Starting first saltwater tank... and it's a nano

Discussion in 'General Saltwater Discussion' started by OldManHickory, Feb 6, 2017.

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  1. OldManHickory
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    OldManHickory Member

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    Please don't crucify me for having a nano tank as my first saltwater adventure! In my defense I have been keeping fully planted freshwater systems (including pico-planted tanks) since I was a small fry. I understand the complications that come with a small tank. This tank is intended to be therapeutic for me as I have PTSD so the maintenance and care is good.
    Disclaimer aside, the tank is a Fluval Spec V(5 gal) It's running the stock pump, an air pump, a heater, and an extra Finnex Ray2 Light I had sitting dormant.
    So far I have live sand topped with some crushed coral, a live rock, and two un-live rock formations inside.
    I get my water premixed from my local fish shop.

    The plan: I'd like to have some soft corals to care for eventually with maybe a couple invertebrates and a goby or clown. The soft corals, or any there's recommended are my primary focus. Also, I will be adding an additional 5 gal. sump below it that I am currently building.
    Furthermore, the tank has been cycling for about a month and a friend put a damsel in it to help with the cycling.

    Any advice or tips are greatly appreciated as I wouldn't start such a challenging project without the experience of this forum. You'll never offend or hurt my feelings. I'm looking for advice of everything from good text kits, water suppliments, maintenance schedules, appropriate corals, etc. I am located in Arlington so if you have recommendations nearby for shops/fellow nerds that would be great too.

    Let me know what you know and let's help this little reef grow!
     
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  3. Reef&LivebearerAquatic
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    Reef&LivebearerAquatic Well-Known Member

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    I would get rid of the damsels, very very mean fish especially when in smaller systems. I personally think GSP, Xenia, and Kenya tree(s) are great corals. xenia and gsp need their own rock because they can overtake other corals and aren't killable, and kenya trees shed limbs that will travel to other places and grow lots more trees so pull out the buds every so often.
     
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  4. OldManHickory
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    OldManHickory Member

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    Thanks! The little damsel won't be staying. My friend has 'loaned' him to the tank as it gets going.
    Thanks for the recommendations! How soon should I add a Kenya tree/Xenia/GSP?
     
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  5. Reef&LivebearerAquatic
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    Reef&LivebearerAquatic Well-Known Member

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    After it cycled (Fish shouldn't be in while it has cycled anyway) just put one in and observe it's health. Make sure it opens up and isn't shrinking or dying. Then you can add more. you'll want to go slow in the beginning, a dead coral can really affect the system.
     
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  6. OldManHickory
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    OldManHickory Member

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    Ok great. Thanks! Definitely going to take it slow as my wife is making sure I stay on budget
     
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  7. Seahawks!
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    Seahawks! Active Member

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    The spec v will make an excellent nano reef. Post a picture if you get a chance. With such a small water volumn and only soft corals, supplements are not needed. You can get by with just water changes. I would probably start with an easy coral first before adding fish. Hair algae and cynobacteria can be a real pain if the load is too high. Fast growing corals like Xenia, mushrooms, Anthelia really help.
     
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  8. Reef&LivebearerAquatic
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    Reef&LivebearerAquatic Well-Known Member

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    I beg to differ, you have to remember corals are living animals an add to the biology. Furthermore he's going to want to test water. Dosing g will most likeley be needed. Soft corals use up lots of magnesium
     
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  9. Seahawks!
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    Seahawks! Active Member

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    Yeah that was probably not the best advice. I used a three part dosing system in the past on my 120 gallon mixed reef. I used Calcium Chloride (from bulk reef supply), Epsom salt for magnesium, and baking soda for Alkalinity. Do not dose anything you cannot test for.

    Here is a good calculator to figure out the dosing and what to use (if you go the 3 part dosing route)
    http://reef.diesyst.com/chemcalc/chemcalc.html

    Keeping the parameters steady is more important than trying to chase an ideal number.


    You can keep a simple reef tank without dosing. These coral have not been supplemented since 2010. It is probably considered neglect not ideal care. I am sure the growth has been stunted. This setup was suppose to be temporary while I built my reef tank. I ended up setting up a freshwater Cichlid tank instead.

    Today
    [​IMG]IMG_1175 by mrdillpickle, on Flickr

    Same Green Acan Lord from 2010
    [​IMG]Blastos by mrdillpickle, on Flickr

    I am in the Arlington/Stanwood Area as well.

    There is a facebook group called "North Sound Reefers".

    For local pet stores, Aquapets in Marysville has some reef stuff. They can also order anything you need.

    The Bob Moore frag swap is February 18th. It is the largest coral swap of the year in Washington State. Free coral, venders, fellow reefers....
     
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  10. OldManHickory
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    OldManHickory Member

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    Thanks so much for your recommendations! I'd love to go to the reef swap and glean some info, unfortunately I'm out of town for a family emergency that week.
    In regards to testing what's a reliable test system. I've seen the API test kits and such but haven't found any solidly reviewed ones. I'm on a budget but I also don't want to buy a dud of a parameter test kit.
     
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  11. Reef&LivebearerAquatic
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    Apologies, let me rephrase. I would dose (and do) even if they go just soft corals. In the end it just about keeping the tank happy and not chasing a specific number.
     
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  12. Seahawks!
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    Seahawks! Active Member

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    I used API for calcium/hardness. It was hard to fork out the money for expensive kits. I used salifert magnesium test kit.
     
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  13. VickiK
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    VickiK Well-Known Member

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    Wow! This is exciting. Can't wait to see pics!

    @OldManHickory - no one would crucify you HERE, would they? Nahhhhh.
     
  14. OldManHickory
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    OldManHickory Member

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    havent updated in a long time. My motherinlaw died and we found out my wife and i are having our first kid, so the tank setup was put on the backburner. But its been cycling now for a long time and today i added my first coral. Its a little green zoa and ill try to get a pic up soon. Im looking to pick up more frags of soft corals over the next couple months and build a good little softie tank.
     
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  15. Betty
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    Betty Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Oh no -- so sorry for your loss. Heartbreaking.
    But congrats on the baby! Glad you are making progress on the tank.
     
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  16. Loren
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    Loren Well-Known Member

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    Hang in there. The hobby continues to go on but must move at a pace that matches the ups and downs of life.
     
  17. VickiK
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    VickiK Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on the new wee one!
     
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