The Aquarium Guide

Nano Reef Tank Setup and Maintenance Guide

A Nano Reef tank is typically a small reef tank that may hold 140 liters or less. Generally speaking however, the definition that distinguishes a Nano reef tank from regular tank is somewhat unclear. There are other suggestions that claim that tanks that are less than 180 liters qualify to be Nano tanks. Indeed the popularity of the Nano tanks has recently become quite popular amongst aquarists as well as fish keeping hobbyists. This may due to the fact that the tanks are relatively small, easy to maintain, and have relatively low maintenance costs. These tanks are most commonly sold as kits that come complete with an aquarium stand, aquarium LED lighting, UV sterilizer, a 3 stage filtration system, a heater, and a water pump. These are the basic accessories that usually come with these tanks but if you like you usually upgrade the accessories and buy those that are more powerful and expensive.

nano reef tank

The Pico Reef

Another small tank that has gained prominence in recent years is the Pico reef tank. This type of tank is usually too small than the regular Nano Reef Tank. Basically most people agree that Pico reef tanks are those tanks that hold approximately 10 liters of water or less. The problem with Pico reef tanks lies with the small amounts of water that they hold they require specialized attention from the aquarist. Due to relatively small volume of water in them, there is usually no room for error. Any slight mistake and the water chemistry and other important parameters go awry putting the life of the coral reef inside a risk. These tanks are not to be overstocked as this may overwhelm the tank’s capacity of processing waste effectively. Experts advise against any attempts of adding even just a single fish to the smallest of the Pico reef tanks.

In Pico reef tanks the most common things you will find inside include; live rock, hardy corals, marine snails, hermit crabs, and hardy corals. Before these very small tanks were discovered, it was thought that keeping coral reef in very small volumes of water was impossible but it has now been found to be possible. Lots of care however needs to be observed for your Pico reef tank to be able to sustain the life that it contains. In fact these kinds of tanks are not well suited for people who are just beginning the hobby.

The necessary maintenance for Nano reef tank

While Nano reef tanks are smaller and have less water volume compared to the conventional aquariums with large water volumes they are usually more complicated. There are certain parameters that you have to maintain at all times in the tank such as quality lighting, water changes, optimum pH to ensure the health of the corals.

Here below are some basic but important maintenance tips for the nano reef tank that you need to learn about:

Required maintenance

Even though having a small tank offers you the benefit of dealing with less water volume, it also comes with the added frequency of performing water changes. Tanks with small water volumes should have the water changed per day. This needs to be done to help keep things such as the pH and salinity stable. It is best not to allow the water to evaporate before performing the next top up as this is something that will most definitely affect the water chemistry and in effect interfere with the smooth growing of the corals.

Remove waste

This is an important requirement that is also practiced even in larger aquariums which is so easy and can be done fast. Perform a careful cleaning in the tank and ensure that any waste product is eliminated from the tank. Performing a quick stir of the substrate below may also be good. After this you can then perform slight water change and also siphon any visible debris out of the tank. If you have good water filter installed in the tank, it should ensure that any remaining dirt particles are filtered away from the tank.

Supplements dosing

This should be done carefully and you need to understand the entire water capacity of your Nano tank. If for instance you got a small Nano tank that has got a water capacity of say 5 gallons, after you have added some live rock and the substrate the water inside may reduce to about 4 gallons. You also need to ensure that you have basic testing equipments of things like ammonia, pH, KH, Calcium, Nitrite and Nitrate.

It is best to regularly perform water testing because in smaller tanks the conditions usually change faster. As soon as you get wind of any water change in the tank it is best to take remedial action in time. As you keep on performing these basic maintenance tips, you will effectively get well versed with Nano care and know just which parameters are most vital to check on a regular basis.

Temperature and pump check

Marine corals really require consistent maintenance for them to do well especially in small tanks due to the fact that water conditions can change quite fast. As a general rule, it usually best to adhere to the laid down requirements in order to avoid problems. Preventing problems from occurring is even better and will save you a lot in terms of energy, resources and time.

Feeding the coral

It must be noted that corals also feed and thus need to be provided with food at least twice weekly. To feed them properly, it is best to shut off pumps and the filters and give the corals like thirty minutes or so to feed. Some corals feed on krill or mussel but there are also other aggressive corals that will be seen sticking out their tentacles trying to sting other corals or small invertebrates in the tank! Once you are absolutely sure that your corals have had enough time to feed, you can then turn on the pump of your Nano reef tank.

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