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My Three Gallon Saltwater Tank

Last Updated: 9/19/08

Eclipse tank on 7/6/08.

My Three Gallon Saltwater Tank

The animals in this tank were moved to a 6 gallon tank on 8/6/08.

My Three Gallon Saltwater Tank

Before you flip out because I "can't have a three gallon saltwater tank" because it is too small and will never be stable, let me explain what happened. I bought an emerald mithrax crab when I was told he would be reef safe. My star polyps did not agree so I pulled him off of them. I had to find a place for the crab as the store was too far away to return him. I brought out my old three Eclipse tank to put him in. To read more about the crab's story, see his page.

I plan to get a few pounds of live rock. I do not know if I can or should try to add any more living creatures to such a tiny tank. The lighting is not appropriate for corals, and the crab might eat more corals. The crab could eat any small animals for that matter. The tank is too small for any fish (which the crab could also eat anyway).

The main concerns with such a small tank are temperature stability and water chemistry stability. There is not much I can do about that except the usual water changes.

I have named the three gallon tank "exile island." Yes, like from the CBS show Survivor.

The tank so far includes the following animals:
One emerald mithrax crab named Grabby.
Two margarita snails added 7/6/08. As of 7/26/08, I believe one if not both are deceased.
One tiny unknown reef crab that hitchhiked in to my "12 gallon" tank. Added 7/26/08, named Scary.

On 7/6/08, I got some live rock and two margarita snails for my 3 gallon Eclipse tank. I got one one pound piece and four other pieces totaling a pound (one dead brain coral, one dead clam, and two smaller rocks). That night I saw a large bristleworm in the live rock. I would later see other worms and lots of planaria.

The tank set up is:
Acrylic 3 gallon tank.
Eclipse System 3 with 35 gph filter and biowheel.
6 W fluorescent light.
25 W heater set to 75 degrees F.
Crushed coral substrate.
One rock, one empty clam shell, two empty snail shells from the 12 gallon reef tank.
About two pounds of live rock (see above).

The 3 gallon Eclipse tank was really not good. It was not meant for salt water. It seeped salt all out the sides even with the water level down. I could not maneuver in it for cleaning. The lighting was too poor to add even a few mushroom corals. The two crabs just sit there so it was totally boring. When Drs. Foster and Smith put the 6 gallon nano cube on sale, I ordered one. I moved all the 3 gallon animals except for two fireworms to the 6 gallon tank on 8/6/08. For more on that, see Page 5 of my nano reef blog.


This photo is from the day I set up the 3 gallon tank on 6/21/08. The water was cloudy from the crushed coral substrate even though I rinsed it really well!
3 gallon saltwater tank

Here are two photos a week later on 6/28/08:
3 gallon saltwater tank
3 gallon saltwater tank after I put in some fake corals and starfish for decoration, more color!

From 7/6/08:
Dead brain coral - part of the live rock I put in the tank.
3 gallon saltwater tank with live rock added.

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