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Stocking a Nano Tank

by TFH Magazine on May 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

By David Bell

In the June 2012 issue of TFH, I described how I started in the world of nano aquariums. A huge part of my careful planning was identifying what animals I wanted and developing a stocking list.

My must-have fish was a mystery wrasse. I also wished to keep a mix of a few very colorful and smaller fishes such as the secretive fairy or flasher wrasses, demure damsels or percula complex clowns, cardinals, small basslets or grammas, blennies or gobies, and perhaps others to observe their interesting behaviors. I developed the system around those wants. I have basically stuck with my original intention of housing a fish population that averages an adult size of about 3 inches or less. Also, I have always been interested in maintaining a tank exclusively full of hardy and vibrant corallimorpharians, zoanthids and some of the octocorals, as well as a few of the hardier stony corals such as members of the families Faviidae and Mussidae.

Then the challenge came in stocking the aquarium with the right mix of species and number of individuals. I did not plan to have any individuals which would later be moved to a larger tank because they grew too large or acted too aggressively. (However, I do have a seasoned tank already prepared which has come in handy in emergency situations, although it should not be absolutely necessary if the tank is planned correctly.) Ultimately though, I intend to combine this nano reef with one or two other smaller reef systems into a large reef system.

I wound up with this list to begin with.


1 Starry Blenny (Salarias ramosus)

1 Talbot’s Damsel (Chrysiptera talboti)

1 Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula)

1 Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)

1 Tricolor Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus lubbocki)

1 Mystery Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus ocellatus)


Zoanthids of 14 varieties

Octocorals: Kenya Tree Coral (Capnella imbricata) and Clove Polyps (Clavularia spp.)

Corallimorpharians: Discosoma spp., Rhodactis indosinensis, and Ricordea florida

Duncan Coral (Duncanopsammia axifuga)

Green Plate Coral (Fungia spp.)

Candy Cane Coral (Caulastrea spp.)

Green/Pink Brain Coral (Trachyphyllia spp.)

Green Brain Coral (Acanthastrea spp.)

Red/Dark Red Brain Coral (Acanthastrea spp.)

Pink/Orange Brain Coral (Acanthastrea spp.)

Green/Cream Brain Coral (Favia spp.)

Bright Green Brain Coral (Favites spp.)

Turquoise Brain Coral (Favites spp.)

Red/Blue Micromussa Coral (Micromussa amakusensis)

Multicolored Button Coral (Scolymia spp.)

Red/Orange Button Coral (Lobophyllia spp.)

Other Invertebrates

5 Turbo Snails (Nerita funiculata)

5 Red-legged Hermit Crabs (Clibinarius digueta)

5 Nassarius Snails (Nassarius spp.)

1 Blue Tuxedo Urchin (Mespilia globulus)

Be sure to check out the July 2012 issue of TFH to find out about the progress of these animals, how to overcome challenges presented by nano tanks, and see how it all turned out.

Photograph by David Bell.

Posted in TFH Extras by TFH Magazine on May 17th, 2012 at 11:19 am.

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