new 10 gallon reef tank
I have had a 30 gallon salt water tank for a about a year now and was wanting to start a small reef tank. I had to learn too many things the hard way with my first tank as I had no one but local store employees to help me. I just found this forum and was hoping for your help in starting this new tank. Assume I know nothing; I'd much rather have too much information than too little. I'd like to know what kind of powerhead/filtration system, etc. I will need, how many pounds (10 gallon tank) and what kind of sand at the bottom, how much live rock, and some good starting procedures on getting it through the first cycle (like what levels of the different compounds I could have). Also, it would be helpful to know some good inverts that I can use once I get it started. Money isn't much of an issue, but it doesn't need to win any awards either. Thank you so much, I've read how much you have helped other people and am looking forward to your input.
Re: new 10 gallon reef tank
In shopping for aquariums I went to the nanotuners website and found a little 9 gallon one that I like. Here are the specifications:
From Aquamedic, nanotuners is proud to offer the Nanowave 9. Featuring a dazzling array of the most common features nano reefers look for.
2 x 24w Light
Unique Quad Filter
Refugium w/ Light
Venturi Protein Skimmer
3 LED Moonlights
Powerful recirculation pump
Length - 16"
Width - 16"
Height - 14"
Capacity - 9 Gallons
Return Pump - 125 GPH
Tank Lighting 1 x 24w Power Compact 10K
Tank Lighting 1 x 24w Power Compact 7100K Blue
Refugium Lighting - 5w Power Compact 6500K
Moonlights: - 3 x 1W LED
Skimmer Pump - 125 GPH
Would I need any other hardware that doesn't come with the aquarium?
Before I answer your question, can I ask, please.. what kind of animals are you wanting to keep? Before you spend your money, you might want to make sure you are aware of what will fit into a 9 gallon tank.
In 9 gallons you will be limited to something like 1 shrimp goby or clown goby, or something of equivelant size and needs if you want any fish at all. For corals, while you may have lighting and filtration and such conditions for most anything, many of these animals will grow really fast in a good environment, and they tend to take over the tank... in a small tank this happens quickly. Some of the sturdier corals such as capnella, will drop it's own babies into the substrate and rocks around it, where they will take hold and grow quick. I kept one at the store that dropped about 5 - 7 frag pieces each month, it was in 10 gallons and it took over the entire 1/2 of the tank. We ended up having to clip it back and sell the frags to get rid of them. Mushrooms are another popular beginner coral, and these also will rule a small tank quick. Most of the commonly found mushrooms can get up to 5 - 6 inches in diameter before they're done, and once happy, they spread like wildfire. Picture a 9 gallon tank with three mushrooms, 5 inches around each... no room for anything else...
Instead there are slower growing animals such as a few of the leathers, and stony corals, but if wanting the stonys, then lighting would maybe need to change from what you listed in that setup. The lighting listed may sustain them, I will have to look that up. That tank is shallow enough to grow almost anything well, which means it would outgrow the tank quick... are you sure you wouldn't consider going a little bigger in tank size? 20 gallons would still be much easier.
Overall, if you're wanting the 9 gallons, everything listed there should get you started. Most skimmers built to handle a tank that size don't work very well, so you may find you'll have to do the work manually. This is common with a nano reef.
Fish aren't that important to me in this tank as I have another 30 gallon tank that is fish only. I really just wanted the corals and things like that, which ironically I have never raised and know very little about, so when it gets to that point I'll probably just get what you tell me to. And I would love to have a larger tank, if nothing else then for stability's sake, but there are four of us living in this 3 bedroom apartment and space just won't allow. There is only one 16" by 20" spot in my room where I can put a tank. If you think it will be that difficult to create a nice tank of that size then I can always wait and see if my parents want one in their house that I can set up over the summer and visit (I'm in college). Don't worry, 2 of my roommates are staying to take care of our animals here over the summer months. The list of lighting, filtration, etc. above is all what comes with the aquarium for $120.00 (no shipping charges!), which seemed like a good deal. I was kind of worried about the lights getting too hot though, I didn't see anything that mentioned cooling fans...
Yes, heat is something to take into account. When preparing for a reef tank, lighting is going to be about your most expensive and most important need. Unfortunately, heat is an issue with most higher end lighting, and this will build quick in such a small tank. There are 2 options, both will cost you, but one not as much as the other. The cheap way out would be to purchase the set up, store those lights for a future tank, and then purchase a T5 unit. In a tank less than 20 inches deep, T5 will offer you everything you need for light requirements, minus the heat issues. Expect to pay as much for a T5 fixture with bulbs as what you will be spending on the rest of that set up (or slightly more), or install a chiller, which would run all the time. Chillers will run you on average between $200 - $400 for a tank that size, depending on where you are located and what is avaliable there. The other expense is in running the chiller, which will take your electric bill up a few notches, no way around that.
If this were mine I would consider either the T5 lighting, or waiting until you can set up a larger tank somewhere else. If you set up a tank at your parent's house, be prepared to have someone around to monitor and clean it regularly. Water testing, additions of things like Calcuim, Iodine, etc... and at very least at least 1 water change/wk will still be needed.
As much as you may want a reef tank right now, maybe this isn't the type of thing to get into yet? This is a long term commitment, and it is work... and because you are dealing with live animals, those 2 things can't be taken lightly.
Yea, I don't think I would like being away from my tank anyway, so I think I'll just plan on getting one here. And I've never worried about the commitment factor, I have the personality that has slight OCD tendencies and has to see everything through. Even if I wanted get lazy I wouldn't be able to let myself.
I found another tank with most of the same hardware but it includes cooling fans. It's twelve gallons, but no protein skimmer, but you said it wouldn't work that well anyway, so I'm not that worried about it. The lighting is the same, so I think I'm going to get that one and I'll just have to see how well the fans actually work and get a new light later if they can't keep it cool.
I just realized you had written things in that white box in the first reply. I originally just read the first line and then skipped it thinking it was just what I had said all over again. Using my already established aquarium's water is a brilliant idea, and I'll definitely do that. I've thought about it some more and I like blue leg hermit crabs, so probably a few of them, some margarita snails, a sand star and a brittle star, and a dwarf feather duster. I found most of these things at a website called liveaquaria.com, who I have ordered from before and everything went well the first time. They also offer a "nano coral pack" that caught my eye. It includes:
Toadstool Mushroom Leather
Thin Finger Leather
Spaghetti Finger Leather
Tree Coral, Assorted
I assume, since these are made for nano reefs, that these are all either slow-growing, don't form large colonies, or just don't get that big. Thoughts.... By the way, thanks again, I really appreciate your help.
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