1st reef, lots of questions, supet curious.

Dezbian

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So I'm not new to aqauriums me=20 year vet in aqauriums but I've only done freshwater and it's time, at the ripe old age of 33 ;), for a nano reef.

Now I know all about water parameters, needing to keep them stable, that smaller is harder (I live on the 4th floor of a condo so bigger is not possible for me rn) but I've Kept my freshwater tanks stable and thriving for over a decade now (started keeping planted tanks about 13 years ago).

I also know saltwater has different parameters on top of the normal ones that you have to keep up with and a reef tank is even more. I've read some but don't know all the details. I also know evaporation is a big deal in smaller tanks and that in saltwater it adds salinity to the tank and you have to stay on top of it. (I volunteer at the new england aqaurium and the aquarist have helped me out some already but I can't ask them everything they have a job to do!)

So my questions now that you know a little about me!
I'm doing a 20 gallon long....
1. Lighting. I want a timed LED system that mimics natural daylight and night settings. Nothing other then LED bc again I live Ina condo and the last thing I need is heat from a huge lighting system. And I don't want to hang anything above the tank I want it to sit ontop of a glass top like my Fresh tank. See attached photo
2. Corals- I'm going to do 2 clownfish so I fosure must keep an anemonemane (nemo!) They are aggressive no? Are there any less aggressive? I know they move around so how do I keep them happy where I put them....
3. Bright soft corals, suggestions?
4. Filters....I will be doing an aquaclear HOB filter would the 30 or 50 be better? Do I need a powerhead and if so how many gph in such a small tank is acceptable and won't ruin the tank flow.
5. Do I need an airstone?
6. Stocking! What shrimp and snails does everyone suggests...

OK done. Lol

20221129_185054.jpg
 
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So I'm not new to aqauriums me=20 year vet in aqauriums but I've only done freshwater and it's time, at the ripe old age of 33 ;), for a nano reef.

Now I know all about water parameters, needing to keep them stable, that smaller is harder (I live on the 4th floor of a condo so bigger is not possible for me rn) but I've Kept my freshwater tanks stable and thriving for over a decade now (started keeping planted tanks about 13 years ago).

I also know saltwater has different parameters on top of the normal ones that you have to keep up with and a reef tank is even more. I've read some but don't know all the details. I also know evaporation is a big deal in smaller tanks and that in saltwater it adds salinity to the tank and you have to stay on top of it. (I volunteer at the new england aqaurium and the aquarist have helped me out some already but I can't ask them everything they have a job to do!)

So my questions now that you know a little about me!
I'm doing a 20 gallon long....
1. Lighting. I want a timed LED system that mimics natural daylight and night settings. Nothing other then LED bc again I live Ina condo and the last thing I need is heat from a huge lighting system. And I don't want to hang anything above the tank I want it to sit ontop of a glass top like my Fresh tank. See attached photo
2. Corals- I'm going to do 2 clownfish so I fosure must keep an anemonemane (nemo!) They are aggressive no? Are there any less aggressive? I know they move around so how do I keep them happy where I put them....
3. Bright soft corals, suggestions?
4. Filters....I will be doing an aquaclear HOB filter would the 30 or 50 be better? Do I need a powerhead and if so how many gph in such a small tank is acceptable and won't ruin the tank flow.
5. Do I need an airstone?
6. Stocking! What shrimp and snails does everyone suggests...

OK done. Lol

20221129_185054.jpg

If you instead forego anemone (and corals), your lighting needs get a lot more simple. Clownfish are aggressive to determine their sexuality. Lightning maroons are the most aggressive, but all clownfish are aggressive - its part of their species behavior. You can give them a clay flower pot on its side - popular alternative to anemone. Otherwise, you'll need stronger (more expensive) LED going thru your glass. Anemone will go where IT wants to go, based on light and water flow. Anemone will kill your 'bright soft corals' if they touch... Also, you want to wait to add anemone and corals once you have your water parameters stabilized over time - how much you feed, and how you handle waste determines how stable you keep your water. Eventually as corals grow, they'll uptake some of the alk, mag and calc from the water, so your water testing needs to account for these. Keeping your nitrates and phosphates stable and low (but not zero) is your first goal, after cycling.

Typically airstones are not used in saltwater setups, but a new tank having bacterial bloom (not super common) benefits from being able to drop airstone in to help fish get enough oxygen. Don't toss away all your airstones as you'll find uses for them even if not in your main tank... OR, it is your tank so if you like that bubble look - use them lol.

For a nearly FOWLR setup, perhaps 3-5x aquarium volume turn over an hour. Don't do it all from your HOB filter as you'll turn that off when feeding (typically) and fish prefer to chase down their food (typically). For your softies your going to want to run higher. Sticks/acros are why you hear 10x an hour.

First get your cycle going. Then get your fish added. Do not add cleanup crew until there is something to 'clean up' - often people jump early into this and the CUC die, ... which I guess does give something to cleanup - but it is the wrong way to do that... so save your snail decisions for later.
 

blaxsun

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1. LED lighting can get hot, and I wouldn't recommend placing it directly above the glass for a variety of reasons. Your best bet is something like a hanging or rail mount.
2. Anemones go where anemones want to go. Generally once they find their "happy spot" they stay put for extended periods. Most clownfish are now captive bred so it can take them a while (weeks, months, etc.) to figure the whole "anemone thing" out.
3. Mushrooms, zoas and palythoas are your brightest options for soft corals.
4. Size the HOB filter to your tank, but if you're between sizes opt for the larger one.
5. No, but you will need 1-2 powerheads to provide supplemental flow and oxygenation. Tunze and Sicce make some reasonably priced entry level powerheads.
6. Trochus snails, spiny astrea snails, nassarius snails, cerith snails, ring cowries, hermit crabs and conches.
 
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1) If you are going to do soft corals... and an anemone for your clowns... you don't need that much as far as light in the shallow 20L. A Maxspec Jump 65 LED is all you will ever need and it will suspend at the proper height above your tank without hanging it from the ceiling. It is slightly more than you need for now, but trust me, you'll end up needing more light as you continue to add corals.
2. Bubble Tip Anemones are best for small tanks. If you want Clownfish to use the anemone don't get tank raised nes. Yep, Clowns can be aggressive, particularly in a small tank.
3) Mushrooms and Zoanthids are a good start. A small bright green toadstool or leather can be cool. Avoid corals you have to feed like Sun Corals and Carnations.
4) Filtration is easy... Live Rock from the ocean, maybe some live sand to boot... Check Tampa Bay Saltwater on line. Your HOB power filter might just have a little filter floss and Granulated Activated Charcoal in it. If you get live rock/sand and a bunch of corals in the tank, you might not even need the power filter after a while. It's kind of like a plant tank in fresh water. A small powerhead would be beneficial. Maybe a MaxiJet 400.
5) No need for an airstone.
6) If you order live rock & sand, some creatures will come with it but Tochus and Nassarius snails will help.
 

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Looks like you got good answers already. I am going to add that in addition to not needing an airstone you dont want an airstone. In freshwater the bubbles just pop no big deal. In SW an airstone leads to massive salt creep all around the top of the tank where the bubbles are popping.
 
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Dezbian

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1. LED lighting can get hot, and I wouldn't recommend placing it directly above the glass for a variety of reasons. Your best bet is something like a hanging or rail mount.
2. Anemones go where anemones want to go. Generally once they find their "happy spot" they stay put for extended periods. Most clownfish are now captive bred so it can take them a while (weeks, months, etc.) to figure the whole "anemone thing" out.
3. Mushrooms, zoas and palythoas are your brightest options for soft corals.
4. Size the HOB filter to your tank, but if you're between sizes opt for the larger one.
5. No, but you will need 1-2 powerheads to provide supplemental flow and oxygenation. Tunze and Sicce make some reasonably priced entry level powerheads.
6. Trochus snails, spiny astrea snails, nassarius snails, cerith snails, ring cowries, hermit crabs and conches.
I can't suspend anything from my ceiling so how do I suspend the light over the tank, also they don't get hot over my freshwater so why would the saltwater be different?
 
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Dezbian

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1) If you are going to do soft corals... and an anemone for your clowns... you don't need that much as far as light in the shallow 20L. A Maxspec Jump 65 LED is all you will ever need and it will suspend at the proper height above your tank without hanging it from the ceiling. It is slightly more than you need for now, but trust me, you'll end up needing more light as you continue to add corals.
2. Bubble Tip Anemones are best for small tanks. If you want Clownfish to use the anemone don't get tank raised nes. Yep, Clowns can be aggressive, particularly in a small tank.
3) Mushrooms and Zoanthids are a good start. A small bright green toadstool or leather can be cool. Avoid corals you have to feed like Sun Corals and Carnations.
4) Filtration is easy... Live Rock from the ocean, maybe some live sand to boot... Check Tampa Bay Saltwater on line. Your HOB power filter might just have a little filter floss and Granulated Activated Charcoal in it. If you get live rock/sand and a bunch of corals in the tank, you might not even need the power filter after a while. It's kind of like a plant tank in fresh water. A small powerhead would be beneficial. Maybe a MaxiJet 400.
5) No need for an airstone.
6) If you order live rock & sand, some creatures will come with it but Tochus and Nassarius snails will helps

1) If you are going to do soft corals... and an anemone for your clowns... you don't need that much as far as light in the shallow 20L. A Maxspec Jump 65 LED is all you will ever need and it will suspend at the proper height above your tank without hanging it from the ceiling. It is slightly more than you need for now, but trust me, you'll end up needing more light as you continue to add corals.
2. Bubble Tip Anemones are best for small tanks. If you want Clownfish to use the anemone don't get tank raised nes. Yep, Clowns can be aggressive, particularly in a small tank.
3) Mushrooms and Zoanthids are a good start. A small bright green toadstool or leather can be cool. Avoid corals you have to feed like Sun Corals and Carnations.
4) Filtration is easy... Live Rock from the ocean, maybe some live sand to boot... Check Tampa Bay Saltwater on line. Your HOB power filter might just have a little filter floss and Granulated Activated Charcoal in it. If you get live rock/sand and a bunch of corals in the tank, you might not even need the power filter after a while. It's kind of like a plant tank in fresh water. A small powerhead would be beneficial. Maybe a MaxiJet 400.
5) No need for an airstone.
6) If you order live rock & sand, some creatures will come with it but Tochus and Nassarius snails will help.
Does that light have a timing system? And how does it suspend over the tank without hanging from the ceiling?

Also, what does tanked raised nes mean?
 
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Dezbian

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1. LED lighting can get hot, and I wouldn't recommend placing it directly above the glass for a variety of reasons. Your best bet is something like a hanging or rail mount.
2. Anemones go where anemones want to go. Generally once they find their "happy spot" they stay put for extended periods. Most clownfish are now captive bred so it can take them a while (weeks, months, etc.) to figure the whole "anemone thing" out.
3. Mushrooms, zoas and palythoas are your brightest options for soft corals.
4. Size the HOB filter to your tank, but if you're between sizes opt for the larger one.
5. No, but you will need 1-2 powerheads to provide supplemental flow and oxygenation. Tunze and Sicce make some reasonably priced entry level powerheads.
6. Trochus snails, spiny astrea snails, nassarius snails, cerith snails, ring cowries, hermit crabs and conches.
Hermit crabs won't hurt the fish or corals? And how do you take care of soft corals? Do you feed them? What happens if they get to big for the tank?
 
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Dezbian

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If you instead forego anemone (and corals), your lighting needs get a lot more simple. Clownfish are aggressive to determine their sexuality. Lightning maroons are the most aggressive, but all clownfish are aggressive - its part of their species behavior. You can give them a clay flower pot on its side - popular alternative to anemone. Otherwise, you'll need stronger (more expensive) LED going thru your glass. Anemone will go where IT wants to go, based on light and water flow. Anemone will kill your 'bright soft corals' if they touch... Also, you want to wait to add anemone and corals once you have your water parameters stabilized over time - how much you feed, and how you handle waste determines how stable you keep your water. Eventually as corals grow, they'll uptake some of the alk, mag and calc from the water, so your water testing needs to account for these. Keeping your nitrates and phosphates stable and low (but not zero) is your first goal, after cycling.

Typically airstones are not used in saltwater setups, but a new tank having bacterial bloom (not super common) benefits from being able to drop airstone in to help fish get enough oxygen. Don't toss away all your airstones as you'll find uses for them even if not in your main tank... OR, it is your tank so if you like that bubble look - use them lol.

For a nearly FOWLR setup, perhaps 3-5x aquarium volume turn over an hour. Don't do it all from your HOB filter as you'll turn that off when feeding (typically) and fish prefer to chase down their food (typically). For your softies your going to want to run higher. Sticks/acros are why you hear 10x an hour.

First get your cycle going. Then get your fish added. Do not add cleanup crew until there is something to 'clean up' - often people jump early into this and the CUC die, ... which I guess does give something to cleanup - but it is the wrong way to do that... so save your snail decisions for later.
If the anenome kills corals how do people keep them in the same tank without everything dieing ?
 
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I can't suspend anything from my ceiling so how do I suspend the light over the tank, also they don't get hot over my freshwater so why would the saltwater be different?
You can either get mounts for the back of the tank or many systems offer a horizontal rail mount as an alternative.

There's a big difference between "lighting" and "coral lighting". Trust me - they can get very hot.
 

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Does that light have a timing system? And how does it suspend over the tank without hanging from the ceiling?
Most brand name coral lights have a variety of mounting options.
Hermit crabs won't hurt the fish or corals? And how do you take care of soft corals? Do you feed them? What happens if they get to big for the tank?
Not unless you get unknown varieties from the wild. You should probably read up corals before getting into them.
If the anenome kills corals how do people keep them in the same tank without everything dieing ?
It's not like they're the ocean equivalent of a lawnmower... fatal interactions are rare, but again - reading up on corals and anemones before you get into them would be a good start.
 
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If the anenome kills corals how do people keep them in the same tank without everything dieing ?

If you look at recent photos of my tank right side where my anemones tended to be, it still looks like dead zone. My BF would buy coral, my anemone would kill it, round and round. When I wanted a second tank as a sanctuary tank for my injured fish, he negotiated I get rid of my anemones (and breeding clowns) in trade for letting me get my 55 (now 60 gallon tank). They don't kill everything, just when they move or want to stretch out over an area where there coral happens to be. Anemones move. Corals don't. Anemones tend to win all the wars...

First try to get your anemone very happy - a happy anemone (light, flow) will likely stay put, so then it's just the area around where it can stretch when its happy... good 12-14" for BTA... At one point I'd had 13 due to splits, but at the time of the negotiation I was down to my last two. There were times he'd be fed up with one and I'd sell or gave them away. Some I got some LFS credit. I miss them, but I'm glad I got my second tank - for me it was a good trade. Who knows, I might sneak one back in somewhere some future day LOL!! "How did that get there?!" "What honey?" ... "must have come in on a frag... are you SURE you are dipping and scrubbing and doing good QT?!?! well, it's here now so I'll just love on it LOL"
 
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If you look at recent photos of my tank right side where my anemones tended to be, it still looks like dead zone. My BF would buy coral, my anemone would kill it, round and round. When I wanted a second tank as a sanctuary tank for my injured fish, he negotiated I get rid of my anemones (and breeding clowns) in trade for letting me get my 55 (now 60 gallon tank). They don't kill everything, just when they move or want to stretch out over an area where there coral happens to be. Anemones move. Corals don't. Anemones tend to win all the wars...

First try to get your anemone very happy - a happy anemone (light, flow) will likely stay put, so then it's just the area around where it can stretch when its happy... good 12-14" for BTA... At one point I'd had 13 due to splits, but at the time of the negotiation I was down to my last two. There were times he'd be fed up with one and I'd sell or gave them away. Some I got some LFS credit. I miss them, but I'm glad I got my second tank - for me it was a good trade. Who knows, I might sneak one back in somewhere some future day LOL!! "How did that get there?!" "What honey?" ... "must have come in on a frag... are you SURE you are dipping and scrubbing and doing good QT?!?! well, it's here now so I'll just love on it LOL"
Lol the more I read on anemones the less I want one, maybe the clay pot thing someone said in a different post will work or maybe I don't do clowfish.....but I wanted little nemos :( ....I wish I could do a bigger tank but we live in a fourth floor condo we're just uncomfortable with such a large tank this high up. So 20 gallon it is. Lol I tell me girlfriend the same thing everytime I add anything new to my freshwater...."I dunno it just showed up ;)"
 
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Most brand name coral lights have a variety of mounting options.

Not unless you get unknown varieties from the wild. You should probably read up corals before getting into them.

It's not like they're the ocean equivalent of a lawnmower... fatal interactions are rare, but again - reading up on corals and anemones before you get into them would be a good start.
Well as far as the lights go I'll look more into mounting them so high up, I've never done anything like that and I'm scared ill mess it up somehow. Thank you for the advice....

I would never get wild caught anything, I don't think wild caught is the right way to go. Only captive bred for me! :)

And they sound like lawnmowers of doom lol
 
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Hey yall, this is what I meant about wanting lighting that sits on top of the tank. Are these no good? Will coral not thrive on leds like this? Not these specifically but this style of light....
 

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FWIW, my son has taken the want to upkeep what was my hospital/QT tank. It’s a plain 10 gallon tank with a small HOB filter a heater and a powerhead. For lighting it has a stock evo 13.5 light. He does the minimal work on it (he’s a teenager) and is growing a Kenya and GSP of course. He has a tailspot blenny in there also. It’s extremely minimalist and some how he has success keeping stuff. Moral of the story? I’m finding you don’t need all this fancy equipment to run a saltwater tank. All the available gadgets this hobby has to offer will make your head spin. I’d ask all the questions I could over at the aquarium. I’m sure those guys love nerding out about how things work in saltwater.
 
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FWIW, my son has taken the want to upkeep what was my hospital/QT tank. It’s a plain 10 gallon tank with a small HOB filter a heater and a powerhead. For lighting it has a stock evo 13.5 light. He does the minimal work on it (he’s a teenager) and is growing a Kenya and GSP of course. He has a tailspot blenny in there also. It’s extremely minimalist and some how he has success keeping stuff. Moral of the story? I’m finding you don’t need all this fancy equipment to run a saltwater tank. All the available gadgets this hobby has to offer will make your head spin. I’d ask all the questions I could over at the aquarium. I’m sure those guys love nerding out about how things work in saltwater.
I don't know what fwiw means but thank you. :)
 

What are some of the challenges of reefing with a cube?

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