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Old 02-20-2013, 07:23 PM   #1
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20 Gallon Build

Hey Everyone,

I have made the first step into new waters. My old 20 gallon freshwater I have decided to make my first saltwater tank (would have gone bigger if I had the room and tank). So far from what I've been doing my research (still a learner to salt) I have made a few moves. I have a few questions before I continue. These questions may be basic but I like to get some knowledge somewhere.

The Tank as been up and running for a little over a week now.

I have started the tank with about 25 pounds of Aragonite sand. Also I purchased about 19 pounds of live rock. Which leads to my first question I plan on buying more live rock this week and was wondering if by buying more live rock will affect the cycling process? Such as create any spikes in water parameters? I know I need a pound per gallon.

I currently have a 20 gallon hang filter running and a powerhead that provides more than enough current in the tank. So far I have tested this week for Ammonia and Nitrites which are dropping.

I do plan on the future of corals but not anytime soon. Does anyone have any suggestions on starter corals?
Also for when the moment comes for the Clean up Crew what would you recommend getting, such as types of sails and crabs?

I will try to keep this thread updated with the progress.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:00 AM   #2
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Following along!
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:38 AM   #3
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Yes you will experience mini cycles when you add liverock obviosuly the move time the rocks out of water the more die off and obviously that will lead to a higher ammonia which will be the mini cycle. the easiest corals to start with will be leathers or mushrooms although to be honest I have fowlr set up. clean up crew is your personal preference a lot of people will tell you you need a clean up crew of so many whatevers per gallon but this is a ploy to sell by fish shops. as long as you don't overfeed your fish you don't need a clean up crew as the jobs they do are to eat left over food and to eat anything that dies in your tank so say if you had a dead clown fish they will eat it and it wont rot but obviously in a 20 gallon you will spot any dead fish to remove anyway and hopefully the issue wouldn't arise for a long time. I would recommend not to mix hermits and snails though if you do get anything as they will eat each other I would also say shrimps are more interesting than both. just remember you cuc will add to you bioload. I would also reconsider the hang on filter especially in a reef as they tend to build nitrates up if you do not constantly maintain them and with weekly water changes or a skimmer you would be much better off.

dont worry about asking basic questions I was myself not so long back its only from reading up on here I got the knowledge of everything I have now
What fish are you planning on? how much live rock are you intending on putting in there? you shouldnt need too much more than the 19 pounds hopefully as long as you dont overstock the tank
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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"I do plan on the future of corals but not anytime soon. Does anyone have any suggestions on starter corals?"

Start with mushrooms and zoas. Both can be pretty, interesting, and darn near indestructible.

"Also for when the moment comes for the Clean up Crew what would you recommend getting, such as types of sails and crabs? "

I'd go with reefcleaners.org. The quick crews there are a cheap and easy way to get a good cuc. BUT do not go with the recommended tank size. I usually go about half the size of my tank as they give way too many snails. Also wait a bit to add a cuc. The tank needs to mature so there is food for them.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:46 AM   #5
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Also following along! Best of luck!
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:16 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

Well yesterday I bought about 6 more pounds of live rock. I will not be going more than this for live rock. Thanks for the info on adding it to the tank, I'm in no hurry so I'm going to let the tank go through it's cycle.

Mushrooms and Zoas sound great! I did some more research on them and going to continue reading up. A a little worried about the Zoas giving off toxin but I do love many of them.

CUC wise, I plan on some snails and I do like the idea of a cleaner shrimp in the tank. I have read that they can measured as a small fish in the tank due to the bio load they have. Any inputs on this? Such as is this true, and should I take this into consideration on the fish I would like to get?

As for fish: I would like a ocellaris clownfish, from what I have seen they are pretty easy little guys. And good starter fish. Also possibly a type of small goby. I'm still looking around for fish seeing what will be compatible. I like doing my research Wish school was the same way.

If anyone has ideas for fish that will do well in a 20 gallon please feel free to give suggestions! I'm dying to know what can go in there and possible ideas!
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:05 PM   #7
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So today I went to look at a older aquarium store that is new to me in town (found them online) and I was going to look and see if they sold empty hermit crab shells. When I got there the guys were cool and had a lot of good stuff for saltwater tanks. I asked the guy for shells and he tells me they sell about 15 or so for a dollar. As he bags them up he shows me around the corals and they had a bunch of stuff pretty cheap. He hands me the bag and says it's on the house. When I get home and wash them off I put them in the tank and wouldn't you know it there's a Crab inside one!!! Talk about a nice hitchhiker!

I didn't drip the shells... didn't seem a need to. Do you think he will live and be okay?

I've checked the tank and I have: Ammonia 0; Nitrites 0; Nitrates ~5

I have no idea what type of hermit it is but looks like a blue leg hermit from what I've been able to see.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:18 PM   #8
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Sounds like a good score he should be fine.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:20 PM   #9
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Sounds like a good score he should be fine.
Thanks! Seems like he's doing well, already all over the live rock and cleaning. He has cleaned a bunch of stuff off one of the rocks and I've notice a lot of green and orange stuff on the rock. My guess is it's coraline?
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:34 AM   #10
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Thanks! Seems like he's doing well, already all over the live rock and cleaning. He has cleaned a bunch of stuff off one of the rocks and I've notice a lot of green and orange stuff on the rock. My guess is it's coraline?
Very nice score! Lucky you have a good store in town! I'm still on the hunt for a rly good store within a half hr....looks more like I'm going to need to make a bit longer of a drive as the one I did find a half hr away is only so/so. The owner tried telling me to get a Cow fish for a 29g because it wouldn't live to its Max growth expectancy anyways....ummm.....?
He does have beautiful live rock and fish though....good thing I know how to do my own research! Lol
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:56 AM   #11
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I was also wondering what effect the CUC has on the bioload....anyone?
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:31 PM   #12
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My normal fish store is ~20 min away from me this one is ~10 min. Guess I get lucky seeing that this time doesn't affect me since I drive 45 min to school almost everyday lol. All depends on prices to me and both stores have really nice people working there.

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I was also wondering what effect the CUC has on the bioload....anyone?
This question I have thought of as well but have no idea. I'm sure it is not a lot to do any real changes unless you have tons of CUC.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:04 PM   #13
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Coralline doesn't tend to be green and orange so it's just going to be an algae bloom which is common for a new tank I will settle as the tank is running.


As for the cuc it makes quite a difference as it all is still eating and pooping n your water every living thing you add in will add to your bio load some things more than others I've heard some cuc members are the sme bio load as a smll fish. You don't really need cuc's though. Don't get me wrong inverts are interesting but your tank will be one even with jut fish
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:25 PM   #14
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Coralline doesn't tend to be green and orange so it's just going to be an algae bloom which is common for a new tank I will settle as the tank is running.


As for the cuc it makes quite a difference as it all is still eating and pooping n your water every living thing you add in will add to your bio load some things more than others I've heard some cuc members are the sme bio load as a smll fish. You don't really need cuc's though. Don't get me wrong inverts are interesting but your tank will be one even with jut fish
Thanks for the info! Wasn't sure if it was coralline or not. Still learning Some very interesting stuff.

I have read that Cleaner shrimp could have a bio-load of a small fish in tanks so I'm taking that into consideration if I plan on getting one for the stock.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:31 PM   #15
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Yeah it's the same with all cuc though all add to the bio load
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:45 PM   #16
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Yeah it's the same with all cuc though all add to the bio load
Thanks Woody! I still want a nice CUC though as they're interesting to watch.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:44 PM   #17
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Yeah couldn't agree more love my lil shrimps just pre warning you as it's a mistake a lot of people make especially when online and lfs try and sell people massive cuc's
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:11 PM   #18
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My first stocking list suggestions:
Ocellaris Clownfish pair? And a cleaner shrimp.

Would you believe it is okay to have a pair of Ocellaris Clowns in a 20 gallon? I have read a few people that say only one and others say a pair will do fine.

I don't want to overstock the tank, but any other suggestions would be great.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:50 PM   #19
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My stock in my 20 was 2 cleaners 2 clowns and an emerald crab so should be ok
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:02 PM   #20
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My stock in my 20 was 2 cleaners 2 clowns and an emerald crab so should be ok
Thanks Woody! Hoping someone had a answer. This list will probably stay, unless I decided on one Clown and a type of goby.

Also....
I saw this in my tank yesterday and not sure what it is. Any ideas? It's on the live rock in a tube type of formation and has little hairs that pop out... lol best description I could think of. I have two pictures.



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