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Old 08-11-2004, 07:21 PM   #1
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Beginner considers 20 Gal. saltwater tank

I am a beginner and new to the site, but I have done a lot of research on salt water tanks. Of the 5 experts I have talked to, 2 of them do not recommend using a 20 gallon tank for saltwater. Before you comment, I can say that I am very scientific and diligent in terms of testing and maintenance. I intended to put a clown, a blue tang, a crab, a shrimp, and a couple of snails in there. I want to use crushed coral, an underfloor filter, a penguin 125, maybe add an anemone, and some fake coral. I have a heater, and I will buy a complete test kit. I will do a 20% water change every month, along with vaccuming and testing. Please advise if this is OK. I don't want to kill fish, but at the same time, I think many people in fish stores are very conservative with their rules of thumb. Keep in mind that I will probably go the freshwater route if too many of ya'll think that it won't work. Please advise.
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Old 08-11-2004, 07:35 PM   #2
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20 gallon is way too small for a Blue Tang. a 70 gallon or bigger is recommended.

being a Rookie to the hobby myself I wouldnt suggest a 20 gallon to start.

I suggest you go with a bigger set up.
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Old 08-11-2004, 07:45 PM   #3
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the main problem that you will experiance is not a problem maintaining your 20 gallon tank it will be not having enough room in the 20. soon it will be full to its max with life forms and you will get the urge to get more and youll be looking into a bigger tank. i had this problem with my 55 gallon and now im at a 125 gallon and still thinking bigger is better. if you can fight off this urge when it comes and stay satisfied with a 20 gallon go for it. ive seen some pretty nice small reef tanks. good luck with your choices and enjoy this hobby. be warned its werry addictive.
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Old 08-12-2004, 01:39 AM   #4
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i heard the same stuff u did ive kept freshwater tanks for a while and the only space i had in my room for a tank was a 16 gallon i did it as my first saltwater tank and it seems fine its working great so i say if ur ready for the commitment of it then go for it and hippo (blue) tangs grow very slow so if u get one about nickel size it will be good in that tank for a while just make sure u have a place for it to go when it gets too big because it will outgrow the tank in a year or 2 i know many people who have kept blue tangs in 20gallons for 1 - 2 years before they outgrew the tank goodluck and if u have any questions feel free to ask
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Old 08-12-2004, 01:03 PM   #5
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The blue tang will outgrow the tank...they need lots of swimming space. The undergravel filter will cause headaches go with either a power canister or HOB or even better LR with a skimmer. Do more research, research, research. I myself have a 20 gallon reef tank that I've been very happy with. Still, I'm counting the days until I can go 55 or even 100 gallons. Pick up a copy of "The Concientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner....its packed with great info for beginners. HTH
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Old 08-12-2004, 03:37 PM   #6
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Also on the blue tang you might consider the fact that even though they are small, a 20 gallon is not near big enough for it. It may even stress the fish to the point that it will be disease prone with regards to but not limited to HLLE or ick. Just my opinion. Also you can pick up a 55 gallon for not much $$ and use the 20 gallon as a sump...this would be a lot better if you insist on getting a tang.
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Old 08-12-2004, 04:14 PM   #7
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First, I greatly appreciate all of your expert advise. I tend to require thorough research and opinions before I make such an important decision. And I wanted to clarify that my requirement for the tang is totally out of my hands. I have a 2-1/2 year old daughter whose favorite movie is Finding Nemo. I have absolutely no power or self control in saying "no" to her. However, If my research and your opinions yield that a 20 gallon slatwater tank is a risky operation, or that the fish will be stressed or likely for disease, then I will go freshwater. If I go fresh water, the closest thing to a "Dory"/tang is a Demasoni Cichlid (see picture). Or, there is a freshwater parrotfish, I think that can be found in blue, but I haven't found any. As for Nemo, I would unfortunately have to go with a Koi gold fish. What I have learned, which makes me lean away from salt, is that about 15 lbs of live coral may make the fish live better, and that stuff is expensive. Please keep up the valuable advice.
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Old 08-12-2004, 04:53 PM   #8
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You won't be able to fool that kid. Even if you can - -do ya really want to??? As Arizona Reefer said, it's very addictive, and you (not your daughter) will want a bigger tank real soon. Keep the 20 for your quarantine. And even though you are very scientific and dilligent, it's a lot more work in my opinion to maintain a 20 since ambient temperature and ever so slight happennings with the inhabitants can alter the water a lot faster than in a larger tank.

P.S. - that looks nothing like Dory.
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Old 08-12-2004, 05:22 PM   #9
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I just recently started a 20 gal sw tank back in Feb. There is definatly a part of me that wishes I had gone bigger. It has definatly limited me in my choices (and has saved me some money in regards to other areas). But I mainly wanted to have clownfish in my tank so it wasn't too bad.

Just think the decision through thoroughly before you jump into any decision. If you go with freshwater fish you could easily explain to your daughter that Nemo and Dory are in the ocean- like they tried to be at the end of the movie... And that Nemo and Merlin have sent their good friends *insert freshwater fish here* to keep your daughter company.
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Old 08-12-2004, 07:40 PM   #10
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Why not see if your daughter might be willing to meet you ¬Ĺ way. A 20 gal tank would house two "Nemo's" quite well. I would just skip any idea of keeping an anemone in a tank that small.

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Old 08-12-2004, 08:46 PM   #11
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My friend Kris has kept saltwater tanks for years. His first was a ten gallon. He believes as long as your tang and clown are small enough, you can keep them in the 20 gal until you're better prepared to move them to a larger setup. According to this website, these are the good beginner slatwater fishes- and I believe their prices are decent. You can order a blue tang as little as 1/2'' small for $19.99

http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/s...&TopCatId=1926

However, it may be possible to find a larger tank (even on eBay) right away and not have to hassle with changing tanks later on... just a thought to consider.

The main point is that blue tangs are one of the easier fish to care for, and IME I haven't had trouble with the Occellaris clowns. You probably could get a small green sebae anemone, too (which is what I find these clowns prefer) if your lighting is quite bright.
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Old 08-12-2004, 10:23 PM   #12
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I would tend to disagree with most of that. Tangs in general are not easy to care for and definately not a Regal. The minimum tank size recommendation of 75 gal for tangs is done so for a reason. They are not suited for small tanks and should not be considered at all. The only time a tang would do in a tank as small as that is during the QT process. Most will double in size in their first year when purchased small. A sebae anemone would also likely die in such a small water volume. Their simpley isn't enough growing room for either.

This is one of those situation where you need to ask yourself, if this is something you should do, not is this something you can do.

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Old 08-13-2004, 12:05 AM   #13
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I really appreciate ya'll's advice. I think I have decided to go either with saltwater and clowns only, or freshwater. I have been finding some neat looking freshwater fish, like the Blood Red Cichlid, the red tail shark, and some angels. I also like the jelly bean fish, but I think they are died their various colors and I am not sure that it is ethical. I will have to do more research with compatibility. Also, I think that I can always pick up a 55 gal down the road when the used price is right (for a tang). I am still searching for a freshwater clown. The Koi gold fish looks the part, but I understand that goldfish don't mix well with other tropicals due to their biological chemicals. One freshwater clown that I found is called the Clown Loach (see pic). I welcome continued opinions.
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Old 08-13-2004, 12:18 AM   #14
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Toughguy
I have several things and dont mean to be a pain....
I did the same identical thing you are doign when I first got into fish. I thought that SW was to hard, expensive, on and one as I too wanted the fish you and your daughter wants. Now that my daughter turned 2 and now 3, she started asking about Nemo and such. I went from a 55 FW to a 125 SW and its the best thing I have ever done. I wouldnt go back to FW for anything!! you will enjoy SW SO much better!
Secondly, I bought my first regal as I to heard they are easy to keep....they arent! i was in FW for about 2 years and SW in general is quite a bit different. Regals are very needy if you want to keep them healthy and happy. I had my regal in QT from the time that I bought him and he was in there for about 8 weeks. He developed HLLE and had a battle with ick as well. Plus he was NOT happy in the small tank. I kept seeing him get worse and worse color wise each day. Finally I decided to put him in the 125 and now 50-75% of his color is back and the pits from HLLE are doing better. I know it sounds weird, but a LFS and Steve told me that he would do a great deal better if he was in the big tank to where he could swim. So no they are not easy. Plus they have GOT to have a diet of really good food. The HLLE and his color improving is due to large amts of Nori, Vitamin C, Garlic, Selcon and Zoe soaked into his food daily.
Lastly, the tendency to put a regal in a small tank now and then when he starts outgrowing it, its easy to keep putting it off and pretty soon hes outgrown the tank.
Just get into SW with the 20 and get clowns. Once you do, you will immediatley get a bigger tank and then not have to worry about it!! :P
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Old 08-13-2004, 01:30 AM   #15
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im perfectly happy with my 16g tank i would like to do sumthing bigger eventually but for right now its fine and the only probly i have with it is keping it cool enough during the hot summer days other then that i dont see it as very hard to take care of and this is my first salt tank so im not an expert
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Old 08-13-2004, 01:30 AM   #16
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im perfectly happy with my 16g tank i would like to do sumthing bigger eventually but for right now its fine and the only probly i have with it is keping it cool enough during the hot summer days other then that i dont see it as very hard to take care of and this is my first salt tank so im not an expert
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Old 08-13-2004, 01:31 AM   #17
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sry bout that duplicate
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:22 PM   #18
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Hello, how's it going peoples? I wanted to start a 20 gallon salt water tank. my question is how long do I cycle the water and would it be okay to have two clown fish, shrimp and snails?
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