How Difficult is a 20 Gallon VS a 55 Gallon To Maintain (Heard Smaller Tanks May Be Harder)?

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Acros

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Or you can instead of being rude to me.
We can all offer better advice if we know the dimensions and goals. The dimensions were not know until I made the comment and goals do not seem to be set in stone either.

I apologize if you felt I was rude, didn’t mean to come off as rude. No ill will here.
 
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JSkeleton

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I mean with dimensions given, I would lean towards the 55 gallon, I think you’ll have more options for livestock….
With Fowlr tank it should be pretty minimal as far as gear needs, like anything you can always go hog wild but I think the idea, back To the beginning is to spend less.
What I would do is use your 20 gallon for a qt tank, and start running the 55 in… maybe look at one of those aio chambers you can drop in there!
Oh true, you can just add an AIO Chamber eh? That might be worth looking into if it would really help. That said, again, I couldn't imagine needing as much equipment with FOWLR?
 
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For those wondering:
Tank Specs:
55 Gallon Aquarium (20 Gallon was gonna use as temporary QT),
42lbs Arragonite (2-3 inches roughly),
20lbs of white dry rock,
8lbs of purple LifeRock,
1 70 Gallon HOB Filter with biomedia + filter sponge + sponge on intake,
1 30 Gallon HOB Filter with same but biomedia in that one is the bioballs,
200W Eheim TruTemp Heater (temp is around 77F).
API Saltwater Master Kit for testing (I know, not the greatest but it came with some stuff I got),
AquaticLife RODI Buddie 3-stage system for my water.
Salinity is around 33ppt.


Goals:
-FOWLR for time being (unsure if wanting to get into Corals just cause of extra work/cost, but it is possible to get sucked into it down the road, who knows)
-2 Clownfish for Sure
-Trochus + Nassarius Snails for clean up (open to suggestions)
-Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (they look awesome and seem to have some tank benefits?)
-Possibly Royal Gramma down the road
-Maybe sand sifting goby?
-Unsure at this time what other fish I COULD and SHOULD and would WANT to put in in addition down the road (again open to suggestions).


Worth Mentioning:
All in all, I've been rethinking the past couple days if maintaining a Saltwater setup (saltwater + RODI filters etc.) is going to be a decent chunk more $$$ than Freshwater (my rough estimates say $25 CAD a month Freshwater and $50-60 for Saltwater unless my math is off, which does definitely make a difference). My Wife really loves saltwater fish way more, so do I and always wanted Saltwater since I was a kid but I would also be fine with Freshwater (although I would be bummed not to own some Clownfish at least haha).
 

GobyGuy

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Uh?
Ran a 30 off tap only no wc for a year, also kept a 5 gal that same year & def wasn’t on top of it enough to prosper but it survived lol didn’t know much of anything they’re harder but it’s not like it’s a level of knowledge only obtainable after X years with atleast Y gallons
 

Hairyteeth

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You know we’re gonna vote for salt :p lol
…the aio chamber is highly recommended, though not Necessary. It would mean you could have all filter media and return pump hidden as well as submerged in the tank with less to no chance of overflow issues from hob stuff. I know when I ran all hob equipment, even skimmer I never had a problem but the fear was always there and I feel much more comfortable with it all in the tank or sump.
Wether you go fresh or salt I would go this route
 
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JSkeleton

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You know we’re gonna vote for salt :p lol
…the aio chamber is highly recommended, though not Necessary. It would mean you could have all filter media and return pump hidden as well as submerged in the tank with less to no chance of overflow issues from hob stuff. I know when I ran all hob equipment, even skimmer I never had a problem but the fear was always there and I feel much more comfortable with it all in the tank or sump.
Wether you go fresh or salt I would go this route
Interesting, but wouldn't that basically reduce my size from 55g to like 40 or something? And are aio chambers expensive?
 
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Ran a 30 off tap only no wc for a year, also kept a 5 gal that same year & def wasn’t on top of it enough to prosper but it survived lol didn’t know much of anything they’re harder but it’s not like it’s a level of knowledge only obtainable after X years with atleast Y gallons
Wow, tap and no wc!? How did it survive haha
 
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As someone who came into this hobby from the Freshwater Tank world...I'll say 2 things.

As a Freshwater person for over 18 years...in regards to Freshwater..the bigger the tank the better. You can correct a lot of issues with ease. In a smaller tank, things can go bad fast. My 125 Freshwater is the simplest easiest tank ever now. I started with a 40.

Fast Forward to early this year...I set up a 40B Saltwater Tank. I watched many videos, surfed the web, came here etc. Jake from Reef Builders did a 1 day nano AIO tank....complete with corals and fish. He did updates over the year, and his tank was amazing!

I thought...hmmm.hmm.. I'll apply same concepts to my 40B Saltwater...and after a few months, I found out the hard way...not so fast my friend. The challenges were not what I was expecting at all.

I think a nano is easier to maintain overall, but I also think if you want to get a larger Tank, then by all means...go big or go home, and I'm sure some things still apply as in regards to what I was saying about Freshwater Tanks as you can recover from an issue better than a small tank, but it's a lot of work overall in larger Tanks in regards to parameters, Salinity, algae, water changes etc.
 

BlueDamselReef

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Interesting! Do you think maintaining costs are pretty similar between smaller and larger tanks (like 20 to 55, or in your case 10 and 30)? I guess that's my biggest concern being so new to freshwater, is scared to get deep a few months and realize it's too costly to maintain compared to freshwater.

And haha that is very true, though I imagine fresh or salt that's true! We started setting up the 55 Gallon and then our Son wanted to set back up his old 5 Gallon (he wants freshwater) he got when he was younger, but we decided to get him a bit bigger for his Birthday cause he loves schooling fish like Tetras. So we already have more tanks than we had anticipated. Thankfully his room is warm so I don't imagine his heater turning on very often (less $$$ for Electricity haha)!

I don't think "maintenance" costs are high either way. The only real maintenance is going to be salt water for your water changes, and in a year or 2, replacing any old/outdated/faulty equipment. With a 55g being almost 3 times bigger than a 20g you're looking at about 3x the cost. But again, with maintenance, as others have said, it might just balance itself out (ie 10 Gallon water change in 55g once per month = $20 / while 4 Gallon water change every 2 weeks in 20g = $16 per month).

Your biggest costs in your reef tank don't come from maintenance but the setup (lighting, flow, rock, sand, etc) which of course will be pricier with larger tanks. And your next biggest expense in a reef tank will be livestock as you stock up the tank. Again, pricier with the larger tank... as larger, fancier fish (tangs, wrasses, angels, etc) can be pricier than your smaller nano fish (clowns, gobies, blennies, etc) and again, you'll be buying less in the smaller tank to fill it up than the larger tank. And coral... well just burn your wallet and divorce your wife right now because all your money goes to coral!! :D
 

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You make a fair point. That said, I don't have a sump or anywhere for a sump, is it really that important?

A Skimmer we don't currently have, but was thinking of getting one down the line when there's a sale (would have to be a HOB one though), but again, how crucial is one? In a 55g that isn't heavily stocked (few fish + cuc) without a sump and without a skimmer, would water changes need to be weekly or bi-weekly?

NOW YOU'RE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!!

My philosophy is KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid! :D

No... no sump or skimmer or none of that mumbo jumbo needed! HOB is perfectly fine, but make sure you get a GREAT HOB, rated for higher than 55 gallons. I recommend the Seachem Tidal 75 (for the 55 gallon, or the Seachem Tidal 35 for the 20 gallon)... best HOB out there and has surface skimming built in!

71xGtlMYhVL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
 
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NOW YOU'RE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!!

My philosophy is KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid! :D

No... no sump or skimmer or none of that mumbo jumbo needed! HOB is perfectly fine, but make sure you get a GREAT HOB, rated for higher than 55 gallons. I recommend the Seachem 75 (for the 55 gallon, or the Seachem 35 for the 20 gallon)... best HOB out there and has surface skimming built in!

71xGtlMYhVL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
Yep, if you go HOB or Cannister, always, always over filter and get double or close to 1.5 over what your tank is
 

BaliReefBox

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Ouff, $30 extra a month with just the 20g?? I was expecting like $10 maybe $15 tops a month.
I run a chiller to keep the temp at 25c. That conbined with lights, pumps, reactors, GFO and algae, skimmer, UV all adds up I suppose and the power here is expensive to start with. Bill has gone from around $150 pm to around $180 pm so its in the ball park of an $30 increase... also I do love a good knick knack add on... bring on the bigger tank
 
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That's the thing, I don't really know what equipment I NEED, because it seems like everyone says something different on what you NEED lol.
ok I have only just started not long ago and from my experience to date all you realy need is the following.
tank, water, pump. and light if corals. Basic filtration in the AIO some rubble and maybe a some floss.
Have a look at the local indonesian forums, granted you wont know the chat I gather but the pictures will show you how minimal tanks can be... they are super creative on how to do things very cheaply.
 
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JSkeleton

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As someone who came into this hobby from the Freshwater Tank world...I'll say 2 things.

As a Freshwater person for over 18 years...in regards to Freshwater..the bigger the tank the better. You can correct a lot of issues with ease. In a smaller tank, things can go bad fast. My 125 Freshwater is the simplest easiest tank ever now. I started with a 40.

Fast Forward to early this year...I set up a 40B Saltwater Tank. I watched many videos, surfed the web, came here etc. Jake from Reef Builders did a 1 day nano AIO tank....complete with corals and fish. He did updates over the year, and his tank was amazing!

I thought...hmmm.hmm.. I'll apply same concepts to my 40B Saltwater...and after a few months, I found out the hard way...not so fast my friend. The challenges were not what I was expecting at all.

I think a nano is easier to maintain overall, but I also think if you want to get a larger Tank, then by all means...go big or go home, and I'm sure some things still apply as in regards to what I was saying about Freshwater Tanks as you can recover from an issue better than a small tank, but it's a lot of work overall in larger Tanks in regards to parameters, Salinity, algae, water changes etc.
Hmm interesting! So are you saying just stick to Freshwater? ;) haha No but in all seriousness, what have you learnt and preferred between the 2?
 
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JSkeleton

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I don't think "maintenance" costs are high either way. The only real maintenance is going to be salt water for your water changes, and in a year or 2, replacing any old/outdated/faulty equipment. With a 55g being almost 3 times bigger than a 20g you're looking at about 3x the cost. But again, with maintenance, as others have said, it might just balance itself out (ie 10 Gallon water change in 55g once per month = $20 / while 4 Gallon water change every 2 weeks in 20g = $16 per month).

Your biggest costs in your reef tank don't come from maintenance but the setup (lighting, flow, rock, sand, etc) which of course will be pricier with larger tanks. And your next biggest expense in a reef tank will be livestock as you stock up the tank. Again, pricier with the larger tank... as larger, fancier fish (tangs, wrasses, angels, etc) can be pricier than your smaller nano fish (clowns, gobies, blennies, etc) and again, you'll be buying less in the smaller tank to fill it up than the larger tank. And coral... well just burn your wallet and divorce your wife right now because all your money goes to coral!! :D
Good point! I mean upon some quick calculations for salt, RODI filters, food, electricity, etc. it seems Freshwater is like $20-25 CAD roughly per month, while Saltwater seems to be roughly $40-60 CAD unless I'm calculating wrong.

Again, would be starting FOWLR and may possibly even just stick with that (unless I get sucked into corals haha)
 
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Good point! I mean upon some quick calculations for salt, RODI filters, food, electricity, etc. it seems Freshwater is like $20-25 CAD roughly per month, while Saltwater seems to be roughly $40-60 CAD unless I'm calculating wrong.

Again, would be starting FOWLR and may possibly even just stick with that (unless I get sucked into corals haha)


If you're doing FOWLR, definitely bigger then, if it's all about the fish!! :D
 
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JSkeleton

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NOW YOU'RE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!!

My philosophy is KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid! :D

No... no sump or skimmer or none of that mumbo jumbo needed! HOB is perfectly fine, but make sure you get a GREAT HOB, rated for higher than 55 gallons. I recommend the Seachem Tidal 75 (for the 55 gallon, or the Seachem Tidal 35 for the 20 gallon)... best HOB out there and has surface skimming built in!

71xGtlMYhVL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
Interesting, so sump and protein skimmer are NOT needed? Why are they so highly recommended?

I have the Aqua Clear 70, think that's sufficient? That said, I also stuck on a 30 gallon HOB filter too cause I heard I needed more but I don't know if that's necessary or a waste of electricity/space?

I also have 2 Sicce Nano Stream 530gph powerheads one on each side. I had already bought a bunch of the BASIC equipment, I just started feeling regret the past few days and questioning if I should sell the saltwater stuff and revert to freshwater before my cycle finishes and I commit by adding livestock lol I'm just really worried to see RODI filters + salt + whatever else costs add up in a few months and being too much but by then being committed.
 
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