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My Six Gallon Nano Reef

Last Updated: 8/30/21

My 6 gallon reef on 10/18/08.

Live Rock and Sand
Other Animals
Plants and Algae

Six Gallon Nano Reef Photos - on their own page.

My Nano Reef Blog - details about the entire process

The current inventory of this tank is below.


This is where I got the tank:

Less than two weeks after I got the tank, the fans and fluorescent lights failed! Read Page 5 of my blog for details.

On 9/9/08, the replacement lid for the 6 gallon nano cube tank finally arrived! The mushroom coral was without light for 19 days! It took them 18 full days (11 business days) to ship what they said would take 7 to 10 days! It was not easy to get the lids switched out but I managed to do it. Now, I have to wait for algae to grow before getting any more animals and hope the lid does not fail again!

I did a total cleaning of this tank (everything out) on 5/10/12.

Live Rock and Sand

Added 8/6/08:
10 pound bag of Australian gold live sand
2 pounds of live rock - one 1 pound piece, one dead brain coral, one dead clam, and two smaller rocks moved from the 3 gallon tank

Added 8/12/08:
4.5 pound live rock


Previously one Neon goby added 11/25/16. His name was Neo. Before Neo, there had been no fish in this tank since 7/17/12. Neo vanished at the end of January 2017.

Previously one Yellow clown goby added 7/17/12. Rico was anorexic when I got him. He let me take some photos and then hid behind the live rock. I never saw him again.

Previously one Brown clown goby added 2/1/09. Fireman was red. Fireman died when the power went out for three days on 6/29/12 due to a derecho. Fireman lived more than three years in the six gallon tank, much longer than any of the other fish.

Previously one Green clown goby added 9/27/08. I named him Larry. Larry died on 11/25/08. ;-(


1 Cerith snail added 3/23/19. As of 3/8/21, I think this guy may be gone.

2 Astraea snails added 3/23/19.

Snails that used to be in the 6 gallon reef but have all died:

Previously 1 Nassarius snail - two added 8/12/08. They laid eggs in July of 2012. I found my crab, Scary, eating one of the snails on 8/16/13 but I am hoping that the snail died first. As of 3/8/21, I have not seen the other Nassarius snail in years.

Previously four Astraea snails - added 9/27/08. Two died within a year. I removed a dead one on 12/17/11. The other one died at some point too.

Previously one Astraea snail - 2 added 2/27/12, one dead 6/8/12.

Previously one Astraea snail added 6/13/12.

Previously one Mexican turbo snail bought 5/15/12 for the 12 gallon tank. The smaller of two turbos was moved to the 6 gallon tank on 6/16/12 and died at the end of August 2012.

Previously one Mexican turbo snail added on 1/14/13 and dead by 1/21/13.

Previously two Astraea snails added 1/19/14. They were gone by 2018.

Previously two Cerith snails added 10/24/12. As of 8/18/13, I have not seen these in a long time.


Crabs that used to be in the 6 gallon reef but have all died:

1 Dwarf zebra/orange & black hermit crab - added 3/23/19. He was SO tiny! I named him Hercules! He vanished after just a few weeks.

Previously one Emerald mithrax crab - moved from the 3 gallon tank on 8/6/08. Grabby died on 12/12/08 for no apparent reason.

Previously two red tip hermit crabs - two added 6/13/12. The smallest vanished in August 2012. The other was gone by 2015.

Previously two dwarf blue leg hermit crabs - two added 10/24/12. They were last seen in late 2012.

Previously red tip hermit crab - one added 1/14/13; gone by mid-2015.

Previously one Unknown reef crab - moved from the 3 gallon tank on 8/6/08. As of 11/20/14, I have not verified seeing Scary in four months. I used to see him at least once a week. For this reason, I am afraid that I have to declare him presumed dead. I never found or saw a body but the shrimp would have eaten any remains (but you would think not the shell).

I added a red tip hermit crab (very tiny) on 12/10/18. The little guy vanished by 2019!


On 3/23/19, I added two new Sexy shrimp.

Shrimp that used to be in the 6 gallon reef but have all died:

Previously two Sexy shrimp added 9/27/08. Dip was the male; Dot was the female. They vanished/died in June and July of 2010.

Previously two Peppermint shrimp added 8/5/10. One died in the spring of 2011, and the other vanished in the spring of 2012.

Previously two Sexy shrimp added 5/15/12. One vanished by August 2012. The other was gone by the end of the year.

Previously two Peppermint shrimp added 1/14/13. They vanished a few weeks later and were confirmed not in the tank on 2/8/13.

Previously two peppermint shrimp added 1/19/14. They were last seen the first week of October 2015.


1 Mushroom coral - added 8/12/08.

1 Tiny yellow polyp that was on a rock that originally had two mushroom corals I had gotten (the mushrooms died but I moved the rock to the 3 gallon tank and then this 6 gallon tank when I discovered it had a polyp on it.). This did not survive.

On 10/4/08, two nano coral packs arrived. From those, I added the following 12 corals:
1 Green Ricordia mushroom (did not survive)
1 Orange and purple Ricordia mushroom (did not survive)
1 Brown/purple with white spots mushroom - have had many "babies"
1 Brown/purple with blue spots mushroom - have had many "babies"
1 Brown mushroom
1 Green mushroom - have had many "babies"
1 Purple mushroom
1 Green large polyps (three heads)
4 Small green zooanthid colonies on live rock

On 9/12/09, I added an arm of the green star polyps from the 12 gallon tank to the 6 gallon tank. On 12/12/09, I put in two tiny arms of the green star polyps from the 12 gallon.

1 Small brown zooanthid colony on a ceramic plug was added on 2/27/12. It up and died over just a few days in June 2012.

These corals from Live Aquaria were added on 5/15/12:
1. 1 Green striped mushroom coral (that folded over on itself and may not make it); this piece of live rock also has a ton of strange and scary tube and feather worms; one large tube has shiny tendrils coming out
2. 1 Green star polyps (certainly didn't need that one!); I just set it on the floor until I come up with a better plan
3. 1 Yellow polyps; these are nice; a few feather dusters on the dead coral stick too (this time two of the corals were on dead coral sticks which are hard to place)
4. 3 Nice zooanthid colonies; all have green edges; one center is light pink; one is light orange (died by 6/16/12); and one is light purple; they seem to change daily though; I glued these to the top of the live rock

I added a small Goniopora on 2/21/16 on a ceramic plug. It was dead by August of 2016.

Other Animals

1 Tube worm - feather duster-like worm that comes out of very long white tube on the dead clam. This guy died.

Various small worms and bristleworms.

Fireworms - three removed so far; there may be more, at least one.

Some neat amphipod and isopods.

Feather dusters and other tubular worms.

On 8/25/12, I saw, for the first time, a small beige-colored bristlestar! There are also a lot of worms of various kinds in the tank. Update 12/17/18: I had forgotten about the bristlestar. It must have died years ago.

By 2019, I have some animals that might be tunicates or sponges. They look similar to pineapple sponges but not quite. They have their mouth pits and grow in groups of two or three together.

Plants and Algae

At first, there was just some diatoms and fuzzy short algae that came with the live rock from the 3 gallon tank. Some Caulerpa started growing on one of the rocks in late September 2008.

Some green bubble algae (contaminant from the 12 gallon) and more rare red bubble algae later showed up.

By 2012, the tank was taken over by fluffy pink hair algae. Adding a turbo snail fixed that.

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