New to saltwater fish tanks, help needed.

cinbos

New member
Hi All,

This is my first post on here. I am apart of a number of forums, but none meant just for saltwater and reef tanks.

I typically keep freshwater tanks, 1 being my 29 Gallon planted and the other being a 125 Gallon South American Cichlid tank.

I have recently decided to start a saltwater reef tank after much thought and hesitation lol. It always seemed a bit intimidating.

I want to start with a 10 Gallon aquarium which I already have. I also have a HOB filter already as well. The filter is a Penguin 350 Bio-Wheel. Is this too much?

I also have a Hydor nano circulation fan if needed as well.

For the lights, I plan on doing DIY LED strips from Amazon. Here is a link to what I plan on doing with them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgyWu_jP7AQ

Of course I will being getting a heater from amazon, as I do not have a spare lying around.

I also know to buy a refractometer to measure salinity in the tank.

I have also been told to start with live sand. Is there any go to brand or type I should purchase?

I was also told to start off with live rock, and no less than 5 pounds.

As far as maintenance, I was told to top off every 2-3 days depending on evaporation, and do a 25% water change every 5 days or at the least once per week.

Other than this, I am not sure where to start or begin. Are there any chemicals, beneficial bacteria that I need to purchase? I have heard about using Chemi Pure Blue, and poly filter pads in my filter.

Any help or guidance is much appreciated!
 

Fiver

New member
Hello, and welcome. I've only been doing this a year, so take my advice as you will.

What are your goals and what do you want to keep? Sounds like you're on a budget? That's cool; just keep things simple.

If I were doing a 10 gallon, I'd keep it simple: live sand, live rock, your wave maker, lights and weekly water changes (at least 15%). No HOB filter, no filter pads, no chemipure.

I'd keep just one or two small fish, a few inverts and some easy corals. I'd start with live sand and rock from a local store, hobbyist or online retailer to jump start the cycle instead of using bacteria in a bottle. (I used Tampa Bay Saltwater.) Most people recommend 1-2 pounds of live rock per gallon for proper filtration. Due to my aquascape plans, I have 20-25 lbs for a 33 gallon and have been fine.

This is basically how I started and run my 33 long. It's nothing fancy, but it's easy to maintain and I like it a lot.

Good luck!
 

cinbos

New member
Hello, and welcome. I've only been doing this a year, so take my advice as you will.

What are your goals and what do you want to keep? Sounds like you're on a budget? That's cool; just keep things simple.

If I were doing a 10 gallon, I'd keep it simple: live sand, live rock, your wave maker, lights and weekly water changes (at least 15%). No HOB filter, no filter pads, no chemipure.

I'd keep just one or two small fish, a few inverts and some easy corals. I'd start with live sand and rock from a local store, hobbyist or online retailer to jump start the cycle instead of using bacteria in a bottle. (I used Tampa Bay Saltwater.) Most people recommend 1-2 pounds of live rock per gallon for proper filtration. Due to my aquascape plans, I have 20-25 lbs for a 33 gallon and have been fine.

This is basically how I started and run my 33 long. It's nothing fancy, but it's easy to maintain and I like it a lot.

Good luck!


So no filter at all? I mean I have the filter, could I not just use it, or is there a reason for not using one. Im happy to hear any advice you give. Your the first person to reply since this afternoon lol. Thank you for that! I was starting to get my hopes up.



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Fiver

New member
It's curious (and unknowable) why some threads take off and others don't. I wouldn't take it personally.

Some people do run HOB filters for chemical and/or mechanical filtration. The general thought is that filter floss can become nitrate factories and need to be to rinsed out often. (I even do this with the filter floss around my wavemaker that shields it from my anemones.) I feel like it's just more work, but I'm sure it's not an issue if you stay on top of it. I only use live rock, live sand, water movement and water changes in my tank, and it has been fine so far. But I keep easy stuff. I've always been a low-maintenance aquarist. Some people like hi-tech.
 

fishkeeprian

New member
Hello & Welcome!

Just a couple of thoughts my end and a couple of things I wish I had thought about.

1. Use good quality dry rock no need to start with live rock or sand. If you want to reduce the amount of potential nasties making into you tank then I suggest you go for a good quality dry rock like Marco. It looks great and has lots of nooks and crannies for housing corals etc.

2. Take some time and do a bit of research on aquascaping. Your rock will be the center piece of your tank. Think about the type of tank you want to keep i.e. LPS, SPS, Mixed reef, FOWLR, and build you aquascape around your decision. I didn't do this and sincerely regret it. For example you may want higher areas for SPS Corals, and lower areas for LPS & Islands for corals that encrust and take over rocks, shady areas for other corals.

3. I personally do not run a sump, I wish I had my tank drilled so this was an option. I do get fed up of seeing all my equipment housed in my DT. Also you could run a refugium in a sump can will grow pods etc. and would be almost a small eco system in its self, again do some research.

4. I run a canister filter on my tank. I do not have trouble with nitrates or phosphates and if maintained properly are a good source of water movement and circulation. My current readings are phosphates ate undetectable and nitrate .2

5. TAKE IT SLOW. A successful tank is built on paitentce, research everything, ask peoples opinions.

Thanks Ian
 

StatelineReefer

New member
So no filter at all? I mean I have the filter, could I not just use it, or is there a reason for not using one.

Your rock is the biological filter in a reef aquarium. The 'live' part of live rock is the bacteria that colonizes the holes in the rock, not the sponges and stuff that come in on aquacultured stuff. As long as you have surface area for both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria to colonize, they will help you with the nitrogen cycle, converting ammonia to nitrites, nitrites to nitrates, and to a much more limited degree, nitrates into free nitrogen. Nitrates will still mostly need to be exported through water changes.

One changeover you may not be expecting coming from a freshwater background is all the bloody test kits. There's a test for everything. And they're all Critically Important â„¢. This is pure sarcasm, for the first few months of your tank, all you want is an ammonia kit and a nitrate kit.

Look into a good quality nano skimmer, and get one that's rated for 20-45 gallons. HOB stuff is fine, as long as you can tolerate the way it looks.

So to sum things up. Even with a 10 gallon nano, there are three things you ABSOLUTELY NEED!

Ready?

A tank...
Water...
And patience.

For everything else, you can ask us here. Most of us have either learned through doing, or through members on Reefcentral, or both...
 

garethwood

New member
lol a tank, water and patience : ) what u wont need is any more hair products most reefers go bald within the first year!
good luck.
oh and in reference to lights building your own led unit altho seems like a good idea and a cheap alternative.. when you start to add up it usually ends up costing a bomb. ide suggest just a 2 channel Chinese box you can get them for as little as £60 and im growing sps under mine : ) admittedly painfully slow but growing none the less.

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gone fishin

New member
Since you are starting with a 10g just be aware that it does not take much to upset the system.

that being said a few of my thoughts.

With a 10g you will severely limited to fish that you could keep. If there is a fish that you just have to have make sure it can be kept in a 10g. I personally would do one small fish. Live aquria has a nano fish section to give you some ideas.

Topping off, Will most likely need to be done everyday. Salt does not evaporate and it will not take much to elevate the salinity. Stability is key, I would look into an auto top off(ATO).

You do not need live sand to start. It is purely a personal preference, dry aragonite will become live eventually.

you do not need to add any bacteria in a bottle, again purely personal preference. an ammonia source will get you going.

If you feel like using the HOB filter go ahead just stay on top of the maintenance. Live rock will be you primary biological filter.

Finally it would help a lot to know your ultimate plan. Do you want coral if so what types, softies, LPS, SPS this will dictate what type of lighting and other equipment may be needed.

Good luck, just my 2 cents and welcome to the forum.
 

cinbos

New member
Since you are starting with a 10g just be aware that it does not take much to upset the system.



that being said a few of my thoughts.



With a 10g you will severely limited to fish that you could keep. If there is a fish that you just have to have make sure it can be kept in a 10g. I personally would do one small fish. Live aquria has a nano fish section to give you some ideas.



Topping off, Will most likely need to be done everyday. Salt does not evaporate and it will not take much to elevate the salinity. Stability is key, I would look into an auto top off(ATO).



You do not need live sand to start. It is purely a personal preference, dry aragonite will become live eventually.



you do not need to add any bacteria in a bottle, again purely personal preference. an ammonia source will get you going.



If you feel like using the HOB filter go ahead just stay on top of the maintenance. Live rock will be you primary biological filter.



Finally it would help a lot to know your ultimate plan. Do you want coral if so what types, softies, LPS, SPS this will dictate what type of lighting and other equipment may be needed.



Good luck, just my 2 cents and welcome to the forum.



I want to thank everyone for all of their input much appreciated. Planning for the switch is a bit daunting but I can honestly say the one thing I do have is patience, as well as the time. See, I work from home and plan to have this little tank in my office.

My over all is to start off slow. The last thing I want to do is rush in to anything.

Money wise, I am trying to stick with the items I have available. But obviously I will need to purchase a few items.

Good to know about the test kits. Thanks k you!

Still torn on weather I need a refractometer or a hydrometer. Any ideas?

I feel like the penguin 350 bio wheel will be able to provide enough current. But if I need anymore, I have a nano hydor circulation fan if needed.

One thing I tend to do a lot of on all my tanks is use a turkey baster to get remove debris or poo. I'll do this quite often, anytime I see some. Maybe it's the ocd in me lol. Will this be helpful?

Lastly, my plan is to simply start of as a fowlr tank. I have a buddy in town who will give me some dry rock and some live rock to help seed my tank. He even mentioned he will give me some substrate from his established tank. I assumed this will help with getting the tank going.

As for fish, I am certainly in no rush to get them. I understand the cycling process so. All good there.

Quick question before I end here, is distilled water roi water?

Thanks again to everyone and anyone else who helps me out!


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Mad_Reefer

New member
If 10 gallon is truely you max, don't expect much. Bigger is easier. For 10 gallons, buy some live rock, sand and a powerhead. Nothing else is needed. Put in a few easy corals and cuc, maybe some peppermint shrimp.
 

pisanoal

Premium Member
Distilled is not the same as RO/DI. That stands for Reverse Osmosis/Deionized water. Basically a filter set that runs water through a mechanical prefilter, some sort of carbon filter to remove organics/chlorine, a reverse osmosis membrane to get rid of most of the dissolved solids, and then a mixed bed resin (cation and anion resin) which will polish the water and remove the rest of the dissolved solids. Distilled water is better then tap, and will not have the salts in it, but there are volatile organics that can carry over into the distilled portion that may not be good for your tank. Distilled will probably be fine for a FOWLR and even most mixed reefs, especially if you keep up with weekly water changes.
 
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