Retirement and forum shutdown (17 Jan 2022)


John Howell who has managed the forum for years is getting on and wishes to retire from the role of managing it.
Over the years, he has managed the forum through good days and bad days and he has always been fair.
He has managed to bring his passion for fish keeping to the forum and keep it going for so long.

I wish to thank John for his hard work in keeping the forum going.

With John wishing to "retire" from the role of managing the forum and the forum receiving very little traffic, I think we must agree that forum has come to a natural conclusion and it's time to put it to rest.

I am proposing that the forum be made read-only from March 2022 onwards and that no new users or content be created. The website is still registered for several more years, so the content will still be accessible but no new topics or replies will be allowed.

If there is interest from the ITFS or other fish keeping clubs, we may redirect traffic to them or to a Facebook group but will not actively manage it.

I'd like to thank everyone over the years who helped with forum, posted a reply, started a new topic, ask a question and helped a newbie in fish keeping. And thank you to the sponsors who helped us along the away. Hopefully it made the hobby stronger.

I'd especially like to thank John Howell and Valerie Rousseau for all of their contributions, without them the forum would have never been has successful.

Thank you
Darragh Sherwin

Absolute Newbie

11 Oct 2016 12:38 #1 by Dihanio (Paulie Hanlon)
Hi all,

As the title states, I've no experience whatsoever with the marine side of things. I've a 40 litre tank and I'm thinking of taking my first step into marine keeping. Any info, help or good reading would be appreciated.

Nice one,

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12 Oct 2016 09:08 #2 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)

Are you thinking of using your 40 l tank as a marine tank?

There will be just a few fish that you can put in a tank that size. What type of tank is it? what filtration?

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12 Oct 2016 09:34 #3 by Dihanio (Paulie Hanlon)
Yep, more for a reef rather than fish, owing to stocking levels.

Something like this, if possible? www.ultimatereef.net/forums/showthread.p...to-setup-a-Nano-Tank

This is the tank at the minute

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12 Oct 2016 09:49 #4 by Dihanio (Paulie Hanlon)
I have to add, I've asked on FB and I've been shot down there pretty much straight away, but I got the idea in my head and asked the two lads in Newlands and they're of the opinion, it can be done. So with conflicting answers, I'm pretty much afraid of it. :)

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12 Oct 2016 10:33 #5 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Hi, of course it can be done, I personally wouldnt overcomplicate things too much, live rock, small sandbed and some sort of external filtration like a hang on filter should do the trick (the external filtration is more to remove impurities than to act as a filtration system). But, I would def not put fish in it, and if you do, just put small fish such as a couple neon gobies and maybe another one that size. Clownfish are known to do relatively well in small aquariums, but maybe captive bred ones that wont get too big, and they are jumpers (or could jump) so be aware of that.

I would probably just make it a coral tank, with a few inverts .

Nitrates can be kept in check by just doing water changes and since you are dealing with a very small water volume they are easy and quick to do.

The problem with nano tanks is that they are more difficult to maintain than bigger tanks since there is limited amount of space in it and keeping water parameters in check is more difficult than on a bigger tank.

Most people would say that for that size you are better off getting a slightly bigger tank (maybe 80l) and then put a couple of clowns in plus another small fish or two.

Nano tanks are cute but contrary to what people think they often require more maintenance than bigger tanks! And since this is your first marine tank you are probably better off starting with a bigger size tank allowing you more margin for error... who would think! Remember that, because you are dealing with such small water volume water changes can drastically change water parameters (such as temperature, kH, etc) and this could potentially shock the tank inhabitants.

If you decide to go ahead be careful with the corals you put in, some corals such as xenias etc grow very quickly and can easily overtake a tank that size in no time. But I suppose thats something to worry about at a later stage.

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12 Oct 2016 12:09 #6 by Dihanio (Paulie Hanlon)
Yeah, I probably should have been clearer in my initial post, that'd it be more for corals than fish. I also understand that in a tank like this, the smallest of fluctuations can be disastrous (and heart breaking) as there's basically no time to rectify a problem

Would something like this goo.gl/qprrUY or this goo.gl/PxfpLG be the type of filter you are talking about?

I did pick up ~100ltr freebie last week(no stand), probably needs to be resealed. I was going to try a freshwater breeding project in.

Funds are tight at the minute so was trying to do something on as small a budget as possible. Thinking the nano might not be overly expensive

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12 Oct 2016 12:13 #7 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Yeah any of those two will do, the filter is again not used as a filter but as a detritus catcher not sure if you know what I mean.

However, you will need an extra source of waterflow such as a small powerhead or pump.

Marine tanks and budget are words that dont normally go together! lol

It is doable though, just avoid fish until the tank is running for a while and it is settled.

its touch and go tbh, it can be done but it can also go horrible wrong (hence why fish are not recommended)

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12 Oct 2016 12:24 #8 by Dihanio (Paulie Hanlon)
Yeah, I get you as the real filtration will be the live rock/sand and the corals will use some of the ammonia and nitrates as nutrients (I believe that last part to be true).

The pump of the filter in the tank at the minute it strong, probably stronger without the filter cartridge too.

I've followed your set up so I know budget can go out the window too :D

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12 Oct 2016 14:24 #9 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
Replied by Jonlate (Jon Late) on topic Absolute Newbie
Go to it.
I might be shot down here as well, but here is what I have.
I have set up a fluval spec 10 litre tank, and by the time I added rock, etc it's down to about 6.5 liters of water. But I love the tank.
I keep easy corals and a clown fish, and a few snails, and a red shrimp.
I change 5 liters of water every week, and everythings seems ok.
I have no skimmer, just filtration, and a great ai prime light I just brought. ( waiting to connect it to the tank still) I also upgraded the pump to the biggest one I could get to fit in the gap. From what I know water turn around is a big thumbs up.
I now like it better than my 300 litre tropical tank!!
Nano-reef.com is a website where people have done marine setup in jars and tiny tanks. Take a look, it full of good ideas about lights, filters, etc.
It's good to see you asking for advice, get as much as you can, and then disregard all those who say don't do it, and then start mixing salt water!
Going luck

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12 Oct 2016 20:52 #10 by Dihanio (Paulie Hanlon)
Jon, it was actually seeing your tank that made me think I could give it a go

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12 Oct 2016 22:42 #11 by igmillichip (ian millichip)
Although a nano tank may require a bit more routine care and work, it is totally possible to have a successful nano tank that be kept so for many years.

Now, part of that means not being too ambitious with the types of livestock and taking things steady until much more experience and skill at recognising problems is gained.

There are some good inverts and fish that can tolerate things relatively well and that do not pose a problem in feeding.

As for FB............ I am a load of FB fish groups (I keep getting added for some reason).........and I see some awful notions going around.

There are a number of things that are often said to be "Vital" to marine keeping that are actually not as vital as some folk make out..............but some additional bits are not particularly expensive or difficult to instal and really do help a great deal.


Irish Tropical Fish Society (ITFS) Member.

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13 Oct 2016 08:10 - 13 Oct 2016 08:10 #12 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)

Yeah I went a bit over the window with my expenses but hey... what can I do, I love gadgets!

You dont want ammonia on your marine, nitrates is ok but ammonia should be minimal. Like others have said, just make sure you research what corals you put in and dont go overboard with fish, in the end you want whats best for them! a pair of clown and a neon goby or a small sandshifter would do great plus inverts.

One problem you will have with small tanks is water evaporation so a cover would be advisable. Water evaporation will otherwise require you to top up the tank once a day (with RO) and I found that to be a bit of a pain since not topping up the tank one day could cause several salinity changes, I even notice this on my own tank! .

There are a few nano pumps out there that can fit on the back of the tank perfectly and give you excellent flow, but some are expensive such as the tunze nanostream.

The external filter will just be to accumulate detritus and keep the water clear, it is also handy because you can put carbon or phosphate reducers in it in case they are every neeeded (although with such a small volumen this will probably not be necessary).

There are tanks out there with built in rear filters that are quite good as nanos IMO, in the end, you want all your stuff inside the aquarium but out of sight and this type of aquariums are perfect for this.

Didnt know Jonathan had a nano as well!
Last edit: 13 Oct 2016 08:10 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez).

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13 Oct 2016 15:29 #13 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
Replied by Jonlate (Jon Late) on topic Absolute Newbie
I am so glad I wasn't shot !!
Redsea has just released a new nano tank, Redsea max nano. It 75 liters or 20 gallons. Look great but sooooo expensive.
On the Redsea max nano as it uncovered they have a 1.5 liter top off they say lasts only 3 days.
I do like the all in one design though, maybe Bart can build me one?
So definitely get a cover. I do have mine covered and it really cuts down on water evaporation, which is a good thing.
I think smaller than that are now called pico tanks. ( meaning a trillionth)
So I would say the priorities are, regular water changes, lights, (unless you get corals that don't mind low lighting,) a filter to just filter gunk out, a good LPH pump, and a heater. ( don't buy a heater that is preset, get one that you can adjust the tempture on. Many small heater today are just preset ones)
Oh......and a tank, rock, sand, salt, salinity tester, water test kits, filter media, filter floss, coral glue, tubs to mix salt water in, syphon tubing, long tweezers, long scissors, food for corals, food for fish, food for invertebrates, corals, fish, clean up crew........ what else have I forgotten?

Bohrio, I had to get a nano after seeing your tank at Bart's one day, and just to see if I could do it cheaper than your black tang!! So far I am way under that, but am looking to go bigger already. Just need to get her approval and a place to put it.

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13 Oct 2016 16:37 #14 by robert (robert carter)
Just get Bart to build you a tank , he made my 350 ltr with sumo for cold water its brilliant , it even has a top up tank 30 litres which last two week , my tank is only covered with egg crate plastic grill

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