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  • Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to MedRed for being selected for our July Reef Profile! We're breaking out of the box this month and featuring an aquarium sized beyond a traditional nano reef. MedRed's beautiful 60 gallon reef aquarium features a stunning aquascape packed with vibrant life. Below is the profile he's written for us sharing his experience in the hobby and his aquarium's progress over the past year and a half. Check it out and share your comments and questions in MedRed's featured reef profile thread.


    Tank Specs

    Display: Current Solana XL 60 Gal 24" x 24" x 24"
    Lighting Fixture: Giesemann Infiniti
    Light Bulbs: 1x250w 14,000K Phoenix HQI w/ ATI T5 (3xBlue+ and 1xPurple+)
    Sump: Advance Acrylics Custom Sump 24" x 11" x 16"
    Powerheads: Vortech MP10w ES x 2
    Return Pump: Eheim 1262 w/ Two Little Fishies Ball Valve
    Bioreactor: NextReef SMR1 w/ 250ml Warner Marine ecoBak & Mag-Drive 3 pump
    Dosing: Bubble Magus BM-T01 Dosing Pump w/ 3 x Bubble Magus 1.5l reservoirs
    Skimmer: SWC Cone 160
    ATO: Tunze Osmolator
    Salt: Seachem aquavitro Salinity
    Heaters: 2 x 150w Ebo Jagers
    Rock: Reefcleaners.org Florida Reef Rock (dry)
    Substrate: 20-25 lbs Caribsea Aragamax Select Dry Aragonite #00025 (very shallow)

    Established October, 2010

    Water Parameters

    • Salinity: 1.026
    • Temp: 78°-80°
    • pH: 8.0
    • Calcium: 440 460 ppm
    • Alkalinity: 7 dKh
    • Magnesium: 1600 ppm

    Maintenance Routine

    • Daily I feed Instant Ocean Marine Pellets and use a Mag Float to scrap the glass.
    • Twice weekly I feed Oyster Feast, PhytoFeast, and aquavitro fuel.
    • The night before a water change I feed frozen mysis and cyclopeeze to the dendros, acans, and candy canes.
    • Weekly I change 5-10 gallons of water, fill the automatic top off reservoir, and change my filter sock.
    • Monthly I change out my Purigen and Chemipure Elite.
    • Biannually I clean the skimmer, pumps, and bioreactors.
    • As needed I scrape the overflow clean of coralline. I also remove the Vortech wetsides and return nozzles and soak them in vinegar to kill the coralline. I also fill the auto doser reservoirs as they run low.

    Soft Corals

    • Various Zoanthids and Palyothoas
    • Ricordea Yuma
    • Ricordea Florida
    • Photosynthetic and Nonphotosynthetic Gorgonians


    • Torch Corals
    • Various Blastomussa
    • Kryptonite Candy Cane
    • Various Acans
    • Echinatas
    • Various Favias
    • Various Chalices
    • Elegance coral
    • Dendrophyllia
    • Lobophyllia
    • Goniopora
    • Alvepora


    sps1thumb.jpg sps2thumb.jpg sps3thumb.jpg

    • Various Montipora, Stylophora, and Acropora


    • 1 x ORA Crocea Clam
    • 1 x Blood Red Fire Shrimp (Lysmata debelius)
    • 1 x Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis)
    • 3 x Emerald Crab (Mithraculus sculptus)
    • 4 x Pom Pom Crabs (Lybia tesselata)
    • 4 x Porcelain Crabs (Petrolisthes sp.)
    • 2 x Anemone Porcelain Crabs (Neopetrolisthes ohshimai)

    Cleanup Crew

    • 2 x Fighting Conch Snails
    • 3 x Caribbean Nerite Snails
    • 5 x Mexican Cerith Snails
    • 5 x Caribbean Cerith Snails
    • 5 x Nassarius Snails
    • 5 x Tongan Nassarius Snails
    • 5 x Banded Trochus Snails
    • 10 x Mini Cerith Snails


    • Candy Basslet Pair (Liopropoma carmabi)
    • Gladiator Picasso Clownfish Pair (Amphiprion percula)
    • Helfrichi Firefish Pair (Nemateleotris helfrichi)
    • Neon Goby Pair (Elacatinus oceanops)
    • Tiger Blenny (Ecsenius tigris)


    I've had a wet thumb since the early age of 6. No matter what, I cannot seem to cure the aquarium itch. I moved to California in early 2010 which caused me to break down my previous reef tank. By late 2010, I knew that I had to have a new tank. My goals were a minimalist setup with a very diverse group of corals, inverts, and fish.


    I started this tank in the fall of 2010. I loved my 34 gallon Current Solana and lusted after the 60 Solana XL as soon as it was announced (I adore cubes!). The 60 Solana offered a sump and more water volume to help keep parameters stable, yet was small enough to be manageable. I also wanted a little more room to have a decent sized scape while allowing enough clearance between the scape and the glass to mag float easily.


    I'd been keeping up with the latest lighting trends and thought LED's sounded like the best thing since sliced bread! They would allow me to keep a lid on my tank to prevent jumping fish and evaporation, use less electricity, forgo yearly bulb replacements, keep the tank cooler, and allow fully controllable lighting with minimal wiring. At the time, Aqua Illumination Sol Blues seemed to have the best PAR, build quality, and I loved their modular nature.


    My aquascape was born out of a desire for a large aerobic surface area for coral placement and biological filtration while having the least amount of rock necessary. I wanted to minimize areas that could collect unseen detritus. I attended an aquarium conference in 2009 where one of the speakers showed laboratory results that related the importance of SPS coral growth to flow. I wanted to have as much unobstructed flow as possible. I racked my brain trying to settle on my many ideas for a scape. They all went out the window after receiving my dry rock.The rocks spoke to me and a scape began to take shape within a few hours of drilling the rocks and sticking them together with fiberglass rods and epoxy.


    I had already planned most of my fish for this build, so I knew I could create an environment that would keep everyone happy. I added my first coral December 2010 and my first fish in January 2011. My tank was fully stocked with fish by April 2011. As with my last tank, I knew I wanted a very diverse array of corals. I decided to keep to the same stratification and zoning arrangement as my previous tank.. For the most part I have SPS up high, LPS, in the middle, softies down low, and NPS in the dark areas. Zoas, Acans, Favias, and Chalices, all have their specific rocks.

    Part of the history of the tank were the upgrades I made. The first one was to remove the textured overflow and replace it with a smooth one. This allowed me to easily scrape coralline and keep the clean look. StevieT from InTank provided me with the custom overflow.


    As I added more corals and things started to grow/settle in, I realized I wasn't a reliable source of calcium and alk dosing. One of the best upgrades to this tank was adding an auto doser.


    I had been dealing with micro bubbles off and on with the original Solana sump. I finally decided to upgrade to a larger custom sump. This made a world of difference in more ways than just micro bubbles! I had a lot more room to organize my sump equipment and it was also a lot easier to access the heaters and pumps.


    Another upgrade to the cabinet area was adding a light. Originally I added a fluorescent light strip to the back right corner of the cabinet. It worked well but I finally got tired of kneeling and reaching into the back of the cabinet to turn the light on and off. I upgraded the light to chainable LEDs with a small controller at the front of the cabinet. Having them illuminate from the top down instead of the back corner greatly reduced glare when looking into the sump. The front mounted controller was also a big plus.


    I upgraded from Aqua Illumination Sol Blues to Ecotech XR30w Radions and finally to a Giesemann Infiniti HQI and T5 fixture. Each successive upgrade brought better color coloration, growth, and viewing aesthetic. I've been most happy with the Giesemann Infiniti

    Disasters & Regrets

    Things go wrong no matter how hard you try. I've had Alk swings, brown flatworms, colonial hydroids, dinoflagellates, bubble algae, red turf algae, caulerpa, bryopsis, and jumping fish. The keys to success are patience (don't go for the quick fix) and fix the root cause, not the result.


    The only thing I regret with this aquarium was the one night I left the lid off my tank and my favorite fish jumped. Pretty much everything else has been a learning experience.

    Future Plans

    My plans for this tank are to continue to let it grow out. I'll be adding more corals, and possibly adding two more fish, as long as I can figure what they should be!

    Words of Wisdom

    Don't be afraid to experiment, but use common sense. This hobby is full of surprises!

    Thoughts On...

    Lighting: I personally don't feel that LED's are a complete alternative to traditional forms of lighting. LED's offer a cooler running, lower power consuming, highly controllable alternative to T5'sand metal halides, but I feel that the lighting aesthetic and coral coloration are not as good under LED's as with other forms of lighting.


    Coral Fads: One of the biggest things that I don't subscribe to is falling in love with the latest, greatest coral fads. My tank is full of corals that appeal to me based on color, texture, and shape. I'm a big believer in simply buying what looks good to you, and not because it's a designer, limited edition, rare chalice, acro, scholy, paly, etc.

    Advice To New Hobbyists

    Plan, Plan, Plan!!! Consume as much as you can about the hobby before you jump in. Try to plan out what kind of tank you want, what fish, corals, and inverts you may want, and what equipment you'll need. Plans can be flexible, but having a good direction when you get started will make your life a lot easier.



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    I know that is kinda old, but I just want to say that is one of my favorite tanks and is one of the best I have ever seen. I live the rock work, the coral placement, and especially the little Candy Basslets. This is definitly TOTM worthy and I really hope it is still going strong today! :)

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    I know this tank has been taken down and you have moved on to other reefs. But this guy -hands down- goes down in history as on of the greatest tanks ever built! The rock work was truly innovative and gave you a LOT of surface area to work with, gave you great water flow, plenty of negative space, and an overall appearance that was simply stunning. I have never seen anything come even close to what you created ...And I have been in the hobby for a very very long time. Whenever I am feeling down about the hobby I simply pull up shots of your old tank and my faith is restored. I don't care if it isn't a nano, you absolutely deserve every award out there for this tank! I think my favorite part was all of the "pairs" you had in the tank -from pompoms, to basslets, to clowns, to anemone crabs. It was pretty unreal.

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