What makes a great nano/pico tank? What are some of your favorites?

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Brit’s Fish

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Well I like nano tanks partly cause they’re a bit more intimate and you don’t have to go hunting for your Mandarins in a huge tank and wonder if they’re even alive. I have to admit I’d love to have room for more corals, Gonis in particular and probably euphyllia, but for now I’m enjoying what I’ve got.
I have my pair of Ruby Red Dragonettes and my young seahorse in my 13.5g Evo. I search for them literally every day even in that small tank. I wonder how they find that many places to hide! LOL seahorses are hide and seek masters though.
 

Brit’s Fish

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1. I like the ease of maintenance and how cool it is to be able to see smaller species that either hide a lot or just would be tough to see in a large tank.
2. I like to see a Pico or Nano tank that has matured. It sometimes seems like there are a lot of Nano tanks that are set up for just a while & they look great, but I like to see them after they’re running a long time. Selfishly, because I want to see something I can continue to aspire to with my tank and learn from others’ experiences.
3. I would tag more tanks, but the ones I could think of right away have been tagged! :)

This is my 18 month old 13.5g Evo. Currently home to my pair of Ruby Red Dragonettes, my young female H. Erectus seahorse & Hi Fin Red Banded goby & Tiger pistol shrimp pair. The pistol shrimp never stops working, which actually helps to keep the substrate cleaner, IMO. I do weekly (sometimes more often) 25% water changes & use a Reef Glass skimmer because we have some messy eaters. All the filtration was upgraded from stock as well, of course. Comparing this tank to my 2 120g tanks, I can do everything I need to do in terms of maintenance in 10-15 minutes. It’s pretty easy in comparison to the labor on the big tanks.
My Evo has gone through several evolutions in the time I’ve had it - both due to my learning process and upgrading previous occupants (fish and corals) to larger systems. I’m planning more changes (rescaping & removing all the GSP and Xenia) for it now… should come to fruition in the next month or so.
This little tank is by no means perfect and the algae on the back glass drives me nuts but I’m short and getting back there with the scraper just isn’t worth it to me sometimes. LOL All you’d see is the wall anyways. So please just ignore the dirty glass. Haha
 

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JulesH

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My tank, a 20 gallon Waterbox cube. It is now just approaching its 12th month:

The first image is the tank after the cycle, June last year, the second image is about the best image I have taken of the tank from last October. The Ricordea mushroom is large and has reproduced, the blastomussa was two heads, now it has twelve. The Dragon's eye zoas like to disappear if I let the water get too clean.

I have not put any fish in the tank as I would like it well established first, besides I love the sessile life.

IMG_3060.jpg Screenshot 2022-04-26 at 12.42.10.jpg
 
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doubleshot00

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Nanos easy maintenance? Gotta disagree here Maybe if your retired, got thousands for equipment like apex and all that I’ve had a 36 gallon and I hate it it’s insanely harder to maintain then my 120 gallon reef tank I had for 8 years ….
This x1000 my wifes 13.5 is PITA. My kids call it the ugly tank.:grinning-face-with-sweat: I Spend more time messing with that tank than my 90.
 
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BleuDude

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This week we're all about nano/pico tanks!! Let's have some great conversations about these small tanks of greatness! Here are a few questions for our discussion.
  1. What do you like about nano/pico tanks?
  2. What makes a great nano/pico tank (what separates the average from the exceptional)?
  3. What are some of your favorite nano/pico tanks? (feel free to show pictures, tag owners, link threads...:))
One of my favorites by @eschulist!
This is my 8 gallon pico. Aside from corals it has a tiny yellow watchman goby, a tiny skunk cleaner, three astrea snails, four bumblebee snails, 7 blue legs and a very tiny serpent star. Dragon's Breath and red ogee macro algaes.

Filtration is a Penguin 125 biowheel, and aqua clear type filter with a 5 watt uv sterilizer built. Lights are Current Orbit Marine with a Current powerhead for a wave maker. There is also an ATO. I feed live copepods and phyto plankton.

Temp 78
pH 8.2 - 8.4
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate .69
Phosphate .02
dKH 9.8 - 10.7 like the pH it fluctuates with the lighting.
Calcium 470 - 480

Water changes 1 gallon every three days with Neo Marine. Dose dilute kalwasser in the ato.
 

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BanjoBandito

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From my experience with PICOs and nanos I would say focus. Mainly livestock/coral selection, doing things with purpose. You have to rely on water changes for almost everything (not a bad thing) and they can be a pain to work in. PICOs were easier since it was “coral only” when I did it and I was generally going toward hardy corals. Nanos can go off the rails with too much tinkering or overstocking. I have an empty 12 gallon now that I’m going to probably end up doing a Pom Pom crab and sexy shrimp with rock flower nems all through it once I get the bigger tank all stocked and settled in. They are fun and probably the best way to keep budget realistic. They can be real pains if you get into the chasing numbers habits though.
 
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BleuDude

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Nanos easy maintenance? Gotta disagree here Maybe if your retired, got thousands for equipment like apex and all that I’ve had a 36 gallon and I hate it it’s insanely harder to maintain then my 120 gallon reef tank I had for 8 years ….
Mine is easy, but I have to be absolutely consistent and frequent with everything, feeding, water changes, and testing.
 
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Reef and Dive

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I love nanos.

To me they are a challenge. Not easy at all.

But the care for nanos is so bonsai-like, we enjoy every inch of detail.

These are my previous nanos, and currently I run a 10.5gal that is in my 2yo son’s room. By the way his first pet (as soon as he was born) was a jellyfish. And he already names corals, jellyfish, hermits…

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My son’s current nano is not ready for showing .

He’s a real reefer. 2yo and his 3rd build…
 
Avast

reefsaver

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This week we're all about nano/pico tanks!! Let's have some great conversations about these small tanks of greatness! Here are a few questions for our discussion.
  1. What do you like about nano/pico tanks?
  2. What makes a great nano/pico tank (what separates the average from the exceptional)?
  3. What are some of your favorite nano/pico tanks? (feel free to show pictures, tag owners, link threads...:))
One of my favorites by @eschulist!
They’re light, portable and everything is in a small location and has great access for maintenance.

I would say moving from softies to LPS or SPS in a Pico reef separates the great from the mediocre just because they’re generally harder to keep than softies.

This is my Pico I started about 6 months ago, I’ve been filling it with Corralimorphs Ricordia, Discosoma, Mushrooms, Rhodactis because they’re the easiest Coral I know about, easier than GSP in my opinion.
I made it for my family, and as a kind of experiment but mainly because I felt kinda selfish having my own Waterbox 25G Reef in my bedroom with all this expensive stock, but only I really ever see it. It’s pretty understocked, just taking things slow one paycheck at a time.
I recently changed the aquascape in the Imaged Pico a little and used bone cutters to cut up the pink rock into a smaller pieces and I found a marbled looking coral crab I think hehe.
I took him out and acclimated him and placed it into my waterbox because it’s like a 50+ gallon system and I thought it would do better in the larger stable tank.
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Nano sapiens

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This week we're all about nano/pico tanks!! Let's have some great conversations about these small tanks of greatness! Here are a few questions for our discussion.
  1. What do you like about nano/pico tanks?
  2. What makes a great nano/pico tank (what separates the average from the exceptional)?
  3. What are some of your favorite nano/pico tanks? (feel free to show pictures, tag owners, link threads...:)

I'm not sure what anyone sees in these little things ;)

Joking aside, there's just so much to see in a nano or pico tank (if one takes the time to really look) that just gets totally lost in the bigness of a large tank. Of course, large tanks have their own greatness (who wouldn't like to have a Gem Tang, for example)!

As far as what makes a nano or pico great? Perhaps a bit subjective, but I look for a sense of landscaping balance (rule of thirds or similar comes to mind), effective use of 'negative space' (so the tank doesn't look like a solid wall of 'stuff'), coral colonies that are allowed to grow into each other (like one would see on a real reef), appropriately sized corals and fish that best proportionately fit the restricted space, an eye towards a mix of brilliant color/fluorescence and more natural muted tones as well as the use of various coral textures (creates 'contrast'). I feel that any 'type' (single coral type, mixed, Acro dominated, etc.) of aquaria can be considered on an equal footing looks wise...when executed tastefully. And I can certainly appreciate a mature aquarium that has lived a long and successful life.

As for favorites, there's too many to mention specifically and many of the newly set up systems I see have great potential...if the hobbyist can stay the course to maturity.

Happy reefing!
 

i cant think

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What makes a great nano/pico/any-sized tank is execution. :) But what makes small tanks great is there's less glass/equipment to clean.
Is that a Scoly in the corner there? Whatever it is, it’s beautiful with that bright colour compared to some of the smaller coral around it.
 

NanoReefy

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I can't really speak on the subject why a nano/pico is better because this is my first tanks all together but I can say having the nano's seem better due to the space or lack of that they take. Living in a apartment I am limited on space and it just works for me. (These are my tanks and my apologies for the crappy lighting as I do not have a filter for my camera yet.)
nano1.jpg
nano2.jpg
Nano3.jpg
 
BRS

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