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I have a 7gal minibow sitting round doing not much good to noone, i REALY want a salt tank, while id love a nano reef id also be interested in doing a FOWLR system too.
Ive been told there Are ways to convert the minibows into a nano
Anyone done this who would be willing to do a set by step walkthrough.

My biggest questions would be filtration and lighting.
my friend with a 6yr old 130gal reef is going to be donating 14lbs live sand and 5lbs live rock when im ready (untill then its safely living in his big baby

Course right now its a stock 7gal mini, 1 15watt bulb fixture and a whisper hang on the back filter...
Suggestions?
Help?

right now im thinking id love to do a full nano but cant afford the extra lighting for most corals, mabe a couple of lowlights some live rock a nice clean up crew (hermies and mabe a shrimp or 2) and a fish...though im unsure of what yet.

Any help woudl be apreciated.

7 is the biggest i can go right now, id love to go bigger (i drool over my frineds tank) but ive got very limited space and an even more limited budget for equiptment. its gonna be one of work with what youve got as much as possible projects...
 

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Your should have a protein skimmer
maybe the current usa nano skimmer-30bucks
Or if you want to go the right way a Aqua C Nano Remora Protein Skimmer This is rated from 5-20 gallon tanks and this would be very nice on your tank.-150 on ebay
Once you buy a good skimmer you could just do a canister filter maybe the eheim classic series.These fillters plus your live rock and sand would be owsome!!I think this is all you need for filtration
For lighting you could do two coralife mini aqualight powercompact fixtures-30 each you could have a diy plexiglass hood and run two of these going side by side it would be 36 watts so you could keep some nice stuff in there :D
so i think thats it
 

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sry for all the typing errors but my brother so rudly kicked me of the comp but anyway that setup would cost you 300 it would be inexpensive to maintain and very cool I think you might be able to use your powerfilter but i would recemend the canister.
I have a 5 gallon mini bow and im pretty familiar with it and i think they could make great nano reefs.
 

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Oh ya as for the hood you should buy a peace of plexiglass make a cardboard stensil of the top of your tank and use a razor to cut out the hood you could put in a feeding hatch,some ventalation slits,and make some room for you filters on the back
A powerhead
a nice 50-100watt heater
a backround
salt-and apropreat additives(calicium trace elements ect)
some distilled water and you would have a sick setup
 

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Discussion Starter #5
sounds great...
hmm now to just find and aquire verythign im gonna need and set it all up.
im in no real rush so plenty of time to Do it Right!

Thanks for the advice!
 

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no problem :D -and oh ya by the way i told you (you could cut the plexiglass with a razor)It is much tuffer then i remember you will probly need a saw.
 

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OK OK hold on. I happen to have a mini 7g bowfront. I'll get up some pics this evening.

I got it in a box of other crap from doing trades. I have the original top but tossed out the light and did a custom install with a 36W PC dual 12K/20K bulb. Just using the garbage little hang on Whsiper that came with it. No protein skimmer.

Break it down.

7g AA black seal mini

Whisper HOT. Filled it with live rock rubble and a little piece of foam at the top.

36W PC fixture added to original hood.

20lbs live sand

20lbs live rock

2 adult fire shrimp

2 tiger pistol shrimps

1 tiger goby

1 red reef goby

1 scooter blenny

2 warratah anemones

1 Tiny RBTA

1 mouth hammer coral

8 ricordia mushrooms

1 4" watermelon mushroom

2 4" clupms of zoas

8 10 head clusters of colored zoas and or paly's

10 head trumpet candy cane coral

2 pieces 3 heads pink trumpet

2" alevopora

2" lord acanthestrea

2 large feather dusters

2" piece of SPS that grew out of the rock work.

The trick is to feed very lightly.

There is never any algae to clean. The biodiversity makes sure of that. About twice a week I'll dip a frozen rotifer cube into the water for a second before adding it to my main tank. This is a relatively maintenance free tank and everything is thriving well.

Total cost, about $40 in corals that we bought. Everything else was donated by friends.
 

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so your saying trash the skimmer all together.
but if he bought the skimmer and ever wanted to upgrade he could go up to a 20g.I think protein skimming is a good idea because It totaly removes wastes that would otherwize build up in the form of nitrate shortening the time between water changes.
Now correct me if im wrong but i think Live rock only proseses amonia and nitrite Or does complete nitrification occer on the rock?Cause all the biofiltration in the world isent going to help when your nitrates pile up in that tiny tank You need either inerobic bacteria to prosses the nitrate or a skimmer to slow the build up.He said he wanted a fish so im assuming prolly a clown or something and i Think a skimmer would be a awsome idea
I said a canister filter cause after the skimming and the rock all he would need would be some mechanical filtration and a bit of bio so ya i gess he could use a powerfilter but he is not planing on purchasing live rock so yours filter setup would not be a option

And i never new there was a builb that would fit on the 7g minibow so of course go with that one it would be cheaper and easier


Accualy mike that tank sounds pretty awsome that you have please post a pick It sound overstocked but i have to see it to belive it :D
 

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No there is not a bulb upgrade available. I gutted a cheap PC fixture for the end piece and for the ballast. I removed the old 40w flouro bulb and replaced it with this. I can send out the parts for a few bucks to Salty Wench cause I like your profile name.

Well my girl and I do not run a skimmer on the tank and I do agree with you that they are very important. However as the tank is mean to be absolutely maintenance free we don't run one. It is entirely possible to run a small nano without one. I don't figure they are of much importance until 15 gallons or larger. There just isn't any waste in our little tank. Again I do stress that it does not get fed. Don't add any nutrient and there is no nutrient to export. It is a fine line to dance. The tiny amounts of food we do add gets synthesized into building protien, not into waste. The fish and shrimp wastes feed the corals and the corals trap the waste as buidling blocks. I've let the tank go for about a month between a water change and could not get any signiifcant numbers using my test kits. Everything was at zero's. Wish I could say the same on my 75g with a Euroreef (highly regarded as one of the best skimmers) rated for a 300g tank. I would like to add that a 1g water change takes place about once a week.

Not feeding the tank is one of the hardest things to get over. it really isn't necessary in an established tank. Most of the critters will grow right in the tank and feed it.


I'm having a tough time getting pics loaded right now but I was able to get this one general shot.


 

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There is a power compact flourescent lightbulb that will screw into the fixture on the small mini bow tanks, I have them on mine here at home and they work great for many of the corals. One of the nice things about the nanos is that they're shallow enough to make lighting pretty easy.
For my 15 designer seahorse tank, when I had corals in there, I used 2 incandescent fixtures (2 bulb) with the compact flourescents and I had no problem with mushrooms, capnella, and a handful of other "easy" corals. If the rock structure is built right you can easily set the corals closer up to the top for more intense lighting.
With the filters... I use aquaclear hang on filters, and they work fine. I have added a small rio power head to some of the tanks to increase flow, but I've been keeping nanos for years, and they're not as difficult as some make it out to be. The trick is not to overload them and to do FREQUENT small water exchanges. Instead of the skimmer (which I have found to not work very well on small tanks of less than 30 gallons) I use paper toweling to manually skim any organics from the surface. I always do this at night during feeding time, it takes about 3 minutes.
 

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Will a 18 watt bulb be enuff over a 5 gallon mini bow?
I am going to move my 5gallon to a 20 long and i will have a extra tank and i want to keep a mantis shrimp and some peaces of live rock will 3.4 watts per gallon be enuff?
 

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For just the mantis and the live rock? Yes, this should be plenty. If you find you need or want more, switching to a 24 inch incandescent fixture will give u 2 of the compact fluorescent bulbs. Keep in mind, this tank is shallow.
 

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You are not going to fit a 24" fixture on a minibow. My 7g is about 15" total length. Your mantis does not care how much light you have, neither will the rock. If you decide to put a few pieces of coral in there they will care. 5 watts per gallon in a mini bow will provide great results. Not the norm but the rare, I've seen a few nice SPS nanos run on 5wpg in a nano such as yours.

I can easily convert your hood to accept PC bulbs all the way up to 42W. In fact I can convert it to hold 2 42W bulbs. The only problem is the 42w bulbs that will fit are in the 6,500K range. A great growth bulb but will not have the razzle dazzle of the actinics and above 10k bulbs normally used in reef tanks. I could squeeze in a 13" 24w PC bulb for you in a heart beat. A dual color bulb such as a 12k and a 20K dual will look great. That would get you at 4.8w per gallon. The intensity of a PC bulb is much more intense than an incandescent. And I use a ballast that overdrives the bulbs.
 

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I was actualy planing on making a plexi-glass hood and place a powercompact fixture on top of it
The fixture has on actanic bulb and one 10,000 k both 9 watt
 

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I have run 18 inch fixtures over my 2 1/2 mini bow... naturally it doesn't "fit" the tank, but the bulbs were right where i needed and wanted them, and the 2 compact fluorescent bulbs were enough for me to do an awesome coral tank.
 

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Just commenting on the photo of the 7 gallon mini bow. It's gorgeous! Reading all the info is very mind boggling; is it necessary to have life rock/corals in a marine tank? Do you have to have a protein skimmer? I feel like I need a degree in marine biology to start a marine tank, but I would love a nano tank also. :)
 

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As for the mantis, that will depend on the amount of maintenance you wish to provide in meeting care needs so the tank can sustain such a critter. Keep in mind that the smaller the tank the faster the rate of fluctuation. Think about evaporation for instance... an inch each week from a 30 gallon tank vs that same amount from a 5 gallon tank... BIG difference there. With that kind of difference, you will find jumps in temp, jumps in salinity, and jumps in nutrient levels and mineral content. A nano is a lot of fun, but it does require a good amount of care.
For the needing a degree to keep a nano... same thing... it's not always difficult, if its done right and you can afford to devote the needed time and energy to its care. My last nano was 2 1/2 gallons, it sat on my desk so I could easily dote on it whenever I was at home. I finally moved everything to a friend's tank and took it down because I didn't have the time to take care of it twice each day to keep it stable. A skimmer isn't typical of a nano, the few on the market don't work very well, if at all. They are difficult to set up, difficult to keep running properly, and difficult to get replacement parts for. If the maintenance is done, a skimmer isn't a needed part of any salt water tank. Not all people have the time to devote, and a skimmer can help to "pick up the slack"... or provide a "cushion" for problems that might occur.
In a nano, live rock is a must for filtration purposes, but corals are optional. A good example of a nano without corals would be live rock, caulerpa, and seahorses, such as I keep now in a 15 gallon designer tank. It's "easy", no special lighting needed to sustain corals, only caulerpa and the live rock, hang on filter, small power head, and water exchanges of about 15% once/month. It's stable, healthy, and fun. I feed them twice/day, and the female will curl her tail around my fingers if I dip my hand into the tank. Whenever we come into the room they come up and dance around the top corners, looking for attention. Many times they are not asking for food, simply "play time" with us. I devote more maintenance time to a 20 gallon freshwater tank with 2 fancy goldfish who needed a temp home until they can be safely moved to a 55 in a permanent home. More difficult? NO Different? YES
There are a number of fish and inverts that can thrive in a nano (of the right size) their whole lives. Let us know if you decide to take the plunge, we can help teach you to do it the right way, and save some money in doing so.
 

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I'd like to take a minute and reiterate Dawn's last statement. Is salt that much more difficult or expensive than freshwater? NO. Are the fish and corals more expensive. NO. I've paid over $1,000 for a freshwater fish before. It's just that most freshwater people are buying fish under $5 so they don't have much invested in them. Some don't care if they live or not because they were only $2. Once you take a minute to really look into the demands of a freshwater tank most people realize that their tanks are seriously lacking. My 125 fresh has 4 Eheim cans, 600w of lighting, 2 Tunze 6060 (1,600gph flow each), a wet/dry sump for gas exchange, Eheim 900goh return pump, 100 lbs of driftwood. Essentially I have thousands wrapped up in that tank to create the best possible housing I could. Now I've seen many 125 setups that had 80w flouro lighting and 1 small canister filter. That was the entire tank. It was pitiful.

Anyone ever setup a "technical" plant tank? Electronic PH monitors, CO2 valves and canisters, bubble counters, bubble diffusers, huge lighting needs, special clay substrates, substrate ribbon heaters, fertilizers......Etc... As in any well thought out tank can be expensive and time consuming, be it a 5g nano or a 300g planted tank.

So with a nano it's like anything else you do. The more you devote to it, be it time or money, the better it will be.
 
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