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the cichlid kid

What filtration would you choose for a nano reef?

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Hi guys,

I am (very) slowly putting together my first marine tank and it's going to be a nano reef. I am aiming for a mixed reef that will eventually house a pair of clownfish and a few snails for clean up crew. It's dimensions are 30cmL x 30cmW x 35cmH and holds 35L.

At this stage it will be skimmer less, and nutrient control will be provided by small weekly water changes with ASW, evaporation top up will be manual. Circulation will be provided by a wave maker and I plan to have a chiller and heater to keep the temperature in check.

Something else to keep in mind is that I'd prefer to have as little equipment in the tank as possible for aesthetic reasons

At this stage I can't/won't have a sump on this tank.

If you WEREN'T able to have a sump, what type/style of filtration would you choose and why?

Please be sure to mention specifics (filter media type etc)

I have done a decent amount of research and at this stage I'm leaning towards a hang on refugium with miracle mud and chaeto/algae and live rock rubble.

But I thought it would be wise to consult the marine gurus.

If you require any other info about the tank to help with your decision, just ask.

Thanks in advance,


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What you intend on using, will be great for the short term, if applied to limited life forms and their subsequent waste.

Chaeto, as you have mentioned, of which I have in my tubs and I use other algae types in the NWMS for my display tanks and their nutrient importing.

Chaeto works okay, but being a complex cellular form of algae and very closely related to blue green algae, it performs at a weak rate compared to caulerpa with bulbus forms.

That’s a mass of chaetomorpha in this pic under the linkia and lemon peel, it gets a bit out of control some times.


That’s the species of caulerpa I use in this pic that takes everything out and leaches vital elements for corals.


It’s up to you what you do, but with out adequate pre filtering that special time of when things settle down and its coming good, will not last!

No matter what you think you are doing, your live rock will become permeated with rubbish, as will your external bio media, with out adequate pre filtering that is!

The “pre” means “pre bio media”, before it to protect it!

Good luck with it all.

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Thanks for the feedback so far guys.

Caulerpa seems like the go, it looks heaps better than the chaeto too!

Here is what I'm thinking to use as the hang on fuge:

External Hang On Breeding Box XL - $19.50 : On-Line Shopping, Australia

It's dimensions are 25cmL x 14cmW x 14cmH

The plan would be to have an intake in the tank with an inline pump to the chiller then back in to the tank via the hang on fuge.

What could you suggest [MENTION=3166]liquidg[/MENTION] to use for pre filtering in this scenario? Do they make mini filter socks?

Donny, this may ring a bell for you ha ha

It's an Eheim Aquastyle 35, with the matching Aquastyle pedestal type stand.

I have a 1 x vortech MP10 for circulation and the proposed fuge is in the link above.

Lighting is the 2 x eheim powerled actinic blue.

That's all I have got so far.

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thats going to be one srs tank!

Not sure the hang on refugium will be able to handle the flow...... but worth a shot.

It just doesnt have a very wide "spill way" like an aquaclear HOB does.

You're right. I found something on google where someone has done this and the max flow it can handle is 450L/H. I would have to do some modding with a dremel to enlarge the spillway.

Mate you can make your own, it is a very simple thing to do.

Cool. Where do you source the fine micron material to do so?

The more I research and ask questions the more my arm is slowly being twisted in to sumping the tank. But I'm not convinced as yet.

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