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Cultivated Reef

Filter for brand new Nano reef


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Hey guys, im very new to the marine reef hobby and im planning my very first reef tank. Currently i have a 15 gallon tank which i plan to use to create a nano reef. My local petstore is having a sale at the moment and they are selling Hagen Fluval filters series 204-404 for a huge price discount. I was wondering if they would be an effective filter for a reef tank and if i did buy one what other filter equipment would require if any. Thanks alot guys your help would really be appreciated.

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The simple answer is that you don't need ANY filter in a nano-reef. The only reasons they are used is for water movement, surface agitation and somewhere to put carbon if needed.


All you should need is around 300 gallons per hour of water movement (minimum), some live rock (one to one and a half pounds per gallon), sand (around one pound per gallon) and a clean up crew to keep things clean (snails and hermit crabs). SW and FW are two different animals, you need a good "filter" for a FW tank but your sand/rock/critters are your filter in a reef. If you can get an external filter at a steal, go ahead and get it, just don't put anything in it... use if for your overall water movement.



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Thanks for clearing that up, i had read conflicting information on the subject and was unsure. Some people were saying a type of filter was required and others have said opposite. What exactly do you mean by not putting anything in it? Do you mean carbon etc? One more question are protein skimmers a requirement?

Thanks alot for the help :)

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If you put a hang on the back filter like the one you mention, don't put the replaceable cartridges in. Just use it to move water around the tank. Once you have some corals in the tank you may want to start thinking about putting a mesh bag with carbon in it into that filter but to start out just leave it totally empty.


Some use skimmers, some don't... the way I look at it is with a nano it is best to change 10% of your water every week (very easy to do with tanks this small). If we were talking a 100 gallon tank I'd say skim and do water changes a couple times a month but when you're only replacing a gallon of water a week, it's not worth the cost of a skimmer or the chance of the debateable losses that come from skimming a tank.


Those are my takes anyways, there are lots of smart cookies on this board and goodness knows I'm no expert... hopefully someone will get my back :).

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I just found an australian distributer producing very affordable all in one tanks so i might not be using that 15 gallon tank anyway. Its 133 litres so its a fairly decent step up. Does anyone know any places in australia i could buy some live rock without it busting the bank?

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Sorry, I can’t help you with the Australian suppliers, but just a quick comment on filters (which Chupacabras stated very well).


I recommend a HOB power filter for: flow, to break the water’s surface, and to add phosphate remover. I always run SeaGel (a mixture of Phosguard and carbon) in a media bag.


I’m getting pretty stocked up on corals and now I have to change out 25 to 50% of my water on my 7-gallon during the course of a week (due to adding filter-feeding foods).


I’m dosing B-Ionic and just purchased a skimmer to help cut down on my water changes. However, to be honest, I’m a little nervous about starting to use the skimmer because of the elements it will strip. You can get by without a protein skimmer; but if you use one, you need to dose elements back. I figure between skimming, 20% weekly water changes, and dosing B-Ionic, that I should be fine.


*** EDIT ***

When we say that filters are not needed, we really mean that your LR and LS are your filter, and (in sufficient quantities) no additional filter is needed. This is generally understood, but I thought that I would reemphasize.

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