15 gallon beginners tank ; appreciate any input
I've just decided to make the leap form freshwater into saltwater...I've been learning a bit from this site and here is my idea for my love rock and 1-2 fish tank.
-1 cleaned 15 gallon long aquarium
-2 20-40 gallon aqua tech power filters
-a powerhead I bought at Walmart, i'm not sure of the model
-2 50 watt heaters
-I know I'll be needing to buy a hydrometer, and a ph testing kit
-I also plan on buying 15 pounds of live sand and I'll be getting RO water from a local pet store. A cheap salt brand would be greatly appreciated.
-In terms of lighting, I'll be getting the Current USA Nova Extreme T5 24" system from my LFS for $60.
I'm going to start with mixing the marine salt and the RO water with the powerhead in a 5 gallon bucket. I'm presuming that I'm going to be checking the salinity to make sure its about 1.025 each of the 3 times I put the saltwater in my tank. After putting on the filters, powerhead, heaters, and adding the water, I'm going to let the tank run for 3-5 days.Then, i'll add the sand and let that run for another few days while keeping the system at the appropriate temperature, ph, and salinity levels. With love rock, I figure I'll use about twelve pounds with another few pounds of "dead rock" thats cured from my LFS. I'm going to wait 4-6 weeks with everything running and siphon out any dead matter on the bottom of the tank. Any input on the lighting during the 4-6 weeks and afterwards is appreciated too (i'm thinking about 8 hours a day with the 24 watt actinic blue lamp and 10 watt white bulb). An employee told me the fixture was for sale and would be perfect for most low-medium light corals. After I can get the nitrite and ammonia levels to zero, and maintaining a ph of about 8.4,I'll add 1 small clownfish and another small fish that stays small if I can. I'll also get a small shrimp and I believe I'll need some snails as well. A water change every other day or every day seems to be the usual. Should I do 10-20% each time?
Thank you for any input, I know I should buy a book or 2 soon to get a better idea of this awesome hobby.
Don't bother with power filters.
Get circulation with powerheads and let the live rock do the rest.
Don't skimp on the salt, it makes a big difference.
Daily water changes are too often and can upset the balance. 20-30% a week should be fine.
I would recommend a small skimmer and/or an algae scrubber too. It will make EVERYTHING easier..
Good luck with the build. You will get some excellent info from some of the posters here.
Thanks for all the suggestion so far. Frank you must be a JETS fan...
I'm going to buy an adequate protein skimmer and I'll buy high quality salt. I think I'l keep one power filter on without any kind of filter or carbon just to keep current moving on top along with the power head. I've read about calcium and alkalinity tests and I'll buy those as well. I suppose I'll just read as much as I can until around Christmas when I'll assemble everything I need. I'm on a moderate budget so please give me input with that in mind.
Post anything you have to add here really. I'm an intelligent guy and I'm more into creating a successful, functional system than overloading a tank and killing fish and time. I already do that spearfishing..
This can be done as long as you stick to what we say step-by-step. Don't deviate because you got anxious or bored. The sooner you can get water, live rock and live sand in that tank the sooner you can get it to mature.
With a fifteen gallon tank, you will have a lot more maintenance than a tank two or three times its size. Your fish selection is very limited. You can keep one or two small fish, a few inverts and a few corals.
Right now you should be researching, and buying equipment. The light sounds good for that size tank. The filter is ok if you are using it strictly for water movement and activated carbon. If its a carbon pad, make sure you clean it regularly, so no detritus builds up on it. Otherwise, a bag of activated carbon is better. Can you post a pic of the powerhead? What is it rated for?
For sand, either do less than 1", or 4"-6". In between becomes a detritus trap. 4-6" (Deep Sand Bed, or DSB) is good for added denitrification. For Live Rock, 1-1/2 lbs per gallon is a good rule of thumb, but generally you want it to look like a good amount. Sometimes you buy more dense rock and you need more.
This is the timeline you will go by: First: fill tank with water, salt, live sand and live rock. You can buy base/dry rock, as long as you have about 1/3 Live Rock. Same with the sand. The live rock will seed the base rock. Make sure there is flow in the tank. Second: NitrItes and Ammonia read zero. NitrAtes can have a reading, hopefully less than 5ppm. Third: Diatom Bloom. It looks like your tank gets rusty, with a coating over your rocks and sand. Fourth: The presence of Microfauna, such as copepods and amphipods. Also coraline algae will start to grow on your rocks and glass.
At this point, you can add a few hermits or snails. We will be helping you through the process, so update us as you go.
The list of eqipment should include:
-Alkaliity, Calcium, Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia and pH test kits
-A hydrometer or refractometer. A refractometer is more reliable.
-A Protein Skimmer
-heaters (your suggestion is fine)
-Salt Mix, don't buy cheap as it could be high in phosphates and cause problems. (I use Instant Ocean, but I think that I amn switching to Brightwell Aqautics: NeoMarine)
I am sure I forgot a piece of equipment, someone will help me out there.
A thermometer? I can't think of anything wake..
Miami: Sounds as if you have exactly the right attitude towards this! Which is beautifully refreshing considering some of the people that have been around here lately..:lol:
Thanks I really appreciate all the replies. I was in Vegas for Thanksgiving, now its time for final exams at FSU. Next Tuesday I'll start buying everything I need. With regards to a protein skimmer, am I really going to need the remora nano model or can I get away with something cheaper like theAquaticLife Internal Mini Protein Skimmer 115? My powerhead is 170 gph.
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