some suggestions for a small tank: what are yours?


Staff member
RC Mod
if I were setting up a 20-or-less gallon, what I would do:
1. 30 lbs live rock. good grade.
2. 25 lbs medium grade aragonite sand.
3. 10 lbs specimen rocks--mushrooms, buttons, etc, discosomas and plain green buttons. Can go in as soon as cycled, but watch your ammonia and nitrate.
4. fish of the same scale. For my showpiece fish I'd have
a) either a yellow watchman or a firefish (take jump precautions with the firefish). And I'd prefer the watchman.
b) a yellowheaded jawfish
c) a couple of stonogobiops nematodes (highfin striped gobies)
d) a pep shrimp
e) one medium nassarius snail
f) 10 small hermits (scarlets)
g) 10 mixed trochus, turbo, cerith snails.
h) maybe some pumping xenia or kenya tree once your tank gets good and stable.

Everything is to scale, no fish has his nose up against the glass all the time. Other interesting fish on that scale: a ton of varieties of gobies, draculas, trimmas, clown gobies, etc. Plenty to watch, and in a healthy tank where everything is to scale, there's no great bioload since your largest fish is a detritus-eater (if you go with the watchman), and the little guys aren't shy about coming out of their burrows.

What are other suggestions for a 20-g-or-smaller?


New member
I think youre overshooting a bit with your numbers on rock and sand. Probably depends on where the rocks are from though. I'd recommend getting small rocks! I didnt do that and aquascaping was pretty much like 'well it fits this way or that way, we'll go with this way.'

I'd axe the jawfish unless that rule about the 6" sandbed is bogus. I dont have any exp with them but in most small tanks like that you dont have much height to start with.

I like the green clown goby. Alot of personality that fish has. Mine is named goober or just goob for short :D it likes to hide in my duncans.

I'd aslo recommend those (duncans) and trumpet coral for stoney corals. tough guys. IDK about any SPS havent tried them yet.

i second the xenia, kenya tree, peppermints and the scarlet hermits. I also bought green discosomas ($30 at petco! believe it or not!) as soon as my cycle was over and they've thrived ever since.

i think an AGA 10 gallon tank with the smallest of those CPR HOB refugiums with the built in skimmer (it just barely makes it) and 20" CF or t5 fixture is a good, inexpensive way to setup a small tank.


Staff member
RC Mod
Almost all my rocks are fist-sized, but about 6. One of the best rock arrangements for a small tank is Tonga branch coral, or branching coral rubble.

The pearly jawfish, which is the one I mean, stays quite small, (under 3") and mine, with my traveling sand, which ranges from 4" to 2", has made a nest in green-star polyp in the 2" end, by preference. I can't bring myself to take it away from her, though I'd like to trade in that coral! The BIG jawfish will need deeper sand, but the little pearly yellow-heads are tiny.