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Coral Vue Hydros
  • Wawawang

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to Wawawang for being selected for our May Reef Profile! His 40 gallon nano reef has quickly grown into a stunning coral garden. 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 Wawawang's featured reef profile thread.


    This is truly a great moment for me and I would like to thank the staff and members of Nano-reef.com for selecting my setup for May 2009 TOTM. I have been a long time nano freshwater hobbyist and eventually got into the freshwater planted Amano setups then into saltwater. My first saltwater setup was an Aquapod 12 which I quickly modified and grew out of and upgraded to my current 40 breeder.

    Tank Specs

    Display: 40 gallon breeder 36" x 18" x 16" Perfecto aquarium.
    Sump: 20 gallon high Aqueon aquarium.
    Lighting: Aquactinics 36" TX5 T5 fixture with ATI Blue Special, ATI Actinic Blue, Fiji Purple, ATI Blue Special, and ATI Blue Plus bulbs.
    Refugium Lighting: 150 watt SunPod
    Circulation: Vortech MP-40, Koralia 2, Mag 5 sump return pump, and 2 MJ900's in sump to keep detritus suspended.
    Filtration: Octopus NW-110 protein skimmer, 35 lbs of live rock in the display, 15 lbs in the sump.
    Controller: Reef Keeper 2
    Top-off: JBJ ATO 5.5 gallon reservoir with Aqua Lifter pump
    Heating: 2 Visitherm 150 watt heaters (for redundancy)
    Cooling: AZOO 4-fan cooling unit


    Established May 2008


    I run carbon 24/7 and only run phosphate media if I notice an increase in algae. I use wally world polyfiber for water polishing. I put the carbon in a mesh bag and throw that in my overflow box with the polyfilter. I also keep a huge ball of cheato in the sump.

    Maintenance Routine

    I used to test almost every other day, perform weekly water changes, and dose with Tropic Marine Bio-Calcium. Currently I test calcium and hardness once every two weeks when I do my water change. I used to test magnesium levels, but I reached a point where I could notice bryopsis growing if I needed to increase it. I supplement calcium and alk with Bulk Reef Supply 2-Part, dosed by a very reliable Litermeter III pump from a one gallon reservoir. I change 4 gallons of water with Reef Crystals once every two weeks. I feed my fish once a day, rotating between flakes, pellets, and enriched frozen brine. I try to feed my LPS frozen brine once a week with a baster.


    • 2 Misbarred perculas
    • 3 Pajama cardinals
    • 2 Blue-green chromis
    • 1 Sixline wrasse
    • 1 Firefish


    • Crocea Clam
    • Deresa Clam
    • Maxima Clam
    • Coral Banded Shrimp
    • Cleaner Shrimp
    • 1 fighting conch
    • 15+ blue/ red hermits
    • 20+ astrea/ nassarius/ margareta snails

    LPS Coral

    • Kryptonite Candy Cane
    • Green Torch
    • Red Open Brain
    • Green Open Brain
    • Orange Acans
    • Green Acans
    • Purple Acans

    Soft Coral

    • Yellow Fiji Leather
    • Neon Green Finger Leather
    • Ricordia
    • Various mushrooms
    • Purple Deaths
    • Nuclear Greens
    • Red Wines
    • Rainbows
    • Mowhawks
    • Greenbay
    • AOG
    • Halloweens
    • Whammin Watermelons

    SPS Coral

    • Oregon tort
    • Cali tort
    • Green birdsnest
    • Ponape birdsnest
    • Pink birdsnest
    • Tyree Ponape birdsnest
    • Pearlberry
    • Joe The Coral
    • Purple-orange-green-blue digipora
    • Green-blue-pink-red millepora
    • Steve's blue tort
    • Tricolor acropora
    • Rainbow-pokerstar-superman-sunset-sunrise-la lakers monti
    • Orange-green-yellow-purple cap
    • A few unknowns


    I've made a few changes to the system after the initial setup. I removed the black background and moved the aquascape five inches forward to make the tank viewable from all sides. I also purchased another stand and moved the tank 20 inches forward. This allowed me to have room behind the tank for more stuff. I removed the Current Outer Orbit light and replaced it with an Aquantinics TX5 fixture. To improve circulation I removed two MJ900's from the display and purchased a Vortech MP-20, then three months later upgraded it to the MP-40. I wanted more flow, but I'm sure the corals would have been fine with the MP-20. Later I added a Koralia 2 to push water on the rear of the tank, and removed the SQWD after it crapped out on me.

    Inspiration & Goals

    My inspirations are Dapellegrini's 5 gallon ADA, B-Dare's 40 breeder, and GobyInPeace's 40 breeder. My goals from day 1 were to have the coral completely hide the liverock, minimize the equipment in the display, and to not lean liverock on the glass walls. Keep it clean!


    I planned my system with a great disaster recovery plan. I encourage anyone who is seriously into coral and livestock to have a PLAN! I decided I needed a short term solution as well as long term.


    Short term: I have a $12 battery powered pump that will automatically turn on if it notices the power is out! This was enough to allow my system to power off while I was at work and not lose anything. My GFCI switched off once while I was at work, another time we lost power for 7 hours while I was at work. $12 potentially saved me hundreds!


    Long Term: I purchased a 1200 watt generator online that was less than $150. Its still boxed up waiting in storage for when I need it.


    I have treated for red bugs with Interceptor three times and it works great. I had also purchased a maricultured tri-color that I found acropora eating flatworms on after dipping it in iodine, and promptly threw away the entire colony.


    I regret not doing my research on a few purchases. I acquired a rose bubble tip anemone with a psycho maroon clown hosting it. The anemone would constantly move, getting caught in powerheads, and the clown was so aggressive that it caused my other fish to jump out of the water and go carpet surfing. I had to completely drain the tank to get this fish out.


    I also regret having a DSB in my sump. When I took it out there was loads of bad stuff in it! After I removed it I added two MJ900's to keep the detritus suspended.

    Future Plans

    I still want to achieve my goal of having the corals completely cover the liverock. I think I am pretty much maxed on SPS and am interested in acquiring LPS and zoanthid/palythoa colonies to fill in the rest. When I replace my bulbs I will go a bluer route since my corals are good sizes. Now I want to work on their color.

    Words Of Wisdom

    I thought aquascaping was enjoyable, but now that I'm in the coralscaping stage its really cool. Getting the right color spread, textures, patterns, and proportions right is a challenge, but very rewarding when looking at the FTS.


    • Try to focus on the entire look of the reefscape rather than individual pieces.
    • Be patient!
    • Dosing anything means that you could possibly overdose!
    • Get involved with your local club, they practically give corals away.
    • Anyone can buy expensive corals. The goal is to have the perfect environment to grow them and improve their color.

    Tips & Tricks

    You can tell if your magnesium is low if you have bryopsis. Kent Marine Tech M kills this stuff when your magnesium is elevated. Design your setup for easy maintenance, my overflow is 4" x 5" and has enough space for a mesh bag of carbon and polyfiber. This makes it extremely easy to toss the polyfiber and replace it with a new one.



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    Great use of color. I especially like how your corals of not all grouped in like kinds and has a more natural, random look. Easily a TOTM.


    Note to moderators: I would like to see all the TOTM’s grouped and we come up with a Tank of the Year. So far this one is at the top IMO.

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    Bravo!! Very impressive SPS collection. What do you keep your calcium and alkalinity levels at? Also, when you acclimate your SPS, do you start them on the sandbed and then move them up later to their final spot? Whatever you're doing you're doing it right so I'd like to know. Congrats on TOTM!

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    Thanks guys.


    Bravo!! Very impressive SPS collection. What do you keep your calcium and alkalinity levels at? Also, when you acclimate your SPS, do you start them on the sandbed and then move them up later to their final spot? Whatever you're doing you're doing it right so I'd like to know. Congrats on TOTM!


    I try to keep calcium at 400-420 and alk at 9-10. To light acclimate I have a mag rack that I start on the bottom then move up over time.

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    I was just looking at this tank yesterday. All I can say is WOW! This setup will be a big inspiration when I have the opportunity to upgrade. Well Done!

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