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3' Desktop Nano


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July 24, 2014




I received my Tank today and set up to dry-fit equipment and aquascaping during lunch. Filling the tank for initial leak test will begin tomorrow (after I bring in buckets with enough capacity to capture the water if it does leak :eek: ). Cycling will start on Monday. I originally planned on a 5 gallon cube, but that tank has been set aside for someones freshwater planted tank / Betta.



Mr. Aqua Serene Ultra 12 Gallon Low Iron (35.4" x 8.3" x 9.4")

Maxspect 420R 160w - 16000k

Lighting levels and schedule TBD


Bulk Reef Supply Pukani ~ 10 lbs

Bare Bottom


Marine Innovation MP10w EW - 20% power Reef Crest

Marine Innovation MP10w EW - 20% power Anti-sync


Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm 75 watt


Hydor Smart Level with Tom Aqua Lifter pump

Not currently pictured - Sensor will be above the Cobalt heater, and fill tube in the corner above it


Neptune Systems Apex Jr. with Temp, PH and Salinity probes


None currently planned - If needed a Gnome Glass 38mm Nano Skimmer


None currently planned


E S V B-Ionic




Water Change:

Planned 50% 15% once a week - Mondays Fridays


Planned once a week on Thursdays (as needed)




Birds of Paradise Acoropora

Ponape Birdsnest

Pink Stylo


RR Fallen HorizonLeptoseris

JF Jack 'O Lantern


Rocketpop Acan

Chemical X Acan

Purple Royal Acan

CrimsonLava Chalice

Red Rim Chalice

Purple Chalice Sponge

Biohazzard Favia

Baby's Breath Fvia

Mayan Sun Favia

LC Toxicity Favia

Cold Reaction Favia

Space Invader Favia

Gonzo's War Machine

Viper Favia


Flame Shroom

Ultra Lava Lamp (x2)

Scarlet Devil Shroom

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Looks sweet so far, I have a similar set-up minus a foot of tank haha. You'll love the Razer if it's your first time using it! What are the plans for stocking?


:welcome: to Nano-Reef btw!

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I was originally inspired by daniel.alfonso's 3 gallon desktop pico tank, but when the 4-5 gallon cube that I was going to use got set aside for something else, I sort of combined that tank with Scorched 3 Foot Office Nano.


With the exception of a few Cerith snails, coral only for reduced bio-load and the size of the tank... What do you call that, COWLR? Due to size constraints, NO polyps. No fast growing softies (e.g. no leathers, no Kenya trees...) Starting stocking from the right with some easy, robust soft corals. Mainly whatever is affordable, hard to kill and slow growing when the first cycle finishes. The large rock in the center might be better on the right to create a shaded low flow area, or it might not be used at all and swapped for a smaller rock before the cycle starts. It looks a little too crowded as is.


What happens and gets stocked after that depends on if I turn out to be the Grim Reaper of coral! I always like close brains, so at some point a Platygyra, but a Wellsophyllia or two instead might be nice. I was also thinking of trying to suspension-culture a Psammocora to see if I can induce a rollolith morph. For the "science". Yeah, for science fo'shizzle.... Possibly some rock flower anemone, but there is not much space for them to decide to wander off in a tank this size.

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  • 1 month later...

Update - it has been about 32 days since the tank got it wet, and still waiting on the tank to settle down. In the end I put in all the dry rock that I ordered, about 16 lbs of it. The tank looks too crowded for my tastes, but one large piece is destined to move in a 5 gallon cube for a quarantine tank (or possibly a remote deep sand bed 7 gallon bucket sump if I figure out a good way to do the plumbing at my desk). After adding the rock and leaving an inch off the top, the 12 gallon tank actually only has 9.5 gallons of salt water. I might bring it down to 9 gallons because the ATO sensor overfill alert level is currently above the rim of the tank (though the max level is about 1cm below the rim). Lowering the water level another 0.5 to 1 inches will fix that. The sensitivity of the Hydor smart level ATO is 1.5 cm or 0.6 inches between the start of fill and max level, which is way too much for a shallow tank with a large square footage surface level like the 12 gallon long - that is about a gallon of water out of the 9.5 gallon actual water volume (at the top few inches of the tank is all water and no dry rock so 0.6 inches at the top is more water than 0.6 inches in the middle). The difference between the start of fill and the minimum water level however is less than half that. The ATO won't initiate filling if the minimum level is measured at power on, so by using a timer to turn on and off the ATO regularly, I can actually get the water level to vary by (using an eyeball measurement) about 1 mm to 1.5 mm, so the salinity swing is not that huge. Minimum level is at actual desired water level, not max. Currently the timer turns the ATO on for 11 minutes (with about 1 1.5 minute calibration startup time, that leaves a little over 9 minutes of fill time, below the 10 minute max fill time before alarm) every 169 minutes for a total of a little less than 35 minutes of fill time every 12 hours. The Toms Aqualifter has a rate of about 3.5gph, so even if something goes horribly wrong, during the weekdays it will not overflow, and it has been working great for the past month. Eventually though after I adjust the water level the alarm level will be able to have a backup on the weekends, and down the road the ATO will also be controlled by a conductivity / salinity monitor.


As for the powerhead, a single MP10Wes is not sufficient for a 36 inch long tank, even if it is moves enough water for the volume of the tank. After about two feet, the flow has mostly dissipated. I am going to put a second pump in slave mode on the lowest setting at the opposite end of the tank.


The BRS Pukani dry rock has really great shapes and really low density, but has got a lot of stuff in it! The first day I used some Dr. Tim's ammonium chloride to get the ammonia up to between 1 and 2ppm. It stayed stable for about three days, then it started to go up and not down! I decided that instead of a normal cycle, I would have to ride out an extended "cooking" with no dip/swish and limited water changes (since it is in an office environment and my officemates already think I'm a little nutso putting this tank in my cube). The ammonia went off the charts above 8ppm sometime between 10 and 16 days. Then I went on holiday. Today the ammonia is now below 0.25ppm, but the nitrite is still above 5.0ppm and nitrate above 160ppm. Going to do a partial water change tomorrow to get the nitrite / nitrate down. I want to get de-nitrateifying bacteria better established to reduce the nuisance algae down the road, so the levels after the change are going to still be very high, but at least not off the charts. Then I will feed ammonium chloride every few days to keep the ammonia bacteria population alive and healthy while I am waiting for the full cycle of bacteria to establish. I'm not going to see anything live in the tank for a while yet!

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