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5. The Ultimate 20-30 Gallon Reef Tank
Reef tanks should be filled with live rock and the focus and excitement will be on the corals and invertebrates, not the fish. Smaller numbers of less aggressive fish that won’t feed on the corals are kept in these systems. Do not heavily load these systems with fish but make sure you have algae eaters - either fish or invertebrates. This solution lists the recommended supplies and equipment for the perfect mini reef tank.

Choose one from a local dealer where you'll buy fish. Since this is the vessel that keeps your your fish alive and your spouse from killing you for damaging the floors, be willing to pay a little more for a quality name brand such as All Glass Aquarium Inc. or Oceanic.

Hood/Lighted Hood
Only purchase an aquarium with a glass top. Plastic hoods are not acceptable for saltwater setups. Plastic hoods limit the ability to add extra lighting and do not prevent 'saltwater creep' from causing a mess. Glas tops are not needed on rimless tanks or tanks with canopies.

Standard lighting fixtures will not do. Use one of the
Hagen T-5 HO light fixtures. If you plan on keeping some of harder to keep hard corals or if you plan to keep any type of coral, choose the double row Aquatic Life 4-Lamp T5 HO & Lunar Fixture. Also consider high quality Marquis fixtures from Aquatic Life. Kessil manufactures very high quality LED fixtures specifically for growing corals.

Stand or Cabinet
Make sure the cabinet is properly constructed for handling up to 10lbs per gallon of water. If something other than an aquarium stand is used, it should be able to support the weight and hold the entire rim of the aquarium bottom level with no spaces between the rim and the support.

The SPACE EKO + External Filters range is designed especially for the beginner as well as the advanced aquarist.• On a design par with larger canister filters, this advanced yet compact canister filter has flow regulation and large discrete media chambers for mechanical, biological and chemical media products to ensure intense biological filtration keeping aquarium water healthy and crystal clear.•

The SPACE EKO is self-priming and energy efficient. Maintenance is clean and quick.• The quick disconnection system prevents water loss.• Media trays are easily accessible and a breeze to clean and refill.

The SPACE EKO is a lot of technology and power packed into a smaller, but versatile, canister filter.


SPACE EKO 100:• 145gph 6.3 X10.6" filters up to 30 gallons• tubing: 1/2- 5/8
SPACE EKO 200:• 190gph 7.5 X14.2" filters up to 50 gallons• tubing: 1/2- 5/8
SPACE EKO 300:• 240gph 7.5 X14.2" filters up to 80 gallons• tubing: 5/8- 5/16

Protein Skimmer
The Eshopps PSK-75H•Hang-On Protein Skimmer combines performance and easy installation. Eshopps protein skimmers are designed with simplicity in mind to satisfy the skimming needs of saltwater aquarium hobbyists. The included pump features a needle-wheel impeller that vigorously mixes air and water to create a flurry of waste-removing bubbles. The PSK-75H will improve water quality and oxygen levels in saltwater aquariums. The removable collection cup allows convenient skimmer maintenance and disposal of collected waste material. The adjustment knob fine-tunes water level within the protein skimmer reaction chamber for optimal performance. Quality acrylic construction.

Diameter: 3"
Height: 23"
Footprints: 7 x 6"
Usage: up to 75gal tank

All hang-on skimmers include following:
• mesh-wheel impeller
• removable collection cup
• buble plate


Pump for Additional Current
Added flow is always recommended in a reef setup. Use a SICCE Voyager, or consider the Xstream E Variable Wave Pump Powerhead.

• Hydrometer
This important instrument is used to measure the salt concentration (salinity or specific gravity) of the aquarium water. A good economical and accurate choice is the
Fluval Sea Hydrometer. Another quality hydrometer is the Ammonite Hydrometer.
  • Synthetic Sea Salt
Vibrant Sea Salt Mix, 60# box - Vibrant Sea is a highly concentrated blend of salts formulated for marine and reef aquariums that contains all essential major, minor, and trace components found in natural seawaters, plus the added advantage of enhanced potassium levels. Its formulation is ideal for the reef environment and will provide accurate seawater concentrations of magnesium, calcium, and strontium with proper alkalinity and pH for closed reef aquarium systems. Vibrant Sea is an anhydrous salt, which allows for unparalleled uniformity from batch to batch as well as the ability to produce more saltwater from less salt.

• Refractometer
For saltwater enthusiasts with an interest in a more precise and sophisticated instrument to measure salinity, the
AquaLife Refractometer with automatic temperature compensation is a consideration.
• Substrate
20lbs Choose a CaribSea product. Natural, calcium based substrates are best for saltwater aquariums. A good rule of thumb is 1lb of substrate per gallon of water.

• Heater
Fluval E 200watt Electronic Heater
• Always add a high quality dechlorinator anytime tap water is added to the tank. AquaLife Complete is an excellent product that not only dechlorinates but adds important elements to maintain slime coat integrity and reduce stress. AquaLife Complete also detoxifies chloramines if they are present.

• Algae Scrubber
AquaBlade Scraper for glass
MagFloat 30 for glass

MagFloat also makes cleaners for acrylic tanks.
• Starting Bacteria Culture
Use Activate Saltwater. Seeded biological media is sometimes available to speed up the cycling process. Super Porous Filter Media is an excellent media for this purpose.

• Fish Net
Hagen 8" Net with 12" handle
• Thermometer
Hagen Floating Thermometer with Suction Cup.


The filters shown above have room for placement of two revolutionary chemical media, Chemi-Pure and Polyfilters - both of these media should be used in a saltwater tank of this size to ensure success.

• Never underestimate the importance of water testing. Fish trapped in water with even small amounts of ammonia and nitrite can die within hours. Water test on a regular basis and be prepared to act quickly is something goes wrong. A
Saltwater Master Test Kit contains accurate testing supplies for pH, ammonia and nitrite.

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• Fish Food
Nutrition is second only to filtration in importance. Saltwater fish should be fed 80% frozen foods since these foods most closely match their natural diet.

• Do not overfeed the fish. Feed fish only what they will eat in two to three minutes 1-2 times per day. Vary the diet. Different types of frozen foods from
Ocean Nutrition and San Francisco Bay with VitaChem dripped on them combined with occasional feedings of SERA foods will ensure the health, longevity and color of your fish. It is important to try and duplicate the foods eaten in the wild.

AquaLife CSPro Flake and Stick Foods
Formulated from the best ingredients, and fortified with vitamins and probiotics, CS PRO foods offer a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids [eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] together with astaxanthin, for healthy growth and maximum coloration. Plus, every batch is packed with a triple dose of immune-boosting vitamins.
• All-in-one formulation: complete nutrition, omega-3s, and vitamins
• Great for all fish, both freshwater and saltwater
• Rich in color-enhancing astaxanthin
• Scientifically formulated in line with the latest research
• Highly digestible, all-natural ingredients with NO preservatives
• Will not cloud water

• Do a 25% water change monthly or a 10% water change twice a month. Remember to dechlorinate the water and adjust it to the same temperature as the aquarium water.

• The pH should be 8.2 High quality salt such as
Fritz RPM has added buffers and with proper water changes, pH should be stable. Aquavitro Salinity is sold only at local authorized dealers, like our local store. For other high quality salts available online, see Vibrant Sea Salt Mix . However, if water changes are being done and pH is a problem, use Marine Buffer by SeaChem. Further information is available on water parameters in the Log Sheet section.

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Further Reading:
9. Mixing Saltwater
11. Supplements & Additives
12. Understanding the Nitrogen Cycle

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