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24G Nano Cube DX Startup, Setup, Manual for newbies, in the works

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Hi Wooby Cat...I had some leftover Eheim 12/16 tubing. I believe that 1/2" tubing will do. You'll need those small plastic ring ties (that wratchet) to hold the tubing onto the pump and the elbow connector that connects to the flare nozzle. You'll see what I mean when you take out the stock pump and look how it attaches.


I am currently working on a way to put the stock pump in the third chamber. Go to Marine Depot and look up under plumbing the Loc-Line tubing connectors. I am going home to measure the pump, but, I think the order list might include some of the following. Again, I am not sure yet, but, here is what I am looking at:


a) 6" of 1/2" flexible ball socket joint tubing.....3 pieces

B) 1/2" round nozzle elbow 1 piece

c) 1/2" MPT connecto 4 pieces

d) 1/2" elbow fitting 4 pieces

e) 1/2" assmbly pliers

f) 2 1/2" swivel nozzle

Without the actual pieces in ones hands to play around with, I've guessed those pieces based on what I think the shape of the setup should be. My other idea is to try some elbow connectors from some suctions cannisters where I work and see if they will connect to the Eheim tubing or clear tubing that goes with them, and then just put the pump in the third chamber and shape it over the side. The other way would be to drill/dremel a hole in the wall similar to the stock nozzle. I have this thing against drilling the darn thing.


The setup you have is moe than enough to get you up and cycled and support your fish and cleanup crew if you want to wait and see what I come up with and if it works. SH

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To WoobyCat..this is the response from Marine Depot when I asked them about constructing tubing from chamber 3:


Hi Frank,


Thanks for your inquiry. Due to the small amount of space between the wall and the canopy, what you are trying to do would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Another problem is that the drain ( on the left hand side) will not be able to handle that much flow. Your best bet is too put that powerhead inside the tank itself.


Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.






Marine Depot Customer Service


Let me check this out further....Ah'll be Bock. SH

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Hey SH,


thanks for the heads up, I ordered some tubing and fittings including a bulkhead screw in prep for modding the 3rd tank. I was prepared to drill a second hole for the fit. so itt seems that the volume of the chamber cannot support the flow from two pumps. bummer.Are you going to stick with the first and third chambers for you powerhead location?

What is your take on the Seio powerheads???


Again, Thanks



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sure wish steelhealr would reduce the size of that image so I could quit having to scroll my window to read this page

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Woobycat....change up here. Tonite I tried to fiddle around. When I was ordering my equipment, I ordered the smallest Maxijet thinking I would use it to mix SW. It is the MJ400 and it does about 106gph. Well...never trust anything anyone tells you unless you are sure yourself. I rigged up a test tonite to see how the grate handles the flow. Granted, the pump is less than the stock pump, but, together with the 1200, total gph would be 401gph, about 17X. I just did a test run..didn't run to check temps. Here is the jury-rigged setup (didn't set this up for aesthetics, just to test:




First off, the intake grate, first and second chamber showed no turbulence. Second, if you move the heater into the back righthand corner of the third chamber, the pump fits with the suctions cups against the anterior wall with no problem. Thirdly, the flow across the back of the tank with the flange nozzle was very nice and didn't disturb the substrate. For those of us without the experience of drilling bulkheads, the tubing fit over the wall without significant cripping....just need more right angle connectors to make a smooth fit. I may go this route. I have my LR in..and with my work schedule, drilling and bulkheads is pushing it. If you have the time, I think you can do your project in the third chamber. I saw another website where someone put a minijet in the first chamber underneath the sponge, which, at first, looked like a good idea thinking that it will pull water down thru the sponge and help with mechanical filtration. However, I still think that the suction is going to pull debris either out of the sponge or out of chamber 2 and shoot it back into the tank.


As for powerheads, I think there is a large consensus here that Maxijets are excellent. SH

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For anyone still new and following, a partial cleanup crew was added today. The crew is added after algae shows up. Not the greatest pix, but, here is a 'before and after' shot after one week of cycling. Stats: pH 7.9, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, two partial water changes, 15% and 10%.





AFTER..note the diatoms/algae now starting to cover the sand. Also see if you can see some coralline algae in the pic.




Cleanup Crew added:


5 astrea snails

5 nassarius snails

2 scarlet hermits

2 blue leg hermits

extra shells, lol

I wanted an emerald crab but they were out.


What is fascinating is that , when placed in the tank, the hermits immediately started to go to work. They pick up individual grains of sand and clean it. As you watch, small circles of white open up around them and they REALLY DO clean it up. It's amazing.


Refugium started:


In the back middle chamber, I added Halimeda macroalgae:




Tomorrow, I'll rig up the submersible light and we'll see if it survives. SH

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I just caught onto this thread today (april 17th) and I went back to read it from the start. I think you just convinced me on the 24g JBJ. Thanks for shedding some light on the trials and tribulations of mod-ing the cube to be more user friendly. I really appreciate it and Im sure I speak for anyone else who is considering a nano.

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Hey SH,


Thanks for the update. It is sunday, and I will not recieve my tank until tomorrow...Cant wait. I will be glad to see first hand what we have been talking about..Your aquascape looks great. Will get back to you as soon as my cube arrives. I am sure I will have some questions.



Regards, WDM

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Thanks for your guide. It is a great source of information and, actually, inspired me to take the plunge with a 12g nano cube dx. Added my live rock yesterday. I've got a few thoughts/questions for anyone -


1. i've got a nice stand that could probably support an old 10 gallon tank as a sump (gotta think about weight issues) hidden under the tank. Im pretty sure I could rig this up using an old canister filter. Is it worth the hassle? I figure adding any additional water volume will make the system more stable (as will the macro and other goodies I could grow) and might be worthwhile since I have the room. Thoughts? Will standard flourescents work well enough to support macro in the sump?


2. picked up my LR yesterday at the LFS (fresh off the truck - they were unpacking it when I arrived). I cherrypicked the new rock and ended up with 10 pounds with all sorts of nice life - snails, coraline, fanworms, kelp, macro, zoanthids, and what looks like 2 different types of still living coral that I have yet to identify. I did NOT scrub the rock (aside from picking off some obviously dead stuff) in order to preserve life. The LFS guy tried to discourage me - saying "its all going to die cept the coraline so select rocks based on shape, not life." Based on my limited reading this is somewhat untrue. Dont have hope for the corals but some of the other stuff may live? Anyway - what can I do, if anything, to help some/all of this life survive the cycling period?





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salt water is 8.5lbs to the gallon, if your stand can support say 150 safely, you should have no concerns unless you try moving the thing and it collapes from side loading.

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I know the stand can support the nano - its a 29 gallon stand. But its a cabinet type stand so I'm not sure the bottom shelf inside the cabinet (where I'd place the sump) would support a ten gallon tank. I need to look at how the bottom is built before I make that call.

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To MBurton: thanks for the support. I'll be glad to pitch in for you when I can. This is a less of a 'high tech' thread and more of a 'lets get up and running and advance as we go type'....Plus...you'll see where I fail and what's works. Looking at those incredibly amazing tanks gives me optimism, but, were a bit ahead of me at this stage.


To my buddy Woobycat...WTG...I think maybe after a bit, YOU'll be the sensei and I"ll be the kohei. As for the aquascape, I tried to make an 'atoll' type shape and keep it open. Twin peaks looks good too. It's tough to do, you'll see, with the dimensions. I think if you keep the LR pieces softball size, it is easier. Keep me posted...I'm following along your progress..let's keep this going.


To Emoutz...if you can rig up a sump under your nano, I would definitely do it. I wanted the 12G originally, but, when the 24 was available, I wanted that extra 'cushion' (if it exists in a nano system). The sump could contain a refugium as well as equipment and I know your fluorescents would probably do fine. Many people are illuminating their macro with under 15 watts of light. If you have the 'guts', it wouldn't be hard to drill holes thru the hood to run your lines in and out of..they could go either into the tank or the last chamber.


As for the LR, I only picked off soft 'yucky' stuff that looked REALLY DEAD. I didn't scrub the rock. The pieces of LR that were muddy, tho', I rinsed off in SW. I think your making the right choice. The best thing you can do is just do a good cycle....and start light up to help keep the light requiring coralline algae alive. If it is truly uncured..which I now think mine wasn't....you can start off at 2 hours/day and increase it incrementally. If you find the die off is minimal and you cycle quickly...the light can go up faster. SH

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Hi..my refugium modification is now in place and running. I'll post back on this with the two main points of interest:

1) Will it process nitrates (ie, keep nitrates at 0)

2) Will the macroalgae survive with this type of light.



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Again, for those still following, I've started to note areas of my LR turning white. It looks almost as if someone caked on flour. I'll try and take a pic of this tomorrow. According to what is posted here, this is 'die off' of coralline algae. Review of posts say the following:

1) this is normal when cycling uncured LR.

2) it is related to coralline algae not used to the light intensity.

3) this may be a Ca2+ or alkalinity problem


Remedies posted included:

1) check calcium and alkalinity parameters

2) ride it out, that die off is expected and that the algae will come back.

3) decrease lighting and/or reduce the actinic component for awhile

4) dose with kalkwasser


I will check these two parameters...they were satisfactory at the start of the cycle and I wouldn't understand why the Ca2+ would drop. Unless there is something drastically wrong, I don't think that adding chemicals right now is the way to go. SH

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I noticed the same thing (parts of my LR turning white). 75% of my rock was brand new off the truck and those are the rocks that are having some die off. I have another chunk that was in the store for awhile - maybe it qualifies as cured. The coraline on that chunk has remained healthy. I've opted for an immediate 10 hour light cycle for two reasons: (1) that is what the LR was subjected to at the LFS; and (2) the zoanthids, macro, and coral need the light if they are going to have any chance.


I've decided to give the extra 10 gallon a shot this weekend. I'll post pictures and a description of what I did in case anyone else wants to give it a shot.


Right now I'm thinking that I'll try cutting a hole in the lid near chamber two for the outtake and then pumping the water directly into the tank (rather than letting it go back through chamber 3 w/ the stock pump). Should give me good additional (and adjustable) circulation.

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Emoutz..thanks for the f/u....and...thanks..so...this is not unusual of new LR. I am taking a sample of my water to the LFS just to check it againts my testing kit. SH

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Hey Sage,


How is your tank doing? I am still waiting on mine to arrive..Fed Ex broke the first one, now UPS is taking a shot at it. Where are you at with yours? Any new pictures to post? I am living vicariously at this point, so throw me a bone!





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YIKES....broken. That shaped glass can crack...just make sure you do a water test before you set it up. It's just one thing I wouldn't skip during setup because of the glass shape..there have been some horror stories here Woobycat. Since I was testing my submersible for the refugium, mine was running for several days before emptying. I'll have more pix tonite. My cleanup crew really DID seem to be doing the job since putting them in as of this morning. Where am I at?


--I added two emerald crabs

--if I"m not crazy, the white crusting seemed slightly less and I think I see more coralline coming back in areas.

--algae seems to be cleaning up my total crew 5 Nassarius, 5 Astrea,2 scarlet hermits and two blue leg hermits, two emerald crabs. I could probably add more snails SH

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For those still following along:

1) The submersible fuge light is not causing any tank overheating and the macroalgae is still green....success so far, tho' still early.

2) I have a little bit of nitrate in the tank....will water change tomorrow and swap out the sponge

3) Added two emerald crabs to the cleanup crew lineup



4) Finally..here is a pic of the change that occurred on the LR




Note the astrea snails have cleaned off that whole area of LR (compared to the rock at the upper right), leaving exposed a chalky white layer. This, I presume from my readings here, is dieoff of coralline algae. HOWEVER...if you look just below mid photo, the reddish stuff is all brand new, ie, I believe that is new regrowth. Also...man..check out how clean those guys made that rock. I'm surprised how quickly they move. My sand is also cleaning up and algae seems in check (for now, lol). If I can get my nitrates lower, then, I'll be comfortable considering other livestock (cleaner shrimp and first fish). SH

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Common Nano Cube Filter Media Additives ( or ka-ching $$$)


There are a few media inserts that are added as supplementary filtration aids in the back of our Nano Cubes and are worth mentioning. I thought I would post a few here. These have been placed by various reef keepers in all of the chambers, most commonly in the second, followed by the first.






Chemi-Pure is made by Boyd Enterprises. It is a 'filter resin' (looks like carbon to me) which claims to have many properties including:

-eliminates fish loss

-no expensive water change ever

-removes copper, metal ions, odors

-ammonia and nitrate scavenging

-keeps pH at a perfect constant level


Recommendations are one unit for 5-40 gallons. Average cost is $6-12 per unit. Replacement is every 1-6 months (most replace after 3 months).






Purigen is made by the SeaChem company which makes a lot of the test kits for reef tanks. Purigen claims to be a "macro-porous synthetic polymer that removes proteins, nitrite and nitrate, ammonia and a broad spectrum of organics at a rate and capacity that exceeds all others by over 500%. It significantly raises redox and polishes water clarity. Exhaustion is indicated by discoloration and can be regenerated easily. For marine and freshwater. 100 ml. treats up to 100 gallons, for up to 6 months."


Average cost is about $7-8.00 per 100mls with mesh bag.


PhosGuard and PhosBan





These products are designed to help reduce the level of phosphates in your tank and are usually purchased to help combat algae overgrowth. Phosguard is about $17.00 for 1.2kg/ 2L's and Phosban is about $16.50 for 150 g's.






SeaGel is another product by SeaChem. They describe it as: A blend of Seachem's Matrix Carbon and Phosguard, Seagel quickly removes organics, phosphate, silicates, toxic metals and acids from any alkaline fresh or saltwater aquarium. A fine mesh bag is recommended.


Cost is about $6.00 for 250mls.





Here we go...I think if you have a problem with phosphates and algae blooms, the phosphate removers may definitely help. I've seen nothing to convince me that Chemi-Pure or Purigen really do a whole lot . SeaGel seems to be gaining in popularity because it contains both phosphate removal and carbon filtration. Bottom line..NOTHING REPLACES THE EFFECTIVENESS OF REGULAR FREQUENT WATER CHANGES. So, make your own decision. I plan to try one or two in combination and see what happens. SH

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Well..so far, I've been fortunate since coming up on 2 weeks:


1) My nitrates are falling...only half a bar away from 0. This could be multifactorial including reduction in die off material, water changes and, of course, if the macroalgae has 'kicked in'. Someone posted elsewhere that their macro is alive and doing well in the middle of their 12 gallon NC WITHOUT ANY ADDED FUGE LIGHT.


2) I added the live sand that arrived from a live tank. I kept it overnight in SW with a heater and all parameters checked out 0 the next day. I didn't add all five pounds...about 2-3. It came with some shells and a piece of what looked like branch rock. Really clouded up the water despite having poured off as much cloudy effluent as I could. It'll settle tho.


3) My livestock are still alive. The ocellaris is out and active. The firefish is extremely shy. So....I added two new members (ready Parker?). Added a green goby:


and a cleaner shrimp:



Let me tell you...that shrimp is intense in color. I love the blood shrimp, but, at $39-49 a pop out here.....they'll wait. I'm gonna hold here for now and let everyone adjust. I'm leaning towards a lawnmower blenny next.


4) The chalky white change on the LR is receding and I"m starting to get small areas of really intensely colored coralline algae, purple and burgundy colors.


5) One astrea snail was upside down...I hope I righted him in time (they can't right themselves). SH

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First pest arrived....I think I see one area of bubble algae arising on the back rock. Bubble algae is not normally a sign of bad water conditions, but, is a hitchhiker on LR. It can take over your tank. I'm going to have to try and pull it off tomorrow.


I have some nice areas of coralline algae coming up. Most of that chalkiness is gone.


All tank inhabitants are alive and doing well. The firefish is less shy, but, doesn't seem to be eating. The ocellaris is eating the cyclopeeze and also took slow sinking pellet type food. The clown goby has been invisible. Pic:




Newbie DIY


For those following along..as you know, topping off is a constant thing now. Now I know why people have invented auto-topoff systems. Well....holding a 2.5 gallon jug of RO water at shoulder level and spending 10-15 minutes pouring water in ....well..let's just say I'm tired of getting my shoes wet. LOL. Besides, now that I have livestock and inverts, you can see the disturbance in the water as you pour RO water in. So....I just quickly put together a quick cheapo timesaver until I figure out whether or not I have the time to get an automatic system (I'll have to research the float valve thing).


Here is my temporizing DIY:

I have access to medical stuff, so, I grabbed some IV tubing and a canister. Aquarium tubing, any plastic jug and a gang valve would do the same thing.



I drilled a small hole in the bottom side of the canister, fit the tubing in and siliconed it together. Voila...fill it and adjust it to a drip. Now..this is not aesthetic to the eye, but, I'll put it up at night and take it down in the morning and back in the stand. Now, I don't have to hold anything, topping off is gradual with less risk of a temp change or floating gobs of pure water past the animals. I think it's time to start thinking about corals and researching it. SH

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Ive just talked to local people about getting a lawnmower blenny in my 24g DX NC.., but everyone I talked to said that it gets too big and would be miserable.., let me know if anyone thinks it would be fine in a nano because I really want one but all the sites say minimum tank size of 30g's


thanx for the input

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Dukester....I've been getting the same feedback. Here is a quote from one of the moderators from another forum:


Sorry for the late comment but i would urge you to reconsider the lawnmowwer blenny for a tank of this size. 2 reasons really.. Firstly, they are extrem,ly difficult yo ween onto anything other than algae tht grows naturally. My algae blenny could just about keep up with my 100 gallon system. A small er system may find that the algae blenny will be too efficient and it will then later starve to death. 2nd Algae blennys are not the tiny lovable little fish you see hopin garound the tanks in your lfs. They get big.. (very big for a blenny) I had one last year that was 5 inches nose to tail and still had more grwoing to do IMO.

They are otherwise very peacefuland great additions to any tank but be aware that the 2 points i raised may not be an issue immediately but 12 months from now you may have problems.

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Hi...experience is the best teacher. I lurked and read here for more than a month before setting up my 24G Nano Cube. So, who knew that a bulkhead wasn't just a partition in a ship or submarine (doh!). So...I can only dream of having a tank like Tighaboy's or Uchiha's, but, with only 10X flow...but......hmmmmm.


You know, I tried that famous mod of putting the stock pump in my first chamber since I swapped it our for a Maxijet 1200 in chamber 3 (see..I did my reading). Didn't fit well....shot water upward...pulled debris out of the sponge (which I have since gotten rid of)....you guys must know something that I don't. LOL. It still made more sense to me tho', that, flow should continue in a progression from chamber 1 --> 3. So...I had a Maxijet 400 that I had purchased for mixing salt..decided to use that instead of the stock pump...and tried to see what I could do with it. Here it goes:



1) 1/2 elbows, Home Depot, sprinkler area

2) black tubing

3) ratchet ties










I apologize for the slightly cloudy pic as I stirred up some stuff while putting the mod in. The outflow nozzle actually doesn't have a big profile at all and I feel much better that I didn't have to put the entire powerhead in the chamber. The clearance between the splash guard and the tubing is close but the hood closes completely and securely. The water level in all three chambers hasn't fallen. The only thing I have to watch now is water temp. By my calculations, I should have 17X flow.


So...this certainly is not the greatest mod compared to those who have the technical skill and time and forethought to drill a bulkhead ( a what?? lol), but, I'm posting this to help out other starters like myself. I hope this helped. Thanks for your time. SH

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