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cedwards04
07/31/2017, 12:45 PM
I am looking for advice and suggestions on setting up a small fowlr type aquarium for my 3 yr old daughter and i to enjoy. Ive had freshwater tanks in the past, and always wanted a reef tank. My wife has 0 interest in the idea, but my daughter appears to have developed a lot of interest in it. She is glued to every aquarium she sees and we have to drag her away.

I would love to set up a small tank in her room, (i know, not the best idea for a beginner). My wifes biggest concern is that she will get stuck doing all the maintenance, so part of this experiment is to prove i will care for it myself and move to a bigger tank.

Im thinking something in the 10-30 gallon range, as simple and budget friendly as possible to give me the best chance at convincing the wife to try it. Maybe an all in one type tank, or even just a small cheap 10g tank and add a hob skimmer? I dont have a set budget in mind. Honestly, i have the resources to spend whatever is needed, the budget friendly part is strictly to get her on board.

Im thinking small, simple, maybe 1-2 fish, 3 at most. It would be a way to start teaching my daughter responsibility, and give us some bonding time (of course it will be high enough that she cannot reach it on her own, and anchored well to wall studs). Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

ahuaia
07/31/2017, 12:51 PM
I would go with a biocub that has everything already. And the biggest one you can get away with so you can get cooler fish and what not.

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ahuaia
07/31/2017, 12:53 PM
Are you planning on any coral?

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ReefWreak
07/31/2017, 01:00 PM
I'd say go with a 10g or 20 gallon long tank, and 5-10lb of liverock, a handful of snails, and a bag of sand. For a smaller tank, it's probably most convenient for you to buy Catalina or whatever the brand is pre-made saltwater from Petco (or buy water from the LFS if you have jugs). Then just remember to buy quality RO/DI water from the supermarket or LFS for topoffs.

You'll still want a heater, hydrometer, hose, a powerhead (korallia nano should be fine), a PAR38 light, or some other inexpensive "reef lighting" on ebay (just be prepared to throw it in the trash if you ever decide to actually start growing corals).

Your struggle with keeping the tank simple is going to be keeping the rocks free of algae. It'll be tough since they're family fishes that people will want to feed too often. Hopefully the snails will keep the algae off the rocks, and you'll keep the algae off the glass.

You'd probably want to look into a automatic top-off, since that'll be your most-frequent maintenance other than feeding the fishes, but fish are pretty tolerant of salinity changes.

Other than that, I think starting a new tank should be pretty simple. I know I paniced when setting up my current tank, since it had been a long time since starting new. Just remember that only bad things happen quickly, so it's best to clearly identify an issue you're having, do some solid research on reefcentral and/or google, ask questions as necessary, then make changes from there, with a plan going forward.

I started writing this with "easy, this should be simple and a simple setup" but then I realized how complicated even the most simple tank is...

cedwards04
07/31/2017, 01:09 PM
My current thoughts are fish and live rock only, with a clean up crew of some sort to assist with maintenance. I may add coral in the future but most likely if i got to that point i would be going to a bigger tank.

As far as feeding goes, my plan is to keep the food out of sight/reach of my daughter, and only give her the amount she is allowed to drop into the tank. I know with it being a small tank that bad things can happen fast so i will be highly supervising her every move. I have been a member here a long time, and spent hours and hours reading and learning, but after she was born i found myself with a lot less time on my hands and have forgotten a lot of what i had learned. Thanks for all the replies and advice!

five.five-six
07/31/2017, 01:19 PM
If you really want to do it on the cheep, might consider useing dead rock and an undergravel filter for fish only tank.

Your No3 levels well be way too high for inverts but most fish seem to be fine with levels to 25ppm and above.

MreasyC
07/31/2017, 02:41 PM
Buy a An innovative marine 10g or 20g. Nuvo fusion tank. They are all in one tanks.


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Cesar357
07/31/2017, 05:33 PM
I remember doing this for my son, 14 years ago or so. It was the greatest. I got him a cheap 20g glass tank. Bought a hang on filter. LR and PC light fixture. PC was the in thing. Got him some LS and began our journey. It was very economical. It got a little crazy when I did more research and got into coral.

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neacewood
07/31/2017, 05:39 PM
+1 on the biocube very good all in one beginners tank


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cedwards04
07/31/2017, 09:31 PM
I remember doing this for my son, 14 years ago or so. It was the greatest. I got him a cheap 20g glass tank. Bought a hang on filter. LR and PC light fixture. PC was the in thing. Got him some LS and began our journey. It was very economical. It got a little crazy when I did more research and got into coral.

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This is along the lines that i am thinking. If i have live sand/rock, i wont need a filter correct? Maybe just a hob skimmer? Im thinking one of the cheap 10/20/29 gallon "kits" from walmart or whatever that will have a tank, hood, light, heater, and filter all included. I figure ditch the filter and run a hob skimmer.

Cesar357
07/31/2017, 11:02 PM
This is along the lines that i am thinking. If i have live sand/rock, i wont need a filter correct? Maybe just a hob skimmer? Im thinking one of the cheap 10/20/29 gallon "kits" from walmart or whatever that will have a tank, hood, light, heater, and filter all included. I figure ditch the filter and run a hob skimmer.
Personally I would do a hang on filter. You can run carbon inside the back chamber. I had heart success with a hang on power filter for like 2 years until I decided to get a skimmer. I used the aqua clear hang on. The medium size one. Cant remember the number. Could've been the 70. But it worked wonderful. Lights? I would do something like an LED fixture. Nothing to fancy of yippy really don't plan coral. But you know we all come down with the coral fever after a few months

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Cesar357
07/31/2017, 11:03 PM
Personally I would do a hang on filter. You can run carbon inside the back chamber. I had great success with a hang on power filter for like 2 years until I decided to get a skimmer. I used the aqua clear hang on. The medium size one. Cant remember the number. Could've been the 70. But it worked wonderful. Lights? I would do something like an LED fixture. Nothing to fancy of yippy really don't plan coral. But you know we all come down with the coral fever after a few months

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Ryan Darilek
08/01/2017, 12:50 AM
I'm +1 on the Biocube bandwagon as well. If you go with a Biocube 32, it comes stock with LED lights that are strong enough for a lot of corals (not SPS though). Here's my BC32 that's all stock minus the lights... And it's a great little tank! https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170801/7adf56ba75ca7700fdd7069b31ac29b4.jpg

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cedwards04
08/01/2017, 09:47 AM
Small update to the situation. I remembered i had bought my dad a 12 gallon all in one around 8 years ago (dont remember the brand). I know he took it down when he moved and never set it back up. He still has it and has agreed to let me use it.

My next question may seem dumb, but im going to ask it anyway. I live on the gulf coast, and have a large offshore fishing boat. Would it be a bad idea to run out, say 20 miles or so, and collect some natural sand/water, and use that in the tank? The wife informed me last night she would like to have it set up for after her first day of school, which is in 2 weeks. I was hoping to set it up hidden in another room to cycle it, and then show it to her once it was ready for fish. But 2 weeks doesnt give ne enough cycle time. I am hoping if i can use natural sand/water that maybe i can safely speed up the cycling process??

ReefWreak
08/01/2017, 10:25 AM
Sand I don't think you can legally collect, not to mention I believe the gulf coast (on the FL side, where I've spent time anyway) is the side where all of the detritus collects, not washes away from, so you probably wouldn't want to use sand that is filled with ocean detritus.

The water is fine, and legal to collect, and actually is probably a very good option to help kickstart if not complete the cycle for you. I'd recommend using it for future water changes too. That being said, like anything in this hobby, using fresh ocean water is contentious... Some people say you'll pick up diseases, you'll pick up pollutants, etc. Just pull the water from below the surface, and if you really want to play it safe, use a micron sock to filter it before putting it into the tank, though I'd prefer the raw water for the beneficial microorganisms.

Setting it up in another room will be problematic to move it again without causing issues in the cycle or it just being a heavy pain. I'd recommend setting it up in her room and hiding it under a box or something (though I guess temperature and oxygenation could be an issue... get creative?

Don't rush the cycle, but 2 weeks with live rock and ocean water (I'd get extra water and do a water change every week while cycling) should make it reasonable to add fishes. Pick up an ammonia alert badge just in case and for your peace of mind. I'd also recommend you either ask the LFS to quarantine the fishes you're buying (and for them to start now), or you buy them and quarantine them separately at home, in a bucket or something, while the tank cycles. Something to think about (though I guess QT isn't as big a deal when they're the only fishes in an empty tank.

cedwards04
08/01/2017, 10:37 AM
That works for me. No more sand than i will need for a 12 gal tank, its probably not worth the trouble anyway. I may have to skip the live rock for now and just use live sand and run a filter.

cedwards04
08/01/2017, 12:08 PM
A friend of mine has some dry sand and rock left over from his tank that he is going to give me, the local fish store has agreed to give me a scoop of live sand to get things kick started.

Would i benefit at all in cycle time from using nsw over premixed saltwater from the fish store? Really hoping i can have this thing ready for a fish or 2 in 2 weeks. Am i wishful thinking or can i SAFELY make this happen. I do not want to take a risk that could set me up for failure.

ReefWreak
08/01/2017, 01:02 PM
I think 2 weeks isn't unreasonable. Honestly, coming here and asking that question, you're still ahead of 8/10 people who start a saltwater aquarium. It's sad to think about, but I'm fairly convinced the vast majority of people starting the hobby buy a tank, some salt, and 2 fish from Petco, take it home, and experience failure and never try it again.

Between the two, maybe NSW will help the cycle more, but I doubt it matters much. If worse comes to worse, you can always get a sponge/air filter that will quickly reduce ammonia to nitrate, and/or you can have some Seachem Prime on hand in case ammonia spikes, you should also pick up an Ammonia Alert badge if you're worried.

cedwards04
08/01/2017, 01:07 PM
Ok, I'll give it a try and see what happens. I suppose if my ammonia spikes i can do frequent water changes to help offset it? I'll plan to have plenty of extra saltwater on hand incase things go south. I wish i could have gotten the ok from the wife a month ago, this would be a lot less stressful on me haha.

krkosiba
08/01/2017, 02:19 PM
Get yourself an all in one tank. I started with a jbj 28gal advanced. The tank has followed me the last 6 years of my life. It has also taking me from beginner level to more advanced. What is nice about any all in one is you can run them stock (as is) or throw about as much cool equipment as you want at them. I recently set my 28 back up 4 months ago.

krkosiba
08/01/2017, 02:45 PM
If you do go all in one...particularly the 28 jbj cube don't hesitate to ask a questions on here or reach out to me. I hope setting a tank for your daughter and getting your wife on board works out. It's a great hobby.

royy13
08/01/2017, 11:01 PM
I started my tank with NSW and it did not speed up the cycle process. Took about 4 weeks. You can try adding the bacteria that they sell at the LFS.

Good luck

Skyjacker07
08/02/2017, 08:04 AM
Already live rock helped me, and the live sand as well; I started with a 20g long and had a fowlr tank for 6 mos to a year; then picked up a all in one, and have ran that for over a year now.

cedwards04
08/02/2017, 05:18 PM
Well i picked up the free 12 gallon tank today. Turns out its in pretty rough shape, probably too rough to use. I dont mind the aesthetics part of it, but there are some cracks in the acrylic that make me scared it may bust. I guess im buying a tank now, oh well.

bradleyv1714
08/03/2017, 02:39 AM
I'm +1 on the Biocube bandwagon as well. If you go with a Biocube 32, it comes stock with LED lights that are strong enough for a lot of corals (not SPS though). Here's my BC32 that's all stock minus the lights... And it's a great little tank! https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170801/7adf56ba75ca7700fdd7069b31ac29b4.jpg

Sent from my SM-G955U using TapatalkWhat are the lights that you have in there now?

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bradleyv1714
08/03/2017, 03:46 AM
Well i picked up the free 12 gallon tank today. Turns out its in pretty rough shape, probably too rough to use. I dont mind the aesthetics part of it, but there are some cracks in the acrylic that make me scared it may bust. I guess im buying a tank now, oh well.Try Craigslist or offer up for a tank.

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Ryan Darilek
08/03/2017, 08:02 AM
What are the lights that you have in there now?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using TapatalkI went with Steve's LED's 14k retrofit kit. Very happy with them!

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cedwards04
08/03/2017, 04:29 PM
I ended up purchasing a 20 gallon "kit" from walmart. Came with the tank, lid, led lights, and a hob filter. My dad has a spare hob filter that came off his 55gal that may be a little more powerful if i need more flow.

Im thinking there really isnt much mount in having a filter cartridge in there is it? Im thinking i only need to run it for the water flow. Im i thinking correctly or should i use the filter that came with it?

cedwards04
08/04/2017, 03:16 PM
Picked up a fluval cp2 powerhead today to give me a little better circulation. Do i even need to hob filter at all since i will have sand/rock as the natural filtration?

cedwards04
08/05/2017, 07:43 AM
Went to the lfs last night and got some premixed saltwater and fresh ro/di water. They also gave me a scoop of live sand which ended up having a snail in it once i got it home. Got everything in the tank but unfortunately it appears the heater i have does not work, so back to the store i go.

Cesar357
08/17/2017, 08:52 PM
20 gallon kit from Wal-Mart is good. I would definitely remove the ceramic things that come in that hang on filter (if it comes with). Those can be a problem. Nitrate factories. Did you say it comes with LED lights?

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cedwards04
08/19/2017, 10:05 PM
Tank has been going for about 3 weeks now. I had the water tested at the lfs and they said i was good to go so we added 2 green chromis and a blue damsel, plus a few small crabs, snails, and a cleaner shrimp. So far everything is going great. I did a 30% water change a few days after adding the fish.

I am only using the hob as a way to break the water surface and aid in circulation, i do not have any filters in it at all. I am also using a fluval powerhead to circulate the water, it seems to be working well. Yes the tank came with built in led lights, although i would doubt they would be effective at growing corral. I wish they would bc it would be nice to add some color.

cedwards04
08/20/2017, 11:19 AM
Testing a new way to upload images, so if this works, here is a picture of the tank currently

https://s28.postimg.org/sabzoflnx/20170819_202230.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/nboh9whux/)