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

BRS

Nano sapiens

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 25, 2010
Messages
2,318
Reaction score
3,317
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
East Bay, CA
Hmm…I guess I see what you’re saying about tap, but even then, would it be safe? I posted a new thread where I posted my city water report (can post here if you want). Biggest thing I see is chloramines but I’d think Prime would be sufficient if the rest in the water is fine.

As for RODI water, that leaves out top of water though? I would get an RODI unit and might but my concern is how fast I’d burn through filters :(

The rate of top-off for evaporation depends largely on whether you run open top, or have a cover lid. Most on here have more-or-less open tops, but it's not a necessity for success (for an example, Reefbuilders.com has their Red Sea nano running successfully for over a year with a glass cover and very low evaporation rates).

https://reefbuilders.com/2021/05/03/500-day-update-of-the-one-day-nano-reef-video/
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

Aluco

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 30, 2022
Messages
763
Reaction score
425
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Citrus Heights
I know many people will **** on Cannister Filter here, but I use one with 4 chambers.

Phosguard, Matrix Carbon, Chemi Pure Elite, Poly Pads, Filter Floss, Bio Balls etc...not the mess R2R says it is, and really only needs cleaning once every 3 weeks. I do 10% water changes every week, and after initial ups and downs, Tank is doing its thing now...looking great.

2 Chinese brand Wave Makers from Amazon at the top on back glass with app controls, 2 Siche Nano at bottom of left and right tank...and I'm even using a Fluval Marine 3.0 for lighting with app controls. Not terribly expensive at all. After the 6month mark, we are rolling.

I'll take pic in AM and show you. Everyone is asleep now, lights off!
This. I had a similar setup a few years ago in a 75g. There was a website that had t5 light fixtures for fractions of the price of name brand stuff, I added live rock slowly from a local shop so the cost was spread out, and I ran 2 canister filters that I believe were 4 chamber. I only did water changes when I got around to it tbh the nutrient levels were prolly on the high side, I got my water from a local shop (no rodi unit). The tank was fine, it wasn't the prettiest but if I spent more time cleaning it it would have been a nice looking solid reef tank. Was able to keep soft corals and even a sebae anemone in there which hosted my clowns. Had fish like kole tang, foxface, mystery wrasse all do well in that setup. It was still hundreds of dollars but it was a well enough functioning reef tank, 75 gallons for prolly less than $1,000 all in, for everything.
 

Aluco

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 30, 2022
Messages
763
Reaction score
425
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Citrus Heights
Hmm…I guess I see what you’re saying about tap, but even then, would it be safe? I posted a new thread where I posted my city water report (can post here if you want). Biggest thing I see is chloramines but I’d think Prime would be sufficient if the rest in the water is fine.

As for RODI water, that leaves out top of water though? I would get an RODI unit and might but my concern is how fast I’d burn through filters :(
Imo to start if you have money for an rodi unit but are worried about future costs from it I would put that money into better flow, better filtration and/or better lights then get your water at a local shop. As someone mentioned above it's still quite cheap to just buy the water and the cost is so spread out you prolly won't even notice.

Also, I honestly would just scrap the whole using tap water idea, that's going to make keeping fish alive and happy much harder for you than you will want it to be. The cost of replacing dead fish will quickly surpass the cost of water imo
 
Avast
OP
JSkeleton

JSkeleton

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
266
Reaction score
89
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Canada
The rate of top-off for evaporation depends largely on whether you run open top, or have a cover lid. Most on here have more-or-less open tops, but it's not a necessity for success (for an example, Reefbuilders.com has their Red Sea nano running successfully for over a year with a glass cover and very low evaporation rates).

https://reefbuilders.com/2021/05/03/500-day-update-of-the-one-day-nano-reef-video/
Yeah, I have a glass top but a 1-2inch gap on the back for HOB stuff. So in theory I should have to top off less?
 

LucentFish

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
29
Reaction score
14
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Ontario
Yeah, that is a fair point. BUT if it gets to be too much in a few months then what? Sell off the fish I guess and go freshwater? Lol.

I know it'll cost money, but honestly with our budget, we couldn't afford a dog or cat even if we wanted to lol Fish was always a cheaper option that was still a nice pet to have and I've always loved water related things anyways (my Wife too). That's the only reason I'm stressing over Salt VS Fresh right now lol I THINK it would be doable, but $60 would be pushing it. Keep in mind that's in CAD currency (not sure where you're from) but that's like $45 USD probably or 50 idk. REALISTICALLY $50 ($40-45 USD?) would probably be the upper limit that would be wise for us, with $30 ($25 USD?) being the ideal scenario.

The problem is I have literally no way to know how fast I'll burn through RODI filters. Some people are saying 2-3 months (which at that rate I don't think it would be doable for us any more), and some are saying 6 months (probably doable as long as that's just sediment + carbon and if membrane + DI could last longer, hopefully membrane closer to 2 years lol), some people say they've lasted 1-2 years on ALL the RODI filters. There's soooooo much uncertainty in that alone which is causing my uneasiness.

That said, you are absolutely right that if I don't do salt, I'll always wonder, because I grew up wanting to do saltwater but never ended up trying it cause of all that goes into it.
Fellow CAD reefer here. So for my RS300xl (75g totalish) in the last year and a bit i have had it doing fairly light waterchanges every month or so iv just about gone through one bucket of RS blue bucket, and from the 5 stage BRS RODI only had to replace the DI Resin once so far. which was about $15-20CAD? Water in Toronto is also like only .02cent per cubic meter or something crazy low. So really the smallest cost is your water/salt, more so if you are going more fowler/soft corals only you wouldnt need to waterchange as much to replace trace etc, just have a good skimmer to export food waste. BRS has a power consumption calculator, so you can compare how much power your two systems would use and input your local power cost as well. its probably not a huge difference at that scale.

the main costs i incurred were at the start... the tank, lights, pumps, rock, sand, skimmer, rodi. then comes the fish and corals which are basically ongoing and most of the cost lol. Next stage of expense will probably be a doser and another light as i get more sps in and they grow out.

so if you already have the 55g going... might as well keep going if you have all the equipment anyways.
 
OP
JSkeleton

JSkeleton

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
266
Reaction score
89
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Canada
This. I had a similar setup a few years ago in a 75g. There was a website that had t5 light fixtures for fractions of the price of name brand stuff, I added live rock slowly from a local shop so the cost was spread out, and I ran 2 canister filters that I believe were 4 chamber. I only did water changes when I got around to it tbh the nutrient levels were prolly on the high side, I got my water from a local shop (no rodi unit). The tank was fine, it wasn't the prettiest but if I spent more time cleaning it it would have been a nice looking solid reef tank. Was able to keep soft corals and even a sebae anemone in there which hosted my clowns. Had fish like kole tang, foxface, mystery wrasse all do well in that setup. It was still hundreds of dollars but it was a well enough functioning reef tank, 75 gallons for prolly less than $1,000 all in, for everything.
You didn’t do many water change and your parameters and everything was okay? How? That’s interesting!
 
Nutramar Foods
OP
JSkeleton

JSkeleton

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
266
Reaction score
89
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Canada
Imo to start if you have money for an rodi unit but are worried about future costs from it I would put that money into better flow, better filtration and/or better lights then get your water at a local shop. As someone mentioned above it's still quite cheap to just buy the water and the cost is so spread out you prolly won't even notice.

Also, I honestly would just scrap the whole using tap water idea, that's going to make keeping fish alive and happy much harder for you than you will want it to be. The cost of replacing dead fish will quickly surpass the cost of water imo
I have 2 Sicce 530gph pumps already and a couple HOB filters from an old freshwater setup. Water from local shop would be more than owning an RODI from what I’ve calculated :/
 
OP
JSkeleton

JSkeleton

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
266
Reaction score
89
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Canada
Fellow CAD reefer here. So for my RS300xl (75g totalish) in the last year and a bit i have had it doing fairly light waterchanges every month or so iv just about gone through one bucket of RS blue bucket, and from the 5 stage BRS RODI only had to replace the DI Resin once so far. which was about $15-20CAD? Water in Toronto is also like only .02cent per cubic meter or something crazy low. So really the smallest cost is your water/salt, more so if you are going more fowler/soft corals only you wouldnt need to waterchange as much to replace trace etc, just have a good skimmer to export food waste. BRS has a power consumption calculator, so you can compare how much power your two systems would use and input your local power cost as well. its probably not a huge difference at that scale.

the main costs i incurred were at the start... the tank, lights, pumps, rock, sand, skimmer, rodi. then comes the fish and corals which are basically ongoing and most of the cost lol. Next stage of expense will probably be a doser and another light as i get more sps in and they grow out.

so if you already have the 55g going... might as well keep going if you have all the equipment anyways.
Wait sorry, to clarify, you have a 75g tank and it's been running for just a year and a bit or how old is it?

And light water changes every month, you mean like you do 1 change per month? In terms of total changed in the month, you've only changed a bucket's worth (so like 5G worth of water for the entire month)? Am I understanding that right or? If yes, why so little and your parameters and setup has been okay? What do you have in your setup?

Right now I don't have a skimmer but my setup includes 20lbs of dry rock, 8lbs of purple life rock, 70G HOB filter, 30G HOB filter, 2 Sicce 530gph pumps, and a 200W heater.

My biggest concern is ongoing cost, since I already have MOST of the gear I'd need (although I just returned the RO Buddie cause it was too small and debating whether to continue down Saltwater route or go Fresh before buying the 10" RODI Unit, just trying to realistically get a feel for ongoing costs).

My water seems pretty good around here from what I can tell from my City's Water Quality Report. The biggest concern seems to be chloramines from what I can gather (though I'm not super experienced with this and there may be other red flags in the report that I'm unaware of).

Also, where do you get your DI Resin for only $15-20 CAD?? And what about your Sediment, Carbon, and Membrane? Have you changed those and if so how often?
 

LucentFish

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
29
Reaction score
14
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Ontario
Wait sorry, to clarify, you have a 75g tank and it's been running for just a year and a bit or how old is it?
- RS 300Xl - 65g display and 10 or 15g sump. Started June 2021.
And light water changes every month, you mean like you do 1 change per month? In terms of total changed in the month, you've only changed a bucket's worth (so like 5G worth of water for the entire month)? Am I understanding that right or? If yes, why so little and your parameters and setup has been okay? What do you have in your setup?
- Meant bucket worth of Salt since starting the tank. but yes basically il fill the blue bucket once a month or so with fresh SW and change out from the tank.

Right now I don't have a skimmer but my setup includes 20lbs of dry rock, 8lbs of purple life rock, 70G HOB filter, 30G HOB filter, 2 Sicce 530gph pumps, and a 200W heater.
- my return pump is a sicce 3.5 and iv 2 Nero 3's for flow and a 300W heater. the heater itself doesnt turn on too much since room temp is only not much lower.

My biggest concern is ongoing cost, since I already have MOST of the gear I'd need (although I just returned the RO Buddie cause it was too small and debating whether to continue down Saltwater route or go Fresh before buying the 10" RODI Unit, just trying to realistically get a feel for ongoing costs).
- check your utility bill and find the cost of water/power and run a calculator on it. here is the BRS power one: https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/reef-calculator/aquarium-electricity-cost-calculator Mine came out to $157/year or $13.07 month. not bad, and assuming max usage of lights/pumps etc and the heater being on for an hour a day.
My water seems pretty good around here from what I can tell from my City's Water Quality Report. The biggest concern seems to be chloramines from what I can gather (though I'm not super experienced with this and there may be other red flags in the report that I'm unaware of).
- the water report here using chloramine as well, and more in the spring for runoff. tds from the tap is around 150, so 5stage was needed.
Also, where do you get your DI Resin for only $15-20 CAD?? And what about your Sediment, Carbon, and Membrane? Have you changed those and if so how often? - fragbox has the BRS resin $20 for 1 bag of 1 refill. https://fragbox.ca/product/brs-bulk-deionization-resin-color-changing/ Since the rodi is still coming out 0TDS i havnt had to switch out the rest yet. Cheaper to refill it yourself.
1662754094821.png


1662754117686.png
 
Never Wash Another Nasty Filter Sock Again!
OP
JSkeleton

JSkeleton

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
266
Reaction score
89
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Canada
Oh bucket worth of salt, gotcha! What does that translate to how many gallons of seawater made per month?

Wait 5 stage is needed for you? Is that cause you're running 2 Carbon instead of just 1 Carbon that filters Chloramines like a Carbon Plus?

Wow so in just over a year all you've swapped out is the DI Resin once!? The rest have not been changed at all yet? :O Are you flushing and if so how does your process look like? Some people seem to have multiple flush valves, others just flush the membrane.

I almost guarantee your water is worse than me if you're in Toronto haha So if you can pull off filters lasting that long, perhaps I could do. But the question is, how many Gallons of RODI do you make per month?
 

LucentFish

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
29
Reaction score
14
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Ontario
Oh bucket worth of salt, gotcha! What does that translate to how many gallons of seawater made per month?

Wait 5 stage is needed for you? Is that cause you're running 2 Carbon instead of just 1 Carbon that filters Chloramines like a Carbon Plus?

Wow so in just over a year all you've swapped out is the DI Resin once!? The rest have not been changed at all yet? :O Are you flushing and if so how does your process look like? Some people seem to have multiple flush valves, others just flush the membrane.

I almost guarantee your water is worse than me if you're in Toronto haha So if you can pull off filters lasting that long, perhaps I could do. But the question is, how many Gallons of RODI do you make per month?
I think its like a 5g bucket? Could be bigger. So probably 5g/salt made a month or so. Also need to make ATO water, so that is probably.... 10-12g a month? Water bill is only $20/month though overall, with 2 people. its the BRS 5stage with watersaver, so very low waste water. https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/5-st...ver-ro-di-system-bulk-reef-supply-bundle.html Its not the premium so no flush kit etc, i just have a TDS pen i monitor whenever i start making the water + periodically throughout. Toronto water is actually pretty clean (lots of filtration) from the water report and 140TDS at the tap, the sediment filter still looks brand new. Although probably a fair bit of chlorine/chloramine which is why the DI resin had to be refilled, and maybe depends where in/around the city you are and how new the pipes are etc.
 
OP
JSkeleton

JSkeleton

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
266
Reaction score
89
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Canada
Oh wow, you only produce 10-12G of RODI per month for a 75G??

Oh you got TWO Membranes and TWO Carbon with the 1 Sediment and 1 DI?

I was looking at the AquaticLife 4 Stage that has Sediment, Carbon (was gonna put Carbon Plus for Chloramines in it), Membrane, and DI. But now judging by your setup, I'm not sure if that would be sufficient to last me as long as you lol

Is it? I had always heard Toronto had bad water comparatively. My bad. My Water Report says 130 but my tap measures 70 TDS. I guess it also depends what's in the TDS.

That said, a single Sediment still looking new for you after a year especially being the first filter in the chain, is seriously impressive! I could only hope to get similar results!

And still, DI Resin only after 1 year, not bad at all! and I'm in Ottawa.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

LucentFish

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
29
Reaction score
14
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Ontario
Oh wow, you only produce 10-12G of RODI per month for a 75G??

Oh you got TWO Membranes and TWO Carbon with the 1 Sediment and 1 DI?

I was looking at the AquaticLife 4 Stage that has Sediment, Carbon (was gonna put Carbon Plus for Chloramines in it), Membrane, and DI. But now judging by your setup, I'm not sure if that would be sufficient to last me as long as you lol

Is it? I had always heard Toronto had bad water comparatively. My bad. My Water Report says 130 but my tap measures 70 TDS. I guess it also depends what's in the TDS.

That said, a single Sediment still looking new for you after a year especially being the first filter in the chain, is seriously impressive! I could only hope to get similar results!

And still, DI Resin only after 1 year, not bad at all! and I'm in Ottawa.
could be more water for the ATO, but i think the reservoir is only about 3.5g, and i top it up every 5days in the summer, more in the winter.
 

BlueDamselReef

Just keep swimming!
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 24, 2017
Messages
2,623
Reaction score
3,084
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Salty, Florida
Well I only recently learnt that I should be checking ALK so haven't done that. pH is like 7.8, salinity is around 34ppt, Ammonia finally 0, Nitrites still 2.0-5.0, Nitrates probably 100+ again lol, Phosphates no idea cause no way to check (again didn't know I had to lol). Am I missing anything?

My profile pic is the tank so far (though it's with the blue light so maybe hard to see), I'll try and see if I have a better one. I know I posted a better pic somewhere on here lol

Oh nice, I see your profile pic! :) I might have bought a second little project tank today for a clownfish/ anemone only setup! Lol Wallet back in the trash!
 

JJ"sSouthernAquatics

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 15, 2022
Messages
30
Reaction score
22
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
walls
Oh okay, sounds simple enough! If we stuck with the 55 Gallon, we were gonna throw in like 5 Nassarius and 5 Trochus Snails to start, as well as maybe a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp cause they seem awesome haha Is that a solid clean up crew?

Should water changes be done weekly or bi-weekly?
for the start up that sounds good, later down the road i would get several astrea snails though. i would do water changes weekly on a reef tank and bi-weekly on a fish only tank since fish can tolerate more phosphates than coral.
 
OP
JSkeleton

JSkeleton

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
266
Reaction score
89
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Canada
for the start up that sounds good, later down the road i would get several astrea snails though. i would do water changes weekly on a reef tank and bi-weekly on a fish only tank since fish can tolerate more phosphates than coral.
Yeah definitely would be a fish only + inverts of course. What do Astrea do?

So bi-weekly on a fish only, really? That would be most ideal and would save a bit of salt haha but I hear so many mixed things about how often and how large to do them.

Also currently breaking my head trying to understand my city water quality and RODI filters and what frequency of changing those would look like.
 

JJ"sSouthernAquatics

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 15, 2022
Messages
30
Reaction score
22
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
walls
Yeah definitely would be a fish only + inverts of course. What do Astrea do?

So bi-weekly on a fish only, really? That would be most ideal and would save a bit of salt haha but I hear so many mixed things about how often and how large to do them.

Also currently breaking my head trying to understand my city water quality and RODI filters and what frequency of changing those would look like.
Astrea snails help a lot on cleaning the glass and algae on your rock work and stuff.

yeah, a lot of people have different opinions on water changes. some people say twice a week, some once a week, and some people don't even do them. I met a guy up at my LFS the other day and he said that back 20-30 years ago they didn't even know what a water change was and their tanks looked good! Even my dad told me that with a tank he had years ago, he never did water changes since he didn't even know what it was and he said it looked great.

With my small reef I use RO water, and it's doing well and all the other salt tanks we have is tap water.
With tap water you run into the problem of over-mineralized water which can lead to algae growth and sometimes can be uncontrollable without a proper clean up crew.

We just add API stress coat in our water since it also takes out chlorine and chloramines since our tap water has a lot of chlorine in it (you can smell it, sometimes taste it while drinking or brushing our teeth) so all we do is add extra stuff in their to take it out and they do good!
 
OP
JSkeleton

JSkeleton

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
266
Reaction score
89
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Canada
Astrea snails help a lot on cleaning the glass and algae on your rock work and stuff.
Ah gotcha!
yeah, a lot of people have different opinions on water changes. some people say twice a week, some once a week, and some people don't even do them. I met a guy up at my LFS the other day and he said that back 20-30 years ago they didn't even know what a water change was and their tanks looked good! Even my dad told me that with a tank he had years ago, he never did water changes since he didn't even know what it was and he said it looked great.
Wow eh, that's crazy. But they must have had some problems with fish disease/death I would imagine, no?
With my small reef I use RO water, and it's doing well and all the other salt tanks we have is tap water.
With tap water you run into the problem of over-mineralized water which can lead to algae growth and sometimes can be uncontrollable without a proper clean up crew.
Wait you use tap water in your other salt water tanks? o_O Isn't that normally pretty risky, considering there could be copper that builds up and kills inverts, or other things like heavy metals and toxins that can be harmful to the fish?
We just add API stress coat in our water since it also takes out chlorine and chloramines since our tap water has a lot of chlorine in it (you can smell it, sometimes taste it while drinking or brushing our teeth) so all we do is add extra stuff in their to take it out and they do good!
Wow, so just like a water conditioner or something or? I've heard of Stress Coat but never used it.
 
Join the movement!

Max93

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 12, 2019
Messages
510
Reaction score
223
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
In my experience, the only difference between a bigger tank and a small tank is cost.
Yes, logically you have more time to fix errors in a bigger tank that is correct. I always keep up with husbandry though so that really wasn’t ever my issue.
In my experience, I went from a 25g lagoon to a 220.6 waterbox, the issue was COST. went from buckets to water station. Form one fixture to four. From 1 gyre to two mp60s and octo4s. From flimsy skimmer to a beast.

from ten minute water changes to an hour.
So on.

turning a big tank around is like turning around the titanic. Have a water issue in a small tank just do some quick large water changes.
 

JJ"sSouthernAquatics

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 15, 2022
Messages
30
Reaction score
22
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
walls
Wow eh, that's crazy. But they must have had some problems with fish disease/death I would imagine, no?
don't know, but my dad never mentioned anything about them dying or stuff ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Wait you use tap water in your other salt water tanks? o_O Isn't that normally pretty risky, considering there could be copper that builds up and kills inverts, or other things like heavy metals and toxins that can be harmful to the fish?
yes, even up at the store the only thing we use is tap water. we have a 550 gallon up at the store and its only had tap water in it and none of the inverts died.
Wow, so just like a water conditioner or something or? I've heard of Stress Coat but never used it.
1663424491699.png

heres a picture of what we use to dechlorinate the water, i forgot to mention that its the pond one.
 
BRS

Does it matter to you whether your fish are captive-bred or wild caught?

  • I only buy captive bred fish.

    Votes: 66 13.7%
  • It matters, but I will buy either captive-bred or wild-caught.

    Votes: 353 73.2%
  • I think wild-caught fish are the better option.

    Votes: 11 2.3%
  • I don’t care where the fish were bred.

    Votes: 52 10.8%
Top Shelf Aquatics
Top