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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I am finally going to try my hand at saltwater. I have had freshwater tanks and planted tanks for years, but never tried saltwater before. Going to start off with a small 10 gallon reef tank. Looking to just keep basic beginner type corals with maybe one or two fish. I know bigger tanks are supposed to be more stable and easier for beginners, but I don't have the space or money for a bigger tank so starting small! Been reading about saltwater for awhile, but there is so much info out there!

Some questions I have: Do I need a lid or not? I see some tanks with lids and others without. I am leaning towards a lid just to keep the cat out of the tank. The tank will be on my kitchen counter so the cat will have easy access to it.

Can I use tap water to mix my salt? I see some people saying they use it with no issues and others saying you have to have use reverse osmosis for the water. I live in Coquitlam if that makes a difference.

What do I need for a light? There is tons of info on this online and I'm really not sure where to start. What do I need for growing basic beginner corals? I am hoping to find a LED light for $100 or under if possible.


List of what I know I will need:

10 gallon tank
Test kit
Salt - are some brands better than others?
HOB filter - Is this needed? I see lots of people have them on nano tanks and use them as a sort of refugium.
Light
refractometer
heater
power head
sand - what type is the best to use?
live rock - I believe I want to get about 10lbs of live rock. That is the rule right 1lb of live rock per gallon?

Am I missing anything?

Will try to update this tread as the build continues.
 

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You could use tap water and treat it with prime, but RO bottled water is best. I use Instant ocean salt, works well for me. Welcome to the "bright side." :cool:
 

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For a tank this size, I would probably go with RODI water, just cause its a very small volume and you could start off with two 5g bottles and then another 5g every month or two. I do 100-110g water changes and have been using tap for a long time. Sold off my RODI system cause I didn't like waiting 2 days for my barrels to fill and dumping down the drain hundreds of gallons of usable water.

I also use Instant Ocean salt, but again with such a small volume, you could use a higher priced, higher quality brand and it wouldn't break the bank.
 

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Here is my 10 gallon nano reef. I use RO water, its cheap if do refills, I get mine from from save on foods. Instant ocean or reef crystals salt. Aquaclear 70 HOB filter which has the filter media (carbon and chemipure) plus the heater. Live rock and sand. CUC of hermits, and snails plus just added peppermint shrimp and an emerald crab.
Had t5s over top but just changed to led and growth seems better as well as colors.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You could use tap water and treat it with prime, but RO bottled water is best. I use Instant ocean salt, works well for me. Welcome to the "bright side." :cool:
Thanks! Looking forward to trying my hand at saltwater!

For a tank this size, I would probably go with RODI water, just cause its a very small volume and you could start off with two 5g bottles and then another 5g every month or two. I do 100-110g water changes and have been using tap for a long time. Sold off my RODI system cause I didn't like waiting 2 days for my barrels to fill and dumping down the drain hundreds of gallons of usable water.

I also use Instant Ocean salt, but again with such a small volume, you could use a higher priced, higher quality brand and it wouldn't break the bank.
I guess I will use RO water sounds like it will make things easier at the beginning.

Here is my 10 gallon nano reef. I use RO water, its cheap if do refills, I get mine from from save on foods. Instant ocean or reef crystals salt. Aquaclear 70 HOB filter which has the filter media (carbon and chemipure) plus the heater. Live rock and sand. CUC of hermits, and snails plus just added peppermint shrimp and an emerald crab.
Had t5s over top but just changed to led and growth seems better as well as colors.
Nice looking reef tank! For the HOB filter would just having some smaller pieces of liverock in it instead of the filter media work just as well? I see a bunch of people doing something similar to that on the forums.

What kind of light is that? I am thinking of getting this one LT Marine And Reef High Performance LED Fixture - 27 Watts (Item Currently Unavailable) // Aquarium Supplies Canada - Pond Supplies Canada - Reptile Supplies Canada // Pets & Ponds but it doesn't seem to be available right now. If it takes me awhile to get a light can I still start my cycle without lights?

Anything I have to worry about when handling rock or anything like that? Should I get a pair of gloves?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks. That light might be a bit out of my budget after all the other equipment.

Found these on amazon would one or two of these lights work well for corals?
Robot Check
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Took the gf and picked up some supplies at J&l aquatics today. She went from somewhat skeptical to saying we should get a bigger tank after looking at the fish and corals. So I might be updating tanks in the future. Got sand, heater, hydrometer, nano powerhead(240 gph), thermometer and 11lbs of dry rock.

Started mixing saltwater today and have it mixing to put in the tank tomorrow.

Played around with the rockscape today as well. Think I settled on a layout I liked where the rocks were sturdy and wouldn't fall over.

Still need to order a test kit, refractometer, and decide on a light.

Thoughts on the rock layout?

IMG_20160206_180505.jpg
IMG_20160206_180513.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hmm I will see if I can do that. Hard part is to find a position where the rocks won't easily fall over.

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Discussion Starter #13
Finally got my saltwater test kit today and results were:

Ammonia: 0
PH: 7.8
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0-5 not quite 0, but not quite at 5ppm
Temp: 78F
Salinity: 1.023

I have put in 3 big dried krill and a cube of bloodworms, so I expected to at least see more ammonia in the tank. The last couple of days when I feed my freshwater fish I add a bit of food into the tank. But I think I need to add more of a source of ammonia.

I have been having a real problem getting and keeping the salinity right. I had it at 1.026, marked the water line and have been keeping the water there for the last week. Today when I checked the salinity it was at 1.023 not sure if this would be the hydrometer I am using or not. I have ordered a refractometer to hopefully get a more accurate results.

Anyone have good suggestions for tank inhabitants and good beginner corals?

Feedback always welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Been awhile since I posted on here.

Tank has been setup for awhile now and everything is relatively stable. I bought a lid to stop the evaporation and that now keeps my salinity at a consistent level. Also bought a refratometer so I can now accurately measure the salinity! I also bought a current USA orbit marine light(18-24"). I got a good deal on it, seems to have mixed reviews, but I have seen some nice tank running them so I thought I would give it a shot. Anyone know what the best settings for coral are with those lights? Should I be running it at 100%?

I rearranged my rockwork as well. I bought the fluval epoxy stick to try and stick them all together, but I found that it didn't actually stick to the rocks and just made the water really cloudy. So currently the rocks are just balancing on themselves. Hoping they don't fall over.

Cycle is complete and did my first water change today. Also have my diatom bloom starting so I will be looking at picking up some snails next weekend. How many snails would I want to add at once? What does everyone recommend for a clean up crew?

Parameters are:

Before water change:

PH: 7.8-8
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10ppm
Temp: 80F
Salinity: 1.025

After water change:

PH: 7.8 - 8
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Temp: 80F
Salinity: 1.025

Still having trouble with my temperature. The tank seems to go down to 76 at night and can go up to 83F on a hot day. What is an acceptable amount of temperature swing for a reef tank?

The tank comes off as much more blue in the pictures than it does in real life.
IMG_20160402_180719.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Update:

Been a couple weeks and I have added a clean up crew, fish and corals.

Stocking is:

2X nassarius snails
2X turbo snails
1X yellow goby

Corals:

1X kenya tree
1X red mushroom
1X moon coral, not sure about this one. Was told it was a moon coral, but doesn't look like any of the pictures online. Can anyone ID this?
IMG_20160417_084757.jpg

Anyone have any recommendations for what coral would be good for the top most part of the tank beside the mystery moon coral?

IMG_20160417_084741.jpg
IMG_20160417_084733.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Was actually looking at the frogspawns this weekend.

Good idea

Anyone know what the pink one beside the kenya tree is?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
could be a favia looks similar to some pictures.

No one seems to be sure what it is. I have heard favia or chalice coral. Seems to be doing ok in my tank though.
 

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Thanks for making this thread. Was at j&l today for the first time and was blown away by the beautiful coral and fish. Making me wonder if I can set up a salt tank.
 
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