basically I want to achieve a balance between having low bioload and having an active, colorful tank. 
As I saw it there isn't so big of an agreement about suitable species either. I've read that ocellaris clownfish or yellow watchman goby or damsels are good sized fish for a 10g but almost the same amount of peole say that they're too big and I shouldn't keep anything in 10g apart from neon goby. (For example, I saw people stating that you can keep a pair of ocellaris clowns in 10g while others said that yiu can1t even keep one in that.) Damsels have some beautiful looks but... well, over the years I've experienced the unpleasant fact that basically all the species I like for some reason tend to have an unsufferably agressive behaviour so I assume they're not a good idea. So what would you recommend for an absolute unlucky noob beginner? 

Oh well... that was a big bunch of questions. Sorry. Also, if you find some grammatical mistakes in the text, that's no wonder, I'm not a native speaker. 
TYIA

First of all since it's the internet, f*** you. And welcome to nano reef!

 

Now that that's out of the way, since you are in college and need to transport it, I would highly suggest considering an All in One (AIO) tank that is smaller than 10 gallons that you can simply pick up and move while it's full (or mostly full). I ran a pico AIO for several years (was only 2g) that I could literally just unplug, toss in a rubbermaid container, put it on the front seat, and run the entire tank on an inverter while I drove cross-country. The second reason is that the smaller the tank, the cheaper the equipment (especially lighting) and you can get higher end stuff for the same price.

 

You don't need a filter for a reef tank - if you want to run mechanical filtration (filter floss) it allows you to do that and it also provides a convenient place to put any chemical filtration (carbon, gfo, etc.). If you go with an all-in-one tank, that'd be built right in and also give you a place to hide your heater and any other equipment. It'll give you more options. The main purpose of additional filtration equipment is to basically reduce the amount of work you have to do manually. If you have filter floss, you'll be able to blast your rocks a few times a week with a turkey baster and the filter floss will pull that out. Otherwise you'd have to siphon it out during water changes.

 

If you start your tank with dry rock, it'll just take longer to mature but I would say the majority of people these days go with dry rock. If you get a pico, the cost for both live and dry rock comes way, way down since you'll only need one or two pieces.

 

In terms of feeding, just choose your livestock carefully. If your tank is big enough for a clown, they will be fine over the weekends so long as you are feeding heavily during the week. You can also buy an automatic feeder for when you are away for an extended period of time. I go out of town for 1-2 weeks at a time several times a year and never had anything die while I was gone.

 

As long as you have an Automatic Topoff (ATO), you don't have to worry about evaporation while you are gone for multiple days in a row. If you go with an AIO tank, you can hide that in the back. For small AIO tanks, you can even make your own ATO with one of those rodent water bottles people use for their hamsters and gerbils.

 

I tend to stay away from things like GSP and Xenia because it can take over your tank in short order if you don't isolate them and keep on top of it. And the smaller the tank, the harder it is to isolate anything. My pico was mainly full of smaller polyped LPS (micromussa, favia, etc.) and zoas and they did extremely well. You can even go with one or two easier SPS pieces like montipora digitata.

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Clown79
1 hour ago, jservedio said:

First of all since it's the internet, f*** you. And welcome to nano reef!

 

Now that that's out of the way, since you are in college and need to transport it, I would highly suggest considering an All in One (AIO) tank that is smaller than 10 gallons that you can simply pick up and move while it's full (or mostly full). I ran a pico AIO for several years (was only 2g) that I could literally just unplug, toss in a rubbermaid container, put it on the front seat, and run the entire tank on an inverter while I drove cross-country. The second reason is that the smaller the tank, the cheaper the equipment (especially lighting) and you can get higher end stuff for the same price.

 

You don't need a filter for a reef tank - if you want to run mechanical filtration (filter floss) it allows you to do that and it also provides a convenient place to put any chemical filtration (carbon, gfo, etc.). If you go with an all-in-one tank, that'd be built right in and also give you a place to hide your heater and any other equipment. It'll give you more options. The main purpose of additional filtration equipment is to basically reduce the amount of work you have to do manually. If you have filter floss, you'll be able to blast your rocks a few times a week with a turkey baster and the filter floss will pull that out. Otherwise you'd have to siphon it out during water changes.

 

If you start your tank with dry rock, it'll just take longer to mature but I would say the majority of people these days go with dry rock. If you get a pico, the cost for both live and dry rock comes way, way down since you'll only need one or two pieces.

 

In terms of feeding, just choose your livestock carefully. If your tank is big enough for a clown, they will be fine over the weekends so long as you are feeding heavily during the week. You can also buy an automatic feeder for when you are away for an extended period of time. I go out of town for 1-2 weeks at a time several times a year and never had anything die while I was gone.

 

As long as you have an Automatic Topoff (ATO), you don't have to worry about evaporation while you are gone for multiple days in a row. If you go with an AIO tank, you can hide that in the back. For small AIO tanks, you can even make your own ATO with one of those rodent water bottles people use for their hamsters and gerbils.

 

I tend to stay away from things like GSP and Xenia because it can take over your tank in short order if you don't isolate them and keep on top of it. And the smaller the tank, the harder it is to isolate anything. My pico was mainly full of smaller polyped LPS (micromussa, favia, etc.) and zoas and they did extremely well. You can even go with one or two easier SPS pieces like montipora digitata.

^ This info is great.

 

If i were in the same situation, i'd start with a pico 3 -5g all in one because it is so much easier to transport or even break down to move home for holiday's. 

 

An all in one also give you the ability to run filter floss and carbon without having to get a hangon filter(less equipment, less to move)

 

Liverock is expensive and hard to find. It is a great option and with a pico, its cheaper but you could also use something like caribsea liferock which is really nice dry rock which will become live. 

 

In a pico you could do a tail spot blenny which is an awesome fish, small, stays small but full of character. Blennies are entertaining fish and also eat algae, so its a worker too 

 

You can easily do an auto top up from a hamster bottle. I topped up my tanks morning and night but when away for a day or 2, i used a hamster bottle ato. It was really easy to make. 

 

There are numerous easy corals, keep things simple, do your maintenance and stick to easier livestock and things won't be as difficult as some make it seem.

 

You will find conficting info in this hobby and a bunch of nay sayers, particularly on forums filled with owners of 80g or more but clearly pico's and nano's aren't that hard or impossible- if it was, we all here wouldn't exist. 

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Jai'galaar

Well, I guess I learnt more here in a few minutes than during hours of research 😄 Thanks guys.
Yeah I've seen this pico reef things but I don't know if it's not playing with fire. A few gallons of water carries a pretty big chance of me screwing things up... maybe not, but I'm a bit afraid of it. Is it much harder than bigger tanks? I mean, do I have to bite my nails all the time in fear of some bad happening if I give a stray glance to the tank or should it be fine?
Another thing that just came to my mind. When I'll be home in the summer vacation, it'll be pretty hot there. And I mean HOT, constantly above 30 °C at daytime. I suppose it's not the best for any reef tank. Is there anything I can do about it?
How much live rock will I need for a picko? I saw some info that said I'll need a pound per gallon and given the high price at the... well, only lfs in my 200 km vicinity that I can get such things from, it still would be around 90 dollars so I guess I'll go with a piece of live rock and the rest dry.
Another question about livestock... Do you think a some beginner coral + a single small goby or blenny (I still have to figure out which species can I get) + let's say one sexy shrimp as cleaning crew combo would work or is it too much?  

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Clown79
1 minute ago, Jai'galaar said:

Well, I guess I learnt more here in a few minutes than during hours of research 😄 Thanks guys.
Yeah I've seen this pico reef things but I don't know if it's not playing with fire. A few gallons of water carries a pretty big chance of me screwing things up... maybe not, but I'm a bit afraid of it. Is it much harder than bigger tanks? I mean, do I have to bite my nails all the time in fear of some bad happening if I give a stray glance to the tank or should it be fine?
Another thing that just came to my mind. When I'll be home in the summer vacation, it'll be pretty hot there. And I mean HOT, constantly above 30 °C at daytime. I suppose it's not the best for any reef tank. Is there anything I can do about it?
How much live rock will I need for a picko? I saw some info that said I'll need a pound per gallon and given the high price at the... well, only lfs in my 200 km vicinity that I can get such things from, it still would be around 90 dollars so I guess I'll go with a piece of live rock and the rest dry.
Another question about livestock... Do you think a some beginner coral + a single small goby or blenny (I still have to figure out which species can I get) + let's say one sexy shrimp as cleaning crew combo would work or is it too much?  

I started with a 55g yrs ago.

 

When i went to nano i had a 15g and then a 10g. The work was the same, the same bad things can happen

 

So far i've had

 

55g

20g

15g upgraded to 25g

10g

5.5g

2.5g

1g jar

 

The easiest to take care of was the jar and 2.5g. Took 10mins rmto do waterchanges. 

 

The basis for all reefs is good husbandry, dedication. The same thing that can occur in a 10g can in a 2.5g.

 

Fluctuations can happen in any size, thats why you need to test.

Evaporation happens in any size, volume is just differebt, you have to top up daily. 

 

A reef is not a set and leave it hobby unless you can afford to pay for someone to care for it.

 

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blasterman

My SPS tanks often hit 82-83F during the day. No issues.  Reefs in the wild have some pretty big daily temp swings as well. As long as water temp goes back down in the evening all as well.

 

I've had tanks go higher during the day because I don't feel like running AC to keep coral happy. At 85F Daily max SPS don't care but LPS can start stressing if kept that warm that long. They live in deeper depths and arent as tolerant as higher temps.

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Xj reefing

To keep the temp down you can just get a desktop fan and have it blowing across the water surface but then you will need to do more topping of.

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Seadragon

You got me dreaming of making a pico tank if I was ever in a situation where I needed a small “mobile” aquarium that I needed to transport around on a moment’s notice. Personally, Pulsing Xenia is so simple to keep alive and it’s so mesmerizing to look at!  It makes a great backdrop while you’re studying in college or working out in the real world.

 

Imagine this:

 

I wouldn’t mind getting an AIO pico tank… somewhere between 2.5 - 5 gallon (whatever I could easily carry home on the weekend if that was the plan).  I’d probably get 1 fish and do water changes every weekend or two with some quality salt mix.


Thanks for letting me dream.  Now, back to my 10 gallon that ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. 🙂

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Jai'galaar
1 hour ago, Seadragon said:

I wouldn’t mind getting an AIO pico tank… somewhere between 2.5 - 5 gallon (whatever I could easily carry home on the weekend if that was the plan).  I’d probably get 1 fish and do water changes every weekend or two with some quality salt mix.

 

Well, my plan actually is that I carry it home in exam periods, not the weekends... I have to find a method to maintain the water quality until I return for the weekdays. 
Unfortunately I can't find any good AIO sets that are shipped to Hungary (the country where I live) and marine aquariums are not a common thing here to say the least so I can't really buy an AIO from a fish store. The smallest set I could find is 35 gallons, which is not exactly a pico. So it seems that I have to assemble it myself. (Well, I found ONE set but with the shipping cost it would be almost $300 and I don't really have that amount of money.) 
I'm just wondering tho, can I use a powerhead and heater designed for freshwater use? It would make things almost disgustingly cheaper but I dunno if they can tolerate saltwater. 

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Seadragon
3 minutes ago, Jai'galaar said:

I'm just wondering tho, can I use a powerhead and heater designed for freshwater use? It would make things almost disgustingly cheaper but I dunno if they can tolerate saltwater. 


That should work.  The only thing that really needs to be made for saltwater is the proper lighting if you’re doing a reef tank with corals. The cheap freshwater lights don’t have the right spectrum and intensity needed to keep the corals alive or thriving.

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Jai'galaar
3 minutes ago, Seadragon said:

The cheap freshwater lights don’t have the right spectrum and intensity needed to keep the corals alive or thriving.

How many watts per gallon should I have? I can get Odyssea PL compact lights with marine blue and white light for a kinda reasonable price. It's a 36W light. 

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Seadragon
7 minutes ago, Jai'galaar said:

Unfortunately I can't find any good AIO sets that are shipped to Hungary (the country where I live) and marine aquariums are not a common thing here to say the least so I can't really buy an AIO from a fish store. The smallest set I could find is 35 gallons, which is not exactly a pico.


I would probably try buying a used nano tank off someone in your country from an online ad or something similar.  Anything to get the whole bundle at once while keeping costs down.

 

Otherwise, you could always try to create something depending on what’s available to you either online or at a LFS.

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M. Tournesol
15 minutes ago, Jai'galaar said:

 can I use a powerhead and heater designed for freshwater use?

yes and yes if the heater is not a titanium heater.

 

For a nano reef tank, you don't really need an AIO. The minimum set up should be a tank, a heater, a powerhead pointing to the water surface and a glass cover for evaporation or better, the Aqua Medic Refill Fix Nano ATO (you can find cheaper Chinese version on amazon).

 

The rocks, sand and water change will do the rest.

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M. Tournesol

can you get a Lumini asta 20 (reef version)? it seems to be a good light.

 

 

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M. Tournesol

If money is very very tight. you could go for a jar reef ( heater, light and an air pump for flow). Bonus, it is easily transportable.

 

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Seadragon
7 minutes ago, M. Tournesol said:

if the heater is not a titanium heater.


Curious why the titanium heater matters?  A quick Google search shows they’re made for both saltwater and freshwater.  “Titanium heating tubes are virtually unbreakable, and corrosion resistant allowing the use in salt or freshwater aquariums.

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M. Tournesol

 saltwater... it is juste a question of time.

 

Quote

Pure titanium is completely rust and corrosive resistant, however, is rare and hard to find and produce. Many titanium parts and objects are made of a titanium alloy which includes the combination of various levels of titanium and other metals. Because they are not made of pure titanium, they are susceptible to rust and corrosion. 

https://titaniumprocessingcenter.com/does-titanium-rust/

 

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Jai'galaar
3 minutes ago, M. Tournesol said:

If money is very very tight. you could go for a jar reef ( heater, light and an air pump for flow). Bonus, it is easily transportable.

Fortunately I can do a bit more than a jar. Honestly the best would be a 10g but I guess there would be transport issues and it's kinda on the very edge of my financial capabilities. 
The best light I could find so far is an ATI Coral Plus 80 Watt T5 light. To be honest I don't know s*** about the lighting requirements of corals so I don't know if it's good enough or not. 

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M. Tournesol
3 minutes ago, Jai'galaar said:

 it's kinda on the very edge of my financial capabilities. 

and you need to think about the cost of live stocks (corals and fish are no cheap), salt, sand/rock, and tests (at least ammonia and nitrate to see if your tank is cycled).

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M. Tournesol

A 0,5 - 5 gallon tank already give you access to a small fun fish like a Clown Gobies.

 

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Jai'galaar
1 minute ago, M. Tournesol said:

and you need to think about the cost of live stocks (corals and fish are no cheap), salt, sand/rock, and tests (at least ammonia and nitrate to see if your tank is cycled).

That's why I think I'm gonna go with a 5g at max. 
Speaking of rock, how many pounds will I need for a 5 gallon? I read seomewhere that it's 1 pound/gallon, but other sites say it's 1 kg/10l (sorry for the metric, I'm more used to that). 
 

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M. Tournesol

 1 pound/gallon is equivalent to 1 kg/10l. In my 8 gallon (30 litre), I did 2 pound/gallon.  7kg of rocks was way too much 😬

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Jai'galaar
6 minutes ago, M. Tournesol said:

1 pound/gallon is equivalent to 1 kg/10l

Oh... never thought about that 😅 I'm originally a metric system user so it's still a bit strange to think in imperial measurements. 

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