Saltwater Reef Or Planted Tank

Jregister2
  • #1
I have a 5 gallon fluval spec I've been debating on if I should do a freshwater planted tank or a saltwater reef tank. I've done plants before but never done a reef tank. I was wondering if someone could give me some input on what they recommend?
 
Adriifu
  • #2
How much experience have you had with freshwater aquariums?
 
Jregister2
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
How much experience have you had with freshwater aquariums?
I've been keeping freshwater tanks for about 6 years
 
Adriifu
  • #4
I've been keeping freshwater tanks for about 6 years
I've had around that much experience and just recently started a saltwater tank. I'd definitely encourage you to try it out as long as you consider how expensive it tends to be. You'll want to do a ton of research as well.
 
Jregister2
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I've been doing a lot of reading on Salt water reef tanks for awhile. I know it can be expensive I got a lot of money in my fresh water tanks. I'm expecting to spend well over 500 to 600 dollars on that 5 gallon tank.
 
Adriifu
  • #6
I've been doing a lot of reading on Salt water reef tanks for awhile. I know it can be expensive I got a lot of money in my fresh water tanks. I'm expecting to spend well over 500 to 600 dollars on that 5 gallon tank.
If it's what you really want, then I'd say go for it Good luck!
 
Jregister2
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
If it's what you really want, then I'd say go for it Good luck!
I appreciate the replies. I think I'll give it a shot. Thanks and good luck to you!
 
Reeferxbetta
  • #8
Keep in mind that smaller tanks are typically more maintenance than larger ones, but it sounds to me like you're experienced and know what you're getting into, I think you will be successful and really enjoy the tank!
 
ClownFizz
  • #9
Nah don't go for the 5 gallon tank. 15+ gallons will do u wonders. With correct parameters, top of systems and filtration, u can't go wrong. Saltwater has way more opportunities and the fish have way more personality. I used to be in freshwater and got bored. Once I went into freshwater, man, never turning back. Clownfish, gobies, blenny, shrimp... cuc... coral! The list goes on

*got into saltwater I mean lol
 
Jregister2
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Keep in mind that smaller tanks are typically more maintenance than larger ones, but it sounds to me like you're experienced and know what you're getting into, I think you will be successful and really enjoy the tank!
I know with a smaller tank it's harder to have a stable ph and temperature. The whole reason I want to try a saltwater tank is because it's a new challenge.
 
Reeferxbetta
  • #11
Cool! You'll probably find that many people will tell you not the use the 5 gallon, there's a lot of people on here that have the attitude of "well if you're going to use something under 20 gallons, you might as well not go for it at all" which I do agree with when someone is a real beginner and has minimal freshwater or just general experience with fish, but when a person is looking for a more challenging tank and they're experienced, I see nothing wrong with starting a nano/pico. Lorekeeper can probably give you some good advice with nano/pico tanks. You should start a build thread!
 
Jregister2
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Cool! You'll probably find that many people will tell you not the use the 5 gallon, there's a lot of people on here that have the attitude of "well if you're going to use something under 20 gallons, you might as well not go for it at all" which I do agree with when someone is a real beginner and has minimal freshwater or just general experience with fish, but when a person is looking for a more challenging tank and they're experienced, I see nothing wrong with starting a nano/pico. Lorekeeper can probably give you some good advice with nano/pico tanks. You should start a build thread!
I appreciate the advice. I know keeping a 5 gallon won't be easy but I have researched and researched and researched about everything I need to know and I feel like I could do it. Thank you for the advice and good luck to you!
 
Jesterrace
  • #13
I will be that guy and say that a 5 gallon saltwater tank really isn't worth it, especially for a first time person. Outside of the fact that no saltwater fish is really suited to a tank of less than 10 gallons (a single small goby would be pushing it but might work). When you put it into the context that a 5 gallon is barely suitable for a single betta or dwarf gourami in a freshwater config and then you think about putting a fish from the ocean in there, it does seem a bit ridiculous. The other issue is the cost of setting one up and maintaining one makes for a lot of investment with little reward. Here is what you will need for any saltwater system regardless of size

A Refractometer (to measure salinity, don't touch a hydrometer as they are junk)
At least 1lb of live rock per gallon of tank, you can do dry rock (ie Pukani) and seed it to become live rock which will be cheaper but for a smaller tank the savings is negligible
Some kind of sand substrate if you want a sand sifter like a goby. I like live sand as it seems to be about the perfect balance of grains
You will need to either buy RODI Water/RODI/Saltwater pre-mix from your LFS or purchase an RODI system as tap water that is available in most areas simply isn't fit for a reef tank since the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) are quickly converted into nuisance algae. A decent RODI system will run you between $120-$150 and that doesn't include the cost of
A tank heater suitable for marine environments (many that come with tank kits aren't)
A Powerhead to simulate underwater current
A basic LED light for fish and inverts or a high end light if you plan on doing corals. Even in a small tank a good light for growing coral would be in the $80-$150 range (ie Kessil A80 Tuna Blue)
A filter of some kind (An HOB is fine for smaller tanks). Many recommend the Fluval due to their flexibility between making one into a refugium or the ability to run a chemipure elite bag (a mix of carbon and GFO to keep phosphates down)

Now the question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you want to go through the process, hassle and cost of the aforementioned for a single fish that could work but would likely be cramped and unhappy, a couple of hermit crabs (I wouldn't recommend shrimp in a tank that small) and a couple of small corals. You will have to do daily top off with RODI water on a 5 gallon tank as the evaporation will keep your salinity constantly on the rise (water evaporates, but salt doesn't). You will also probably need to do weekly or twice a week water changes. I guess it's just me but I would like to at least have some semblance of a minI reef.
 
Jregister2
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Cool! You'll probably find that many people will tell you not the use the 5 gallon, there's a lot of people on here that have the attitude of "well if you're going to use something under 20 gallons, you might as well not go for it at all" which I do agree with when someone is a real beginner and has minimal freshwater or just general experience with fish, but when a person is looking for a more challenging tank and they're experienced, I see nothing wrong with starting a nano/pico. Lorekeeper can probably give you some good advice with nano/pico tanks. You should start a build thread!
I appreciate the advice. I know keeping a 5 gallon won't be easy but I have researched and researched and researched about everything I need to know and I feel like I could do it. Thank you for the advice and good luck to you!
I will be that guy and say that a 5 gallon saltwater tank really isn't worth it, especially for a first time person. Outside of the fact that no saltwater fish is really suited to a tank of less than 10 gallons (a single small goby would be pushing it but might work). When you put it into the context that a 5 gallon is barely suitable for a single betta or dwarf gourami in a freshwater config and then you think about putting a fish from the ocean in there, it does seem a bit ridiculous. The other issue is the cost of setting one up and maintaining one makes for a lot of investment with little reward. Here is what you will need for any saltwater system regardless of size

A Refractometer (to measure salinity, don't touch a hydrometer as they are junk)
At least 1lb of live rock per gallon of tank, you can do dry rock (ie Pukani) and seed it to become live rock which will be cheaper but for a smaller tank the savings is negligible
Some kind of sand substrate if you want a sand sifter like a goby. I like live sand as it seems to be about the perfect balance of grains
You will need to either buy RODI Water/RODI/Saltwater pre-mix from your LFS or purchase an RODI system as tap water that is available in most areas simply isn't fit for a reef tank since the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) are quickly converted into nuisance algae. A decent RODI system will run you between $120-$150 and that doesn't include the cost of
A tank heater suitable for marine environments (many that come with tank kits aren't)
A Powerhead to simulate underwater current
A basic LED light for fish and inverts or a high end light if you plan on doing corals. Even in a small tank a good light for growing coral would be in the $80-$150 range (ie Kessil A80 Tuna Blue)
A filter of some kind (An HOB is fine for smaller tanks). Many recommend the Fluval due to their flexibility between making one into a refugium or the ability to run a chemipure elite bag (a mix of carbon and GFO to keep phosphates down)

Now the question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you want to go through the process, hassle and cost of the aforementioned for a single fish that could work but would likely be cramped and unhappy, a couple of hermit crabs (I wouldn't recommend shrimp in a tank that small) and a couple of small corals. You will have to do daily top off with RODI water on a 5 gallon tank as the evaporation will keep your salinity constantly on the rise (water evaporates, but salt doesn't). You will also probably need to do weekly or twice a week water changes. I guess it's just me but I would like to at least have some semblance of a minI reef.
I know all of that I was just going to keep a couple of soft corals in the 5 gallon. I'll eventually upgrade I have most of the stuff that I need already I just need a higher end light and live sand and I'll be good to go. I'm thinking about trying a 5 gallon right now and if I can get it to work on a smaller tank than I'll know a 16 or 29 gallon bio cube will not be a problem for me I appreciate the advice. I know a five gallon nano/Pico reef isn't for someone who just starting out in saltwater and I'm not going to put anything in that tank until I know I can manage my levels inside the tank.
 
Reeferxbetta
  • #15
If you'd like to upgrade in the future, you might as well go for it now! It will save you money, especially going from 5-29 gallons. I do think larger tanks are better in a lot of ways, but I never like to discourage someone from setting up a pico tank because some people just really like them and don't care much for larger tanks, so they'd rather invest in a smaller tank because that's what they enjoy, and large and small tanks can be equally as beautiful and enjoyable, so I would not refer to someone's project as "not worth it" because everybody likes different things. If you'd really like to try it out on the 5 gallon tank, and you understand the challenges and potential for more costs and the need to replace things you have already bought when you go to upgrade, I see absolutely no reason not to.
 
Jesterrace
  • #16
For just a couple of corals it should work, although the light will likely need to be upgraded going to the new tank.
 
Jregister2
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
If you'd like to upgrade in the future, you might as well go for it now! It will save you money, especially going from 5-29 gallons. I do think larger tanks are better in a lot of ways, but I never like to discourage someone from setting up a pico tank because some people just really like them and don't care much for larger tanks, so they'd rather invest in a smaller tank because that's what they enjoy, and large and small tanks can be equally as beautiful and enjoyable, so I would not refer to someone's project as "not worth it" because everybody likes different things. If you'd really like to try it out on the 5 gallon tank, and you understand the challenges and potential for more costs and the need to replace things you have already bought when you go to upgrade, I see absolutely no reason not to.
I seen a lot of people that have Pico tanks and they look amazing I just want to try to give it a shot in the future I will have a saltwater tank based around fish more than corals. Hey let me ask another quick question I have a maxI jet 400 powerhead will that be alright for the 5 gallon or do I need to go smaller I know it's 10 times the turn over. But I'm a little unsure if it's going to be to much
 
Reeferxbetta
  • #18
Usually for a reef it's about 20x turnover, so I mean, it's 4x what you *need* I keep my tank at about 40x turnover rate and it doesn't really make a difference. I'm not sure how a 5 gallon would handle that much water movement though. I actually have the same pump, it's a bit bulky, I would recommend something like a hydor powerhead, I think the smallest they make is 240 possibly a little smaller, but a 240 is only about $20, so it's really not a bad deal at all. The pump you currently have is perfect to mix saltwater though, that's what I do with mine.
 
Jregister2
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Usually for a reef it's about 20x turnover, so I mean, it's 4x what you *need* I keep my tank at about 40x turnover rate and it doesn't really make a difference. I'm not sure how a 5 gallon would handle that much water movement though. I actually have the same pump, it's a bit bulky, I would recommend something like a hydor powerhead, I think the smallest they make is 240 possibly a little smaller, but a 240 is only about $20, so it's really not a bad deal at all. The pump you currently have is perfect to mix saltwater though, that's what I do with mine.
Alrighty thank you for the help!!
 
dwarfpufferlover
  • #20
I just picked up the flex nano 34L I think. Going for a planted centerpiece look. The spec would look great in any form you choose.
 

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