Hello all! My name is Amanda and I have MTS. I have been keeping freshwater tanks for about a year now (75 gallon planted community, 30 gallon planted with 2 SAPs, 5 gallon male betta, and 10 gallon snail tank to feed the piggy puffers) and have decided to take the plunge into saltwater. I have been researching for months and buying equipment here and there. My husband has let me turn our formal living room into the aquarium room, how lucky am i!!!
I want to do a 10 gallon nano reef. So far here is my equipment:
10 gallon tank
Hydor pico evo mag circulation pump 180 GPH ( i bought 2 of these, one for mixing the RO/DI water and salt)
Current USA Nova extreme 2xT5HO saltwater light (36 watts 1x18watt 12k daylight, 1x18 watt 460 nm actinic)
Rio nano skimmer rated at 110 gph
API Saltwater master test kit
Marineland visitherm heater 75 watt
Caribsea Arag-alive special grade reef sand 10lb
API reef master test kit (im slightly OCD about water params)
100 GPD 5 stage RO/DI system
Elos aquarium kit for Magnesium
10lbs of Instant Ocean sea salt
Some of the stuff is still being shipped to me so I am waiting until I have everything I need and then I am buying 10-15lbs of live rock.
Here's my plan. I'm going to mix my RO/DI water up with a powerhead and heater in 2 5 gallon buckets (how long does this need to mix? overnight? until dissolved?) After I have all the saltwater I need at all the right paramaters, I will lay my sandbed (wanting about 1 1/5-2 inches) and began aquascaping my LR ( I will have the base of the LR directly on the glass and put the sand around it). Here is another question, do i do this with some water in the tank or do i just do it as quickly as possible with no water and get water in it when done? (our vision is to have 2 10 gallon and 1 20 gallon nano reef tanks in the aquarium room. The 20 will be in the middle with kind of a wall of LR and corals with the 2 10 gallons on each side with their LR sloping up towards the 20 gallon tank. if that makes sense...)
Once i have it aquascaped and filled up, Im going to leave it alone and let it cycle for however long it takes. I know that with the amount of live sand and LR I plan to have I may not even see a cycle, but regardless I will wait atleast a month-2 months before moving on.
Next I will add my clean up crew. This is where I have ran into some hangups... to hermit crab or not to hermit crab. I have read the pros and cons from a couple of different places, but I just dont know... They are cute lil buggers. As of right now I am looking at this set up:
4 astraea snails
3 margarita snails
3 nassarius snails
1 blue leg hermit
2 scarlet reef hermits
1 peppermint shrimp
As for corals, I am not planning anything crazy until I am sure I got a grip on keeping my water params in close check (I'm mainly concerned with the salinity seeing as it's such a small tank. I live in alabama so my house stays at 72 degrees all the time. My freshwater tanks stay at 78 degrees constantly, I've never had a problem there. I plan to top off daily with RO/DI water and carefully monitor salinity as well as everything else. The water maintenance is one of my favorite things about fishkeeping. Am I nuts?) I don't think I want anything seen as a "weed" coral so no xenia and no GSP. I would like some mushrooms and ricordea. Maybe some leathers and somewhere down the line meat coral ( I LOVE these things lol). What do you all think?
I have planned long and hard for this and hope to start next week. Any suggestions? Does my setup and plan seem legit? Any foreseeable problems? Anything I am missing? I value the opinion of this site's members greatly and can't wait to hear your thoughts and opinion! Thanks for taking the time to read my book lol.
Also, how do you guys keep your mixed saltwater? Do you always have some mixed and stored or do you mix it as a need basis? If storing, what is the best way and wouldn't that cause some problems with evaporation and salinity? I'm trying my best to cover all my bases.