15 GALLON SETUP AND QUESTIONS

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Ok fellas. I’ve decided to start a 15 gallon reef. I want it to be a mixed reef with sps down the line. I’m a complete beginner but I have been researching
Here’s what I’ve decided on, feel free to recommend different corals/equipment and please point me out where I’m wrong :)

Equipment
Aqua one heater
Clear view 500
Hygerr mini wave maker
An ATO system down the line
A fluval ps2 down the line

Others
API reef master test kit
Aqua forest reef salt
Aragonite sand
Caribsea live rock

stocking I want
Blastos
Acans
Micromussa
utter chaos zoas
torch
hammer
Trachyphillia
lobophyllia
kenya tree
Duncan
Elegance

Fish stocking
Chalk bass
Clown
Maybe a swissguard bass?

Inverts stocking
Emerald crab
pistol shrimp
pom Pom crab
cleaner Shrimp

Questions
Good and affordable lights?
What to dose and which company to use?
Would a quality reef salt be ample without dosing?
Could I diy A sump with fountain pumps?
 

Rico's Reefnecks

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What tank?
If you're open to a slight volume difference, you'll see lots of recommendations around here for Evo 13.5 as a first tank. Fantastic tank where you can get real results and learn hard lessons in a small volume before potentially deciding to go bigger later. Also comes with a light that is perfectly adequate for what you've listed, and you can upgrade to a AI prime etc later if you're enjoying the hobby.

Swap the API test kits for others. You don't need much at first. Salifert makes fine ammonia and nitrate kits for you to make sure cycling is going well, and you can add to that down the road as needed. I bought a big box of kits when I first started and quickly realized most were unnecessary at the beginning.

My other advice on equipment: it seems like heaters kill more tanks than anything, and it tends to be from overtemp. So invest a few bucks in a temperature controller - most people seem to use inkbirds - for safety.

To your questions - I switched to tropic marin's all for reef after a couple of months dosing 2-part by hand....and never looked back. One product, one little Kamoer bluetooth dosing pump, and pretty stable values. Great stuff for nanos. But yes especially early on you do not need to dose - water changes will be totally fine.

Personally I would avoid trying to DIY a sump on your first tank. Many ways to cause a flood (the hard lessons) and spoil your appetite for the hobby. Start with an all in one, or use HOB filters as you've listed. Really, the arguments for adding a sump on such a small system are limited - an extra 5-10 gallons isn't going to be a magic stability solution for SPS eventually; better to just be more attentive to maintenance on a simpler system IMO. After a few months experience you'll be able to make a more informed decision about plumbing something up.

Welcome to the forums!
 

Danny G

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Fluval 13.5 was my first tank. I have upgraded 2x and kept the fluval going. Honestly a great tank to learn out can quickly outgrow it. The tank has been going a long time and basically use it as a quarantine tank for new coral or coral that seems to be doing bad in another tank. Things just thrive in it.

If your looking to mostly do coral I would suggest checking out the innovative marine 25 gallon lagoon with a prime light. If I had to do over, I would have gone this route for a first tank.

either way there’s not a bad choice.

Best of luck!
 
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Get a tank that can be drilled and install this skimmer box it's great. AI prime is a solid little led and make sure you start with good quality liverock
Screenshot_2022-12-02-22-17-39-21_b5f6883d2c20a96c53babc0b4ac88108.jpg
 
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Thanks a lot. I do plan on upgrading tanks to about a 50 gal in 2 years time. The tank I’m planning to buy will be drillable and I’ll hook up a sump in 4 months ish time. For starting Ill just use a basic hob. The AI prime light is expensive as heck here. Would a lominie pixie 30 work? All the reviews say it has a pretty nice par and its cheap.
 

MoshJosh

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I would skip the Fluval skimmer, I haven’t heard great things. Maybe look into Bubble Magus.

There are plenty of good threads about lights, but personally I’m cheap haha. . . I am looking into a SMATFARM LED.

I had a 2 bulb T5 fixture (blue plus and coral plus bulbs) over my 15gallon for a while with good results. Set up cost me about $100

I would recommend auto top off sooner than later. And would recommend dosing kalkwasser in the top off. . . But definitely research kalk first.
 
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Why not start out your reef with easy-to-keep softies until your tank matures? There's nothing worse than losing an expensive beauty, and soft corals really are underrated. My top five "beginner corals"

1. Grube's gorgonian (the only gorgonian that really is nearly indestructible)
2. Mushrooms
3. Xenia
4. Nepthea
5. sympodium

If you must have SPS, I'd go for Porites or stylocoeniella -- they're easier than most. If you need vibrant colour, get a "Dragon's Egg" or similarly-coloured rock flower anemone. They're gorgeous, hardy, and can thrive in new tanks.
 

davidcalgary29

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I know that most lps need Atleast a 3 month old tank, so I don’t plan on adding stonys until my tank is mature enough. Also what do I need to dose? And will 2 cheap Amazon Powerhead works?
You really don't need to dose anything with softies -- water changes will take care of your micronutrients.

And sure -- many of the cheap powerheads are just fine.
 
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Thanks a lot, but I meant when I get lps. Honestly I just want the base line lps like blasto, torch, hammer, Trachyphillia and acans. And thats a relief cause I wasn’t about to spend 130 dollars on a powerhead. Also, will a chalk bass and swissguard bass work? Also what about 6 line wrasse?
 

reef_1

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Fluval ps2 is very loud I wouldnt have it.

I got the hipargero A029 lights, I am happy with them for the price, though there are big jumps in timer (6-8-10-12-14-always on), similar in blue and white, only 6 power level on each and sunset/rise is steppy as well. But I am still happy with them.

Phosphate and nitrate tests are better in salifert. I found API showing the same figures as salifert, but its much more work and salifert phosphate is lower range.

I've been thinking a lot what to add to my clown tanks and I will also add swissguards to both :)
 

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Questions
Good and affordable lights?
What to dose and which company to use?
Would a quality reef salt be ample without dosing?
Could I diy A sump with fountain pumps?
Side note I suggest get two wave makers or powerheads rather than kne strong one. It made my coral happier.
1) AI Prime is a really good light for tanks or a kessil a160we although they're more expensive
2) dosing isn't fully necessary id say if you're doing wc. Although, later on with sps growing you may wanna look into some methods
3) a quality salt would be good but the coral will still use the elements in the water so it'll have to be replenished with dosing or wc.
 
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Fluval ps2 is very loud I wouldnt have it.

I got the hipargero A029 lights, I am happy with them for the price, though there are big jumps in timer (6-8-10-12-14-always on), similar in blue and white, only 6 power level on each and sunset/rise is steppy as well. But I am still happy with them.

Phosphate and nitrate tests are better in salifert. I found API showing the same figures as salifert, but its much more work and salifert phosphate is lower range.

I've been thinking a lot what to add to my clown tanks and I will also add swissguards to both :)
Alright so what would you recommend for protein skimmers?
I was thinking about Saliferts but they are 40+ aud here. Also hope your swissguard is healthy! Also, instead of getting 2 swissguards maybe get a chalk bass.

Will spamming WC help instead of dosing? Can I use seachems calcium dose?
 

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I would suggest the following:

-don’t get APA test kit, get good quality test kits
-Don’t get the fluval f2 it’s garbage I’ll send you mine for free if you pay shipping, but its not worth it. You don't need a skimmer for that sized tank anyway.
-AI Prime 16 is a good light for a 15 gallon tank
-An ATO is very important, it will make life a lot easier for you and the fish.
 

reef_1

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Alright so what would you recommend for protein skimmers?
I was thinking about Saliferts but they are 40+ aud here. Also hope your swissguard is healthy! Also, instead of getting 2 swissguards maybe get a chalk bass.

Will spamming WC help instead of dosing? Can I use seachems calcium dose?

I dont know too much about dosing and corals and I just started these tanks where I also want to have some more serious corals, so as far as corals I dont have too much useful knowledge.

I dont have a skimmer but I am only targeting nitrates at 10 and phosphates below 0.3 so nothing exceptionally low, using GFO, matrix, so far there are no issues, hair algae and cyano nicely soaks up excessive nutrients :)

I still dont have my swissguards either but after googling for a week I concluded I am gonna get swissguards as tankmates for the clowns.

API test kit is not entirely bad, but more work than salifert and for example phosphate is not usuable, it doesnt have a scale below 0.25, for me it shows basically the same 0.25 value even when salifert shows two different values.
 
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MrGisonni

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Why not start out your reef with easy-to-keep softies until your tank matures? There's nothing worse than losing an expensive beauty, and soft corals really are underrated. My top five "beginner corals"

1. Grube's gorgonian (the only gorgonian that really is nearly indestructible)
2. Mushrooms
3. Xenia
4. Nepthea
5. sympodium

If you must have SPS, I'd go for Porites or stylocoeniella -- they're easier than most. If you need vibrant colour, get a "Dragon's Egg" or similarly-coloured rock flower anemone. They're gorgeous, hardy, and can thrive in new tanks.
Love stylocoenella and you really can't beat ricordea for an amazing pop of color and pattern. Once the ricordea are established they are bulletproof. You can see mine from across the room
 

TotallyTorchedReefin

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Ok fellas. I’ve decided to start a 15 gallon reef. I want it to be a mixed reef with sps down the line. I’m a complete beginner but I have been researching
Here’s what I’ve decided on, feel free to recommend different corals/equipment and please point me out where I’m wrong :)

Equipment
Aqua one heater
Clear view 500
Hygerr mini wave maker
An ATO system down the line
A fluval ps2 down the line

Others
API reef master test kit
Aqua forest reef salt
Aragonite sand
Caribsea live rock

stocking I want
Blastos
Acans
Micromussa
utter chaos zoas
torch
hammer
Trachyphillia
lobophyllia
kenya tree
Duncan
Elegance

Fish stocking
Chalk bass
Clown
Maybe a swissguard bass?

Inverts stocking
Emerald crab
pistol shrimp
pom Pom crab
cleaner Shrimp

Questions
Good and affordable lights?
What to dose and which company to use?
Would a quality reef salt be ample without dosing?
Could I diy A sump with fountain pumps?
Hey buddy ID definitely stay away from a pistol shrimp in a tank that small as it can get messy , as far as your questions go , I don’t dose in my 110g system all I do is 10g water changes with tropic Marin pro salt , and it’s worked wonders for my system, there are plenty of great options from dosing , kalk reactors , and wage changes, all can get your results you want , the main thing is consistency as with anything:). But best bang for your buck? And less headache ?, I stick to weekly waterchanges , it seems to work best for me . Also get the ato first trust me you don’t want salt swings on a 15g tank , twolittlefishies makes a pretty good one and really small too. Good luck
 

MrGisonni

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Check out All For Reef as a 1 part dosing solution. It took a while to get it tuned in ( as you will read on R2R) but after a while things will stabilize. There is also a little bit of a carbon dosing component from the solution as well. I have however needed to supplement magnesium to keep my values up.
 
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