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Red Sea Max Nano - back after 7 years


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After 7 years I decided to get back into the hobby. I've been moving quite a bit internationally, which led me to take down my 150 gal tank and sell it. Now, after 7 years I'm finally back to a position where I can restart a Nano Reef. I chose the Red Sea Max Nano due to footprint, nice look, and availability in the country I live in. So far, I have:

  • Red Sea Max Nano (all stock)
  • 9 kg live aragonite sand
  • 7 kg dry rock
  • Seachem Stability
  • 3D printed weir mod to reduce noise in the overflow.


Equipment on the way (ordered but not yet here):

  • Ice Cap ATO
  • Eheim auto feeder
  • Hygger mini wave maker


So far the tank is cycling, and I'm ghost feeding to add some ammonia. So far tests are 0.1 mg/L, will continue monitoring in the week. I am dosing 1 cap a day of Seachem Stability to aid the cycle. Any thoughts on adding a GSP one week into the cycle with the dosing (only if ammonia drops down, of course)?


I'm still deciding on stocking, but so far leaning towards a pair of ocellaris clowns, and maybe a small damsel or firefish or similar. Any recommendation welcome! As for corals, aiming for primarily soft corals and a few hardy LPS. I tend to travel home for 3 weeks at a time, so need a relatively low maintenance tank (also why I'm getting the Eheim auto feeder). Hopefully with the ATO, a large reservoir and the auto feeder I can make it sustainable for the periods I'm away from home.


The rockscape is trying to get a bit of an arch. The LFS here had only a few pieces of rock (hard to get anything other than dry natural rock) so these were the best pieces I could get. Overall I'm quite happy with the rockscape, has a lot of surface to place coral at different levels.


I'll keep updating as I go along, but happy to be back in the hobby!



Reef FTS.jpg


FTS 21 Oct 2022


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1 hour ago, yetti said:

Any thoughts on adding a GSP one week into the cycle with the dosing (only if ammonia drops down, of course)?

Personally, I'd wait.


Also, with dry rock, I'd probably use the fishless cycling method:

  • Using ammonium chloride, dose NH4 to 2ppm (no higher)
  • Wait until NH4 drops to 0.25ppm
  • Repeat until your tank can process 2ppm of NH4 down to 0.25ppm within 24 hours


For your GSP, it will do better once nutrient levels are in range and stable.  After the cycle is done, do a large enough water change to lower nitrate to 5ppm.  Hopefully phosphate will be about 0.05ppm.  Sometimes this will be higher and sometimes it will be lower.  But I'd wait until these nutrient levels get sorted out.  Sometimes dosing one or the other is necessary.

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Thanks for the input. I was aiming at using ammonium chloride, but haven't found it available easily where I am. I'll continue ghost feeding and switch to the ammonium method if I can find it.

Noted on the GSP, will consider waiting a bit more and continue testing!

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Looking good, I recently got back into the hobby as well and running a max nano as well. To kick off the cycling, I used BrightWell’s MicroBacter XLM and am pretty pleased with the results. Had a small diatom situation and took care of that with some Trochus snails. Then I recently had a bacteria bloom which is now gone finally. May be adding my first frag this weekend.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/14/2022 at 12:04 PM, Bolo156 said:

Looking good, I recently got back into the hobby as well and running a max nano as well. To kick off the cycling, I used BrightWell’s MicroBacter XLM and am pretty pleased with the results. Had a small diatom situation and took care of that with some Trochus snails. Then I recently had a bacteria bloom which is now gone finally. May be adding my first frag this weekend.

I'm going through a bit of diatoms at this stage, but trying to keep the coral and rock relatively clear. So far, the frags I've added look really good! Haven't found snails where I'm at, so CUC currently consists of red leg hermits. Hopefully will be able to find some snails soon...

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The tank has now been running for close to a month. Between the live sand and Seachem Stability the cycle seems to have gone quite quickly. Had a bit of cloudiness and then brown water, but it has cleared up quite nicely in the past two weeks. I added some activated carbon and filter floss to help with the cloudiness, which did the trick. In terms of hardware, I am currently only running the included filter sock, and I added an additional hygger nano powerhead. Pretty happy with the results so far. In terms of waterchanges, currently doing 5 gallons every two weeks.


I've added a bit of a clean-up crew consisting of a few red leg hermits (only I could find where I am). I might have added them a bit too early before there was anything to eat, as 1 died a bit early on. The rest seem to be fine.

In terms of livestock, I have added so far:

  • 2 juvenile ocellaris clowns (locally bred)
  • 3 varied zoa frags
  • 1 small GSP frag
  • 1 torch frag
  • 1 hammer frag
  • 1 clove polyp
  • 1 acan
  • 1 elephant ear mushroom
  • 1 ricordea mushroom

I added the livestock in waves, and all seem to be doing great. The last I added were the torch and hammer frags, which are fully extended and seem to be doing great.


The REEF LED 50 light I like quite a bit, and so far am doing the 23k spectrum for the fluorescent coloring. I have it in acclimation mode, ramping up to around 70% intensity. I'll increase manually from there while keeping an eye out for the corals.


Here a few pictures of the new inhabitants and tank:










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I’ve been reading a bit on light intensity of the REEF LED 50, and some posts recommend not going over 50-60% blue intensity for a mixed reef. Any thoughts or experience with this? I don’t have a PAR meter unfortunately. 

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1 month and 19 days into the tank, and overall I think its starting to look good. I've had a bit of what I believe is dino, but have overall kept up maintenance and fed a bit more and seems to be slowly going away. Must be part of the new tank process. I've added a few more corals over the past weeks, adding:

  • 1 Green hairy mushroom
  • 1 Meteor Shower Cyphastrea
  • 1 red micromussa
  • A few more Zoas
  • 1 Open Brain Coral (still haven't accurately id)

I've also started actively monitoring alkalinity given the higher amount of stony corals, and plan to get a doser to start dosing DIY 2 part. From an additive perspective, also started dosing Brightwell Aquatics CoralAmino this past week. Will see if any visible effect comes up.


From an equipment side, I bought a Inkbird Wifi ITC-308 temp controller, as I need a bit of cooling from time to time. I'm keeping the target temp around 27.7 C (81-82F), but has gone up to around 28.5 (83-84F) a few times. This connected to a fan is able to keep the temperature in check when it rises. Also have a 50w heater in case needed, but so far tank has not gone below 26 C (78 F).


A few shots:



Left Zoa Garden and Micromussa



Bottom Area



Right Coral Section



GSP and Clove Polyp Sharing and Island



2 Micromussa/Acan



Open Brain Coral?



Meteor Shower Cyphastrea



Love the Torch Coral - seems to be growing fast as well.



Green Hairy Mushroom (Rhodactis I believe)






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  • 1 month later...

3 Month Update


After 3 months of being set-up, I thought it would be good to provide an update.


In this time I have fought off a phytoplankton explosion in the tank, with the water turning so green I couldn't see into the tank. With help of this forum and a UV sterilizer, the water is now crystal clear. I'm still struggling with low phosphate and nitrate, but have started dosing manually, and as of tomorrow will auto-dose the chemicals. Currently I'm also auto-dosing Randy's DIY Recipe #1, and have now managed to dial in the dose to balance consumption. I have noticed that when I dose phosphate/nitrate, however, alkalinity use increases, so will see how this develops when I auto-dose.


In terms of animals, I have recently added:

  • 1 Sebae anemone. It has found a nice spot in the front, between a couple of rocks. So far seems to be doing well, and one of the clown fish is hosting in it.
  • 1 candy cane coral
  • 1 birdsnest
  • 2 turbo snails
  • 2 nassarius snails
  • 1 green plating montipora

The birdsnest is currently in the gravel bed, as I placed it too far up when I first got it and it started shedding its skin. It seems to like the place it is now, so I'll need to start acclimating it to a higher placement in the tank in the coming weeks.


Overall, corals and fish are doing well, and seems with the nutrient dosing they are starting to color up and grow a lot faster. Will see how they progress in the coming few weeks.


FTS 12-Dec 2022



Small zoa garden with a few micromussas, hammer, and other corals.



Right side of the tank with torch coral and gree montipora



Candy cane and bridsnest hanging at the back, looking for where to place them to start acclimating to the light.



IMG_0962 Large.jpeg

IMG_0963 Large.jpeg

IMG_0964 Large.jpeg

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