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Old 04-02-2007, 09:32 PM   #1
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What have I done!!??

I just inherited a little bow front 5 gallon tank from a friend and followed what I fear may be some poor advice.

For starters: I have since been told that 5 gallons is way to small for a SW tank.

Also: I was told that if I purchased LR and LS that I didn't really have to wait before I put fish in.

So....right now I have 10 lbs LS, 1.5-2.0 lbs LR, a penguin 100, a 15w 120v ultra glo light, and a heater. The tank ran at temperature (about 77) for a day before I added 2 very small wild black O Clowns, and a Hawaiian reef lobster. It has been a day now and all seems to be well. Although, the slightly larger clown picks on the other...little guy seems to hold his own. The clowns both have hearty appetites and I saw the lobster finally come out to explore last night.

Have I sentenced all my new little buddies to death in a tank this small!!? Is it possible to keep this tank as is? If so, what do I need to pay particular attention to? If not, what is the minimum set up I need to get to save these little guys?

Thanks for your time and patience with a hasty newbie.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:40 PM   #2
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well, in my opinion, the reef lobster will enjoy the snack.....
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:42 PM   #3
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I'm not sure about the lobster, but I'm pretty sure that 2 clowns is way overstocked for 5 gallons.

What are your test parameters (ammonia, nitirite, sg, etc)?

edit: also, a LFS may be able to but the clowns back from you, and perhaps the lobster as well. It also looks like the lobster gets up to 5", so that may be too big for 5g as well. You might be able to keep a yellow clown goby, a crab, and some corals but that is pretty much it. If you want to keep the clowns you can pick up a 20g. 5g IMO is only for people who really know what they are going.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:58 PM   #4
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I have to agree that 2 clowns are too much for a 5 gallon tank. I`m not much on nano tanks. You might want to explore more on the nano forum on this site.
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:37 PM   #5
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That is a sticky situation! The clowns as everyone has said will be too large for the 5g. The biggest problem you are going to have right now is your tank isn't cycled and you are over stocked! Your water is going to foul quickly! I would take the clowns and lobster back to the LFS and get a larger tank. A 29g would be a good place to start. You need test kits!
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:28 AM   #6
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Well....for starters thanks for the quick replies.

I have a test kit and have tested twice so far (once before and once a two days after the fish were added). PH, Amonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels are all still where they should be or only slightly above...the only thing to go up was the Amonia and just a hair-but I assume that will continue to climb as I continue to feed these little guys.

Where I'm at right now: The clowns are both 1.5" or less and the lobster is about the same. I've only seen the lobster snap at a clown once when it ventured into his little hiding spot, and for the time being, he is way to small to do any harm to them. The clowns fight a little, but oddly, it seems more often when I've got my ugly mug up close to the glass. Otherwise they eat like body builder's. I have only fed them twice a day and I've tried to keep it as minimal as possible...frozen brine shrimp get gobbled up in 20-30 seconds and flake food takes a couple of minutes.

I do fully intend now to upgrade to a larger tank...I have my eyes on a 36 gallon bow front.
Can I keep these guys for a month or two in this tank until I can scrape up some cash and cycle a larger tank...is it possible to just keep things in check with chemical buffers until I make the switch? Or is oxygen going to be the limiting factor?...if so, what remedy do I have that? air pumps and stones?

Again, thanks for the help...you guys rock!
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:37 AM   #7
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I would not recommend keeping this tank as is. Chemical buffers could create more problems then they will solve in a tank that size. You don't want t put airstones in a SW tank..that would make a skimmer out of your tank. If you insist on keeping this setup the way it is for now, you need to do daily water changes, that means you need several gallons of mixed and ready to use SW on hand at all times. I have a 5g nano tank that i do water changes on every other day. Small tanks are much more difficult then larger ones because water can foul so quickly. If you don't do water changes very often I don't give you much of a chance at keeping the little guys alive.
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Old 04-03-2007, 03:20 AM   #8
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I'm scraping together everything I can right now and I'll just have to survive on Ramen noodles for the time being to make up for my irresponsible pet ownership...

I've already ordered another 20 lbs of live rock, a new filter, and a heater which should be here in about a week.

I'll pick up the 36 gallon bow front and hood from my LFS. I'll also buy as much LS as I can afford to add to the 10 lbs that I already have.

Aside from that...what advice do you have for me? Should I go ahead and buy the tank, LS and hood so that it can start cycling before my order arrives? What can I do to speed up the cycling process? What about the simple process of transferring LS, LR, Water and Fish from one tank to the other? Should I make that switch as soon as I can get the new tank to clear up and maintain a stable temp? Also, what sort of light bulb should I get? I've heard others talk about putting live rubble in their filter...?

Thanks again and wish me luck!
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Old 04-03-2007, 03:53 AM   #9
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Don't buy LS if you are scraping by for money. The LR will eventually feed base sand substrate. That should save you some decent cash.

I normally don't recommend it, but in your case if you want to keep your fish healthy, I would recommend getting the new tank, transfer everything, and add marine biospira. I normally prefer a natural cycle, but I think your fish would be happier if they were not subjected to any additional cycling.
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Old 04-03-2007, 03:56 AM   #10
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LS isn't really that important to start with...Buy dry sand non-silica based. It's cheaper and will become live very quickly. If you are buy cured LR from a LFS, then you can and will speed the cycling process, if you are ordering it online then there will be die-off and that will help jump start your cycle. You need to be patient when cycling your tank, this is a process that takes 4-8weeks.

This is what I would do. Buy the tank, sand and lighting (if you are going for FO or FOWLR you don't need special lighting) Get the sand in the tank, and SW...you are going to need filtration and a skimmer. As soon as the LR gets in or you get it put it in the new tank and get the cycle going....during this time you are stilll going to have to do regular everyday or every other day PWCs on the little tank. A lot of people do put LR rubble in the filter. Stable temp will come with a heater...What you need is stable water parameters... Ammonia 0 NitIte 0 NitrAte less then 10 PH 8.2 - 8.4 (ph will stabelize as tank matures)

You will need decent waterflow too. It's 3am here so my brain is spinning....
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