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Thread: 20 gallon long

  1. #1

    Post 20 gallon long

    0 Not allowed!
    Ok so when move I am upgrading my current tank and then I'm setting up a 20 gallon long low tech reef tank, I'm going to get LR and LS from I don't know wether I'm getting the 20 gallon package or geting the 10 gallon package and getting some dry and live rock from lfs to cut costs and stuff, I can do a local pick up for the place so no shipping costs,

    so my questions are what equipment? I won't have aton of money for stuff and I'm only doing zoathinds, mushrooms, cup, tube, and maybe xenia corals so I will have T5 lights I know, I don't really want to buy a $200 dollar canister filter because Im to young to get a job so will be saving up from christmas, birthday and mowing lawns to get money.
    Could I do 2 aquaclears rated for 20 gallons on it?
    What's the best T5 lights that's cheap but works for the above corals?
    What heater for the tank?
    Should I use instant ocean reef crystals or there salt for a regular tank?
    What water conditioner? I can't afford a ro unit
    Do I need moonlights for at night?
    I am hoing to use api master saltwater kit and a seachem ammonia alert device would this be ok?
    I can't spend $150 dollars on a refractometer so I am going to get a hydrometer, which one should I get?
    Do I need a uv sterilizer since I won't have a RO unit?
    If yes to above question would the green killing machine internal uv sterilizer with power head 50 gph be ok?

    Thanks in advance, I know a lot of questions but when I researched i was researching for a cube tank so everything is different.

  2. #2


    3 Not allowed!
    saltwater is a great part of the hobby, but its more difficult to do on a low budget - but then what isn't eh.

    If you cannot afford an RO unit, or to buy RO water, you may want to test your water before you get into a reef tank. Corals are harder to keep than fish, so if you are doing corals your water has to be pretty spot on. If your water has a high TDS reading, you may be letting yourself in for difficult times.

    Having said that - if you are getting enough live rock - like 1.5 lbs per gallon - you don't need any filters at all. UV steriliser is also optional, and some would say detrimental for a reef tank.

    Any regular heater for a 20gal will work.

    yes, you need to use reef salt, not aquarium salt.

    Prime is a good water conditioner, tho I never had to use any conditioner being on well water.

    Moonlights are not required, they are just way cool.

    API saltwater kit is good, ammonia alert device not so much. Cycling a salt tank is different than FW.

    A refractometer should be able to be purchsed for like 45 bucks, as far as I'm concerned if you're stuck with just a hydrometer, they all suck equally.

    UV is optional.

    You will need powerheads - good circulation is critical.

    read up all you can on saltwater - its a bit more intensive to start, and the more you read up on it the more enjoyable it will be.

    And look at craigslist, or for a local reef club, or get on a reef forum. Lots of folks always getting out the hobby, you can pick up some good stuff for cheaper than new.

    welcome to the salty side!
    20gal long planted community

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    I've researched sw since I fist got into the hobby, I can't set up more than one tank while renting but I'm moving in a couple months so when I move I will test, what is TDS? I will be getting at least that much maybe 2 lbs. per gallon but I still want so kind of filter for more water flow and carbon incase something is wrong, could I just get one aquaclear rated for 20 gallons? Ok so no uv, what powerhead do you recomend? Ok so reef salt got it, ok I will get prime just didn't know if it was only fw, haha ok I think I will eventually get moonlights for it, ok I will get the api mtk, I just want the ammonia alert device so I know if its way high but I will also test for ammonia when I test for other stuff, oh ok I always looked at and there are $150 bucks so I will get a cheap refractometer.
    And thanks for answering all the questions.
    Last edited by aquariumlover10; 08-16-2014 at 10:55 PM.

  4. #4


    1 Not allowed!
    Just a few thoughts below:

    If you using live rock, why do you want to add filters ? What are you planning to use filters for ?

    Most good quality refactormeters are under $40.00. I only spent $42 for mine (after shipping) and I have been using it for years without a single problem. As swing arm hydrometers can be off as much as 0.003, that would be setting yourself up for some pretty big problems down the road. Try a search on E-bay and you can find some cheaper refactormters, brands like Vertex, which are just as accurate as the very very expensive ones. Just stay away form the ones that are meant for beer/wine brewing.

    I have never liked the API test kits for salt water. For example, the nitrate test kit will only start showing nitrates at 5ppm when you really want a reef tank to be at 2ppm or less. I would suggest looking into Salifert test kits for at least the nitrate, calcium, and alkalinity parameters.

    I would suggest Instant Ocean reef crystals, or another equivalent brand such as H2Ocean or Royal Marine. You will get a lot more consistent and stable parameters form those salt mixes as compared to cheaper brands out there

    Moon lights are not required, unless you would like them

    A single T5HO fixture would work for low light corals in a 20 long. Just make sure you get a marine bulb for it as the lower spectrum bulbs used in FW will give you a algae farm in a marine set-up

    A UV really has nothing to do with wither or not you have RO water. I personally would skip the UV as it is not required for a health set-up. IMO, they are a wast of money

    I did not notice a skimmer on your list. IMO that is one of the most important pcs of equipment in a marine aquarium. It will help to keep your water quality better as well as helping to increase and maintain required higher levels of oxygen in the water. As you are setting up a nano tank, a skimmer would become even more important to helping your set-up thrive.
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    If you are keen on a filter you can certainly run one, but I would not put anything in it. Sponges and even bio media is just another nitrate dump, you don't want that at all. I did run a HOB on my reef tank, but it only had carbon and chemi-pure in it - no sponges or bio-media. And I rinsed those out weekly to keep nitrates down. Corals are far less tolerant of nitrates than fish are - you need to keep them as near to zero as you can.

    I'm not as sold on skimmers as Cliff is - I had one but ended up taking it out and ran the tank without one for around a year with no problems - but I also had a good RO/DI unit and a lot more live rock than I needed, its probably a good idea for you to get one.

    For powerheads, if you can't pick up anything used, koralia's are tried and true and have small ones suited for a 20gal tank.

    TDS is total dissolved solids - doesn't really mean anything as many people don't measure it, but it shows how pure your water is. RO water generally runs around 5ppm, give or tap water was over 200 ppm so I needed the RO/DI unit which brought my water to 0 TDS.
    The lower your TDS is, the better chance you have of running a tank without excessive algae/nutrient problems. Its not really important unless you have problems - but if RO water is not an option for you, it might be something good to know going in. Maybe you can get the water tested at the place where you are buying your sw stock.

    Sorry, I know you said not to reply, but I'll be signing off shortly and wanted to add whats probably going to be my last two cents. Cliff is the maestro of reef tanks, now that he's chiming in you'll get some good info.
    Last edited by sheamurai; 08-16-2014 at 11:04 PM.
    20gal long planted community

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    Your fist two question I answer when I edited my post, it was after you posted so just so I don't have to write it again I will tell you, yeah I think I will get the api mtk, ammonia alert, and a good nitrate test, ok I will get reef crystals, yeah I'm going to eventually get moonlights, ok I will get a T5HO,
    How many bulbs should it hold? What exact bulbs should I get? One white one blue?
    Ok I won't get uv, yeah I've heard that I don't need one with a small tank but since I won't be getting as much stuff as I thought I will get one, Which one should I get?

    Yeah I want something incase the powerheads stop or the opposite and incase I need carbon for something, yeah I think I will need one without RO or uv, ok so koralia's, what is better powerhead or circulation pump? Ok I think I will try and get a TDS test since I'm probaly going to be on city water, its fine I just didn't refresh the page and it let me edit.

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Sorry about the confusing post before. While I was thinking about and typing my first reply, I took far too long and other posts/updates occurred that I did not see.

    Quote Originally Posted by aquariumlover10 View Post
    I will get one, Which one should I get?
    I'm not too sure I am understanding what you are asking above. If you are asking about skimmers, I would suggest a Aqua C Nano. They are among the better skimmers out there and they are very affordable.

    As for some of your other questions about lighting, a single bulb T5HO would be good enough. If that is what you get, a 18,000K bulb would be best

    Single bulb T5HO can be a little harder to find tho. If you get a double buld T5HO (which would still be OK) then you could have two options. First option would include one super blue bulb with one 14,000K bulb. That would be best for your corals. The second option would be one 18,000K bulb with a actinic bulb which would be best to make the colors on your fish really come out. Either option would work fine

    Koralia powerheads are a good quality powerhead. I would also suggest looking into Tunze. I prefer the Tunze as they come with a completely magnetic base (no suction cup attachment or combo magnet and suction cup) so they will take were you put them, and you can easily get a 90 degree angle giving you all kinds of flexibility to truly customize the flow to suit the exact needs in your set-up. Koralia's angles are very limited by comparison.
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    Ok I think I want to get the 10 gallon package without the cucumber, and get the rest of the live rock from my lfs so there's some different rock in there.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    Sorry I didn't see your post, are there any good skimmers that are $50 or less? And I will do a double fixture but do you have any pics of the bulb combos you gave me? I don't like it when the tank looks blue/purple ish so I was wondering if you have pics, I think I will get the koralia's since there cheaper and have one specificaly for nanos.

  10. #10


    0 Not allowed!
    I have not used T5 in a few years, but the below pics will kind-of give you a idea. You also have to keep in mind that my photography skills are poor. When I use my camera to take pics, it makes thing look a lot more blue than they really are. Mostly due to the light being reflected off the purple coraline. My LEDs are about 70% super blue (22,000K), 20% white (12000 to 14000K) and 10% actinic. I do not think this produces a blue light, but there a little bit of tint to it. You have to keep in mind, these are combinations that will give your corals and Coraline the most usable light, while providing minimal light for nasty algaes and other "stuff" that you do not want growing at all costs.

    The below pic is with LEDs as I described above

    This one is with the same settings on the same LEDS, but I think I managed to get a better picture

    This one is with a 8 bulb T5HO fixture. It had only 2 white bulbs (12000 to 14000K) four superblue bulbs (22,000K) one actinic, and one fugi purple. Pretty close to the same precentages as the LEDs

    Once again, my photography skills are not that good so every looks more "blue" than in reality
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

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