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Old 11/01/2017, 02:52 PM   #1
gwklam
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Hi Everyone first post here! Question about small tank.

Hi guys,

I have always been fascinated with aquarium tanks at people's houses and the larger aquariums(my local one is the Vancouver Aquarium) species.

I have taken care of guppies and goldfish before (although I did not set up , I did help with cleaning algae or water changes, along with feeding of course).

As I'm planning to finally move out of the parents house, I thought I could finally get into the hobby of taking care of SaltWater species.
On my spare time. I did about 2 days of youtubing and googling so I still have many questions but would like to confirm if some of my ideas make any sense. Prior to this I had 0 knowledge of how to set up or care for saltwater tanks, the terminology and the different species that require different tank volumes.

Once I move out, I thought of getting something very simple and small (but reasonably sized) to start off with, I googled out a Fluval Evo 13.5 Gallon, I read its an all-in-one system, is it an ok tank to start off with?. Was thinking of just putting in just Live Rock (I guess I need 13 lbs of it?), 2 clown fish, 1 hermit crab, 1 shrimp and 1 snail, and maybe another small fish (what do you guys recommend)? No need for Coral. I would like to see if I can last a year without destroying anything so I know I'm on the right path of taking care of the system.

How don't know how full of a package this Fluval Evo is, what else would one need to buy in terms of equipment?

If everything goes well, I could switch to something bigger like 80+ gallons reef tank and use this 13.5 gallon tank as a Quarantine tank?


Thanks for reading my long essay haha


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Old 11/01/2017, 05:31 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Obsession!

IMHO, although a little all-in-one (AIO) sounds like a good deal, they rarely are. First the size is very limiting as to what you can keep. A bigger issue will be the fact that with the smaller the system, the more difficult keeping water parameters where they must be can be exceedingly difficult, especially for someone like yourself - new to the hobby. I've been at it for about 30 years now and wouldn't want to try to keep something that size stable, even if were going to be fish only with live rock (FOWLR)

I would suggest something along the lines of a 40 breeder. It has enough volume especially if you use a sump (highly recommended btw) to be relatively stable, but small enough to be easily manageable from a parameter standpoint with water changes alone for quite some time while you get the hang of it. It is also of a size that there are a multitude of lighting and filtration choices, most of which are pretty reasonably priced.

As for using the first setup as a QT - really, you'll need a QT now! If you start out with a good QT protocol for ALL your fish now, the habit will just be a part of the hobby - not something you'll need to think about starting up down the road.

Look for sales on tanks - if you have a Petco, they almost always have a $1/g sale going on. Craigslist is another good choice for buying tanks and equipment for pennies on the $.

Keep the questions coming - all of us here have been where you are now at some point and want you to succeed!

hth!!!


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Old 11/01/2017, 07:34 PM   #3
gwklam
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Hi billdog,,
Thanks for the advise!

By 40 breeder, I assume you mean a 40 gallon tank?
But what if I really only want to run this for a year with 2 or at most 3 little fish with a small piece of rock and add nothing to it? There will be a lot of empty space in the tank I feel haha.


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Old 11/02/2017, 05:21 AM   #4
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If you want a little tank, you can go with that no problem. Just know you have to keep on top of it a little more. Nitrates will rise faster, water will need to be topped off more to prevent salinity from spiking. That is why most suggest a 40 breeder, so there are different style 40 gallon tanks actually and 40 breeder has the best footprint, because more water means more stable. I started with a 10 gallon tank that I ran for a year without problems. Just need to make sure you keep on top of cleaning it, that is all.

Your plan seems pretty solid overall. Other equipment would be RODI unit, heater, a powerhead for some water movement, thermometer so you know you're heating right.


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Old 11/02/2017, 06:55 AM   #5
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If you get 2 clowns, just don't go for Maroons- They get quite large!


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Old 11/02/2017, 02:35 PM   #6
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There are deals if you watch for them. I could have bought a 29 gallon aio biocube with rocks, sand, upgraded light, stand and a clown for $100 on Craigslist a couple of days ago. New this was probably $500 worth of "stuff". That would have been a very good deal for you.


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Old 11/02/2017, 02:48 PM   #7
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for a beginner with zero knowledge at all I would get a larger tank than 13 gallons. things will go wrong and they go wrong really fast. I would go with what everyone is saying and get the 40 gallon.... make sure you read all the stickies on this page too


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Old 11/02/2017, 02:57 PM   #8
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I think you have a great plan: start small and simple and grow, and then see if you want something bigger in the future.

I completely understand the bigger-is-better argument here, but I'd suggest a compromise: don't go for an all-in-one. Buy a basic 20 gallon long or 29 gallon high and fill it with live rock and sand, stick in a small wavemaker/pump, a heater and get a decent light that will grow easy corals in case you decide you want to explore corals, and chances are that you will feel tempted to buy at least one or two corals in the course of a year.

You don't necessarily need 1 pound of rock per gallon. I think I have about 20lbs in my 33 gallon long tank, and I'm fine.

A 40 breeder is a great size, but it does also mean more rock, more sand and more water for top offs and water changes. All of that added expense can be a lot for newcomers/young aquarists. At the same time, 13 gallons feels a little tight for clowns and the fun you'll want to have with aquascaping and added creatures. We all eventually want to add JUST ONE MORE fish/coral.

Do yourself a favor and just get a slightly bigger tank.

Good luck.



Last edited by Fiver; 11/02/2017 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 11/02/2017, 03:13 PM   #9
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I am about to set up an evo for my boss in his home.


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Old 11/02/2017, 04:26 PM   #10
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^ I hope you are good friends because he is going to own you


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Old 11/02/2017, 05:37 PM   #11
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^ I hope you are good friends because he is going to own you
20 + years working together....


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Old 11/02/2017, 05:54 PM   #12
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That is good!!


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Old 11/02/2017, 06:07 PM   #13
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Plan is trash coral that would withstand anything...when it's all over grown,rebuild.


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Old 11/03/2017, 09:25 AM   #14
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I can tell you that over the years of off and on reefing I have only ever owned small tanks. I started with a 20 gallon long years ago. I had to break that down and give away everything for personal reasons. I recently got back into the hobby and currently have a 10 gallon, 20 gallon long, and just set up a 5 gallon (harlequin shrimp tank).

The best thing about small tanks is that usually water changes is all that's needed to keep the parameters in check. I have SPS, LPS, softies, zoas, etc. in my 20 gallon and the water chemistry remains within spec simply by performing weekly 10 percent water changes. The frequent water changes also keep the nitrates in check.

As others have stated, it can go south fast in a small tank, that is the major pitfall of keeping them. I love small tanks myself and don't ever plan on trying to keep a huge one. In saying that I'm not a big fish guy, I like corals and inverts mostly. I would only advise against 2 clowns in that small of a tank. I have 1 clown in my 10 gallon and he stays in his anemone but if he didn't have that I'm sure he would feel lost and cramped.

Good luck!


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Old 11/03/2017, 02:28 PM   #15
gwklam
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So I've read all responses. Thank you everyone!

I think I can afford to go a little bigger on tank size, not up to 40 gallons but definitely beyond 20.

For first 2 clownfish species, I can just go for ocellaris type correct?
What would be another starter 3rd little fish I could get? I'm not picky.

Because of a bigger tank, I may be tempted to get just 1 Soft Coral/Anemone (I actually quite don't understand the full difference between them yet other than Anemone moves). I just read about this 'Sebae Anemone' today, is that okay to start off with?

In regards to water change, I read adding microalgae and protein skimmer together can reduce the need to do water change that often because it helps with the waste and nitrates management?


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Old 11/03/2017, 02:32 PM   #16
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No Anemone in the beginning, you need a mature and stable aquarium first.. think at least a year.


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Old 11/03/2017, 03:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwklam View Post
So I've read all responses. Thank you everyone!

I think I can afford to go a little bigger on tank size, not up to 40 gallons but definitely beyond 20.

For first 2 clownfish species, I can just go for ocellaris type correct?
What would be another starter 3rd little fish I could get? I'm not picky.

Because of a bigger tank, I may be tempted to get just 1 Soft Coral/Anemone (I actually quite don't understand the full difference between them yet other than Anemone moves). I just read about this 'Sebae Anemone' today, is that okay to start off with?

In regards to water change, I read adding microalgae and protein skimmer together can reduce the need to do water change that often because it helps with the waste and nitrates management?
If you want to add a third fish, add that fish first and your pair of clowns last. The female clown will rule your tank, and can be very, very hard on new additions.

In a 20 gallon, I think only a very small third fish would work. I'd suggest a captive bred neon goby, or, a small goby (like a yellow watchman) and pistol shrimp pair. You'll want a fish that will not compete with the clowns for territory -- something that lives on the bottom or in the rocks.

An orchid dottyback, firefish, bangaii cardinal or royal gramma might work.

Sebae anemones are not easy. I'd wait until your tank is mature and try a bubble tip anemone. In a small tank, an anemone will take up a lot of space and sting/kill your corals, so you may have to choose one or the other.

Good luck.


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Old 11/03/2017, 04:22 PM   #18
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In regards to the less frequent water changes...I prefer to do more frequent water changes in a small tank because in most situations that eliminates the need for calcium additives or kalkwasser. The salt will replenish your tank during the water changes IME.


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Old 11/03/2017, 11:26 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwklam View Post
So I've read all responses. Thank you everyone!

I think I can afford to go a little bigger on tank size, not up to 40 gallons but definitely beyond 20.

For first 2 clownfish species, I can just go for ocellaris type correct?
What would be another starter 3rd little fish I could get? I'm not picky.

Because of a bigger tank, I may be tempted to get just 1 Soft Coral/Anemone (I actually quite don't understand the full difference between them yet other than Anemone moves). I just read about this 'Sebae Anemone' today, is that okay to start off with?

In regards to water change, I read adding microalgae and protein skimmer together can reduce the need to do water change that often because it helps with the waste and nitrates management?
you really not saving much money between 20g and 40g. the start up will cost just as much. IMO


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Old 11/05/2017, 07:41 AM   #20
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I thought the same thing when I got into this hobby... 90 gallon display.. 49 gallon refugium tank..
My original plan was a nice fowler tank...
.here I am.. a year later.. 250 +lbs of live rock (over kill I know.. but i got it all for 100 bucks live!)
3 fish. 2 osc. Clown fish and a scopas tang
5 differant types of zoas
2 toadstool leathers
Xenia and GSP
Frogspawn
Mushrooms
and newly added candy cane coral

Along with a long tentical anemone

And a hitchhiker rose bubble tip anemone
( I may.. or may not have known the Rbta was hiding in that hole in the live rock when I bought it hehe)


Anyways.. what I'm trying to say is... you may want a fowler tank now... but if your anything like me... that won't last long when you look through this forum and see all of the breathtakingly beautiful corals that can be in your tank :-)

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Old 11/05/2017, 03:20 PM   #21
Fiver
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you really not saving much money between 20g and 40g. the start up will cost just as much. IMO
I disagree with this. Those of us who have been in the hobby for a long time have the fortune of having spare parts and equipment laying around.

Starting fresh, even if you buy secondhand items online, there will be a big difference between the cost of putting together a 20 vs a 40 gallon tank. Just a 20 long tank itself is less than half the price of a 40 gallon. A 20 long will also fit on top of a lot of sturdy shelves, dressers or countertops the average person will have, while the length and width of a 40 will almost necessitate buying a specific stand. The difference in cost for appropriate pumps to move water will be very noticeable.

For a young, new hobbyist, those cumulative savings can make a huge difference in stretching a budget to allow for good equipment, fish, corals, etc.


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Old 11/07/2017, 04:16 PM   #22
gwklam
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I really wanted to put something on my desk as a first tank, only for a year or so, before moving to something much bigger.
I was well aware before starting this thread of the rapid changes that can happen in systems that store less volumes of water.

I still haven't decided on tank size yet(but definitely 20 gallons or larger), but I made of list of the Live stock I may eventually get (nothing more in terms of amount of live stock, I can control myself until a much larger tank arrives.), but not sure if this will make a good ecosystem yet. What do you guys think?




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Old 11/08/2017, 06:01 AM   #23
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That BTA will outgrow a small tank...


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Old 11/08/2017, 11:02 AM   #24
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A BTA could live in a 20 long for a few years without outgrowing it if you get a small one. But it might move around and chances are higher in a small tank that it could touch and kill your corals. You just have to be vigilant.


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Old 06/11/2021, 02:56 PM   #25
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Ive always ran Nano tanks and i can say without a doubt you do not want a BTA sharing a tank with corals period. Firstly, anemones require seasoned & pristine tank params which are very hard to hold stable in a nano tank.
As well as a good quality lighting setup.
I have 5 fish all living happily in a 20gal long that is literally stuffed with hard corals end to end and i assure you its akin to taking care of an invalid LOL.
That being said, yes it can be done im doing it now over 3 yrs. but its not for you unless you are all in for the long haul with no room for errors like power outages, water heater failure in the on position, or off in Winter with any time to spare.
My advice is if 20 gal or under...... forget corals period & do FOWLR period, much easier.... no strict params to follow per growth etc.


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