Ways of skimming the tank without an overflow/sump?
Im setting up a nano soon. Im just wondering if a sump is necessary to skim the surface or if I can use something else. A sump just seems like it could be overkill.
How big of a nano? Anything 25 gallons or less would be easy to use paper towels to skim it... it takes a little practice but if you lay the paper towel flat on the surface until it is "just wet" and then sort of sweep it out, it'll take a good portion of the organic surface oils with it. This needs to be done a few times over to be effective, but if you don't mind the extra 10 - 15 minutes it takes and the 5 - 10 paper towels each time, it is effective.
Also, if you're really handy (or want to practice) with an airline tubing, you can skim manually in that way too.
I have used both methods for nano tanks of up to 25 gallons and it works great. Next best thing to those would be to sump it.
Is there a reason you don't wish to sump the tank? Keep in mind that a sump can help a lot when it comes to evaporation, which is one of the hardest parts of keeping a nano tank. Sump will also help with stability of water chemistry and salinity because you are adding volume, and the larger the volume the easier it is to keep stable.
Hope this helps.
I wanted to see if I could set up the tank to cycle as building a sump will be a little difficult since I dont have much time to make it at the moment. I do however have all the resources to start the tank.(except lighting)
FYI, nano tanks require a lot of time and attention to keep the water chemistry stable. The smaller the tank the harder it is going to be to keep stable, meaning the more time commitment it will be for you. A sump can greatly increase the amount of water volume, lending overall stability and is something to be considered. Marine fish are very sensitive to water chemistry, so frequent or rapid swings in salinity, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc. can mean the difference between life and death.
Also, lighting in a marine tank is vital. Even a tank with nothing more than live rock needs to be lit properly so the organisms and small "critters" can grow properly. Lack of lighting contributes to die off of coraline algaes and the "critters" that live inside of the rock, which can quickly pollute water. Polluted water can cause many issues in cycling, prolong cycling by weeks (and even longer in some cases), and will make the entire tank much more difficult to stabilize. Be sure you have everything in place before you get started. Marine tanks can be extremely expensive if you make these simple mistakes at the beginning. Patience is the one thing you will need over all else in this hobby. Without it you would simply be throwing money away.
Nano tanks are great if you can provide daily care/maintenance. If time is an issue for you then the larger the tank is the easier it will be to be successful.
Thanks for the advice. Ill wait to choose light and get a stock list going before starting it up to give myself more time to read up. Im ready for it but just ready enough to make a mistake I guess.
Sounds like a good plan. Mistakes in the marine hobby can be very costly, better to avoid them if possible. If you have questions about the animals you're considering, environment they need, etc. please ask. I have always loved my nano tanks but I also am familiar with the amount of work they require to keep them healthy and thriving, and not everyone can devote that kind of time. A healthy nano tank with corals in it (which is mostly what can go into a nano tank) will grow quickly, so also start checking into outlets for the species you plan to keep. Now is the time to ask at the lfs, find fish groups, etc. to outlet the frags you will need to learn how to take out properly to preserve your animals and tank overall. Its a good idea to work with species that you are sure you can unload easily elsewhere, as a nano tank that is over grown with corals is going to start to die off quickly and the time devoted to it will more than triple.
Best of luck to you on your venture!
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