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New to Salt, just started my first nano


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Hi there I am Nancy. Glad to have joined the forum.


I have been studying and reading and getting up the courage to try a nano reef for about 5 years finally got the courage to start it this week. Joined the forum so I can learn from the experts.


Here is what I started with:


20g Hex acrylic (got it on CL) can really read the specs on the light ballast but there is a white and blue flourescent as well as a little moon light.

Bio System Power Filter & Oxy Surface Skimmer by Foster & Smith

Aqueon Circulation Pump

Hydor Theo Heater

Coralife Digital Thermometer


Carib Live Sand (approx 2" base) and 10 lbs Live rock from my LFS (Barrier Reef Aquarium) here in Renton. There was also some substrate that I got with the tank that is a crushed coral, cleaned that and left some of it in.


Started the tank on 3/7/2011.


I have a few questions.


The filter I bought has carbon and a biological pad. I was thinking of removing one of the frames (the one with the biological) and dropping some live rock rubble in the box. I had to take some rock of the big vertical one to get it in the tank and put the rubble in the tank for now. Would this be a reasonable idea?


Should I leave the box filter on 24/7 right now? I have read conflicting things about filters. I am using it for a few hours a day right now to let the skimmer do its thing.



If the hitchhikers die...a few worms, should I just leave them in the tank during the cycling phase?


Here are current pics of the set up. I am using a FB album to chronicle the journey, you do not have to have a Facebook account to view the album.



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Hello my friend. That sounds like a great idea! Your main filter is going to be your live rock and sand so the more the better! Its awesome that your making the move to the dark side! lol And welcome to the forum, there is a huge wealth of knoledge on here! Just remember nothing good happens fast in the saltwater game. Read, read, read and give your tank 3 months or so to cycle. Maybe throw in a few damsels to help with the cycle.

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Welcome to the club it is very reasonable to use rock rubble for a bio filter. That is what we did with our oceanic aquapod. We still kept the filter floss but removed the bioballs which can be nitrate factories.


You will get different opinions about cycling with fish. Some feel it is cruel and that there are other ways to cycle a tank and their are. I usually start with ocellaris clownfish (because I like them) which are actually a type of damselfish and also because they don't have the reputation of being as agressive as other damselfish.

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Welcome to the addiction... LOL


I used a coralife digital thermometer a little while back. It worked well at first, but then it gave me inaccurate readings :-(. I suggest you back it up with a good old fasioned glass thermometer. I try to always have at least two thermometers anyways; right now I am using four. A good trick to buying a thermometer is to look at all of them in the store, undoubtably one out of ten will be way off from the others.



P.S. I would run the filter 24/7, but it sounds like you might know something I don't (scratch)

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I took the blue foam for biological filtration out of the box and just left the floss & carbon and added some live rock rubble. I am running it 24/7 now. I will get another thermometer too, thanks. Seems to be doing well in the cycle, seeing some Nitrites and nitrates today, ammonia still through the roof. I am away until Thursday and will retest parameters then. I ordered this cute in tank refugium with a little pump and everything. Going to put some Cheato in it and let it help with the balance of the tank. I really want to try my best to keep this tank running as naturally as possible. It would be so nice to have a balanced ecosystem without chemical additives and such. I ordered a new PC light too since I had no idea how old the one in the fixture was. This is a hobby that you can really spend money on...

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OMFG there is a really nice 55g tank with stand and canopy on CL for $100. My little tank has not even fully cycled and I just emailed the guy to buy that tank HA HA HA. Hope it is still available. I don't think I will set it up immediately, but that is a killer deal.

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Sigh the tank is gone. Funny thing...I was at PetSmart getting cat food yesterday and was looking at tanks....I got the feeling that what was told me as a 20g is not...so I went home and found a tank calculator for hex only to find out my tank is only 15g...Thats cool, I was worried I did not have enough rock for 20g, I only have about 12 pounds right now. So I feel better about that. So it truely is a nano!


I have some brown algae starting over the sand and rock now. 0 ammonia, but still nitrite and nitrate....I guess I need to wait until Nitrites are 0 for a while before adding the cleaner crew?

Should I be checking chemistry every day now?

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IMO you really don't need to check the water params daily unless you want to. I remember my first tank and I am pretty sure I did (most likely on my 2nd, 3rd, 4th too)

That feeling you had when you saw that 55 on CL, it will come back-keep looking for a sweet deal, if you jumped on that as quick as you did you are probably surfing CL (as I type) for another deal (laugh)

I was a little curious about your lights, you mentioned fluorescents-do you know what type i.e. compacts or just the type you find on a freshwater tank.

Keep watching you nitrates when they get to zero(ish) its time for a CUC-expect the diatom bloom as everyone goes through it so don't panic when everything starts turning brown. My current set up I waited until I saw that then the CUC went in-they wiped the tank clean overnight.

Go slow when adding fish since a 12 gallon is going to have more swings in water params strictly for the lower water volume it has- You may not be able to house more than a few small fish,depending on what you want for corals. I had my 24 gallon nano for 60 days before I jumped up to an 80, then 30 days later into a 75-where I stayed for 2 years-now I'm working on a 400

Hey the more water the EASIER it is to control.

Ask alot of questions and let google be your friend, but read alot and take all the opinions in before going a certain way, there are a lot of general suggestions, and even more opinions but as one person mentioned-TAKE it slow, it takes some time for everything to adjust and good bacteria to colonize etc.

You may find too that if there is a LFS in your area, they may not always know best (and that goes for any LFS)-here you will find a collection of knowledge

Good luck and welcome aboard by the way!

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Lighting is provided by PC - SmartPaq Daylight 10000°K/460nm Actinic (it is approx 10" in length). The full depth of the tank is only 15" so I am hoping I will get enough light penetration with that.

I am awaiting delivery of a new bulb as I am unsure how long the other one was in use.


Thank goodness I am limited by my apartment's bylaws at the size and number of tanks I can have LOL.


I understand the limitations of the small water volume in the tank; as is said "The solution to the pollution is in the dilution". Having kept freshwater tanks for many years the addage is the same even if the reaction is not as dramatic as I know can be seen in a reef tank if it crashes.


I am a Google master LOL and have been scouring the forums here for information and will continue to do so. Thanks for you input.

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