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Old 05-06-2004, 08:43 PM   #1
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salt water newbie

I currently have a 10 gal tank that will be freed up when I transition the fish to my 40 here in a few months. I'm thinking about turning the 10 gal into a small reef tank. Just some live rock and a few clowns. Nothing huge. I've seen a few display tanks like this at my LFS.

Can you guys point me to good articles about setting up a small reef tank. I want to iron out all the details now, so when it comes time I can do it and know what to expect. So how easy would it be to maintain a smaller tank like this. I know with freshwater, bigger tanks are easier to maintain. Also what kind of equipment will I be needing, what brands are best (and who should I avoid). What about cycling and maintaining water chemistry? I know it's more touchy with reef tanks then freshwater.

I'd also like some insight as to what exactly to put in the tank. Like I said I'm just looking at a few clowns, but what other things should go in. How many clowns would a 10 gal support? I'd like to use white sand for a substrate. What about live rock? How much? Any other fish or shrimp to help clean up?
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Old 05-06-2004, 09:30 PM   #2
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I would get a copy of "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner to start with. In a 10g tank, I wouldn't go with more than one clown and that would be the only fish in there. You don't really need a skimmer on a tank that small...weekly water changes will keep contaminants diluted and trace elements replenished. If you intend to keep corals in the tank, you'll want to have something more than NO lighting. A couple of 36w PC's, one 10k and one actinic, should do well. You could keep a cleaner shrimp or a couple of peppermint shrimp in there as well. You'll also want some snails...probably 12-15 total of different types. I'd put in at least 15lbs of LR if not 20lbs. If you want find sand, I'd get some Carib Sea Aragamax. If you want something a little more course, check out their Special Grade Reef Sand. Usually, I'd say to get Southdown due to cost, but one bag of Carib Sea should easily do a 10g. I would get a couple of small powerheads for circulation...you could also use a small HOB filter without the cartridge. You need a minimum of 100gph and I'd shoot for at least 200gph total flow.
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Old 05-07-2004, 10:30 AM   #3
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I dont want to sound like I am being discurouging but realisticly while its not impossible a 10gal saltwater system expecially as your first in saltwater will be alot of work.

Realisticly I would advise no more than 1 or 2 very small fish for such a size tank. Something to monitor will be evaporation and salinity levels.
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Old 05-07-2004, 10:02 PM   #4
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I had seen a similar set up in a Fish shop where they had a small bow front 10 gal with some corral and a clown. It had a very clean look to it. Wasn't flashy but gave some nice life a color to the counter it was on. Since I'll have a free 10 gal when I move my current fish to their new 40 gal home, I thought I might try it. I would run the 40 as a marine tank, but i'm afraid equipment costs would get too high and when i eventually move the tanks, I'm thinking it would be much easier to move a small salt water set up then a larger one.

Is it advisable to have a single clown in a tank? I thought clowns were somewhat social. Hate for the little guy to get lonley.
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Old 05-07-2004, 11:20 PM   #5
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saltwater has less oxygen than freshwater if i remember correctly, so that is why you cant put as many fish into a SW tank. I would stick with one... that will be easier on the fish and easier on you b/c there will be less waste.

search for nano tanks and you should find plenty of information.
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Old 05-07-2004, 11:38 PM   #6
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well, I'm not necessarily set on a clown. If clowns are fish that need to be in groups, then I'd find a smaller fish that a 10 gal could support a few of.
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Old 05-07-2004, 11:54 PM   #7
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check out www.nano-reef.com they have alot of people of there and you could talk to them specifically about smaller tanks but we know alot about sw here though just to sho wu people that specialize in smaller tanks
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Old 05-08-2004, 12:37 AM   #8
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nah they dont need to be in groups
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Old 05-08-2004, 05:42 PM   #9
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Evaporation..

I second the warning advice that you will have to watch evaporation extremely closely. In a tank that small, evaporation can change the salt content of the system rapidly. Most fish can take that kind of thing, but corals, anemones etc...no.

I assume that you won't have a sump. If you can, it would be a good idea to increase the amount of water in the system. You can pick up a 10 gal cheapo tank to use as a sump at any pet store. For that matter you can use a rubbermaid tub, but they may cost more than a cheap tank.
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Old 05-08-2004, 11:59 PM   #10
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A 10g makes a nice nano tank - try including corals with your 1 clown fish( I would not add more fish). Get a tank raised false percula clown. They are very hardy.
Good lighting for the corals for a 10g is the coralife 96 watt 50/50 powerquad - avalable at hellolights.com. They are very good to deal with!. Watch that evaporation ( can use a drip system for top off water like kent aquadoser) - and do small water changes once to twice weekly. No skimmer needed - but a small hang on back refugium with chaeto ; caulerpa ; live rock rubble and live sand- will help keep algae out of the tank and provide food for tank inhabitants. Good luck and enjoy!
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