Neptune Aquatics

Beginner reefer seeking advice

Thats a good point. I’ll
I wouldn't, it might scratch the heck out of the counter and the tank will weigh over 100lbs full. Plus you have to be careful of splashes of soap and other chemicals from the sink getting into the tank or onto the power strip.
That’s a good point. I’ll play around with the
Pardon the horrific artistic rendition, but have you considered the UNS 90B - 35.43 x 7.87 x 9.84" - 12 Gallons? These are fantastic tanks. You’ll need to run on a small hob filter but you could make it pretty clean. 36” long, along the back wall under the cabinet, buy one or two 30” ai blade and Velcro/adhere it to the underside of the cabinet. Give you about 7” of clearance above the tank and you won’t see the light fixture
That’s a very intriguing idea. I have to stop by the condo tomorrow to make sure I have 3 feet in length. How easy would the wire management be? As a total beginner, I’ve been intimidated by all of the parts and am worried it would look ugly. I like the clean aesthetic of the all in one set ups.

For reference, this is the space I’m working with. I think a tank would look so cool under the cabinets. There are other places in the condo I could put the tank, but I think the kitchen area looks coolest
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I had a similar kitchen layout in my old apartment and had a 10 gallon cube on the peninsula part of the countertop. It might cut into your sitting space but it'll be a lot easier to work on rather than under the cabinet and it won't be as restrictive. It was also nice to sit on the stools there and stare at the tank.

More janky MS Paint edits :p
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IMO putting it under the cabinets is just not a good idea. Limiting your access, especially with a young tank, is going to be a problem. Keep in mind water is 8lbs / gallon. So this tank will weigh around 110lbs…and it’s on rubber feet that will pop out with any lateral friction (ask me how I know).

Plus there’s no room for a real light, and the stock light is junk.

Edit - these comments are regarding the 13.5g tank. Something much shorter could be doable (if you aren’t having to move the thing and have good access)
 
That’s a very intriguing idea. I have to stop by the condo tomorrow to make sure I have 3 feet in length. How easy would the wire management be? As a total beginner, I’ve been intimidated by all of the parts and am worried it would look ugly. I like the clean aesthetic of the all in one set ups.
For a 10 gallon tank, you’d have what, a powerhead, HOB filter and heater? A large opaque jar in the corner with the back knocked out to hide electronics. For the light, just route the wire along the underside of the cabinet along the wall down to that nearby outlet. Could get creative.

If you go with @CaseyP’s idea (which I like), look into the UNS 90LA. Peninsula style, 36” length, 12” height and 12” depth. Would look great in that spot assuming you don’t need the seating space and UNS tanks are high quality
 
If you consider the ten gallon idea, I recommend the innovative marine 15, it’s 15,15,15 cube it’s know as a all in one meaning built in compartment for filtration less stuff to hide. Overall the tank looks very sleek in my opinion. Lots of light options for smaller tanks (I have a 50 watt nicrew from Amazon)

The tank is 100 bucks
And light I got was around 100 as well.
 

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You should pull up @thesassyindian 's build thread. He put together a nice fluval 13.5 setup with a small space.

Generally reef tanks, or salt generally, are space hogs by default. Best ways to avoid it involve drilling holes in things to run hidden cables and tubes to other areas, or getting creative with hiding stuff in other stuff.

My advice would be start off with a fluval 13.5, one of those IMs, or similar. You can add your clowns and some Green Star Polyps or Xenia or other easy to keep, low maintenance, cool looking, corals. People hate on those corals, but they're the main thing anyone comments on when they see my tanks (I have a bunch of Xenia in my frag tank and a bunch of GSP in my main display). For those coral, the fluval 13.5 stock light is fine initially, and with the lid you have minimal evaporation which means you can manually top off with a water bottle initially. It also means you're unlikely to splash junk onto it. As an upgrade you can get one of the media holders for the overflow and upgrade the pump out get a small power head.

You might be able to fit that under a counter, but I'd have to measure mine again (I have a fluval 13.5 also).

You won't be able to move the tank realistically. As people said, it's going to be 100lbs, which I'm sure you could slide, but you'd get water everywhere. Because of that you're basically never going to move it. If you have to move it to do maintenance you'll therefore never do maintenance, which can be a big problem in a small tank.

As an example, fluval 13.5, 2 clowns, a shrimp, some GSP, maybe a couple cool mushrooms, some snails, maybe a small urchin. Great initial entrance, pretty easy. Upgrade would be an AIO innovative marine or similar, which means you need to buy a light + pump and probably a lid (so the clowns don't jump).
 
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Thanks guys. Appreciate all of the different ideas! I’m seriously considering @B the Nano Reefer’s idea about the long skinny tank. It would fit perfectly in the area and the lights mounted to the bottom of the cabinets would leave plenty of space for access. Any suggestions on what other gear could work?

Would a hob filter even work for a tank that long and narrow?

Tank: UNS 90B - 35.43 x 7.87 x 9.84 (12 gal)
Lights: 30” ai blade
Filter: ?
Heater: ?

Anything else I need?
 
Thanks guys. Appreciate all of the different ideas! I’m seriously considering @B the Nano Reefer’s idea about the long skinny tank. It would fit perfectly in the area and the lights mounted to the bottom of the cabinets would leave plenty of space for access. Any suggestions on what other gear could work?

Would a hob filter even work for a tank that long and narrow?

Tank: UNS 90B - 35.43 x 7.87 x 9.84 (12 gal)
Lights: 30” ai blade
Filter: ?
Heater: ?

Anything else I need?

*50 watt heater they are pretty cheap, you don't need a super duper fancy one. Typically under 25 bucks for a decent one.

* fliters tons of options, hob (Some have built in surface skimmers), I couldn't recommend a specific one but there are also some internal filters, I would avoid canister filters based on what it seems your going for. Range is 30-80 bucks I would estimate but people in club may have some laying around for a tank your intended size. You will want a decent quality filter for sure.

*Sand / substrate I definitely recommend for a nano tank. (I go with enough for a 1 inch layer easy to figureout how much once u actually get a tank estimate like 10lbs) about 15-25 bucks

*Live rock or Dry rock ( I personally go for 1 lbs per gallon) recommend some patience and planning on rocks so you can build a scape that you will like verse just a big chunk of rock. Once you have tank size go to a store bring ruler and play with rocks like legos lol till you find what you like. Your tank would be small enough I would personally buy and pick out specific peices. I've seen Rock range from 4.99-9.99 a lbs at local lfs.

* possibly a small wave maker unless you can find a decent overpowered filter that moves enough water(you can wait on this till you have everything else up and running typically under 50 bucks if you don't go fancy)

Depending on your budget alot of this you can find used. If that would be a issue for you. Things in reefing can cost as little or as much as you desire to spend.
 
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Thanks guys. Appreciate all of the different ideas! I’m seriously considering @B the Nano Reefer’s idea about the long skinny tank. It would fit perfectly in the area and the lights mounted to the bottom of the cabinets would leave plenty of space for access. Any suggestions on what other gear could work?

Would a hob filter even work for a tank that long and narrow?

Tank: UNS 90B - 35.43 x 7.87 x 9.84 (12 gal)
Lights: 30” ai blade
Filter: ?
Heater: ?

Anything else I need?
that's a cool tank dimension. The one thing to keep in mind with that tank versus a AIO is you don't have anywhere to hide equipment. For instance, you'll need to get creative to figure out how to hide the heater, but worst case you can do so with some rocks and just keep a powerhead nearby. Alternatively, you can probably ask super nicely and get someone in the club to 3d print you a box that could go in the corner for hiding a bit of equipment.
 
I’d just keep it simple and go with the largest tank you can fit in the first location you were thinking ( fish will thank you) . Much more room for equipment if you want to add on down the road. Take a look at the pics on here of other reefers cabinets and exposed equipment. Heaters/ power heads/ temperature controllers/Hob filters/ auto feeders etc. If you go out of town for more then two nights you will need someone to add water for sure or add another large piece of equipment like an ATO so your not glued to the tank although a gravity ATO would be pretty simple hidden above in a cabinet . Any other automation keep adding cords. The cool looking long tank will have a totally different appearance depending on the equipment added plus you may need 2 Hob near each end to prevent dead spots to suck up the detritus. I had a freshwater tank almost same dimensions used a canister filter with floss and media only no sponges with return at one end and intake at other basically made a river tank with loaches. GlassAqua sells lids and clips specifically designed for that tank which I highly recommend since you will have a jumper or mesh lid. I’ve had a few tanks in the kitchen (Temporarily remodeling) of which the fish were not happy! Doing dishes/ cooking with pots/pans/glasses/dishes on the guartz counters causes alot of vibration the fish feel spooked everytime you set anything down nearby. One thing having the tank on the kitchen counter while cooking food its right their so you will be on the maintenance scrubbing algae. The algae will really stand out with white quartz background which I have Technically all you need is some good established live rock and sand plus one or two power heads / wave makers agitating the surface and a heater. You can use a turkey baster to syphon the detritus. I’ve had a few 2.5 gallon cookie jars running with just a heater and sponge filter easy corals and green Aiptasia anemones which are bullet proof. If you do decide kitchen put it over on that island area where CaseyP drew away from sink and stove. Have it somewhere you can observe and enjoy comfortably. Chances are if you survive this hobby over a year or so you will make room for a larger tank it’s unavoidable and severely addictive! Not to mention all the enablers pushing corals and supplies on here!! Just tossing a few thoughts
Best of luck and welcome to BAR!!
 
Hey Reefers! I have been contemplating all of your advice the past 2 weeks and just set up my tank today!

My buddy @ryanraff helped me by giving me about 5 gallons of cycled water and a rock from his tank. Hopefully this speeds up the cycling time for my 12 gallon tank. There are already living creatures hidden in the rock. Hopefully I don’t kill them right off the bat.

So far I have observed:
Brittle star
Nudibranch
Mushroom coral
Aptasia


Here are the details of what I settled on:
Tank: 12 Gallon casa reef studio nano tank
Light: 12” AI blade (mounted to bottom of cabinets)
ATO: 2.5 gallon tank, but have not yet purchased the ATO device

Day 1 measurements 3/24

Temperature: 78.8F

Gravity: 1.019 (Ryan and I were initially using an improperly calibrated refractometer and realize this is low. Any suggestions on how to slowly increase it? The gravity matches the salinity from Ryan’s tank so there’s no shock to the creatures)

The following measurements are approximate as I’m just comparing against a color chart

Nitrite: ~0ppm
Ammonia ~.25-.5 ppm
Nitrate 10ppm

How should my readings look before I get fish? I know the ammonia levels are high. I’ll be taking daily measurements but let me know if there are any recommended actions!
 

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I would not use the rock if there is visible aptasia. Let it dry in the sun for 2 weeks if I were you. It probably have some good bacteria but aptasia outweigh the benefits .

Cycling the tank is not difficult. I like to bottle ammonia and bottle bacteria method. Full proof . Just be patient

Water from existing tank don’t give me much benefits. I would restart while you have not invested too much time yet .
 
Nudibranch may seem cool, but some are very bad guys. So thats concerning.
Plus starting with aptasia is a no go. I've thrown away frags with it on them, if they were some that I couldn't just remove the coral from. I would follow the advice above and dry out that rock and save it for later use or give it back

Plenty of people here could give you a pest free rock to start. I have a few chunks if you want and ever come down to santa clara. No aptasia. Only thing on mine would be some bristle worms and possibly asterinas.

But probably plenty of members up in sf to get rock from.

The mushrooms on that rock aren't special (they actually look like those invasive ones that take over tanks), I could give you some nicer ones free if thats a concern.

Edit: yes as @richiev said fragging them would be a great option as well. Also I will add you did take all great steps. You just don't wanna start off being behind the 8 ball with the pests is the short side of what everyone is saying. It's very much possible in time you may unintentionally get these pest in the future. But do yourself a favor and dont start off fighting up hill.
 
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The tank looks great and good job getting it setup and going for a safe early start! I imagine that feedback here is not what you're expecting and a bummer.

My quick summary:
  • Starting with established rock is great, but has the risk of acquiring pests
  • The tank looks nice, including the lid!
  • Aptasia is difficult in that it's hard to find all of them sometimes, and it will spread everywhere. However, just killing it when you see it (multiple guides online) can resolve it in many cases
  • Mushrooms are a great starter. They will spread, but if this is your first foray that's exactly what you want. An easier to keep coral that grows and spreads. Yours looks happy and healthy.
  • Nudibranches IMO are a big issue. They are very difficult to get rid of, especially in a tank that size where you can't get wrasses.
If it was me, I would chisel off the mushroom (making your first frag!), drain the water off, and do a restart, mostly because of the nudibranches. However, you could leave it, with the risk you're never going to be able to keep certain types of corals because they nudibranches will eat them (different types of nudibranches eat different types of corals).

If you restart, the water is potentially fine to reuse, but I personally would either start with a new batch of saltwater or microwave the existing water until very hot but not boiling. The rock I'd treat by soaking in warm tap water which will have chlorine in it, and then after awhile (hours, days) rinse it with RO water or add dechlorinator to the water and soak a bit more. The sand I'd do the same as the rock, potentially doing it all in the tank, and stirring up the sand to make sure anything in the sand gets killed.

The other option is try a peppermint shrimp. It hopefully will eat aptasia, and I think they can eat nudibranches, but not nearly a sure thing compared to _nuking it from orbit_ ala the freshwater.

I'm sure all this is bummer guidance, but it's because the easiest time to fix bad stuff is right at the beginning, and you unfortunately ended up with two pretty undesirable issues. As a good thing, you'll have learned a bunch about dealing with them! I'm sure Ryan didn't mean for that to happen, this stuff happens. It's the gotcha with getting live things, you have to be very careful about what you get and where, because it's virtually guaranteed if you don't have a quarantine/isolation tank that this stuff will get into your tank.
 
I think you have a AIO tank. I have been using seachem matrix for biological filtering successfully for years. They are cheap $7 (250ml ) which is enough for your tank. Get a pack and someone here with establish aptasia/major pest free tank can soak it for you in their sump for 2 weeks. You’ll have an instant cycle tank when you put it in your tank! That’s what I do when I setup a QT tank.

If you willing to drive down to South Bay. I’ll swap you with my current matrix , so you don’t even have to wait 2 week!
 
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