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Having an aquarium has a lot of health benefits. Once you look at your fresh, clean aquarium, you feel good and it immediately acts as a stress buster. Humans by nature, are drawn towards color, and to bring in more color in your life, you need to know all that there is to know about the best nano reef tank.
While fishes are the most common aquatic animals that people prefer to keep, some individuals also opt for a planted aquarium or a combination of both. But then maybe, at some point in time, you might want to add something extra to your tank. Something which brings more color and life, something like corals maybe?
Sounds quite exotic right? Well, it is! However, to keep your corals hail and hearty you will require all that your corals demand, something that can only be met by the best nano reef tank. However, you don’t need to put in a lot of effort to hunt for these essential elements. Some manufacturers offer coral kits.
But the important questions remain- what to buy? Which product will be ideal for my tank? What are the things to look into? We have got all that answered here. We hope this blog acts as the ultimate guide for you in your hunt for the best nano reef tanks!
What Is A Nano Reef Tank?
When you begin your hunt for the best nano reef tanks, this is the most common question that is sure to pop in your mind. Not many people are aware of what a reef tank is. But, don’t you worry, we have got that answered for you.
To put in the simplest way, a nano reef tank is an aquarium with a capacity of 30 gallons or less. The name “nano” to some extent can give one an idea of what sort of tank is being talked about.
The best part of a nano reef tank is that it can be placed anywhere in your house. Your desk, shelf, table all are ideal placement locations. In that light, any person can have a nano reef tank at home. You do not need to have a large place to satisfy your desire of having a tank at home.
You can also install a nano seawater tank to pep up your office or bedroom. All you need to do is get the right pieces of equipment to go with the best nano reef tank of your choice.
Factors To Consider While Choosing the Best Nano Reef Tank
1. Select The Right Tank and Accessories
The size of the tank will depend on the number of fishes, corals, and plants that you will ideally prefer in your tank. The best nano reef tanks come in 14, 29 and 40 gallons. But you need to put in some thoughts before you select the size.
The most common accessories used for lighting a nano reef tank are Power Compacts. Additionally, Fluorescent light tubes and Metal Halides are superior to other types of lighting systems since they offer a shimmering effect to the water in the tank.
While selecting the lighting system, borne in mind that all light bulbs have separate Kelvins. Though you can use all of them for your nano tank, 10, 12 and 20 actinic are the most common options.
The lighting setup for your nano reef is depended on the coloration that you want for the tank. Actinic lightings generally provide a purple coloration to the water which makes some fishes and coral appear fluorescent.
However, the type of the nano reef will have to be decided first in order to determine the watt per gallon you will need in your tank. For instance, a soft coral reef will require an 8+ watts per gallon.
For proper water circulation, you will require a Powerhead which has a turnover of 20X gallons in the tank. For instance, a 40-gallon tank one will require an 800gph Powerhead.
Though one can use all the filters available in the market for a nano reef, its advisable to use the submerged filters. These varieties of filter come with a protein skimmer that can be used to remove dissolved organic matter.
One can also make use of a mechanical or chemical filter if they have a corny reef. However, a calcium reactor will be required to create the calming effect of freshwater.
P.S All the pieces of equipment must be plugged into the ground fault before they are plugged in into an outlet. Additionally, a grounding rod can be put on the inside of the fish tank as well.
Heating the best nano reef tanks is not a big deal. However, it can become a bit challenging if your house is too cold. Sunlight and general home heating systems are ideal to get the desired temperature in your nano reef. Thus all you need is a small heater with around 50w power or tops 75w. But if you are looking for any specialized option, you can opt for Ebo Jager Heaters since they have been quite successful for nano tanks
5. Natural Filter Method
If you wish to make your nano reef very lively, then it’s advisable to use curvy rocks so that when they are placed together, the corals form naturally. For such a setup, you will require 1 pound rock per gallon, and 5 pound sand per gallon.
As mentioned earlier, a nano reef tank does not require a lot of space. Thus all you need is a well, sturdy and solid surface, which is well balanced to take the weight of your fish tank. Ideally, it can be up to 200 pounds, however, it depends on the type and number of fish you will have in the tank. You need to calculate the weight carefully before placing the tank.
Additionally, select a certain spot in the house where human movement is quite frequent. This is because, once the tank is set, it will require constant supervision.
7. Tank Filling
For filling the tank, you need to mix the water with salt. However, do not forget to read the instruction provided by the salt manufacturer.
8. Salt Components
While adding the salt in the tank, measure the gravity using a hydrometer. When it is around 1.023 install the Powerhead in the tank. This will help the salt to mix well.
9. Hardscape Placement
It is important to spread out the rocks as far as possible. This will allow the fishes to swim freely and hide when required. Do not worry about the patterns while installing, you can obviously rearrange them whenever required. After the rocks are placed, level out the sand around the rocks. Follow the same thickness throughout the tank.
Types Of The Nano Reef Tanks
1. Hang or Back Style
This is the cheapest style available for hobbyists to try. However, it is not a very favorable option for many since a hang on back or HOB filter is quite junky and traps a lot of gunk which raises the level of nitrate and phosphate build-up and gives way to an algae outbreak. Such setup also lacks room for a carbon or other chemical filtration system that might be required to clean the water in the future.
This is one of the best styles that you can use for your nano reef tank. The best part of this style is that the filter is well hidden at the back of the tank within multiple compartments. Each of these compartments can be used to store different things as per choice or requirement. Some hobbyists use the various compartments to store the bio-balls, filter-floss, skimmer, or carbon.
Unlike HOB styles, these compartments are very easy to use and offer a lot of storage option. Just by looking at the filter one will not be able to notice that the filtration system offers such storage compartments right in the back.
3. Overflowing Box Type
While looking for the best nano reef tanks, one can also opt for the drilled reef tanks with an overflowing option. This option is just ideal for a 40-gallon breeder or much larger tank.
The primary idea of using an overflowing tank is to direct the filtration from the display tank to another tank hidden under the display tank. In such a setup, the water passes through various compartments, for instance, the skimmer, carbon section, refugium section, etc and then return to the display tank.
This type of tank offers more room to place the skimmer, a bigger display area in the tank, and a chance to set up refugium along with macroalgae. It is for these reasons that overflowing box tanks have become so popular.
Top 11 Best Nano Reef Tanks 2019
1. Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium
The Coral Life Biocube comes with an integrated 24 hours timer with different integrated channels which include bright white and sparkling blue LED that provide maximum beauty to the tank.
The product is designed to provide automatic 30 minutes of sunrise/ sunset per day along with 60 minutes of moonrise and moonset functionalities.
The product is very compact with a customizable built-in-filtration system which is easy to set up and maintain. In addition to all these features that the product promises, it offers a quiet submersible pump powered with double input, adjustable nozzles and tubes.
But not all users have been very satisfied with the product. Some users have complained that the product fails to live up to its promise. The fan cooling system does not work that well, while others find the product to be made out of cheap material.
2. Fluval 10531A1 Sea Evo XII Aquarium Kit, 13.5 Gal
The usage of the product is also not very complicated. When the water in the aquarium has to be changed, it is filled to a higher level. This cuts down on the surface agitation of the filter in the outward exit tube. However, this exit tube has to be adjusted to provide some sort of surface movement and oxygen supply to the fish.
As far as the filtration system goes, the product has a three-stage filtration process which provides mechanical, chemical and biological cleaning. Another key feature of the product is its multi-functional canopy which comes with an easy to feed door system.
Finally, the look of the product is very contemporary, sleek with an ideal aluminum waterproof casing.
However, some users have been highly dissatisfied with the product. Some of the users have mentioned that the product is poorly designed and the filtration system does not work the way promised. Additionally, the lights too have technical faults.
3. Fluval 10528A1 Evo V Marine Aquarium Kit, 5 Gal
The honeycomb design of the tank very easily hides the back filtration area pitching an ultra-modern look. The product offers a powerful three-step filtration process with the assistance of this oversized biological, chemical and mechanical media.
Its 11000K high-output LED is just perfect for the life of the healthy corals. Last but not least, the product has a convenient touch start day and night illumination setup.
However, problems have been faced by several users. Some users have complained that the pump powerhead of the product is very small and does not turn the way it ideally should.
Additionally, the lights in the tank have to be removed before the product can be setup. Plus, the filtration system in the tank is also not very strong, as reported by many users.
4. Marineland 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit
The system comes attached to a white LED, which successfully creates a shimmering effect in the water. Additionally, the blue LED creates a very relaxing mood. The product provides a hinged tight with a sliding glass canopy which allows easy access to the tank.
The customer review on this product has been quite good and only a few negative reviews have been received. One of the major reason for the negative reviews is due to the fault in the design. The sidewalls of the tank are far too apart and does not close with the lid.
Additionally cleaning the tank becomes a bit of a pain. The rear part of the tank has a partition which makes the cleaning process very difficult.
5. Red Sea Max Nano Aquarium, 20 Gallon
This product offers everything that is required for a user to enjoy the beauty of a coral reef right at their very living room, without the useless botheration of selecting the components required for sustainability and compatibility.
This product offers the latest technology required for a successful nano reef tank. It has an AI operated Prime HD LED lighting system, wifi control and of course a very effective filtration system. However, this product does not come along with a stand.
The Red Sea Max Nano seems like a very successful product so far, since it has not gathered any negative review from the users! So it is a must-try if you are looking for something both fashionable and effective.
6. Hagen HG Fluval Flex Aquarium 57L, 15 Gal, Black
Yet another best nano reef tanks that you can consider if you wish to glam up your home with some colors. The Hagen HG Fluval Flex Aquarium is a 15 gallon, flexible tank, ideal for freshwater species.
This tank is powered by state of the art illumination and multi-level filtration system with super convenient features and contemporary design.
Make your aquatic life come alive with 48 white and 6 RGB fully adjustable 2450 lux LEDs. The set up is ideal to help your fish shimmer and glow. Additionally, the 7500K LED lamp makes way for plant growth.
You can choose any option, blend and special effects which are controlled by a flex pad remote control system. This fully functional nano tank comes integrated with an infrared remote sensor that is placed neatly on the canopy.
The Hagen HG Fluval Flex Aquarium is powered by a three-stage filtration system which includes a foam, carbon and Biomax media of filtration.
Additionally, the multi-directional 132 GPH dual outputs help in the smooth outflow of water. However, all of these systems are hidden so that they do not affect the product design.
Last but not the least, the Hagen HG Fluval Flex Aquarium 57L comes with a curved frontal look which gives an illusion of a larger aquatic environment, making it the ideal option for your home and office.
Apparently, this product is a dream come true for all hobbyists, however, some users have raised complaints about poor filtration system that the product offers. Apparently, the filter does not work the way promised and leaves the water cloudy and murky.
7. Cobalt Aquatics 14011 Microvue3 20 Aquarium Kit
The product comes with a clear view 20 internal filter system, includes 6w black LED lamps, and can manage up to 5.3 gallons of weight.
However, the product has received criticism from a few users.
8. Coralife New Style Size 16 LED BioCube Aquarium with Protein Skimmer and Free Hydrometer and Cleaning Magnet
If you want a nano reef tank that can take your aquatic life to the next level, this is the perfect product for you! Its LED lighting system and timer capability in addition to its all-inclusive design gives an amazing touch to this product.
In addition to Biocubes, this nano tank offers a compact and customizable filtration system, along with a hinge top canopy, a soundless submersible pump, dual intake systems in addition to an adjustable nozzle and a clear glass panel for ease of setup.
So far, this product has been very well received by users with almost no negative reviews!
9. SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set
This is an ideal buy for you if you do not wish to hunt for accessories. Many a time, buying a tank involves the purchase of buying additional systems such as filters, skimmers, tanks, and other utility products.
Though most nano tanks, don’t require many of these and are already ready-to-use, some products do require ad-on.
But with the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set, you don’t need to worry about a thing! This is one of the best nano reef tanks which comes along with a reflector and 24” electrical light fixture!
The best part of the tank is that its made from acrylic which makes this product clearer than glass! Additionally, it is 17 times stronger and weight only half than that of a glass tank!
So if you have children at home and still wish to have a nano reef tank, this is your ideal option. The tank is impact resistant and is less likely to chip and crack, unlike glass tanks. This product is ideal for both fresh and saltwater aquatic life. Just buy this product and bring the magic of aquatic life to your home.
However, some issues have been pointed out by users. A few of the users have faced difficulty with cleaning the tank, the tank started wrapping in a few months time and lead to leakage.
However, the product does seem good at the $ 300 price bracket.
10. GankPike 6-Gallon Saltwater Aquarium Marine Fish Tank Reef Tank with Lid, Protein Skimmer, Heater, LCD Digital Thermometer and Pump
This is one of the best nano reef tanks which offers a 6-gallon acrylic aquarium ideal for saltwater aquatic lives like fish, reefs, and coral Additionally, the product offers 1 gallon back filtration plus a 5-gallon front viewing space.
The setup provides the ideal environment for corals, reefs, and fishes with its biochemical and mechanical filter medium, flexible pump and protein skimmer to keep the tank clean and lively.
The tank offers two types of LED lighting systems which are bright white and sparkling blue ideal for the reef, corals, and fish. The complete kit includes a 6-gallon tank with lid, heater, two-colored LED lights, LCD digital thermometer, protein skimmer which can work up to 13 gallons, heater, and a noiseless power pump. Additionally, this tank comes with two biochemical sponges and a pack of ceramic rings.
All this is very easy to set up and quick as well.
Though this product seems ideal, it has not been accepted greatly by users. However, the product does not have any negative review.
11. Lifegard Aquatics Crystal Aquarium
The tank is ultra clear cut at a perfect angle of 45°. A super quality invisible glue has been used in the joints which makes it impossible to identify. This product is an ideal 14 gallons ultra-clear low tank which has an adjustable bottom drain.
However, there have been some complaints from the users about the filtration system in the tank which does not seem to live up to its promise.
Tips For Setting Up Nano Reef Tank
1. Leak Test
Once you find one of the best nano reef tanks, you are most likely to be too excited about setting up your nano reef tank. But before you proceed with that, it’s highly recommended to check of any leaks. For this purpose, simple tap water is all that you will require.
2. Rock Adding
Once you are done with the leak test, you can start adding live rocks to the tank. Of course, the primary idea is to put them in a visually appealing way, but do ensure that the arrangement is sturdy. Some people like to use egg crates to place the rocks. However, make sure you leave some space between the rocks and also on the sides of the aquarium for easy cleaning.
It must be borne in mind that rocks are the most important filter in your tank which provides the first layer of biological filtration to the water. In that light, do not just buy 1-2 lbs of rocks for your 30-gallon tank. The rule of thumb is to get 1lb of rock for every gallon of water. However, there is no ceiling on the maximum amount of rock that you can add.
One can also choose live rocks to be placed in the nano reef tanks. Live rocks are just plain rocks that have been in a setup tank for some time and have thus allowed beneficial bacteria, and other living organisms to grow on them.
Ideally one should get 30 lb of live rock for a 30-gallon tank. However, if that is not feasible, 5 lb of live rock paired with 25 lbs of dry rock can be a good alternative.
3. Sand Layer
After you are done with the rocks, begin with a layer of live sand, that is if you are adding sand to your tank. It is not crucial to add sand to a nano reef tank. However, most hobbyists do that for aesthetical reasons.
However, if you are planning on adding sand in your tank, do not get something too coarse. Coarse sand obstructs the passage for many fish. Additionally, do not opt for sand that is too fine, your powerhead might blow it around.
Ideally, the layer of sand should be 1.2 to 2 inches deep. After placing the sand layer, you can place the different pieces of equipment like the heater or filter, however, do not plug them yet.
You can also add live sand in your tank. Like live rocks, live sand too has organisms living in it. So if you are using dry rocks in your tank, adding a bit of live sand can be a good option.
In the next step, you can begin by adding water. However, make sure you are doing that slowly, or else the tank might get extremely cloudy. However, if you are not using premix saltwater in your tank, you need to add reef salt to your RO/DI or distilled water before adding the mix to the tank.
In addition to mixed saltwater, one will require plain RO water for topping the tank on a daily basis. Thus it is a good idea to have some RO handy all the time. As water from the tank evaporates daily, the salt residue is left behind increases the salinity level of the water in the tank. Thus RO water is required to be added in the tank when the water inside the tank evaporates.
Many hobbyists use a refractometer to determine the salinity in the water content of the tank. Ideally, the salinity level should be at 1.025. If the salinity level falls from 1.025, then more saltwater should be added instantly. If the salinity level is much higher than 1.025, then some water from the tank should be replaced with plain RO water.
Finally, you can plug the appliances and wait for the water to settle. Your nano reef tank is now ready to function!
Cycling the tank before use is another crucial step that you must take. This step should be taken up before placing ANYTHING. It is not advisable to include carbs, snails or fish in the tank until it is cycled properly.
Tanks usually go through a nitrogen cycle. Then it leads to the production of ammonia which then converts to nitrites and finally into less toxic nitrates. Once you have almost zero percent of ammonia, nitrites, and under ten nitrates, it is okay to assume that your tank is done cycling.
Errors To Avoid
Of course, the setting up process is easy said than done. There are a few common errors that many hobbyists do. Moving the tank quickly, not doing sufficient research, and opting for the incorrect tank are most of the common errors that are quite prevalent.
The only solution to all these problems is research. If you are planning on getting a nano reef tank at your place, do make sure you are absorbing every piece of information there is to intake. Only powered with the proper knowledge will you be able to keep your piece of reef happy and healthy.
Additionally, make sure that the heater is turned on all along and the temperature of the tank should be set at an optimal level without fluctuation.
Another thing to do is to check the salinity level of the water at least once a week if not more frequently. Additionally, the powerhead or wavemaker should be placed facing slightly downwards so that it does not stir up the sand in the tank. Such a setup makes way for ideal oxygen exchange which is essential to ensure the wellbeing of the life in the tank.
Once you have set up your reef tank and it has been functioning fairly well for the past few weeks or months, you do not have many things to worry about. However, you cannot stop your research at this juncture.
You have to know how to maintain your tank properly. For maintaining the optimal health of the tank, make sure you are changing the water partially every week or so if not often. Additionally, check for any disease or weakness in the water quality of the tank. With all that taken care of, you can enjoy your reef tank in bliss!
Best Reef Tanks: What’s Your Pick?
Now that you know all that there is to know about having a nano reef tank, you don’t have to worry about much. Begin the process by choosing the best nano reef tanks from the list of product provided above, select the pieces of equipment to go with it and you are set.
However, keep your research on if you want your nano reef tank and all the aquatic lives in it to be healthy. All the very best!