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  • teamschreiba

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to teamschreiba for being selected for our November Reef Profile! His 9 gallon nano reef is a stellar example of modern nano reef design. 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 teamschreiba's featured reef profile thread.


    Tank Specs

    Display: 24" x 12" x 7" ADA 60-F (8.6 gallons)
    Sump: 24" x 14" x 14" Custom Sump by Advanced Acrylics (~20 gallons) with Eheim 1048 Return Pump
    Lighting: Giesemann Infiniti 24" 150W MH (Radium 20k) + 4 T5 (4 ATI Blue Plus)
    Circulation: Ecotech MP10es
    Protein Skimmer: Reef Octopus NWB-110
    Heater: Hydor Theo 100W
    Overflow: MAME Nano Overflow
    ATO: Tunze Osmolator Universal 3155
    Filtration: Filter sock with Floss and Carbon

    Maintenance Routine

    Daily maintenance for the tank consists of feeding a combination of flake and pellets as well as spraying the mangroves with RO/DI water. I clean the glass 1-2 times a week with a Nimble Nano magnetic cleaner and a razor when needed, mainly to get the algae close to the sand bed. The top-off reservoir is also filled on average twice a week with RO/DI water. During a water change, I change 2 gallons of water as well as clean the skimmer cup and change the filter floss. I have found water changes to be sufficient at keeping proper parameters, but I am prepared to start 2-part dosing if the alkalinity and calcium levels begin to fall. I test these parameters every 1-2 months, unless there is a visible problem, by using the API reef test kit and a Hannah phosphate checker. I usually change the carbon every three weeks and clean the MAME overflow with a vinegar bath every 3-5 weeks only because it can be challenging to take apart and clean (otherwise I would do it more frequently).

    SPS Corals

    • Green Birdsnest
    • Orange Montipora
    • Green/Brown Acropora Valida
    • Green Psammacora
    • Pink Stylophora
    • Purple Rim Montipora
    • Light Blue Acropora
    • Ponape Birdsnest
    • Dark Blue Acropora
    • Light Yellow Acropora
    • Green Spongodes
    • Orange Digi Montipora
    • Vivid Tri Color Acropora
    • Pink Lemonade Acropora
    • ORA Red Planet Acropora
    • LE Mint Chip Montipora
    • Green Slimer Acropora
    • Red/Purple Millepora

    LPS Corals

    • Green & Purple Hammer
    • Green Candy Cane Colony
    • Dragon's Breath Favia
    • 11x Acanthastrea Mini Colonies

    Soft Corals

    • Green Star Polyps
    • Miami Hurricane Zoanthids
    • Radiactive Dragoneye Zoanthids
    • Purple Zoanthids
    • Xenia
    • Florida Ricordea
    • Green/Purple Yuma Ricordea
    • Blue spotted mushroom
    • Green Centered Palyzoanthids
    • Yellow polyps


    • 1x Ocellaris Clownfish
    • 1x Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp
    • 1x ORA Derasa Clam
    • 1x Maxi Mini Anemone
    • 1x Emerald Crab
    • Other Clean-up Crew


    This tank began as an upgrade to my previous tank just when a few people were getting into the shallow and ADA style tanks. Fascinated with the clean look of the ADA aquariums as well as the idea of a shallow but wide tank led me to the 60-F. I wanted to keep the equipment as minimal as possible but also have a successful, growing reef tank. This was challenging in the beginning because I was still attending college and the tank was subject to being moved every 6 months. I recently graduated from college, which led me to a more permanent residence that has allowed me to upgrade my equipment to what I envisioned for this tank. I feel like I have come a long way from the canister filter and LED bulbs to now a sump with a halide and t5 combination! About the only thing that has not changed is the livestock, so if you take some time to read my build thread you can see the journey I have taken to get my reef tank to where it is today.

    Inspiration & Goals

    Prior to the start of this build I did a lot of research and was inspired by shallow and ADA tanks that were established and shared here on Nano-Reef.com. My main inspiration was drawn from Rehype and his ADA tank, as well many others who started me on the right path. I cannot thank these people enough and owe it to this site for getting me started in reefing!

    Disasters & Regrets

    Luckily I have had no major disasters with this tank! I have had my clownfish and cleaner shrimp from when I first started reefing almost two years ago. I have however battled multiple algae problems and experienced a few coral losses. For me, the best advice for getting rid of green hair algae was to keep up with weekly water changes and to be careful not to overstock or overfeed. Also, implementing a combination of floss, carbon, and Purigen seemed to completely stop the growth. I also have had a problem with red bubble algae since day one. The canister filter setup I previously had could not stop the bubble algae from growing and I could only resort to the perpetual battle of manual removal. Fortunately, I have been almost able to stop this from growing with the use of chaeto, mangroves, and a protein skimmer which I feel have out competed this algae for nutrients. My final most recent problem was a red and green cyano outbreak which covered most of the sand bed. This was a trickier algae problem considering I already use RO/DI water and had no apparent excess nutrients, I figured the source of the problem to be a few dead mangroves in my sump that I thought still had a chance to sprout. The cyano was completely eliminated in about 12 hours with the dead mangroves removed and some fresh ROX carbon placed in the bottom of the filter sock.


    I cannot say I have any regrets because my tank has brought me much happiness and relaxation. However, there is one thing I would do differently if I could start over again. I wish I would have either started with brand new live rock or broken up my live rock before it became encrusted with corals. Reusing the live rock from my old tank was the easiest and cheapest option when I first started my tank but I now I feel as if the pieces are too large. Hopefully I will be fixing this in the coming months and have already started by breaking up my GSP rock.

    Future Plans

    One of my goals from the beginning was to try and make my tank appear larger than it actually is. I feel like the best way to do this is by having SPS colonies take up most of the space in the water column. Since I do not plan on having any further equipment changes, I want to work towards minimal visible live rock in the display and have larger SPS pieces be the main element in the tank. This will mean breaking up my current rock, growing out specific pieces I already have, buying new SPS pieces, and arranging them in the most aesthetically pleasing way. I have also researched Zeovit recently and may use it if I am not happy with my SPS growth and color.

    Words Of Wisdom

    • Keep up with water changes as they are one of the best things you can do for your reef!
    • Canister filters can be used successfully in a reef tank but they must be cleaned weekly and very thoroughly if they are to be effective.
    • If you can afford it, invest in a nice camera or DSLR to track the progress of your tank and take pictures of corals and livestock. One of the best feelings is looking back at old pictures to see how much your corals have grown and colored up. This also led to a whole new hobby for me that I am now exploring outside of just taking pictures of my tank.
    • A reef tank can be functional but also a beautiful piece of living art.
    • Be patient and take the time to really enjoy your tank!

    Advice To New Reefers

    Research as much as you possibly can from this site and others and never stop! You can find almost everything you need to know about reefing from Nano-Reef.com alone if you search hard enough. When you do begin a tank, have an inspiration or vision for your aquarium and try not to do or buy anything without fully understanding how it may affect your tank. Quick or impulsive changes tend to lead to problems and having to buy a certain type of equipment more than once.


    Thanks to everyone who has helped me in this hobby, including many members here on Nano-Reef and people in my life, including my family and girlfriend who have assisted me with countless tank moves and trips to the LFS. I also appreciate all the people who have taken the time to follow my build thread and post a variety of encouraging complements and suggestions. Finally, I would like to give a big thanks to Christopher Marks for creating and running my favorite reef site as I am truly honored to be selected as the TOTM. It means a lot to me to be among some of the best reef tanks on this site and I hope I can give back a fraction of the knowledge and experience this site and its members have given me!



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