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Congratulations to community member uwdanno and his 20 gallon reef aquarium for being selected for our October Reef Profile! This nano reef aquarium features a vivid collection of coral and fish, each carefully selected and placed to compose a vibrant aquascape. Below is the aquarium profile uwdanno 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 uwdanno's featured reef profile announcement, or in the comments section below. Be sure to also check out his aquarium journal in the members aquariums forum for more information about this reef tank.

Tank Specs

Display: Innovative Marine Fusion 20 Gallon
Lighting: EcoTech Marine Radion XR30 Gen 2
Heater: Finnex HMO-100wa Heater
Circulation: Sicce 1.5 Return Pump, EcoTech Marine MP10wES Powerhead
Skimmer: None
Filtration: Innovative Marine Desktop Reactor
Filter Media: Alternate between GFO and BRS Carbon Rox
Top Off: Tunze Osmlator Nano 3152
Dosing: Bubble Magus
Controller: EcoTech Marine ReefLink to control the MP10 and Radion

Established April 2015

Maintenance Routine

  • Water Changes: 10% - 15% 1-2 times per week with Instant Ocean.
  • GFO & Carbon: Swapped out as nutrients shift. Typically every 3 weeks.
  • Filter Floss: Changed with weekly water changes.
  • Tests: Weekly for Alk, Ca, Mg. Occasionally PO4 & NO3.
  • KZ Coral Snow: Anytime the water gets a haze.
  • MicroBacter7: 3-5 drops once per week.
  • Vinegar Soak: Anytime coralline algae builds up on equipment.
  • Fish Foods: Daily with Pellets, Mysis or Larry's Reef Frenzy Nano.
  • Corals Foods: Couple times per week with OysterFeast, RotiFeast KZ Coral Vit or NutriCell.
  • Algae: Scrape the glass and manual removal for anything on the rocks.


• Midas Blenny
• Black Percula Clownfish
• Wheeler Goby

Soft & NPS Coral

• Jawbreaker Mushroom
• Various Zoanthid sp.
• ORA Grubes Gorgonian

LPS Coral

• Various Favia sp.
• Ice Blue Leptastrea
• Various Euphyllia sp.
Fungia Repanda

SPS Coral

Cyphastrea sp.
Leptoseris sp.
• Mummy Eye Chalice
• ORA Kelly Green Psammacora
• Various Birdsnest sp.
• Various Acropora sp.
• Various Montipora sp.


• Fighting Tiger Conch
• Pistol Shrimp
• Snails
• Brittle Stars
• Maxima Clam
• Money Cowrie


Growing up I had various freshwater tanks ranging from Neon Tetras to Red Belly Piranhas. Money, time and knowledge limited those tanks from being anything lasting. I joined Nano-Reef.com in 2004 and read about every tank I could, but remained hesitant to make the leap.

In 2014, my best man bought me an IM Nuvo 4 gallon as a wedding gift and I was finally salty with the rest of you! My pico tank lasted just shy of a year before I found a great deal on a Fusion 20 gallon from a local reefer. Having success with a mixed reef pico, I was confident I would enjoy a nano and the challenge of SPS.

The 20 gallon was setup for about 7 months before being moved to a new house across town. The physical move was seamless with no major losses, but the nastiness that came out of the sand, back chambers and rock was alarming. The parameter swings stalled growth and took me a couple months to get back to stability. The tank has been in its current location for about 10 months now.

In the new house, I drilled through the wall behind the tank, ran some tubing connected to a 5 gallon pail and created a semi-automatic water changing system. This system requires no moving parts and relies on siphons and gravity to either pull water out of the tank or replenish new. This has made very frequent water changes easy and clean.

One of my earliest coral purchases was from local reefer Scorched (Eric). He fragged an ORA Kelly Green Psammacora and invited me in to see his tank. I was beyond amazed. Every coral was intentional in species, color and placement – making vast impact in limited space. This set the benchmark for how I wanted to select and scape coral going forward. Leveraging primary colors and patience, I have enjoyed the journey to find the right corals to fit a specific spot.


My favorite moments are when my daughter, nieces and nephew run to press their faces against my clean glass. I don't know how many times my phosphates have spiked from little fingers adding large pinches of pellets but every time is worth it. What's that? Can I touch that? Can I feed it again?...A Midas Blenny... sure...yep! It's because of them I've tried to add fish and inverts that are interesting to look at and learn about – creating a mini ecosphere for them to explore.

Words of Wisdom

Be intentional. Have an end game plan and stick to it. The urge to impulse buy livestock is strong but only leads to poor use of limited real estate. You will be pleased with the outcome if you stick to a plan.

Advice For New Hobbyists

Don't give up on a coral because it's browned out or doesn't look like you hoped in that particular moment. Coral is a living creature worth more than visual appeal. Some of the more rewarding moments come from recovering a coral that was struggling.

Thoughts On Dosing

I'm skeptical of magic potions but want to know more. Exploring trace elements are next for me. I'm anxious to see if iron, iodine and potassium impact colors and growth as advertised. I've recently started water changes with RedSea Coral Pro Salt to see if there is any advantage over basic salts. Could be gold, could be snake oil. Eager to find out.


Nano-Reef.com is an amazing wealth of knowledge and support. Thank you to Christopher Marks and all of you for continuing to make this such a great environment to learn. I find myself on this site daily and it's still as interesting as day one.


  • spectra, Polarcollision, Pjanssen and 9 others like this


Congrats!  Colors are blinding in this tank!

    • uwdanno likes this
Ha! Thanks. I've got a couple I'm working on but pretty pleased with the majority

Very nice! Congratulations Dan.

    • uwdanno likes this
Thanks a lot Kat!
    • metrokat likes this
Obsessed Reefer
Oct 01 2016 04:38 PM

Congrats Dan!

    • uwdanno likes this
Thanks. Much appreciated
Oct 01 2016 07:39 PM
Great job! Congratulations on your success with the tank.
    • uwdanno likes this
Congratulations, Dan! You've done a great job with this tank and it's turned out beautifully :)
    • Christopher Marks and uwdanno like this
Thanks John. You've helped a lot along the way
    • Christopher Marks likes this
Very nice! Congratulations :).
    • Christopher Marks and uwdanno like this
Thanks Gena!

Awesome. I love the simplicity of your journey profile. Makes it all sound doable.

    • Christopher Marks and uwdanno like this

Very doable. Just takes commitment and patience. Results will follow. 

    • Christopher Marks likes this

Very beautiful tank! Really inspiring build. Keep up the good work!

    • uwdanno likes this
I like your philosophy and your approach to reefing. It is no wonder that you have experienced such success. Great job and a beautiful tank!
    • Christopher Marks and uwdanno like this
Love this writeup! And congrats - beautiful tank and your dedication shows!
    • Christopher Marks and uwdanno like this

Thanks everyone! Glad you all enjoy it 

Sk8n Reefer
Oct 03 2016 06:57 AM
Congrats! awesome job !!
    • uwdanno likes this

Congrats Dan!  Thank you for the kind words as well.  I think you've surpassed me now though.  I need to up my game.  :P

    • Christopher Marks and uwdanno like this
Oct 03 2016 10:20 AM

Beautiful. Congrats.

    • uwdanno likes this

Awesome and inspiring!

    • uwdanno likes this

Congrats! Looks great!

    • uwdanno likes this

Congrats! Beautiful tank. It appears much larger than 20g.

    • uwdanno likes this
Oct 04 2016 06:24 PM

The through the wall water change setup sounds like a dream come true

    • uwdanno likes this

The through the wall water change setup sounds like a dream come true


Its definitely made maintenance a ton easier - I can knock out a 15% water change in about 5 mins with no glass cleanup or spillage.