I've never had a saltwater tank before, but lately I've gotten very interested. My house isn't big enough for a large tank (no more than 20 gallons).
So I've been looking into nano tanks (15-20 gallons, or less). I read that they're not good for beginners, because the environment in so small, and it's hard to keep the water balanced. Can anyone tell me anything about this?
Another thing is you can't keep as many fish (obviously). I don't think this would be a problem for me, I can do with only 1 or 2 fish.
The good things about nanos are:
They are small so they can be kept many places a larger tank couldn't,
They do not always require a special stand
They are easy to move
Much smaller investment
The equipment costs less
It's easier to observe fish closely in smaller environment
Less fish, coral, live rock, etc required
You are not constantly restocking
Reduced cleaning time/smaller water changes
Donâ€™t use as much food/treatments
Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
What fish/corals/inverts would go well in a beginner's small tank?
Is there anything I should know about nanos? Like I said, I am a complete beginner at this :)
I think the good outways the bad, but it basically depends on the person that wants to start one. If you have limited space then it's a perfect set-up. It also depends on what kind of fish/invertabrates you want to keep and how many. It you want to only keep a small number, then a Nano would work out, if you want to keep a lot, then you would need a bigger tank. It soley depends on what you want to do.
The thing that hesitates me from starting really small tanks, is the stability. I mean sure you would use less trace elements, salts, meds, and all that stuff, but you have to pay more attention to how much you are putting in, and keeping an eye on them since the amount of water is small. Also many people think you save money but the amount of money spent in comparison to the size doesn't seem like you're saving much to me.
Nanos can be a great, unique way to get into saltwater aquariums. With the proper planning, research, and daily attention they can be quite rewarding.
Some good starting fish would be banggai cardinals, pajama cardinals, clown gobies, damsels, basslets, there are many more but these are a few of the hardy types for beginners. A "clean-up crew" would be a good addition for your nano, they keep algae, detribus, and other wastes at bay. This includes...small hermit crabs, tubro snails, astrea snails. Try not to go over 1 snail per 1-2 gallons, and one crab per 3-5 gallons. Shrimp also contribute to cleaning the tank. Fire shrimp and the Skunk cleaner shrimp would be good additions. I heard that they can also eat Ick parasites, which is very beneficial. For corals you may have to do some reasearch of your own, since there are so many different types that need different conditions, especially light. And steer clear of the corals that have sweeper tentacles if you plan on keeping a group of corals.
Thanks for the reply.
I was thinking of having soemthing like: 1 clown fish, 1 fire shrimp, 1 starfish (haven't researched much about them yet though), maybe a goby (don't know about them either), and some snails. And of course live rock. This is just general, I really will go with whatever would be best.
Can clowns be kept in a nano? Are they good for beginners?
What are the lighting and filter requirements for saltwater? What other equipment would be needed (protien skimmer?)?
I didn't know how vast my lack of understanding SW is until now :shock:
And how, exactly, is the water less stable? I'm not saying I don't believe you, just I don't understand. :?
So, it would be better then to start with a larger tank? For some reason I thought a smaller tank would be easier. It's easier to see what's going on, easier to clean, less fish to worry about, etc. :?
Yeah, Clown fish are good for nanos and for beginners, they are pretty hardy.
Are you planning on getting live rock/sand? These will aid in the filtration. I would recommend going the "all natural" way in filtration. You don't really need a protein skimmer, instead you could just do partial water changes weekly to remove trace elements. I would add 1 or 2 powerheads to get the water cirulating. Maybe aim for a flow rate of about 7-10 times the tanks total volume. For lighting I would recommend Power compact retrofit, this website gives a few examples. They can get kind of pricey...
Hmm...some other equipment you're going to need is, reef salt (obviously) and a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity. Also a heater, maybe 50 or 75W to get the temp up to about 78 degrees.
Once you get the salt mixed in the water, add the live rock THEN the sand.
What I meant by less stability was the idea that when you have smaller tanks, it has less water. Everything is diltuted into a smaller volume of water so it can easily be affected. Smaller water volumes are more suseptable to temperature changes, ammonia/nitrite/nitrate spikes. Larger tanks just provide a lot more room for temperature to be distibuted and, toxic wastes and trace elements to be diluted, making changes A LOT more gradual as opposed to a smaller water volume, whihc puts less stress on the fish.
But for the nano, if you keep an eye on the parameters and such, it shouldn't be a problem. It was just a precaution. :)
The main problems are that when the water evaps it condenses the salinity, salt does not evaporate. You will need to either run an auto top off or plan to add makeup water daily. It's simple enough, don't worry. You said "Much smaller investment ". Well I disagree. It's like anything, the more you put into it, the more you get out. I've seen 10g tanks that cost several thousand dollars to set up. It isn't necessary though. Keep in mind that a larger tank will keep it's temp, PH, ALk, and salinity stable for a longer period. It could take all day to show a degree or two change in temp in a hundred galloon tank but could fluctuate in minutes in a smaller tank. Again it's not a reason to stop you from trying. I have a really stable 7g running with only some rock, aragonite, PC lighting and a little HOT filter. All in all the setup would run you $150 new, and that 's a nice curved tank. You might want to start with a JBJ nano 12g and do the upgrades available when you have the money or the time, and as needed. I say go for it. Sounds like a nice Xmas gift.
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