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  • Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to Asureef for being selected for our October Reef Profile! His 40 gallon nano reef aquarium is an impeccably sculpted SPS garden complete with stunning fish specimens. Below is the aquarium profile Asureef has written for us sharing his experiences in the hobby and his aquarium's progress over the past two and a half years. See what he's been up to and share your comments and questions in Asureef's featured reef profile thread, or in the comments section below. Be sure to also check out his aquarium journal in the members aquariums forum for more information about his aquarium.


    Tank Specs

    Display: CAD Lights 40g Artisan, 36" x 16" x 16"
    Lighting: ATI Sunpower 36" 6 x 39W
    Skimmer: Eshopps S-120 Cone
    Return: SpeedWave DC pump
    Heater: Eheim Jager 150W
    Cooling: JBJ 1/10 chiller
    Controller: Neptune Apex with pH/Temp. probe and 2xEB8 outlets
    Circulation: 2 Vortech MP10's with backup battery + Tunze 6015
    Top-Off: Tunze Osmolator ATO
    Dosing: Bubble Magus BM-T01 Doser


    Established June 2011

    Maintenance Routine

    Alkalinity normally is tested once a week, everything else (Calcium, Magnesium, PO4) is tested once to twice a month. Learning from others and with my own experience, stability, especially with alkalinity, is one of the key ingredients to keeping a healthy SPS system.


    I believe having good water quality is important, which is one of the reasons why I invested in a RO/DI unit. The benefit of owning your own unit is being able to produce top quality water in the convenience of your own home. I normally keep around 20-40 gallons worth of fresh water stored in 5 gallon jugs ready for mixing. Water changes on the tank are done every Sunday; I change out 5 gallons pretty religiously. I usually spend about 30 minutes to an hour on this chore. While doing so, I like to inspect every piece of equipment and remove or scrape off any unwanted algae.


    This is probably the most enjoyable part of the hobby for me, and in the past I have easily overdone it, so now I stick to a more simplified regimen. I feed my fish once to twice a day with mainly pellets, and they get frozen foods twice a week. Besides dosing a drop or two of Pohl's Xtra and Sponge Power from the Zeovit line, I do not do any broadcast feeding for corals. Although, I do keep one dendro colony, which gets target fed once a week with either Mysis shrimp or a frozen mixture from LRS.


    Specific Gravity: 1.026
    pH: 7.8 to 8.2
    Calcium: 380-420ppm
    Alkalinity: 8.0-9.0 dKH
    Magnesium: 1300-1400ppm
    Nitrate: 0-0.2ppm
    Phosphate: 0.00-0.03ppm
    Potassium: 380-400ppm
    Temperature: 78.5 to 80.5° F


    • Picasso Clownfish Pair
    • Fathead Sunburst Anthias
    • Resplendent Anthias Pair
    • Mystery Wrasse

    SPS Coral

    • Assorted Acorpora
    • Assorted Montipora
    • Assorted Birdsnest

    LPS Coral

    • Blastomussa

    NPS Coral

    • Dendrophyllia Colony

    Soft Coral

    • Green Star Polyps
    • Assorted Ricordea
    • Assorted Zoanthids


    I don't have a long or inspirational story as to why I decided to start a reef tank. Honestly, I walked into a local fish store in summer of 2009 and decided that day I wanted an aquarium. My first tank was a 28g LED cube by JBJ. The first year of owning the aquarium was quite a roller coaster. I tried my hands at every coral available and even kept a tang. As you can imagine, it was filled with ups and downs. But, thanks to forums like Nano-Reef.com, I began to understand why I was getting algae or ich outbreaks, and why I couldn't keep certain corals alive or keep a certain fish.


    During my second year of owning a reef aquarium, I began to soak up as much information as possible by going through countless aquarium build threads and reading about all the featured aquariums on Nano-Reef. After gaining all this new knowledge my tank was slowly starting to become "eye candy". I got rid of all my algae problems, and my corals were colorful and thriving. Visitors seeing my tank all thought I was using black light, the colors were just visually stunning. Coming close to my third year of owning a reef aquarium, I decided I wanted a bigger tank, and a rimless one at that. So I began looking at a variety of custom builders and manufacturers. Originally I wanted a tank by Elos, it was very attractive to me, stylish and elegant, but I found it was just out of my budget range at the time. Then I came across the company CAD Lights, which offered a tank that pretty much mimicked the Elos style and was well within budget range. Two weeks later, I made the order and the tank/stand arrived within a week.

    I purchased the tank as a complete system, without lighting. The initial startup went fine, all the equipment worked great. I added a T5 fixture from ATI for my lighting, and a second MP10 from EcoTech marine. A few months later I upgraded the Bubble Magus protein skimmer that came with the tank to an Eshopps, and also added an Apex aquarium controller from Neptune Systems. The return pump was also upgraded to a Speedwave DC pump, which has become one of my favorite pieces of equipment because of its ability to control the flow and its quiet operation, it's almost dead silent.


    I have no big plans for the future at the moment, just to allow the corals to grow as much as possible. Then, possibly decide on an upgrade, but that will be a while.


    I draw inspiration from mostly past featured tanks here on Nano-Reef.com and reef tanks locally. Although, I have to add, my main inspiration has been from larger aquariums like Andrew's "A Reef In the Sky", Keith's "Reefbum", and Krzysztof Zeovit tank. These tanks ultimately sparked my interest in keeping SPS.

    Disasters & Regrets

    I want to say, I have no big regrets. But, I regret a lot of little things like not quarantining my fish from the start, over feeding, over/under dosing, not being prepared for disasters, and operating my equipment to failure due to human error. Though, as we all know, the best way of learning is by making mistakes. I'm always making them, but also continue to learn from them.

    Advice For New Hobbyists

    Research, research, and research! Yeah, I know you've all heard this before, but really there's a wealth of good information on these forums. Also, support your local reef club and good LFS. You'll be surprised by all the knowledge and corals you can gain.

    Thoughts On...

    With my tank being SPS dominate, I find it is important that parameters are kept in check and stable. This is done so by testing on a regular basis. One important piece of equipment I utilize is a 2-part automating dosing system for alkalinity & calcium, which is programmed to dose a set amount every hour. I feel this piece of equipment is almost a must for any serious SPS enthusiast.


    I'd like to thank everyone for the nominating my tank, don't think those nomination have gone unnoticed! I am truly honored by all the support here on NR, you guys have been a big inspiration. Also a big thank you to Christopher Marks for giving me the opportunity to be featured here on Nano-Reef.com as 'TOTM.'



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    Along with meticulous care, attention to every detail, a fabulous sense of balance and your wonderful photography, I am so happy to see that this is finally TOTM. Congratulations!

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