Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Setting up my new tank questions

Discussion in 'Nano Reefs' started by Spen2cer, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. Spen2cer

    Spen2cer Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2018
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    8
    Hi! I am new to saltwater, and have 10 gallon halfmoon tank, which is taller than is is wide. It currently has freshwater, and I have a few (or a lot) of questions:

    1)What is the best stocking option for this tank? I have considered a firefish, cleaner shrimp, and clownfish stocking idea, but the specifics haven't been defined

    2) With tank so tall, would I need a power head to move the water more?

    3) Should I get live or dry rock? I have heard pros and cons of both, and wanted to hear some requests

    4) I have no idea what to do about coral. Should I get it?

    5) Should I use RODI? If so, can I get a recommendation on a budget friendly one?

    6) Is there a good light for this kind of tank?

    Thank you so much!
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    16,131
    Likes Received:
    937
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height)?

    I will answer questions 1 & 2 when I know the tank dimensions.

    3) I use live rock straight from the ocean because it is free. But dry rock will turn into live rock after a few months in the aquarium and is a lot cheaper, so is probably a better option if you are just starting out.

    4) You can get corals if you like but if you haven't had marine tanks before, you're probably better off starting with fish and shrimp and learning about water chemistry. When the fish have been doing well for a few months then try a couple of soft corals if you want to.

    5) You can use natural sea water or artificial marine salts mixed with fresh water. If your tap water has nitrates or chloramine then use reverse osmosis (R/O) water. If you have clean tap water that is free of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and any other chemicals, then you can use tap water.

    6) Lighting will depend on what you keep. As a general rule try to get globes that have a 6500K (K is for Kelvin) rating. Don't bother getting globes with a K rating below 5500K or above 8000K, they aren't necessary.

    If you have corals, they need a bit of light and a lot of people have several fluorescent globes above the tank or they get spot lights nd hand them above the aquarium. If you have soft corals and they are close to the surface (eg: there's only 6-12 inches of water above them), then you might be able to get by with 1 globe. But it depends on intensity of the globe. Higher wattage globes are better for corals.
     
  3. Spen2cer

    Spen2cer Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2018
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    8
    The dimensions are 18*11*18 inches. I don't live anywhere near an ocean, so getting live rock and water straight from the ocean would be a problem.
     
    #3 Spen2cer, Sep 20, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    16,131
    Likes Received:
    937
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    The tank is a little small for fire gobies/ firefish (Nemateleotris species) because they like to be kept in small groups.

    You could have a pair of small clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris or percula). They look the same but ocellaris are cheaper. You can't have the clownfish with any other fish because they are territorial and will attack other fish in the tank.

    Cleaner shrimp might get attacked by the clownfish.

    ---------------------
    An external power filter will provide plenty of water movement in the tank. You can use an airstone to circulate water too. You don't need a power head in that size tank.
     
  5. Donya

    Donya Crazy Crab Lady
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,907
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    US
    I realize OP doesn't live near a beach, but as a general note to other marine keepers who may be reading this: it is not at all advisable to collect seawater directly from a local beach, particularly for a first marine tank. In addition to possible pollution, collected seawater risks a BIG plankton die off and big waste dump (this is an experiment I've done many times myself since I've lived near the coast for a long time - got a huge ammonia and nitrite spikes after as little as a few hours in some cases). Mixing your own water is a lot safer unless you really know what you're doing to handle the invisible biomass you're bringing in with natural seawater. Also, collecting live rock and/or sand from beaches or shallows can be illegal depending on the country or region...always check the local laws for the area.

    Back on topic now...

    Cultured live rock (from a shop, where presumably it has been either aquacultured or legally collected) is typically easiest if you want to get your tank up and running and fish ready in a reasonable amount of time. Culturing your own rock from dry takes a long time and doesn't really offer much benefit other than being cost effective and, for tanks that are sensitive to it, a way to more carefully control the fauna being introduced. Generally it's just a lot easier to grab a few pounds of live rock from your local store for a smaller tank. If cost is an issue you can get a couple good pieces and try to culture dry pieces alongside them, but it will again take significant time.

    For RO systems, the most expensive thing is the RO membrane. If you have space and can afford it, 3-stage RODI will get you better results than RO-only. You can get a cheap case and invest in a good membrane if the starter kits aimed at aquarists have an offputting price - the brand of the case doesn't matter much. However, many RO systems meant for aquarists also have sink attachments, which can be harder to find by themselves if you need that. Different RO membranes have different throughput in gallons per day, which affects how long you have to wait around for things to fill if you're hooking it up to the tap. Tap water is not a great choice for most saltwater tanks unless you are lucky and have tap water with little other than chlorine/chloramine in it - the carbonates present in a lot of tap water create problems mixing saltwater (another thing I had personal experience with for many years before seeing sense and switching to RODI as my tap water's quality declined over the years).

    Firefish will be a jumping risk in a small tank. They are fast fish that need a bit more space and require a tight-fitting lid. I would put no more than a pair of small clowns like oscellaris in a 10gal. There are some other interesting individual fish you can do, but you won't be able to have a bunch of fish due to the water volume and lack of space for territories. If you like fish more than inverts, you would need to be looking at bigger tanks - you can't stock marine tanks to the same density as freshwater tanks, particularly with smaller tanks.

    Lighting will depend a lot on your budget and what kind of corals you're interested in; it can be one of the more expensive aspects of setting up a reef. Soft corals like kenya tree and toadstools don't require very intense lighting and are also pretty forgiving for a first marine tank. On the other hand, if you are looking for hard corals, particularly small-polyp ones, you'll need more intense lighting in general.

    On a tank as small as yours I would strongly recommend looking into LEDs aimed at reef tanks if you want to keep corals unless your home is quite chilly. Strong lighting from fluorescents can have a big temperature impact on small tanks, particularly if they have a lid. Open-topped tanks are less problematic for that, but do carry a greater risk of jumping for any fish you add and evaporation will also be higher - so you'd need to top off more to keep the salinity stable. For small tanks, a cheap LED option that can grow beginner corals is to get marine bulbs that fit regular light sockets (they're a cluster of LEDs in one unit, like this: https://www.amazon.com/KINGBO-Aquarium-Lighting-Spectrum-Saltwater/dp/B01M0PF72P/) and then use a desk lamp fixture or get a clip-on arm. Stepping up one notch on the price scale, I've also had good experiences with Fluval reef LEDs to grow a decent selection of corals on nano tanks.

    You need water movement in the tank, of course. If you don't have some sort of other pump providing movement then you need a circulation pump. If you're using a HOB filter it might provide enough depending on how you stack the rock - it's sort of something you have to judge on a case by case basis.
     
  6. Spen2cer

    Spen2cer Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2018
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    8
    I'm thinking inverts, and a pair of clownfish would be cool. I was thinking of Kenya tree and toadstool, so that's awesome. Are there any inverts that you would recommend with clowns?
     
  7. seangee

    seangee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,759
    Likes Received:
    256
    Location:
    Berks
    I got a relatively inexpensive consumer undersink system which works well. Adding an in-line DI filter after the membrane would be a lot cheaper than buying an aquatic system. I don't need DI for my tropicals but this system has an additional carbon filter after the membrane supposedly to remove any residual bad taste. When I replace the filter elements I may well just put DI resin into this chamber.
     
  8. Donya

    Donya Crazy Crab Lady
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,907
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    US
    As long as the clowns are oscellaris, they will get along with most peaceful inverts as long as they don't try to host in the same coral/anemone - so the main caution there is porcelain crabs, some of which are hosting species that will get in fights in nanos with hosting fish (and usually the fish win)

    On the shrimp side of things, most small shrimps like peppermint shrimp (helpful for keeping pest anemones in check in small tanks) and skunk & fire cleaners will be ok. For shrimp in a 10gal, they need room for their feelers, so bigger species like Stenopus hispidus coral banded shrimp are not a good fit. However, there are also much smaller coral banded shrimp species (yellow & blue) that do ok in small tanks and are peaceful but are a little more fragile. Any shrimp should go in only after the tank has been running and stable for a few weeks.

    You can also have some very striking yet peaceful hermit crabs in a 10gal to make up your cleanup crew, like haloweens (Ciliopagurus strigatus and Calcinus elegans), or scarlets (parguristes cadenati) Stay away from larger hermit species like Dardanus species (red hairy hermits, blue knee, and anemone hermits), and also be cautious mixing hermit species in a small tank. In small spaces, it's usually a good idea to go with a single hermit species if you can, particularly if you opt for scarlet hermits. Hermits are a great first line addition to the tank after your live rock and before fish. Emerald crabs (Mythraculus sculptus) can be an interesting and even beneficial addition if fed properly (they graze on the rock and need meaty supplements periodically), but avoid any other true crabs in a reef.

    On the snail side I would recommend keeping it pretty basic and stick to small, common clean-up-crew species like Astrea and red banded Trochus, possibly some diggers like Nassarius if you have a sand bed. A lot of the more colorful snails and snail relatives (like cowries) aren't great nano reef inhabitants either due to diet, temperature needs, or their capacity to bulldoze stacked rocks as they grow (an issue for commonly sold Turbo species, which can get quite big)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Spen2cer

    Spen2cer Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2018
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    8
    Awesome! I'll keep you updated with progress!
     
  10. Spen2cer

    Spen2cer Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2018
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    8
    What would be the recommended # of inverts? I was thinking emerald crabs, peppermint shrimp, and hermit crabs.
     
  11. Donya

    Donya Crazy Crab Lady
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,907
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    US
    Would stick with 1 emerald crab at first in a 10gal to make sure there's enough for it to eat. They aren't really territorial, but they do need a decent amount of grazing space - and if they don't get enough food they will pick at other animals. The food thing is an amplified issue in small tanks that are newly set up.

    Peppermint shrimp are good in groups of 2-3 and the number of hermit crabs you'll need depends on their size and also maturity of the tank. Early on you might only need 2-3 crabs if they're larger (like C. elegans). If they're smaller, you could start with 5-7 of a smaller species like blue-leg crabs (Clibanarius tricolor), or even 10-12 if they're quite small/young. A more mature tank will support quite a few more cleanup-crew biomass as it develops. For that reason, cleanup-crew animals are best stocked in fairly small numbers at first, particularly if you do part live rock and part dry since the rock will be their initial food source and the dry rock won't have colonized for a while. More can go in later after the fish have been in for a bit, since it's mostly uneaten fish food they'll be cleaning up in the long run. No two tanks end up with the same stocking levels over time; something you juts have to play by ear and adjust as the ecosystem develops.

    Of course, if you have to order online and get everything in a big batch, there are ways to work with that too but you may need to feed them a few shrimp pellets or an algae wafer or something if they pick the rock clean too fast. If you need to get everything in bulk, you could probably do 6 of a larger species or 10-12 of a smaller one.

    Slight correction to my hermit crab names used before: Calcinus elegans crabs are called both blue Halloweens and electric blues - but electric blues is the term you're more likely to see for those.

    Also, obligatory side note about hermit crabs in general: remember to get a bunch of spare shells slightly larger than what they're currently wearing that are roughly the same shape (Ciliopagurus strigatius needs conch or cone snail shells, others mentioned like rounder shells). Otherwise, growing crabs will get desperate and may turn to live snails to get a new house that protects them better.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

setting up a new tank for tropicals