The basic nano turnkey reef system: For many people, a nano system is a great starting point in the reefing hobby. These systems come pre-built stock with everything you will need to get your reef off to a great start including: tank, filtration, lighting, hood, pumps and heater. All that is needed to get the system up and running is water, salt and rock. Some great advantages to nano tank systems are: • Ease of stocking. o Many coral species can take a long time to grow into larger colonies, and even longer to grow to a size that fills out your aquarium. With nano aquariums, a small amount invested in coral can go much farther to giving your tank a true reef look. • Most nano aquariums are also much easier to set up. o Many nano aquarium sizes now come in pre-assembled tested aquariums kits. You can easily find a kit that will include: tank, filtration, lighting, flow and heat. This makes getting the proper equipment together much easier for anyone new to the process. • Deciding to set-up a nano aquarium can also help to cut costs. o Setting up a reef is never a cheap endeavor, but with a smaller more inclusive tank set up you can greatly reduce overall costs. The initial equipment cost will be much less and with less space you will need less fish, salt, substrate, rock and chemicals. The smaller lights of a nano aquarium will also help to cut costs on your energy bill. • Technical accomplishment. o Many nano reefers also enjoy the accomplishment of setting up and maintaining a small reef that just a couple of decades ago was thought of as impossible. • Space constraints also make nano reefs a great option for some. Tank: Nano aquariums come with attractive bent corner three sided viewing tanks. Filtration: Nano systems also include a state of the art wet-dry filtration system built in. During the first stage of filtration, water is passed through a chamber with a sponge filter. This filter strains all of the larger particles out of the water. The next stage is a chamber known as the wet-dry filter. This is a chamber where media that serves as a home for beneficial water filtering bacteria is held. The water is allowed to flow down through the filter media (bio-balls) allowing the bacteria to both filter the water and aerate the water. Lighting: Turn-key nano systems come with lighting capable of keeping many soft corals alive and growing. They come with what we call “PC” lighting or power compact lighting. Hood: A fully enclosed hood with feeding door is also included. This helps to minimize salt creep on and around the aquarium. Pumps: A pump for running the filtration system, as well as providing the tank with flow is also included and installed. With this basic set-up, the beginning reefer has everything needed to get their tank up and running in no time. Before you can set up your nano tank, you will also need to pick out the following: Marine aquarium salt Hydrometer Aquarium thermometer Getting set up: The first step to getting your system running is to pick a place for it. Be sure to pick a place that is not in direct sunlight and stays relatively cool year round. Get all your equipment in place and ready. Now fill the tank, with de-chlorinated water, as per the instructions, and check to make sure the circulation pump is in working order. This is also a good time to set your heater to about 78 degrees (you will have time to adjust it further before fish arrive). You may now begin slowly adding your marine salt mix directly into the tank water. Add it in slow amounts leaving time for it to dissolve then check with your hydrometer for proper salt levels (salinity). Remember you can always add more so take it slow. You want to get your salinity to about 1.023 to start. When you are satisfied with your salinity, allow your tank circulation to run overnight to be sure all salt is fully dissolved. Next you will need the following: Substrate-sand or crushed coral 1lb. per gallon of tank volume Live rock or dry rock 1.5-2lbs. per gallon of tank volume At this point, you are ready to begin your tank cycle. First shut off the circulation pump in your system and taking out about half of the water. Keep this water in a bucket for later. Now you can stack your rock in the tank as you would like it. Be sure to stack it in a way that it is stable and does not wiggle. Next add in your sand or crushed coral substrate around the rock. This helps to keep burrowing animals from getting under your rock and making it unstable later. After all your rock and substrate are in and arranged how you like them refill your tank with some of the water you removed and discard the remainder. The water will be cloudy for the first few days, but it will clear in time. Be sure to add water each day to the fill line and keep an eye on the temperature. During the cycle is the perfect time to fine tune your heater setting. Your cycle has no officially started and you are on your way to owning a beautiful reef system.