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  • MasterMind9

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to MasterMind9 for being selected for our August Reef Profile! MasterMind9's stunning 37 gallon shallow nano reef aquarium hails from Bangkok Thailand, housing an incredible array of LPS coral and fish. 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 MasterMind9's featured reef profile thread.


    Tank Specs

    Display: 24" x 24" x 15"
    Light Fixture: Main Light - Eco lamp KR92 12", Sub Light - T5HO Odyssea 2 x 24W
    Light Bulbs: Giesemann (1x 24W Pure Actinic , 1x 24W Actinic plus)
    Sump: 20" x 15" x 15"
    Powerheads: Vortech MP10 and Resun Waver-2000
    Return Pump: Atman 3500L/H
    Filter Media: Carbon and Rowa PO4 Remover
    Skimmer: Bubble Magus NAC7
    Salt: Reef Crystal France
    Substrate: Dazs 1-2 inches
    Chiller: Hailea 300A


    Established June 2011

    Water Parameters

    • Salinity: 1.025
    • Temp: 25 ?
    • pH: 8.2
    • Ammonia: 0
    • Nitrite Levels: 0
    • Nitrate Levels: <0.2
    • Phosphate: <0.00

    Maintenance Routine

    Feed Spectrum Pellet & flake fish food (additional KRELL freeze dried brine shrimp & green seaweed) and Hikari Marine Pellet

    Twice Weekly
    Dose C-Balance PartA and B 10ml
    Feed First Bite LPS Coral Food, Cyclop-Eeze, Reef Nutrition (Tigger-Feast, Phyto-Frast,Oyster-Feast)
    Clean Skimmer

    Twice Monthly
    Scrub Algae, Clean Sand Bed, Clean Skimmer and Change Filter Bag.
    10-15% Water change
    1x Bio-Digest and 1x Bio-Tim

    Soft Corals

    • Zoanthids
    • Ricordea Florida
    • Photosynthetic and Nonphotosynthetic Gorgonians
    • Green Star Polyps
    • Xenia
    • Clove Polyps


    • Scollymia
    • Various Acanthastrea
    • Orange Plate Coral
    • Open Brain Coral
    • Torch Coral
    • Dendrophyllia
    • Blastomussa
    • Red Flower Pot
    • Gonipora


    • Blood Red Fire Shrimp
    • Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
    • Maxima Clam
    • Pink Sea Cucumber
    • Tuxedo Urchin


    • Flame Angelfish
    • Blue Tang
    • Percula Clown Fish
    • Yasha Goby
    • Hi-Fin Goby
    • Yellow Goby
    • Acanthop Angelfish
    • Dispar Anthias
    • Spotted Cardinal
    • Royal Gamma


    The inspiration to start this aquarium was jealousy for my sister's freshwater aquarium. Her aquarium was placed in the middle of the room: nice, clean, and shinny. So motivated by jealousy, I came up with the idea to create a tank that was more beautiful and harder to maintain than my sister's aquarium. A reef aquarium seemed to be the best solution!


    As a new aquarist, everything about marine life looks so fantastic in terms of color, movement, and the amazing relations between fish and coral, especially compared to freshwater aquariums. Without hesitation after seeing all these stunning fish and coral, I purchased a 2 gallon tank with small LED light, a pair of clownfish, an anemone, and green flower pot coral, then came back home and started researching how to take care of them. What I found was all the things in my aquarium were not able to be maintained with the equipment I had, especially not with the tank size I had selected. After two weeks, all of my livestock was gone.

    With all of my sadness and disappointment, I started over again by trying to read as many articles as I could, trying to understand my failure. Then I found the Siam Reef Club, a marine aquarist community in my country with not only a great website, but also a very nice cafe in the middle of a saltwater trade market. At the café there are expert aquarists that provide information and advice to help any new aquarists who want to jump into this hobby, and set them in the right direction. After getting bored with reading articles online, I was confident enough to join the club and receive expert guidance to help me achieve my goal of having a great reef tank faster.


    If you want the learn something and be successful, it's best to learn from one of the greatest! A man I met when I first joined the Siam Reef Club Café, Mr. Chingchai, has one of the greatest tanks among all advanced aquarists, and is well known worldwide. He has become my mentor.

    Finally, I had all the resources, knowledge, and a lot of great aquarists to guide me towards creating a successful reef tank, to truly maintain livestock and make them thrive on my very own. Once I was sure that I had researched enough and had enough expertise to back me up, Shallow Illuminated was started.

    Inspiration & Goals

    Seeing the Siam Reef Club main tank in the Café got me fired up again after the first tank crashed. Then I saw Mr. Chingchai's tank and felt that humans can maintain and build a wonderful reef under our roofs just as well as nature can.


    I made it my goal to one day have a tank like that in my room. It took me nearly two years to learn all the methods to maintain these coral and fish without any loss. Now that I've had success, it has been my goal to win some awards, and Tank Of The Month is one of the greatest honors for all reefers. There are only two websites that I spend all of my time logged in to, and seeing the tremendously beautiful TOTM aquariums featured on them is truly inspiring and motivating. Now it's a great honor to be a featured among them, first at SRC, and now at Nano-Reef.com.

    Disasters & Regrets

    Three months after setting up this tank, all of my corals were thriving and the fish were very healthy. I strongly believed at the time that a healthy tank should have coralline algae all over the place, but my tank didn't have it yet. So I tried to find a way to make my tank grow coralline algae faster, and what I found on the internet was Bio-pellets. Without knowing that Bio-pellets have to be used with caution, and that you have to monitor water parameters precisely throughout the first period of using it to get the appropriate ratio of Bio-pellet amount, over dosing almost crashed my tank. Half of my corals were gone, and took me almost two months to recover the tank back to normal conditions. So don't experiment with anything in your healthy tank unless you are a hundred percent sure of it.

    Words of Wisdom

    • Don't buy anything that you don't know how to keep! If you must, make sure that you do everything possible to keep them alive before giving up on them and letting them die.
    • Don't give up on your tank, there are always ways to recover it. I never gave up on my tank once when I faced over dosing Bio-pellet. At that time I was not even looking at my tank for a month, and stopped water changing. Then all of my club members encouraged me that if I can get through it, and bring my tank back, I'll sit back and look at my tank with twice happiness. Then I started to do water changes every two days, and kept up with my maintenance routine again. In the end I actually feel how they said I would when I watch my tank after its recovery.
    • The best equipment cannot guarantee the health of the tank. Even the worst equipment with the best care can make a tank healthier than expensive equipment with a lack of care. This is the main key to the success of my tank. Everything in my tank is handled manually; I don't use an ATO and I always dose by hand. I spend at least 15-30 minutes every day checking the chiller, pump, lights, skimmer and livestock in the tank, to make sure that they are still fine before I go to sleep.

    Advice To New Hobbyists

    Your aquarium system is everything. Decent equipment in the beginning can be quite quite expensive to invest in. You may think that spending the same amount of money buying a stunning scollymia or a pair of platinum clown fish must be a good choice to make your tank look fantastic, but it will be meaningless if it can't survive. The only thing that can make a couple dollars, or a thousand dollars, of livestock survive is decent equipment. Although equipment is the factor that helps make maintaining your tank a lot easier, as I said previously, nothing can compare to a man who dedicated to his tank.

    Future Plans

    I had always told myself that I wouldn't have any SPS in my tank because whenever I have kept SPS in the past, I always end up losing them in a week, and I don't want to keep anything that I can't maintain. So my plan for this tank is to maybe give it another shot with SPS, even though I'm still a big fan of LPS. It will be a big challenge for me to keep SPS and make them thrive in my tank.


    Thank you to Christopher Marks for giving me such an honor to be the featured reef profile this month, many great tanks all over Nano-Reef.com have been an inspiration to push myself forward. Thank you to Siam Reef Club and all their members that have always supported me and given me such valuable knowledge over the past few years. Thanks to my brother, Mr. J211, who helped me with all the great photographs of my tank. Lastly, thank you to Nano-Reef.com members that have always supported me and shared comments that I have used to improve my tank.



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    Beautiful corals and fish. I love how one color coral is not in a specific area and you spead them out. Great variety!

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