15 Gallon Tank First Nano Reef


HI all.

After Looking at a number of different options I have finally started my FIRST ever marine Tank. I have got a number of different things that I have either begged or brought. the setup that I have started with is as follows

Tetra Elite 60 Tank (Brand New to replace old battered tank)
Hagen 100W Heater
Aqua-Clear 120GPH Power Head
Wave-Maker 360 Degree Rotating Deflector
Twin Arcadia Compact T5 Lights ( 1x 36w 10,000 Calvin 1x 24w Marine Blue)
Red Sea Coral Pro Salt

I hopefully will have photo's uploaded tommorow.

Friday I have booked to day off work to go and get the live Rock.

I have a few questions tho, Should I add Coral at the same time or just add the live rock? How much live rock is recommended for a 60 litre tank?

I will be keeping an eye on the salt levels over the next few days and will be trying to figure out the best way to do water changes and get the salt levels right (Any Advice would be great)

Thanks again in advance for any help and advice



You will need a Protein Skimmer.
My First ever aquarium was an Elite 60!!!


So the tank you bought is 60 litres correct? And this would be your first marine tank?

First of all I would just like to say congratulations on deciding to take the plunge into the wonderful world of Saltwater Aquariums! They can be a truly rewaring and beautiful experience if set up and maintained with care and patience.

However, I am a believer in the saying "bigger is better (and easier)" when it comes to marine tanks. The beauty about reef tanks is that once properly set up and matured with live rock, possibly a sump and a refugium; they take care of themselves (aside from things like checking water parameters and weekly cleaning and water changes).
From what I have read, the smaller marine tanks (under 30 gallons) are very high maintenance and can result in newbies getting very frustrated due to not being able to keep all the levels stable and what not.

As for your questions...
1) Once you have added the Live Rock to the tank, a cycle will begin. In this cycle your water parameters will fluctuate a lot and there will be rises in ammonia, nitrate and nitrite. No livestock should be added until all 3 of those levels are at zero, meaning no fish, coral or inverts of any kind. However, some people choose to cycle their tank with a Damselfish or a Clownfish. I disagree with this GREATLY because the fluctuations in ammonia, nitrate and nitrie practically burns the fishes gills, and obviously this is very cruel to the fish.
Go out and buy test kits for ammonia, nitrate and nitrite and test your water every day after the cycle has begun. Depending on how you cycle your tank (to help start the cycle after adding the live rock add a small piece of shrimp and let it rot away in the tank; PLEASE do not cycle with a fish!) it could take anywhere from 3 weeks - 6 weeks - 6 months in some peoples cases. (The cycle will probably be shorter if you use Premium (cured) Live Rock).
Once the cycle is over, you are free to add coral and livestock as you wish. I advise adding 1 fish every 3-4 weeks as a minimum, starting with the least aggressive fish. (This gives the less aggressive fish time to establish a territory before any 'bully' fish are added). For coral, start with something easy such as Zoanthids, Mushrooms or even a Toadstool!

2) Start off by adding 10lbs maybe? A cheaper option to Live Rock would be to buy one piece of Premium Live Rock and the rest Base rock. You won't get any hitch hikers, good or bad, on the base rock (which is half the fun of starting a new tank IMO) but base rock is cheaper, and that piece of Premium Live Rock you buy will eventually seed the base rock, turning it into live rock!
Another piece of advice would be to ask your LFS or a friend with an established marine tank for a cup of sand from one of their sandbeds to help seed yours.

3) Try aI'm for your salt levels to be around 1.023 - 1.026 for a reef. There will be a certain amount of evaporation in your tank but to replace this water use fresh water, because when the water evaporates from your tank, the salt is left behind.


I started my first reef tank in a 2.5 gallon. It can be done, but like Sarrixx says, bigger is generally better. That said, 15 gallons is just fine IMO. Just be sure to not rush anything, and to pay close attention to your water parameters. Marine tanks take much longer than Freshwater to mature and stabilize anyway, but marine nano tanks are inherently less stable than larger systems.

IMO you do not need a skimmer for a nano. I've run several nano tanks and none have had skimmers. (I no longer have a nano, but that's because of upgrades, not tank crashes, lol.) As long as you do weekly water changes and don't overfeed or overstock, you should be able to keep water parameters under control no problem.

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