Nano Newbie

Discussion in 'Nano Tank advice' started by Mel, 25 Sep 2007.

  1. Mel

    Mel

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    :wave2:Good Morning!

    I was referred to this site from another site and hope you guys can help me (i'm sure you can!)

    I have a 100 Litre (26 US Gallon) tank and really really want to set it up as a Nano Reef.

    I have been doing a lot of reading. I am however still a bit confused as to what lighting to use.

    I have one of these black canopies on the tank. Can I still use it? What lighting system can I use?

    Also, I am planning on using LR, LS and Skimmer. Do I have to use a sump?

    Any comments/suggestions greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. DragonReef

    DragonReef

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    Hey Mel welcome to MASA.

    100 litres is a nice size for a Nano ;)

    Depending on what you want to keep as far as livestock goes, your best bet would be T5 lighting. On a tank like that 3 - 4 tubes will give you ample light. Those black plastic hoods are a bit of a problem though and I would recomend DIY'ing something.

    You don't have to use a sump, it makes life a lot easier though. If you have the space I would suggest considering a sump. If not you can still have a succesful tank without one.
     
  4. Mel

    Mel Thread Starter

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    :)Hi Dragon Reef, thanks for the welcome.

    I was a bit concerned that the tank might not be big enough but after all the reading I've done, I know it is.

    Where do I get the T5 lighting? Any LFS? The only good place I've found so far is Exotic in Boksburg North. Nothing close to home though (Vaal Triangle).

    You suggested DIY'ng something, any suggestions on how or what? I have no experience in that line!

    As far as live stock goes, i want mainly corals and then a couple of fish not really sure what corals yet though, not sure what would be advisable in the size tank.
     
  5. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Welcome Mel. I agree with what DragonReef said - BUT, I would just like to add - at some stage you would most likely want to add a sump (if you prefer to do this at a later stage, this is fine, but you will still most likely end up adding a sump in any case). It makes filtering MUCH better, you can have your skimmer running from the sump (either in-sump, external, or hang-on skimmer), as well as phosphate reactors, etc - I know this might sound like too much information at this stage, but perhaps you should read up / ask about these things - to enable you to make an informed decision - I wish I knew of web-sites like this one before I started my 1st saltware/marine tank..... I made MUCHO mistakes in the beginning)....

    I started with an "in-tank" internal filter (was a fresh-water aquariurist converted to marine). I used my f/water tank "as-is" in the beginning...... I then added a sump (extremely rudimentary sump). I started off with normal fluorescent T8 lamps (as per f/water), and just kept on adding T8 globes (until I had +-300 watt worth of lighting), I then bought my 1st metal halide......

    I then got a air-stone driven skimmer (Berlin type Red-Sea), and so it went on-and-on, and on....

    With this hobby improvements just never stop ;-)

    Good luck to you then. And please ASK before doing anything - nobody will think anything of it - EVERYONE here started at the same place as you are now!

    Cheers!
     
  6. Mel

    Mel Thread Starter

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    Thanks Jacquesb. Much appreciated. I must admit I felt a bit stupid asking these questions.

    I understand what you are saying about the sump and you are probably right about eventually getting one. I just don't really understand the concept yet, what is a sump, what do i need to set it up, how big must it be etc etc.....
     
  7. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    I would suggest to go ahead and ask..... myself, or someone else will explain.... and also most likely refer you to pictures of sumps, and designs, etc....

    To start off to give you a basic idea:
    a sump is a second "tank" that usually sits below your actual display tank. This 2nd "tank" is usually smaller than the display tank, and it contains your filtering materials, your skimmer, your biological filtering, your mchanical filtering, your chemical filtering, and then your return pump. So water is either pumped from your main display to this second tank, or the water flow is helped along by gravity, through a section in your main display called the "overflow" (I use a "pipe" into which the water flows from the main tank area (surface water), and this pipe then goes into the 1st "compartment" of my sump)....

    The sump is usually divided into multiple "sections" with pieces of glass, which is staggered in height from the bottom of this 2nd tank - where each piece of glass creates a new "compartment" within this "sump" - also, where each compartment can be used to house different filtering media, or perhaps the skimmer, etc...)

    The secondary use of a sump is to increase the amount of water for your aquarium. The more water you have, the more stable the water chemical balance in your tank. And this is ultimately what you aim for (VERY low or no nitrates, very low or no phosphates, no ammonia at all, no nitrites at all, etc)....

    Hope you have some idea now of what a sump is and is supposed to do?
     
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  8. Mel

    Mel Thread Starter

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    Yeah, thanks, that did help. i've also been reading up on it a bit. How big do you reckon a sump would have to be for my 100 Litre?

    What about a cover for my tank? DragonReef suggested DIY'ing something instead of using the black plastic canopy?
     
  9. Mel

    Mel Thread Starter

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    Sorry, another question.

    How much LR and how much LS would i need in the 100Ltr?
     
  10. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    The sump can be as big or small as you want it - most people just make it big enough to fit below the main display tank. If you want, you can have your sump in another cabinet, either next to the Nano, or somewhere else completely, only the length of the piping would make the difference, and the strength of the pumps....

    A lot of people don't close the top of their tanks at all. Also, a lot of the tanks I have seen, have the lighting suspended above the tanks, from cables or a structure of sorts....

    You can have a shielding cover to shield off the glare from the lights from the viewing angle, though. It means a "border" at the top of your tank, which is high enough that the lights can be hidden away behind it. If this is the case, then there are multiple ways of adding the lights - you can devise a sort of small bracket across the top of your tank, using either wood, or perhaps plastic tubing, and have the lights suspended off this, or perhaps lying on top of these brackets.... whatever your choice - you just need to decide how difficult/complicated you want to make it, or how easy/simple..... it can be as fancy as having a lighting bracket system where you can lift the lights or drop it according to your/your lifestock needs.

    Hope you understand...

    PS: that black plastic canopy would increase the heat of the tank/water once you have added a lot of lights/globes....
     
  11. Mel

    Mel Thread Starter

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    Thanks, I do understand that. Only problem I would have if I don't have any sort of cover on is .... I have cats! Are there any other options?
     
  12. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Live rock - I would say at least 15kg (but I think that one can never have enough).... I don't have NEAR enough for my tank yet - I have +-45kg at the moment - I should have closer to 100kg's....

    Life-sand: well this is a debate on it's own - some people say you should have a "Deep Sand Bed" (which means a sandy-substrate, at least 10 to 15 centimeters deep) - this can be in a compartment in your sump, in your tank, or both.... I have it in both my tank as well as sump. You should see the life that's currently growing in it! Amazing! Amphipods, copepods, worms, tiny brittle stars, snails, etc....
    So, I would say at least enough to cover the 1st few centimeters of your tank (probably +-20kg's or so)....

    Anyone else want to chip in here regarding the amount of life-rock and sand? I am going on my own experience/knowledge.....

    You must also decide on what you want to use as "sand"..... You get aragonite, find coral sand, bigger coral pieces (crushed coral), playsand (from I believe Toys-R-Us??), etc.....

    You do not generally buy "Live sand" - unless there is someone out there that actually does this (at a LFS)....

    Your sand would generally start out "dead" and then become populated by the critters from the life rock that you purchase...... And from the sea water that you use (if you use NSW - Natural Sea Water - and not synthetic salts to make up the water).....
     
  13. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    You can still use a cover of sorts - or you can even modify your "plastic hood cover" - to allow air through - perhaps build in a PC type fan to cool the lights off inside.

    You can still use some sort of bracket for the lights as well. T5 tubes are very thin (that's where the T5 comes from - from the thickness of the tube-design, I think), so you should still be able to get these in the hood - but you will have to modify the fittings, to get the tubes/balasts fitted..... your T5 uses an external balast, which should generally be outside - aways from the sea-water. Otherwise you might have some shocking experiences ;-)
     
  14. Mel

    Mel Thread Starter

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    Right, got that, thanks. Your help is really appreciated!

    I was thinking of crushed coral but have read that aragonite is better so now i don't know anymore!

    I assume the first step will be to set up the tank with skimmer etc and LR and LS???? that is what I have understood from what I've read, is it right?
     
  15. Mel

    Mel Thread Starter

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    I think I'm going to have to look into the cover options, the last thing I need is to get all excited and my cats decide to go swimming and fishing!
     
  16. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Regarding substrate - they suggest "sugar-fine" substrate (whichever option you choose). Aragonite "looks nice" because it's white. It does not offer any other specific value to the tank, as such. It's up to you what you want to use. Many reefkeepers use normal sea sand, others again use play-sand, many others use aragonite - then again - some reefers just believe to keep any sand out of the display all together....

    This decision also depends on what you want to keep in the end - if you want sand-sifting life-stock, e.g. gobies, or perhaps sea-cucumbers, or even some shrimps, then sugar-fine is definitely better. Even some wrasses "sleeps" below the sand-surface - so, once again - the finer the better. They say that to have your sand "alive" with macro critters, the sand also have to be smaller than 1.5 or 2mm in size..... I use sea-sand - so my sand differs from 0.5mm to 1mm in size. I have unbelievable macro critter populations.....
     
  17. Mel

    Mel Thread Starter

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    will def. go for the finer one then.

    once again, thanks for all your help and i know i will be bugging you again soon! :biggrin:
     
  18. Mel

    Mel Thread Starter

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    told you i'd be back soon! what corals are the best to keep in a nano?
     
  19. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Hi Mel - no problems. To start off with, I want to suggest getting your life-rock in your tank, with one or two hardy fish to cycle the tank decently (a few weeks or so). Then, once you have your lighting, and water-flow sorted out (as well as filtering, etc), you can start looking around for corals. There are some LPS corals as well as some soft-corals, that can survive nicely, and then later on thrive, in a nano.... I presume that you would want something colorful? Zoanthids (polyps) are reasonably hardy, and with some nice lighting and feeding they will thrive and cover a nice decent area..... Also something you can look at are "mushrooms" (corralimorphs). Then there are the leather soft-corals: i.e. sarcophyton species (mushroom or toad-stool leather), finger-leathers, pincushion leathers, etc....

    All of these should do quite nicely once your tank has stabilized......
     
  20. Mel

    Mel Thread Starter

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    thanks, will take that advice. So, just so I get this right, I should set up with LS and LR and add a couple of hardy fish (which are the best?) all at the same time?
     
  21. Tridan

    Tridan

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    Just thought i would add in, read a article on the net about live rock for the best result one third of your total tank volume should be made up by live rock.
     
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