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Old 04-09-2012, 02:55 AM   #1
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Smallest possible sw tank?

Was thinking of making my first sw tank. I have a spare 10g tank laying around. Is there anything I can do with it to make a sw tank? And would there be any stocking options for it? It was formally a planted freshwater tank. I was curious bc I know sw is expensive and I want to keep it fairly cheap so I figured I'd go small. Is this plausible?
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:06 AM   #2
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Possible, yes. Easy, no. A 10 gallon is extremely limiting. Very few fish can survive long term in such a small tank, and you'd be limited to just a couple. Also, water parameters can swing a lot in such a small water volume. But, if you are able to keep on top of it and keep parameters stable, you could do a killer invert tank. A few corals, shrimp, crabs, feather duster worms, snails, hermit crabs, and maybe a goby/pistol combo.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:09 AM   #3
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No such thing as a cheap sw tank. I went the more modest approach and bought a used drilled 55 gallon that I had to redo the plumbing but had the pump sump and lights. My light fixture has since blown up and I needed the million other things including a skimmer. I also bought dry rock with some premium (9 lbs) live rock. I currently have 9 crabs, 7 snails and 2 clownfish. I've spent well over $1500. If your in a budget don't waste your time. Sorry just honest
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:19 AM   #4
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Well, that's not entirely true. A tank with no photosynthetic animals doesn't need fancy lighting. A small tank doesn't necessarily need a skimmer. Etc etc.
I also, in high school, created a Puget Sound Biotope tank that was next to free. Kept it outside, even. There are ways to do it on a budget. BUT...
if you don't want it to be frustrating and disappointing, get a bigger tank. Watch craigslist. I got a 55 for free, with stand.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:30 AM   #5
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Budget plus smallest tank after spending 10 minutes of research will tell you it's not a good idea and your setting yourself up for failure. I feel these fish are pets and if you are going into it on a budget your not a responsible pet owner. Sorry yet again. If I were you I'd save money and get a set up that will allow you the best chance at success by only for your enjoyment but for your future pets
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:14 AM   #6
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Umm... we're all on a budget. OP wanted to make it as cheap as possible. That's not saying "I've got ten bucks. Let's do a reef tank!"
A responsible pet owner is someone who works within his or her budget. To say having a budget makes you an irresponsible pet owner is a pretty far reaching statement.
So rather than vague "Yes it's possible" or "It'll never work!" how about we do a cost breakdown and figure out what falls within the budget?

jkdubs2, you have a tank. Though I'd go bigger if possible. It was a planted tank, so I hope you have better than the standard fluorescent light.
Substrate: A bag of aragonite sand will be 10-20 bucks, depending on depth desired. For such a small tank, I'd go shallow. Maybe 5-10 lbs.
Rock: You will need at least 10 lbs of LR, 15 is preferable. Figure $5-6 per lb, or petco sells aquacultured (manufactured) rock by size, and you can sometimes find a "medium" for $20 that is up to 5 lbs. Let's estimate high, and say $70 for rock.
Salt Mix: $20 will keep you salted for quite a while.
Water: Tap water is not a good choice. I use Glacier water from the grocery store. 35 cents/gallon. So, $3.50 initial, and then a couple bucks every week.
Powerheads, heater, etc: Figure on $70-75 for such a small tank.
Let's say two fish. One being a neon goby ($10-15) and the other being a watchman Goby ($15-30) to pair with a Pistol shrimp ($15-30)
Snails, hermits, etc. Figure $10 bucks.
If your lighting is better than the standard (T8), you could get some soft corals (Mushrooms, zoanthids, leathers) and even some low light LPS corals. If it's the standard, you *might* be ok with just some softies. Or go FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock). Figure at least $100-150 if you want corals at all.
So, Here's the breakdown so far.
Roughly $180 for equipment
$50-75 for fish and inverts
If you want corals, another $100-150.
Remember that there will be costs for water, salt, food, etc as time goes on. Is this within your budget? This is what i would call bare minimum.
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:58 AM   #7
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I think stating "we are all on a budget" is also a far reaching statement! But none the less the point is it is expensive and your setting yourself up for heartache by doing a small tank. End of story. The only good thing Is the few hundred dollars spent on you "trying" to do the tank wont be near as depressing when you throw it all in the trash once the tank crashes! Just my 2 cents. Sorry to seem like a negative nancy but it's the truth and yes I do feel it is irresponsible to put animals in a not healthy environment due to a budget. I was a vet tech for 4 years and I can't tell you how many times I saw people bring in puppies they spent $2000 on but were on a budget and couldn't afford vaccines. Guess what their puppies got parvovirus and DIED! This example I extreme but it still a living creature who didnt asked to be places on a budget
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:15 AM   #8
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Negative nancy isn't the phrase I'm thinking of... Nano saltwater tanks are quite popular these days, especially for people *gasp* on a budget or who move frequently, such as military members. I've seen tanks as small as 8 gallons that are well balanced, beautifully aquascaped, and very healthy.
Yes, small tanks are more difficult. But is a nano tank "setting yourself up for heartache"? Find a nano tank forum and ask there.
As for the budget statement being far reaching... Are you trying to say that you can afford to set up a swimming pool sized reef tank in your home? Perhaps build an addition to accommodate it? Even Bill gates has a budget. It's just different than mine.
So, Back on topic here...
jkdubs2, based on the conservative numbers I provided, do you think you can afford this? Remember, this is a slow hobby, and the cost will be spread out. Sand, water, salt, and rock first. Then as much as two months before fish (though usually much less). If you think you can manage this and provide proper care, then go for it! There are lots of people on this forum with nano tanks who can offer advice, and numerous threads on the topic.
If it sounds like too much, maybe consider a different direction for the spare tank.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:40 AM   #9
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I will be sure to send you a copy of my w2 for the year and you can decide how about that! ). Pm my your address
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:42 AM   #10
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Also whomever this person is asked for an opinion and I gave mine and have since offended you for whatever reason. I just know how hard it is to maintain and afford a decent sized tank being new to the hobby couldn't imagine anything smaller. Good luck!
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