Congratulations to Lalani for being selected for our December Reef Profile! Her 40 gallon nano reef has grown into a beautifully diverse ecosystem. Below she has written a profile of her aquarium's progress over the past year, and shares her experiences in the hobby. Check it out and share your comments and questions in Lalani's featured reef profile thread.
Display: 40 gallon breeder, 36" L x 18" W x 16" H
Lighting: 6x39w Tek T5HO fixture, 3xUVL Super Actinic, 2x Giesemann Actinic +, 1x GE 6500K
Filtration: Approximately 35 to 40lbs. Live Rock and 80lbs. Live Sand
Circulation: Vortech MP20, AC 110 (refugium mod), AC 70 w/surface skimmer
Heater: Hydor THEO 200w
Established on March 16, 2009 as an upgrade from my one year old 20H.
• Weekly water change (4 gallons)
• Feed once a day
• Top off once a day
• Use magfloat to clean glass twice a week or as needed
• 1 Ocellaris Clownfish
• 2 Masked gobies (Coryphopterus personatus)
• 3 Sexy shrimp (Thor amboinensis)
• Porcelain crab
• Emerald mithrax crab
• Variety of hermit crabs and snails
• Several mini carpet anemones (Stichodactyla tapetum)
• Variety of zoanthids
• Florida ricordea
• Ricordea Yuma
• St. Thomas mushrooms
• Green star polyps
• White spot star polyps
• Kenya tree
• Neon green toadstool
• Ball anemone corallimorphs (Pseudocorynactis caribbeorum)
Reef tanks were always, in my mind, a hobby only available to people with a lot of money and a lot of space. In the fall of 2007 I stumbled across Nano-Reef.com and was shocked to see what people could create with smaller tanks and budgets, and from then on I was hooked. I started with a standard 10 gallon tank and then added an 8 gallon Biorb, both of which were later combined to create my 20H mixed reef.
After the 20H grew and the corals started to crowd, I decided to double the size and shoot for a 40 gallon breeder, my current baby. The upgrade and transfer went smoothly, and all was well for about a month until a major incident occurred. Here's a tip: if you install moonlights, make sure they are absolutely secure. Apparently the double sided tape I used was not strong enough and dumped one of the moonlights into the water. It was only in the tank for less than a minute, but there was enough electricity flowing through it to shock the tank. That day, I thought I killed my entire tank, everything looked horrible and dying. Several water changes and agonizing days later, things started to recover.
I dodged a major bullet on that one, but things were still looking unhealthy a couple of months later. Come to find out, you really CAN have too much light for softies. The bulbs I had originally installed were higher PAR than a lot of the corals could handle, so over the next few months I tried new bulbs and configurations until I seemed to find the right combination. It's a six bulb fixture, but only four are used during daylight hours while the other two are used for dusk and dawn.
Since figuring out the lighting situation, things have been running pretty smoothly. I've attempted to add more fish, but have had bad luck with them, except for the masked gobies that seem to have formed a pair. I plan on adding more fish eventually, but I've been letting things stabilize.
Words Of Wisdom
I don't think it can be said enough, research! Researching before attempting to keep a tank will help in so many ways. You'll be better prepared to handle situations, and you'll be able to ask better questions about things if you can't find information for yourself. Also, never trust just one single source, especially not your LFS employee!
Of course I want to thank Christopher Marks for choosing my 40br for the tank of the month, but also for doing so much to help newcomers to the hobby. Thanks also have to be given to the members of Nano-Reef.com. Without this place I probably wouldn't have ever attempted to keep a reef tank. Oh yeah, and thanks for putting up with my antics, haha!