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Old 12-16-2015, 10:34 PM   #1
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Cheap 15 gallon reef tank

Hi everyone, I was wondering about reef tanks and was thinking of setting up one with the tank that I have because I cans afford a bigger one with the equipment. I was wondering if instead of a filter I just use a power head with a sponge around the intake and the live rock be the bio filter. Would this work? I am still thinking about lighting and might just use some lights that I have lying around, they are pretty powerful so it probably wouldn't be an issue. I am new to saltwater (as you probably noticed) and am wondering if there is a cheap way to go about it. Any advice about saltwater nano reefs in General would be appreciated. I would probably have 3 clownfish, 4 snails and 4 shrimp. No coral for now.

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Old 12-16-2015, 10:56 PM   #2
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With no corals any light should get the job done. Two of the three clowns will pair up and kill the other one. And two clowns might be a little crowded in a 15g


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Old 12-16-2015, 11:16 PM   #3
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Ok, so 2 clowns the shrimp and the snails?
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Old 12-17-2015, 03:15 AM   #4
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I'd really suggest a sump if possible.

If not, dedication to some large water changes.

I had only an HOB on my 20g reef and overtime nitrates became a huge issue.

Have a nice RODI machine for water changes and if possible, use a sump system. It's much cleaner and more efficient. There is TONS of cheap DIY sump videos on YouTube all it takes is some handyman work and creativity.


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Old 12-17-2015, 01:16 PM   #5
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Cheap 15 gallon reef tank

I have a 5 gallon, glass and silicone. I might be able to do that but there is a video by the the king of diy (I don't know how to link it to this site) that explains how to make an internal sump with only a small power head, would this work? This is what it is called:

HOW TO: Build a fully integrated aquarium filter - Internal sump TUTORIAL

The only changes I would make is to point the power head towards the rock.

Is there a difference between live rock and dry rock? Because I don't want to pay over $100 for rock.
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Old 12-17-2015, 04:52 PM   #6
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Cheap 15 gallon reef tank

The great thing about the hobby is you have potentially have 100s of ways to get done what you want. I personally like the sump under instead of located in the DT but either will work just pick what you think will be best for you.

The only difference "usually" between dry rock and live rock is the fact that live rock is pulled straight from the ocean and delivered to you. Dry rock is "usually" from the ocean aside from man made versions and "reef saver" which is mined from old dried up reefs underground. Live rock shipped straight from the ocean can have unwanted pests and algaes on them. If I were to choose id but dry...it's cheaper and you will avoid pests you don't want. All rock should be cured before placing it in your tank even the reef saver although I'll say I added 65lbs of reef saver (I think 65lbs) to my tank without curing and didn't really see much difference but I had some nutrient issues.

Edit: I should also say that dry rock will become "live" when your tanks beneficial bacteria populate the surface of the rock. Also live rock may be sold at some places as rock that may have been dry and was cured and made live by the vendor.
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Old 12-18-2015, 12:01 AM   #7
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How do you "cure" rock?
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Old 12-18-2015, 01:00 AM   #8
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You use some kind of reef safe container that can hold water. Put the rock in with a heater and properly mixed salt water and let the rock soak. If you have live rock eventually the organics or hitch hikers will begin to die which will start the rock cycling or curing. Every so often you may have to change a portion of the water. I'm not sure because I've never cured rock before thanks to always buying the dry rock. Usually this is done in a dark place I believe. Or even in a new tank during its cycling. Once you notice ammonia spikes then nitrite and finally nitrate you'll know your through the cycle.


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Old 12-18-2015, 01:37 AM   #9
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Die off from rocks isn't enough to build up enough of a bacteria base. You need to supply an actual ammonia source, I prefer a cocktail shrimp.
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Old 12-18-2015, 05:36 PM   #10
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Yeah just do two clowns and possibly and a skimmer. Maybe a hydor. You may have to get rid of the clowns early. If you can, get a canister filter.


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