Dueling Nanos build thread

Strad12

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
126
Reaction score
35
Rather than make a different thread for each tank, I figured I would just do one. A little background on me: I've had my JBJ 12 gallon reef for 6 years through ups and downs, different waves of corals, salts, lights, and levels of diligence in care. Finally got it ironed out since COVID started and decided to set up the SPS nano reef that I had always wanted. Enter tank #2: a NUVO 10G that I picked up used from a very generous reefer locally. I figured I'd throw everything I learned in the last 6 years into this tank and make it sps only so I wouldn't be stuck in the "one of everything" that held back my previous tank from achieving the success that I wanted.

The gear:
Tank #1 - JBJ 12 Gallon established December 2014
Biotope- LPS
Lighting- AI Prime (OG version)
Flow- Sicce Synchra 251gph, Innovative Marine spin stream, Jebao SLW 10
Filtration- Filter floss, ceramic rings
Dosing- Kalkwasser, All-For-Reef
Fish: 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Guttata Goby
Corals: variety of LPS and SPS

Tank #2 - NUVO 10 Gallon established October 2020
Biotope- SPS
Lighting- x2 Kessil A80
Flow- Sicce Synchra 251gph, VCA RFG, x2 Jebao SDW (can't remember if 5 or 10 series)
Filtration- Filter floss, ceramic rings
Dosing- Kalkwasser, All-For-Reef
Fish: planning on adding a Flaming Prawn Goby, Red Rooster Waspfish, and Mandarin Dragonet
Corals: handful of Acropora, Montipora (all from BattleCorals), and a Duncanopsammia as an "indicator" coral

Goal Parameters:
dKH: 9.0
pH: 8.3+
Ca: 440
Mg: 1450

actual parameters:
12G
dKH: 11.4
pH: 8.3
Ca: 480

10G
dKH: 7.6 (sticks are pulling over 3dKH daily)
pH: 8.4+
Ca: 440

The tanks:
IMG_3809.jpeg
IMG_4440.jpeg





Some hard learned truths of reef keeping and philosophies for nano success and general enjoyment:
-Water flow is important, and difficult to achieve in a small, square shaped box. An auxiliary powerhead is a must for any nano reef as well as a return pump upgrade
-Corals don't mind nitrate and phosphate, and like being fed
-A colony of brown coral is more interesting than a brightly colored frag
-Brown corals are better than white corals. Overlighting the wrong spectrums is a very real problem, especially with fixtures that allow you to "customize" your spectrum. Red light will kill your corals. Corals don't need as much light as we like to give them. Most Acropora only need about 50 PAR to survive (according to Dana Riddle). Get a good spectrum setup and then leave it alone. I use the BRS recommended settings on my AI Prime (80% on Blues and UVs, 20% white and green, and 0-5% red).
-pH is the most important parameter. Corals will grow at 82 or 74 degrees, 550 or 340 Ca, 6 or 12 dKH. Corals will grow best at 8.3, and corals will not grow well under 8.0. Pathogenic bacteria populations thrive in low pH environments, not to mention your coral will not have as healthy of a slime coating at a low pH. Some corals, like Pocillopora, are capable of raising and lowering their internal pH, allowing them to do polyp bailout, but also making them resistant to ocean acidification by being able to build skeleton in high CO2 water. Consider the amount of energy this takes, and realize it could be put towards pure growth at a proper pH.
-An ATO is a necessity, and Kalkwasser is the way. My Kalkwasser strategy is to add a small amount to the top off to use it purely as a pH boost, and take care of the rest of the elemental demands with All-For-Reef.
-Multiple weak lights beat one strong spotlight. This doesn't really matter for LPS tanks, but branching corals will shade themselves out as they grow under a single point source light.
-A refugium will likely flop in a nano. If anyone has it figured out, please let me know what you're doing.
-A diffuser will greatly improve an AI Prime. At the risk of sounding like an ad, the diffuser from 3DReefing greatly improved my enjoyment of my reef by getting rid of the disco ball effect from the AI light. LED's of the future will look more like the ATI Straton than the Radion.
-Kessil is the king when it comes to point-source LED. As shown by BRS, Kessil has the widest blue spectrum of any LED on the market, and their designs are far superior when it comes to shimmer and aesthetics. For nano reefs, the A80 is dead silent since it is passively cooled. 10/10 for a desk setup. I use 2 to eliminate shadowing. I set the spectrum to 50% and intensity to 100%
-Amino acids are legit. I like Red Sea AB+. Corals are animals and they get hungry too.
-Test your water daily. Once you get a sense for your tank after a month or so, check Ca every week and Alk daily
-Do something for your tank every day, even if it's just cleaning the glass.
-The goal of the hobby is not always to replicate the ocean, but to appreciate the beauty and fragile nature of life in the oceans


More pics and updates to follow, so stay tuned!
 
Last edited:
Avast

Pkunk35

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Messages
1,559
Reaction score
470
Location
Chicago
Yo a 10g with acropora in it is pretty awesome! I do love me some nanos!
So how much kalk do you dose and how much (ml) all for reef are you dosing in that 10g? Omg I feel like your dkh consumption might be more than my 32g lol! 8.4pH is awesome...I just may start adding kalk to the top off, I was avoiding it because I did t want to deal with the residue but dang...
thanks for sharing!
 
OP
Strad12

Strad12

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
126
Reaction score
35
I do 2 tablespoons of Kalk into the 5 gallon reservoir for the 12 gallon, and 1.5 tablespoons into the 3 gallon reservoir for the 10 gallon. Not the most scientific method of measuring, but it gets the job done. I previously had the All-For-Reef on the 12 gallon, dosing 1mL per day, but I just switched it to the 10 gallon, dosing 12 mL per day in addition to the Kalk. The parameters of the two tanks were the same a week ago, but the alkalinity crept up on the 12G and went way down on the 10G. Hoping to have them rebalanced soon.
 
Last edited:
OP
Strad12

Strad12

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
126
Reaction score
35
One more thing about Acropora, starting with good stock is key to survival in a nano. It's worth paying a little extra for a larger frag, as a larger specimen will be more resistant to stress and will grow quicker than a little nub. Aquacultured frags will do much better than wild cuts, especially in a nano reef. Set yourself up for success with acros if you want to make the plunge.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

Pkunk35

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Messages
1,559
Reaction score
470
Location
Chicago
One more thing about Acropora, starting with good stock is key to survival in a nano. It's worth paying a little extra for a larger frag, as a larger specimen will be more resistant to stress and will grow quicker than a little nub. Aquacultured frags will do much better than wild cuts, especially in a nano reef. Set yourself up for success with acros if you want to make the plunge.

word that makes sense on the dkh consumption, I currently only have a bunch of acro frags
 

What do you look for when making sure your skimmer is working correctly?

  • Amount of skimmate

    Votes: 47 54.0%
  • Dark Skimmate

    Votes: 58 66.7%
  • Light Skimmate

    Votes: 1 1.1%
  • Dry Skimmate

    Votes: 11 12.6%
  • Wet Skimmate

    Votes: 9 10.3%
  • Low Nutrient Levels

    Votes: 13 14.9%
  • Low Nuisance Algae

    Votes: 10 11.5%
  • Algae on the glass

    Votes: 5 5.7%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 5 5.7%
  • I don't run a skimmer

    Votes: 9 10.3%

Online statistics

Members online
2,438
Guests online
6,244
Total visitors
8,682
Deltec
Top