Anyway, anyone to have at home a saltwater aquarium, is faced with a huge amount of frightening information. Basically, talk about the difficulties. They say that the sea is very expensive, the care of marine aquarium is like art, where you can rely on the experience and intuition that literature about marine aquariums do not find that the amount of reef “banks” starts from 400 litres, which required a huge amount of complex equipment, and so on. Let’s try to understand what is myth and what is reality.


The concept of nano-reef implies a marine reef aquarium in ultra low volume. Usually, under this category fall the aquariums of 50 to 150 liters. It is best to use cubic aquariums. This form of “banks” provides good visibility and a large area of the water surface to maintain active gas exchange with the air. So, the aquarium in the form of a cube with sides of 50 cm is quite suitable for creating a nano-reef and will give us a useful volume of about 100 liters.


Seawater is a complex solution of various salts with a common density of from 1,020 to 1,026 g/cm3. For its preparation you will need a dry mixture, sold under the name “synthetic salt for marine aquariums,” and distillirovannoi. Distilled water can be optionally replaced with deionized, obtained using reverse osmosis. This unit is a small device similar to a household water filter connected to the water supply. Small, inexpensive specimens are able to produce up to 150 liters of deionized water in a day. Usually, for keeping a nano-reef this is more than enough. The process of water preparation is simple: pour distilled water into a suitable container, pour in some amount of artificial sea salt and to provide stirring the solution until complete dissolution of all salts. The density of the resulting solution is controlled using a hydrometer. In case of insufficient density of the solution add salt with excess water. At the same time, using the heater, the temperature of the solution was adjusted to 25-26°C. After the density and temperature of the solution norm correspond to the received sea water is ready for pouring into the aquarium.

Further, during the life of the aquarium, you must monitor and maintain the following water parameters:


It should be stable, around 25oC. To ensure this fit the thermostat with a sufficient accuracy of temperature measurement. However, you must remember that the water temperature in the small aquarium has a low inertia and can quickly change depending on external conditions. It’s bad, it must be fought. The aquarium should be placed away from heat sources and drafts, avoid contact with direct sunlight. Permissible variation of water temperature within 1°C.


It should be in the range of up to 1,024 1,022 g/cm3. Strong oscillations of the density of water, even within this range are undesirable and lead to rapid death of most inhabitants. Basically the density of water will increase due to daily evaporation. Replace evaporated water should be refilled with distilled or deionized water, controlling the density of the resulting solution. However, there is an easier way: the salinity is brought to normal, turn off pump, creating flow, and mark in the glass marks the current water level. After that, enough time in the day when you turn off the pump, add distilled water to the level marked by the mark. If necessary, you can use the automatic water refilling of different manufacturers.


It needs to be at a level of 8.1 to 8.3. Fluctuations in pH are very bad for the inhabitants of the aquarium, lead to disease, inhibit the development. The constancy of pH is achieved when sufficient carbonate hardness of water (kH = 10-14). The ability of sea water to keep the pH when you add certain amounts of acid or alkali caused mainly by the interaction of dissolved carbon dioxide, carbonate and bicarbonate ions, and also ions of calcium and magnesium. If carbonate hardness of water is insufficient, the excess dissolved carbon dioxide (at night, in the absence of photosynthesis) or the lack of it (in the daytime, when photosynthesis is active) will cause a drop or increase pH respectively. To maintain the carbonate hardness at the appropriate level are used special additives and partial replacement of water.

Water circulation:

It is necessary to provide continuous circulation at the level of 3-4 volume of the aquarium per hour. For example, useful for aquarium with a capacity of 100 litres it is necessary to install 1 or 2 pumps with a total capacity of 300-400 litres per hour. Sponge or other filters on the pumps is undesirable as it will remove zooplankton from the water needed to supply the higher animals. A constant circulation of water necessary to saturate it with oxygen, for delivery of nutrients and zooplankton to all needy animals, for proper operation of the nitrogen cycle. About once a month to do General water analysis of the content of calcium, magnesium, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, carbonate hardness. Under adverse tests should increase the amount of water changes. This measure can help out the novice aquarist for any problems with water quality and avoids cumbersome and expensive equipment systems for water reclamation.

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