Starting a 5 gallon Pico tank from scratch


Active member
Hi guys it's been a long time since I've been on reef Central and a long time since I had my multitude of reef tanks. I am in a position now to begin to get back into the hobby. I do have a lot of experience so I'm confident that this project will turn out. A lot of new products are now out since I was last in the hobby. So far I have made a few decisions I will have a sand and rubble base. The tank will house invertebrates and perhaps a green clown goby and perhaps something else small. I am repurposing a standard rectangular 5 gallon glass tank that has so far only contained my betta fish. So this will be a complete conversion but on a budget. So far I found a light that I think might work which is 21 watts of LED blue and white 46 LEDs total. It fits perfectly over the top of my tank. I am trying to consider my options for a filter and am on a tight budget so I'm looking for recommendations that can be adapted to the tank without partitioning the tank. Basically I'm stuck with hang on back type filters. I want to make sure I have enough flow but not too much flow. What guidelines would you recommend? Do you think that the lighting is enough? Like I said I am on a budget doing this to start with so nothing too fancy for me. My last nano tank was only 1 gallon but I had my 500 gallons that I could easily do water changes between and move things around with.
eventually I'd like to see something along the lines of the following as livestock:
6 lbs live figi rock

Green clown goby

Scarlett shrimp

Blue legged Hermit crabs

Turbo snails


Pulsing xenia



Coco worm or tube anenome
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Looking forward to seeing how this turns out! I think the lighting you mentioned will be plenty for the type of corals you are looking to keep.