A few suggestions.
1. don't use the whole shrimp to cycle the 20 gallon tank. just about half of it should be fine.
2. purchase your live rock and stick that in now before you buy fish. Live Rock will start another cycle in your tank which you don't want with fish. Also, if your LFS
Live rock looks dead, it probibly is. Check out liverocks.com. They have excellent Live Rock for cheaper than what you can probibly get at your LFS
. YOu will want about 30-45 lbs worth.
3. remove the UGF
, and purchase a nice HOB
filter. (I like emporers but you will need to remove the bio-wheel.) also, you will need a skimmer. A CPR Bak Pak 2R skimmer would work great.
4. Be patient! it will take a while for your tank to cycle and be ready to add fish. Expect the cycle to take at least a month.
5. With a tank that small you will have to be extra careful to make sure that all the water parameters stay perfect. a small swing will kill your fish. regular water changes and testing is a MUST!
6. Don't overstock your tank. you can probibly fit about 3 small fish in a 29 gallon. This may seem like it sucks, but accually SW
fish are so pretty and so interesting, that having only a few fish will still really satisfy you! SW
fish just need more room. and to many fish will cause spikes that will kill them all. Also, do your research now. Decide what you want to put in now. Many fish stores carry fish that look small now, but those fish will get HUGE! Most SW
fish are much, much bigger than freshwater fish. another reason why You must be careful in selection. I saw a Blue Reagel tang at my LFS
that was barely 2 inches long. the cutest little thing. Unfortunatly, they will die in anything less than a 75 gallon tank. THey just get way to big.
I have a small tank too so I can make some suggestions on fish to look at. Check out Tank-Raised Ocellaris Clowns, Small gobies, small angels like the flame angle and the Coral Beauty Angel, firefish, six-line wraise, chromis, etc. there are tons of great fish out there!
Hardware: 37 gallon SW
tank and stand by Oceanic Systems, Magnum 350 Pro Canister Filter (half carbon), CPR Bak Pak 2R skimmer, Maxijet 1200 Powerhead, RenaCal 150 W heater, Compact fluorescent lights with moonlights. 40 lbs of liverock, 3" sand bed.
Software:2 Tank-Raised Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Purple Firefish, 1 Electric Orange hermit crab, 18 Blue Legged hermit crabs, 8 or so Nassarius snails, Xenia, Blue, green, and Green Striped Mushrooms.
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Central Illinois Marane Aquarist (CIMA) member.