Congratulations to Bluebastion for being selected for our August Reef Profile! His 20 gallon nano reef has grown into a mature SPS garden over the past two years. Below he has written a profile of his aquarium's evolution, shares his experiences, and offers some advice on the hobby. Check it out and share your comments or questions in Bluebastion's featured reef profile thread.
Dimensions: Finnex M-Tank 20g Glass 17" x 17" x 16.5"
Lighting: 250 MH HQI with 14k Phoenix Bulb
Circulation: 2 x 343 GPH Finnex return pumps, 2 x MaxiJet 900, 2 x Tunze Mini 5024.04
Protein Skimmer: AquaC Remora with MaxiJet 1200
Cooling: Aquatek 4 x Fan
Filtration: CPR AquaFuge 2 Refugium, Chemipure Elite in return chamber
Automation: Digital Aquatics Reef Keeper 2
Other Equipment: JBJ Auto Top Off, Finnex 150w Digital Heater
System Age: Started July 30 2006
The first year I had the tank set up, I checked my water parameters religiously. Now that it has become well established and mature, I only test my water every once in a while, especially if I notice something off balance such as algae growth or coral discoloring.
I do 2 gallon water changes on average once every two weeks, but my ideal goal is once a week. My skimmer is on 24/7. The refugium does a great job in consuming excess nutrients as I have to cut back the macro algae almost twice a month.
For Ca, Alk, and Mg I rely on E.S.V. B-Ionic which I dose 10-15ml per day. Lately I have cut back on dosing because I'm running out of horizontal room for growth.
Blue Tort, Rose Millepora, Green Slimer, Tubs Table, Bonsai, Idaho Grape, Orange Montipora, Delicate Coral, Turaki, Lokani, ORA Dustin's Deep Water Acropora, Tenuis, Chips, Turbinaria
Euphyllia Hybrid (A cross between frogspawn and hammer)
1 True Percula Clown
1 Royal Gramma
1 Six Line Wrasse
1 Crocea Clam
1 Mexican Turbo
An assortment of Hermit Crabs and Cerith Snails
To limit unnecessary nutrients, I feed my fish twice a week with sinking pellets. I mostly allow the fish waste to feed the corals, but periodically supplement with Seachem Reef Plus or a freezer type coral food.
I would not have gotten into the hobby at all if I had not run into Nano-Reef.com. I was amazed that a "reef" could be sustained in a tank smaller than 100 gallons. So I decided to start my first reef tank of my own, a 2.5 gallon pico. I stocked it with softies and other easy to care for corals, but had a hard time maintaining the salinity in such a small tank. A year later I was bit by the upgrade bug, and after researching a lot of different tanks I decided on the Finnex 20 gallon glass M-Tank (now discontinued). I also decided to try my hand at more difficult corals so I planned to have more challenging to care for small polyp stonies (SPS) dominate the coral livestock list.
Inspiration, Goals, & Future Plans
I consider myself a transient in my current location. My wife is still in school and hopefully only has a year left before she graduates from her nursing program. It is our ultimate goal to move back to Florida where I am from and upgrade to a bigger aquarium at that time. That said, this set up has had a count down to its break down since my wife has been in school. So I would say that I have already reached my goal with this tank, learning how to effectively care for SPS coral. My next goal when we move in a year is, of course, an upgrade.
Ultimately, I'd love to see myself be able to keep a colony, or frags of the same colony, for a life time. How great would it be to be able to pass on a love for a hobby to not just your kids, but also your grandchildren.
Words of Wisdom
Patience, Patience, Patience!!! No amount of exclamation points at the end of that last sentence can pacify my need to make this entirely clear. Every aspiring reefer needs to have this, or he/she is already doomed to failure. The more patience you have in this hobby, the greater your rewards.
Also, do your research before you buy. Make sure that you are weighing your options when buying equipment. If it is livestock, make sure it is suited to your tank. Get your information from multiple sources. A local fish store may not have the right answers, and you can't always rely on the information you read on the internet (one source)... it's good to find the median of all the answers.
I first would like to say a big thanks to Nano-Reef.com. Without this website, I don't think I would have actually dived into the salty side of aquarium keeping. I would also like to say thank you to Tigahboy, rbaby, Ray Whisperer, Izzue, Mr. Fosi, Weetabix, and Bible Sue. A very special thanks to my wife for all of her support.