Advice/suggestions for setting up first small tank

snodine

Premium Member
OK, I'm throwing myself on the wisdom of the group. I have a 120 gallon in-wall saltwater tank that is very lightly stocked at the moment (2 tangs, 2 sun corals, and 1 small torch). The tank has a crushed coral bottom with lots of live rock. But that tank is not my question.

I am a big fan of non-photosynthetic coral and want to keep more - but I'm tired of getting wet to the elbow feeding them 3-4 times a week. I have a 20 gallon tank I'm not using and I'm thinking of setting it up to be a non-photosynthetic tank. Where I want to set it up has no room for a sump, plumbing, etc. I'm thinking of keeping a few (6-8?) non-photosynthetic corals (none real big), a cleanup crew, 1-2 small fish (maybe?) in this 20. I have a 24" T5 HO light laying around that I can use or use no lighting other than the light in the room.

So, what I'm asking from the experienced members of the group - what are my options? Do I NEED a sump, plumbing, etc.? Will frequent water changes work? Bare bottom or sandy? Any advice and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I have accumulated a lot of extra equipment over the years (who hasn't?) and I was looking to put it to use and build this setup "on the cheap".
I'm going to do more reading and research but I thought I'd start here first.

If you've read this far - thank you.
 

MayoBoy

Movin' on Up
20 gallon tank - check
24" T5s - check
Heater and water movement are all that you're missing.

I like an HOB filter to hide the heater and fill with live rock rubble. It gives you a small fuge for pods, sponges, etc. and keeps the look clean. Put in whatever you're going to use for water movement and then aquascape around them to hide them as best as possible.

Personally, I like a sand bottom (pink fiji). Plenty of room for worms, and other life and you can have the fun of getting a yellow coris wrasse and watching him disappear in to it every night. You can also get a shrimp/gobi pair and let them tunnel to their heart's delight.

My personal opinion is that skimmers, reactors, etc. are all overkill for a nano. Their main purpose is to extend the time needed between water changes. With a nano, you can do a LOT of water changes for what they cost and the water changes keep a cleaner, fresher environment.
 

snodine

Premium Member
Thanks for the suggestions MayoBoy! I'm not familiar with HOB filters. Any suggestions for what's good/bad/reasonable?

I like the sand bottom idea with some critters to keep it clean. I do a water change in the 120 every 7-10 days so making a little extra water to do a change in the 20 would be no big deal. I'm really looking for a solution that follows the KISS principle.
 

MayoBoy

Movin' on Up
HOB - Hang on Back. I like the Marineland Penguin. Plenty of room for the heater and rubble and it gives nice surface agitation. (So if you ever switch to LEDs you'll get nice shimmer). Don't bother with the filter cartridges or Bio wheels - they're just nitrate factories.

It's about as simple as you can do it - feed the animals and change the water. No muss, no fuss.
 
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