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I seriously interested in changing my fluval 6g into a 6g reef tank. I don't know anything about it I'm a planted tank. I see salt mixes
How much and how often do I need to schedule a forumla to keep a great reef tank.
 

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Hi Bubba Shrimp
I had reef tanks for over 15 yrs and I would strongly suggest you invest in a larger tank if you want salt. The smaller the tank the more difficult it is to keep it stable.. In a 6 gallon tank you could prob only house one small fish and he wouldnt be happy. You would have to do water changes every week. For a reef tank to be successful in my opinion you would need a sump and its not worth it for a 6 gallon.
Good luck in what ever you decide to do.
patrick
 

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This is my 2.5 gal reef tank.
Very difficult to maintain!!! I agree.....bigger is way easier. I wouldn't suggest starting a salt tank less than 20 gallons as a first tank. I don't think it is much harder than a planted tank, you just need to be on the ball about water to offs.


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Im not trying to discourage you at all as a matter of fact I loved salt water but if youve never done salt water before a six gallon is going to be a real challenge for you. I suggest like the others you check out reef sites and ask how difficult it is and how much work it is. If your just doing low light soft corals that would make it much easier but if you want fish thats a whole different ball game. Once again Im not trying to discourage anyone just dealing with the realities of a new person dealing with a tiny tank
 

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My 2.5 has an aquaclear 70 hob filter on it. I have changed the media area around, and I grow macro algae in there. I also have a small light over the filter/hob refugium, that is on a reverse light cycle from the tank. Flow is important, and when the tank is so small, it's not easy to add a bunch of powerheads.

I have a couple of hermit crabs, a stomatella, and this guy in there.
 

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I will concur that if this is your first go at reef aquaria larger is easier. Having said that here are some tips for nano style hard and soft corals tanks.

First lets start with the water. You will want to use RO/DI (reverse osmosis/deionization) water unless your tap water is pristine and almost devoid of TDS (total dissolved solids). Depending on where you live your tap water probably isn't a good choice for a reef, especially a nano. You will also want to use a quality salt mix. I use Reef Crystals, mostly for the extra calcium and trace elements included in the mix. Expect to use about half a cup per gallon or so to obtain an specific gravity of 1.023 +/-. Note that your mileage may vary depending on how "salty" you need your water for the flora and fauna you plan to keep.

Second, filtering a reef nano. Water movement and your live rock provide all the filtering needed for long term. I recommend a bare bottom (no sand/substrate) for ease of maintenance. Sand/crushed coral etc. can be used but expect more maintenance time.

For water movement you want at least 10 times the tank volume per hour, more is better. In my own 8g nano I have a 425gph Korolia moving the water well. While canister filters are not recommended for reef aquariums (detritus trap/nitrate producer), I am running one empty (no media/no pads/Fluv 106) with a surface extracter for surface scum removal and as a place to use carbon and GFO (Granulated Ferris Oxide) for toxin/PH4 (phosphorous) removal as needed. Because a canister filter is a nitrate factory expect to clean the filter once a week at minimum if you go this route.

You will want at least 1lb of cured live rock per gallon for a nano reef. Depending on the sizes and shapes for your particular setup, slightly more or slightly less will suffice. For a larger reef tanks, 2lbs of rock per gallon is the generally accepted rule.

Third, lighting. You are going to want 3 to 5 watts of conventional HO T5 lighting per gallon generally speaking depending on the corals you wish to keep. For a nano setup LED lighting is highly recommended because of the minimal heat transfer.

Your main concerns are Lumens (brightness/intensity, roughly speaking) and Kelvin (color temperature). For lumens, more is always better and for color, 10000K (bright-white) for excellent fast soft/stony coral growth, 14000K (bright-bluish-white) for color "pop" and great growth, and 20000K (bright, deeper-water, mostly blue) for slower coral growth and more phosphorescent "pop". All generally speaking of course.

Your photo period will need to be 8 to 10 hours depending on the flora/fauna and your particular light setup/color.

Fourth, maintenance. This is the major drawback of a nano. Because a nanos resistance to changes is minimal (small water volume), and with water parameter consistency of paramount importance, small frequent water changes/vacuuming are to be expected. This will depend on the amount of rock/corals/fish/inverts you have, and your feeding quantities. Your goal here is detritus/nitrate removal on a frequent basis and trace element replenishment.

Fifth, the animals. Corals wage physical and chemical war for space, some releasing toxins, or have "sweeper" tentacles that sting and some even employ an over-shadowing (depriving light) technique. Keep this in mind when mixing different varieties and research your chosen specimens well. For nanos it is recommended that you stick to one kind or the other to avoid these problems, i.e all softies or mostly LPS/SPS (stony). With the limited water volume of a nano toxins released can build quickly so just be aware of the situation.

Fish, the more fish you have in a nano, the more maintenance you will need to preform. One or two small fish are acceptable, make sure to research reef compatibility, no coral eating butterflies please. ;)

To sum up, four main rules.
1) Keep it clean.
2) Don't overstock.
3) Maintain water consistency, small changes only.
4) Keep it clean.
 
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