A Small Slice of the Sea
Now that we have our 12 gallon long up and running, we wanted to review the equipment we have on this tank. At its onset, this aquarium will be operating as a fish only with live rock (FOWLR). However, our ultimate goal is to cultivate this set-up as a mixed reef nano tank. We will be holding off on incorporating coral until we feel our tank is more established. Once the tank is suitable for corals, we will be upgrading to appropriate lighting and adding a Neptune APEX for aquarium monitoring.
Maintaining a nano saltwater reef aquarium is more challenging than an aquarium of larger water volume. The water chemistry has to be carefully monitored for parameter swings which could prove harmful to tank inhabitants. With this thought in mind, we carefully selected the following equipment for the onset of our tank. Here is a summary on the pieces of equipment we currently have operating.
Mr. Aqua 12 Gallon Long - We loved the footprint of this particular aquarium. With dimensions of 35.4” x 8.3” x 9.4”, the aquarium appears much larger than its actual water volume. The Mr. Aqua Hybrid Foam Mat sits beneath the aquarium for leveling and support purposes.
Zoo Med 501 Turtle Canister Filter - Traditionally, a sump would be a recommended means of filtration on a saltwater aquarium. However given the area constraints and the lack of drilling on the aquarium itself, a sump is not an option. Therefore, we will be housing our carbon and GFO within the canister. We will be relying on Bulk Reef Supply’s ROX 0.8 Activated Carbon and GFO Granular Ferric Oxide - High Capacity. Both filter media perform better within a reactor; however, they can be placed within a filter bag as well. The activated carbon is replaced every 2 weeks, while the GFO is replaced when phosphate levels are seen to rise within the aquarium.
Update: We just conducted a major overhaul for the filtration on this tank. We are now officially sumped! Check out our nano sump equipment.
2 Gallon Glass Aquarium: ATO Reservoir - This small glass aquarium sits near the saltwater aquarium and houses RO/DI water necessary for the ATO system. The pump is attached to the Smart ATO and works in conjunction with the optical water level sensor to replenish any evaporated water from the tank.
Update (5/8/15): We no longer rely on an ATO system for this tank. While the Smart ATO worked well, we found it did not detect the slight water evaporation from our nano system. We now top off the tank on our own in the morning and evening.
The Fluval AquaSKY LED Light has been replaced with two AquaIllumination Prime & Mounting Bracket.
AI Prime - We selected the AI Prime as our ultimate goal is to have coral growing within the tank. The dimensions for this unit are 4.88” x 4.88” x 1.34”. The unit has a 30” x 30” spread. However, in order to achieve optimal coverage with PAR, we plan on having two units above this tank. Currently, we have one model running over the aquarium to determine if we like the unit. So far we have enjoyed the ease of playing with the online programming though our smartphone. We will be reviewing this unit in the future after we have had the opportunity to further examine its features.
This is just a brief introduction into the equipment we are initially using on this aquarium. As we add additional equipment or make adjustments, we will keep this article updated. We look forward to watching this aquarium grow within the upcoming months.