1) Pay attention! If something is amiss, there will be a subtle signs during the crucial first few hours: zoanthids not opening fully, LPS looking listless or not inflating, etc. If for some reason things don't seem "right" when they were fine yesterday, it's time for investigation, and our next tip,
2) Large (and weekly) water changes. I perform weekly 100% water changes on all aquarium under 100 gallons, and I recommend you do the same. As long as the replacement water is the same salinity, temperature, pH, and is well aerated, your aquatic organisms won't be able to tell the difference. Besides, in the wild, they get constant, million-gallon-per-minute water changes!
3) Don't bother with supplements. Weekly water changes will be all you'll need, even for SPS dominated nano aquariums. Supplements are much more likely do do more harm than good, throwing off water chemistry balances and causing tank 'crashes', and are unnecessary if you're following a proper water change regiment.
4) Stock carefully! Overstocking, allelopathy (chemical 'warfare') and stinging are all too common occurrences in nano reefs. If everything seems 'blah' and water quality isn't an issue, it's likely that new frogspawn or bubble coral you just added. Remember that all coral defend their turf aggressively, and coral does grow. Keep an eye on things, and frag as needed.
5) New to the hobby? Go large. Nano reefs are tons of fun, but can be tough to keep stable. I don't recommend anything smaller than 40 gallons for beginners! If you're new, don't forget to check out the Captive Aquatics guide to nano reef aquariums!
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