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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
are nano's a good way to get started in this hobby? what are the pros and cons of starting a nano? is the difficulty of keeping the tanks cool and the salinty correct to difficult for a beginner?

so what are all of your thoughts on this!

G~
 

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Master of Perplexity
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3,451 Posts
Just my opin, but I think it's like my experience water skiing. Wanted to learn, so bought a cheap ski. Finally got the hang of it, then a friend offered his expensive ski and I found how much easier it would have been to have learned on it
 

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Crazed Fish Whisperer
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2,611 Posts
For me, since I did start off with 2 nano's, I am glad I did. It allowed me to observe the conditions in the tank more closely. Taught me to be responsible at staying on top of any problems that might have arisen. Is it a great way for everyone..I don't think so. But for some of us. It is a great way to start. It also kind of helps teach you to go slow...(since you don't have as much room). :) Just my 2 cents.
 

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Summer and Alyssa's Daddy
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2,679 Posts
I actually think the opposite. I went from a 44 gal brackish water tank to a 44 gal fish only tank, to a 44 gal fish only with live rock tank to a 44 gal mini reef. I only went nano to help my son set up a tank but by this time my wife and I went through numerous errors and blooms to have a good handle on how to prevent him from having issues. Also He goes frag shopping in our tanks and when and if we find frags or fish that simply grows too big for his nano, it gets regulated to one of our tanks. Kinda hard to do this if you start with a nano.

Bottom Line: I think Nanos should be kept with experienced reef keepers, or under the supervision of experienced reef keepers. Here is my list of pros and cons for people that will do it no matter what anyone else thinks. (Sides I have a 3 gal nano that is a blast but I have been doing this for a while)
Pros:
1. Cheap (Hardware)
2. Small Size
3. Cheap (small small frags, and live rock requirements)
4. Cheap (Chemicals)
5. Gave me something to look at while at work.
6. A place for all of those extra shrooms and xenia frags.
7. Mine doubles as a sick pen for clams and/or picked on corals.

Cons:
1. Frequent water changes.
2. Hard to fit all of the equipment into a tiny box without it looking like a "Borg" rejected lifeform experiment.
3. Lot of DIY involved since most things are geared for bigger tanks but the market is opening up.
4. Corals and fish can and will quickly outgrow it if you are not careful in your pruning.
5. Chemistry is very hard to keep steady as well as temp and s/g.
6. Easy to fail and easy to lose interest if you are wiping out your tank every other week.
 

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generally, i feel that if a person:
1) does their research
2) is fairly observant
3) has $$$

they can be successful regardless of tank's size. w/ a larger tank, a person who is deficient in any of the above can still find some level of success if they've got more of another category.

i feel the same statement doesn't hold true for nano tanks because a nano is less forgiving. common mistakes like:

-not adjusting salinity w/ topoff;
-overfeeding
-overheating
-overcrowding
-species incompatibility
-introducing too much to soon

can be lethal in a nano. every mistake made is amplified 10X. if you made the same mistake in a 50g, you're less likely to kill your tank inhabitants.

JMO
 

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Crazed Fish Whisperer
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Yeah, and that might be one reason why I didn't have tons of issues with my 10gal. I had read 3 books before buying a tank, and asked around, etc. So, I actually did research before buying. :)
 

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No...They are to volitale. Keeping the water parameters where they need to be is a task. I think it would turn alot of people off to the hobby if they started with Nano's. Fish would get diseased or die and that's unappealing.
 

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Summer and Alyssa's Daddy
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2,679 Posts
My boy did it the correct way kinda. He used all of mine or his mother's older equipment, lights, tanks, etc. Used some homemade live rock, bought some base rock and used some rock that I keep stewing in a rubbermaid container to break up for frags, etc. Designed a sump and a refugium twice the size of his display tank. And a stand to accomdate it all. His ten gal nano has a 20 gal sump/refugium with an oppossing light cycle. My only problem is when wants to go "Frag Shopping" in my tanks.

Ray
 

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TRT Staff The Mominator
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10,503 Posts
I love nanos but they are tough; I kept one myself for three years until I had to remove it from my office. I had two tank crashes due to temp issues (I solved that with a heater controller) and one big mess when a brittle star died while I was away for a few days.

I have to agree that for most people, a nano would not be a good place to start, unless they are closely mentored by someone with experience. Most beginners aren't as patient as Jeremy :)

A nano isn't cheap if get the wrong equipment to start and you keep having to replace everything because it dies on you :(

Alice
 

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Banggai Mommy
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2,395 Posts
I think that nanos are definitely more work. I started with a 29, which I wouldn't consider a nano. Nanos are definitely not the investment that a 180 is, but screw up early, and you're likely to ditch the hobby.

I personally wouldn't recommend starting with less than a 20. Of course, I'm a lazy reefer at heart. A 20 would be doable with research and committment. Also, it's less of a financial drain.

As far as ease, bigger tanks are much more forgiving - no question about that. Unless the new reefer accepts that they will have to check a 10g daily for topoff/salinity, as well as do the research on inhabitants, a 10g would be an utter frustration. Some people can do that. I know I couldn't. I know Jeremy could.

Which means that it depends on the person, really.

Anyway...
Danielle
 

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Well I have bought two six-side 20+ tanks and considering a nano or maybe two.

Since I started with a larger tank 72 gallon bowfront and then an 80 gallon reef tank I got spoiled as you can get away with alot more in a bigger tank and still have a successful tank!

Now my problem will be paying alot closer attention to a small tank set-up even though I have the experience! Now if I turn these tanks over to my wife there will be no problem as she has had a 20 gallon mini-reef tank running for over 3 years with no problems and never has crashed!

I think a nano will teach you patience and keep you well foucused in maintenance of the tank. But when it comes right down to it, I think it is the care taker of the tank that will decide the success or failure of any given size tank! JMO :)
 
G

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no....i personally do not believe a nano is the rightway to start...yes it teaches us what to do and it teaches us more patience...but since they are so delicate and require so much more attention to paremeters mistakes are more eaisly detected...i think people would get to frustrated with them quicker and leave...
 

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IMO I think a nano can be fine to start but often ends up bad. Alot of people new to the hobby dont realize the limitations and work required for a nano and then expect too much. Some people on the other hand do their research but just can't afford a bigger tank, and do just great with a nano for their first tank.
 

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Premium Member
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34,435 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
what exactly is a nano? does a 20g count if it has a 10g sump? or vice-versa?

i believe nano's are great if the research was done before hand. they are a lot of work and require daily maintenance to be successfull.

one of the big problems i think beginners run into, is they feel that fish are the best thing to happen to a tank. I feel the other critters in the tank are just as interesting as the fish. Fish are biggest bio-load problem; putting anything more than a neon goby in a 10 could push the limits of the filtration. this is a tough concept to get a hold of expecially if they came from FW.

G~
 
G

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Geoff said:
they are a lot of work and require daily maintenance to be successfull.

one of the big problems i think beginners run into, is the fell that fish are the best thing to happen to a tank. i feel the other critters in the tank are just as interesting as the fish. fish are biggest bio-load problem. putting anything more than a neon goby in a 10 could push the limits of the filtration. this is a tough concept to get a hold of expecially if they came from FW.

G~
this is why i believe a 75 gal is the perfect starting tank for sw hobiest...i allows them to make the newbie mistakes with less reactions....with that being said..
nanos will teach you good husbandry
 

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I can see where fish would be a problem in a nano as most people want the "complete" reef and the movement that fish provide but here in lies the problem as newbies tend to over stock a small tank with fish!(Not to say more experience hobbyists don't).

Geoff writes: what exactly is a nano? does a 20g count if it has a 10g sump? or vice-versa?
Most people have a sump in various size tanks and I never consider the sump as part of the display as far as size goes! Sump add more water volume and place for refugium/equipment, etc.). I think a sump is just an extra feature for making the main display alot better!

NANO! NANO!;)
 
G

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the sump or fuge might count for water vollume but imo it means nothing...it is a means of nutirent exports and water circultaion ect.....
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
i think volume is everything in a reef. this is the greatest limiting factor we have for keeping critters. i kinda believe that a nano should be 20g or smaller total volume. now i will say that as long as the sump is smaller than the display than i think you could say psuedo-nano. when total volume is greater than 20g.
:)

G~
 

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Well I disagree with total volume being everything in a reef! If you have a 20 gallon tank or smaller than that is the main concern because that is where all the living critters are housed and what if you don't have a sump then it would not even be a concern at all!
What ever you add to the nano definately helps in maintaining the system but we need to be concerned with how we would keep a 20 gallon or smaller nano main system healthy and thriving! What ever else you bring to the table to maintain the system should not be considered as far as what the actual size of a nano tank should be! If that is the case of water volume than most people with twenty gallon tanks or smaller would not have a nano and as far as I can see the initial system we start with should be the determining factor in labeling a reef system a nano or not! JMO This makes my head hurt!;)
 
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