How To Set Up a Nano Reef Tank In 8 Steps


Nano tanks provide a fascinating look at sea life and are compact and budget-friendly. So, what do you need to know to set up your own nano reef tank? It’s not as complicated as you may think. With a bit of knowledge, you can set up your own tank in a few hours. Ready to dive in? Let’s take a look at what it takes to set up a tank that will thrive.

1. Placement and tank set up

Where will you place your new tank? You’ll want to make sure that wherever you choose can hold the extra weight and handle humidity. You’ll also want to place the tank on a level surface. If this is your first tank, it’s recommended that you place it in a common area. This way, the tank will be under constant supervision.

Next, set up your tank. There will be instructions for any tank that you buy. Make sure you use them and follow them to the best of your ability. Also be sure to shade the tank from any direct sunlight it may be exposed to.

2. Mix salt water

Now, you’re ready to start mixing salt water. Fill up a bucket with fresh and clean water first. Use a submersible pump to keep the water circulating. Add salt mix to the water in small batches, according to the manufacturer’s directions. Test salinity throughout this process when the salt has completely dissolved.

Continue this until you reach your desired PPT. After letting the water sit overnight, check the specific gravity again. Make sure that it has stayed at the right levels. Adjust as needed with more salt or water. Once the levels and temperature of the water are correct, you can add the water to your new tank.

3. Understand the back of your tank

The back of your tank will have heaters, filters and hose pumps. This is the time for you to mount the heater and check all your connections. Make sure you fill the tank with water, plug it in and set your heater to the right temperature. This will allow you to start off on the right foot (or fin).

4. Install Lights

The tank that you choose may come with lights for you to install. If that’s the case, follow the manufacturer instructions. Otherwise, you can choose from some of the most popular lights on the market. Look for lights that are simple to install, efficient and long lasting for best results.

5. Cycle the Tank

It is critical that you cycle your tank before adding any fish. You can do this by adding a source of ammonia. If you don’t, fish will add the ammonia on their own and likely die. Once you start cycling the tank, check it every two days until the level is zero. Then, repeat the process with nitrites and nitrates. There are many types of sources and testing kits that you can choose from to meet your needs.

6. Think about the inhabitants

This is the fun part. You get to choose the fish that you’ll see enjoying your tank. There are a few things that you need to consider when you are deciding what fish will call your nano reef tank home. You’ll want to factor in the following for each species:

How resilient is the fish?
What is their temperament?
How big will the fish get?

The resiliency of a fish is something you always want to think about. This usually increases the length of their life. You’ll also want to choose mellow fish that won’t get too large, because of the size of the tank. Be sure not to crowd the tank. Nano reef tanks are small, so adding too much livestock can cause big problems. It can impact the quality of life for your inhabitants.

7. Aquascaping

Nano reef aquascaping can take your tank from boring to beautiful. You can put together a combination of rocks and sand to make a tank that’s unique to you. The best part? You can get as creative with this as you’d like. That said, there are a few things that you should keep in mind to be successful when you start aquascaping.

  1. Leave space between rocks and the side of the tank. This makes cleaning the tank easier in the long run.

  2. Add sand once you’ve placed everything. This will keep the rocks in place.

  3. Be careful, don’t scratch the glass.

There are many types of rocks and coral to choose from when you are aquascaping. You’ll want to make sure that whatever you decide on will be compatible with your fish and water levels.

8. Tank Maintenance

The first thing to remember is to only feed your fish a small amount of food each day. Excess food sitting in the tank can lead to pollution in the tank and algae. You should also top your tank off with fresh water every few days. Lastly, perform partial water changes every couple of weeks and keep the glass clean. All these things will keep your tank looking great and in good shape.

Wrapping up

Setting up a nano tank doesn’t have to be confusing. Once you have the right materials and an idea of what you want from your tank, you’re heading in the right direction. Using these steps as a guide will put you on your way to having a beautiful nano reef tank without breaking the bank.