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

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Yep, if you go HOB or Cannister, always, always over filter and get double or close to 1.5 over what your tank is
So by that standard, a 70 rated gallon is not enough and I WOULD need the 70 gallon HOB + a 30 gallon HOB together (since that's what I have rather than buying a 100G rated HOB lol)?
 
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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
Oh man haha A chiller is the opposite of a heater? To cool the water down cause it's too hot at room temp or?

And shoot, I get all that equipment can be helpful, but how needed is it? Like I sit here and see builds like that and wonder if I'm doing wrong going bare minimum lol
 
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If you can add 20lbs more live/dry rock to the 55, your biological filteration will be solid. The hob filter will be to just run carbon or any chemical media.

I don’t see why you would need routine water changes on a fowlr.
Hmm interesting, so then would I even need the TWO HOB filters I have or just one of them if I had a few more lbs of rock?

And wait, no routine water changes on a fowlr? Then any water changes ever and if so how often/how much??
 
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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.
Where do I find those forums? Haha

But that's super interesting! I guess instead of AIO I can opt for HOB Filters for now instead? Is it really that minimal and you won't struggle with parameters?
 
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If you're doing FOWLR, definitely bigger then, if it's all about the fish!! :D
Haha, true! I mean, at this point the question has shifted from 20g vs 55g to Saltwater 55g or Freshwater 55g lol. Again, it's just not being familiar with maintenance costs and throwing together some numbers and thinking "whoa, that seems like a lot on average per month compared to freshwater!" But I really love the fish Saltwater offers (I mean just clowns alone make me want it bad, same with my Wife haha) But then there's want VS what's the smartest choice especially with the economy being crazy lately xD Ahhhh!
 

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Hmm interesting, so then would I even need the TWO HOB filters I have or just one of them if I had a few more lbs of rock?

And wait, no routine water changes on a fowlr? Then any water changes ever and if so how often/how much??
There are so many ways to do this. Nothing beats an in sump system. That being said, all your biological filtration is handled by the live rock. No hob filter will be able to replace that.

Let me ask you a question, why do you think you need to do routine water changes?
 
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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.

AquaClear70 is perfect! No need for additional 30 HOB. Aqua clear was best HOB until the Seachem/Sicce Tidals came along. Aqua clear cover/top tends to rattle a bit and it is not self priming, so if power goes out, it may not start back up until you fill it up with water again. The motor is on the outside vs inside the tank like the seachem tidal. But it's no biggy.

Powerheads are great and should be sufficient for fish only. And in fish only, lighting is not a big deal either if you're not sustaining coral.

Sumps are recommended because they add more water volume to your tank and provide a spot for you to place your heaters and filtration (where its not seen or cramping your style in your main tank. It also allows you to run other things like skimmers or refugiums, etc. But absolutely not necessary, only optional. And again, in my opinion, just complicates things. K.I.S.S. ;)

Also, again, you're doing fish only so that makes matters even more simple since fish are less demanding than Coral.

Here's my simple little 10g with HOB setup... just a month in, but I've been in the hobby for 7 years now.

20220906_005233.jpg



You can checkout one of my 20g startups and journey on YouTube below:

 
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There are so many ways to do this. Nothing beats an in sump system. That being said, all your biological filtration is handled by the live rock. No hob filter will be able to replace that.

Let me ask you a question, why do you think you need to do routine water changes?
What makes a sump so good, though? And will a HOB be able to supplement until I can get more rock?

Hmm, great question. Now that I think of it, I'm not sure haha To keep Nitrates down? Beyond that, not sure to be honest. I guess I assumed just for overall stability?
 
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AquaClear70 is perfect! No need for additional 30 HOB. Aqua clear was best HOB until the Seachem/Sicce Tidals came along. Aqua clear cover/top tends to rattle a bit and it is not self priming, so if power goes out, it may not start back up until you fill it up with water again. The motor is on the outside vs inside the tank like the seachem tidal. But it's no biggy.

Powerheads are great and should be sufficient for fish only. And in fish only, lighting is not a big deal either if you're not sustaining coral.

Sumps are recommended because they add more water volume to your tank and provide a spot for you to place your heaters and filtration (where its not seen or cramping your style in your main tank. It also allows you to run other things like skimmers or refugiums, etc. But absolutely not necessary, only optional. And again, in my opinion, just complicates things. K.I.S.S. ;)

Also, again, you're doing fish only so that makes matters even more simple since fish are less demanding than Coral.

Here's my simple little 10g with HOB setup... just a month in, but I've been in the hobby for 7 years now.

20220906_005233.jpg



You can checkout one of my 20g startups and journey on YouTube below:

Interesting info, thanks! So Sumps help partly for aesthetic, and by giving you larger water volume which from what it sounds like from this thread equals more stability (then again, some say smaller tanks have no issues, but seems the general idea is that larger volume means easier to keep stable idk?)?

Wow, very nice little setup you have! Only 1 Month? Nice! How's it been so far?

Off topic, but how long did that one take you to cycle? My 55 is taking FOREVER fishless with Ammonia Chloride initially to 2.0ppm and Brightwell XLM Nitrifying bacteria. Ammonia dropped to 0 week and a half ago, Nitrites stuck 2.0-5.0 and Nitrates were at 160+ did a 15% water change to bring them down to 40 and 2 days later they were back to 100+ lol

Nice, I'll check the video out!
 

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What makes a sump so good, though? And will a HOB be able to supplement until I can get more rock?

Hmm, great question. Now that I think of it, I'm not sure haha To keep Nitrates down? Beyond that, not sure to be honest. I guess I assumed just for overall stability?
What we try to control in a saltwater aquarium are nitrates and phosphates. A hob filter can’t do much other than polishing water, maybe bind some organics with activated carbon.



To effectively control nitrates and phosphates, you can use a filter sock, refugium, use reactors or run a skimmer. These are much easier with a sump. Although hob versions of these equipment are available, your tank will become a Frankenstein monster in no time.



You will be fine with the rock you have for a pair for clownfish or any other smaller fish. You might be able to get away with 4-5 small fish once the tank is ‘mature’ (meaning in a few months). However, I would advise you to get more rock and establish the tank before adding any bigger fish or more than 4-5 small fish.



The best way to control nutrients is to limit what you add to the system. Feed only what the fish need, and do not overstock the tank.



Tight nutrient control is more of a concern for reef tanks. They don’t matter much in a fowlr.
 

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My 10 gallon took exactly 2 weeks to cycle. I put my fish in at 2.5 week mark and first 8 coral in at 3 weeks. I just got a Snail and a Hermit Crab in there this past week and 22 more coral in today! :eek:

Tank is doing great and wallet is in the trash! :D


20220904_124958.jpg
20220904_130721.jpg
20220904_130040.jpg
20220904_154524.jpg
 
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So long story short, I feel like I got a bit too "trigger happy" with the idea of a saltwater aquarium, and have yet to buy any fish and feeling a bit of regret due to the costs of maintaining one (especially in this economy). I have a 55 Gallon cycling, but I also have a 20 Gallon I could swap to, which a smaller tank would mean less salt & burning through RODI Filters slower, which I would assume should cut costs by at least half, right?

But that leaves me with the question: Are 20 gallons much more difficult to maintain than a 55? I heard that smaller saltwater aquariums are harder to keep stable, is that true and between a 55 and 20, is there that much difference?

The biggest I've noticed is that with more water volume you have more stability, which means more time to react to problems. If you put a cup of bleach in a 20g it's going to kill everything. If you put a cup of bleach in a 20,000g it won't make a ton of difference.
 
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AquaClear70 is perfect! No need for additional 30 HOB. Aqua clear was best HOB until the Seachem/Sicce Tidals came along. Aqua clear cover/top tends to rattle a bit and it is not self priming, so if power goes out, it may not start back up until you fill it up with water again. The motor is on the outside vs inside the tank like the seachem tidal. But it's no biggy.

Powerheads are great and should be sufficient for fish only. And in fish only, lighting is not a big deal either if you're not sustaining coral.

Sumps are recommended because they add more water volume to your tank and provide a spot for you to place your heaters and filtration (where its not seen or cramping your style in your main tank. It also allows you to run other things like skimmers or refugiums, etc. But absolutely not necessary, only optional. And again, in my opinion, just complicates things. K.I.S.S. ;)

Also, again, you're doing fish only so that makes matters even more simple since fish are less demanding than Coral.

Here's my simple little 10g with HOB setup... just a month in, but I've been in the hobby for 7 years now.

20220906_005233.jpg



You can checkout one of my 20g startups and journey on YouTube below:

Watched the video (great one btw!) but made me think of a couple questions if you don't mind me asking haha

1. You said you're STARTING with Instant Ocean but will be switching, why? I'm using Instant Ocean and wanted to stick with it cause it is cheaper haha
2. Do you still just buy distilled water or do you have an RODI (if no RODI why not?)?
3. How many lbs of rock do you (or did you?) have in it?
 
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What we try to control in a saltwater aquarium are nitrates and phosphates. A hob filter can’t do much other than polishing water, maybe bind some organics with activated carbon.



To effectively control nitrates and phosphates, you can use a filter sock, refugium, use reactors or run a skimmer. These are much easier with a sump. Although hob versions of these equipment are available, your tank will become a Frankenstein monster in no time.



You will be fine with the rock you have for a pair for clownfish or any other smaller fish. You might be able to get away with 4-5 small fish once the tank is ‘mature’ (meaning in a few months). However, I would advise you to get more rock and establish the tank before adding any bigger fish or more than 4-5 small fish.



The best way to control nutrients is to limit what you add to the system. Feed only what the fish need, and do not overstock the tank.



Tight nutrient control is more of a concern for reef tanks. They don’t matter much in a fowlr.
Oh, okay! But Nitrates are controlled via routine water changes, no? And what's the max Nitrates you want it to get to for FOWLR? Also, for phosphates, is it that crucial in fowlr? So for a HOB I can't really put a filter sock or something in it?

So for the rock I have now, 2 clowns, but can I also added a skunk shrimp and some snails? Maybe a Royal Gramma in a couple months after or so?

As for food, I was gonna feed the fish primarily pellets if that works?lol
 
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My 10 gallon took exactly 2 weeks to cycle. I put my fish in at 2.5 week mark and first 8 coral in at 3 weeks. I just got a Snail and a Hermit Crab in there this past week and 22 more coral in today! :eek:

Tank is doing great and wallet is in the trash! :D


20220904_124958.jpg
20220904_130721.jpg
20220904_130040.jpg
20220904_154524.jpg
Oh wow, those are beautiful! and how on earth did you cycle so fast? :O Mine is taking AGES :( lol

Wallet is in the trash cause of all the Corals costing so much or other costs? haha
 

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Oh, okay! But Nitrates are controlled via routine water changes, no? And what's the max Nitrates you want it to get to for FOWLR? Also, for phosphates, is it that crucial in fowlr? So for a HOB I can't really put a filter sock or something in it?

So for the rock I have now, 2 clowns, but can I also added a skunk shrimp and some snails? Maybe a Royal Gramma in a couple months after or so?

As for food, I was gonna feed the fish primarily pellets if that works?lol
A 10% water change would only dilute your nitrates by 10%. So if your nitrates are sky high, a small water change won’t bring it down to 5ppm.

I believe nitrates under 40ppm and phosphates under 0.2 ppm are alright for fowlr.

The stocking and feeding plan sounds good to me.
 

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Watched the video (great one btw!) but made me think of a couple questions if you don't mind me asking haha

1. You said you're STARTING with Instant Ocean but will be switching, why? I'm using Instant Ocean and wanted to stick with it cause it is cheaper haha
2. Do you still just buy distilled water or do you have an RODI (if no RODI why not?)?
3. How many lbs of rock do you (or did you?) have in it?

Looking forward to the answers. Based on research distilled water is more expensive and more pure through the process of heating and collecting vapor. Trace amounts can be found in RODI water but RODI systems are less expensive long term than purchasing distilled water. At this time I am paying about $1.25 per gallon for distilled at Winco.

I really enjoy this topic having owned 30 gallons to 175 gallon tanks. I always thought based on experience the more volume the increased buffer and less likely of dramatic "all of a sudden swings." If correct larger volume tanks might be less reliant on refugiums/sumps because such are basically extending the volume as well the natural eco system of a natural reef bed which larger tanks already "can" establish. I mean what is better: 1) a 60 gallon tank with 30 gallon refugium/sump or a 200 gallon tank without? I am asking and not implying I know!

Enjoy,
W.T.
 
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Oh wow, those are beautiful! and how on earth did you cycle so fast? :O Mine is taking AGES :( lol

Wallet is in the trash cause of all the Corals costing so much or other costs? haha


Wallet in the trash because I went coral crazy! Lol :D

Maybe because of the size it cycles faster? I'm not sure. I've never cycle a 55 gallon! :) But it's definitely a waiting game and sucks staring at your empty tank for so long!
 
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A 10% water change would only dilute your nitrates by 10%. So if your nitrates are sky high, a small water change won’t bring it down to 5ppm.

I believe nitrates under 40ppm and phosphates under 0.2 ppm are alright for fowlr.

The stocking and feeding plan sounds good to me.
Ah gotcha! Is it typical for the Nitrates to go above 40ppm though? And if they do and 10% isn't enough, what do you do in that scenario?
 
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