Hello everyone! I'm kind of new to saltwater aquariums, and I've been watching a BUNCH of YouTube videos on the subject.

Geo007

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I am relatively new to saltwater, so be gentle with me. ;*)

I don't have a saltwater aquarium yet, but I can't get anything larger than a 10 gal according to my Senior Living lease. But, I think I can get away with a 20 gal aquarium. My desire is to have a 20 gal standard/high tank and make it a reef tank. Having looked at several cube tanks, all-in-one aquariums, and several set-it-and-forget-it aquariums, I don't want any of those. I wish to build my own from the ground up.

I'm curious to find out what suggestions you would make for me to have such a tank. Live rock vs dry rock, live sand vs normal sand, type of fishes, any cleaning crews and how many, etc. Preferences on equipment such as filters, skimmers, water flow jets, etc. And more importantly, "why" you would chose those particular items.

Thanks in advance!

Geo007
 
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Bepis

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First off, welcome to reef2reef.

Building your own small reef, is an excellent way to get started. 20 gallons is good size. 10 can work too, with a bit more attention. Thankfully, there is not shortage of nano equipment available, these days.

If you are going to start with dry rock, you will need to give it a long time to mature, at least 6 months, before adding fish and inverts. Some people get away with adding hardy corals sooner. Live rock will cycle much faster, but can come full of unwanted hitchhikers. Likewise, bare bottom is difficult to mature, but potentially more stable in the long run. Personally, I prefer the look of substrate and will always choose it over bare bottom in my display tanks.

Needless to say, there is a lot to consider. The more reading and research you do at the beginning, the better off you will be. Purchase the best equipment you can afford and you will be well on your way.

Enjoy the process.
 
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Geo007

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Thank you everyone for a warm welcome!!!
First off, welcome to reef2reef.

Building your own small reef, is an excellent way to get started. 20 gallons is good size. 10 can work too, with a bit more attention. Thankfully, there is not shortage of nano equipment available, these days.

If you are going to start with dry rock, you will need to give it a long time to mature, at least 6 months, before adding fish and inverts. Some people get away with adding hardy corals sooner. Live rock will cycle much faster, but can come full of unwanted hitchhikers. Likewise, bare bottom is difficult to mature, but potentially more stable in the long run. Personally, I prefer the look of substrate and will always choose it over bare bottom in my display tanks.

Needless to say, there is a lot to consider. The more reading and research you do at the beginning, the better off you will be. Purchase the best equipment you can afford and you will be well on your way.

Enjoy the process.
And thank you mattdg for your encouraging email. I agree with everything you've said, and I hope to hear more.
 

Royal Gramma Man

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I am relatively new to saltwater, so be gentle with me. ;*)

I don't have a saltwater aquarium yet, but I can't get anything larger than a 10 gal according to my Senior Living lease. But, I think I can get away with a 20 gal aquarium. My desire is to have a 20 gal standard/high tank and make it a reef tank. Having looked at several cube tanks, all-in-one aquariums, and several set-it-and-forget-it aquariums, I don't want any of those. I wish to build my own from the ground up.

I'm curious to find out what suggestions you would make for me to have such a tank. Live rock vs dry rock, live sand vs normal sand, type of fishes, any cleaning crews and how many, etc. Preferences on equipment such as filters, skimmers, water flow jets, etc. And more importantly, "why" you would chose those particular items.

Thanks in advance!

Geo007
In terms of a tank, you could get away with a 20-25 gallon cube tank. I have a 35 gallon tank, and I use live rock. It introduces bacteria to the tank to help with development, and it can sometimes give you a hitch hiker (usually good but could be bad). I use crushed shell substrate which yields a few free intact shells that are good for hermit crabs when they grow to big. For a 20-25 gallon tank, I would recommend a group of blue or red legged hermit crabs, maybe a turbo snail or two (they can flip themselves over if they fall), and maybe a clown pair when you get to the fish stage.

In the end, its up to you, and I wish you the best of luck with your future tank. Just remember, Reefing can get expensive, but budget builds can still be amazing. Also remember to leave time for your tank to cycle properly before you introduce coral and fish. Good luck!
 
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Would you ever consider setting up a "dropoff" reef aquarium?

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