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  • DaveFason

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to DaveFason for being selected for our July Reef Profile! His 35 gallon shallow nano reef features a beautiful array of SPS coral. Below is the profile he's written for us sharing his experience in the hobby and his aquarium's progress over the past two and a half years. Check it out and share your comments and questions in DaveFason's featured reef profile thread.


    Tank Specs

    Display: 35 Gallon DIY Acrylic 30"x18"x15"
    Lighting: ATI Sunpower 24" (2 – Blue +, 1 – Aquablue Special, 1 – Fiji Pink) and Nano Box LED Fixture (12 LED configuration)
    Circulation: Ecotech Marine MP20 & MP10, Eheim 1250 return pump
    Heater: 300w Heater
    Skimmer: iTech 100 Skimmer
    Equipment: Tunze Osmolator

    Maintenance Routine

    • Activated carbon changed once every 2 to 3 weeks.
    • Five gallon water changes every two weeks with Instant Ocean salt, and test the salinity with a Milwaukee digital refractometer.
    • I feed three to four times daily with Rods frozen food and Spectrum Pellets, along with feeding a small piece of Tilapia to the eel every four days.
    • I am currently dosing 90mL of ALK and 120mL of calcium from Bulk Reef Supply every three days.
    • Once a month I give my return pump and recirculation pumps a vinegar bath to ensure that calcium deposits don't clog the pumps over time.
    • I empty my skimmer cup once a week.
    • I like to observe the coral growth, color, and polyp extension and allow nature to do its thing.
    • The temperature is a consistent 77.1 degrees


    • Various Montipora's, Acroporas, zoanthids, chalices, Acans, Micro's and favias. Way too many to name.


    • 3 Sexy Shrimp
    • Maxima Clam


    • Grade B Picasso
    • Evoita Goby
    • Golden Dwarf Moray Eel


    This adventure all started after I retired from professional paintball. I had a similar tank a few years prior but ended up tearing it down due to the traveling demands that came with paintball. After browsing reef forums, checking out friends' tanks, and drooling over numerous corals, I knew I had to start a new one. I decided to build a shallow tank that would be easy to move with little daily maintenance.

    After researching how to build a tank, I bought the acrylic and went at it. The overall product turned out great! The tank has been through three moves and two stands and is still kicking. At first I started with a complicated sump and ended up trashing it for a simple cube that held water, a skimmer, a pump and a heater. Years later the only piece of equipment I upgraded to was an iTech 100 skimmer. The iTech works wonders and I will use one on all my future tanks. I've had my tank for three years now and I could not be happier with it. I'm looking forward to the next month when I will be upgrading to LEDs!


    I plan to change the lighting to a Nano Box 24" unit with 96 LED's. The new system will be controlled by a Nano Box driver that simulates dusk, dawn, storms, clouds, etc. This unit will be super efficient and I really look forward to seeing how a mature tank reacts (hopefully it's for the best!). I also recently added an MP10 to my tank along with the MP20 that was already in there. This has helped my SPS look extremely healthy and the growth patterns have been gnarly.

    Inspiration & Goals

    When I first started out, there were a few tanks that were truly inspiring. The ones that stood out to me were, Tigahboy's 2.5g surge tank, SunnyX 100g, Emster from RC, ReefBum from RC, weatherson from RC and a local to me Kip from RC. Each tank was different from one another but each shined in their own way. My goal for my 35 gallon is to have a successful and simple reef for over five years. I want to grow a dense SPS forest with encrusting corals between them. Once I have reached that goal, it will be on to the next!

    Disasters & Regrets

    I had one instance when my tank had a huge calcium precipitation, or so I think. I was out of town for two weeks and came back to everything coated in a white thick crust. The rocks, corals and fish were perfect but my pumps, acrylic and skimmer were almost seized! To this day I have no clue why or how it happened.


    If I could re-do anything it would be leveling my new stand. One side has a ½" higher water level and on certain days it can drive me bonkers!

    Future Plans

    Once the tank is five years or older, I will look into building a larger tank. I am aiming for around a 90 gallon tank with most of the same equipment and livestock.

    Advice To New Reefers

    • Stick with a plan and go for it.
    • Go with quality products as well, they really go a LONG way in this hobby (lights, flow, skimmer).
    • Find a local reef club and check out a few of their member's tanks. You will find some you like and others you'll hate. It helps to see it in person rather than the net.

    Words Of Wisdom

    Keep it simple and try not to over think things. It is VERY easy to get wrapped up with all of the things you can read on the internet. This hobby is filled with opinions and people that think they know everything about anything. Do what works best for you. Keep to a schedule and roll with it. If something needs tweaking, do it slowly and see how your tank reacts to it. Let nature do its thing and don't overreact. I've had corals look terrible for a month and let them be. The next thing I knew they started to look better and turned out to be healthier than before. It's amazing what goes on in our glass boxes!

    Thoughts On...

    Lighting Technology: I recently started a company, Nano Box Reef, for LED lighting. I have been testing out the technology for almost two years with great success. You can find many tanks on this forum with units I've built. The range of colors and the ability to control them is unreal compared to other lighting sources. My current tank is not all LED, but it will be very soon! LED's are just like T5's years ago, people hated on them until 3-4 years down the road they saw what they could do. To me, LED's are in the same boat; just give it a couple more years. I promise.


    Skimmers: Skimmers are your friend. Buy a good quality skimmer. It helps with keeping the water clear of junk, taking excess nutrients out and keeping your reef happy.


    Sand beds: I have been changing my sand bed once every year. I like to vacuum my sand bed with every water change. You will be surprised with the amount of gunk that comes out. I have one for aesthetics reasons. I like what they look like and I love seeing how it can change every day with the flow.


    Dosing/Feeding: This is essential for a successful reef in my opinion. If one of your parameters gets out of whack, your entire tank can suffer. Multiple smaller feedings is key in my tank. The fish look healthy and my corals are always well feed. I do not direct feed any of my corals either. I allow the water flow to do that for me.


    Coral Trends: Beware of all the hype. Buy what you think looks cool. One of my favorite corals in my tank is a no name SPS coral. I'm always drawn to it and to this day I'm amazed at how nice it looks.


    I would like to thank Christopher Marks for the honor of featuring my reef. Also, thanks to everyone on the forums for all the compliments and advice that has helped me become the reefer I am today.



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    Thanks guys. I need to get a better FTS but I am heading to Portland right now. It has been a ton of work but this tank has been great.



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    This tank is really appropriate for July..... Red, White and Blue! (the clam)!


    I'm like you, can't resist those sticks!

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    Congratulations! Your tank looks awesome. I'd like more info on your nano box led's. Do you have a company link?

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