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Nano Reefers?

Joined
Apr 15, 2002
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Cernunnos Woods
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/ipsfdotcom#p/search/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.
 

RSS

Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
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Saginaw, TX USA
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.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
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Cernunnos Woods
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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Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,570
Location
Saginaw, TX USA
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.
 
Joined
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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.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2007
Messages
1,238
Location
Wilmington, NC
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!


 
Joined
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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.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2007
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Location
Wilmington, NC
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.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Messages
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Yeah, I'm with you! I don't buy hobby or trade books much anymore, forums are the best for learning the latest info or techniques for doing just about anything.
 

RSS

Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
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Location
Saginaw, TX USA
$40ish a refractrometer (don't buy a hygrometer) from BRS, ebay or such

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.....

I forgot about the refractometer, yes don't get a hygrometer. Spend the extra up front its worth it.

Another idea for cheap frags, go to your local fish stores and just ask about those little pieces that get broken off there tanks. I've bought alot of small pieces for $2-7 that have grown in very nice pieces. Some employees/stores will do it others will not.

Depending on how hard your water is you could get a tap water filter (de-ionizer thingie), but if you have hard water you would use the filters up way to fast. Less the 70 or so TDS and they last forever. 500+ gallons for us, my wife usually says this thing is iky and we are replacing it before the water reads close to our tap.
 
Joined
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Messages
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I forgot about the refractometer, yes don't get a hygrometer. Spend the extra up front its worth it.

You'll have to explain this part to me, I thought a refractometer was for measuring light quality and hygrometer for measuring SG and salinity?

I have a 75GPD R/O.
 

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Joined
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You'll have to explain this part to me, I thought a refractometer was for measuring light quality and hygrometer for measuring SG and salinity?

I have a 75GPD R/O.

The one I have is like a small telescope shaped device that I put the saltwater on the end and look at a scale between the lens' that refracts the light and reads the salt level by the displaced light through the salt on the end lens.

Hopefully that made some sense. Either way they are so much more accurate, easier to clean and don't break as easy. Alot of hygrometers start to mis read after a few years too.
 
Joined
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I remember from having my damsel tank that it was a pain to be sure and knock the bubbles off the hygrometer's little swing arm or it would register wrong. I looked the Salinity refractometers up on ebay, they're less $ than a hygrometer at the LFS! :)

How often do you check the salinity?

I don't use my digital Ph meter on a daily basis (or even a monthly basis) so it went dry even though I stored it with a cap full of water. What do you do in this case just recalibrate it or...? I mean it arrived dry when I ordered it so it ought not to be the end of the world...
 

RSS

Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
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Location
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I remember from having my damsel tank that it was a pain to be sure and knock the bubbles off the hygrometer's little swing arm or it would register wrong. I looked the Salinity refractometers up on ebay, they're less $ than a hygrometer at the LFS! :)

How often do you check the salinity?

I don't use my digital Ph meter on a daily basis (or even a monthly basis) so it went dry even though I stored it with a cap full of water. What do you do in this case just recalibrate it or...? I mean it arrived dry when I ordered it so it ought not to be the end of the world...

Yea E-bay can be great, sometimes. When I first started with saltwater many many moons ago, I checked it a few times a week. But now I only check it when I'm adding/changing water. You need to make sure they are very close in a nano reef.

I haven't tested for Ph in like 10+ years :0o:. I started using de-inoized water and then moved over to ADA aquasoil, both things mess up Ph reading. So I can't help with the Ph meter.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2007
Messages
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Location
Wilmington, NC
I check the salinity every few months, I don't mix SW so it's perfect and I've kept it good for a long time.
I take a bottle to the ocean, get stared at by toursit, do my thing and change the water.
I've gotted tot he point where I'll taste the SW, but I just topoff my tank and everything goes well.

PH is something you test every blue moon,
or if something goes wrong or if you think your SW you just mixed is funky..
Testing for nitrites, ammonia and the like is usually done when your tank is new.

Regarding ebay, I got a refractormeter from ebay,
I can't remember where but it's served me 3 years and it's fared decently.
But I'd just go to bulk reef supply and buy your rock, refractrometer, and such...
Dr foster Smith Aquatics is also great.
 

Smitty

Plant Ninja
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
616
Location
Plantropia N.Y.
Just set up my first nano reef today! I can honestly say that it is a chore to find everything you may need for a saltwater setup locally. I am cycling the tank right now and as soon as it gets up to temp I will add some live rock to my reef.

Going to be a good time!
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2011
Messages
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Location
Kaysville, UT
Just set up my first nano reef today! I can honestly say that it is a chore to find everything you may need for a saltwater setup locally. I am cycling the tank right now and as soon as it gets up to temp I will add some live rock to my reef.

Going to be a good time!

No kidding, I spent probably about a month looking locally for my reef tank, before I finally just ordered from Drs. Foster and Smith's online store. Good luck with your tank! :)
 

Smitty

Plant Ninja
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
616
Location
Plantropia N.Y.
My 10 gallon Nano-Reef. Up to temp and currently cycling with live rock....My daughter wanted this setup in her room. Since I have the planted tanks in mine.
:banana2:
P1020191.jpg
 
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