2.5 gallon pico reef
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2.5 gallon pico reef

This is a discussion on 2.5 gallon pico reef within the Nano Reef forums, part of the Advanced Saltwater Discussion category; --> Hi! I am a complete newbie to saltwater and have very limited knowledge in this area, to I'm trying to gobble up as much ...

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Old 02-11-2013, 10:29 PM   #1
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2.5 gallon pico reef

Hi! I am a complete newbie to saltwater and have very limited knowledge in this area, to I'm trying to gobble up as much info as possible. I'm considering setting up a 2.5 gallon pico tank. I would put live rock and gravel, 1 clown goby, some of those micro hermits, and some small polyps/coral. I'm not really sure on what specific types of hermit or corals would work so please let me know about that.
Also, when looking at pico tanks, some of them had filtration systems about 2x the size of the actual tank! I have a simple 3 gallon air powered sponge filter and was wondering if that could be used to filer the tank. (sorry if that is a stupid question)
Any other advice or input is greatly appreciated, like I said I'm a complete newbie to this!
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:57 PM   #2
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Oh, just did some more research. How does this sound? 1 pom pom crab
1clown goby
2 sexy anemone shrimp(or just one)
What do you guys think? Any other stocking ideas? how about corals?
Also, I hear HOB filters are good for pico reefs, what's the diff between this and a sponge filter.

I know my facts for fw... but now I'm entering uncharted territory!

Thanks a ton!
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:24 PM   #3
No fish, the tank isn't big enough. Maybe a hermit, possibly 2, maybe a shrimp, thats about it.

#1-Dry Rock, there are a few hitchhikers on Live Rock that people want to stay away from, so they opt for using Dry Rock, or Dead Rock. Macro Rock is a good place to start looking for that. Either way you go you will need a minimum of 1lb per gallon. You can use Fully Cured Live Rock, and have the tank cycled in just a few days also. Other way is to use just a couple of pounds of Live Rock and the rest Macro or Dry Rock.
#2-Replacement filter media like filter floss and activated carbon (if you get a filter) Which is really not necessary.
#3-Multiple Power heads (2 or 3) 10x your water volume for just a Fish Only With Live Rock, and at least 20x your water volume for a Reef Tank. So lets say your going reef, and you have a 100g tank, you would need flow in that tank at minimum of 2000gph, or 2 1000gph power heads.
#4-Protein Skimmer, rated at 2 times your water volume. Unless your tank is under 30g, in which case you can do 10% water changes a week to rid the system of detrius. But, you'll have to watch the water parameters close, if things go haywire, you'll have to do more water changes.
#5-Saltwater Test Kits. Reef Test Kit. Test for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, PH, Phosphates, Calcium, ALK and Magnesium.
#6-Saltwater fish food. Mysis Shrimp, Squid, Cyclopease, Algae Sheets, Romaine . Flake food is not really a good food to feed your marine fish.
#7-Aquarium vacuum. This one is iffy. Most don't use one, if you have enough flow in the tank you won’t need one
#8-Rubber kitchen gloves
#9-Fish net
#10-Two, clean, never used before, 5-gallon buckets
#11-Aquarium thermometer, digital being the best.
#12-Brush with plastic bristles (old tooth brush) - needed for cleaning the live rock if you don't get Fully Cured Live Rock.
#13-Power Strip, possibly GFCI outlets by the tank.
#14-Optional but definitely recommend getting a Reverse Osmosis or RO/Deionization filter for the make-up water, and a barrel for storing the water.
#15-Possibly a Quarantine Tank for your new fish. They sit in here for a few weeks to kill off parasites and bacteria, to keep it from getting in your main tank
#16-Heater rated for your size tank.
#17-Saltwater Mix. Marine Salt. Instant Ocean is the cheap Salt that beginners and Advanced use alike.
#18-Saltwater Hydrometer or even better a Refractometer, which is more accurate. There is also a Digital Meter that is way advanced if you have the cash.
#19-Aquarium filter (not absolutely necessary if running with adequate amounts of live rock, but nice to have if you need to use a mechanical filter or activated carbon, or GFO and such)
#20-Aquarium substrate such as live sand or crushed coral. Some go bare Bottom, others choose the 2-3" bottom, others, more advanced will try the Deep Sand Bed, which is over 6" deep.
Volusion Demo Store
Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle and Cycling. Methods for Ammonia, Nitrite Removal.
aquarium heater in Aquarium & Fish | eBay
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MarcoRocks Aquarium Products
Bulk Dry Live Rock & Live Sand - Bulk Reef Supply
Live Rock and Live Sand: Live Saltwater Aquarium Rock and Sand
Fish & Aquarium Supplies: Marine Substrates, Sand, Crushed Coral, Live Sand
Aquarium Lighting, Light Information; Reef & Planted, PAR, Watt, Kelvin.
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Aquarium Water Testing: Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Reef Master Liquid Test Kit
Reef Aquarium Care: Kent Marine Liquid Calcium Supplement
Saltwater Aquarium Buffer: Kent Marine Superbuffer-dKH pH Buffer and Alkalinity Builder
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:55 PM   #4
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Thanks for the response! so, no fish? Are the pompoms and sexies ok though? What kind of corals would be good?
I would prefer live rock because it will cycle the tank and help stabalize the tank.
I thought that protein skimmers and powerheads were not needed for such a tiny reef. Is the powerhead just for circulation, because I think the filter would work to achieve the same purpose.
What is the purpose of RO water?
Is special lighting necassary, or can you use regular desktop lighting like with freshwater aquarihms?
Thanks for the thorough respnse and sorry for so many questions!!!
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:31 AM   #5
Powerheads are for water movement. And you still need water movement in such a small tank. The bacteria in the Live Rock will take care of your nutrient issues, to a degree. I would not advise using a filter, its not necessary, thats what the Live Rock is for. You don't need a skimmer on that tank, but you will need to keep up on water changes to keep your Nitrates at acceptable levels.
The shrimp and crab you have chosen will be fine.
RO water is clean water, and doesn't have all the heavy metal and garbage in it that tap water contains. And using such a small tank, it would be advisable to use it.
If you plan on keeping corals, you will need the special light, as corals need more than just the normal desk lamp to thrive.
Kenya Trees
Button Polyps
Green Star Polyps
Palm Tree Polyps
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:49 PM   #6
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I love the button polyps and kenya trees! How many watts per gallon of light do corals like these need.
I'm still confused about the powerhead though. Since I allready have a filter I could use, wouldn't that be just as good? If the issue is the carbon and stuff in the filter inserts, what if I left that out? I could just use a sponge or even an empty filter used for the sole purpose of water circulation.
What do you think of the crabs and shrimp I mentioned?
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:03 PM   #7
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Ok, I decided!
Here's what I'm going to get:
1 yellow clown goby
1 dwarf blue leg hermit
1 pom pom crab
zoa frag
green star colony
xenia frag
live rock(and whatever critters are on it)
live sand
10 watt LED multi color/dimmable bulb
thermometer/hydrometer combo
8x12x6 tank
instant ocean salt
frozen mysis shrimp and bloodworms for food

Yeah, I think that's it! I'll add the live sand first and a dead rock. It'll cycle for awhile then I'll add live rock(I don't want to kill the bonus hitchiker corals). Later the hermit, then pom pom, fish last!
I think this combo will work out great, please let me know if you see any compatibility issues or if I'm forgetting anything!
ThanksA ton!
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:37 AM   #8
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hey! just checking back in to update! This pico has been a great sucess! I love it so much! It is stocked with:
nassarius snail
margarita snails
nerite snail
micro brittles
hermit crabs
and I'm still waiting on some sexies!
I updated the filter to a 5-15hob. my light is working out well and all my corals are growing.
thanks for helping me get of to a good, cautious, start!
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Last edited by wake49; 05-13-2013 at 08:23 AM..
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:04 PM   #9
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Where did all my pictures go? I've been posting pictures in my replies...oh well. Here is a new one since I rescaped. I got a Pom Pom crab too and many new corals. Please let me know what you think!
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:20 AM   #10
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Hmm? Whatcha think?
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