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Old 12-19-2013, 04:50 PM   #1
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New 20 gallon setup

I recently moved and had to take down my 125. Until I can get 'er back up and running, I've decided to setup a small 20 gallon. I will be running an Aquaclear 75, a heater, powerhead and of course will have live rock. I kept all the live rock from the 125 in 55 gallon barrels with a heater and powerhead so I'm hoping I won't have to cycle. I'll test the water in an hour or so, but for now I need some advice on scaping.

So far I've come up with 3 different layouts, each one using a little more rock than the one before. The first, uses about 30lbs, the second I believe has 40 and the last one has more than 60lbs of live rock.

I will be adding live sand, but not for a week or so, so for now what do you guys think?
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:12 PM   #2
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Tests are as follows:

PH: 8.2
Ammo: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10
SG: 1.025
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:10 PM   #3
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I don't plan on heavily stocking this tank. Was thinking a few softies and a nem - not sure about fish yet. I don't have any experience with corals, so advice is appreciated.

Lighting is a dual T5 fixture with 14W daylight 10KK bulbs


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Old 12-20-2013, 10:23 AM   #4
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Adding live sand and/or removing a bit of rock, or changing pieces of rock can help you for your aquascape... It look like you've put 40 pounds in your 20g :p

For my build I've took 2-3 bigger pieces and the rest is small piece... It look like this


A sand bed (optionnal in your case because you have a lot of LR) will help increase the eye appealing of your tank IMO.

A blue background can give a good effect, in my case I decided to not put a background.


For the lighting, the color spectrum is Ok, but the output power is not so strong. I have 60w led power on my 20g. For this lighting, I'll recommand you never add high light corals, they will suffer from poor lighting. Focus on low light species, maybe it will work.

Your nitrates are a bit high, are you using RODI water ? Or maybe your tap contains nitrates ? Do a 50% WC before you add livestock, will drop your nitrates 50% if your tap is clean or if u use RODI wata. Anyway, you have a low light setup, so nitrates will probably not be a problem for algae invasion. In my case, If nitrate raise to just a little trace of them, I have algae problems because of highlight.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:00 PM   #5
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Nitrates aren't to bad at 10, softies won't mind. However like mr Vincent said you will need much stronger light than that for a nem. I'd get at least a 4 bulb fixture for a nem.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:01 PM   #6
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I like the first rock scape as well but maybe try and make a few more caves. Good luck!
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Old 12-20-2013, 02:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. I actually decided last night that I will be going with the third scape for two different reasons. First, after moving the rocks around a bit more I've come to really like the look of the scape. Secondly, the added live rock will give more filtration and I believe will leave more room for corals.

Mr. Vincent, I believe there is over 40lbs of live rock in the third scape. I used six 8-10lb pieces of live rock for the scape so there's definitely more than 40lbs! Unfortunately, I do not have any smaller pieces so I had to make what I had work.

I will be adding a sand bed, but won't be able to do so until after the holidays - same goes for a background if I decide on one.

As for lighting, I know this is not the ideal setup for most corals, but I'd really like to give it a try. I was mainly thinking about Mushrooms, Zoanthids, Buttons and Star Polyps. Would anything else work?

No, I do not use RODI water and my tap does not contain any Nitrates. I used water from the barrel I took the rock out of so that's probably why nitrates are showing up. I'll do a 25-50% water change this afternoon and let you know where they are at then.

Bribo, so there is no possibility of keeping a nem successfully under these lighting conditions? I was really hoping I could make it work. If not, looks like I may need to upgrade. Do you know any good quality, but cheap fixtures?

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Old 12-20-2013, 02:29 PM   #8
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Here's some updated pics of the scape:

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Old 12-20-2013, 02:30 PM   #9
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I don't think it would do well under a two bulb. Odyssea makes a 4 bulb fixture that's like $60 or $70 that works well. As far as corals under that light you could do most softies like zoas, mushrooms, Kenya tree, Xenia. If you went 4 bulb you could do lps as well.
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Old 12-20-2013, 02:44 PM   #10
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That's too bad. I'll have to look into that fixture. Thanks for the suggestion!

For corals, would any Button or Star Polyps work under the current lighting?

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