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Setting up new (small) tank - need info.

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MzWeazelle

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
169
Location
WA State
Hey there one and all!

After having a reasonable amount of success with a 140 I am considering the challenge of a small hex - 30 or 32 gallons, I think.

Right now it is housing a few freshwater fish, so I need info on what I will need to "convert" it to salt. I would also like suggestions on what types of animals would be most suited for a small tank.

I've seen several seemingly successful small tanks and am considering something like this:

Live rock, for stability
1 or 2 small fish - clowns, gobies, blennies
Soft corals - mushrooms, yellow polyps, star polyps
An anemone, particularly if I go with clowns
A shrimp, small clam, snails, hermit crab, nice looking macro algaes.

I know it is necessary to keep the bioload down, but I don't know which types of animals would be best / worst.

Any suggestions / advice would be welcome. I'm all for doing it right the first time. :confused:
 

Ritz

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2004
Messages
13
Location
Anytown, U.S.A.
first off, make sure that tank is clean. Any copper meds from the freshwater days will need to be thoroughly removed.

Second, the live rock is a given. With regards to the sand, don't go for a very deep bed. In small tanks, you lose a lot of space quickly and those deep sandbeds reduce your water volume and allow you less space for corals (and you will have a hell of a time trying to make room for new stuff).

With regards to fish, the two or three fish are fine. You could probably go for more, depending on the fish. I've got 5 in a 26 without any real issues.

anemones in small tanks are pretty risky. The amount of room they have to move around is limited and the chances of the anemone finding a powerhead or an overflow are greatly increased. Any death in a small tank impacts the small tanks much harder than in the big ones.

If you want to keep macros, you might want to consider a fuge instead of keeping the macro in the main tank. Once again I will remind you that your space is limited and you will want as much room as possible for corals. Aquascaping and pruning is a nightmare in smaller tanks (oops, acro snapped in half. damn, there goes my zoo rock behind the aquascaping).

you will need to determine what corals you want to keep as this will help you select proper lighting. Take in mind the small tanks heat up much faster than the big ones so a cooling mechanism should be considered as well (hob micro chiller, clip on fan).

Ok, small fish:

perculas are great. I have a blue stripe clown in my 26, lots of activity. clown gobies are low on the bioload, cardinals are always nice too. Basslets and dottybacks are ok but some can be pretty nasty. There are some nice wrasses that stay small and are fairly active. With any fish, watch for the jumpers and have a cover if you plan on housing a carpet surfer.

With fish, the aggression factor can be a huge issue. Smaller space for the fish to share so check compatibility.

ok, fingers aching and my mind hurts.

hopefully it isn't too disjointed (it's late).
 

wanareef

reefer addict
Joined
Aug 26, 2003
Messages
250
Location
Portland, OR
Just to add what ritz mentioned- since you already have a tank going, save your water changes and use that for the smaller tank - save yourself a big cycle. On the LR make sure it's cured and when transporting, make sure it say's in water so no more die off.

have fun :lol:
 

dnjan

alveopora
Joined
Sep 9, 2003
Messages
1,585
Location
Seattle
Concerning macroalgae in a small tank - DON'T.

When it gets out-of-hand, or grows in places you can't easily get to, you will have a hard time getting rid of it. The most common macroalgae-removers (rabbitfish, Tangs/surgeonfish, etc.) are not appropriate for small tanks.
 

MzWeazelle

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
169
Location
WA State
Ritz - thanks for all the feedback. I don't recall medicating the tank at all, but I sure will clean it good before starting over! Didn't plan on a lot of sand, so no problem there. Didn't think about the extra risks involved with an anemone. The one I have just grabbed on and hasn't moved an inch in over two months so that didn't occur to me. As far as corals go, I will probably stick with types I mentioned earlier. I'm not a big SPS fan (sorry all), so I assume the biggest issue with lighting I might have would be the clam, which I assume will be okay even in a tank that size. The heat problem I am aware of, especially if I have to use fairly highpowered lights - who would have guessed that too much heat would be a problem in western Washington.

Ritz & dnjan - one of the reasons I wanted to do a separate small tank was that I'd seen some beautiful algae out there that I can't keep in the 140 due to the tangs & Foxface. Will have to give that some SERIOUS thought, but thanks for bringing it up.

Wanareef - will definately be using water from the 140 to start up this one. Had to make an emergency start up in a non-reef 90 gallon about a month ago because of incompatibility, and without the old water we would have been in a real pickle. Also, I will probably be using some live rock from the 140 so it will be well cured.

Okay, so other than the anemone & algaes I haven't heard any big "no's" on my first post. Makes me feel pretty good. :)

How about suggestions on equipment to convert the tank? I believe this will end up in my office at work, so compact will be the key here. The tank sits on a hex stand, so not much room inside. I assume I will have to go with some sort of hang-on stuff, but what? And any particular suggestions on type of lighting? It's going to have to sit in the same place the current light is, which limits the hood to about 5" x 16" - height is probably not an issue.

Thanks again!

MzWeazelle
 

Alice

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
1,108
You can do a small sump under a hex but it's a pain, not much room.

If this tank is going to be in an office another thing to consider is ambient room temp. You probably won't have much control over it so plan accordingly. Another thing that doesn't really seem like a big deal, until you have a tank emergency at work, is where to store your essentials and jugs of SW and RO water. Make sure that all your cleaning pads and buckets are *clearly* marked for "fish tank only" or some such. I came into work one day and found the toilet scrubber brush in my fish bucket!!

A pair of cleaner shrimp would be great; mine were faves when I had a tank in my office.
 

Ritz

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2004
Messages
13
Location
Anytown, U.S.A.
what kind of clam are you planning on getting?

I had a 7 gallon bow a while back and had a maxima in it that was very happy under the twin 32 watt powercompacts (very high up on the rock tho).

Most clams will need very bright lights and those lights heat the heck out of the water. HOB chiller might not be a bad idea. added flow, a space for media bags and the chill effect. They work real well.

Another problem with the small tanks, which I failed to mention, is evaporation. Bright lights, less water, big time salinity swings. I was adding a gallon or so a day with my 7 when I threw halides over it (70 watt with 36 watts actinic). I'm currently running a 26 (upgrade from the 7) in my apartment and I still have about a gallon of water evap a day (hot apartment and twin 150's with 55 watt actinics).
If you have a cover on the tank, the evap will be reduced somewhat (and you can keep the leaping fish with less fear of dried fish snacks).

The very best top off system around, premade and plug and play, can be found at www.californiareefs.com.
 

Sgt.Baker

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2004
Messages
13
Ritz,
How big was that maxima in your 7 gallon tank?
Don't the smaller clams thrive more on feeding than light?
 

Ritz

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2004
Messages
13
Location
Anytown, U.S.A.
I wouldn't put a clam smaller than 3 inches in any of my tanks.

the real small ones need to be target fed. Best way to do this with clams is to put them in a bowl of tank water and add enough DT's to turn the water light green. when the water is clear, the clam goes back in the tank. Now, if the clam attaches to a rock, you've got issues. dome feeding will work but it can be a pain in the butt.

So, I say 3 inches and up.
 

Sgt.Baker

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2004
Messages
13
So , your clam in your seven gallon tank was larger than 3 inches?
Did you feed it al all, or was the PC light strong enough to sustain it? Did you dose calcium? Sorry for all the questions but i sure do appreciate your help.
 

dnjan

alveopora
Joined
Sep 9, 2003
Messages
1,585
Location
Seattle
MzWeazelle said:

Ritz & dnjan - one of the reasons I wanted to do a separate small tank was that I'd seen some beautiful algae out there that I can't keep in the 140 due to the tangs & Foxface. Will have to give that some SERIOUS thought, but thanks for bringing it up.

How about a "display refugium" for the macros? No corals, just some rock, rock rubble, and a couple of peppermint shrinp. And, of course, the macroalgae.

Put it on a stand next to the hex, and a bit higher (water surface higher). Use a small pump in the hex to move water up to the refugium, and an overflow in the refugium to send water back down to the hex. You could probably use one of those 65w Lights of America fixtures sitting on top of a 10-gal tank. (and even drill the side of the 10-gal for the overflow so you don't worry about a siphon failure)
 
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