Assembling your Nano reef

  • Assembling your nano reef tank correctly and making the necessary modifications as follows:

  • Step one, obviously order your parts and unwrap them.

  • The first modification we’re making is to the stock light that comes with the tank, I ended up cutting the arms that hold it above the tank first as you can see in this before and after picture.  In the first picture you will notice the two arms that are attached to the light mechanism.  I took a metal saw blade and cut through one arm very quickly(the one without the power cord within it) and the second arm I took more time and slowly sawed my way through it by sawing a bit then rotating it and sawing some more.  Eventually you can just snap it off from the light and you will have to pry the arm open with a flat head screwdriver and remove it from the power cord within.

Prior to building this aquarium
Prior to the build, I filled it with water for a few hours to check for leaks.
modified nano reef tank LED lighting
Here is the finished product after the modifications were complete.

  • This light is important because it controls your night lights as well as some highlighting day lights.  After it is just the lighting mechanism and the power cord, place it off to the side and we will come back to it in a bit

  • next step is to place your live sand into the tank, I would shoot for around 2 or 3 inches of sand bed.  Make sure the sand is tightly compacted, if you want to make one side higher than the other, do this now.

  • Place a small plate or dessert dish on top of the sand, you’re about to add your saltwater to your tank!

  • At this time, you should have already gone to the local fish store or leave to it to pick out a cycling fish and get at least 5 lbs of live rock.  I went with 10 lbs to help with the bio-load with two fish.  You should plan to spend around 3-8 dollars per pound of CURED LIVE ROCK

  • Make sure you use RO(Reverse Osmosis) water, you can get this from Walmart or go to a purified water station and fill a 5 gallon container. Add your salt, but not the whole 1/5 you portioned out, just 90% of that pile and check the salinity with your hydrometer then add until you reach 1.25 or 1.26 depending on what coral you plan to add.

  • Aim for the plate in the middle and fill the tank up to the marked lines within it, do this slowly to avoid clouding your tank with everything in the live sand(dust particles and whatnot).

  • Quickly take a break and devour the pizza you ordered to help you through this project.

  • Next, add in the pump on either the back left side or back right side with the intake(grated looking portion) facing up!  Look at the final product below to see what I mean.

  • Turn on both pumps, the sump pump and the power head pump.  Monitor the flow of water, adjust as needed, in both position and intensity.

  • Add your live rock first and position it how you choose.  Push it into the sand a little bit more than enough to keep it stable.

  • Allow your fish to acclimate to the water by slowly adding some of your water to the bag its in, I usually add a cup every 5 minutes till the bag is close to full.

  • After the fish is acclimated, drain some of the water you added in and pour that little damsel fish.

  • In about one week, your tank should be cycled and ready for more expensive fish.  Don’t forget a frozen food for your fish, buy according to what you plan on having next!

  • No more than TWO fish, maybe 5 small hermit crabs, 2 shrimp, 3 small to medium live rock cleaning snails and no limit on coral!

  • If I’m missing any steps, please let me know in the comments below!

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