10g Nano Surprise Birthday Tank

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by HughJussMarcus, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. HughJussMarcus

    HughJussMarcusNew MemberMember

    Hey all, so I've got a borderless 10G tank that I want to use as a surprise FOWLR tank for my GF. I have a Fluval filter rated up to 30-50g, a 30w/50w heater, and 12lbs of live rock already and I plan on getting an LED light, either a 10lb or 20lb bag of caribsea fiji pink sand, and a powerhead. I've never had a smaller tank and heard that it's harder to maintain, but my question is with something that small would a protein skimmer be necessary? Im planning on using RODI SW from my LFS. I'm only gonna put a naked clownfish and a goby/shrimp pair in the tank. Let me know if you have advice or info for me to help me make this a nice tank!
  2. Fanatic

    FanaticFishlore VIPMember

    Sounds interesting! I hope it turns out well :)
  3. stella1979

    stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to Fishlore's salty side. :smuggrin: This is gonna be awesome.

    Here comes a wall of text, but you asked for it.;)

    The Fluval 30-50GPH filter, is this an Aquaclear hang on back, (HOB)? Your live rock holds the cycle, so we'll want to talk about what you do with filtration.;)

    Good choice on the sand. Be sure the rock sits on the tank bottom and sand fills in around it. Do not put the rocks on top of the sand as this can cause instability.

    The biggest reason a small tank needs more care is that salinity, or the salt content of the water, fluctuates much faster in nano setups. You probably know that water evaporates from our tanks. Salt, however, does not, so as water leaves the tank via evaporation the salinity will rise. So, do you know about top-offs? This is where we add RODI water, (unsalted), to the tank every day to maintain a consistent salinity. Using an ATO (automatic top off) is best in small tanks as it will add freshwater as needed via sensing the water level. If you choose not to use an ATO, I would highly suggest that you set two alarms per day that will remind you to top off the tank. In this case, you will have to take note of your water line and keep the tank at that level with each water change. You will check the water level each day and add freshwater daily to maintain the level at that water line between water changes. Evaporation will vary in different locations, setups and weather, so keeping note of that water line will tell you how much freshwater you need to add. Marine species are sensitive to swings in salinity, so limiting fluctuation by topping off often is necessary.

    You definitely do not need a skimmer on a nano setup. Weekly water changes of about 25% along with general maintenance and good flow in the tank will keep things clean. It's a good idea to have a turkey baster for the tank and use it to blow out crevices, holes and any dead spots in the tank. You can do this daily to better allow filtration to handle things but definitely do so before a water change so you will remove some of what is kicked up. Again, we'll have to talk more about filtration and making sure you keep that clean as well.

    Using RODI saltwater from the LFS is great! You will need to check the salinity of purchased water and your tank often. First of all, I like to share a story that will scare you into being super careful with water.

    @Slug was building a reef (corals) in a really nice cube tank. All was going well and he had a few lovely fish and some beautiful growing coral in the tank. He also bought LFS saltwater and trusted this LFS enough that he didn't always check it before using it for a water change. One day he performed a change then suddenly his fish were acting wonky and the coral was bleaching right before his eyes. When bad stuff happens, the first thing we do is test. He checked salinity and found it to be very low. It was then that he realized that the LFS had given him freshwater. It was too late... there was a total loss of life. The fish and all the coral. Coral might not seem like a pet, but when you buy a thumbnail sized frag, nurture it and watch it grow, it really does have a piece of your heart. They are animals under our care after all.

    Moral of the story? Always, always, ALWAYS check salinity of the tank and new water, making sure they match before a water change. Hydrometers are garbage, but still being sold to measure salinity. Do yourself a favor and pick up a refractometer cheap online.

    The stocking plan will work, but you're pushing the limits on the bioload. You will not want to skip water changes on this tank. Also, stocking must be done slowly and carefully. The goby is a timid fish that will hide very well when it's afraid. Nobody wants a fish they don't see, so best to stock the goby & shrimp first and give them a good few weeks to build a burrow, find comfort and safety in their new environment, and for you to be sure they are eating well. After all of that takes place it will be time for the clown.

    Are you planning on corals? They will need a very good light, so if you're going FOWLR (fish only with live rock) for now, it would be best to invest as little as possible in lighting. Lighting is not actually needed in FOWLR tanks and is only for our viewing, and the reef light may cost a pretty penny. Best to save for a good reef light instead of spending on good lighting, only to find out it's not good enough when you jump into corals.

    You'll need saltwater test kits. API is generally junk on the salty side. Ammonia shows a pale green even when there is no ammonia in the water, so the test should be yellow. In other words, it can give a false positive reading. Still, you can use API's ammonia kit if you're aware of the color discrepancy and can recognize zero, (a very pale greenish yellow.) API's nitrite test works well enough for saltwater but the nitrate test is no good if you want corals. In reef tanks, we are trying to measure accurately under 10ppm, and API can't do that. You'll also want to keep an eye on phosphates as high levels lead to unsightly algae on everything.:hungover: If you want corals, you'll also need to test for calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium.

    That's enough for one post, but feel free to ask any questions you might have. :) Also, there is a link in my signature to an AMAZING guide on starting a nano reef tank.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  4. Jesterrace

    JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    The protein skimmer is not necessary, just follow the advice mentioned above by stella and you should be in good shape.

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