5g Cube (beginner)

Fahn

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,442
Reaction score
3,612
Points
458
Lately I've been getting the itch to start a saltwater tank. I have several years of experience with freshwater and have been involved in saltwater maintenance and care with my company for about a year. I am cramped for space, but have plenty of experience with nano tanks under 10 gallons. I was wondering what kind of setup I could do in, say, a 5 gallon cube? I understand this is probably too small for most fish so I would like to limit it to reef-safe inverts and easy corals such as mushrooms. Any advice on what I would need would be greatly appreciated!
 

Floundering_Around

Well Known Member
Messages
848
Reaction score
341
Points
88
Experience
5 to 10 years
I would say you could run the whole system with just a powerhead, live rock, and your light. Substrate is optional but I personally live the way it looks. You throw on a HOB filter to hold some extra media (bio balls, phosphate remover, etc.). No skimmer is necessary as long as you do water changes, which will be crucial in such a small tank.

As for livestock, stay away from pulsing xenia, green star polyp, leather corals, and mushrooms unless you want your tank overrun by them/doing constant maintenance to trim them back. Palys and zoas are easy going corals that are great for beginners. LPS like acans and Duncans are good options as well.

Reef hermits and cleaner shrimp are fun to watch and will make sure that your tank doesn't have too many organics that can increase your nitrogen. Plus they're fun to watch
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3

Fahn

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,442
Reaction score
3,612
Points
458
Floundering_Around said:
I would say you could run the whole system with just a powerhead, live rock, and your light. Substrate is optional but i personally live the way it looks. You throw on a HOB filter to hold some extra media (bioballs, phosphate remover, etc.). No skimmer is necessary a long as you do water changes, which will be crucial in such a small tank
I was planning on possibly doing a mini canister, would that be advisable? Zoomed makes one that is good for up to 10 gallons.

As far as stocking I was thinking blue-leg hermits and a fire shrimp, or opae ula shrimp. As far as corals I was thinking mushrooms, zoes, possibly something like acans. Thoughts?
 

Jesterrace

Well Known Member
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,150
Points
198
Experience
1 year
Euphyllia Corals (ie Hammer and Frogspawn) are beautiful (that's all I have), but would not be a good fit for a tank that small as they would easily take over a tank that size and would kill any other corals you had. I agree that if you are set on a 5 gallon tank that a few corals and small inverts would be the way to go. It sounds like you do have some working knowledge of them so that helps.
 

Floundering_Around

Well Known Member
Messages
848
Reaction score
341
Points
88
Experience
5 to 10 years
the canister would be good for keeping the equipment in the tank to a minium. I've never used a canister filter and i've hear other marine keepers say that it's more hassle than necessary for a salt water tank.

As long as you have extra shells for the hemit, it should be good to good. Coral options looksspot on too
 

Jesterrace

Well Known Member
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
1,150
Points
198
Experience
1 year
Fahn said:
I was planning on possibly doing a mini canister, would that be advisable? Zoomed makes one that is good for up to 10 gallons.

As far as stocking I was thinking blue-leg hermits and a fire shrimp, or opae ula shrimp. As far as corals I was thinking mushrooms, zoes, possibly something like acans. Thoughts?
Canister filters are the most problematic method for filtration in saltwater tanks as it is really difficult to get them properly cleaned out and they are prone to becoming nitrate factories.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #8

Fahn

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,442
Reaction score
3,612
Points
458
Jesterrace said:
Canister filters are the most problematic method for filtration in saltwater tanks as it is really difficult to get them properly cleaned out and they are prone to becoming nitrate factories.
So a hob with biomedia would be better?
 

Floundering_Around

Well Known Member
Messages
848
Reaction score
341
Points
88
Experience
5 to 10 years
Here's a video of someone who is doing what I suggested. My tank is an all-in-one so it has a stock return pump plus a powerhead that I added. I'm currently using one of the back chambers to grow macroalgae; you could use the HOB to grow macroalgae if it suited you
 

Floundering_Around

Well Known Member
Messages
848
Reaction score
341
Points
88
Experience
5 to 10 years
You could theoretically fit baby clowns in the 5g. They do max out around five inches but it takes them a few years to grow. You'd have time to get a largr tank/move things around/etc. and upgrade your tank, if it suits you.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #12

Fahn

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,442
Reaction score
3,612
Points
458
Floundering_Around said:
You could theoretically fit baby clowns in the 5g. They do max out around five inches but it takes them a few years to grow. You'd have time to get a largr tank/move things around/etc. and upgrade your tank, if it suits you.
Five inches? I thought ocellaris clowns stayed a lot smaller than that?

What about bumblebee shrimp?
 

Fanatic

Fishlore VIP
Messages
9,157
Reaction score
6,115
Points
758
Experience
3 years
I have always recommended a 15-20 gallon for beginners. They are a bit more flexible and easier to keep the parameters on point.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #15

Fahn

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,442
Reaction score
3,612
Points
458
Fanatic said:
I have always recommended a 15-20 gallon for beginners. They are a bit more flexible and easier to keep the parameters on point.
While I am mostly freshwater I have 4 Aquariums 10 gallons or less that I am caring for, so I have plenty of nano experience.
 

stella1979

Moderator
Messages
7,494
Reaction score
9,629
Points
608
Experience
5 to 10 years
I couldn't recommend a small HOB more. I keep an AC20 on a 5g qt tank, and it still doesn't provide enough flow, so I also use a super cheap nano pump in the tank... this one.


I don't have this, but this is the heater I would recommend. It's very precise and has a good reputation for being dependable as well.


Back to filtration. With enough rock in the tank, you will not need to worry about biomedia in the HOB. Instead, you could run something like ChemiPure or GFO. If you want a refugium... well, my AC70 makes a good little fuge, but it's much larger than the AC20 and is on a 20g long tank. I'd think you'd want a dedicated container for growing macroalgae. Perhaps look into doing a DIY chaeto reactor?

Corals like stability so balancing parameters with filtration and water changes is paramount, particularly in a pico reef. Yep, I'd call a 5g a pico, but I also call my 20g a nano.

What are your thoughts on a light?

Shrooms, zoas/palys, acans, maybe a favia or two and crown it off with a nice Duncan. Done. It will be a thing of beauty. In my experience, zoas are the hardest corals of the one listed, and that's perhaps my bad luck. None of those corals are considered difficult by any means, and Duncans and acans are particularly fun to feed.
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom