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I was thinking of getting a 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm tank... but can I setup a nano reef tank without a skimmer or a chiller? The filter I am using currently is a canister filter, but I probably can add a fuge by using an HOB.

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I use a canister filtering any tank smaller than 30 gallons. I use 1 bag chemipure , 1 bag phosguard, and the rest is matrix rocks for bio filter. I got away with mostly monthly 20% water changes.

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Martin reefer

Ask lots of questions- read a lot and monitor your tank everyday

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watch your salinity every day. an ato is invaluable.


watch your temperatures in the spring/summer.


don't eat yellow snow in the winter.


the most important reefing technique is patience.


the most important aspect in reefing is lighting.


the most useful device is a turkey baster.

I saw this as I was reading this and I just would like to say that you need to make sure you really trust this. I myself find no problem with adding top-off water myself. I will be doing something to the tank everyday anyway. I had set one up on my RSM and found it was more trouble than it was worth. Save your money and get yourself a RO/DI unit for doing your on top-offs.Just my two coppers added here.

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Hello Everyone,


First post. Been sticking to fresh water but always wanted to dip toes into a nano reef. Been talking the ears off of the LFS and reading what I can but it still seems a little overwhelming, so I wanted to know if this game plan works (though i know things don't always work as planned so have to be ready for audible). It is a 10-Gallon tank. To start I have heater keeping tank at 75 degrees. Have powerhead to move 240 gallons per hour, and a HOB filter rated for 30 gallons. Live Rock and Live Sand have been in place for about 2 weeks and the original water was prepared salt water with live organisms. My gameplan if it works is some of the terminology may be incorrect:

1.) Add 3 red hermit crabs/2 snails

2.) Throw in some ground up marine flakes twice a week

3.) Add 3 more crabs, 2 more snails after 2 weeks

4.) Give another 2 weeks for tank to settle

5.) 1 Lawnmower Blenny

6.) Give 2 more weeks for tank to settle

7.) Add pistol shrimp/goby combo

8.) Give 2 more week to acclimate.

9) Purchase appropriate lighting for some corals (looking into more hardy/forgiving/small sized)

10.) 1 new coral frag about every 1-2 weeks or as it works.


I apologize in advance as I'm sure that all of this has been discussed prior, however the switch over does seem to be a little overwhelming after years of freshwater. I know larger tanks are more stable and less prone to system crashes so I will be keeping an eye on everything, but I am not getting rid of my large freshwater, and in my current living situation I only have room for the 10 gallon nano reef goal.


Thank you for any help in advance. I've seen some great results on this site and I'm hoping that mine can get to half the level of some of your systems.



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Buy good equipment the first time around

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John L

Hi Mike,


If you haven't got any lighting yet, id get some put in asap. My newbie 20 gallon nano has been running for just 2 months now, with T5 lighting and supplementary blue LEDs from the start, my live rock is now covered in beautiful coraline algae, and loads of cool macro algae which seems to have appeared from nowhere.


As well as soft corals, check out the mini maxi anemone, I just bought one, with a male and a female sexy shrimp which are hosting it, just so cool, and i think look great in a nano tank.


I was a bit overwhelmed too going from freshwater, but just treat it like your freshwater aquariums, but be stricter on water changes/ replacing filters etc, and give everything time ( which you know anyway.).

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DON'T USE CRUSHED CORAL FOR SUBSTRATE!!! For best results, use Arag-alive wet-bagged sand. It's awesome. Just be sure to check the expiration date on the bag before buying.


I'm still having problems cycling a new tank, so I'm not ready to add any livestock. But, I am using CaribSea Arag-Alive Hawaiian black sand. I have a 20L and I plan to have 2-3 small fish (pink-streaked and/or possum wrasses). I really don't want to vacuum my SSB every week (as others have done) but I can't find any concrete info about reef-friendly CUC that would be compatible with a coarse-grain SSB. Any suggestions?

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Probably already said but research your tank critters before buying them.

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On 7/1/2007 at 8:34 PM, halfpint said:

 I'll go first. N00bs, here are some common problems that you shouldn't worry about.

  • The imfamous "brown algae bloom." It happens to everyone who sets up a tank. So don't panic.
  • The nytrogen cycle. Learn it before setting a tank up. It goes Decaying matter = Ammonia = Nitrite = Nitrate = Nitrogen gas. Wait it out. Don't add anything until Ammonia, nitrite, and most of nitrates are gone.
  • Feeding. Don't feed your fish every day. Nano tanks build up waste easily, so feed every other day or every three days.


Thank you for sharing these points. It was helpful.

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Oren Daniel
On 07/01/2007 at 10:18 PM, mascencerro said:

set aside a special "my aquaria" fund when you first start studying and planning. It doesnt have to be national debt expensive, but if you don't start saving a little here and there when you start, you'll end up getting the 'cheapest' first then wanting to upgrade and upgrade and upgrade when you get money. Why not start out with a couple of good items you really want like lights, filter, etc in the beginning instead of having a closet full of stuff you cant use and nobody wants in the end.

Hey Hi, I have a 15 years of experience in fresh water aquariums & now wanna start a saltwater aquarium, but I can only keep a 2.5 feet length aquarium ( I can compensate in height though). Is this size okay to start with?

Secondly I am worrying as people say Marine aquarium is not a success. Even a slight change in temperature or salinity could cause a big damage. Water change should be done once in 2 weeks or else it could harm the fish. Awaiting your revert. Should I start a new saltwater aquarium or should stick to my freshwater aquarium.

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Salt is very rewarding! just have to be very patient, a lot of things people say is complete bs. It's easy. Lots of flow is key. Salinity and temp swings will not kill everything just keep it as stable as possible and make a regular water change schedule. Some people go years without changing their water and some do 100% every week. It's all opinions, find what works best for you.  I don't put anything in my tanks for at least a couple months. (I reef my way. )And use what works, there are a lot of fads, do your research. 

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Great and helpful thread!

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thx for help!

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An intro forum would be nice for new members to post their intent and current/aspiring tanks. This pinned post is a good start but if this forum is as busy as I remember new member's post can get quickly buried. Former employee at Aquatouch and Tropical Treasures AZ getting back into the hobby. Need to sink money into something other than brewing!

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Hello everyone,

I am new here, recently joined the forum. Just read this thread and it is very interesting. 

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Welcome to Nano-Reef, @DanielHardly 🙂 If you are building a new tank, feel free to share your journey here!


Have fun!

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Very helpful thread. Thanks for sharing and guiding us. 

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Devin's Reef

right now im setting up a 75g Tank,Any fish reccomendations to add in there when i set it up and let it cycle

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On 1/8/2007 at 9:12 AM, Gwoardnog said:

ooo ooo, i have a list:


1. Stability is key

2. Bigger = easier to keep stable

3. Ammonia -> Nitrites then Nitrates

4. Ammonia and nitrites need to be zero before anything

5. When in doubt wait 2 weeks

6. When stocking only add critters once a month

7. At least 1lb. of rock per gallon

8. Live sand is not needed, it will be seeded from live rock

9. Put as much sand in as is pleasing to the eye

10. No crushed coral. Anywhere.

11. Tonga, Fiji, Marshal etc. Whichever looks best to you

12. Less fish = room for error when the unexpected happens

13. The unexpected will happen

14. Yes you are probably overstocked

15. No anemones under 25 gallons.

16. No tangs unless you have a bigger tank to move them to later.

17. Good stuff doesn’t come cheap

18. You get what you pay for

19. Refugiums aren’t required

20. Refugium > no refugium

21. Chaeto is a nice macro algae to use in a refugium

22. Skimmers aren’t required.

23. Skimmers are nice

24. Good nano skimmers are(in no particular order):

a. Cora-Life Super Skimmer

b. Remora

c. ASM

25. Skimmer and a refugium are both good additions

26. Yes a Remora will fit on a 10gal.

27. Water-changes weekly are a very good idea

28. Change 10%-20% water a week for good results

29. IO is a good salt

30. So are pretty much all salt brands

31. Light 8-12 hours a day is a good idea

32. No your Ph doesn’t have to be 8.2

33. Ph of 7.8 is fine

34. Ph of 8.4 is fine

35. Don’t add any supplements without testing

36. This includes Ph buffer

37. Rule of thumb: 1 clean up crew critter per gallon

38. Stability is key

39. Get a refractometer already

40. MH or T5’s for clams and acropora

41. 250W of MH is probably a little overkill

42. PC’s can probably be used for everything else

43. 6500k yellow light

44. 10000k white light

45. 20000k blue light

46. Use RO water

47. RODI > Distilled > RO > whatever else

48. Don’t use bottled drinking water

49. Don’t use spring water

50. Don’t use tap water

51. Cyano problems (red slimy algae, grows everywhere)

a. Less feeding

b. 8 hour lighting period

c. More flow

d. More water changes

e. Vacuum your sand already

52. Don’t let the snail rot in your tank

53. Don’t feed primarily brine shrimp (good for treats once in a while)

54. DT’s only if you want more pods or have clams

55. Flakes are fine, frozen is probably better

56. Variety is best for fish food

57. 10x-20x you tank volume water turnover rate is a good number to aim for with your powerheads

58. Turbulent flow > direct flow

59. Have at least two sources of water flow for best turbulence

60. When in doubt refer to rule #1.

at what point do i add the clean up crew? after cycling is complete? and what is best for a 32 biocube?

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Brand new to nano reef keeping, and new to this forum. I decided to get started in the hobby after years of thinking about it. During self isolation I decided to get back into fish keeping with a planted 20 gal. It went real good. So being bored as heck and after discovering that nano reefs could be done I picked up an Eco 13.5. I am trying to get away with the stock equipment with the exception of changing the filtration, Fluval's didn't make sense to me. I replaced it with 2 Intank filter baskets. I did have an issue with the cycling process, left it for 6 weeks and the Nitrite and Nitrate levels were real high, (using Red Sea sampling). But when an ammonia source was added the levels spiked and then were 0 the next day. I talked about it on another forum and a number of hobbyists commented that it was cycled. They suggested changing out the water and voila when I did and sampled the next day all parameters were  good. I then added a bicolour Blennie, a couple of hermit crabs and 2 tropheus snails. Fish is healthy, the crabs are wandering around but I haven't seen the snails since the first night. I hope they're OK, I understand the danger of ammonia. Oh and I added a Zoa frag, a cheap one, that seems to be fine so far.


That's my story so far, I am feeding flakes but am worried about the CUC being fed enough the tank almost looks too pristine. Should I be worried about them starving?

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You need to post your question elsewhere, this is a general advice thread. Describe your tank setup in detail (like if you started with live rock or not), and you can have a conversation there about where to go. 

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Take your time don't bite of more than you can chew

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Make Water changes the most important part of your routine

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On 1/7/2007 at 9:59 PM, Fishfreak218 said:


Dont get a Royal Gramma!



Really..?   It's such a beautiful fish with the color contraxt, I'm sure many want one.   Was on a possible list of mine.  I've read they can be territorial, are they truly a NO NO.

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