How To Setup A Nano Reef

My nano saltwater aquarium build

Nano Reef Saltwater Aquarium.

A nano reef tank by definition is an aquarium that holds 30 gallons or less (anything under 3 gallons is referred to as a pico reef ). Over that last few years nano reefs have become very popular within the saltwater aquarium hobby. The first instance of reference to these small reef aquariums was made in 1989 by Albert J. Thiel in his book Small Reef Aquarium Basics. Over the year their popularity has grown due to their low start up cost compared to that of a larger saltwater aquarium and the amount of space a nano reef take up (or lack there of).

The challenge of a nano reef is maintaining a livable marine environment for it’s inhabitants. Compared to a larger saltwater aquarium things can go wrong much faster in a nano reef, this is because the total volume of water is much less. The larger the total volume of water a saltwater aquarium has, the stable it will be over time.

Nano Reef

I have always wanted a nano reef tank. I started my nano saltwater aquarium with the all in one system called the Fluval Spec V. This 5 gallon aquarium measures 17″ long 10″ wide and 6″ high.

The hopes of this nano aquarium video journal is to provide information in a video format for folks looking to get into the saltwater aquarium hobby and start their own aquarium. My way of setting up and maintaining a saltwater aquarium isn’t the only way or even “The Way”. I encourage you to seek out as much information as you can before starting your own venture.

Below you will find the video journal of my nano reef aquarium build starting with day one.

How to Setup a Nano Reef.

  1. Per mix your water: You will need saltwater for your aquarium. I recommend premixing  saltwater the night before so that its ready to go when you set up the nano reef aquarium. Reef Aquarium water should be 1.026 sg. Add a heater to keep the water at the recommended reef aquarium temperature of 78˚- 80˚.
  2. Find Location: When looking for an location for your aquarium, look for a place that doesn’t get direct sunlight of could have high fluctuations throughout the year. For example, next to a door or a window. You also want to consider a location that is ok to get wet due to spills
  3. Level the aquarium: Leveling the aquarium is very important, if and aquarium is not level, then you add water it can cause stress on the seems of the aquarium. In extreme cases it even cause aquariums to break.
  4. Add live rock: Add cured live rock to the aquarium and make sure to arrange the rock in a way that will be stabile. You also want to make sure that the rock doesn’t touch the side of the aquarium on all four sides. If necessary, use epoxy to secure the rock in it’s place.
  5. Add Sand: After you have added the rock it’s time to add sand. Place the sand at the base of the aquarium around the live rock, this will also aid in securing the rock in place.
  6. Setup the equipment: Add any powerheads, heaters and other equipment your nano reef may need at this time.
  7. Add pre-mixed saltwater: You will need saltwater for your aquarium and pre-mixed saltwater with a sg. of 1.026
  8. Lighting: Place your lighting on the nano reef
  9. Turn it all on.

Cycling your Nano Reef

Fishless cycling in short is cycling your aquarium without fish. One of the biggest advantage of doing a fishless cycle is that you can safely add fish to your aquarium without subjecting them to toxic levels of ammonia or nitrite. High ammonia and nitrite levels are capable of a lot of damage to fish. Even if the fish survive and seem to not be affected, some harm may have occurred. i strongly recommend using the fishless cycling method I provide in the link above.

Nano Reef Setup Video.

Update: Salty Nation, I’m going to be revisiting the subject of nano reef aquariums. I will be starting a new aquarium very soon so if you’re interested please visit the nano reef section of MHR or sign up for our newsletter below.

The MHR Newsletter.

I would like to invite you to subscribe to my newsletter, it’s a great way to stay up to date on newly added content to Mad Hatter’s Reef as well as exclusive content that you can not find here on the blog.

I Appreciate You!

I just wanted to wrap things up by saying that I’m here for you. I want you to succeed as you begin with your saltwater aquarium efforts. Feel free to contact me. I will do my best to respond to your emails and answer any questions you my have about getting started with  your saltwater aquarium.

Thank you so much for your support and I would love for you to drop me a line on my Facebook Page. I look forward to meeting you.

P.S. If you found this page helpful, please hit the like button below.

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