What are the mins I need to set-up a frag growout tank?


New member
I am sorry about this post. I am sure it has been covered, but I cannot find the thread, so I am hoping someone can lead me to a good solution.

First off, let me say, I now understand why people say "when you start a reef tank, you don’t just get one tank". These things multiply and fast. I now have my display tank, my QT tank and now I am looking to do a frag tank.

My main desire to do this is, I have a lot of small starter corals that are getting picked on by my clean-up crew and not growing or opening up like they should. I figure if I grow them out in a frag tank for a while, I can get them to a size where the cleaners won't mess with them. This a good idea? Also, this gives me a QT tank for my corals, and a place to frag off pieces for trade as my display gets more mature.

So, with that said, what are the mins I can get away with and still have a decent frag tank?

I was thinking just a simple bare bottom 25-30 gallon tank with some egg create stands, maybe a few live rocks, a koralina 1 or 2 for current, a small sump with live rock rubble and a simple return pump.

I cannot see a reason for a chiller or any fancy equipment on this set-up.

So, I think I should be ok with a simple lighting system, maybe a t5 24 inch with a 14k bulb, or a PC set-up, something low power.

Does the temperature of the light affect the coral much? I am running 10ks in my display because it is what came with the Halide set-up, but am wondering if moving to 14ks would help, if so, I would want to start with that in the frag tank.

Do I really need a skimmer? I was not planning on any fish in this tank, so there should not be much waste, no more than a micro filter pad could handle.

If I pull rubble and water from my display, I would think I should not need to cycle it since there would already be all the bacteria that I should need to support coral correct?

Any info on this topic is much appreciated.

Thanks as always
You may miss the chance to have a Q tank but the best thing in my opinion will be to connect it to the main system with just a recirculation pump from your sump to the frag tank and drain back to sump on an independent loop. You will save on equipment and be able to get a larger tank with better lighting. In any case I would not use the Frag tank as a Q tank as your frags may get contaminated.
I have no room for a seperate tank under my display tank, the inside of my cabinet looks like the inside of a space shuttle.

I was thinking of doing a no frills frag tank in my garage with a DIYS stand. So the equipment I would save by putting this under my main tank is basicly the sump, which I can build my self and maybe a skimmer.

Im mainly just trying to get it so I can get a zoa frag to attch to a rock and grow out some before placing it in my display, because as it is now, every time I try to get a frag to attach, my stupid hermits come along and eat the glue and dislodge the frag, now I get to play treasure hunter and find a 5 to 10 zoa frag chip that is floating around inside of a 180 gallon tank with 300+ lbs of live rock.

The last frag they did that to cost me over $100 and I still cant find it. So I want to avoid that ever happening again, and a grow out tank is really the only thing I can think of.
If you can connect it I would do so. Assuming you keep your tank parms stable it will help your frag growth. Having a frag tank but not having proper or stable alk/calc/ph/temp/water level would defeat the purpose.

As for going cheap, scour the used equipment forum or your local reef club. I picked up a drilled 40g breeder for $50. Got a used skimmer, sump, powerheads, heater, live rock and return pump. You can often pick up used MH fixtures or T5s.

I used a skimmer (used of course) on mine but I have a few fish in there. Remember fish poop = coral food. As for lighting IMHO it depends if you'll be using this to grow out frags or to sell/trade them as well. If just growing out, go 6500 or 10k bulbs. Color will be lousy but they will grow like beasts. They will color up when you move them to your main tank. If you'll be selling/tradeing the right out of the frag tank, either go higher watt bulbs and higher kelvin (14-20k) or get a 10k and supplement with T5s. STill get decent growth and they will look pretty. Most of the online sites that sell corals show them under 400w 20k bulbs and an HQI ballast.