Question 10 Gallon Nano Setup

salt&cich4l

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Hello,
I am planning a 10 gallon nano tank for an office lounge. It will be near a lab where I will have unlimited access to 30+gallons of saltwater (mixed with distilled water) for a large FOWLR 120 gallon tank.

1-Is there any way to avoid the cycle? Suppose that I use live rock and water from the 120 tank (It has been established for at least a decade) with some new sand (I have a bag of live sand), is it likely that I will avoid the cycle since the bacteria I need will be there?

2-My main deterrent from setting this tank up are long weekends and summers.The animals will be fed and top offs (with distilled water) will occur every weekday. However, this will not happen on the weekends and for as long as 7 days (Christmas vacation/New Years). Also, I am committed to doing a weekly 10 percent water change. However, this will be more like a monthly change or bi-monthly during July and August. Also, the only space for it is in a large window sill. The window's shade will be down at all times. (There is no other space for it.) The room has AC and heat so it is around 78 degrees at all times.

Is the tank doomed? I fear a tank crash after a long weekend. If not, do you have suggestions for lightly stocking the tank?
I also plan to have at least 10lbs of live rock, deep sand bed (2 inches), Aqueon 70 filter (with at least carbon, floss-change monthly), heater, and a small pump for extra flow, LED reef light.

For stocking, I was thinking a small CUC (3 snails and 2 hermit crabs) and 1 fish (something hardy and social like a clownfish of a damsel). Some polyp corals would also be nice.

ANy suggestions for making this work or shooting it down are welcome!
 

stella1979

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I think you could make it work.

1. Yes, using established live rock should give you an instant cycle... as long as the tank the rock is coming from is stocked and has some kind of bioload on it.

2. My biggest concern with time away is the manual top offs. Nano tanks can have quite a bit of evaporation, and swings in salinity from days that no one will be able to top off the tank could be high enough to affect the life within. Using a glass lid will help to some degree, but will not eliminate the need for daily top offs. I use a glass lid, lol, mostly because I have young children, but there is a downside to it, and that is it will weaken the light that enters the tank. Keeping the lid very clean helps, and in my case, this problem is resolved by a light that offers more than my tank needs. Of course, if you're keeping hardy softies only, lighting can be a bit lower, but don't discount how important it is overall. I'm no lighting pro, but I've been through the wringer with lights, and will only say that it stinks when you see coral at the LFS, buy it, bring it back to the tank, and see it not only look different under insufficient lighting but actually change and lose some of the color it had. Anyhow, back on topic... what is the longest you think this tank will ever have to go without top offs? I went a long time without an ATO myself, but the longest we ever left the tank during that time was 5 days, and for about a week prior, we gradually and slightly lowered the tank's salinity. Our usual is 1.027, we lowered it to 1.024, and 5 days later we returned to find it at 1.027. It worked out well for us, but each tank is different and environmental concerns come into play. We keep the house at 73°... so I'm wondering how our 5 days away would have gone with a room 5° warmer. You will know about how much freshwater the tank needs daily after some time with it, and only at that point would you have an idea of how long you might be able to go without a top off. Of course, these concerns would be alleviated with an ATO.

I do not think the tank is doomed. I would definitely paint the background black to help with natural light 'intrusion', lol. I'm not sure what you mean by a crash after a long weekend other than the salinity issues already discussed, and indeed, that is the wrench in your plans, but perhaps it can be figured out.

Is the Aqueon 70 an HOB you already have? If not, I'd suggest going with an Aquaclear 70 instead and the reason for this is that they're easily customizable. Specifically, I'm talking about a refugium mod, which would be highly beneficial in this situation. If you're interested, I'll be happy to share my own AC70 refugium mod with you.
 

stella1979

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Check out post #299 on this thread...

Stella's Salty 20g

That is my modified AC70. It's perhaps different than most because we had spare acrylic to make a baffle with, but that is entirely unnecessary as you can do the modification using only what comes with the filter. I wish I was good at laying out detailed instructions, but alas, I am not. There are some threads here with detailed instructions, and I'm sorry to say that I've failed to find them. Maybe @Culprit can help. Please feel free to ask me any questions you have. It really is a very simple build.
 
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salt&cich4l

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stella1979

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1. Yes and yes. Forgive me, I'm unsure which is which but for example, I think it's GE that has 1 and/or 2. I think it's #1 that's safe, but know that we are looking for pure silicone without any antimold properties or other additional ingredients. Btw, I'm a crafter, so yeah, I'm 100% on glue gun glue being safe. That stuff is just a type of silicone too, yes?

2. Filter media would be just fine, but I do believe chaeto does a better job at lowering nitrates than chemipure. Here's the thing, my modded AC70 holds biomedia, carbon, floss padding, AND chaeto... so I'd say you could have it all if you wanted and chaeto is probably what I view as most important.

3. Sure! Why not? There's a decent chance of bacteria starting to establish... but if the tank's wet and the filter's running, why not start a fishless cycle at that time?
 
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