Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Marine System Set-Up & Components 30

Related FAQs: Best Marine Set-Up FAQs 1, Best FAQs 2, Marine Set-Up 1, FAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4FAQs 5, FAQs 6, FAQs 7FAQs 8, FAQs 9, FAQs 10FAQs 11, FAQs 12FAQs 13FAQs 14FAQs 15, FAQs 16FAQs 17FAQs 18FAQs 19FAQs 20FAQs 21, FAQs 22, FAQs 23, FAQs 24, FAQs 25, Marine Set-Up 26, Marine Set-Up 27, Marine Set-Up 28, Marine Set-Up 29, Marine Set-Up 31, Marine Set-Up 32, FOWLR Set-Ups, Reef Tank Setups, Small Tank Setups, Moving Aquarium Systems

Related Articles: Marine Set-Up, Marine Planning, Getting Started with a Marine Tank By Adam Blundell, MS, Technology: Putting on the Brakes:  How much is too much? By Tommy Dornhoffer Reef Set-UpFish Only Systems, Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Small Marine Set-Ups, Large Marine Systems, Cold/Cool Water Marine Systems Moving Aquariums


Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Size/location question on first saltwater tank       2/12/19
I have spent about 3 years with a 5.5 gallon fresh water tank for one Betta. Unfortunately, he developed an external tumor, survived about another year as it grew, and finally died last week.
<Sorry to hear/read that>
As he faded, I’ve been researching (primarily on WWM!) about a saltwater tank which I’ve always wanted. I want live rock, soft corals, and at least a couple of fish, also probably a snail or such for algae control. The look of rock and soft coral means more to me, but my husband is determined to have fish and, luckily will be satisfied with 1 or 2 and loves clownfish which seem easy to maintain (as long as it is just 1 or a mated pair.)
<Sounds like a good idea that will satisfy both of you.>
Now we are exploring location and what size is possible. We have a heavy-duty oak wall unit as a divider between our offices which has an available space about 15.5” wide, 27” long and just under 25.5” high. I think I can fit a rectangular 20-gallon in there and still access from the top based on my browsing/shopping. That is the best location for us to actually enjoy watching the aquarium as it is visible from all the places we spend the most time (office, living room, etc.).
<Would be my choice too>
Alternatively, I can put a much larger aquarium on a stand in an area which is about 24” wide, 48” long and 55” tall. I think a 40-gallon is entirely possible there. However, that is against a dining room wall where it will not be visible except when we’re eating, from my kitchen or if we turn all the chairs in the living room around to face it! Sunlight is also a possible consideration. The wall unit is in an enclosed balcony area, completely open to the rest of the condo, which has about 4’ high windows the entire wall - west-facing. The enclosed balcony is not very deep, well-temperature controlled with the rest of the condo, and we normally put down blinds anyway in the afternoon to keep the sun off us, but there is a lot of indirect light even with blinds down.
The aquarium would be narrow end toward the windows, NOT be against the windows, but separated by about 30” of wall unit with shelving, books, etc. that mostly shades the location even without blinds.
<This option could also work; when it comes to marine tanks, the bigger, the better…>
The dining room location gets sun only very briefly an hour or so in the afternoon and can also be controlled by the blinds. We really want to use the wall unit since the whole point of the aquarium is to be able to see and enjoy it. But, that means the trade-off of a smaller size and more (indirect) sunlight. Can you give any advice as to whether the light and size constrictions in the wall unit make it a bad choice, despite the great visibility for us? I realize as a newbie I could use all the forgiveness of a larger tank I can get, but I hate to tuck it away where it is not easily visible for us.
<Well, both plans sound viable, it’s up to you whether you prefer the view or a greater water volume; a 20 gallon tank could work trouble free, given an appropriate maintenance, and as long as you don’t overstock-overfeed. The bigger tank has the advantage that it allows you to add more livestock, but what’s the point if you can’t enjoy it most of time?...>
Thanks in advance for any time you can give to a silly/simple question.
<That was not a silly question at all. I hope this helps.>
Elaine Turner
<Cheers. Wil. >
Re: Size/location question on first saltwater tank       2/12/19

Thanks. My only real reason for considering a 40-gallon tank, and different location, is worry about maintainability of the smaller 20-gallon tank since this is my first saltwater venture. We have discussed it a lot, and I’ve researched a lot, and I think we will both be happy with look/stocking of 20-gallon.
<Good, then go for it!>
Your comment that a 20-gallon could work trouble free with appropriate maintenance and no overstock-overfeed is reassuring. Does our plan for stocking - live rock and sand, a clownfish pair, a snail or such for algae control, and soft coral (not anemone, but size-appropriate softies - probably leather coral varieties) - sound like a manageable bioload?
<Sounds reasonable, can you tell a bit about what type of equipment you intend to use?...bio filter, protein skimmer, lighting, etc…>
I’m trying to make sure I have an advance plan that is workable. Thanks again and this should be last question for a while. Elaine
<You’re welcome. Wil.>
Re: Size/location question on first saltwater tank       2/12/19

I understand the live rock works as a biological filter to maintain nitrogen cycle, but I was figuring on filter which could also increase water flow to adequate for the soft corals (haven’t gotten to details of brand/type, but I know I want it to be adequate or more for 20-gallon and was thinking of adding small HOB bio filter that I could use for my quarantine tank as needed).
<Aim for a strong water movement, particularly on the surface, corals will appreciate it, the HOB is ok but if you could add a wave maker will be far better.>
I was definitely planning on protein skimmer (again, don’t have specific details, but something more than adequate for 20 gallons; I’ve researched types of skimmers, but not seriously shopped). Lighting I want to be sure is adequate for the soft corals, which I think means LED. I plan on heater, of course. I had looked at kits such as the Coralife LED Biocube which would have required adding heater and skimmer, but decided I want rectangular/longer profile and the maximum size that will fit (so 20-gallon).<Me too >
I have not seen any rectangular 20-gallon kits which look adequate so I figure I’ll be putting this together in pieces with the assistance of the local, strictly-saltwater, fish/supply store. (It’s been in business going on 20 years, excellent quality, healthy tanks in the store and so far all their advice matches what I find on WWM.)
<That’s good>
I would, of course, appreciate any suggestions. I have to hold off actually doing anything until some construction is finished in our building (hopefully in next month). Meantime, I research. I just ordered Bob Fenner’s Conscientious Marine Aquarist for “light” reading.
<Excellent idea, read as much as you can to be prepared; any doubts/concerns…we are here.>

<Greetings. Wil.>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: