— Chris Aylen

Marine nano tank

DD Nano 24g marine tank
My tank with the stock tube lighting

A third aquarium was inevitable: we’ve got the tropical area covered with our Malawi set-up, the coldwater section sorted with the little mountain minnows… and now I’ve got the marine and reef category ticked off.

I’ve wanted to try keeping marine fish for years, but never thought that I’d be able to do it. Water chemistry is a whole new ball game when you start trying to keep things that normally live in the oceans: salinity, temperature, calcium, magnesium, phosphate… the list of parameters you need to monitor is pretty endless. Get one thing slightly wrong and you risk losing livestock that may have cost you hundreds of pounds. Scary stuff.

But the industry has advanced enough and knowledge has been shared which means that it’s a lot easier to try your hand at keeping Nemo and his mates. I picked up a nano tank – the popular DD 24g – the other week from Will and the guys at the excellent Heritage Aquatics in Wallington, Surrey and it’s been sitting in the flat quietly cycling so that I can eventually stick some corals and fish in there. I’m going for a skimmerless live rock system with regular 15% water changes to keep things as natural and simple as possible. I’ve already found about 10 Aiptasia anemones (not good: they’re a pest and hard to eradicate), a pink/white snail (good: will eat some of the algae that’s been growing) and a baby blue starfish (great!).

Our clown fish and shrimps are due to arrive in the next week if the water is reaching the grade.

Maxspect G2 160w LED
Maxspect G2 160w LED unit, pre-installation

The stock lights with the DD 24g are good, but as I want to invest in growing some brightly coloured corals (some Acanthastrea specimens and the standard Ricordea and Duncanopsammia fellas), I’m upgrading the lighting to a Maxspect G2 160w unit from the guys at Fish Street in Hong Kong. The pictures above do the LED bulbs NO justice at all: it’s like actually having the sun in your lounge. I’ve got to add, the Fish Street team are 100% efficient and professional: I ordered the lights on Saturday evening and they arrived by UPS to my house in the UK on Thursday. Only got hit with a £14 customs charge too: considering they cost nearly £400, I was bracing myself for a lot more.

I’ve also bought acrylic sheets, clear polypropylene mesh and a band saw: one custom lid coming up.

More progress reports later (probably after the hospital visit, once I’ve sawn my fingers off).