Low Cost Nano setup?

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Setup' started by PringlesLFE, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. PringlesLFENew MemberMember

    I have been raising my breeding convicts and their fry in my 40G Breeder and am beginning to wander into the SW world.

    I have a spare 20G High and 20G Long I was planning to turn into a nano SW tank.

    Not 100% on whether I want it to be a nano reef exactly but i would definitely like something a little more than just FOWLR.

    Cost is an issue for the moment and even though I probably won't start up for a while (I really love doing research on SW aquariums).

    If anybody has the time to do a quick list of the lowest costing equipment I would need in order to get a tank up and running (or at least cycling), I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks! :;shat
  2. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello PringlesLFE and Welcome to Fish Lore. Best of luck with your salt water adventures. I'm sure some salt members will help you out with suggestions before too long. I hope you enjoy the site!

    Keep us posted on your progress. We love photos!
  3. locoyo386

    locoyo386Well Known MemberMember

    HI there,
    I think that the 20L would be a nice nano tank.

    Well what more would you like it to be? If you want corals it's going to be more expensive than FOWLR with invertribrates.

    The cheapest way to go at the moment would be to set up a (as I call it) fish only tank. What do you have for the 20L, anything equipment or supplies?
  4. pepetj

    pepetjWell Known MemberMember

    As for keeping cost down. Consider going DIY for a Nitrate-Phosphate remover (algae turf) so you can go without protein skimmer. Please read the interesting thread Santa Monica published in the DIY section here:

    I rather use the 20gal tall tank and go with a Deep Sand Bed (say 6 inches depth aragonite reef sand) plus at least 20 lbs of live rock, and get a nice, reef safe, clean up crew.

    To keep cost down you could get just a few pounds of actually live rock and complement with inert marine rock, just take your time to seed it.

    I cycled my Nano Reef (custom built 20gal tall) with ammonia solution in 34 days. I designed my own light unit using six T8 and four T5HO for a total of 216W on a standard 10gal footpring (20"L x 10"W).

    As for lights, consider using a remote ballast (or more if needed be) and place as much T5HO as you can (four lamps will fit inside a standard lamp assembly for a 24"L tank) mixing actinic with 10,000K (I mixed with 10,000K and 18,000K). Remove the reflector, ballast and wires from the lamp assembly and paint its interior walls with as bright white spray paint as you can find. Use tie wraps to hold the lamps together and to attach them to the plastic housing. You could either purchase waterproff caps for the wiring or build your own. Place the electronic ballast (must be one for T5HO lamps) inside a wooden box or as far away as possible from the tank.

    For circulation you could either use small powerheads (say AquaClear 20 or 30) and adapt a cheap deflector as wavemaker, like this one:

    If you can, drill your tank to make plumbing easier. Use as big refugium/sump as possible (I am using 6gal sump).

    The thing here is to wait until your tank is ready for corals. Nitrates and Phosphates should be really low or undetectable to provide them with good care.

    Invest in as good as possible testing instruments. For reef you would need besides the classic SW specific gravity, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, tests for Alkalinity (KH), Calcium, Phosphates, and Magnesium.

    Auto-top off is easily accomplished by DIY. Same as dosing calcium through Kalkwasser.

    Take your time and enjoy the planning. SW is another ball game in fishkeeping.

    Santo Domingo

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