It is no secret that nano reef aquariums are wildly popular among both new and experienced hobbyists alike. For first-timers, the relatively low cost and minimal commitment to maintenance is attractive. For experienced hobbyists, the small size makes for an easy addition to an existing tank collection and opens the door to new challenges! 

Regardless of your experience level, nano aquariums are unique in that you can achieve a mature-looking reef tank in a relatively short amount of time. Even small frags take on the appearance of larger more mature coral colonies. You stock a handful of healthy frags and before you know it, the entire aquascape is covered in coral.  You can also highlight more unique animals that may otherwise get lost in larger tanks - Consider a Pistol Shrimp and Watchman Goby pair or even unique inverts like a Pom Pom Crab or Mantis Shrimp.  

Maxspect DICE 12 Gallon Nano Tank
Maxspect DICE Nano Reef Tank

With all that said, it's easy to see why a small aquarium looks good on paper but these small aquariums can actually be one of the most challenging approaches. Smaller volumes of water are more volatile and when change happens, it happens fast. Larger tanks are more forgiving regarding stability and will "absorb" more mistakes or lapses in maintenance.  With a nano tank, even waiting a few extra days to change out the water or maintain the filter can be the difference between success and failure. 

We chose to feature a nano tank in this 52 Weeks of Reefing series for all these reasons - to not only show how these challenges can be overcome but to also shine a light on some of the more unique animals that are right at home inside a nano reef.


Nano Tank Gear List

Tank Maxspect Dice 12 Gallon Nano Cube
Rock Real Reef Mini Reef-Ready Rock Mix
Sand Caribsea Ocean Direct Oolite
Water Movement
Return Innovative Marine Mighty Jet Mini
Powerheads Innovative Marine Auqa Gadget Wavelink
Photosynthetic Energy (Lighting)
Display Lights 1 Kessil A80
Filter Media ROX 0.8 Carbon with media bag
Thermal Energy (Heating/Cooling)
Heater 100 watt Helio PTC Smart Heater
Controller Apex A3 Aquarium Controller
Auto Water Change Neptune Systems DOS
Auto Top Off Tunze Osmolator 3155
Dosing Pumps EcoTech Marine Versa
Water Chemistry
Cal/Alk Tropic Marin All-For-Reef
Dosing Pump EcoTech Marine Versa
Dosing Container Space Saving Jug
Pods AlgaeBarn Galaxy Pods
Bacteria Dr. Tim's One & Only
Bacteria Brightwell Aquatics MicroBacter 7