Getting back into hobby, never did reef before...


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Hey all!

It's been a long time since I've had a tank, and I got a lucky break, last night my mom gave me a hex tank she had laying around. I just calculated the dimensions of it and from what I found I seem to have a 20 gallon hex. It's 16" L x 18" W x 20" H

I haven't had a salt water tank in almost 4 years now. I had a 300g then went to a 150g and settled for a 220g until an inevitable break up happened forcing me to leave my tank behind. That was my perfect sized tank but right now I can't have such a monster in my apartment. I also own reptiles and they take up the most space.

Anyways I would like some advice if anyone has to offer on how to proceed with turning this neglected, once fresh water tank, into a beautiful thriving nano reef tank. As I've said I had big tanks and quite frankly I was only ever interested into aggressive fish back then, I never took the dive into learning about all the different coral, what goes with what, lighting preference, and all that. I do know I'd like a pair of clowns as the only fish, but wondering if it's still too small of a tank. And I also know I definitely steer more towards the look of soft coral. I also need ideas on overhang filters, the best type of nano skimmer, and lighting.... all while being on a super tight budget.. I was going to also post in want to buy to see what people had...

Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!!


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Welcome back
Wow,where to start...
You'r gonna get advice all over the place, that often conflicts with advice you get from another source. I'd say find someone who has success, and not spending a ton of money or time to achieve it, and listen to them.
Imo nanos are great, better when you have a bigger tank to take pieces from to make it just so. Keeping the parameters inline becomes much easier too when you can take water from the bigger tank. If you know you will upgrade save the money you'r gonna spend and put it towards the future tank.
Personally would go with an overflow down to a sump. Not only would it increase the water volume but give you room for a fuge, ats, skimmer, reactors, and/or whatever you want to do. Asingle kessil on a goose neck would work perfect for that shape.
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I Set up a 200 "on a budget" last year. Scored dry rock for $1/lb, cooked it with acid and bleach to clean it up. Then bought a jebao dc return pump and two jebao rw wave makers for circulation. Check eBay. I also got a few led lights from eBay. Check out galaxyhydro on there. It's not the sexiest equipment but it's been running a year and no issues.. Knock on wood... I also second the idea to steer clear of the HOB filter. May as well hang an overflow and get a sump to increase water volume and house your skimmer, heater and any other "uglies". Don't see an issue with 2 clowns in your tank. Good luck.

Also another idea..keep an eye out here and craigslist, etc. always ppl breaking down whole setup and you can save a ton of money