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Old 12-14-2014, 05:22 PM   #1
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New to saltwater need some guidance!

Alright, I'm new to saltwater and I need some help through the process. I'm currently big into freshwater but I want a nice reef tank. I've never kept saltwater and I've done some research but nothing was really able to help me out. I do not want to start off bug, although I know a bigger tank is better for beginners, but I want a small nano reef tank (5-10 gallons) and I want to be able to keep some soft corals along with others. Now I do not want to invest a ton of money since I am a beginner and I will more than likely mess up some things. I want a small nano reef as I stated above and I want to keep it very simple and inexpensive! Can someone out there guide me through this please?

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Old 12-14-2014, 05:34 PM   #2
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I don't think it's impossible, but it is harder to maintain. You will need to cycle the tank 1st and as you cycle check your ammonia nitrite nitrate levels...a system that small you want grow slowly so that if something goes south it's easier to catch and contain, especially as a beginner.

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Old 12-17-2014, 03:19 PM   #3
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I went from freshwater for 10 years and changed to salt back in October converted my fresh 20gal. I bought live crushed coral for substrate and I went with 1kg per 10 litres of live rock. The more purple the rock the better this will have more life on it. Live rock helps with filtration and will assist with processing your nitrogen cycle. I bought a hang on back skimmer from eBay for about £50 and write everything in a diary! You also definitely need a salinity gauge to judge the salt level in the tank every few days I have to top up with ro water. If this helps I'm happy to lend a hand where I can and what I've experienced so far....

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Old 12-17-2014, 04:38 PM   #4
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The key to being inexpensive for a reef tank is finding the right light. Personally, when it comes to small systems and lighting for corals people either lean towards a PAR 38 light, which I don't personally have much knowledge of, or the taotronics LED panel (or similar panels that are made over in China). That is as cheap as they come and are extremely low maintenance when it comes to not needing to replace bulbs ever 6 months.

You'll want to get yourself some sand, any aggregate will do, and some rock, which can be base or macro rock to save yourself even more money. You will want 1 lbs per gallon in the system.

In small systems under 30 gallons you can easily skip a skimmer and save yourself money, as it is easy to do water changes to address parameter issues in such a small scale.

You just want to make sure you stock the tank with appropriate livestock, as people always try to toss a fish in that is way too big for a tank or throw a ton of fish into it thinking that saltwater can work like freshwater when it comes to number of fish, like a fish per gallon rule. Check out the nano section at liveaquaria.com to start gathering ideas. I personally would have a nano tank with a clown goby or something similar for a really cool little tank.

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Old 12-18-2014, 09:13 PM   #5
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A lot of the nano tanks I see have euphylla lps coral (frogspawn, torch, hammer) that are the same genus, meaning they can touch without stinging each other. Soft corals can spread haphazardly, especially in a smaller tank.

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