Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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csvenG 02-16-2011 09:28 AM

Setup & Questions New 20 Gallon Saltwater Live Rock/Sand
Hello, 1st nano tank post here :)
I have kept freshwater tanks for a few years, and recently bought a book that was highly recommended by LFS "the new marine aquarium" by Michael Paletta. I have now become really interested in keeping live rock, and I would like to set up a small 20 gallon 30" long tank to see if I may get live rock/sand to flourish and survive for a few months to a year before I invest in a 55-75 gallon or larger setup. If I go that route, then this small tank will become my quarantine tank or perhaps the sump tank. I have been successful in keeping nano freshwater tanks as small as 5 gallons, but wanted to not go smaller than 20 on the saltwater. I used the “minimalist” section of the book as my template. I just purchased the tank, a “koralia nano 425” powerhead, “marinelife” 100 watt heater & hood with a single "eclipse" fluorescent tube, a bag of “instant ocean” salt mix, thermometer, and hydrometer. I have ordered a small hang on skimmer, the “AquaticLife Internal Mini Skimmer 115” and am waiting on it to get here. I am in no hurry to set this up, as I want to have the best chance of success. I will go ahead and buy a cheap hang on filter like the “tetra whisper ex45” just in case. So, now that I have most of the hardware, what do you experts think of my plan thus far? Will the single stock bulb suffice or should I go with a T5 actinic? (If it will fit in that hood/ballast) Once I get the rest of the equipment and test run everything, then make and age my seawater (which I have never made before) I will place an order for live rock and sand. I plan on ordering from TampaBay saltwater, one of "the packages" that are delivered in stages with rock, sand, and critter crews. I do not have RO/DI water, I have a PUR tap filter and I use well water, not chlorinated city water. I live in central VA, and my water is non-odorous and clear in appearance, but the water is really my big concern at this point. Is it absolutely necessary to use RO/DI water on a tank this small; and if so - other than installing a complete RO/DI system and tank in-home, what are some good alternatives? I am in no hurry to put the fish in; but when I do, I was thinking a couple of clownfish, and a blenny or a couple of cardinal fish, no more. I am really more interested in the live rock and all the critters and what will develop and grow. I am viewing this as a small investment and an educational experience for me and my kid to learn how to make a small successful saltwater aquarium, then move on to a more challenging, larger system. Thanks for any input, suggestions, or questions!
Kind Regards,

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