Saltwater newbie (yes, another one lol)

ErinO

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Hi all! I am looking at switching either my 10 gallon or my 29 gallon from freshwater to saltwater. Thank you to everyone that contributed to the SW Beginners sticky threads! SOOOO helpful!
I know that the 29 gallon would probably be a better tank to start my SW experience, but I may not be able move the fish in that tank to one of my other tanks. I'm trying to get that worked out as I do my research for the switch. But either way, I think that the questions I have will cover whichever tank I end up using.
This will be a FOWLR tank.
Here are my questions so far:
Can I get away without a sump with this small of a tank? I have read yes and I have read no. I would like to run a Tidal 35 in the 10 gallon or a Tidal 55 in the 29 gallon. Sumps are very intimidating for me for some reason.
Is there a difference between a wave maker and a power head? When I've tried looking them up on Amazon, it always lists both, even though I search for one or the other.
Do I need a power head/ wave maker?
Do I need a refugium?
Where would be the best place to get a complete ATO?
I'm sure I'll have more questions as I continue researching, but I'll start with these.
Thank you in advance for all your help!
 

Jesterrace

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10 gallon or 29 gallon are perfectly fine with just HOB. I ran a 36 gallon bowfront for almost a year with a Fluval 50 and an Eshoppes PSK-75H HOB Protein Skimmer (you don't need a skimmer either as long as you don't over feed and stay on top of water changes AND use a clean food source). You don't need a refugium either although it will help with biofiltration for the tank as well as breeding pods (which clean your tank and provide additional food for your fish.

Powerhead/Wavemaker IS A MUST even without corals the tank still needs simulated underwater flow if for no other reason than dead/stagnant water in a saltwater tank builds up ugly red slime algae (aka Cyanobacteria) very quickly. You need to keep things moving all around the tank for water flow.

For ATO I would recommend checking out www.bulkreefsupply.com as they have a wide variety of equipment.
 
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ErinO

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Thank you for your reply! Would the skimmer on the Tidal be sufficient as a protein skimmer, or is a protein skimmer a completely separate piece of equipment? How do you determine if you have a clean food source? Would you suggest an in-tank or HOB refugium? The powerhead and wavemaker are the same thing?
 

saltwater60

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I would not spend the money on a wave maker but I would agree with a cheap power head to move water.
Not sure why sumps are intimidating. Not required by any means but helps out to clean the tank up and improve looks. I also agree with the refugium but not required.
I’d over size the filter a little bit.
 
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ErinO

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saltwater60 said:
I would not spend the money on a wave maker but I would agree with a cheap power head to move water.
Not sure why sumps are intimidating. Not required by any means but helps out to clean the tank up and improve looks. I also agree with the refugium but not required.
I’d over size the filter a little bit.
Do you not think that the Tidal (the 35 for the 10 gallon or the 55 for the 29 gallon) would be adequate filtration?
 

saltwater60

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ErinO said:
Do you not think that the Tidal (the 35 for the 10 gallon or the 55 for the 29 gallon) would be adequate filtration?
I can’t say I know much about them or have experience with them but they seem like great filters.
 
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ErinO

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If I add the refugium, which would be the best for the size of these tanks? Would a HOB refugium be adequate? Should it be in the tank, or out of the tank (I've seen both)? Are refugiums just breeder boxes used in a different way? Does it need a light? What size of powerhead should I look for?
 

saltwater60

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ErinO said:
If I add the refugium, which would be the best for the size of these tanks? Would a HOB refugium be adequate? Should it be in the tank, or out of the tank (I've seen both)? Are refugiums just breeder boxes used in a different way? Does it need a light? What size of powerhead should I look for?
I’d use a HOB refugium and add some algae like cheto and a light. It’s a spot for extra biofiltration and pods to grow for fish food.
 

Jesterrace

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Pods also help clean up waste around the tank so they are all around beneficial for the tank.
 
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ErinO

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saltwater60 said:
I’d use a HOB refugium and add some algae like cheto and a light. It’s a spot for extra biofiltration and pods to grow for fish food.
Jesterrace said:
Pods also help clean up waste around the tank so they are all around beneficial for the tank.
Thank you :)

https://www.amazon.com/Finnex-External-Refugium-Breeder-Hang/dp/B00I8BREP2/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=refugium&qid=1573752655&sr=8-2

@Jesterrace, @saltwater60 What do you think of this? It says that it's both a refugium and a breeder box. Is that right?
 

saltwater60

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It’s hard to tell from the pictures. It looks deeper front to back than what I’m used to and looks to be just molded plastic. I’ve had e shoppes CPR refugium and have been very pleased with them. I’d look at one of those. They are more costly but very sturdy and better suited as a refugium. Are you looking more for a breeder box or more for a refugium? What’s the planned use?

I know this is much more expensive but I really like this outlet style and this is a large refugium
Large AquaFuge2 Hang on Back Refugium with LED Lighting - CPR Aquatics
 
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ErinO

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saltwater60 said:
It’s hard to tell from the pictures. It looks deeper front to back than what I’m used to and looks to be just molded plastic. I’ve had e shoppes CPR refugium and have been very pleased with them. I’d look at one of those. They are more costly but very sturdy and better suited as a refugium. Are you looking more for a breeder box or more for a refugium? What’s the planned use?

I know this is much more expensive but I really like this outlet style and this is a large refugium
Large AquaFuge2 Hang on Back Refugium with LED Lighting - CPR Aquatics
Definitely NOT a breeder box lol. Should I get one that is as large as the one in your link? Or should I get a smaller one, since it will only be a 29 gallon?
 

saltwater60

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ErinO said:
Definitely NOT a breeder box lol. Should I get one that is as large as the one in your link? Or should I get a smaller one, since it will only be a 29 gallon?
All depends on what you want it for honestly. I’d get the biggest one I could afford. 29 gallons is on the small side for saltwater and will help with bio filtration and water capacity.
like I asked before what will you use this for and what do you plan to have in addition to this hanging on the back of the tank?
 
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ErinO

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saltwater60 said:
All depends on what you want it for honestly. I’d get the biggest one I could afford. 29 gallons is on the small side for saltwater and will help with bio filtration and water capacity.
like I asked before what will you use this for and what do you plan to have in addition to this hanging on the back of the tank?
I'm sorry, I guess I don't understand your question. I'll just give a rundown on what I plan so far and see if that answers your question. I'm planning on a 29 gallon tank, with live rock and live sand. For filtration, I plan on using the Tidal 55 (maybe the 75, I haven't decided yet). I will have a powerhead of some sort, but I can't tell you which. I'm still researching those. I'm also looking into an ATO system. For stocking, I'm looking at clowns, of course, a goby/shrimp combo, a hermit crab or 2 and a snail or 2.
As far as the refugium, I plan on getting some cheto for it, and that's as far as I've gotten. I haven't had a chance to look up what, exactly, pods are, but it's on my list of things to research.
 

Jesterrace

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Pods as they are referred to can be any variety of copepods or larger amphipods and Chaeto helps them breed. I agree the larger the Refugium the better as you will have more room for chaeto growth (aka more biofiltration). Basically they are little inverts that are natural cleaners (eat detritus, food waste, etc.) and pretty much any fish will eat them (some are dependent on them ie Dragonets). Here are some of the larger amphipods in action in my sump. They have bred like crazy since my chaeto has grown in:

 

saltwater60

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What I would recommend then is measure the rear of your tank and have the filter and the refugium fit in the back. Again I’d get the biggest fuge you can get and have your filter still be mounted on the rear of the tank.
many good cheap power heads out there. Don’t overthink the power heads.
your stocking list looks completely acceptable for your tank. Can I recommend a this shrimp goby combo. The best IMO.https://m.liveaquaria.com/product/1145/?pcatid=1145
Pods are great and cheto is great. You’ll want more though later on and if you get a bigger fuge it just opens up options. Again I’d get one made of acrylic not plastic. You’ll have it for the rest of your life. Also if you want one deeper and it works for you go for it. I just know I need my tanks pretty close to my walls. An ATO is a good idea honestly.
 
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ErinO

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Jesterrace said:
Pods as they are referred to can be any variety of copepods or larger amphipods and Chaeto helps them breed. I agree the larger the Refugium the better as you will have more room for chaeto growth (aka more biofiltration). Basically they are little inverts that are natural cleaners (eat detritus, food waste, etc.) and pretty much any fish will eat them (some are dependent on them ie Dragonets). Here are some of the larger amphipods in action in my sump. They have bred like crazy since my chaeto has grown in:

Thank you for the explanation and video! VERY helpful! I believe I heard you say that your refugium part of your sump. Is that correct? Did all of the pods start growing on their own or did you buy some and they started multiplying?
 

saltwater60

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ErinO said:
Thank you for the explanation and video! VERY helpful! I believe I heard you say that your refugium part of your sump. Is that correct? Did all of the pods start growing on their own or did you buy some and they started multiplying?
You can do both. Buy some or some come on love rock. You can do a refugium under your tank as well.
 

Jesterrace

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ErinO said:
Thank you for the explanation and video! VERY helpful! I believe I heard you say that your refugium part of your sump. Is that correct? Did all of the pods start growing on their own or did you buy some and they started multiplying?
Yes, technically a sump is a natural refugium since it is a tank that is separate from the display tank. With a sump you can turn pretty much any partition you want into a place to grow chaeto. I chose my protein skimmer partition since it is the largest partition in my sump and the outflow of the skimmer is a perfect nutrient feeder and flow for the Chaeto. As for the pods, I added a few bottles of a variety of different copepods over the course of a few months but the Amphipods (most of what you are seeing in that vid) are all self perpetuating. I haven't added a single Amphipod to my tank, so whatever came in on the two little fistfuls of Chaeto that I got from my LFS and what has bred since are all self perpetuating.
 
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