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  1. #1
    Junior Member Zdunmeister's Avatar
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    Converting 20g from Fresh W. to Salt W.

    Hello Forum,

    I've recently been attracted to marine tanks, but more specifically reef tanks. Can you please point me toward equipment that I would need, and the fish and corals that I could keep? It is a 20 gallon high standard of 24" L x 16" H. Some of the things I have already while the FW was setup are a 100w Tetra heater and a 30-60 Gallon Tetra Whisper power filter. Would these two things be suitable to use for a reef tank? They are in good condition and work well. Another piece of equipment I use occasionally in my 55g planted is a Koralia Nano powerhead. Will I be able to use this in the reef tank I am planning or is it too weak? I already know the default light that came with the tank is too weak to use, and I am willing to purchase a new one. I'd rather go with T5's than MH because I wouldn't have to worry about temperature issues. Once again, please inform me of more equipment that I would need to start my reef tank. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.

    - Dave





  2. #2
    Moderator greech's Avatar
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    Number one thing you want is a RO/DI filter or a reliable source of low (zero TDS) water.

    Yes you can use all of the equipment you have. Power filter will need to be cleaned regularly and the media in it clean/replaced. The single nano PH will likely need some help. Is this the 425 model or the old nano?

    I would suggest 15%ish water changes every week if you do not go with a skimmer. If you do go with a skimmer, you can cut back on the volume but I would still go with weekly water changes in a tank that size.

    The types of corals you can keep depends on what you want and assumes you match the system/equipment to their needs. Softies are thought to be the easiest with LPS > SPS/clams> anemones > non-photosynthetics increasingly harder.

    Fish will be small and not big swimmers. Clowns, gobies, blennies are common reef safe fish that do well in smaller tanks.

    A good 4 bulb T5 unit will grow just about anything in that size tank. LEDs are another option
    SG = 1.024-6; Alkalinity 8.3-9.3 dKH; Calcium 420; Magnesium 1300; Temp = 76 to 80; pH = 7.9-8.3. Alkalinity and calcium are dependent on Mg.

    "You can't be half a gangster" - Jimmy Darmody, Boardwalk Empire



  3. #3
    Junior Member Zdunmeister's Avatar
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    Thank you for your input greech. Can you tell me exactly what purpose the RO/DI filter serves, I'm not very knowledgable about it. The powerhead I believe is the 240 Nano, and I too believe that I should buy another one to add more flow. Although I'm not sure exactly how much flow a reef tank needs. Is it the more flow the better? About the protein skimmer, is it very important to have one? From what I've looked at they are pretty expensive pieces of equipment, and I've read some people say that they are pointless to have. If it is necessary, can you please point me to a affordable skimmer that works well? Not too sure about the corals yet, I still need to read up on them. I will definitely start with some hardy corals and work my way up. I am also unsure of all the fish yet, but a pair of Clownfish are a yes for me. If I do get a pair, do they need an anemone? If so, how difficult are anemone's to keep and can they even be in a reef tank? Sorry if that is a noob question but I really don't know :P On my 55g Planted I have a AquaticLife 4 bulb T5 unit that I think is awesome. The only con I have with it is that since it's on legs, it's difficult to get my hands inside the tank. Do you know of any T5 fixtures with legs that can be 'folded' up when working on the tank? I'm not quite sure but I think I saw a Corallife fixture with those capabilities one time. Once again thanks for your input. I'm still trying to put together a lot of information and any help you guys can give me is amazing. Thank you.

    - Dave



  4. #4
    Junior Member yss's Avatar
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    That's how I got started with Reef. I currently have a 36G, but I started out with a 20GH. You will need a lot of live rocks to get the tank started. The best is to get a lot of live rocks and live sand to cycle the tank. After that, you can add a few fish. I don't have a skimmer and my tank is doing fine, but I only have 4 fish. I would start with a pair of clowns and have no more than 4 small fish. You can add some inverts such as snails and shrimp. But you will have to be patient. You can add the corals after your tank matures several months down the road. RO/DI is so that your tank woudn't have algae issues. I started out using tap water, but had tons of algae issue. I go to wholefoods to buy DI water. 39 cents a gallon. I change about 4 gallons every month not including the top off. You need to go to reefcentral.com and do some reading. Good luck. I love my reef setup.



  5. #5
    No freelancing! OrionGirl's Avatar
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    Anemones are not required to keep clowns happy. They'll host on a variety of things, including powerheads. Keep in mind that they can kill a coral with their attention--they'll prevent some from coming out to feed. There are some anemones that will thrive in aquariums, but most are not suitable hosts. Rose anemones might be the best, but learn about it before buying! Anemones are animals, they will not just stay where you put them.

    skimmers help maintain water quality by removing organic wastes. That means you don't spend as much on salt and other chemicals. No, they are not required, but they are definitely beneficial.

    A good source of clean water will limit the potential problems. But, not necessary--just research your water source and determine if there's a problem.

    In terms of access with the light fixture--you might want to consider a canopy, and attach the light to the canopy.



  6. #6
    Moderator greech's Avatar
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    +1 to OrionGirl except a skimmer may be required depending on what you eventually add to the tank in terms of livestock. Example: Seahorses eat A LOT and it would be very difficult to maintain the nutrient load from the large amounst of food added to the tank and the wastes that the SH's produce. Similarly, anemones produce a fair amount of waste and require fairly pristine water (since 99% of their body is filled with the water that surrounds them).

    For a typical 20 gallon softy/LPS tank, you can get by with regular water changes and running carbon and GFO (grannular ferric oxide) or something like Chemipure Elite.

    For a 20H I would look into something like a Koralia 550 or 750 to move water in the display along with the K-nano and powerfilter.

    Not trying to push something I wrote on you but I do think this will help get you started...

    http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums...things-through
    SG = 1.024-6; Alkalinity 8.3-9.3 dKH; Calcium 420; Magnesium 1300; Temp = 76 to 80; pH = 7.9-8.3. Alkalinity and calcium are dependent on Mg.

    "You can't be half a gangster" - Jimmy Darmody, Boardwalk Empire



  7. #7
    Junior Member Zdunmeister's Avatar
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    What specs do I need to look at of my tap water to be sure I have water good enough to put in the tank without getting a RO/DI filter?

    Is this skimmer good enough for my size tank or would I need a better one? http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...8&pcatid=24108

    Thank you for all your responses and the link greech!

    - Dave



  8. #8
    Moderator greech's Avatar
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    Honestly I would not use that particular skimmer. Won't do you much good. IMO, save up and get something like this...

    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...5&pcatid=19865

    or this...
    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...4&pcatid=23714

    or even better, this...
    http://www.marinedepot.com/Tunze_Nan...ISVSUH-vi.html

    The above skimmers work without a sump and either hang on back of your tank or sit inside it. I wouldn't get to hung up on a skimmer right now. You won't need one until after the tank cycles and you start adding livestock and even then you may do fine without one for quite some time depending on your livestock. No doubt a good skimmer will benefit your tank greatly though.

    The easiest thing to do is to test the TDS (total dissolved solids) of your tap water. RO/DI should be zero or very close to it. A good water source is probably the single most important thing you can do to have a healthy, vibrant system. Some people do use tap and have for many years so it can be done. The TDS in my area is 80+. No way, that will ever go in my tank. There's no telling what those solids are unless I have tests run and that will be expensive. Even if you don't buy your own RO/DI unit (which I would do before I bought a skimmer BTW), at $0.25-$0.30/gallon, RO/DI is a no brainer considering how much you will spend on liverock and livestock alone.
    SG = 1.024-6; Alkalinity 8.3-9.3 dKH; Calcium 420; Magnesium 1300; Temp = 76 to 80; pH = 7.9-8.3. Alkalinity and calcium are dependent on Mg.

    "You can't be half a gangster" - Jimmy Darmody, Boardwalk Empire



  9. #9
    Junior Member Zdunmeister's Avatar
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    Interesting. I'm going to have to look the TDS up. I think I am going to delay the purchase of the skimmer, for now. I'll see how everything goes without one and if it becomes necessary I'll buy it. Don't know where to start at this point. I'm going to head to my LFS tomorrow so is there anything you recommend I purchase tomorrow? Hoping to get this thing filled up with water Friday. Thanks.

    - Dave



  10. #10
    Moderator greech's Avatar
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    While your there ask them if they sell RO/DI and/or premixed saltwater and if they test their TDS.

    All you need to get started is the tank, rock, sand (if you want to use any), water, salt, flow (your powerfilter and K-nano will work for now) and a heater. You will want a refractometer or hydrometer (refractmometer being better) to test for specific gravity and ammonia, nitrite and nitrate kits to monitor the cycle.

    Once you get that setup, it a matter of topping off the tank with fresh RO/DI to maintain the SG and testing the water to determine if it is cycling/cycled.

    If you don't know your store employees, just remember they are a business and will likely try and sell you things that you don't need.
    SG = 1.024-6; Alkalinity 8.3-9.3 dKH; Calcium 420; Magnesium 1300; Temp = 76 to 80; pH = 7.9-8.3. Alkalinity and calcium are dependent on Mg.

    "You can't be half a gangster" - Jimmy Darmody, Boardwalk Empire



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