How Nanno should I go?


Active Member
My first saltwater tank is going to have to be a nanno, but I'm trying to decide how low to go? I've seen alot of postings on the board from people with really sucessful, really tiny nanos, but most of them have a larger tank that the water change water comes from. Keeping in mind that this is my first saltwater tank, and I'm not incredably meticulous about mantenance, do you think I could have sucess with a tiny nanno and a relatively large rubbermaid sump, or should I wait until I can afford the extra expense of a 30 gallon? (Read as: I'd have to wait another year.) I want to do it right the first time, and have good lighting, ciculation, quality live rock, and a refugium no matter what size I go with. (Wouldn't that look silly, a 7 minibow with a fuge above it?) I've had freshwater tanks for about 12-15 years now, and I've been doing my research for saltwater for a few months.
Major changes in price beween super-nano and 30 gallon:
Main circulatin pumps.
Live Rock
I'm planning to DIY my skimmer anyway, so that price won't change much with the size of tank. With the larger tank I'd use playsand with the live sand, so that cost is almost constant. Stand is also going to be DIY. (Will have to be creative if my sump is larger than the aquarium!) I'm not planning to do any stocking besides cleanup crew for awhile. I want to study my hitchikers for several months first. I'm not interested in fish for the nanno, just corals & inverts.


Active Member
I'd go with a 20 gallon tall .... I'd look into VHO lighting and using a workhorse ballast to light 2 - 24" vho bulbs. I did my 20 fairly cheaply .... could've been even cheaper if I used mroe homemade rock and less liverock.
Do a search for Overanalyzer's 20 gallon tank.


Active Member
20g would be a good start. The larger the tank, the more margin for error. Be sure to do a lot of reading, because many nano owners have got experience from their larger tanks.
A few things to remember are;
- Do small water changes religiously
- Test very often in the beginning
- Don't add aything that you don't test for
- Allow the tank to comletely cycle and then some before adding any livestock
- Don't use crushed coral
- Don't impulse buy anything for your tank Do research!!!
You found this site and that is the first sign of a succesful tank, Good Luck!


Active Member
Yeah, I'd pretty much decided on VHO, I was trying to decide wich IceCap to go for, I was leaning towards the 430, because if I need to upgrade later, I can go for dual 430s and have more lighting scene options without adding a sundown controler. The 660 would just be overkill, with almost the same upgrade plan.
I've already got a 20 Gallon long (currently freshwater) but I need to build a better stand that can accomidate the refugium and sump. The 28 (12x36x15) I'm beginning to think is not worth reconditioning, but I've already bought the diamond bits and silicone, and enjoy the challenge. At least I got a good iron stand and some scrap glass for my $10, and I can practice drilling without worrying about breaking my good tanks. (I'll have to learn my lesson about used tanks the hard way, I'm just so cheap, and they've worked for me up to this point.)


Active Member
Speaking of my being really cheap, how well do you think freshwater plants are at extracting nasty compounds from the water? I'm thinking a freshwater version of a refugium, that my tap water would be filtered through for a week before use in the saltwater tank. (I don't have to justify the electric bill to the hubby when he runs two computers 24/7, and insists on higher thermostat settings all winter.)
I'd rather have RO/DI in the long run, for my own health as well as the reef's, but I could put together a plant filter with parts on hand and less than $10 worth of plants.
Are the copper test kits sensitive enough to register the traces in tap water to see if this works? What other minerals would you recomend testing for in the tap water?


I don't know how much you're spending on the VHO setup however you could go w/ a 175W MH w/ 20K XM for about 150-160. You'd have to build a canopy/pendant for it and hang it from ceiling...not too difficult (I have 0 carpentry skills and I
could do it) This would allow you to keep ANYTHING you wanted. Esp. SPS and clams...where most people head after they get some experiance. Nice thing about the 20K is it greatly reduces/gets rid of the need for Actinic lighting
RO/DI Solution:
You're talking a nano tank here...just buy RODI from a LFS...or grocery store for that matter. @ $.30-$.50/g It's pretty cheap and you probably wont use more than a couple gallons a month. :) W/ just one 20g Nano a ro/di can be hard to justify. IMO
Just a few ideas...welcome to the Reef/Nano World!


Active Member
I need to check more grocery stores, the ones I've checked so far just have bottled stuff that has extra minerals added back in for taste. Distilled runs around 99 cents per gallon, so that's doable with a nanno.


check your lfs for the water the one i go to sells sw already made all you have to do is get it the right temp.its about 1.00.