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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know most of this forum is all about planted tanks and I may or may not get any info on this, but figured I'd ask. My wife wants to convert a 6 gal fluval edge to a little saltwater setup with some coral and seahorse and maybe a goby or two.. What changes do I need to make and additions do I need to get this going? I've read a lot but keep getting conflicting Info, do I need live rock, a protein skimmer, sump or any of that other stuff for such a small setup? And also, I can't seem to find any decent clip on or led style lighting that works for actinic or coral growth on such a small scale. Any salt people out there that can point me in the right direction? Filter, lighting, powerhead etc.. Thanks a bunch.

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If you want to keep seahorses it is recommended that is all you keep with them no fish due to some fish have a tendancy to harrass them or out compete them for food.

It is also not recommended to keep corals in with seahorses either due to most coral depending on type can sting the horses and even possibly kill them due to the confined area of a tank.

I personally wouldn't run that small of a tank with corals anyway due to i find the nano type tanks very unstable *personal opinion had a 28gallon nano gave me nothing but problems*

If you do weekly water changes *maybe more depending on feeding habits and bio load* you won't need a skimmer for that size tank.

I would put a bit of live rock in for bio filtration and for aqua scaping

Sump i like sumps but once again with that small of a size it is impractible you could go with a small canister or HOB filter.

Lighting I am not sure i have DIY LED setup from Rapid LED haven't dealt with that small of a tank.

I hope this gives you some help if you need any further info let me know
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you want to keep seahorses it is recommended that is all you keep with them no fish due to some fish have a tendancy to harrass them or out compete them for food.

It is also not recommended to keep corals in with seahorses either due to most coral depending on type can sting the horses and even possibly kill them due to the confined area of a tank.

I personally wouldn't run that small of a tank with corals anyway due to i find the nano type tanks very unstable *personal opinion had a 28gallon nano gave me nothing but problems*

If you do weekly water changes *maybe more depending on feeding habits and bio load* you won't need a skimmer for that size tank.

I would put a bit of live rock in for bio filtration and for aqua scaping

Sump i like sumps but once again with that small of a size it is impractible you could go with a small canister or HOB filter.

Lighting I am not sure i have DIY LED setup from Rapid LED haven't dealt with that small of a tank.

I hope this gives you some help if you need any further info let me know
Thanks for the info, so besides live rock and a sea horse or two what else would be compatible in that small of enclosure? And as far as filtration, I'm assuming the stock filter that comes with the tank would be too small or incompatible with a salt water setup, so are there any types you would recommend? Would it be better to use an hob, or possibly do a cannister with small powerhead, or maybe even an in tank setup..

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You could put in some hermit crabs and snails for clean up crew, some macro algae for the horses to grab on to, possibly a serpant star

the HOB filter that came with might be capable of supporting it not sure what it came with.
 

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My 29 gallon nano cube was amazing and very easy to keep and as long as you kept only soft coral like mushrooms you would be fine with seahorses and dwarf pipe fish. Macro algae look better with seahorses such as the weedy but great looking caulerpa species. Lots of good quality live rock and live sand are important in a small system and I ran a good protein skimmer one time per week for 4 hrs. The most important thing is to not skimp on the quality of the live rock and sand as this will be the foundation of the entire filteration system. Check out GARF website it is a great one for reefs. What kind of seahorses makes a big difference as well wild caught are only going to eat live food and need several small feedings per day and most likely will need treated for worms and other protozoa or they will slowly starve and die as most do in captivity and the more expensive captive bred ones will take frozen foods and be free from those troubles. Some of the dwarf pipefish are just as amazing and a bit easier to train to eat brine shrimp directs micro pearls. The blue line dwarf pipefish are beautiful but only get a male and female as two males will spar and kill one another. No matter what you choose you can do it as long as you do the after care and treatments if needed. Small tanks are better for them as the tanks spoil quickly with the amount of live food you must use and very low flow. Seahorses are super lazy and will starve if enough food doent pass right in front of their noses.
 

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Unless dwarfs, a seahorse will not live in a 6 gallon tank, period. Please do your research on the seahorse forum. They all get huge, with exception to a couple extremely hard to find and expensive types. 12+ inches. They also need to eat frequently, and the water quality in that small of a tank will quickly become compromised. If she wants to still do a coral and nano tank, you can have a very easy to maintain set up with beautiful corals, small inverts like a couple sexy shrimp or small crabs like a pom pom crab. And stick with tiny nano fish. I can give some good suggestions.
 

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I spent 13 years on the SW side of the hobby. I started when most of the skimmers used were air-driven and EuroReef skimmers were the new thing and left when the top-of-the line skimmers came with payment booklets. I also bought wild-caught seahorses when they were $25, and dwarves at $5. The opinions above are all valid and correct. Mixing horses and corals will for the most part end in failure. Seahorses belong in species-specific tanks. While a piece of live rock certainly won't do any harm, too much works against you as it will trap the copious amounts of food these animals let go by. It's already been said here: they are lazy, deliberate, ambush predators that come from an environment where food is always plentiful. As simple set up with minimal rock, and some macro algae works best for these guys, and yes dwarves are about all you should consider in a nano. The small specimens the stores are selling now are juveniles that have been raised in pens and lagoons in Vietnam. Very few are truly captive raised in aquarium-type scenarios. So that small of a tank is just wrong for an animal that matures to the full height of the tank. Nano SW tanks can be incredibly well-done and there is an entire discussion forum dedicated to them and others have nano sub-forums. Folks have even had success with SPS in nanos. But horses and corals in a nano really don't work.
 

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A nano can be a pretty tank but they can also be very difficult to maintain. The main reason for that is that "we" the SW tank owner start to see things we want, and often buy them. Only to find out that that small tank can not sustain the expensive, fish or coral we just bought. We also do not stick to a good regiment of tank maintenance, which can wreck havoc on a SW environment. Then we over stock the tank, placing more pressure on the inhabitants of the tank. .

Anyway, there are several forums you should check out: www.nano-reef.com and Reef central are probably the best places to get info and help with SW tanks. As cor coral and seahorses, that we definitely look nice, but why not try Mushrooms, Zoas, ricordia (soft corals) a nice chalice, star polyps, maybe a hammer coral, these are some of the corals you may be able to keep. You can also try a cherub, Centropyge Argii, a goby/pistol shrimp combo, Bangaii Cardinals, Mandarins (a very psychedelic fish), green chromis. box fish, peppermint shrimp. Please don't put all this in that small tank at the same time, lol. Just be moderate in what you put in there. Think about the inhabitants.

Here's some lights you may be able to use:
http://twilightgroups.en.alibaba.co...ANO_Tank_36w_NANO_Reef_LED_Led_Spot_Lamp.html

And a example of a nice 6g tank:
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/126382333263152619/

As for filteration, you can get a small/nano skimmer, but I'm not sure if that will be to much. Probably not, it depends on your bio load. I'll post some info on that next ok. You can also build a mini sump that can hold a skimmer. Let me see and I'll post a example of that too.

Anyway,

good luck, holla if you need help.

Rev
 

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No way, please do not give advice to keep a mandarin in a 6 gallon tank! = one dead beautiful fish.
The angel, BOXFISH{HUGE}, cardinals also get big, and most gobys who host with shrimps are way too large for this tank. With exception to something like Randall's or white ray goby. All are jumpers!

When I say tiny nano fish I mean tiny. Like greenbanded goby, tailspot blenny, there are others. Some difficult to find and expensive. Some must be kept in a nano, as with the tiniest of gobies, the rare trimma or flaming prawn goby.

I kept this 12 gal nano going for years without a hitch, even moving it.


Trimma goby on back wall right

greenbanded goby

pistol
 

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I had two saltwater tank and the small one was 17g. With 6 gallon you can really do much besides corals and one maybe two fish, like clown goby or something smaller. You can have couple of shrimps and snails. You don't need protein skimmer nor sump, tank is too small, just 15-20% weekly water change. Personally I wouldn't do that small of a tank for saltwater, just cant do much with it.
 

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No way, please do not give advice to keep a mandarin in a 6 gallon tank! = one dead beautiful fish.
The angel, BOXFISH{HUGE}, cardinals also get big, and most gobys who host with shrimps are way too large for this tank. With exception to something like Randall's or white ray goby. All are jumpers!

When I say tiny nano fish I mean tiny. Like greenbanded goby, tailspot blenny, there are others. Some difficult to find and expensive. Some must be kept in a nano, as with the tiniest of gobies, the rare trimma or flaming prawn goby.
I have to agree with most of the advice people are giving in this thread. As for keeping a mandarin in a 6 gallon tank I agree with Waterfaller it's a horrible idea. These fish are specialized feeders and need to be in a fully mature tank with plenty of copepods and amphipods for them to eat. I'm not a huge fan of the whole nano reef idea especially for someone just starting in the reef side of the hobby. While it can be done a nano reef is best done by those that have experience in reefing first. Keeping corals in a tiny box of water under 30 gal. is something that should be left to the advanced saltwater aquarist.
 

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i have to agree with most of the advice people are giving in this thread. As for keeping a mandarin in a 6 gallon tank i agree with waterfaller it's a horrible idea. These fish are specialized feeders and need to be in a fully mature tank with plenty of copepods and amphipods for them to eat. I'm not a huge fan of the whole nano reef idea especially for someone just starting in the reef side of the hobby. While it can be done a nano reef is best done by those that have experience in reefing first. Keeping corals in a tiny box of water under 30 gal. Is something that should be left to the advanced saltwater aquarist.
+1...
 

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If you are truly wanting to move to saltwater hit craigslist and find a 29g biocube. That is the easiest way to keep a SW tank. I loved mine while I had it. Decided to go larger and it was a huge mistake.

The biocubes are completely contained and easily kept with nothing more than water changes. There are upgrades I would recommend depending on what you are going to do with it, but it will allow you to keep quite a few fish, and it will support most corals. Once I did the Steve's LED upgrade to mine, I kept both SPS and LPS in it with ease.

Anything smaller imho would drive you crazy once you realize all the things you can't keep in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all of the great advice and after reading a book two days ago and then coming to the forum today, what I have ready has been verified by your info. What I will most likely do from this point is do more research on individual species. What I am leaning towards after that research would be soft coral, mushroom etc, live rock, live sand, hermit crab or two and maybe a snail with a single goby. Also thinking if running filter less and allowing the tank to be completely natural with the live rock and sand doing its job. Would Def need a lighting upgrade and two power heads, one on each side. And a better heater, as the one I currently have can't be trusted.. I'm scrapping the seahorse idea all together. Thanks again for everyone's input and be assured I am not one of those people that buys on a whim and throws stuff together without researching. I just like getting other people's perspective.

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Thanks for all of the great advice and after reading a book two days ago and then coming to the forum today, what I have ready has been verified by your info. What I will most likely do from this point is do more research on individual species. What I am leaning towards after that research would be soft coral, mushroom etc, live rock, live sand, hermit crab or two and maybe a snail with a single goby. Also thinking if running filter less and allowing the tank to be completely natural with the live rock and sand doing its job. Would Def need a lighting upgrade and two power heads, one on each side. And a better heater, as the one I currently have can't be trusted.. I'm scrapping the seahorse idea all together. Thanks again for everyone's input and be assured I am not one of those people that buys on a whim and throws stuff together without researching. I just like getting other people's perspective.

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Bravo!
Nanos are awesome. You'll find that to be the true. In the case you propose, I'll just offer some thoughts and suggestions:

Pay close attention to how you'll deal with topping off. There are lots of solutions, hi and lo tech and they can be tinkered with and tested before you even set up the tank.

Get simple timers for the powerheads and alternate them in terms of on/off cycles. 24/7 unidirectional waterflow is not what you want to achieve and can affect coral growth and movement in much the same way as lighting.

Your scenario will be highly dependant on your water change regimen, possibly entirely. So put lots of thought and planning into it as measurements in a nano are easily affected.

Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Bravo!
Nanos are awesome. You'll find that to be the true. In the case you propose, I'll just offer some thoughts and suggestions:

Pay close attention to how you'll deal with topping off. There are lots of solutions, hi and lo tech and they can be tinkered with and tested before you even set up the tank.

Get simple timers for the powerheads and alternate them in terms of on/off cycles. 24/7 unidirectional waterflow is not what you want to achieve and can affect coral growth and movement in much the same way as lighting.

Your scenario will be highly dependant on your water change regimen, possibly entirely. So put lots of thought and planning into it as measurements in a nano are easily affected.

Best of luck!
From what I've read so far, the initial setup would be most likely as follows, first live sand and rock. Let mature for a week or two, add clean up crew, crabs and snail, again allow for another week or two, ass single fish, most likely goby or clown, wait another 2-3 weeks, start adding soft coral. It member in between adding in beneficial algaes etc. As far as water changes, I would do close to daily top offs with r/o water and weekly or bi weekly changes with specific gravity salt water which would be pre mixed and matured a few days in advance. I will look into the timer for the power heads, and I still need to do more research on filtration n skimmers etc to see if they are needed or not for such a small setup.

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For 6g you don't need powerhead, just HOB is more than sufficient. You can put sand, don't need to be live sand, and before you choose your sand, you also need to make sure it will work with your live inhabitants. Very fine sand will get stirred up easy and can mess up your filter and causes sandstorm. For that size tank you can use all live rocks, but the tank needs to be fully cycled before puting any corals or livestock. With live rocks it maybe immediately. No skimmer no sump, just take it slow or it could get really expensive.
 

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From what I've read so far, the initial setup would be most likely as follows, first live sand and rock. Let mature for a week or two, add clean up crew, crabs and snail, again allow for another week or two, ass single fish, most likely goby or clown, wait another 2-3 weeks, start adding soft coral. It member in between adding in beneficial algaes etc. As far as water changes, I would do close to daily top offs with r/o water and weekly or bi weekly changes with specific gravity salt water which would be pre mixed and matured a few days in advance. I will look into the timer for the power heads, and I still need to do more research on filtration n skimmers etc to see if they are needed or not for such a small setup.

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The timeframes you're referring to are just rough guidelines as to what to expect. There are water tests to be done within that timeframe to determine where the tank's cycle stands.

Live sand isn't something that needs to be a 100% deal at start-up. Some folks seed a tank with just a cup of live sand to simply populate the dead sand at startup. But with a tank that size, 100% wouldn't be impossible.

If your intent is to go filterless, powerheads would be an absolute necessity in my mind. Without water movement, you'd be looking at dead rock and sand very quickly. If you decide to add an HOB, that changes the dynamics of where and if to add a powerhead.

Lastly, I wouldn't add a cleanup crew until there's something to clean up. Those organisms do eat what we consider a PITA, but it has to be there in sufficient amounts to sustain them. Rest assured, it will go through an initial algae bloom. But as those animals start to consume it they also produce waste. So you need to tread lightly at that point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, I know that water parameters will dictate the timing of how everything progresses. As far as the live sand and live rock, I was thinking about using moonsand and populating it with some live sand and the live rock will be about a pound and a half per gallon, of course depends on the pieces I can find. Now the power heads will initially be the only water movement I use and will Def use both. Still looking into the alternating times suggestion.. And the filter initially won't be added unless there's a need for charcoal or some form of media. I've read that using padded filtration on a salt setup can be a bad thing, causing too many fluctuations in bacteria.

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