5 gallon saltwater tank

Corydork
Member
I’ve been thinking about this for a while and have decided that I’d like to do a saltwater tank. The only size tank I have that I can change is my 5 gallon. I’ve done a ton of research into it and think it can be done.
So I’ve got 4 questions I’d like to have answered.
1.) Do you think it’d be possible?
2.) What fish would work in that small of a tank (I’m looking at the blind shrimp and watchman goby or a clownfish)?
3. What would the lowest price be to get it started, excluding the tank, skimmer and filtration, of which I already have?
4.) Would it be possible to keep a coral in the tank?
 
FinalFins
Member
saltwater60
HarrisonAquatics

All I can say is that 5 gallon is a very small size to start at a beginner saltwater level. You will need to make sure everything stays stable, including salinity.
 
ChrissFishes01
Member
1) It's more than possible. Difficult, but I played with a 5 gallon reef for a while - I didn't succeed with it, but that was more due to my own negligence than the difficulty of the tank.

2) Probably just small gobies, honestly. Watchman gobies get a good 3-4", so probably too big for a 5 gallon. I'd personally look into Clown and Eviota gobies. Just one per tank.

3) I'd budget for around $150-200, depending on if you want to get a decent light or not.

4) Yup. All you'd need is a decent light and good flow.

Here's how I'd do it:

Have a large HOB for chemical media and water flow. I'd do an Aquaclear 70 or 110, or something similar. Throw your heater into the HOB, and then go have an acrylic lid cut. It needs to fit down on the rI'm of the tank (and fit very neatly against the HOB) to cut down on evaporation, which will be your biggest issue with a tank this small. Do a 1 gallon water change weekly. You don't even need a skimmer, really - most people who run small tanks typically don't use them. For a decent light, look into the Hipargero Aquaknight - it's way, way overpowered for a 5 gallon, but would allow you to keep anything you want and would give you an upgrade path to a 10 gallon for when you run out of space in the 5.
 
  • Thread Starter
Corydork
Member
HarrisonAquatics said:
1) It's more than possible. Difficult, but I played with a 5 gallon reef for a while - I didn't succeed with it, but that was more due to my own negligence than the difficulty of the tank.

2) Probably just small gobies, honestly. Watchman gobies get a good 3-4", so probably too big for a 5 gallon. I'd personally look into Clown and Eviota gobies. Just one per tank.

3) I'd budget for around $150-200, depending on if you want to get a decent light or not.

4) Yup. All you'd need is a decent light and good flow.

Here's how I'd do it:

Have a large HOB for chemical media and water flow. I'd do an Aquaclear 70 or 110, or something similar. Throw your heater into the HOB, and then go have an acrylic lid cut. It needs to fit down on the rI'm of the tank (and fit very neatly against the HOB) to cut down on evaporation, which will be your biggest issue with a tank this small. Do a 1 gallon water change weekly. You don't even need a skimmer, really - most people who run small tanks typically don't use them. For a decent light, look into the Hipargero Aquaknight - it's way, way overpowered for a 5 gallon, but would allow you to keep anything you want and would give you an upgrade path to a 10 gallon for when you run out of space in the 5.
Thanks!
Stocking isn't my forte- how many clown gobies in a 5 gallon? I'm thinking only one with a few sexy shrimp. Also, I know how severe algae can get in a saltwater tank- what snails would you recommend for a pico tank? I'm considering a nerite or Collonista snail for the tank as well.
 
NaturalGothic
Member
If you still want to do a 5 gallon, you can. It’s just hard. I won’t really advise putting fish in it. If you did, It would probably have to be like a clown goby or a small damsel. If you do a strictly invert tank, you have more options like shrimp/lobsters/snails/crabs/etc. For small tanks, double the filtration. If you have a five gallon, you’ll need at least a 10 gallon filter. In my opinion, an invert 5 gallon is going to be a lot less work. Defiantly do more research and think about it before you go through with purchasing living creatures.
 
Bellasmith
Member
1, I think you can start with 5 gallon tank. It's possible. I used to start with Fluval 5-gallon and I succeed with it.
2, I think clownfish should be oke
3, Around $200-250 I think because it depends on what type of tank you want to buy
4, Definitely yes
 
KingJamal2
Member
You can start with a 5g, but I wouldn’t really recommend it. Water parameter swings will be amplified in a small tank, leading to potential death of corals/fish

No, I would not do a clownfish in anything less than a 15g, unless it’s a grow out.

You don’t need a skimmer because it’s a small tank, I’d say it would only cost 200-250 depending on what salt/heater/testers you’re going to get

Yes you can keep corals, if you have a decent light.
 
tuggerlake26
Member
I did a 2.5 gallon picotope and kept it up for a year. Never had any issues, it was just a lot of maintenance for a small tank. Biggest thing is to keep everything stable, especially salinity. Water in those tanks evaporate quickly, so you always need to top off.

I also found it difficult to keep coral from growing too much. Definitely make sure any corals are slow growers or stay small. I had a leather that I had to take out midway through. I used this light and loved it: Wave-point 6-Inch 8-Watt Super Blue and Daylight Micro Sun LED High Output Clamp Light.

I would keep one fish max.

Don't worry about a skimmer. Have a good filter as those have stated. I kept carbon and GFO in mine.

Water changes are tough in a tank like that. Again, you have to make sure temp, salinity, alk etc all match. In a tank that small, any variance in the new water can spell disaster.
 
kanzekatores
Member
Possible is one word, ideal is another. A 5 gallon is small for saltwater. A fish that would work would be a clown goby, but clownfish is too small. If this is your first time in saltwater, I dont recommend such small volume. You could do a goby, and corals, but it will require a lot of maintenance because params will fluctuate in such a small amount of water.

If you're really interested in nano saltwater, maybe look into easier critters instead of fish and corals. You could keep macroalgae, snails and crabs, or even brine shrimp tank.
 
fishkeepinginaisa
Member
Corydork said:
I’ve been thinking about this for a while and have decided that I’d like to do a saltwater tank. The only size tank I have that I can change is my 5 gallon. I’ve done a ton of research into it and think it can be done.
So I’ve got 4 questions I’d like to have answered.
1.) Do you think it’d be possible?
2.) What fish would work in that small of a tank (I’m looking at the blind shrimp and watchman goby or a clownfish)?
3. What would the lowest price be to get it started, excluding the tank, skimmer and filtration, of which I already have?
4.) Would it be possible to keep a coral in the tank?
Hi

1.) Do you think it’d be possible?
For sure, but it's tricky. Larger volumes of water have a higher tolerance for mistakes, that's why many saltwater hobbyists start big. However, it's definitely possible to start of a five gallon.
2.) What fish would work in that small of a tank (I’m looking at the blind shrimp and watchman goby or a clownfish)?
The gobies and clowns might feel a little crampt in there. I would go with something really small like a neon or clown goby. Having a fish in there will make the corals trickier.

3. What would the lowest price be to get it started, excluding the tank, skimmer and filtration, of which I already have?
You'll need around $30 for live rock. You usally one 1LB per gallon. Salt will set you back around $20. But the kicker is the light. If you want to grow coral, you need a top notch light. That can go for anywhere between $50 and $100for a small tank. Then you'll need to buy your testing supplies. I am a little out of touch with prices in the states since I've been out of the country for a few years.

4.) Would it be possible to keep a coral in the tank?
For sure, people do it all the time. However, it will be much easier if you do it without fish. It is challenging to maintain the correct water parameters in a small setup. A fish is just another element of chaos. A lot of people grow zoa gardens in small tanks. For a beginner, I reccomend something easy like GSP or mushroom corals. They can and will take over, but they're a good place to start. Seeing something grow that fish can really boost your confidence before trying something harder.

Happy reefing!
 

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