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  • Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to Dipg for being selected for our December Reef Profile! His 6 gallon Fluval Edge nano reef is a beautifully sculpted ecosystem in a sharp aquarium. Below is the profile he's written for us sharing his experience in the hobby and his aquarium's progress over the past year. Check it out and share your comments and questions in Dipg's featured reef profile thread.

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    I had plenty of experience with planted freshwater tanks but zero knowledge on how to maintain a saltwater tank. All I knew was that it took a lot of work. Then in late 2009 I visited Australia and had a chance to snorkel and dive in the Great Barrier Reef and I got bitten by the reef bug. It took almost a year of research before I took a dive in this hobby and bought my first saltwater tank. I really liked the idea of having a nano reef tank and also liked the challenge it would bring in maintaining this tank.

     

    When I started this tank the goals for it were very simple; maintain tank parameters and minimize tank fatalities. I saw plenty of people get out of hobby or abandon nano reef tank projects because their tanks were taken over by nuisance algae and pests, which in turn would kill inhabitants. So by keeping my goals simple I think I have been able to enjoy this tank even more.

    Tank Specs

    Display: Fluval Edge 6 Gallon (Black)
    Biological Filtration: 1.5 in. sand bed, 8 lbs. live rock
    Lighting: Nanocustoms 3.6 LED Fixture for Fluval Edge
    Mechanical Filtration: Stock Filter AC20 with BRS carbon, GFO and filter floss
    Heater: Rena SmartHeater Aquarium Heater, 50W
    Chiller: CoolWorks Ice Probe Chiller
    Water Motion: Ecotech MP10es

    Established November, 2010

    Maintenance Routine

    I try to clean the glass at least once a day using Nimble Nano cleaner. I also feed my clown fish daily with Hikari Marine pellets and/or freeze dried Cyclopeeze. Once a week I feed a combination of PE Mysis, Brine Shrimp, Cyclopeeze and Frozen Silversides to my corals, inverts and fish.

     

    The following things are done as part of my weekly maintenance:

    • Change 2.5gal of water
    • Blow detritus off the rocks
    • Vacuum the sand bed
    • Clean the AC20 filter
    • Replace filter floss, rinse carbon and gfo bag

     

    It takes at least an hour to do the weekly water change, but this extra cleaning has also given me the wiggle room to skip these water changes in case I am out on vacation or busy due to my work schedule.

    Soft Corals

    • Lavender Mushroom
    • Blue Mushroom
    • Green Star Polyps
    • Sympodium
    • Ricordeas (Florida and Yuma)
    • Assorted Zoanthids
    • Assorted Palythoas
    • Tyree Toadstool
    • Long polyp Toadstool
    • Green Nepthea
    • Pulsing Xenia

    LPS Corals

    • Pink Tip Hammer
    • Green Tip Frogspawn
    • Trumpet
    • Galaxea
    • Acanthastrea
    • Duncan

    SPS Corals

    • Pink Birdsnest
    • Neon Green Tip Birdsnest
    • Green Stylophora
    • Pink Stylophora

    Invertebrates

    • Crocea Clam
    • Pom Pom Crab
    • Porcelain Crab
    • Emerald Crab
    • Red Hermit Crab
    • Blue legged Hermit Crab
    • 1 Nassarius snail
    • 2 Margarita snails
    • 2 Trochus snails
    • 2 Dwarf cerith snails

    Macroalgae

    • Blue Ochtodes
    • Red Gracilaria

    Fish

    • 1 ORA Black Ocellaris Clownfish
    • 1 ORA Ocellaris Clownfish

    History

    I was looking at couple of nano tanks when I was thinking of starting a saltwater aquarium, but I really didn't like the look of most of the tanks I was looking at. When I saw the Fluval Edge I was instantly hooked. Setting up this tank wasn't easy with all the challenges (narrow opening on top, insufficient stock lights for corals etc.) but with the help of fellow N-R members I was able to solve most of these problems. The very first thing I did was to replace the stock bulbs with MR16 LED bulbs, but I still wasn't happy so I added one panorama 50/50 LED fixture. I had this setup for almost 5 months and everything was doing okay. Then in May of this year I added the Nanocustoms Fluval Edge fixture and that was the best decision I ever made. Coral growth was phenomenal and the colors just popped.

     

    Initially this was just going to be a soft coral tank, but as the tank matured and I added the Nanocustoms LED light, I started adding few LPS and SPS corals. All the corals in this tank have grown from tiny frags. Most of them were acquired from my LFS or from my local marine aquarist society (WAMAS) members. I overcame the limited space issue by mounting some of my corals to Aqua-mags and placing them on the aquarium wall.

    I don't add any supplements to my tank since I don't have testing kits for calcium, magnesium, iodide etc. I have read fellow reefers state quite often, "don't add anything which you cannot test". So far my tank has done great with just regular water changes so I feel no need to add any supplements.

    Inspiration & Goals

    My ultimate goal is to have a full blown system that is at least 100 gallons and SPS dominated, but I will be taking small steps to that ultimate goal. The next step for me is to have a slightly bigger AIO tank. Most of my inspiration comes from what I have seen during my numerous snorkeling trips, but I have also drawn inspiration from tanks of fellow N-R members like uwwmatt and urbaneks, to name a few.

    Disasters & Regrets

    I really haven't had any disasters, but I did have an aiptasia outbreak in middle of this year. I immediately took action by adding peppermint shrimp and nuking some of the bigger aiptasia with Aiptasia-X. One week after taking those steps all the aiptasias were gone and I haven't seen once since.

    I follow a strong regiment of inspection and dipping every single coral which is put in my tank, which has likely prevented a lot of unwanted hitchhikers from getting in my tank.

     

    I have no regrets and whatever mistakes I have made so far have taught me be careful in this hobby because there is little room for error.

    Future Plans

    I am running out of room in my Edge and there are a few things that I am not able to do with this aquarium, e.g. run a skimmer or set up an ATO system. An ATO system would be of great help as I am out of town quite often. So I am thinking of getting a bigger tank (approx. 20g) and most probably an AIO tank. I will probably convert this tank into quarantine tank after the transition.

    Words Of Wisdom

    • Weekly water changes will go a long way in maintaining good water quality.
    • Distilled water can be used if you don't have an RO/DI unit.
    • Most corals can be grown successfully without adding additional supplements or a skimmer.
    • Patience is the key to happy coral reef system!

    Advice To New Reefers

    Research every coral, fish, or invert you plan to add to your tank, by doing this you will know which corals are right for your tank. Nano-reef.com or Liveaquria.com are both good resources and have never failed me. If you don't have a quarantine tank, always inspect and dip any new coral you are adding to the tank.

     

    Join your local reef club if you have one near by. You will find lots of experienced reefers there who might be able to help with emergencies in case you have one. These clubs are also good places to get some nice cheap frags as well as member discounts at LFS.

    Acknowledgements

    I would like to thank everyone who helped me get to this stage in my hobby. This includes fellow members here at Nano-Reef, members from local reef club (WAMAS), and my partner who took care of my tank and did weekly water changes when I was away on business trips. I would also like to tank Christopher Marks for selecting my system for tank of the month. I was surprised and honored when I got an email from him about my TOTM selection. This is a great site and without this it my Fluval Edge wouldn't be what it is today.



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