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Old 12-04-2012, 05:51 PM   #1
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So I'm in the final stages of my new 45 long freshwater. And I have NO SW experience. But, I'm thinking about the future, and it smells like salt. I have an old 5 gallon tank that I think would be fun to turn into a micro reef. So I'm gonna ask several questions:

-Will a small HOB be fine for filtration, It's like 10 gallon rated
-Will I need a protein skimmer?
-Will I need to do anything to my tap water (other then add salt) to make it ok for use, since its well water?
-Will I be able to use just the standard light that came with the tank? It's one of the color enhancing bulbs?
-Can I have any type of fish in it?
-Anemonies, or something that looks/is similar, can I have it in this tank?
-What will it cost?
-Did I miss anything?

I'll be doing my own research, but figure it couldn't hurt to start a thread.

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Old 12-05-2012, 08:40 PM   #2
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Ok I'm gona try my best to shoot straight with you here because its obvious you've got alot of learning to do. Your on the right track with doing your research BEFORE you purchase any livestock as this is always the right thing to do.

Ill try my best to answer all your questions. First, yes the hang on back filter will be fine for filtration and in a small tank like 5 gallons you probably could rely on this for your water circulation as well. You will NOT need a protien skimmer. It's unnecessary in a tank as small as yours. Most of your filtration will be done through your live rock and live rock is 100% required. (Research this!)
You absolutely CANNOT use well water and just add salt. I recommend getting and RO/DI unit or if your not willing to purchase this at the very least use distilled water to add your salt too. This is because tap water is loaded with high nitrates and phosphates which will cause a ton of algae growth. If your going to have corals in your tank your going to need a full spectrum lighting system. I like LED's for small tanks. Make sure it is 10,000k daytime with a 420 nm actinic blue otherwise your corals won't last long. No anemones for a while. They are very delicate species that need a mature established tank in order to survive. As far as fish go I'd say the only thing that will work I maybe a small goby. However you could still make it a really interesting tank with corals and invertebrates. Cost is def a factor in this hobby and nothing is cheap. Ill go conservative and say that a 5 gallon nano reef done right will cost at the very least $300. They also require alot of maintenance but can still be very rewarding to maintain and watch.
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:59 PM   #3
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Ok, thanx, yes, shoot straight with me, be honest, be blunt about things. I learned my lesson not researching my FW tank in the beginning, I won't make that mistake with SW.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:58 PM   #4
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Hey we've all made mistakes here, me included! I just try to help folks learn from those mistakes so they won't make them themselves. Let us know if you have anymore questions!
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:15 AM   #5
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$300 was a conservative guestamet, so what's a more likely price guess? $400, would it be more much more expensive to do a 10 gallon? If I did a 10gal nano reef would it be much more expensive? Could I get more fish?
Would you stick with a 5 or go to a ten?
Could I get away with a three stage RO-DI or should I get a 4?
If I stuck with the five, got a small goby, and inverts, would that really be interesting?
Couldn't I get 2 of some kind of fish, or would anything like that be too much? I just don't want a lone fish, 2 fish maybe, but 1 not a fan, unless its a betta type (in its behavior toward other fish), than I'd understand.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:47 AM   #6
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Small water fountain pumps work awesome for small tanks if more flow is needed and you can find them everywhere. My six gallon cost under 130.00 I bought everything except the bulbs used. I don't think you need to spend 400 to have a happy healthy thriving tank.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:11 AM   #7
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I think $300 would be about the right amount for a 5 gallon and a 10 wouldn't be that much more. The majority of your cost is going to go to your lighting and start-up cost like chemicals and live rock. These costs won't repeat themselves so that's good. I had a great 10 gallon reef and the lighting itself cost me about $120. Like I said though I prefer LED lighting and these can be more on the expensive side of things.

I do think you'd be better off going with the 10 gallon because you would have more room for livestock and the increased water volume would help you in maintaining a stable environment.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:55 PM   #8
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With a ten, could I put a pair of small clowns in? Along with a few corals
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt. View Post
With a ten, could I put a pair of small clowns in? Along with a few corals
A pair needs at least a 20g
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:18 PM   #10
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I've kept a single clown in my 8 gallon nano for years. People will tell you not to keep a pair in a 10 gallon but the real thing is how good you keep your water quality. If you keep your water pristine then yea you could keep a pair of percula's in a 10 gallon.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:25 PM   #11
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Here is a link to some nano fish for a 10g tank that are easy to care for

Nano Fish
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:32 PM   #12
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Yeah I wouldn't recommend the clown for a 10g. Mine is really active and loves to swim, it makes me sad to think of putting him in a 10g. On LA they are 30gal+ fish. I have one in my 29g FOWLR

I really like LA's profile on fish, it takes in to account EVERYTHING. If you plan on upgrading in like a year, you could keep a little clown and when he grows transfer him so he has more swimming space
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:21 PM   #13
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Fish- not really, maybe a goby. Better off with an amusing clean up crew (CUC) and live rock sculpturing and start up some macro algae growth. HOB is what I use on my 10g, no protein skimmer, circulator, and long puffer story short I need to replace my live rock and start over... But at least I have sponges and coralline in my puffer tank now, and it is spreading- he does destroy sponges and coralline when I don't give him his snails before his feedings, lol... pea puffer? nano reef- and find amusement in being a mad scientist mwah ha ha
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:46 PM   #14
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I'm just gonna shelf the nano idea for a couple years.
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