Ideas and Advice Wanted for Build - 1st Nano Tank

A_Tired_Shark

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Good morning guys, it is a slow Monday so I decided to reach out on R2R to get some ideas on a new nano tank project I have.

Here is what's going on - last month I bought a 10 gallon tank from Petco (see pic) to set up as a nursery for some baby seahorses as my male was pregnant. Well, he gave birth a week ago to 5 of them and we lost them all due to unfortunate complications. We waited a week and he didn't birth out anymore, so, we decided to use the 10 gallon as a desk tank for myself since it would've been a pain to try and sell - I'm still trying to sell my 55 gallon.

Over the weekend we set it up using already cycled live sand that we had in another tank as well as the water from the 75 gallon seahorse tank. When we got it tested after set up the nitrite was high and there was some slight ammonia, so we did a 50% water change with fresh saltwater and added some needed chemicals. Given the sand was pre-cycled, just a little yucky so we "vacuumed" with a syphon, our LFS said that with the water change we should be ready to add rock and hopefully some crab at the end of this week.

I already went to our local PetSmart and bought a Fluval Marine Nano LED light. A girl at our LFS uses one for her 20 gallon and said that she had no problem growing coral with it, so I figured it would be worth a shot for $109 bucks. I also tossed the factory filter and made my own with charcoal, matrix, and blue mesh stripes. I'll probably put in a Biocube filter next time they're in stock.

My first question is what else will I need for a nano? Do I put in a nano wave maker? My second question is what can I put in this tank? I have an idea of what I can put in there but what is something uncommon that you guys have put in your nano tanks? I'm thinking maybe a harlequin shrimp and/or a group of sexy shrimp with a couple of fish. I was also thinking of adding macro algae, would a 10 gallon be too small for that?

Thanks in advance for answering!
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Hi and welcome!

First off, you're going to need live rock. With your size of tank, you should only need 10lbs, so it makes sense to go with all live rock versus dry rock. You can order rock shipped from the ocean from places like Tampa Bay Saltwater or you can get live rock from a local fish store or an experienced reefer with an established tank. You'll want to find where your local marine fish stores are anyway, so now's a good time to go shopping and look around your area!

You will want to let the rock sit for a week or so, testing your water until your ammonia registers zero. If you use live rock, this takes less time than if you start with dry, but it's important to wait to add any livestock until your tank has cycled. Shrimp are particularly sensitive to changes in water quality, so I'd probably start with a fish first and you'll want something appropriately sized for 10g. You will also likely want some kind of small powerhead/wavemaker to move your water for you. I got a Jebao SLW-10 off of Amazon and they're pretty affordable and would be plenty big for what you have. If you don't already have one, a heater is also needed.

I think 10g is fine for what you have planned, just go slow. You might want to look at some of the build threads on here, particularly for the smaller nanos like the deskmate tanks for ideas.

Enjoy!
 
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A_Tired_Shark

A_Tired_Shark

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Hi and welcome!

First off, you're going to need live rock. With your size of tank, you should only need 10lbs, so it makes sense to go with all live rock versus dry rock. You can order rock shipped from the ocean from places like Tampa Bay Saltwater or you can get live rock from a local fish store or an experienced reefer with an established tank. You'll want to find where your local marine fish stores are anyway, so now's a good time to go shopping and look around your area!

You will want to let the rock sit for a week or so, testing your water until your ammonia registers zero. If you use live rock, this takes less time than if you start with dry, but it's important to wait to add any livestock until your tank has cycled. Shrimp are particularly sensitive to changes in water quality, so I'd probably start with a fish first and you'll want something appropriately sized for 10g. You will also likely want some kind of small powerhead/wavemaker to move your water for you. I got a Jebao SLW-10 off of Amazon and they're pretty affordable and would be plenty big for what you have. If you don't already have one, a heater is also needed.

I think 10g is fine for what you have planned, just go slow. You might want to look at some of the build threads on here, particularly for the smaller nanos like the deskmate tanks for ideas.

Enjoy!
Hi, thanks for the advice! My LFS said after it cycles out this week I can add live rock, they were worried if I put it in now with the wack levels it would absorb and "trap it" I guess. I'm thinking about stack it up in the middle of the tank, using a donut so that the fish can swim through it.

I have a spare nano wave maker, however I don't know if it's too big. Also is a heater necessary? No sarcasm, my 75 is a seahorse tank so I didn't want to put one in there incase they wrapped themselves around it and burned themselves. My 32 gallon Biocube doesn't have one either. Is there a purpose to having one?
 

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Hi, thanks for the advice! My LFS said after it cycles out this week I can add live rock, they were worried if I put it in now with the wack levels it would absorb and "trap it" I guess. I'm thinking about stack it up in the middle of the tank, using a donut so that the fish can swim through it.

I have a spare nano wave maker, however I don't know if it's too big. Also is a heater necessary? No sarcasm, my 75 is a seahorse tank so I didn't want to put one in there incase they wrapped themselves around it and burned themselves. My 32 gallon Biocube doesn't have one either. Is there a purpose to having one?
I'm a little concerned with the advice from your LFS. For one, you usually want to start with fresh sand since sand in a tank can trap anaerobic bacteria. For another, live rock is what is going to bring the good bacteria to your tank to cycle it. It doesn't absorb ammonia or nitrites...it helps filter and process them. Does this store specialize in saltwater? If you do decide to wait a week on rock, be sure to check your parameters for a few days to a week before adding anything else. I currently have live rock in my biocube that I just put in on Saturday. I probably won't be adding a fish for at least a week.

As far as a heater, most critters and corals in a marine tank like a stable temperature around 77 degrees. It depends a lot on what your home's ambient temperature is.

For macroalgae this guy's build thread is amazing and he has a lot of useful advice on growing it there, including in a nano tank -
insane macro tanks!
 
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A_Tired_Shark

A_Tired_Shark

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I'm a little concerned with the advice from your LFS. For one, you usually want to start with fresh sand since sand in a tank can trap anaerobic bacteria. For another, live rock is what is going to bring the good bacteria to your tank to cycle it. It doesn't absorb ammonia or nitrites...it helps filter and process them. Does this store specialize in saltwater? If you do decide to wait a week on rock, be sure to check your parameters for a few days to a week before adding anything else. I currently have live rock in my biocube that I just put in on Saturday. I probably won't be adding a fish for at least a week.

As far as a heater, most critters and corals in a marine tank like a stable temperature around 77 degrees. It depends a lot on what your home's ambient temperature is.

For macroalgae this guy's build thread is amazing and he has a lot of useful advice on growing it there, including in a nano tank -
insane macro tanks!
My LFS specializes in saltwater and have 3 stores on the east coast. They have a marine biologist there everyday, except Sundays, and have been in business for 17 years this year. I haven't had any issues following their instructions/advice and usually get all of my supplies from them, including the live rock. He did mention the live rock will filter the water, I think he was worried that maybe the levels were too much right now? The nitrite was high with slight ammonia and no/little phosphates.

I do at home testing and dose properly throughout the week when needed. So that's not a problem. My apartment is usually at 72-74 degrees during the day and 70 ish at night. I will add a small thermometer to the 10 gallon to see if it needs a heater but last time I checked my 75 gallon it was fine.

I will definitely be checking out that macro tank thread! My goal with this 10 gallon is to try out macros so that when I get a better light for the 75 gallon I can add them in there for my seahorses.
 

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