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Does/did your nano outgrow the tank?


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Hello everyone! I've been toying around with the idea of starting a nano for the last few months now, and I've been reading around this forum off and on when I have time.


I'm not new to aquaria having kept multiple fw tanks now for the last year (Discus, a planted tank, etc). I have a 40 gallon AGA tank that I'm just not happy with and am considering selling it off to fund the project.


My main question is, how long can a 10 gallon nano-reef be kept in a 10 gallon? I wouldn't want to invest in lighting for a 10 to have to upgrade the tank again because the corals outgrow the tank. Will it be good for a year without worry about upsizing? I do usually research my tank inhabitants in advance before purchase so picking the right items shouldn't be an issue.


I'd like to keep this as a small project, no mechanical filters. Just light, LR, sand, etc. The other option would be either a 20 gallon long or a 20 gallon high.


I originally wanted to keep an anemone and a clown (or something else that would host). I'm still reading on that, but any advice would be welcome.


Also, I live in Las Cruces, NM so there isn't a lot of choice out here in terms of corals so I would probably have to mail order from something like seacrop.


Thanks in advance,


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Best part about corals is that they can be cut and pruned to keep them small. And you can sell off the fragments or trade for other corals.

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It all depends on what corals you buy, and how much you put in.


if it's nothing but zoos, it will never outgrow the tank, if it's a anemone, then yes, it will.

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A 40G isn't a nano...neither is a 37G technically speaking. SH

SH = splitting hairs


lol j/k


Do a 40G. You can keep better/more fish. :happydance:

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I've thought about the option of just keeping the 40 as well. Right now I have both an empty 10 gallon AGA and the 40 gallon AGA breeder (currently occupied). I don't think I can really afford a 40 gallon SW setup right now.


If I did the 40 gallon the basic setup would be:


->these are approximations because I haven't picked out specific equipment


192w of PC lighting

50-60 lbs of live rock

10 pounds of sand

Protein Skimmer (pretty much a strong recommendation for a tank this size)


If I did the 10 gallon the basic setup would be:


36+w PC lighting, leaning towards more like maybe 72w?

10-16 lbs of live rock

1-2 lbs of sand (guessing)


The average difference in cost for just the above is what drives me towards just the 10 gallon right now. I understand the whole "get the biggest you can afford" and setting up a 40 is, to me, not really feasible considering every 10 gallons can be almost exponentially greater in cost when considering rock and lighting. I'm also trying to take into consideration my electric bill costs when talking about 36w - 192w.


I see 20 gallon tanks for sale in the area all the time so it wouldn't be a big step to move up and add a light down the road (in a year).


I kinda like the possibility of stacking 10 gallon tanks in a rack so each one has a different personality. My planted tank is also in a 10 gallon.




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Why not keep the 40G AGA and use it for your nano instead of a 10? I'm going to be turning my 37G Oceanic cube into a nano later this year.



They're all Nano's

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go with something long, even custom-built - then you can reuse the lights on an equally long but deeper tank later on, perhaps throwing in a couple of metal halides when you do.


A long, shallow tank will yield better growth than a short deep one.

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They're all Nano's


I think I read somewhere that around a 26 gallon and under is considered a nano tank. Of course when compared to the ocean just about any tank is a nano but compared to the home aquatic industry it sounds about right. I'll have to look up that article, of course nothing is fact when labeling a tank as a nano :-)


Oh and by the way, I've had a 10 gallon for well over a year now and the tank still has room to grow.

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if you want a clown and an anemone go with the 20 over the 10. the water conditions will be more stable and there will be less of a chance that your nem will outgrow the tank(if you get a splitting clone from someone else)

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Thanks for all the comments everyone, but please try and stay on topic.





Regarding live sand, wouldn't I only want a little of it to seed normal sand?



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I recommend using the 40 you have to start and looking into the classifieds section of this site. There are some good deals and then you wont have to worry about things out growing your tank

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Start the 40. It will be easier.


36" PC fixtures are cheap used. So are HOB skimmers.


And get an RO/DI. Its an essential piece of equipment, unless walmart or the lfs are next door.


just my 2 cents


and off topic: we just say nano cause it sounds cool, same with pico

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You can keep a nano-reef tank going for as long as desired. Just frag corals as they grow so they don’t get to large for the tank.


Keeping an anemone is not something to be taken lightly. In the wild an anemone may live for a hundred years or more, providing shelter for many generations of clownfish. Most wild collected anemone will waste away in a tank and are difficult to keep at best. There are alternate corals, which clowns will host, that do well in a reef tank.


You guys that advise everyone to go with a larger tank are defeating the spirit of a nano-reef tank, of which a 40-gallon tank is not. Kind of like the old timers who always said it was impossible to keep a salt-water tank smaller than 55-gallons. A 40-gallon tank may be a small reef tank, but it’s no longer a nano-reef. A Nano-Cube 24 is about the upper limit of a nano-reef.

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