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365 Day All-in-One Nano Reef Challenge ūüŹĀ

Christopher Marks

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Christopher Marks

365 Day All-in-One Nano Reef Challenge

CoralVue Hydros Controllers

Sponsored by CoralVue Hydros


If you've been looking for the right excuse to start up a new nano reef in 2020, consider this your official permission slip! ūüėáūüŹĀ


We're kicking off the new year with a fun community tank building competition, The 365 Day All-in-One Nano Reef Challenge! Work hard all year long to achieve one of three goals and compete to win a HYDROS Control 2 Aquarium Controller from CoralVue!


It takes hard work and dedication to be a nano reef keeper, show off your skills and commitment to the hobby by competing in our 365 Day All-in-One Nano Reef Challenge! Select an All-in-One aquarium of your choosing and build a nano reef to rival all the rest! Everyone can choose their own equipment for the challenge, but it must follow these basic rules:

  • ūüﶬ†All-In-One Aquarium¬†-¬†20 Gallons Or LESS
    • Competing tanks must use an 'all-in-one' style aquarium design with an internal partition.
    • Qualifying tanks cannot be larger than 20¬†gallons total volume, NO EXCEPTIONS.
    • DIY custom¬†tanks are allowed, but must embody the concept of 'all-in-one' filtration design with partitioned equipment.
    • No filtration equipment is allowed inside the display portion of the tank.
  • ūüí° Any Lighting¬†- Yes really! Dazzle your coral and your competition!
  • ūüź† Any Livestock¬†- Go wild, but keep it nano reef friendly!
  • ‚öôÔłŹ¬†Limited Display Side¬†Equipment¬†Allowed
    • 1x Circulation Pump or Wave Maker inside the display tank
  • ‚úÖ Optional Equipment¬†Allowed (Use all or none)
    • Lid, cover, or screen (highly recommended)
    • Aquarium heating of any wattage
    • Cooling fans or Probe based aquarium chillers
    • Automatic evaporation¬†top-off unit with external freshwater reservoir and/or dosing system.
    • Aquarium controller, temperature controller,¬†power strips, timers, etc.
    • Surface skimmer modifications
    • Media baskets¬†inserts
    • Skimmers (must fit inside AIO filtration¬†space)
    • Reactors (must fit inside AIO filtration space)
    • Refugiums (must fit inside AIO filtration space)
  • ūüöę Disallowed Equipment (For a level playing field)
    • No External sumps
    • No External plumbing (except for incoming automatic top-off water or dosing fluids)
    • No Hang-on-back filters
    • No Canister filters
    • No External filters or reactors

Many of you may already own these items or have them available around the house, dig through your aquarium supply stash! Your all-in-one aquarium and equipment do not need to be new, but they must be DRY at the beginning of the contest!


There are no rules or budget limits in regards to stocking of your nano reef tank, have fun and let your imagination run wild! Note: Your entry must be a saltwater aquarium, no freshwater entries are allowed.

Competition Timeline - How To Enter

‚Źį Official Start Date:¬†January 31, 2020 ūüéČ


The competition is open to any and all Nano-Reef Community members starting today January 31st! In order to formally enter the competition, you must begin your 365 Day All-in-One Nano Reef Challenge build by the end of February 2020! This means that by February 29th 2020 you will need to have done the following tasks:

  1. Sourced your qualifying 20 gallon or smaller all-in-one reef tank and equipment.
  2. Started a new aquarium journal here on Nano-Reef.com in our Aquarium Journals Forum.
  3. Shared a photo of your dry AIO nano reef tank in your new aquarium journal with Your Favorite Food Condiment inside.
  4. Posted an announcement of your entry into the competition here in this thread with a link to your build journal.

Competitors are required to post at least one monthly update to their 365 day challenge journal that will include a full tank shot photograph in order to remain eligible, at the bare minimum. Your build thread must also include the tag "365 Day Challenge", so that they are easy to locate on the forums. We all can understand that life gets in the way of our hobby sometimes, photo updates can be up to a week behind, but if you miss more than 2 monthly updates along the way, you will be disqualified.


Qualifying competitors will be asked to post a final 2-3 paragraph synopsis and full tank shot in their aquarium journal within the final three weeks of the competition, which will be used for voting purposes.


Only one (1) aquarium per community member may be entered into the competition.


ūüĆéūüĆćūüĆŹ¬†International community members outside the United States are welcome¬†and encouraged to join the competition, however I¬†cannot guarantee that all shipping costs will covered.¬†Additional shipping costs or duties may need to be paid by the international prize winner, but I will do my best to personally¬†accommodate¬†everyone.


The competition will officially end on Sunday January 31, 2021 at 11:59:59 PM PST. This means a 12 month contest from start to finish. The idea is to give a full year for all competing tanks to reach maturity and their goals. Community Voting will begin on February 6, 2021.

ūüŹÜ Challenge Goals & Prizes

There will be 3 winning nano reefs chosen at the end of the contest by community vote. In the event of a tie, I, Christopher Marks Community Founder, will cast the tie-breaking vote. Winners will be chosen based upon achieving 1 of 3 potential goals:


Goal 1 - Best Theme Tank

Kitschy or cool, colorful or coldwater, pick a "theme" and stick to it.

Give us detail on what your theme is and why you picked it. Take us along on your creative journey as you share your theme with us.

Goal 2 - Best Aquascape Design

The golden ratio, symmetry or asymmetry, spires, caves, and cliffs. Creating a balanced and harmonious aquascape is a delicate art form. Show your creative side and dazzle us with a colorful and unique aquatic landscape.

Goal 3 - Best DIY Modification

Don't you hate it when you can't find what you want in a store? Sometimes you just have to DIY!

Share your problem and the steps you take to come up with your own solution.


Win a CoralVue Hydros Control 2!


ūüŹÜ Challenge goal winners¬†will receive a HYDROS Control 2 Aquarium Controller from community sponsor CoralVue! ūüéČ


The all-new HYDROS Control by CoralVue allows you to monitor and control your aquarium like a pro, even if you’re a beginner just starting out. Track temperature, PH, ORP, water level, flow, leaks, outlets and more. Control pumps, timers, level sensors, dosers, fans, solenoids, switches, cabinet lighting, and whatever else you dream up. Check the health of your tank and take corrective action from anywhere using the HYDROS mobile app. Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. Smart plugs. Color-coded ports and cables. Add accessories without having to connect extra modules and cords. HYDROS is a system you can grow with! The Control 2 and Control 4 can be used together and are compatible with the HYDROS WaveEngine.


HYDROS Control 2 Aquarium Controller Includes:

  • Control 2 Head Unit
  • Power 4 WiFi Controllable 4-outlet¬†Power Strip
  • Temperature Sensor


HYDROS Control 2 Features

  • Monitor key aquarium water parameters and control equipment from anywhere using the¬†HYDROSapp for Android and iOS.
  • Easily adjust settings by swiping on your mobile device. There is zero coding or complicated programming required.
  • Mobile text alerts and app push notifications are sent the instant something goes wrong so you can take corrective action remotely.
  • Set rules to turn on & off equipment automatically based on real-time data and create schedules to perform tasks throughout the day.
  • The¬†HYDROSControl 2,¬†HYDROS¬†Control 4,¬†HYDROS¬†WaveEngine, and future¬†HYDROS¬†products can all be used together.


The HYDROS Control 2 Aquarium Controller launches spring 2020!


Potential prize winners may only claim a prize from 1 of 3 goal categories. In the event a nano reef tank is voted as a winner for 2 or more goal categories, the winner must choose only 1 of the available winning prize categories and forfeit the remaining category prizes to the nano reef tank(s) with the next highest vote count(s) in the remaining goal category (or categories).


ūüéĀ Bonus Awards from CM
Win a Nano-Reef T-Shirt & Sticker pack!

  • Friendly Competition¬†- Award for the most helpful and encouraging competitor.
  • Bad Luck¬†- Award for the competitor that just can't seem to catch a break.
  • Frugal Master¬†- Award for the best challenge tank on a budget.


Please keep in mind our wonderful community sponsors when purchasing your equipment, supplies, and livestock! ‚̧ԳŹ¬†

365 Day All-in-One Nano Reef Challenge Competitors List

Follow along with all the entries by using the Nano-Reef Community Tag "365 Day Challenge" <- Bookmark This Link

  1. Check
  2. Back
  3. Soon!
  • Like 14
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Just now, Christopher Marks said:

It's dry right? I think it could work ūüėĄ¬†No external plumbing right?

Yep, has dust and cat hair in it (hopefully that doesn't count) 


Mini jet pump inside surface skimmer box


Just made the adjustable magnetic floss tray last night 





  • Like 5
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2 minutes ago, Christopher Marks said:

Looks like a cool DIY all-in-one¬†nano reef tank under 20 gallons to me @jbb_00, a fine weapon for battle¬†ūüĎć



Count me in 







  • Like 8
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So could my old school pico get moved into a dry AIO (like the empty Lifegard 4 gal I have sitting around) and I could keep it going another year?? It’s been through some struggles lately but that gives me a little incentive to keep it up. Don’t think it will be in the running for any prizes unless you add an ugly duckling category. 

  • Like 4
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Christopher Marks
6 minutes ago, SeaFurn said:

So could my old school pico get moved into a dry AIO (like the empty Lifegard 4 gal I have sitting around) and I could keep it going another year?? It’s been through some struggles lately but that gives me a little incentive to keep it up. Don’t think it will be in the running for any prizes unless you add an ugly duckling category. 

Yup, that would technically qualify!

  • Like 1
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  • Christopher Marks changed the title to 365 Day All-in-One Nano Reef Challenge ūüŹĀ
9 hours ago, dannyk35 said:

I just started my Nuvo 10 on Wednesday. *facepalm*

I wouldn't think that would be a huge problem.  You'd just have to dry it out and start a new thread.  The rock could sit in another container while you clean and dry your new tank.  While I wouldn't consider this approach appropriate (in the spirit of competition) for a fully setup reef tank, yours might still be new enough.  Hell, it's barely wet.


@Christopher Marks, can we get a ruling on this?  BTW, thanks for the new contest; this should be fun!

  • Like 3
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Christopher Marks
5 hours ago, seabass said:

I wouldn't think that's a huge problem.  You'd just have to dry it out and start a new thread.  The rock could sit in another container while you clean and dry your new tank.  While I wouldn't consider this approach appropriate for fully running reef tanks, I'd consider yours is still new enough to get away with it.  Hell, it's barely wet.


@Christopher Marks, can we get a ruling on this?  BTW, thanks for the new contest; this should be fun!

Yup, this is technically accurate! ūüėú

  • Like 1
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My present 10G nano is actually an AIO. But it's already stocked with fish, rock, sand and macro - has been running for almost 4 years.


So I have to skip out on this one. ūüėě


Will still support anyone who's entering though! Can't wait to see all the beautiful tanks this year. ūüôā¬†

  • Like 5
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4 minutes ago, Smurf said:

If I started my tank last week, am I eligible?

I am still cycling. No livestock yet. Not even rock. 

So what are you cycling exactly if you dont have rock ? 

  • Like 2
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20 US gallons is 75 liters right? So the red sea max nano is ok?...


Just asking for a friend because I definitely 100% do not have room for another tank, so I keep being told....¬†ūüėŹ

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