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View Full Version : Advice on setting up a non-photosynthetic 20 gallon tank.


snodine
02/12/2015, 08:07 PM
OK, I'm throwing myself on the wisdom of the group. I have a 120 gallon in-wall saltwater tank that is very lightly stocked at the moment (2 tangs, 2 sun corals, and 1 small torch). The tank has a crushed coral bottom with lots of live rock. But that tank is not my question.

I am a big fan of non-photosynthetic coral and want to keep more - but I'm tired of getting wet to the elbow feeding them 3-4 times a week. I have a 20 gallon tank I'm not using and I'm thinking of setting it up to be a non-photosynthetic tank. Where I want to set it up has no room for a sump, plumbing, etc. I'm thinking of keeping a few (6-8?) non-photosynthetic corals (none real big), a cleanup crew, 1-2 small fish (maybe?) in this 20. I have a 24" T5 HO light laying around that I can use or use no lighting other than the light in the room.

So, what I'm asking from the experienced members of the group - what are my options? Do I NEED a sump, plumbing, etc.? Will frequent water changes work? Bare bottom or sandy? Any advice and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I have accumulated a lot of extra equipment over the years (who hasn't?) and I was looking to put it to use and build this setup "on the cheap".
I'm going to do more reading and research but I thought I'd start here first.

If you've read this far - thank you.

laga77
02/13/2015, 08:42 AM
This sound like a perfect setup for a reverse underground filter setup. Instead of running the water DOWN through the gravel. Set it up where a powerhead would push water down the tubes and UP through the gravel. You would need floss or foam to screen any detritus from getting under the gravel, and a HOB filter to remove as much waste as possible. This, and frequent water changes might work. I am thinking of doing this for my QT.

teemee
02/13/2015, 08:41 PM
my experience, over several years - i too am obsessed with NPS- all have had massive clean up crews and relatively deep (~4") sandbeds:
10g - no sump, no skimmer - fail
20g - no sump, no skimmer - v. v. difficult to keep stable, had to stay on top of 5g weekly water changes
30g - no sump, skimmer - pretty successful - weekly 5g changes
40g - sump, skimmer - v. successful - weekly 5g changes
60g (current) - no sump, no skimmer - ~80 mangroves in hob filters - weekly 5-10g change - most successful.

I'm sure you see the trend in my case, at least - the bigger, the better, the easier...
I currently have 22 gorgonians, several colonies of tubastrea, dendros, multiple rhizos, sclero... I broadcast feed at least a few times throughout the day...

do you plan to target feed? the reason i don't run a skimmer is with all of the micro sized foods i feed, it would just be going crazy, but I know that many others subcribe to their use. that said, many of my favorite nps - uhuru (no longer), aquabacs (no longer), and coltreef (just back on rc, yeah!) have much more sophisticated systems than mine.
you might want to consider a small skimmer, like the tunze nano... and I would suggest a big cuc - lots of hermits, lots of nassa and bumble bee snails, and lot of shrimp...
just my two cents, from my experiences :)
Look forward to seeing your progress!

calk me Q
02/14/2015, 07:43 PM
my experience, over several years - i too am obsessed with NPS- all have had massive clean up crews and relatively deep (~4") sandbeds:
10g - no sump, no skimmer - fail
20g - no sump, no skimmer - v. v. difficult to keep stable, had to stay on top of 5g weekly water changes
30g - no sump, skimmer - pretty successful - weekly 5g changes
40g - sump, skimmer - v. successful - weekly 5g changes
60g (current) - no sump, no skimmer - ~80 mangroves in hob filters - weekly 5-10g change - most successful.

I'm sure you see the trend in my case, at least - the bigger, the better, the easier...
I currently have 22 gorgonians, several colonies of tubastrea, dendros, multiple rhizos, sclero... I broadcast feed at least a few times throughout the day...

do you plan to target feed? the reason i don't run a skimmer is with all of the micro sized foods i feed, it would just be going crazy, but I know that many others subcribe to their use. that said, many of my favorite nps - uhuru (no longer), aquabacs (no longer), and coltreef (just back on rc, yeah!) have much more sophisticated systems than mine.
you might want to consider a small skimmer, like the tunze nano... and I would suggest a big cuc - lots of hermits, lots of nassa and bumble bee snails, and lot of shrimp...
just my two cents, from my experiences :)
Look forward to seeing your progress!

Would really like to see your tank and set up. IMO, most of the NPS tank are systems like "little volume of show tank compared with refugium(total) volme" so that an extra high amount of food(enormous) can be dosed into the tank without any water quality issue as the total water volume has dilute it.(Just like it is in the natrual reef)