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Thread: Nano Reefers?

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    swords's Avatar
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    Nano Reefers?

    Is anyone here keeping a nano reef of inverts, corals and so on in a tank 10 gallons or less? got pics?

    I found a series of vids on youtube by Indo Pacific Sea farms about setting up an eco-friendly DIY 10 gallon nano using a $29 tank, hood and filter combo kit.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ipsfdotc.../0/od2X9PJEc7o
    Parts from Wal Mart in his vids but it's the exact same kit I got last week for my 10 gallon planted tank at petsmart (different filter brand). I've always wanted to do a reef tank and if this guy is correct that I can do this with such a simple setup I would like to give it a go creating the ecosystem from DIY rock and coral sand beginning with micro to macro organisms allowing things to age before each new introduction.

    Also, does anyone who owns a nano reef have a forum they use for info to suggest I start researching at? I've found a few nano reef forums out there but which one is the most reliable for total beginners. I read all about reefs 10 years ago in expensive books before I got into CPs but I'm sure much has changed. Especially if this guy is showing I don't really need $30,000 of equipment & MH lighting for a small 10 gallon invert reef on an end table or on one of my terrarium shelves.

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    I have a 12X12X12 nano reef with 2 CFs for lighting. I may have spent $150 setting it up, and it did just fine.

    I have the lighting, a heater, pump, live sand, and live rock. Nothing else equipment wise. Yes I consider the sand/rock equipment, they are the "filters".

    This tank was the first thing I stopped caring for when I started my health problems, and while not all shinny and new like it looked a year ago there are still many things growing in there. Even a gobby despite my best efforts to forget its in there and kill it. Since I've recovered some we have started to keep better care of the tank but still no where near what we should.

    Anyway the moral here is that they are no where near as hard as you would think. IF you have kept saltwater stuff before. I would not recommend a nano reef for your first saltwater tank, if your going to make sure you read a TON before. I would be really careful about equipment, there is a ton out there and you don't need much of it. The only other piece I wanted to add was a proten skimmer (good item), but I could never find one I liked in the size I wanted.

    The best thing I can say is get good, high lighting and quality sand and rock. Buy the BEST rock you can find, it will make the most difference.

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    Yeah the sand/rock as filtration is what I'm interested in creating using the HOB merely as water circulation/large particulate filtration. Our two LFS which are about two doors away from each other both carry freshly imported & cured live rock of several varieties as well as the stuff to DIY your own rock arches and pieces from crushed coral, coral sand and portland cement that you can seed with reef rubble to get the beneficial organisms colonizing the rock.

    I had a SW tank with some Blue Damsels way back but I'm not so into the fish as I am all the polyps and corals and creepy crawlies. I may get one or two very small fish someday for it but mainly the inverts is what I'm interested in.

    I've seen great reefs with skimmers and great reefs without, what is the theory behind skimming and not skimming? I know it's to remove biological waste but to my eyes it seems one can go either way on the skimming and not really come that much further ahead. Does it more or less depend on whether you have fish generating lots of heavy waste?

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    Quote Originally Posted by swords View Post
    Yeah the sand/rock as filtration is what I'm interested in creating using the HOB merely as water circulation/large particulate filtration. Our two LFS which are about two doors away from each other both carry freshly imported & cured live rock of several varieties as well as the stuff to DIY your own rock arches and pieces from crushed coral, coral sand and portland cement that you can seed with reef rubble to get the beneficial organisms colonizing the rock.

    I had a SW tank with some Blue Damsels way back but I'm not so into the fish as I am all the polyps and corals and creepy crawlies. I may get one or two very small fish someday for it but mainly the inverts is what I'm interested in.

    I've seen great reefs with skimmers and great reefs without, what is the theory behind skimming and not skimming? I know it's to remove biological waste but to my eyes it seems one can go either way on the skimming and not really come that much further ahead. Does it more or less depend on whether you have fish generating lots of heavy waste?
    Once the tank is good and established you should get a small goby or crab or something to move around and "clean" things. There are actually lots of good canidates. Just keep it very small.

    As for the skimmers they allow you to "cheat" more and get away with more, the amount of junk they pull out is silly. But they are not "needed". You would be surprised at the amount of stuff they pull out in a clean well cycled tank.

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    Yes, once I get the micro organisms going and the tank cycled I plan to start out first introducing the little crabs, worms and snail "clean up crews" to keep the sand bed aerated and picked over. I just added some Malaysian Trumpet Snails to my planted FW tank today to do the same for me in there.

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    I agree with RSS, read a ton before you do a nano reef.
    Eventually they become easy to keep, you don't have to think about what your going to do to it, and you will wonder why you were scared before.
    Bigger tanks are nice but are more pricey.



    Indopacific sea farms is an hour away from where I live, they won't sell local.
    Anyways yes you can do a cheap reef.
    Basically you need flow, constant temperature, light, live rock, constant salinity and decent parameters.

    Basically
    $40 20 gallon L tank from Petco
    $20 heater unless your in a warm area.
    $40ish a refractrometer (don't buy a hygrometer) from BRS, ebay or such
    $20 API SW test kit for ammonia, nitrates, nitrites and PH. (could go without but it's worth it)
    $60ish for 20 LBS shipped of base rock/eco rock from Bulk Reef Supply. Good stuff that's cheap. Get a small piece of choice pest free "live rock"and use it to seed your tank.
    $5ish for a half pound or so of nice live rock from your local fish store to seed.

    Lighting. The most important thing..... T5 HO and MH are so cheap you might as well go with it.
    Varies. Buy used if you can. $80 to $150 should get you a dual tube T5HO or a 150 Watt 175 watt MH.
    For MH get a good bulb, T5 is harder to get crap bulbs
    For both choices make sure they aren't crap from china like Odyssa or Jebo.
    PM me if you see something you want to buy, I know many brands off hand and how good they are.
    Plus I know some about bulbs. Choosing a good MH bulb is important.
    MH is nuclear bright and works well, 2 tubes of T5HO will work for many corals and won't get wicked hot.
    $40ish for a bucket of Instant Ocean Reef Crystals. Will last a long time.

    $15 to $20 for a Koralia, buy that and a aquaclear 50 to 70for another $20 to $40.
    The aquaclear can run carbon, filter floss and does flow.
    Koralia is a very good prop based circulation pump that's very energy efficient.

    That's about it, get your frags cheap from reef clubs, use RO water for mixing your SW, use RO for topoffs,
    do monthly to bimonthly water changes, get a fish, don't stock many fish unless you want to spend another $100 on a decent skimmer.....

    Join Nano Reef, ask tons of questions Better yet you can PM me.
    I've been reefing for 3 years and have $1200+ into my reef

    I blame JLAP/Clint for my reefing addicting!



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    I have 4 ft T5HO fixtures over all my terrarium shelves so that's not an issue at all, I will likely be putting the nano reef on one of the shelves in place of an unused terrarium that's just sitting there. I could also buy a pair of 65 or 98 watt U shaped actinic Power Compact bulbs to give the colors a bit more pop over just that tank. I have a few of those old power compact fluorescent setups with the 12 ft remote ballast by Coralife stowed away in my storage bin not doing anything.

    Back in 1999 or so I had read a bunch of reef keeping books and from there bought an overflow box, two spiderlight MH reflectors and built a wooden hood with fans to contain & cool them, a used twin 400W MH ballast (from someone local I met on a reef website), a big skimmer and other stuff to do a 75 gallon reef but then I got laid off so I ebayed all my never used equipment and turned the 75 into my first lowland CP terrarium.

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    I'd burn the old reefing books and use nano reef forums.
    A lot has changed since

    For the lighting I think you'll be fine,
    some 10K and some antinic is all you need.
    Try mushrooms first, then GSP and move from there.

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