Components of a 20 Gallon Reef Tank- Change Up
I have two tanks. One is a 16 gallon bowfront with a stand. The other is a 20 gallon tank without a stand. I know that I should start with a larger tank, but monetary restrictions limit this (buying a new house is a serious chunk of change!) Below is a listing of the components that I've researched for the tank. Please give me some imput/ criticism. I'm not planning on starting for at least another month or two.
20 pounds live rock- Nano vs. Fiji premium? Thoughts on both types?
20 pounds sand- Caribsea Aragonite
50 gallon bag sea water mix- 46lbs- 160 gallons
Test kit- master test kit- pH, kH, GH, NH3/NH4, NO2, NO3, PO4, Cu, and Ca.
2 Powerheads- Hydor Koralia Nano Water Circulation Pump- 240 GPH (2)
Lighting- Coralife Lunar Aqualight Quad T5 HO Aquarium Light
I've thought about replacing one powerhead with a HOB skimmer...thoughts?
Just get some good quality live rock (very porous surface almost with holes through it) that will allow good water flow all around and also provide some cave like structures for fish to hide when/if they get spooked.
I would suggest just enough sand to cover the bottom of the tank. I have about ½ to ¾ inches of sand in my tanks and that seems to work great. Just do not get “live” sand. You could also go without any substrate at all which will help you with maintenance and managing the nutrient levels down the road but it will also limit what fish and inverts you can put in the tank.
Depending on your rock work, the two powerheads may not be enough. I would suggest trying the two and see how it works. Nothing wrong with testing that our while you are cycling the tank. But you may have to add a third to reduce dead spots. That would also depend on the flow produced by your skimmer.
For test kits you really won’t need a copper test kit unless you are using copper based meds in a QT set-up. Just stick with the standard ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, pH, Calcium, Magnesium, and Alkalinity. Make sure to get a good brand of test kit like Elos or Salifert. API has a good salt water ammonia and nitrite test kit, but IME they are not sensitive enough to test the rest of the parameters.
I would add a skimmer with the two powerheads. A good skimmer such as bubble magnis or AquaC would do just fine. Bubble Magnis has higher flow, but the AquaC is more affordable. Both are good skimmers that will help to keep your water in line
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
I agree completely with the above, especially about no sand! Only reason I say that is because sand in a salt tank can be very good, or very bad. There's a lot of controversy online, but the way I look at it, it isn't needed, and eventually you can let the bottom get covered is coralline algae over time, giving you a very interesting look.
Without sand, and proper flow, you can keep detritus from becoming a problem, and then if you do get little "dead zones" where detritus builds up, you'll see it, know where it is, and can easily remove during a water change.
Otherwise everything sounds nice!
(I am a previous reef tank owner, the only thing I would have changed in my system would have been to not use sand)