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5.5-10 gallon invert reef
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TJ
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Joined: 26 Sep 2005

PostPosted: 2006.07.05(Wed)10:17    Post subject: 5.5-10 gallon invert reef Reply with quote

For now, I don't have much space so I would like to do a small 5.5-10 gallon AGA invert only reef. I have a couple of questions:

1. Would it be difficult to find lighting and hoods for a 5.5 gallon AGA tank?
2. What type of lighting should I use?
3. Should I purchase a small skimmer or is live rock and a 25% water change every 2 weeks OK?
4. How deep should a sand bed be?
5. Should I use live sand or is there another kind of sand that is better?
6. Stock: 1 Cleaner shrimp, 1 small crab(Strawberry?), 3 dwarf zebra hermits and 3-6 astraea conewheads. Too many for a 5.5 gallon? Please comment on amounts.

Thanks in advance
-TJ
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perfectblue
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Joined: 01 Jan 2005
Location: MN

PostPosted: 2006.07.05(Wed)21:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

1.) Hoods and lighting for a 5.5 gallon is easy to find, but if you want to turn the tank into a reef than finding adequate lighting can be a little more difficult. What type and wattage light fixture were you thinking of purchasing? If you can't find a fixture that fits your needs than a retrofit kit installed in a canopy is probably your best bet imo.

2.) Well it depends on what you would like to keep in your tank. If you are not planning on keeping corals then a simple Normal Output fluorescent fixture would do the job. If you want to keep some coral I would invest in PowerCompact lighting as that would allow you to keep softies, and maybe a couple LPS.

3.) For a invert only tank I really don't see the need for a skimmer, especially for this size of a tank. Sufficient amount of live rock, and a couple small powerheads and you are ready to go. You could use a small HOB filter as that would give you the option of using carbon if you wanted as well as some surface agitation. I like to use around 1lb of live rock per gallon of tank.

4.) It depends on what you want. Are you going for a deep sandbed or just enough to look aesthetically pleasing? I personally prefer to have a sandbed of no deeper than 1.5" in smaller tanks.

5.) I personally think that live sand is a waste of money, as overtime the live rock will seed any type of sand basically making it "live". I would just use any aquarium sand, or I believe you could even use washed playsand.

6.) The amounts sound alright but you might want to add different varieties of snails for your cleanup crew. If you do go with a small Crab I would choose one that is reef safe. I have had my Strawberry Crab for about 8-9 months now and he is a very interesting invertebrate. He is mostly nocturnal but he sometimes scurries across the sandbed when the lights are on. Hermit crabs are somewhat disliked by a lot of saltwater hobbyists because they have the tendency to kill other hermits either because there are not enough extra shells or they are hungary. My advice would be to have plenty of extra shells and make sure that get fed. Dwarf Zebra hermits from what I've read seem to be the most predatory but I have no personal experience with keeping them so I can't say for sure. I chose Scarlet Reef hermits because they seem to be the least predatory of the hermits. I would have a variety of snails to make up your cleanup crew. I prefer Astraea, Margarita, Cerith, and Nassarius snails but there are others to choose from.

Good luck and if you have anymore questions just ask.
Smile
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TJ
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Joined: 26 Sep 2005

PostPosted: 2006.07.06(Thu)8:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the help!
1-2. "What type and wattage light fixture were you thinking of purchasing?"
I am sorry, I have NO idea about salt water lighting, so much to choose from! Wink If you could suggest a good one with a link, that would be great. I don't plan on keeping an expensive corals. I mainly like polyps and fan worms(Not coral but still require good light?). What light should I have for them.
3. I don't think I will do the filter. 2 small powerheads would be fine.
4-5. 1.5 inches sounds good. I guess I will just get the sand I used for my freshwater tanks at my LFS.
6. Are strawberry crabs reef safe? Did you purchase your online? If so, please give me a link to where you bought your crab. I would like to get some blue hermit crabs but if they are kilers, I will get scarlet. I do plan on upgrading to a 20 gallon long or a 29 if this tank does well and this tank can be quarintine for the upgrade. Will these inverts be OK with fish like firefish, clown gobies and occelaris clowns?
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wozza
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Joined: 26 May 2006

PostPosted: 2006.07.06(Thu)9:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi tj I think this lighting unit would be good for you.
http://www.1st4aquatics.com/index.asp?function=DISPLAYCAT&catid=175
you would have to fit it in the hood your self but its the most compact and powerfull youll get with out spending loadsa cash
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perfectblue
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PostPosted: 2006.07.06(Thu)10:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

TJ wrote:

I am sorry, I have NO idea about salt water lighting, so much to choose from! Wink If you could suggest a good one with a link, that would be great. I don't plan on keeping an expensive corals. I mainly like polyps and fan worms(Not coral but still require good light?). What light should I have for them.


If you wanted to keep low light corals such as Zoas, Mushrooms, etc I would suggest a PowerCompact fixture as I stated before. Are you looking for a fixture or a retrofit kit?

56watt PC fixture: http://www.hamiltontechnology.com/shop/index.php?task=show&cat=16%27%27+Deluxe+Compact+Fluorescents

28watt PC retrofit: http://www.aquabuys.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=28w_diy_retro&Category_Code=d9&Product_Count=2

2x28watt PC retrofit: http://hellolights.com/2xbalkit1.html

32watt PC retrofit: http://www.aquabuys.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=smartpaq_32w_14&Category_Code=d3&Product_Count=0

36watt PC retrofit: http://www.aquabuys.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=jli_36w_pc_retro&Category_Code=d9&Product_Count=0

With all these various lights you should be able to successfully keep most low light corals.

TJ wrote:
6. Are strawberry crabs reef safe? Did you purchase your online? If so, please give me a link to where you bought your crab. I would like to get some blue hermit crabs but if they are kilers, I will get scarlet.


I have kept my Strawberry crab with corals(Zoas, Mushrooms, Capnella, etc), inverts, and small fish without a problem. From what I've read they are reef safe, and no I bought mine locally but Saltwaterfish.com I think sells them. With Hermits crabs make sure you have plenty of extra shells, and they get enough food to eat and you should be fine.
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TJ
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PostPosted: 2006.07.06(Thu)10:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think I want retrofit. Its my first tank and I want an easy, not to much matinance tank. I have a 5.5 gallon AGA hood, it can only have 1 bulb though. I have the hood but I need a light fixture for it, if thats possible.

Since you said zoa coral multiplies, I think I may want to start a colony along with polyps and a fan worm. Can you show me a light fixture and bulb that will be good for those three? I don't care if I need a hood or not.
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perfectblue
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Joined: 01 Jan 2005
Location: MN

PostPosted: 2006.07.06(Thu)12:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

TJ wrote:

Since you said zoa coral multiplies, I think I may want to start a colony along with polyps and a fan worm. Can you show me a light fixture and bulb that will be good for those three? I don't care if I need a hood or not.


For Zoas I would recommend either the 32 or 36watt PC retrofit kit that you could probably install into the hood. That would get you the best light for the money imo. The 28watt fixture I showed you would work for your tank but is a little overpriced imo but you wouldn't have to mess with wiring. I'm sure others will chime in with their opinion on lighting.
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TJ
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Joined: 26 Sep 2005

PostPosted: 2006.07.06(Thu)13:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not worried about price for the lighting. Just level of difficulty. What ever is the easiest system for a beginner wanting to make a 5.5 gallon nano I'm fine with. BTW: I would like a light that Xenia, Polyps and fan worms can do well under.
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TJ
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Joined: 26 Sep 2005

PostPosted: 2006.07.11(Tue)15:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

~BUMP~ Can someone please answer my question in my above post? Thank you.
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sirreal63
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Joined: 21 Feb 2004
Location: Meadowlakes, TX

PostPosted: 2006.07.11(Tue)17:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forget the two words nano and easy, you are about to start on one of the hardest tanks to keep healthy and growing. Nothing about a nano is easy long term and if you are not into doing this long term then please rething doing it at all.
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