are nano skimmer efficient? are they a good investment for my nano tank?
First, that depends on what skimmer you're talking about and for what size tank? Most of the skimmers available for a "nano tank" are not real good, but again, that depends on what you're filtering and expecting it to do.
Is this a tank that is already up and running or a new set up in the works?
The starphire is about the only decent "nano", that being for 30g or smaller.
Could you be more specific about your needs? I truly believe that the best skimmer for 30g or less tanks is more water changes.
So, if I was planning on keeping 1-2 small fish in a 10 gallon, with some soft corals and hard corals, would I need a protein skimmer to keep on top of the water? Or would water changes be best?
A 10 gallon such as you describe will likely need daily water changes and manual skimming. To skim it manually you will want to take paper towels, 1 at a time, lay them across the surface of the tank (flat) and "wipe" it off the top, taking the surface proteins with it. How often this needs to be done will depend on the water quality, which means your best chances will be sand substrate, as much live rock as you can fit, easy feedings, and the daily water changes. A 10 gallon nano can quickly become a lot of work. If it's possible to start with a 20 or 30 gallon tank instead, the work involved in keeping it healthy would be a lot less. There are skimmers on the market that work pretty decent for a 30 gallon tank... if this interests you, let me know and I can provide you with a few names.
Why will daily water changes be needed? I have an 8G and do water changes weekly. No spike in parameters have occurred yet. . .
I think you'll be alright with weekly water changes on a 10G. I've heard that the Taam Rio Nano Skilter is good. Members of my other forums who have a lot of experience with skilters have said that despite the company's previous track record with skimmers, their new nano skilter is great.
Thanks for the info. I am confused--everyone talks about nano tanks and having good luck with them, and then a few people seem to think anyone is crazy for having a small saltwater tank. I assume people have been keeping successful nanos as everyone is talking about them. I am interested in having a small saltwater tank because of space constraints--I guess I'm asking what everyones opinions are on nano tanks.
The only time I discouarage someone from having a nano is if they tell me they don't have the time to commit to it. It can be successfull, and I've had a few of my own, running successfully for years... but it can get to be a lot of work. I have a 20 gallon running right now, which isn't much for work... and I've had all the way down to 2 1/2 mini bows in saltwater nanos (I don't suggest this to anyone unless they can spend most of their time doting on it)
The biggest issues I've found in nano tanks is evaporaton and keeping up with it, water changes and the expense it can become with salt and RO water if buying water, and the time to do it all. In my 20 gallon I deal with about 1/2 - 1 inch of evaporation every day, which shifts the spg/salinity and also waste levels. Most fish and inverts that are suitable for a tank that size are going to be very sensitive to the fluctuations.
All in all, it depends on what you want, what you have available, and what you're willing to put into it in the form of effort and time. Can you make a 10 gallon nano work? Sure, if you know what you're doing and can keep up with it. Would a larger tank be easier, yes, most definately. Would I suggest a nano to a newbie in saltwater... not usually... because it takes time to learn all of the things needed to make it work without spending a ton of money and making a lot of mistakes that in a small tank... would be deadly much much faster.
If you decide to work with a small tank like the 10 gallon, let us know and we'll do all we can to help you. Please remember that everyone has their own ways of doing things. There is no 1 specific right way to set up a tank and keep it healthy. You will hear many ideas in places like this, most based on people's personal experiences with their own tanks. This is a good way to learn how to avoid basic mistakes and huge losses/expenses.
Some, like me, have worked in this industry for many years, and we can teach you some of the tips/tricks we've been trained for and learned from the experts.
Best of Luck whatever you decide to do!
So, sounds like weekly water changes are more affective then buying a nano skimmer.. I got a 12G nano tank . I was thinking of buying a skimmer but from what i'm reading on this post is that I should do frequent water changes instead. Sorry, i'm a newbie.. :lol:
Nano skimmers don't tend to be the most effective, and I haven't found one yet that hasn't caused some kind of issues while using it. Maybe someone here has info on 1 that I have missed...
Weekly water changes will not replace skimming, these should be expected with or without skimming. Without the skimmer, this means you would have to do the skimming by hand, with paper toweling. You lay the sheet of paper toweling across the top of the tank until it gets "just wet", not long enough to sink, then "swipe" it off the top, taking surface proteins with it. (repeat until all traces of surface proteins <the oil slick on the surface> are gone, or diminished enough to not cover the entire surface of the water) In a 10 gallon reef, you can expect to do this almost daily.
The reason for this method is that proteins collect in the tank and break down... because of their chemical makeup, these proteins are forced to the surface where they collect. If left alone, they will smother the animals beneath, preventing proper oxygen exchange and trapping some types of waste beneath it. Because of the chemical make up of these proteins, filtration units and water changes alone won't diminish them enough to save a small tank if the skimming isn't done almost daily. This was one reason for my warning about the amount of work involved in a 10 gallon saltwater environment.
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