Newly setup nano reef

2 Jan 2016
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Hi all,

Brand new to this forum so I just wanted to introduce myself and my current setup. To get some suggestions/advice etc.

My background... I've been into aquariums for the better part of 20 years. I have done every manner of freshwater aquariums (currently run a 4ft planted aquascape), I used to have a 4ft marine about 10 years ago which ran with crushed coral substrate loads of live rock a bunch of fishies and soft corals, using the old sump and protein-skimmer method and metal halides (yes, lol).

I've now decided to delve into a nano marine tank (35l) for my bar counter... As I've been out of marine for some time so you can basically treat me as a complete newbie again.

Anyway, here is the newly setup tank's specs:

- It's a nano tank (35l) 37cm long x 25cm wide x 37cm high
- Used kiddies play sand from Reggies for the substrate (washed a million times to make it as white as possible)
- Using mostly dead rock from my old marine setup + added one small piece of live rock from LFS (which I also notice has a small pink shroom on the underside, so far its still alive which is a bonus).
- Light is a 30W LED flood-light at 7000K (used to work a charm on my planted tanks), gives a very nice cool white look, though I'm likely to add an extra, small blue actinic T5 later to boost the higher spectrum and colour
- Heater, stock standard
- Filter/flow - currently using a canister filter with spray bar (with nothing but some large hole sponge and some activated carbon in it). Yes, I know about the "nitrate bomb" that people go on about with canister filters in marine, but I've used them in the past along side my sump and protein-skimmer to great effect - afaik the rule is simple, keep the content in there to a minimum and keep it clean. Bottom line is, with a canister filter that has little to no media in it, its basically just working as a powerhead but more importantly its also adding more water volume to the overall system - which helps in the case of a nano.
- Salt - Red Sea Salt (oddly I had to add quite a bit more salt than what it said on the packet in order to reach my salinity goal, currently sitting at 1.025)

The tank has been cooking for 1 week so far, and I've got the following parameters:
Ammonia: 0.5mg/l
Nitrite: 5mg/l
Nitrate: 50mg/l
Ph: 8
Temp: 28C

So it appears its nearing the latter part of the cycle and once Ammonia and Nitrites get to zero I will likely do a 50% WC to reduce the Nitrates. Then leave for another couple of days to monitor.

The idea with this nano is to stick with softies for the most part, given how they are more tolerant and this being a nano tank, any number of things could trigger large variations (ie. its not as stable as a larger body of water).

Here's a pic of the "empty and lifeless" tank at the moment.


Some suggestions would be great in terms of stocking it??

Welcome. A nice little yellow clown goby is a must. ;) You can also look at Pyjama Cardinal, Bangaii Cardinal, some of the gobies. There is a thread around here somewhere about nano fish, have a search for it.
Hi and welcome - just one question... did you check your salinity with a refractometer or with one of those plastic jobs like I have? They are notoriously unreliable. Perhaps double check salinity with your lfs using a refractometer to be sure.

Nice little setup you got going and look forward to seeing it progress!
Very neat setup you have the scape looks great!

My 60 litre nano has been up and running for about 4 months now no major issues besides some green hair algae which I got under control with water changes.

Second Drew's comment about the plastic hydrometer, My salinity read at .25 and I thought all was great until I got my hands on a refractometer and found the reading at .29

That 30W LED spot light will help to get the algae growing like mad. Check around if you cannot get a unit at 10000 to 12000K rating rather. Although the corals will grow under 7000K, you will miss the fluorescence that they have, especially the green in some softies, and the nice colors in zoa's.
Update on the tank after installing my new DIY LED light and added star green polyp, blue cove polyp, green striped mushroom, a zoo, blue legged hermit, clown (Ocellarius). Also added a DIY mesh to top as the clown likes jumping.



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Next additions will be some snails, a goby and a shrimp (hopefully peppermint if I can find one). Then I think that's it for livestock. Probably just add more coral as I can over the next few months.
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Seems I have a brittle star that must have hitchhiked in on a piece of LR.

Can anyone tell me if I should be concerned? Its a small nano (35L).

I've read these guys can get quite large and be aggressive towards fish etc?

great hitchhiker.

I got a rather huge brittle star in my nano. No issues towards the small fish in there.

The green starfish, that one do hunt fish and will catch them easily.
here is a picture of the starfish when we moved the tank a while back


That is a 50mm PVC pipe at the top. The starfish is easily 200mm across.
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