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  • plainrt

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to plainrt for being selected for our October Reef Profile! His 30 gallon nano reef is a beautifully diverse system built on simplicity. Below he has written a profile of his aquarium's progress over the past year, and shares his experiences in the hobby. Check it out and share your comments and questions in plainrt's featured reef profile thread.


    Tank Specs

    Display: 36" L x 18" W x 12" H
    Lighting: 4x39 watt Tek T5, GE 6500K, ATI Aquablue Special, ATI Blue Plus, UV Super Actinic
    Filtration: Current SubCurrent filter with ChemiPure and filter floss inside, 35lbs of mixed live rock
    Circulation: Vortech MP20
    Heater: RENA SmartHeater


    Established March 22nd, 2009 as a transfer from my 15 month old 14 gallon BioCube.

    Maintenance Routine

    I do a 5 gallon partial water change every week after feeding of all my LPS corals. The fish are fed once a day, and I clean the glass every 3 days or so. I've never added a drop of any chemical supplement to this tank, I just keep up with water changes to keep all parameters in check.


    • False percula
    • Black false percula
    • Yellow watchman goby
    • Bi-color blenny
    • Yellow coris wrasse
    • Christmas wrasse


    • Squamosa clam
    • Flower anemone
    • Japanese pistol shrimp
    • Red brittle starfish
    • Mini carpet anemone
    • Emerald crabs
    • Assorted snails


    • Acans
    • Chalices
    • Lepto
    • Neon Green Palau Nephthea
    • Pocillopora
    • Frogspawns
    • Hammer
    • Mushrooms
    • Plate coral
    • Candy cane
    • Lobos
    • Scoly
    • Green star polyps
    • Zoanthids & Palythoas
    • Anthelia
    • Favias
    • Finger leather
    • Duncans
    • Cloves
    • Pagoda cup
    • Kenya tree
    • Birdsnest
    • Yellow fiji leather
    • Maze brains
    • Red arco
    • Blastos
    • Toadstool
    • Green slimer
    • Xenia
    • Hydnophora


    I finally got started in this hobby in December 2008. I had wanted a reef aquarium for a long time, but was always scared off by people saying it was too hard and too expensive. My first tank was a 14 gallon BioCube that I modified with a Sunpod and other things. I stocked it heavily with softies, LPS, a crocea clam, and a rose bubble tip anemone, but I ran out of room after just 15 months and wanted something bigger for my livestock. I decided to start a simple shallow tank, and came across a 30 gallon breeder that I knew would be perfect for what I wanted. I planned to keep it sumpless and skimmerless, so I chose the Current SubCurrent filter since it didn't hang off back of the tank and looked nice. I picked out the RENA SmartHeater because it has some great features and blends in well next to the filter. I really wanted a clean looking back wall. For circulation I went with two Koralia 2's, but had a dead spot in center, so I later added a Koralia Nano to get rid of it. After some months of wanting to get the pumps off the back wall I decided to try a Vortech MP20 and have been happy with it ever since. I had two different halide setups over this tank and didn't like either of them, even after saying I would always use halides. After talking to some people and doing a little research I decided to go with a T5 fluorescent setup from Tek and I fell in love. I had some issues at first when getting this tank setup, but many people kept me going with this tank. I'm thankful now that I kept this setup as it works very well.

    Inspiration & Goals

    A lot of people in this hobby have inspired me and given me some of the ideas I use in my tank. My goal is to show people that you can run a great reef tank by just sticking with the basics, and you don't need to have deep pockets to do so.


    I regret not getting in the hobby sooner.

    Future Plans

    I just want to let this little tank mature and show that simple can work.

    Advice To New Reefers

    Don't let people scare you out of the hobby. I believe that anyone who wants to be in this hobby can be, no matter what their budget. Take your time and research, research, and research some more. Don't get caught up in all the trends in the hobby like expensive fish, corals, equipment, etc. Another thing I see all the time is people using supplements in their tanks and not even testing before hand. A lot of the time a simple water change every week or two is all you need to keep parameters in check. Don't ever be afraid to ask questions.


    First I would like to thank Christopher Marks for this great honor to be featured for October's tank of the month, and for this great web site. I would also like to thank my future wife for dealing with me and this hobby. Last but not least I would like to thank all the local hobbyists that have helped me build this tank.



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    Gratz! Beautiful tank. Cant believe it was just set up in march.

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    What do you know another cheesehead wins TOTM!


    Your tank sure has come along nicely and well deserving of the honor! I dig your bulb combo as well. :D That frogspawn is crazy. It almost looks like a bubble tip nem. Good job my friend!

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