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Congratulations to trueis2b for being selected for our March Reef Profile! His 3.5 gallon nano reef aquarium is a minimalist beauty, carefully designed and simply maintained. Below is the aquarium profile trueisb2 has written for us sharing his experiences in the hobby and his aquarium's progress over the past year and a half. See what he's been up to and share your comments and questions in trueisb2's featured reef profile thread, or in the comments section below. Be sure to also check out his aquarium journal in the members aquariums forum for more information about his nano reef tank.

Tank Specs

Display: 12" x 7" x 9.5" ADA Mini S 3.5 Gallon Glass Aquarium
Lighting: Nano Box Mini Tide LED Lighting Fixture
Filtration: Eheim 2211 External Canister Filter
Heater: Hydor 200W In-line Heater
Circulation: ADA Lily Pipes (Inflow + Outflow)

Established November 2012

Maintenance Routine

  • Weekly water change with Red Sea Coral Pro salt mix.
  • Feed corals twice a week with couple drops of Phyto Feast and Roti Feast.
  • Feed my fish and inverts twice/three times a week with Beta Brine Shrimp.
  • Replace filter floss weekly.
  • Replace Chemi Pure Elite as needed.
  • Test occasionally for Magnesium and dose accordingly.
  • Check salinity weekly.
  • Manual evaporation topoff daily.


• 1 Red Spotted Goby

Soft Coral

• Various Florida Ricordea
• Grandis Palythoa


• Yellow Feather Gorgonian (Pseudopterogorgia)
• Yellow Sea Whip (Pterogorgia citrina)
• Purple Angular Sea Whip (Pterogorgia)
• Purple Plum Gorgonian (Muriceopsis flavida)

Macro Algae

• Dragon's Breath


• 1 Scarlet Hermit Crab
• 1 Pederson Shrimp
• Various Snails (Nerite, Nassarius, Cerith, Dwarf Cerith, Planaxis)


Wow, I can't believe a year has gone by since I started my pico reef. I had to say goodbye to my 20G Elos Mini back in 2012; however, it didn't take me long to come back to the hobby with this pico tank. I selected an ADA aquarium for its quality in craftsmanship and simplicity in design. With my obsession with Florida Ricordea, creating a colorful ricordea garden felt so right for this little tank.

The pico reef started with an Aquaclear HOB filter, a mini heater, and an AI Vega light fixture and slowly upgraded to ADA Lily Pipes, an Eheim external canister, an in-line heater, and of course the amazing Nano Box Mini Tide fixture. When the tank was first set up, the aquascape was heavily influenced by Iwagumi layout. An alley was created for the ricordea garden. However, in order to increase water volume and flow, I later simplified my rock work and created a mini reef island. With the lack of fancy equipment (controllers, ATO, and skimmer like my previous tank), I chose my inverts carefully and limited myself to a maximum of two small fishes (like gobies), two inverts (one Pederson shrimp and one hermit), and small clean up crews.

Having just invested a good chunk of money into my new equipment and coral, I decided to hack an IKEA bathroom sink into my aquarium cabinet. I chose the bathroom cabinet because I knew it would survive all the water splashes from my weekly water change. With a nice slab of white Carrara marble from a local store on top, an IKEA cabinet, and 15 minutes of assembly time, I couldn't be any happier with how it turned out.


I think we should be inspired by things that are outside of the reef community. Heck, my tank inspiration came from this crazy girl's rainbow hair colors that I had a chance to work with. The end result might not be a literal translation, but I think it's challenging and is a fun way to start a project.

Disasters & Regrets

I've learned that ricordea are extremely sensitive to change in LED intensity. I melted my ricordea when I played with the LED too much. Ricordea corals are reactive and can get pissed off easily. I suggest you find them a good spot and leave them be. I have found that hermit crabs are very annoying, but I have a sentimental attachment with the one I have. I've had it since my previous tank. I found they are nearly useless and knock everything out of place, especially in a tiny pico tank.

Advice For New Hobbyists

You have the chance to prove to us (old fellow reefers) that this hobby can always be re-invented, so don't mess it up! With that said, give yourself a goal to accomplish, set up with the right equipment, and do a lot of background research on what you want to do. There's always good advice out there on this forum; always gather information and compare it to your situation. There is always more than one way to fix something because mother nature is quite unpredictable. My recommendation is to be patient on fixing your issues as well (especially in a pico tank) because things can go bad rather quickly. I was in a hurry to get my LED lighting level right without realizing that my ricordea ended up being the victim of sunburn.

Quick Tip For ADA Owners

Lily Pipes are painful to clean! I have found a cheap and easy way to clean them without paying $30 bucks for an ADA special pipe cleaner. I simply wrap a paper towel around 2 mini rare earth magnets, then I put one inside the pipe and hold one on the outside. They act as a glass cleaner and work like magic!


When I saw Christopher Marks' message, I thought it was one of those "We have changed our Term of Service and Privacy" email things. I'm extremely happy that my little pico was selected for March TOTM 2014. I want to thank Christopher and all the amazing people I have met here on Nano-Reef.com who I've enjoyed sharing my experience and knowledge with.


  • Marine Depot, Ancelot, debbeach13 and 26 others like this


Congrats man well deserved

    • trueisb2 likes this

Epic pico, well done sir.

    • trueisb2 likes this
Nano sapiens
Mar 01 2014 01:00 PM

Great little tank and bonus points for all the Rics :)   Congrats!

    • trueisb2 likes this

Congrats, such a clean tank, beautiful job!

    • trueisb2 likes this

Really cool.  Congrats on being TOTM!

    • trueisb2 likes this
Congratulations!!!!! This pico really shines :).
    • trueisb2 likes this

Thank you everyone!!!! :) 

    • slooye likes this
So glad you won...haven't seen your tank before but really admire the elegance and simplicity. Well done.
    • trueisb2 likes this

Amazing tank!Well done and congratz.

    • trueisb2 likes this

Congrats, a fantastic tank

    • trueisb2 likes this
Mar 02 2014 05:23 AM


    • trueisb2 likes this
Fantastic. Tank and very deserving of TOTM
    • trueisb2 likes this

Very nice Man! that goby is awesome what do you feed him?

    • trueisb2 likes this

Very well done. Congrats!

    • trueisb2 likes this
Marine Depot
Mar 03 2014 12:10 PM

Amazing aquarium and wonderful photographs!

    • trueisb2 likes this

Beautiful tank, Congrats!

    • trueisb2 likes this

Fantastic and incredibly clean looking setup! Grats.

    • trueisb2 likes this
Mar 04 2014 12:44 PM

Wow. A work of art.

    • trueisb2 likes this
What a tank! Congrats!!
    • trueisb2 likes this


    • trueisb2 likes this

Stunning setup, even more amazing that it's such a small tank!

    • trueisb2 likes this

Very nice and clean looking!

    • trueisb2 likes this

Congrats! So simple yet so beautiful!

Very Beautiful!

Love it! Congrats :)