10G Essentials


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Jan 7, 2020
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Okay. I’ve been dreaming of a saltwater reef in my living room for a few years. And I know that a bigger tank is recommended for beginners, because the levels will be more “flexible” and easier to keep stable.

However. Everything needed for a big tank is pretty overwhelming. Plus, I have 3 freshwater tanks, which take up almost every available space in my house...

I have two 10g tanks laying around that I have no use for, so I have decided that I’ll just set one up as a reef!

Little long winded, but I’ve been looking on YouTube at different budget nano reefs, but much of the info is conflicting..

so my question:

What essentials will I need for a 10g reef? Will I need a protein skimmer, and do they make HOB skimmers? Best HOB filter? Best light? I’m not planning on going to crazy with the coral, so just low light varieties.

Any other tips are very much appreciated!

I’ve already got my RO/DI system, and my dry rock, which I plan on starting the deep clean process tomorrow (I bought them, soaked them in bleach water to clean them, then after the rinse, left them in the brute trash can, for about 6 months )
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock


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Apr 20, 2021
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Still experimenting with a ten gallon myself. So far, live rock, live sand, and cycling has all been fine. Hermit crabs live fine, snails do ok, the chocolate chip sea star has survived.. thrived and is going to get relocated to a different tank.. anyway feather dusters thrive, even spin, but coral idk about yet. Eventually, in a year or so I will know if a ten gallon is more trouble than it's worth.. either way if the tank crashes, I will still have "pet rock" and saltwater...

James M

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Jul 6, 2018
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A must have is an ATO (auto top off) !!! In such a small tank you’ll find that having an ato will help you out so much. hob skimmers can help but aren’t needed in a nano and a simple aqua clear filter will do just fine


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Nov 24, 2020
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Peace River, Alberta
A reliable method for checking salinity. I keep harping on this over and over again, but I could have saved myself months of pointless worrying if I had got the right refractometer in the first place.

I put in a fluval skimmer in my Evo. It's probably overall a plus, but not as much as just having filter floss and chemipure in a media basket. I have acro in this tank and the thing does pull out a fair bit of skim, so I'm keeping it in for the time being.

Have you ever had a reef tank with no sump and how did it go?

  • YES and it was just fine

    Votes: 306 58.3%
  • YES but it was difficult

    Votes: 98 18.7%
  • NO

    Votes: 110 21.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 11 2.1%
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