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How to setup and build a self contained Saltwater Aquarium with built in Refuge

Picture of How to setup and build a self contained Saltwater Aquarium with built in Refuge
So since I currently go to college and live in a dorm, I decided I would have a little desktop aquarium since I couldnt put a big 70gal aquarium. I decided to go with a 10 gallon self contained unit just theres no mess with having an extra sump and it fits well on my desk. I mainly wanted to keep a  clownfish and some coral and maybe an anenome. In this tutorial I will show you how to setup an easy to maintain and construct saltwater aquarium suitable for a dorm room.

First and foremost I want to add: Saltwater fish do not require the same filtration as a regular freshwater aquarium. It is advised that you use RODI water when changing water out. Please do not use straight tap water as it contains may chemicals not suitable for fish from the filtration process. Because of the size of the tank, water parameters tend to fluctuate a lot so keeping a close eye on it is advised.

Because I have already setup the tank, I will be going off of the steps I originally took. (some steps may seem vague but I will try to convey them as best as possible)



 
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Step 1: Supplies


First things first, Supplies:
-10 gal aquarium (can be had at any petshop for about $15.) TANK ONLY NO FILTER OR EXTRA CRAP
-1/4 inch thick sheet of plexiglass (Lowes will pre cut your sheet for you, see next page for measurements)
-Aquarium safe silicon (GE type 1 silicon or DAP 100% silicon) DO NOT USE SILICON FOR KITCHEN AND BATH!!
-black spray paint
-Light fixture (bulb type will vary based on light fixture chosen. (I used a coralife 50/50 and a blue coral light)
-2 small powerheads
-aquarium heater
-tank top/cover (I made one out of plexiglass for now)

Get the following after setting up the tank (Will go into details later, do not buy these right off the bat)
-Saltwater Test Kit
-Live Sand
-Live Rock
-RODI water and salt mix or premixed saltwater
jules151 year ago
this is AWESOME !! I want to do a reef tank soon, and i like the idea of not having a separate tank for the refugium/sump. Just one question though: Don't you need a protein skimmer?
sam24th (author)  jules151 year ago
Normally in a larger tank I would suggest a protein skimmer. but because of the often water changes in this tank and size I opted to not get a skimmer. With a skimmer, I would suspect water changes would be less frequent. Just as a little update, my tank is still up and going strong as of today.
jamob1 year ago
I made the exct same thig an people say its very difficult but mines fine putting in corals soon.
scmtzc2 years ago
I am considering doing this in a 75 gallon aquarium I just got. what kind of adjustments in size would i need to make for the sump area. Any hints or a good website for this kinf of information would be myuch appreciated. Nice Incstructable though
fignutz282 years ago
PERFECT!!! Amazing job Buddy! I am so glade to see someone on here doing Salt Water Aquarium ideas, instead of Fresh Water always. Us Reef keepers are always looking for new and better ways to learn new things from either the more experienced Hobbyist, or someone such as yourself! Again Great idea!
sam24th (author)  fignutz282 years ago
Thanks, my tank has been setup for over 6 months in my dorm room now and its dong great. My clownfish and crabs are doing perfect and water has been stable. It makes a great conversation piece when others come and see it and its nice to have a lil pet I can watch in my dorm without getting in trouble.
fignutz282 years ago
Very cool Nano Aquarium idea!! I also keep SW Reef/Fowlr Aquariums (4 right now), and I don't think there is anything in the world that will give someone such a calming and peaceful/relaxing view in there Home/Dorm!...........This is just to possibly help others looking to create this great type of Aquarium in which you have...* When your Salt Water does start to evaporate, you DO NOT want to add Salt Water to your Tank to top it off ( in other words' unless doing a water change, than add your salt water mix w/ your ro/di water), you will want to use RO/DI water to keep your salinity as stable as possible. Thanks again for a great Build, and will be voting for you!.........p.s, Also great idea with adding the Cheato, as many don't know the great effects it can have on a Reef Tank!!!!
2rainonme2 years ago

AMAZING! PLEASE SEE THE PATCH I SENT YOU AND THE MESSAGE! GOOD LUCK, IM VOTING FOR YOU AND......FOLLOWING YOU! Janet

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