"Bigger is better!" – A commonly used statement in this hobby. Often there is much truth to this phrase, not because there is no alternative, but because it usually leads to an easier way of reefkeeping. A larger skimmer is more forgiving of a lazy reefkeeper or an overstocked aquarium. A larger sump or refugium provides added water volume. Whose tank couldn’t use that? A larger aquarium in itself provides more physical space for the inhabitants, more water volume, and of course, greater stability in water quality. However, there are exceptions to these rules, and this month’s ReefSlides segment is dedicated to breaking that always-intimidating rule of needing the largest tank possible. This month we feature photographs of beautiful nano reefs! Specifically, these are all nano reefs that have won Tank of the Month in the Nano Reefs Forum here on Reef Central.

Nano tanks are commonly split into two groups, the "all-in-one" tanks and the custom nano tanks.

The most common all-in-one kits include:

Each system comes with the tank, pumps, lighting and filtration media and, for many models, matching stands are available as well. Some come equipped with skimmers and those that do not come with skimmers can be fitted to house aftermarket skimmers such as the Tunze Nano or AquaC Remora Nano.

Some aquarists like to add Aquafuge hang-on refugiums to provide more water volume and to grow macroalgae. Popular chemical filtration includes Chemi-Pure, Purigen and phosphate removers. Plumbing phosphate reactors or chillers into nano systems is usually possible with minimal work. Automatic top-off units are common as well to prevent salinity swings, which can cause disasters in smaller tanks.

Everything that applies to "all-in-one" tanks also applies to custom-built tanks. Some aquarists prefer to build a custom nano to be able to select their own lighting, skimmer, sump and pump rather than working with what the manufacturer includes.

Weekly water changes are the best way to remove dissolved organics as well as keeping water parameters in check. Dosing is usually not needed in most systems containing soft corals and large polyped stonies (LPS), but there are two-part additives such as B-ionic and Kent Nano A & B that will help buffer calcium and alkalinity.

Rules of the contest:

The contest is held monthly in the Reef Central Nano Reefs Forum.

The current month's winner has the task of starting the next month's contest, starting a thread where members enter a picture of their tank. After a couple of weeks, five tanks are selected by the previous month's winner and a new thread with a poll is posted where members can vote for their favorite tank. After two weeks, a new winner is decided and they write up an article in another thread highlighting their tank and start the next month's contest. Its success is due to the participation by the people who enter their tanks for judging and the moderators for helping by "stickying" the current month's selection.

Nano TOTM Winners:

louist November 2006 – 8.3-gallon (30 x 30 x 35cm)

Victoria December 2006 – 29-gallon Oceanic Cube (18" x 20" x 21")

Junkitu January 2007 – 24-gallon Aquapod

calvin415 February 2007 – 10.2-gallon custom (47.25" x 11" x 7.125")

ezcompany March 2007 – 24-gallon Current USA Aquapod

nanokiper April 2007 – 30-gallon AGA with twin overflows

anguswu May 2007 – 26-gallon bowfront (24" x 16" x 16")

Helfrich’s Chic June 2007 - 18-gallon ADA (24" x 14" x 16")

Bigbyrd July 2007 – 30-gallon Finnex

PurpleUP August 2007 – 25-gallon ADA cube

joesmoe517 September 2007 – 12-gallon Nanocube DX

DeMartini October 2007 – 14-gallon Bio-Cube7

InLimbo87 April 2008 – 33-gallon Oceanic cube (20.5" x 21" x 20.5")

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Many thanks to SDguy and Illuminati for their assistance with this project.
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