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Nano Saltwater Tank Setup, Part 2

Online Aquarium Fish Magazine | Nano Saltwater Tank Setup, Part 2


Nano Saltwater Aquarium In the previous nano tank setup article we discussed a rough estimate of cost associated with a saltwater tank along with time needed. In this issue we will discuss research and equipment needed to setup a tank.


Before setting up a saltwater tank, much more research is needed than your average freshwater tank. It is more complicated, were are talking about taking things from the large ocean and placing them in a small environment. In order to do this successfully we need to take some extra time to understand what we are about to do. We can achieve this by reading and asking others questions. A good place to start finding aquarium fish books is right here on fishlore.

Things to do before Research:

Before doing the bulk of the research first you need to decide a rough budget and the tank size. Once these have been established you can start to begin the bulk of your research, which is quite fun.

Some things to consider in your Research:

When doing your research you need to figure out which fish you want and figure out what ones are compatible with each other. You also need to figure out what type of tank you will have based on your fish selection. Invertebrates are another item to figure out which are compatible in your tank and with your fish. Once inverts and fish have been chosen you can also start to research corals you may want to include in your tank if you plan on keeping any. Also based on your stock option you can research type of filtration you need along with water parameters you will need to keep and how to keep them there.

Equipment needed for your specific tank may also be researched such as power heads, filters, lighting, test kits, and heaters to name a few. You may also want to research the basics of a saltwater environment, since it is different from saltwater. I will discuss this later. These are just a few things to keep in mind while researching among others that are essential in setting up a freshwater tank also. It may seem overwhelming at first but it is actually fun to do. Having the patience to research and understand what to do for a saltwater tank is key in keeping a healthy tank, since later you will need to have patience to keep the tank.

Basic Equipment:
Here is a list of some basic equipment for a 10 gallon nano tank.

Fish Only

  • Fish Tank
  • 2x25w heaters minimum (if one breaks the other can keep the tank warm, no sense in losing all the time and money put into the tank from a heater failure)
  • power heads (recommend at least 2, preferably 3)
  • Powerfilter (recommend one that pumps 100gph)
  • Test Kit (ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, High range pH)
  • Fish Food
  • Rubber kitchen gloves
  • Hydrometer
  • Substrate (if desired)
  • Thermometer
  • Gravel Vacuum
  • Fish Net
  • Standard aquarium lighting fixture but replace bulb with marine bulb
  • Light timer
  • Quarantine tank is recommended to isolate new fish and sick fish
  • Also needed are a five gallon bucket, heater, small power head, and salt mix to prepare saltwater before putting it in your tank.

Fish only with Live Rock
The same equipment will be needed for a fowlr tank but live rock will also be needed.

Reef Tank
A Reef Tank setup will require the same equipment as the previous tanks but with stronger lighting, depending on coral selection and possible stronger or weaker flow put out by the power heads also depending on the corals. More aquarium test kits such as calcium, iron, alkalinity may also be needed based on corals along with buffers. Cost will obviously be the most with a reef tank and obviously more than a freshwater tank but some find it very rewarding.

In the next issue I will discuss the basics of saltwater and maintaining a nano tank.

About the Author:

My name is Austin or atmachine on the forum. I run cross country and track for my school and also enjoy reading, paintball, and of course keeping fish. I have a 29 US gallon freshwater tank along with a 5.5 US gallon saltwater tank. My fish and inverts that I keep include guppies, angels, bettas, otos, plecos, rasboras, gobie, shrimp, snails, crabs, mushrooms, polyps, and feather dusters.

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