20 Gallon Saltwater Nano Reef Tank

Thedudeiam94

Member
Well it’s official! I will be SLOWLY making my way into the salty side. I have had a 20 gallon long tank setting empty for a few months now that I have kept it at my grandmothers house because we didn’t have any extra room with all the new baby stuff. While we were there visiting so she could see our new baby, I asked my girlfriend if I could bring the tank home finally and to my surprise she actually approved! So without hesitation I ran down the stairs, grabbed the tank and hauled it carefully to car and buckled it into the front seat. I was planning on buying the things I will be needing for this journey one piece at a time so here is where you guys and gals come in! My first thought on filtration would have been an aquaclear 70. However I have recently been told that it’s possible to run a 20 gallon on a Chaeto reactor. If anyone can give any insight on exactly what filtration I should have please feel free to jump in! I’m new to saltwater which means this will be a slow learning experience for me. I want to be as informed as possible! Right now stocking is only going to be 2 snowflake clownfish, a cleaner shrimp and some cleaner snails only, slowly working my way into a nano reef tank. I do not intend on adding other fish later. Also can you all help me learn the new salty terms you use and the abbreviations using () in your responses so I can learn those also! Lol thanks!
 
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Lchi87

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Congratulations on the baby and also on beginning your saltwater journey!!

A 20 long is a great starting size too! Were you interested in coral or just FOWLR ( fish only with live rock )

I think an AC70 should work also could potentially grow chaeto if you modified it a bit to be like an external refugium. Take note that your cycle is held in your live rock though and not so much in your filter media, like freshwater. You’ll also need a powerhead to create some flow thru the tank.

Have you thought of your water source yet? Lfs will sell them but its much easier and cost effective to mix your own .
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
Lchi87 said:
Congratulations on the baby and also on beginning your saltwater journey!!

A 20 long is a great starting size too! Were you interested in coral or just FOWLR ( fish only with live rock )

I think an AC70 should work also could potentially grow chaeto if you modified it a bit to be like an external refugium. Take note that your cycle is held in your live rock though and not so much in your filter media, like freshwater. You’ll also need a powerhead to create some flow thru the tank.

Have you thought of your water source yet? Lfs will sell them but its much easier and cost effective to mix your own .
I am very interested in corals mostly soft but that won’t come in until later on in my adventure! Also I will be planning on one or 2 wave makers depending on where I place the hob (which will most likely be on one end of the tank and use the wave maker of the opposite to get good circulation. Is it possible to run a 20 long on a Chaeto reactor? I was recently told by someone that if they had a 20 long they would us a Chaeto reactor for the filtration. I will be making the water myself. Will have a ro/dI unit to use only when spring water changes. But will just be using treated tap water until then and hoping that I don’t end up being overrun with algae before I can get the unit. Will possibly use distilled water to top off. If that’s right?
 
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Lchi87

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Thedudeiam94 said:
I am very interested in corals mostly soft but that won’t come in until later on in my adventure! Also I will be planning on one or 2 wave makers depending on where I place the hob (which will most likely be on one end of the tank and use the wave maker of the opposite to get good circulation. Is it possible to run a 20 long on a Chaeto reactor? I was recently told by someone that if they had a 20 long they would us a Chaeto reactor for the filtration. I will be making the water myself. Will have a ro/dI unit to use only when spring water changes. But will just be using treated tap water until then and hoping that
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I don’t end up being overrun with algae before I can get the unit. Will possibly use distilled water to top off. If that’s right?
You can definitely run a chaeto reactor but it isn't quite "filtration" in the traditional sense of the word. People use chaeto in the salty world as nutrient export to keep their nitrates down but it isn't technically a "must" in terms of running a reef tank. Also, running it in a reactor isn't necessary either, some people like myself have grown chaeto in their HOBs but totally up to you. I like to advise beginners to keep their first setup simple since the learning curve is a little steep if you don't have your head totally wrapped around everything. Nitrates can easily be controlled by not overfeeding and regular water changes also!

In terms of water, I highly encourage you to pickup a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter so you can decide whether or not the quality of your water is adequate. Your water before mixing in salt should read 0 TDS. Distilled water isn't the worst but I'd definitely advise against tap. Hoping that pest algae won't take hold isn't the only issue that presents itself when using less than ideal water as there is a whole bunch of other contaminants that can be found in tap that will cause trouble for your potential reef. Remember that live rock is porous, so whatever is in your water will get sucked up by your rock too so its best to start with good water.

I didn't invest in an RODI unit right away and bought my RO and saltwater premixed from the LFS and I sincerely regret not doing it sooner. It was a huge waste of money and lugging jugs back and forth got old very, very quickly. The other risk you run is not knowing the quality of the water itself. Your LFS might not be as good with maintaining their RODI unit which results in less than pure water.

It will be up to you to decide whether these risks are worth taking but at least IME, its much easier prevent problems, then have to backtrack and fix it later.

Your placement of the powerhead/wave maker sound good to me; you may want to read thru stella1979 's thread as she has the same tank as you with a thriving reef She talks about her equipment and setup in great detail as well so it should be a great resource for you as you start out. The stickies in the salty beginners forum are a great read too!
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
Lchi87 said:
You can definitely run a chaeto reactor but it isn't quite "filtration" in the traditional sense of the word. People use chaeto in the salty world as nutrient export to keep their nitrates down but it isn't technically a "must" in terms of running a reef tank. Also, running it in a reactor isn't necessary either, some people like myself have grown chaeto in their HOBs but totally up to you. I like to advise beginners to keep their first setup simple since the learning curve is a little steep if you don't have your head totally wrapped around everything. Nitrates can easily be controlled by not overfeeding and regular water changes also!

In terms of water, I highly encourage you to pickup a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter so you can decide whether or not the quality of your water is adequate. Your water before mixing in salt should read 0 TDS. Distilled water isn't the worst but I'd definitely advise against tap. Hoping that pest algae won't take hold isn't the only issue that presents itself when using less than ideal water as there is a whole bunch of other contaminants that can be found in tap that will cause trouble for your potential reef. Remember that live rock is porous, so whatever is in your water will get sucked up by your rock too so its best to start with good water.

I didn't invest in an RODI unit right away and bought my RO and saltwater premixed from the LFS and I sincerely regret not doing it sooner. It was a huge waste of money and lugging jugs back and forth got old very, very quickly. The other risk you run is not knowing the quality of the water itself. Your LFS might not be as good with maintaining their RODI unit which results in less than pure water.

It will be up to you to decide whether these risks are worth taking but at least IME, its much easier prevent problems, then have to backtrack and fix it later.

Your placement of the powerhead/wave maker sound good to me; you may want to read thru stella1979 's thread as she has the same tank as you with a thriving reef She talks about her equipment and setup in great detail as well so it should be a great resource for you as you start out. The stickies in the salty beginners forum are a great read too!
Could you send me a link to her thread? Also I plan to get an rodI unit ASAP. And will be getting a tds meter also. I have a list of things I will be purchasing over the next couple months. I intend on running an aqua clear 70 along with the Chaeto and a wave maker.
 
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Lchi87

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Thedudeiam94 said:
Could you send me a link to her thread? Also I plan to get an rodI unit ASAP. And will be getting a tds meter also. I have a list of things I will be purchasing over the next couple months. I intend on running an aqua clear 70 along with the Chaeto and a wave maker.
Surely!
Stella's Salty 20g
 
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stella1979

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YAY!!! I'm so glad you're making a dream come true and bonus... at the most WONDERFUL time life brings too! BIG, HUGE, ENORMOUS CONGRATULATIONS to the new Daddy and Mommy and heartfelt best wishes to your baby boy. My first is nearly 13 but I remember those incredible early days with him... especially since his little sister turns 7 this day.

Okay, so, on to business.

We like having the AC70 on the little reef because, unlike a reactor for chaeto (or whatever) alone, the HOB provides a place for all stages of filtration, (mechanical, biological, and chemical). With a fairly simple mod, our AC70 has a slI'm place for a filter pad, half the remainder of the box dedicated to media (containing Matrix and Chemipure Elite), and the upper half of that same box holds a fairly good-sized nest of chaeto. Whatever goes in the box... well, that's the very point, whatever can go in the box. The Matrix biomedia is just there, just in case, but I do know that the bulk of the tank's cycle is within the tank... know if for a fact after a week-long power outage damaged/killed cycles in other tanks but not in the reef. This is because we had to decide which of 4 tanks needed the one power source we could provide the most and that was definitely the reef. One powerhead kept water moving in the reef and this provided flow and oxygenation for that tank's inhabitants and cycle. Anyway, point is, the reef tank's biomedia is not necessary, but it sure is good to have around to quickly cycle a qt and/or help to keep that tank safe in the event of removing the rocks for whatever reason... a rescape, a move, whatever.

The chaeto sits right at the top of the AC70, which is lidless because a plant light hangs over the HOB to light the chaeto at night time. Lastly on reactors... well, what do I know but I have seen more than one Fishlore buddy buy or make a DIY chaeto reactor and sometime later decide that it either wasn't doing the job or wasn't easy enough to maintain... in other words, I've seen a few regret chaeto reactors and then it either goes in storage in favor of another nutrient reduction method, or, modified to hold nutrient reduction media... meaning, they took out the chaeto and used GFO instead, (GFO is granular ferric oxide, looks kinda like carbon, and absorbs PO4/phosphates so lowers PO4 in the water column.) So again, my HOB contains unneeded but handy biomedia, Chemipure Elite (a granular nutrient reduction + water clarifier + purifier product which contains GFO, among other things), and the HOB itself is also a refugium because it contains growing chaeto. Because the HOB can handle all these things, it was and is our choice on the 20 gallon long. It's kinda big and we don't love the intake tube but, for us, the positives outweigh the negatives.

Okay, so, that got longer than I planned. Gotta jet because there's a triple layer 10-inch bday cake to be put together and I was only supposed to check in quickly here while my mixing bowl chilled in the freezer so I can whip up some cream. I'm glad I finally posted and am now subscribed to the new build thread though... because I'm excited! Next time, let's talk RODI units and reef lights... eek, I know... lights are pricey but my view is, one of the biggest mistakes a reefer can make is buying a not cheap but underpowered light. This leaves them with high chances of making one of our own biggest mistakes, and that was, buying lighting a second time only one year in.:banghead:
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
Okay so I’ve purchased the aquaclear 70 today. It will be used as the housing unit for the Chaeto as stated above. Why waste money when the hob will get the job done? Right? I also purchased 20 lbs of am/md live rock from a good friend of mine Tyler Johnson @ addictivereefkeeping.com which is where I also purchased my cup of Chaeto from. After chatting with Tyler and explaining that this will be my first run with saltwater and how excited I was to be able to have this experience he just so happened to have an extra clip on light for Chaeto with red and blue led! I have also purchased the ehiem jager 200w adjustable heater “shatter resistant” hopefully (more than enough for a 20 gallon I know) because they were actually cheaper than the 150w by fluval that I was going to purchase which was metal. I also bought a 50 gallon bag of the instant ocean sea salt. I will get my refractometer and wave maker off of amazon the wave maker will be the current USA 6004 660 GPH which comes with a pre filter to wrap around it. I will later invest into a RODI unit along with a lighting system along with a tank lid. For sand I would like to know if the Arag-alive Bahamas oolite is good or should I go with the regular Arag-alive crushed coral live sand? I prefer the finer grain sand but I would like to hear someone else’s thoughts about substrate..

I will more than likely buy the gallons of distilled water from Walmart until I can afford a decent RODI unit. So that will probably be the last thing I purchase. Even though we all know it’s never the “last” purchase. But you all know what I mean! Lol after I get the refractometer,sand,wave-maker, and saltwater test kit (which will be my next shopping experience) I will be getting a lid for sure (want as little evaporation as possible until I can get the RODI) Then a good light. Maybe the current USA orbit to go along with the wave maker? They would both be programmable? Not sure haven’t quite decided but that will be a conversation to discuss a little later.
 

MomeWrath

Member
ooooooooo...20 longs are so fun.
I haven't seen a single thing mentioned in previous posts that I could disagree with...
My only reservation about your plan so far is the AC70 plus a 660 GPH powerhead is going to make some kind of wicked current in your tank. Unlike our Freshwater filters, most wavemaker pumps actually move close to the amount of water they advertise. So you're looking at something like 60X turnover. 10-20 will do for most tanks.
Oolite will work but it will probably blow around a lot with all that flow.
I recommend the RO Buddie. It's inexpensive, will make enough water for that size tank, and you can add DI (Deionization) resin later if you get into more demanding stuff like SPS (small polyp stony, aka hard coral).
I know the RODI water doesn't seem that important...but when you get your first algae bloom or god-forbid cyano...don't learn that one the hard way like I did!
OK so I'll get off that soap box.
Here's one thing someone told me that I had to remind myself through the set up and tear down of several tanks of all sizes over seven years of reefing: Your tank will go through algae stages when you set it up. It's going to happen, it's normal, and it will pass. Stage one: brown (diatoms) Stage two: Green (possibly hair algae, which can be avoided mostly with RODI instead of ???water) Stage three: red and purple...coralline...this is the good stuff.
Also congrats on the babyyyyy and also clowns are awesome and good job on the conservative stocking plans. Can't wait to see updates.
Oh...don't buy cheap lights.
 
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Thedudeiam94

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Magicpenny75 said:
ooooooooo...20 longs are so fun.
I haven't seen a single thing mentioned in previous posts that I could disagree with...
My only reservation about your plan so far is the AC70 plus a 660 GPH powerhead is going to make some kind of wicked current in your tank. Unlike our Freshwater filters, most wavemaker pumps actually move close to the amount of water they advertise. So you're looking at something like 60X turnover. 10-20 will do for most tanks.
Oolite will work but it will probably blow around a lot with all that flow.
I recommend the RO Buddie. It's inexpensive, will make enough water for that size tank, and you can add DI (Deionization) resin later if you get into more demanding stuff like SPS (small polyp stony, aka hard coral).
I know the RODI water doesn't seem that important...but when you get your first algae bloom or god-forbid cyano...don't learn that one the hard way like I did!
OK so I'll get off that soap box.
Here's one thing someone told me that I had to remind myself through the set up and tear down of several tanks of all sizes over seven years of reefing: Your tank will go through algae stages when you set it up. It's going to happen, it's normal, and it will pass. Stage one: brown (diatoms) Stage two: Green (possibly hair algae, which can be avoided mostly with RODI instead of ???water) Stage three: red and purple...coralline...this is the good stuff.
Also congrats on the babyyyyy and also clowns are awesome and good job on the conservative stocking plans. Can't wait to see updates.
Oh...don't buy cheap lights.
How about this for the wave maker?

Can’t forget the saltwater master test kit! That will be added into my next purchase also!
 

MomeWrath

Member
Thedudeiam94 said:
How about this for the wave maker?

Can’t forget the saltwater master test kit! That will be added into my next purchase also!
Yeah that's the size I used in my 20 long. Also later on when you inevitably upgrade to a huge reef tank...that little guy there will fit through the opeing of a water jug and you can use it to mix water like I did :) Koralia pumps are bombproof.
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
I will have everything I need besides the light and the master test kit (because I plan on purchasing the rodI unit later. Do I need a light to set the tank up and start cycling? Also will I need ammonia since the tank won’t have any fish for a little while? Or will it still cycle with the live rock, live sand and the Chaeto in the filter?
 

MomeWrath

Member
I always cycled mine with live rock. People have differing opinions. Seems silly to me to cure the LR and them put it in the tank and add ammonia. I just cured it in the tank and called it cycled. You still hafta test but once you get nitrates your good since the live rock is essentially your cycled media.
Edit: no you don't need a light to cycle the tank. But also don't be afraid to add a softy when you add your fish. It's good for them and softies are pretty forgiving as far as coral goes.
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
Also what is the best test kit for saltwater? I’ve seen in threads before that apI isn’t the best choice.
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
Now all we need is sand a rock and we’ll be ready to go. Salt is in the bucket on the floor.
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MomeWrath

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Thedudeiam94 said:
Also what is the best test kit for saltwater? I’ve seen in threads before that apI isn’t the best choice.
API isn't the best, but it is fine if you're keeping FOWLR or just a few softies. The more touchy stuff you would be best to invest in Salifert

Tank looks nice. I love the proportions of a 20 long and it is a great nano reef size. If you can hang a light and forgo the lids, some people will say you get better gas exchange that way. I never had that option, but I also never had a problem with lids.
Oh also...Not sure if you were planning on buying "live sand"...but don't. Get a good piece of live rock and a bunch of dry rock and sand and let the live rock cure in place and your sand will be "live" by the time your tank is cycled.
I can't wait for you to see your first amphipod or asterina star crawl out of your rock. I spent as much time in front of the tank with a magnifier while it was cycling as I did looking at the fish after it was finished.
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
I’ve already ordered a 20 lb bag of the Bahamas oolite Arag-alive sand. It was only $16 so I felt that was my best option for live and the texture that I was wanting. My lfs only had the Arag-alive but it was the broken up coral looking one and I didn’t like how “kitty litter’ish) it looked. Lol just my opinion though. I also think the only option was a 40 lb bag and I didn’t need an extra 20 lbs and the other sand they had was black alive but that was also 40lbs.
 

MomeWrath

Member
Thedudeiam94 said:
I’ve already ordered a 20 lb bag of the Bahamas oolite Arag-alive sand. It was only $16 so I felt that was my best option for live and the texture that I was wanting. My lfs only had the Arag-alive but it was the broken up coral looking one and I didn’t like how “kitty litter’ish) it looked. Lol just my opinion though. I also think the only option was a 40 lb bag and I didn’t need an extra 20 lbs and the other sand they had was black alive but that was also 40lbs.
Well live sad certainly won't hurt :) and I feel you on the kitty-litter look of crushed coral. I like the aragonite sand much better as well. It's also nicer on nano-things like coral banded shrimp and yellow clown gobies. Which you will totally want btw.
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
Right! That’s kind of the reason I liked the Bahamas oolite so much because of how fine it was and a lot whiter then the crushed coral. Lol I actually seen a goby the yesterday at a lfs that was called an engineer goby but it needs 50 gallons. I like those because they looked like ribbons while swimming. But there was a tiny yellow one under a rock I was having a stare down with also. Lol I like the color of the firefish goby the most though. So if I do go with one it will probably be that one.
 

MomeWrath

Member
Thedudeiam94 said:
Right! That’s kind of the reason I liked the Bahamas oolite so much because of how fine it was and a lot whiter then the crushed coral. 250] Lol I actually seen a goby the yesterday at a lfs that was called an engineer goby but it needs 50 gallons. I like those because they looked like ribbons while swimming. But there was a tiny yellow one under a rock I was having a stare down with also. Lol 23] I like the color of the firefish goby the most though. So if I do go with one it will probably be that one.
I had a purple firefish that was probably my favorite of all the fish I had. Plus they are really friendly and hang out in front. My kids liked the way he hung in the water with the fins flicking.
Engineer gobies are cool when they are little but they are well named...They will re-engineer your hardscape to their liking. i.e. dig under all your rockwork and make it fall over!
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
Because I probably won’t get a better quality picture this is my rock that is now on its way! Along with my Chaeto and an additional light I was blessed with for the Chaeto. Also the sand should be here around the same time!

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Here she is... current stock: 2 Mexican snails, 2 green legged hermits.

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Cleared up

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Top view

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MomeWrath

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Nice. Good job on your rockwork.
 

coralbandit

Member
IMO your are going to want to find a way to stop the hob from making bubbles returning water ..
Unlike in fresh water bubbles in marine are bad ..They mean CREAP,besides added evap ..
I have used the back plastic part of lids that people cut out for filters to divert water from my AquaClears ..
Most LFS should have them or be able to order them ..They have a wide range of prices on the net so be careful here is cheap listing ;

The worst listing was on EBAY $48 for a piece of plastic worth about $4-5..
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
coralbandit said:
IMO your are going to want to find a way to stop the hob from making bubbles returning water ..
Unlike in fresh water bubbles in marine are bad ..They mean CREAP,besides added evap ..
I have used the back plastic part of lids that people cut out for filters to divert water from my AquaClears ..
Most LFS should have them or be able to order them ..They have a wide range of prices on the net so be careful here is cheap listing ;

The worst listing was on EBAY $48 for a piece of plastic worth about $4-5..
I actually solved that problem the day of. I just needed to add more water. Haven’t had the foamy bubbles since then. Tank is clear and looks good. Added a yellow tail damsel a few days ago. Stays hidden in the rock scape but comes out to eat. Been feeding tiny pieces of brine shrimp cubes cut off from when I feed my Discus. All in all things are going well so far.
 
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Thedudeiam94

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View from my rocking chair.

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stella1979

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Nice!!:D Very nice view.:D:D

Hrmm... A damsel for your first eh? Sorry to be the stocking police but they can be meanies. Might not want to wait too long before adding the next.;) That is, don't let one fish own the 20L for long. It will become their tank and they may not take kindly to newcomers. I bring it up because it happened to me with my beloved, timid firefish Scorch. He was an awesome presence in the tank for so long while we took forever getting a qt set up and moving fish through it. For nearly a year he was out and about all day everyday, even when my crazy kiddos were eyeing him.:happy:

He did not handle the addition of new fish even though they were not aggressive. He lasted a few months and just as we thought, "well, he hides a lot now but comes out to eat so this may work out"... one day he didn't come out and was never seen again.:(

Anyway, whether timid or aggressive, in nano tanks I think it best that the hierarchy get worked out before any one fish establishes territory over the entire tank.;)
 
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Thedudeiam94

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Yes I planned to add my designer clowns shortly. But I also have a plan if the damsel decides to get finicky I can re-home him to a lfs that has a wonderful sw section to keep it in. I had only intended on keeping it for the first month to ensure proper establishment of bb and keep the cycle maintained. I will probably be getting my clowns next Friday if I don’t get my light then. Probably going to use the aI prime hd until I can afford a nicer set up or an additional ai. As of not the damsel stays in the rock caves or in the overhanging “open” cave in the front of the rock work. Doesn’t use 1/3 of the tank unless it’s time to eat. During feeding it stays under the output of my filter and uses the open area on one side of the tank to chase the floating bits of food. Also was considering an anemone when I purchase my clowns only because I can get a discount when purchasing my clowns. Would it be okay this early in the tank life? I have read that it’s best to wait at least 6 months before adding an anemone. However I wanted it to be the first coral addition to the tank due to the fact they will choose to move around and decide where they want to be in the tank. I wouldn’t add anything else for another month or so after adding the clowns and anemone die the the bio load adjusting. Thoughts? Tips? Lol

stella1979 said:
Nice!!:D Very nice view.:D:D

Hrmm... A damsel for your first eh? Sorry to be the stocking police but they can be meanies. Might not want to wait too long before adding the next.;) That is, don't let one fish own the 20L for long. It will become their tank and they may not take kindly to newcomers. I bring it up because it happened to me with my beloved, timid firefish Scorch. He was an awesome presence in the tank for so long while we took forever getting a qt set up and moving fish through it. For nearly a year he was out and about all day everyday, even when my crazy kiddos were eyeing him.:happy:

He did not handle the addition of new fish even though they were not aggressive. He lasted a few months and just as we thought, "well, he hides a lot now but comes out to eat so this may work out"... one day he didn't come out and was never seen again.:(

Anyway, whether timid or aggressive, in nano tanks I think it best that the hierarchy get worked out before any one fish establishes territory over the entire tank.;)
I also receive these trace elements I will be using when adding the anemone. Won these products off of Facebook! Have you or anyone else had experience with them? Or could you help with dosing and when to dose? I have read the bottle but would like an experienced opinion. Lol

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Calcium, carbonate, magnesium. And the fx pro is a filter media. But I am currently using Chaeto so I will most likely save that for later unless it would be okay to add it in with the Chaeto. I’m not sure.

And by “re-home” the lfs has a permenant section for things not for sale and will be placed into their permanent display tank.
 
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stella1979

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It's very cool to win stuff in the hobby!:D Congrats!! However... you absolutely. do NOT want to start dosing all willy-nilly, lol. Let me explain a few things as best I can then try to tell a little personal story as quickly/shortly as I can.:rolleyes:

First, anemones are related to but are not exactly corals. They do not use trace minerals in growth so your winnings will have no bearing on the success of an anemone in your tank. However, nems are photosynthetic so they need the same light corals do.;) A single Prime would do in the short term, however, I believe its max light spread is around 24 inches... and you (and I) have 30 inch long tanks. Getting the max light spread from a light is also dependant on hanging it high enough to provide all its light to the tank. This is why I decided to not go with the puck style lights myself because if I wanted to have enough light for any coral I may want, then I would need two of them for full coverage. Anyway, for the time being, a single Prime can provide enough light to at least most of your tank, giving the nem the light he'll need.;)

I'm kinda with ya on adding a nem early so it doesn't take walks all over established corals, stinging them in the process. However, the danger in adding a nem, or anything particularly sensitive in the early days is that new tanks tend to have swings in parameters, even those none of us test for. The term 'a mature tank' could also be referred to as a 'very stable tank' in my own experience. So, while the nem doesn't use trace minerals like calcium to live or grow, it may become upset from unnoticed swings in say... pH, calcium, alkalinity (KH or carbonate), and magnesium... and here's where we get back to dosing with products such as your winnings.;)

Stony corals (keyword, stony) use calcium and alkalinity for growing their stony skeletons, and mag, (well, it's been a while since my own days of mineral research) works with calc and alk to be made available to corals... I think! Anyway, this use of the Big 3, (calc, alk, and mag) is known as the tank's uptake and each aquarist has to determine the level of uptake for themselves before they begin dosing. This means, lots and lots of testing to gather data on a tank's uptake, then figuring daily loss so we may then dose regularly in small amounts, thus, not causing swings, just keeping those parameters stable. However, a young tank with little to no growing corals will not have this mineral uptake, but an established tank with a decent amount of growing LPS and SPS corals will. Frags... are small, so even though I got about 30 corals in the first 9 - 12 months of the reef tank, a drop in calc, alk, and mag levels was not seen until the tank was about 1.5 years old, at which time, we tested daily for about a month and in the meantime did LOTS of research about the proper way to dose a tank for mineral loss. So, your winnings will not likely go to waste, but you definitely don't need them for the nem and you probably won't need them at all for some time.

Lastly... there is a range in the levels of pH, calc, alk, and mag which will keep corals happy. Let's take alk for example. For the first year, my alk tests told me the tank's level was steady near 8, at about 7.6 - 7.8. All the corals were happy, though admittedly, we wished for faster growth. After a few big coral hauls and some time in the hobby, during which, I noticed tanks younger than my own had corals which grew faster than my own, we started looking a little closer at parameters. Alk was now even closer to the low end of its range, running closer to 7.0 and calcium didn't trend very low, but it could've been higher. So, this is when we decided to dose and we'd bring up the calc level, as well as maintain a higher alk level than ever before. We were shooting for alk to be steady at 9 dKH. All went well and the corals responded to these higher levels well too. Then, my son was doing chores and looking for a place to plug in the vacuum. Poor kid... we didn't have the cord situation labeled and the tank's doser (which supplies the small daily doses of calc and alk) was mistakenly unplugged... and left that way for 3 days, unnoticed until the corals suddenly looked very mad. The first thing to do in that situation is test, and we found alk down at 7.5.

Please remember that for more than a year, our tank's alk was around 7.6 - 7.8 but for a couple of months now, the corals had become used to an alkalinity level of 9. Despite fixing the levels as quickly as is safe, the sudden drop nearly caused a catastrophe in my tank. Several corals dulled in color and didn't extend their polyps for weeks on end. For about 3 months, I and they hung on, but they looked so bad that I was sure I'd lose some of them, including several treasured pieces. In the end, by month 4, I knew they'd ultimately survive and 6 months out, they were really flourishing again. In the end, of about a dozen corals I was scared for, only 2 heads off of a 4-head hammer coral were lost. This story is to show all the stress and worry that can come from making dosing mistakes and I tell it to you so you will be very careful with your winnings.;) Please do learn from my mistake and avoid making your own in this area because I got pretty lucky, but dosing mistakes can and often do lead to disaster.

I am proudly Stella the Slow reefer because changes in a reef tank are scary! Perhaps you won't have a year of reefing under your belt before you learn what's necessary to dose safely... but the point here is, I did feel like an experienced reefer when I undertook that research and made that change for my tank, and still, getting that area knowledge straight in my head was probably the hardest part of reefing for me thus far. PLUS, the honest mistake made by a kid and his aloof parents brought home the lesson about not messin' with these parameters pretty hard. So, please forgive the rant my friend.;)
 
  • Thread Starter

Thedudeiam94

Member
stella1979 said:
It's very cool to win stuff in the hobby!:D Congrats!! However... you absolutely. do NOT want to start dosing all willy-nilly, lol. Let me explain a few things as best I can then try to tell a little personal story as quickly/shortly as I can.:rolleyes:

First, anemones are related to but are not exactly corals. They do not use trace minerals in growth so your winnings will have no bearing on the success of an anemone in your tank. However, nems are photosynthetic so they need the same light corals do.;) A single Prime would do in the short term, however, I believe its max light spread is around 24 inches... and you (and I) have 30 inch long tanks. Getting the max light spread from a light is also dependant on hanging it high enough to provide all its light to the tank. This is why I decided to not go with the puck style lights myself because if I wanted to have enough light for any coral I may want, then I would need two of them for full coverage. Anyway, for the time being, a single Prime can provide enough light to at least most of your tank, giving the nem the light he'll need.;)

I'm kinda with ya on adding a nem early so it doesn't take walks all over established corals, stinging them in the process. However, the danger in adding a nem, or anything particularly sensitive in the early days is that new tanks tend to have swings in parameters, even those none of us test for. The term 'a mature tank' could also be referred to as a 'very stable tank' in my own experience. So, while the nem doesn't use trace minerals like calcium to live or grow, it may become upset from unnoticed swings in say... pH, calcium, alkalinity (KH or carbonate), and magnesium... and here's where we get back to dosing with products such as your winnings.;)

Stony corals (keyword, stony) use calcium and alkalinity for growing their stony skeletons, and mag, (well, it's been a while since my own days of mineral research) works with calc and alk to be made available to corals... I think! Anyway, this use of the Big 3, (calc, alk, and mag) is known as the tank's uptake and each aquarist has to determine the level of uptake for themselves before they begin dosing. This means, lots and lots of testing to gather data on a tank's uptake, then figuring daily loss so we may then dose regularly in small amounts, thus, not causing swings, just keeping those parameters stable. However, a young tank with little to no growing corals will not have this mineral uptake, but an established tank with a decent amount of growing LPS and SPS corals will. Frags... are small, so even though I got about 30 corals in the first 9 - 12 months of the reef tank, a drop in calc, alk, and mag levels was not seen until the tank was about 1.5 years old, at which time, we tested daily for about a month and in the meantime did LOTS of research about the proper way to dose a tank for mineral loss. So, your winnings will not likely go to waste, but you definitely don't need them for the nem and you probably won't need them at all for some time.

Lastly... there is a range in the levels of pH, calc, alk, and mag which will keep corals happy. Let's take alk for example. For the first year, my alk tests told me the tank's level was steady near 8, at about 7.6 - 7.8. All the corals were happy, though admittedly, we wished for faster growth. After a few big coral hauls and some time in the hobby, during which, I noticed tanks younger than my own had corals which grew faster than my own, we started looking a little closer at parameters. Alk was now even closer to the low end of its range, running closer to 7.0 and calcium didn't trend very low, but it could've been higher. So, this is when we decided to dose and we'd bring up the calc level, as well as maintain a higher alk level than ever before. We were shooting for alk to be steady at 9 dKH. All went well and the corals responded to these higher levels well too. Then, my son was doing chores and looking for a place to plug in the vacuum. Poor kid... we didn't have the cord situation labeled and the tank's doser (which supplies the small daily doses of calc and alk) was mistakenly unplugged... and left that way for 3 days, unnoticed until the corals suddenly looked very mad. The first thing to do in that situation is test, and we found alk down at 7.5.

Please remember that for more than a year, our tank's alk was around 7.6 - 7.8 but for a couple of months now, the corals had become used to an alkalinity level of 9. Despite fixing the levels as quickly as is safe, the sudden drop nearly caused a catastrophe in my tank. Several corals dulled in color and didn't extend their polyps for weeks on end. For about 3 months, I and they hung on, but they looked so bad that I was sure I'd lose some of them, including several treasured pieces. In the end, by month 4, I knew they'd ultimately survive and 6 months out, they were really flourishing again. In the end, of about a dozen corals I was scared for, only 2 heads off of a 4-head hammer coral were lost. This story is to show all the stress and worry that can come from making dosing mistakes and I tell it to you so you will be very careful with your winnings.;) Please do learn from my mistake and avoid making your own in this area because I got pretty lucky, but dosing mistakes can and often do lead to disaster.

I am proudly Stella the Slow reefer because changes in a reef tank are scary! Perhaps you won't have a year of reefing under your belt before you learn what's necessary to dose safely... but the point here is, I did feel like an experienced reefer when I undertook that research and made that change for my tank, and still, getting that area knowledge straight in my head was probably the hardest part of reefing for me thus far. PLUS, the honest mistake made by a kid and his aloof parents brought home the lesson about not messin' with these parameters pretty hard. So, please forgive the rant my friend.;)
Thank you VERY much for that response!! It was super helpful and I will make sure to look over everything again over time. These small tips are the most helpful being that I am new to reefing and need all the help and info I can acquire. I didn’t intend on dosing anything until I have tested my levels for at least two months consistently. My main concern was the fact of weather the nem would be safe so early in the life of the tank. Like you said I will be sure to make sure my parameters are stable before adding anything. I was planning to add a second aI prime hd by next month to cover the tank completely. I really appreciate all your info and experience you have shared and I will be SURE to reach out if I can think of any other questions I may have! Love being a part of this forum and have learned so much here!! Everyone is so helpful and supportive and that really makes this hobby enjoyable! I will keep you all updated as time goes by and the tank “matures”! Thanks again!!!
 

MomeWrath

Member
Here's my experience with dosing, damsels, and coral in a nano tank. I had a 30 long, but was always too terrified to put a nem in there, because my lights were un-proven at the time, and I didn't want it strolling over to a powerhead and turning my tank into a nem smoothie. I had fancy clowns, and they hosted the corner of the tank. A later pair I had hosted some pink pulsating xenia. An anemone is cool, but tank bred clowns don't care and will host just about anything snuggly. Green hairy mushrooms are another popular home.
I had two yellow tail damsels (at different times...I was on a break!) who were model citizens, but they were also the final addition to my tank. I personally love them, and I don't like that people treat them like "cycle fish" but what's done is done and I'm glad you have a plan for him. I hope you also have a plan to get him out of the tank without tearing your rockwork apart. They are fast and do not like to be caught.
At one time, in my 30 gallon tank, I decided to try SPS. I was recommended to start with some easy ones - a red montipora capricornus (I think that's right, it's been a while), and a green birds nest coral. Well it turns out my lights grew coral really well... and I didn't realize that bigger coral use more resources. So in a 36x12" tank I had a 10"x10" montI and a 10"x10" birdsnest, and I couldn't keep up. My alk dropped, Mg got out of whack, and basically I pulled them out and sold them for a song to keep my tank from completely crashing under its own success. So that's my cautionary tale on stability in a nano reef. What works this month will need to be adjusted next month as things grow and change in the tank. It's one of the challenges that took reefkeeping off of my list. I don't want to scare you off, just be careful not to get ahead of yourself. It's a steep learning curve :)
Now that I've said all that awful stuff, here's a pic from about six months before it really went South, when things were still awesome:
 

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Thedudeiam94

Member
This little fish has warmed up so well. Has established feeding times and comes out when I sit next to the tanks to relax. Everything looks and is going well so far.

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Thedudeiam94

Member
The new members will arrive Tuesday!
 

coralbandit

Member
Glad you hear you have a plan for the devil fish , I mean damsel ! Meaner then sin is how most end up . " And then there was one " .
Going to share the type of designer clowns are on their way ??
I still have one of the original Picaso from maybe 7 years ago !
I like the lightning snowflakes but they are as mean as black rams !
 
  • Thread Starter

Thedudeiam94

Member
coralbandit said:
Glad you hear you have a plan for the devil fish , I mean damsel ! Meaner then sin is how most end up . " And then there was one " .
Going to share the type of designer clowns are on their way ??
I still have one of the original Picaso from maybe 7 years ago !
I like the lightning snowflakes but they are as mean as black rams !
Yeah the lfs has a nice 220 display that they will be able to keep it in if things take a turn for the worse. It has honestly went from a shy little fish to swimming out and eating aggressively at feeding time. Literally attacks the food ones it hits the water. For the most part it stays hidden the cave in the center of the rock work near the top.
I chose two Wyoming white clownfish which won’t be here until Tuesday next week. So there will be an update sometime next week again once they settle in. The AI prime hd lighting should be here around the same time also. So everything will look pretty close to the way it should.
 
  • Thread Starter

Thedudeiam94

Member
AI Prime HD up and running!

140a08f8b8de47ebef4ceec52c43e130.jpg
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
I have added the two Wyoming white clowns over the past week and they are doing well and I will be sure to post pictures soon! Funny little fish have been digging in the sand in the front corner of the tank. Weird because they’re was some slight aggression from the damsel once I added the clowns however she only felt the need to get “ugly” when they swam too close to the rock in the middle. Now she swims with them and next to them and they take turns eating together. I’m actually surprised at how well they have adjusted to one another in their new home.
 

MomeWrath

Member
Thedudeiam94 said:
I have added the two Wyoming white clowns over the past week and they are doing well and I will be sure to post pictures soon! Funny little fish have been digging in the sand in the front corner of the tank. Weird because they’re was some slight aggression from the damsel once I added the clowns however she only felt the need to get “ugly” when they swam too close to the rock in the middle. Now she swims with them and next to them and they take turns eating together. I’m actually surprised at how well they have adjusted to one another in their new home.
See? Yellowtail damsels aren't always the devil. Are you still planning to give her up or let her stay as long as she plays nice. Did you know clowns are in the damselfish family? Most clowns of any size have no trouble holding their own.
 

coralbandit

Member
Magicpenny75 said:
See? Yellowtail damsels aren't always the devil. Are you still planning to give her up or let her stay as long as she plays nice. Did you know clowns are in the damselfish family? Most clowns of any size have no trouble holding their own.
Most clowns of any size can be as bad as any damsels ..You just have to find who they don' like ..Conspecific like damsels..
Kept single they usually are no trouble but in pairs all bets are off [even for the other clown ]..
Glad they are playing nice for now ..Can't wait to see them .
One of my LFS had Wyoming whites ..They had every color just t about ..
They had lightning also and said they were so mean they could not get pairs that would not kill each other ..$100 each ….
Makes you wonder how some breeders do it ?
 

MomeWrath

Member
The only thing my clowns really hated were the turbo snails. Disrespecting them all the time coming on their turf and all...

My clowns loved eachother... so many eggs... that video is on my channel too if you'd like to see. I miss my reef so much.
Sorry don't mean to hijack.
 
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Thedudeiam94

Member
 
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