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Starting a FOWLR 30g tank


Volco

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I'm wanting to start a Fish only with live rock 30g tank. My only question is do I need a protein skimmer or bio wheel or can I just go with a powerhead and light fixture? Looking to get a Kessil A160. For fish I am wanting to get a starfish, clownfish (maybe 2), goby, and some cleaning fish like shrimp or something. That being said can I just have live sand and live rock without a protein skimmer or biowheel or do I need one of the 2? I know a lot of people don't feel bio wheels are good for saltwater but I've seen plenty that work well with them.

Thank You,

Volco

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I would run a protein skimmer for sure because it's not a lot of water and you want to be able to pull all the junk out of the water with a skimmer. Never ran a bio wheel but couldn't hurt. Also run a sump just for the added water volume and to put all your equipment in there as opposed to having it in the display.

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I would run a protein skimmer for sure because it's not a lot of water and you want to be able to pull all the junk out of the water with a skimmer. Never ran a bio wheel but couldn't hurt. Also run a sump just for the added water volume and to put all your equipment in there as opposed to having it in the display.

That sounds good! I will have to look up how to build a sump. My friend said who owns multiple aquariums said he would help me but I want to understand it myself. He has a sump with multiple glass walls inside of it where the water goes through several different stages. Sorry if I sound like a noob but saltwater is new to me and it's been a long day lol.

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You could also add really easy coral (Easy zoas, and softies) with that stocking and the care wouldn't be a lot different than a FOWLR.

That tank size is always a bit of a challenge for FOWLR because the stocking options are really limited.

If you have enough live rock, you won't need the biowheel. Nitrification is hardly ever a problem in a SW tank, it's getting the nitrate out of the tank that's the problem, which the biowheel isn't going to do anything for.

If you get a starfish, stay away from linkias and fromias and really most anything except brittle stars. They both look great but have a nearly zero long term survival rate. Brittle stars are your best bet though (green one excluded). Pretty much any other star is very sensitive to water quality, or has specific requirements that make it difficult to keep long term in a home aquarium.

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You could also add really easy coral (Easy zoas, and softies) with that stocking and the care wouldn't be a lot different than a FOWLR.

That tank size is always a bit of a challenge for FOWLR because the stocking options are really limited.

If you have enough live rock, you won't need the biowheel. Nitrification is hardly ever a problem in a SW tank, it's getting the nitrate out of the tank that's the problem, which the biowheel isn't going to do anything for.

If you get a starfish, stay away from linkias and fromias and really most anything except brittle stars. They both look great but have a nearly zero long term survival rate. Brittle stars are your best bet though (green one excluded). Pretty much any other star is very sensitive to water quality, or has specific requirements that make it difficult to keep long term in a home aquarium.

Thanks I would like corals but I wasn't sure what to get. If I ditch the biowheel could I use a HOB protein skimmer like the aquatic life internal mini protein skimmer? It may not look as pretty but its what I feel comfortable with. Lastly, how much live rock for a 30g? I'm sure there is some rule of thumb but I dont know it. Thank you!

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Thanks I would like corals but I wasn't sure what to get. If I ditch the biowheel could I use a HOB protein skimmer like the aquatic life internal mini protein skimmer? It may not look as pretty but its what I feel comfortable with. Lastly, how much live rock for a 30g? I'm sure there is some rule of thumb but I dont know it. Thank you!

There's a lot of ongoing debate on the live rock quantity topic. IMO, there are some older 1lb per gallon suggestions which are grossly in excess in my experience. I run about 20lbs of ceramic rock for 110 gallons of total volume. The primary purpose of the rock is nitrification (converting ammonia into nitrate), and to a lesser extent denitrification (converting nitrate into nitrogen gas). In small tanks, even with a lot of live rock, there is very little denitrification, so water changes are used to keep NO3 at a reasonable level. As long as you have enough rock to take care of the ammonia breakdown, you have enough rock, biologically speaking. I would bet a few pounds of good rock could easily handle a 30 gallon tank.

Really, I think it just comes down to how you want to scape your tank. You might get some denitrification benefit with more rock after the tank has been running for several months, but I've never seen it be enough to reduce or eliminate water changes in small tanks.

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I started with a 47g FOWLR and just use a Carbon biowheel for 2 years. Only had 3-4 fish in it though so if you plan on going with a heavier bioload then you'll probably just have to incorporate bi-weekly water changes.

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If your tank is not drilled for an overflow I wouldn't mess with trying to install a sump myself. There are plenty of decent in-tank and hang-on protein skimmers that you can use; especially for a relatively simple and robust set up like you're describing. I ran a 30g tank myself for years with a HOB and simple compact florescent light. It was plenty good enough for soft corals and some LPS.

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