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-   -   Thinking about dabbling with a SW pico..? Complete beginner here. (

jennesque 11-24-2012 02:31 PM

Thinking about dabbling with a SW pico..? Complete beginner here.
I know they always say that nano/pico tanks take the most experience and dedication in comparison to a larger tank. I understand you've obviously got more room for error when it comes to the larger tanks.. so, maybe you guys will scare me out of even attempting this. At any rate, after building my planted 28gal and also a 2.3gal which I later transferred to a 6.6 gal tank.. the boyfriend has told me no more aquariums. I'm sure everyone on here can attest to how there's probably no such thing as too many tanks for an enthusiest, so I've been looking at options for what I could talk him into allowing me to house in my old 2.3gal tank.

My boyfriend loves pistol shrimp.. and I think they're neat looking too From what I'm reading- I can keep pistol shrimp in a 2.3gal tank! Is this true? If so, I've been dying to try out saltwater (I've had my planted tanks for a little over two years..). I'd love to have a small reef tank with some pistol shrimps and probably some snails. Is this possible?

I've been trying to do my research but I honestly know absolutely nothing about SW tanks so I don't know where to start. I've seen plenty of people pico tanks but I don't know who's setting up the tanks correctly and who's completely over stocked. (I saw someone with some fw angelfish in a 2.5 gal.. sooo I can only imagine there are similar travesties in the sw world).

I know that I need powerful lights. The tank is very shallow.. I think it's about 6-7" tall and it's about 18" long.. and then another 6" or so wide. (very nice footprint for being so small). I also know I'd need probably power head, right? But then I'm kinda lost at live rock (I know vaguely what it is and the benefits).. live sand.. and then would I be covering the rocks with frags? Also.. do I need a heater, or a fan?

Just trying to get a brief overview before I go bother and price things out at my local LFS. I know the manager there will be excited, he's been trying to get me to set up a SW tank for a while. He says I am dedicated and should be ready.

Reefing Madness 11-24-2012 03:05 PM

Unfortunately, No, you can't keep a Pistol Shrimp in a 2g tank, as they will do better with a Goby to tag along with. Kinda like a Clown and a Anemone, they don't need each other but do better with each other. Also, depending on which Pistol Shrimp you get, they do get some size to them also. 10g minimum is what I would suggest.
You also do not need strong lighting is your just going with a Fish Only Tank. A Reef or Mixed Reef is a different story. Again, here I'd not go anything less than 10g.
Here is the Salt Water Check List:

#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.

#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.

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Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle and cycling. Methods for ammonia, nitrite removal.

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What Your Coral Needs | Successful Reef Keeping

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Aquarium Salt Mix: Salt for Saltwater and Freshwater Fish Aquariums

jennesque 11-27-2012 05:50 PM

OK, thank you. This is a WONDERFUL start. I appreciate this. :)

I'm now thinking that switching my 6.6 gal to a nano reef is probably better... not that it's much larger, but it is over twice the size. It'll be easier to find a 24" light fixture than an 18" one though.

Or is 6.6 too small too? Haha. I've seen even 1gal reef tanks. I'd love a reef tank even if I can only keep some cleaner crew in it.

Couple more questions.. which should probably wait until after I read. Sorry.

I found a list of nano fish on a reef forum.. I'm assuming they know (somewhat) what they're talking about. They do list some gobies that can go in like 3-5 gallons (though not the kind that pair with pistol shrimp, I did research that).. and also they said a clown (or at least they listed two clown species.. not sure how many there are, I'll look in that more later) that they said can be kept in 6-8 gallon tanks. Do you guys feel a clown fish would be happy in the 6.6 gal? The dimensions of the tank are 8.13"L x 24"W x 9.25"H so there's a decent foot print to the tank, but obviously not much height. Not sure if a clown would be unhappy... If a clown is not an option, is it OK to keep one of the smaller gobies in there? I understand they are less active swimmers and mainly hang out by their little den.

Lastly, how necessary is RO water if the GH of my tap is about 3.. I can easily get RO from my LFS if it's necessary..

I'm off to read some more now. :)
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evanlundberg4 11-27-2012 06:45 PM

That size would be a little better. You'd be maxed at one fish though and that's one small fish. I'd really do your research and make sure you can be dedicated to doing the necessary maintenance. Definitely make sure you have that thing good and established before you add any fish. That small of a tank has like no room for error. Other than that people do nano tanks all the time. My LFS has a 5 gallon with a little goby and a couple corals. They also had a baby clown fish with an anemone for a while but I think they outgrew the tank.
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Reefing Madness 11-27-2012 06:54 PM

Your not going to be able to keep any Marine fish in a 6g tank, the tank is just to small. Gotta draw the line somehwere. Reef tank is what you'll be looking at, and if we are talking Reef, you will need Distilled watr or RO or RO/DI. Its not the GH thats the problem, its all the other garbage thats in tap water.

jennesque 11-27-2012 06:54 PM

Yes.. I think I will have it up an running a while before I do add any fish if I do. Don't want to experiment on any fish! The clown (or false clown?) I was reading about are the Ocellaris Clownfish and the Percula Clownfish. Reading up I think an anemone in the tank might proof to be very difficult, but they are supposed to be fine without one.

And yes, I would only be keeping one fish. It's got a nice foot print but I do still realize it's pretty small.

I've been reading through a few nano reef builds others have done with the tank. Picking out corals seems.. difficult. I'll probably be relying heavily on my LFS for help with that.

Reefing Madness replied at the same time I was posting. Thank you, that does make sense on the RO water. I was thinking that had something to do with it. So, if my water were like.. pure glacier spring water I might get by. I'm in SC so it's obviously not glacier water. I will definitely stick with RO water in that case.

I'm seeing a lot of people with very small fish.. small gobies.. those clowns.. some other fish too. I also read of people just getting like 3 sexy shrimp in the tank since they're apparently very interesting. I've even seen dwarf seahorse tanks.. but that requires hatching brine shrimp every single say.

I will look at the shrimp and such when I go to my LFS tomorrow. I was originally considering making this a dwarf FW shrimp tank so it's not like keeping SW shrimp would be much different (as far as me finding it interesting.. obviously, the care is much different). I have never paid too much attention to the SW section at my LFS because every time I look at the fish I want a 55+ gal reef tank. I don't have the funds or space for that though.
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