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Old 11-08-2011, 12:52 AM   #1
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10g FW Converting to SW.

Hi all!

I'm a FW guy, as you can see in my sig . For Christmas I'm going to be re-homing my 10g fish and switching it over to saltwater for my girlfriend. I'd love to have a bigger SW tank but I'm limited on space and I just want to create a nano-tank out of this 10g.

Anyway. It's a regular 10g from the first Aqueon Starter Kit. I have 2x 40w CFL lights in it for growing plants in it right now. I know I'll need to get reef capable lights, but the hood is the screw in type (2 slots available). I have an AQ30 HOB + Aquatech 20 HOB filters on it. Both are established (FW). Has a small, non adjustable heater and all that. Temperature in the tank stays about 75.

I'm on a budget, so please keep that in mind!


So.. what should be my first steps?

I will need a protein skimmer, reef lights and will I need a powerhead for this small of a tank? What all will I need?!


My stocking plans will be simple. A few live rock, Anemones, 1 clown fish, red fire shrimp, a smaller goby and other sand sifters. My goal is to make this a small ecosystem, with different forms of life to help the tank be sustained. Any advice on this would be amazing.

I'm new to to SW. Will the established filters formed from FW work on the SW? Or will I have to restart a new cycle on them when I have the tank setup.

Supplies in a nutshell:
Powerhead?
Protein skimmer
Reef bulbs
new heater?
Marine salt
Hydrometer


Thanks for taking the time to read this, and if you have any suggestions on what type of equipment will be good for the small tank I would be very appreciative!



PS: I am definitely doing a lot of nano searching and research, I just want opinions and ideas. I like getting a full list of things to do before I start. Google is my friend.




Feel free to laugh at me, and poke jokes about my sketch. I have no creativity at all lol
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:58 AM   #2
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Could I skip the skimmer and just turn one of the HOB's into a HOB skimmer? If so, how would YOU do it?



Would 2 HOB's be enough water circulation in a 10g to skip the powerhead?
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:38 AM   #3
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I'm going to keep posting my thoughts and progress on this thread.


I'm learning that I'll probably skip the skimmer, and just control it through PWC. 10g isn't big enough to REQUIRE a skimmer.

I'm going to get a cheap powerhead with at least 100gph.

My fish stock will be 1x oscellaris clown and 1x clown goby for sand sifting.

The rest will be inverts.
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:05 AM   #4
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If you are wanting a clown fish you will want to start with a larger tank Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Marine Aquariums: Ocellaris Clownfish You can do a neat little tank with a few softies and the clown goby to start with. Then upgrade to a bigger tank for the clown fish.

Skip the hydrometer and get a refractometer. It isn't worth the risk of not getting an accurate reading, one little bubble on the swing arm can throw it way off. If you are using an API test kit for your freshwater there is a color chart online to convert it to saltwater. You will need a different ph kit is all.

The bacteria from the freshwater tank won't convert over to saltwater it is best to start with clean filters. If you used any type of copper meds in your fw tank you will want to get a copper test kit to make sure you can have things like shrimp in your tank.

One thing you can do to keep costs down is check out craigslist and local forums. Rock is about $7 per lb at the lfs and $2 or $3 a lb on forums. Base rock is actually more expensive at the store compared to craigslist/forum rock.
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:34 AM   #5
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Thank you very much Joy.

How do you feel on the protein skimmer? PWC will control it?
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:05 AM   #6
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On that size tank I wouldn't worry to much about a protein skimmer. Water changes are better for smaller tanks.

One thing you will have problems with a small tank is keeping it topped off.
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:07 AM   #7
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Distilled water is about 90c / Gallon here. I'll stock up on a bunch of it for topoffs.

Are water changes weekly with SW tanks, like my FW?
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:33 AM   #8
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If you have a reef setup, the water changes replenish nutrients and are a good way to remove excess organics if something gets out of control(nitrate, phosphate, etc...)

If you have the space, and room for a small sump, an algae turf scrubber would take care of the filtering and make nano food for the corals. You would still have to do pwc's for certain nutrients(calcium for example) but that depends on the amount of corals and corraline algae growth. I have one on my 125g reef and it works great for me. Just a suggestion.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:39 AM   #9
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I don't know if I'd really want to make a sump for such a small tank. I'm trying to spend limited amounts of money right now on this. I plan on getting a big SW setup later, and I do understand how much work small reefs are. I think having it harder at first will make it better in the long run because I'll learn the hard way. I started with a 10g FW too.
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:12 AM   #10
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I think your filter would be good, I would recommend koralia nano for a powerhead. In a tank that small i would try to get a refarctometer for testong salinity though, the salt content can change daily and you want as accurate as you can get.

I also think an invert/coral/small fish tank would be the way I'd go. A 10g is too small for a pair of clowns unfortunately. Have you checked out Aquarium Fish: Tropical Freshwater Fish and Saltwater Fish for Home Aquariums ? Look under the nano fish section for some ideas.

I too would skip a sump and skimmer on this tank, water changes if done weekly will keep the trace elements at the proper level as well as export out the nasties.

The lighting may be a killer though, I would expect to pay over $100 for a 20" fixture. Most fixtures are 24" and up so it's somewhat difficult to find a cheap one for your size tank.
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