Starting a frag tank questions

The rookie

Reefing newb
Not sure if this is the correct place to post this. Im starting a small 20 gallon frag tank.
~ Do i need live rock for filtration purposes
~ can i go sandless
~ is it ok to use a hob filter with carbon
~ will the tank need to cycle before adding corals
ANY help would be greatly appreciated!!!
you need live rock, im pretty sure you can go sandless, you can run the hob filter, but id save the carbon for when it is needed. I think the tank will have to cycle but not 100% sure.

Im sure others will chime in as well
Even if you start the tank with dry rock, everything (rocks and sand) will become live after you cycle the tank. All "live" means is that it has a population of bacteria living on it that can break down the toxic fish waste to less toxic chemicals, you cannot have a functioning tank without that bacteria.

Adding a piece of live rock to the dry rock will make the cycle happen faster, but you can cycle totally dry - it just takes a long time. And no, you cant skip the cycle! Unless you add all live rock, then you might not see any cycle.

No need for sand

I would just use the HOB for flow, the carbon needs to be replaced frequently and if not can cause nitrate issues. Plus, i think on small tanks it remove more good stuff than bad, which if you are trying to grow corals can be a detriment.
Most frag tanks do not use live rock or sand. The reasoning behind that is because you are not really keeping anything that produces a lot of waste. Some frag tanks have one small fish in them, but having a fish isn't necessary.

I would skip the rock and sand... But that's just me. It is okay to use an HOB filter, but like any other time you use one, you have to keep it clean.
Many of us plumb our frag tanks in with the main tank. So again, none of that stuff is needed and no filters or anything either. You can t-off your return line and then send the water from your frag tank back to your sump.
D2mini: unfortunately my wife wouldnt allow that. Lol, have to be a good boy or no more fishys! Is there any good but reasonably priced hob protien skimmers instead of the regular filter im using? Also could i just put a big wad of cheato in the hob filter in place of the carbon?
Here's a good question about frag tanks.
Is there anything special you need to do if you don't have fish included?
Would it slow the growth process of the coral? B/c of not having fish poop.
That is a good question i would say no to fish. My reasoning is the fact that coral farmers do not have fish in the tanks that im aware of. If they did i think it could be detrimental to the corals health. IE: sick fish. Honestly i dont know just my thoughts!
Fish diseases can't be transferred to corals -- I can't think of anything that infects one that will infect the other. The reason for not having fish in the frag tank is because of the food you have to feed the fish, and the waste it produces -- so having fish can lower water quality.

Some people do keep one small fish in their frag tank because of the amino acids in the fish's poop, it's believed to be helpful for the corals' growth.
So your frag tank won't be near the display tank?
I was trying to help you save some cash, which usually gets the wife stamp of approval. :)
Hey little fish, I was cruising the photos last nice and your tank looks awesome BTW, so I was wondering what type of skimmer you use and is it hob? Thanks!

I only just started using a skimmer, all those photos were taken when I was using an algae scrubber. Which did wonder for filtering stuff, but it eventually became so messy I couldnt handle it and I switched over. So i only just hooked up a SWC 160, which sits in the sump.
Ohhh ok I don't have a sump (not enough room for one under cabinet) so I'll go with a hob reef octupus or something of that nature. My CPR skimmer is a pos it let's micro bubbles in the tank is loud as hell, and the skim mate is low. Thanks for the quick response
I'm planning on no fish I'll def spot feed. If I do decide on 1 fish what is a good choice? Tank will have 0 sand and maybe 8 lbs live rock.