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Old 07-24-2018, 08:22 PM   #1
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Making the jump from fresh to salt: 20-30 g fowlr

So I have 3 freshwater aquariums (125g African mbuna, 60g Angelfish/Cory Cat, and 20g African Clawed frog).

I have been wanting to do a saltwater tank but it is a bit intimidating I want to throw out a plan to see if it is feasible, lightly stocked fowlr, with the ability to eventually maybe convert to reef. I have a 30" stand so I would be limited to 20 long or 30 tall.

Looking to keep it lightly stocked too reduce the tank maintenance with 3 other tanks:
Pair of clowns
Maybe a trio of the small cardinalfish?
Aqua Advisor recommends 5% weekly water change for the clown pair and 10% for all 5.

Additional stuff I'd get:
20 or 30 g aquarium
Heater
Powerhead
Sand
Live rock
Aquarium salt
Refractometer
API saltwater Test kit

Has anyone used the inexpensive HOB refugium they sell on eBay?

I was thinking I could just buy distilled water from the store for such a small tank... But I could be talked into a cheap rodi unit off ebay if recommended.

Thanks for the help!
Scott
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Old 07-25-2018, 04:08 AM   #2
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For starters, throw aqua advisor into the trash for saltwater.
You'll want to do weekly 10% water changes on your system. Get a ro/di unit. I tried to run my last reef off of distilled and it still brought in too many nutrients that caused algae issues. I ended up spending way more money that I tried to save...ro/di water turns out ot be very cheap when you make it yourself.
Make sure you get 1 lbs of sand and rock per gallon so you can establish a solid bacteria base in such.
You can aim anywhere between 10-50x turnover of the water column from powerheads. 10 is more towards FOWLR systems and 50 is up into SPS dominated systems.
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Old 07-25-2018, 09:12 AM   #3
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Thanks so much for the feedback! Will do an rodi then.

Unless anyone strongly recommends a 30 g, thinking I will do a 20 g long for 2 reasons: 1. I've been reading that the shallower tank it's better for lighting and 2. It will be right next to my other 20 long and will look odd if taller (but I could always get 2 30g and replace the 20g if a 30g would be better).

After cycling just begin stocking a pair of clowns to begin and maybe and someday add some easy coral and maybe a goby once I get the hang of things.

Thinking about protein skimmer and hob refugium (no room under the tank).

Do you cycle a saltwater tank using live rock or do you have to cycle before adding live rock?
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Old 07-25-2018, 03:12 PM   #4
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I wouldn't worry too much about lighting. With LEDs being in the market, they penetrate water much better than bulbs do. A simple par38 bulb would work over a 20 and possibly a 30 as well...though at the point of a 30 I'd probably move up to one of the taotronic style chinese knock off black box units.
Get your sand and rock into the tank before starting your cycle. It doesn't have to be 'live'. It'll become live by the end of the cycle, so if you can save some cash getting macro or base rock I'd suggest going that route.
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Old 07-25-2018, 09:20 PM   #5
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And so it has begun...

Just ordered, arriving fri/sat:
20 pounds aragonite Fiji pink sand
40 lbs base rock
Aquarium salt
Aquatic life 50g 4 stage ro/di unit
30" nicrew skyLED reef light
small 1g hob refugium w/ light (for chaeto)
100 watt heater
2 nano korelia power heads
30" glass lid

It is dollar per gallon but my nearby petco is out of 20 long so I have to try a different one tomorrow

Also, they had an orchid dottyback, soooo pretty! I've read mixed reviews regarding aggression, but most things I've read say that orchids are the most peaceful dottybacks and should get along ok with a pair of clowns. It is only a 3" fish, most sites say 20g min, but one said 30g min. I could get the 30g if the extra tank height is really needed but I'm assuming the footprint is what is important.
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:07 AM   #6
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A 29g has the same footprint as a 20g long
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fresh2o View Post
A 29g has the same footprint as a 20g long
Yes, that is what I'm asking.... Most sites say a 3" orchid dottyback ok in a 20 gallon, but live aquaria says 30g. They don't really specify length though.
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Old 07-26-2018, 07:52 AM   #8
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I broke down a 20g long and replaced it with a 29g and was able to use the same lights, glass top, and cabinet.
The extra 9 gallons is about a 40% increase in volume.
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fresh2o View Post
I broke down a 20g long and replaced it with a 29g and was able to use the same lights, glass top, and cabinet.
The extra 9 gallons is about a 40% increase in volume.
Yeah, I have a 20 long right next to it so that would look better plus I've read that the shallow depth is better for corals. Wondering if I should just do the pair of clowns and have fun with non-fish marine side of the hobby
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrichsd View Post
Yeah, I have a 20 long right next to it so that would look better plus I've read that the shallow depth is better for corals. Wondering if I should just do the pair of clowns and have fun with non-fish marine side of the hobby

You will have to weigh out your options:
Shallower tank means better light penetration (for photosynthetic organisms) versus larger volume and better stability.
I would go with the larger volume WITH additional lighting as needed.
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