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Old 09-26-2013, 08:38 PM   #1
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Stocking options for my first saltwater tank

Hi all,
I have been bitten by the saltie bug (thanks to my boss, lol) and am getting ready to set up my first saltie tank. This is going to be a FOWLR tank for now, but I might try going reef down the road.
Pleease pardon my silly questions, but I want to make sure I do this right.

I will be using a standard 20 gallon tank, and 20-25 lbs of rock. Planning to go with mostly dry base rock with just a few pieces of live rock to help cycle. WIll also use live sand.

As far as filtration, I have been reading that canister filters just end up turning into nitrate factories withour proper cleaning. For a tank this size, what is the best type of filter to go with? I have an exisiting canister, and am willing to put in the work, but I don't want to go with something that will just be trouble down the road. Can one use an hob filter on a tank this size for filtration?
Filtration suggestions for a standard 20 FOWLR tank would be greatly appreciated.

Also, protien skimmers.................do I need one on a FOWLR tank? It seems like there is so much debate on this. What are some good skimmers to look for? There are sooooo many out there, lol.

Here is what I want to stock the tank with, PLEASE be honest and tell me if this is too much for the tank, or not compatible, etc. I have nothing set in stone yet, so I am open to ideas for stocking.

1 Ocelleris Clown (tank bred orange)
1 Firefish
1 Yellow Clown Goby
1 Halloween Hermit Crab
1 Coral Banded Shrimp
If I am not too overtocked already, and could swing it, I would love to add a Royal Gramma Basslet to the list.

Also, I know I will probably need more of a clean up crew, what critters should I add to this list for clean up?

And lastly, after cycle and stocking, what is a decent water change schedule? I do weekly 50% water changes on my freshwater tanks. Would that be too much at one time in a saltwater tank? What schedule do most of you with a smaller saltie tank keep?

Thanks in advance for all of your help!
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:11 PM   #2
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Your stocking list is definitely not overstocked, thoug you might want to consider getting 2 ocellaris clownfish instead of one. Also, royal gramma are pretty aggressive and will most likely beat up on the other fish in your stocking list. For that size tank, you could use a hob filter. I have heard many people that use aqueon filters for smaller saltwater tanks.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:50 PM   #3
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Sorry, but it is a aquaclear filter not aqueon.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:04 AM   #4
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On my 20g high tank I use 2 hydor koralia 240s for flow. I also have a 10g refugium growing chaeto and grape caulerpa. With that I haven't had a positive nitrate reading in 4 months.

As for your stocking level I would agree with 2 clowns. and everything else should work out as well. It's not a bad plan so far. For a CUC a few hermits, astrea snails, and 1 turbo snail wouldn't be a bad idea. Stock up your CUC as your tank needs more and you won't go wrong. Otherwise you will end up losing some due to starvation.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:28 AM   #5
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CUC are not essential if you do not over feed the tank so it's kind of a case of putting what you want in the tank in. As for a skimmer i personall would recommend it as it is part of the berlin method and will help remove a lot of waste from the tank that canister filters would not pick up. as for canister and hob filters if you have live rock and a skimmer you wouldnt need one as the live rock and skimmer will do all the filtering you need.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:38 AM   #6
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I agree with getting a skimmer. They really are a major source of mechanical filtration and they can stop nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia spikes before they begin. There are many hang on back models or you can also use an external skimmer. If you are not thinking about getting a mandarin or pipefish, then it doesnt really matter if you have a refuguium. If you want pristine filtration, then you could also use go and carbon reactors. If you get a protein skimmer, you really don't need a hob filter.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolee0722 View Post
Your stocking list is definitely not overstocked, thoug you might want to consider getting 2 ocellaris clownfish instead of one. Also, royal gramma are pretty aggressive and will most likely beat up on the other fish in your stocking list. For that size tank, you could use a hob filter. I have heard many people that use aqueon filters for smaller saltwater tanks.
i agree with a pair of clowns, a 20g is perfect for them, you can also get a candy hogfish and hes very active as well, just like the clowns they will wont hide all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolee0722 View Post
I agree with getting a skimmer. They really are a major source of mechanical filtration and they can stop nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia spikes before they begin. There are many hang on back models or you can also use an external skimmer. If you are not thinking about getting a mandarin or pipefish, then it doesnt really matter if you have a refuguium. If you want pristine filtration, then you could also use go and carbon reactors. If you get a protein skimmer, you really don't need a hob filter.
i beg to differ on the skimmer part, you really dont need it for a fish only tank, a good hob with high turn (as in 30-40g rated) and a pair of koralia nano 240's and your set, you can always add a skimmer later on if you want a nano reef, otherwise the hob is great for mechanical filtration and will really polish the water and keep your tank very clear.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:43 AM   #8
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I don't have a mandarin and I wouldn't trade my refugium in for anything. They allow you to keep equipment out of tanks, increase the water volume giving you more stable parameters, allows you to add additional live rock, and gives you a place to grow macro algae.

Also, a skimmer would help on a 20g but they are definitely not necessary on a tank that size.

A carbon reactor would be nice, but they are also unnecessary to have clear tank water.
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Old 09-27-2013, 05:40 PM   #9
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Mebbid, what fish do you have in your tank? Are you doing a reef tank, or just fish?

I like the idea of a refugium, I have seen a lot of DIY info on using an AC hob as a refugium, think I might go that route. As far as a skimmer goes, I think it is something I would like to invest in, but if I can run a while without it, it sure would help with initial cost, lol. That is one thing I don't want to skimp on when I do buy one. I already know I will want to upgrade to a larger tank down the road, but, right now, I don't have the wall space or money to really go much bigger.
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Old 09-27-2013, 05:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kimlafeiet View Post
Mebbid, what fish do you have in your tank? Are you doing a reef tank, or just fish?

I like the idea of a refugium, I have seen a lot of DIY info on using an AC hob as a refugium, think I might go that route. As far as a skimmer goes, I think it is something I would like to invest in, but if I can run a while without it, it sure would help with initial cost, lol. That is one thing I don't want to skimp on when I do buy one. I already know I will want to upgrade to a larger tank down the road, but, right now, I don't have the wall space or money to really go much bigger.
I have a reef tank with 2 occ clowns, 1 snowflake blenny, I had a firefish until last week when he jumped out, and I also have a skunk cleaner shrimp, flame scallop, and porcelain crab.

I'm growing everything from mushrooms to acropora in my tank atm.
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