April 2020 - Featured NANO Reef - Kris


May 25, 2007
San Diego
My Tank Build


SCR Member: @Kris
From: San Diego CA
Years Reefing: 6 years

Favorite LFS: Pet Kingdom – Point Loma, SD

I had various freshwater tanks growing up and slowly graduated to saltwater aquariums (fish only) in the process. I slowly drifted from the hobby as the years went by but I always told myself I would set up another one in the future. Fast forward 20 years and I find myself in a local pet store staring at the saltwater fish/coral section thinking to myself wow I really want of these. After some skillful negotiation with my wife, she gave me the thumbs up and fully supported my dive into the hobby. This tank, in particular, is my small “overflow” tank that I built to transfer the majority of my soft corals from my 60 gal setup after I decided that was going down the SPS route.


Tank Info.
Nano: Innovative Marine NUVO Abyss Panorama 20 Gal AIO
DIMS: 20” x 15” x 17”
Stand: repurposed RSM stand
Sump: Built-in
Protein Skimmer: None
Return Pump: Factory pump
Lights: AI Prime HD
Water Circulation: 2X Jebao OW10
ATO: IM Hydro fill Titanium


Temp: 77-79
PH: unmonitored
CA: unmonitored
ALK: 7.5 - 8.0
MG: unmonitored
Salinity: 35 PPM (1.026)

I used approximately 15lbs of Caribsea Liferock for this tank. Being a drop off tank it was a unique opportunity to really play with the aquascape. After messing with the rock work on an empty tank I settled on a design and epoxied the entire rockwork into one solid piece. I had all intentions to add a shrimp and goby pair as part of my livestock so I wanted to be able to have a structure they couldn’t crumble. To this day I can still pull the entire rock work out as one piece so the epoxy/superglue combo did its job.


I run a modified AB+ schedule with lowered lighting intensity. Lights were adjusted using a Seneye PAR meter, PAR for the tank is 180 on upper rockwork, 110 upper shelf and 90 on the lower shelf. 1hr ramp up & 1hr ramp down running between 8am to 8pm.


I have two Jebaos’ taking care of the flow in the tank. I keep a pulsing mode on both, one is pointed to add flow behind the rockwork while the second is pointed towards to the front of the tank. The wavemaker pointed to the front is strategically aimed to provide oscillating flow for the torch corals.


The theme for the Nano is simplicity. I had enough gadgets on the SPS tank that I wanted a set and forget setup for the softies. Other than hand dosing 2ml of ALK solution to maintain ALK between 7.5-8.0 the only other thing I really do to maintain the tank is a 5 gal weekly water change which is a combination of 2 cups red sea Blue and 1/2 cup of red sea Pro. Salt water mixes to approx. 8.5 ALK when I measure it on the Hanna Checker. I tend to only measure things I dose so in this case I generally only test ALK and Salinity weekly before the WC. It gives me the warm and fuzzy that the new mix is close enough to the current water parameters that I won't shock any livestock when its added.

I utilize the built in sump in the back of the tank compliments of the AIO setup. I run the factory pump which provides plenty of flow for a tank of this size. The tank has two overflows, on one side I have a media basket with media floss in compartment #1 and a carbon bag in compartment #3. Compartment #2 has been empty for the time being, ill probably add rubble rock in there in the future for added live rock capacity. On the opposite side of the tank I run a short felt filter sock, under the sock I fit an underwater led light (set on timer for night only operation) along with some chaeto for a bit of nitrate control. The sump also has a brick of marine pure, the block was cut to fit within the limited sump space.


Livestock List
Black storm pair
Flame Tail Blenny
Hi-Fin Red Banded Goby
Candy Cane Pistol Goby


Coral List
Rainbow Bubble Tip
Indo gold torch
Indo rainbow torch
Indo Gold hammer
2X rock flower nems
Purple Monster Zoa
Blue Hornets Zoa
Agaves Zoa
OG Jawbreaker
Kryptonite Jawbreaker
Deadpool Jawbreaker
Assorted eclectus strains
Interstellar bounce
OG bounce
Sunkist Bounce
Radioactive Bounce
Godzilla Bounce
Forest Fire Bounce
God Spawn Bounce


Final Thoughts
I really wanted a simple setup for this nano. Knowing I wasn’t intending to test all the parameters weekly like I would for an SPS build, I choose corals for this tank suitable for that sort of attention. For those of you who may be wondering why I don’t check PH, Ca & Mg. My reasoning is as follows, for me it's more important to maintain stable Alkalinity than chasing PH numbers. With regards to the Ca and Mg, I really don’t have enough skeleton building corals to significantly deplete what’s added with the 5 gals WC. The water capacity for this tank with all the rock and sand in place was 15 gallons so I’m effectively replacing 33% of the water capacity on weekly basis replenishing enough Ca and Mg to keep things in check. With that said I do have a second tank up and running with a full apex and trident monitoring that tank so corals can always be moved over if need be. This tank has been up and running for about 1.5 years now and it's been a joy to watch as it continues to mature.

Please show love for our first featured Nano reef by commenting and sharing! We all know how hard nano reef tanks are as far as aesthetics, upkeep, and stability. We will feature a Nano tank like @Kris every month to help inspire and educate.



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