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This last weekend, I made the plunge for a new nano tank. With the current situation, I have more time in my home office than usual and really became dissatisfied with my current setup, a newer 14g Biocube. I've been in the hobby for awhile now so this will be my third tank and I really wanted something top notch. Knowing that I still wanted something in the nano range of 100L/25g, there really isn't too many choices and I wanted to grow my skills with SPS corals. My previous Fluval Evo 13 was decent as the upgrades were available for lighting and the tank was somewhat rimless but ultimately, I knew I needed more. I looked at the IM Nuvo series, certainly a fine choice but the current supply chain left me with partial options and upgrades, then I came across the Red Sea Nano Max. I was totally sold after watching several members setups and thus, here I am on this journey with all of you. This past week has been a real beast for me at work therefore I apologize for not getting to post more as I first started the journey. I did a decent amount of searching before I came across a decent price for the tank and stand from Bay Bridge Aquarium in Oakland, CA for just under $1100 with tax and shipping included. In my previous setup, I went with CaribSea's Special Grade reef sand and found while it was entirely resistant to clownfish and power heads blowing it everywhere that it wasn't as great at keeping clean. I didn't want to have the same issues so I went back to their Fiji Pink which IMHO, really looks the best if I didn't want to do bare bottom. For the reef rock, I had pukani in the previous tank and barnacles with other softies in the current BioCube. I didn't like the challenges of removing pests and constant rinse and repeat for the new rock so I opted to scape something, perhaps more like a monument or statue with dry reef rock. After looking at my options, I ended up on 25lbs from ARC Reef in Florida via Amazon. They did really well and actually shipped far more than I was expecting. Here's the pieces I started with and the dual headed statue aquascaping design Knowing that I would have some challenges with dry rock and that I wanted to ensure both accuracy and consistency in testing, I purchased the HIREEF Test Kit from Hanna Instruments. In addition to proper introduction of nitrifying bacteria and Coraline algae growth, I opted to try the Red Sea Reef Mature Starter Kit. After watching some recent BRS.tv Investigates I learned a lot about salt; how different brands have different purposes, store differently along with dissolve differently made some interesting insights into my choices of salt. I also wanted something that would store well for automation in water changes and be easily available. For this adventure, I chose Instant Ocean's Reef Crystals as they were in many cases the best or second to best performer for storage and efficacy. To make this journal a little more concise and exciting, I opted to set the salinity at 1.024 knowing that my office gets a little warm 78-80 during the summer and I'm defaulting to the ATO that comes with the MAX Nano. It's a decent ATO but only holds 0.3gal so I wanted to ensure if it did ever run low, it would never run over 1.025 in all likelihood before I or someone else returned to address the matter. I will be discussing automation systems like the Apex solution and one that I'm designing later on in the journey. I've also started cycling the live rock and the tank with the lights off for the past week, allowing minor break in of the provided skimmer. So far, it seems decent and I suspect it will work out just fine. After adding sand and fresh RODI on source, I added some frag plug for future planning of corals and set the dry reef rock in the tank. I hoped I would get the older AI Prime HD light as I was able to download the app with no problem of course but I ended up with the Red Sea ReefLED50 and Reef Beat app. It's ok and so far isn't terrible, I'll know more once I determine what network traffic it sends and if it has any API or other means of programming and telemetry. I hoped to have a power head with the same vendor, but the Nero 5 seems overkill for the volume of the MAX Nano and I've read reviews of issues where it defaults to certain options which would overwhelm the tank. I also looked at the Red Sea Max Reef 25 gyre power head but at 10" I find it to be both an eyesore and waste of space. I knew that all of the options had to have some sort of an app for any hopes at integrating them together with automation and left with little other choices, the Hydor Koralia Akamai was right on spot. I also came across the newer Jebao version of their dosing pumps which appear to be an improvement from the previous model and it too, has an app for ease of setup and control. So here we are into Day 1 of the Reef Mature Starter Kit. I'll update everyone tomorrow once I get the bacteria started and parameters measured. I've also got the light setup and running on 10h per the kit therefore once I get the measurements, I'll keep people posted. Appreciation to all for checking out my journal and I hope you will enjoy this as much as I hope to in the near future. Thank you again and be safe!