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  • Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to JayPagi for being selected for our January Reef Profile! We're ringing in the new year with his 16 gallon shallow nano reef, which turns just one year old this month. In this season of new beginnings, many hobbyists may find themselves considering starting a new nano reef of their own. JayPagi's aquarium story is a fantastic example of what an aquarium can become in its first year after careful planning, construction, and dedication. Below is the profile he has written for us sharing his experiences in the hobby and his aquarium's progress over the past twelve months. See what he's been up to and share your comments and questions in JayPagi's featured reef profile thread. Be sure to also check out his aquarium journal in the members aquariums forum.


    Happy New Year to all and Happy Birthday to this little tank! This January makes my aquarium one year old, and what an honor it is to be 2013's first tank of the month. It's truly amazing the joy a glass box of water can provide!

    Tank Specs

    Display: 28" L x 14" W x 9.5" H Custom Glass Aquarium
    Lighting: Custom LED Fixture: 9 X RB, 9 x CW on Rapid LED 4.25" x 16" Heat Sink and 2 x Blue Moonlights controlled by a DIM4 controller
    Filtration: Eheim 2213 Cannister Filter w/ filter floss, with Nano Surface Skimmer by Glazer
    Heater: Hydor ETH 200 Inline Heater
    Circulation: EcoTech MP10ES
    ATO: Elos Osmocontroller ATO


    Established January 21, 2012

    Maintenance Routine

    My maintenance routine is pretty simple, I rely on consistent weekly partial water changes of 3 to 4 gallons to keep my tank healthy. I replace the coarse filter and filter floss in the canister filter every 3 to 4 weeks as well. I test my water parameters occasionally to make sure everything is in check, and I test frequently if I notice something is wrong. I feed my fish a combination of flake and pellet food daily. The corals get a combination of Coral Frenzy, Freeze-Dried Cyclop-Eeze every other day, and enriched brine or mysis twice a week.

    Soft Coral

    • Yuma and Florida Ricordea
    • Assorted Zoanthids
    • Purple Mushrooms
    • Clove Polyps

    LPS Coral

    • Assorted Acanthastrea
    • Frogspawn
    • Duncan Coral

    SPS Coral

    • Pink Birds Nest
    • Green and Purple Acropora


    • Black Ocellaris Clownfish
    • Royal Gamma


    • Porcelain Crab
    • Fire Shrimp
    • Spotted Nassarius Snails
    • Fighting Conch
    • Red-Legged Hermits
    • Maxi Mini Anemones


    There are a lot of decisions to make before starting a project. In the world of saltwater aquariums, some of these decisions are: which type of lighting will best suit your needs, to use a sump or not to use a sump, to use live rock or dry rock, etc. I made my choices based on simplicity and cost.

    Instead of building a custom stand I used an IKEA bookcase that we had laying around. The stand had a look that matched our decor, and the top surface dimensions could accommodate the tank size I had in mind. The tank dimensions I chose were roughly based on an ADA 60-F, but this stand could actually accommodate a slightly larger tank. In it's standard form I thought the stand was strong enough, but using some 2 x 4's I wedged extra supports into the stand for stability and a little piece of mind. After meeting a local reefer on Nano-Reef, he told me about a LFS that made aquariums, so I gave them a call and placed my custom order.


    I chose to build a custom LED fixture to get the most bang for my buck. I had great success building a DIY fixture on my old 5.5 gallon pico reef, so I decided to build another assembly for this tank. Once again I used Rapid LED to source my heat sink, drivers and LED's. I wanted the light to look fairly modern so I spent a lot time coming up with a cover that would fit our home decor, and not be too much of an eye sore. I called a local supplier ordered some white acrylic for the sides and clear acrylic for a splash guard. They also had the appropriate acrylic cement which bonds the plastic together, making it super strong. The light ran great for about 6 months before I finally decided to order a DIM4 controller. With the addition of the DIM4 controller I now have the ability to alter color settings with the push of a button.

    I played with the idea of setting up a a sump but I realized that it would require a custom stand, and knowing that someday this tank will move into the basement, I went with the simplest solution of using a canister filter. After following another thread on Nano-Reef I came across a surface skimmer that I could incorporate into my design; the surface skimmer is made by fellow Nano-Reefer Glazer. With the addition of the canister filter and surface skimmer, I knew I had to have an efficient automatic top off system to keep the filter from running dry. I purchased the Elos Osmocontroller, which to this day I believe is the most valuable piece of equipment I own. I use a standard 2.5gal tank as my reservoir, which lasts 1 week. Eventually when I finish my basement and move the tank down I may have this tank drilled and build a sump.


    Dry rock was chosen over live rock because it allowed me to be a bit more creative with the aqua-scape. When I first envisioned this tank I wanted a small bit of rock to actually break the surface of the water. I used a water proof cement to hold the rock work together. You can see that in the current FTS I no longer have a piece of rock breaching the water surface; this was changed to maximize flow and light penetration for the entire tank.

    Inspirations & Goals

    After being a Nano-Reef stalker for years I finally dove in after seeing Sandeep's 5.5 Pico. I built my own 5.5 gallon pico reef and started learning about salt mixtures, water changes, and coral care. I started this shallow tank after seeing teamschreiba and marc3lo19's aquarium setups. I continue to find inspiration from all the creative people here on Nano-Reef.com! My tank is still very young and I plan to let it blossom, carefully adding more corals and more creatures to make it a thriving ecosystem.

    Disasters & Regrets

    I've certainly made my fair share of mistakes, from frying LED's, to over-dosing and allowing Montipora Eating Nudibranchs to decimate a few SPS corals, but I don't regret any of these mistakes; it's part of the learning curve.

    Thoughts On DIY Projects

    When deciding to take on DIY projects, I always compare my other options so that I'm not just building something for the sake of building something. If I could have purchased an LED light for a similar price as what my LED light cost to build, that offered the same coverage and power, I probably would have, but I saved a few hundred dollars, learned a few things along the way, and I'm better off because of it. After I finished my light fixture I posted pictures here showing it off and I was overwhelmed by the positive response I received, it really made all the hard work worthwhile. DIY projects can be really rewarding, but it is a lot of work and requires careful planning, so be sure to weigh your options.

    Words Of Wisdom

    Purchase and design a system you can easily maintain and will ultimately enjoy. For me that's the number one thing... to enjoy staring into the tank like my daughter does.


    I'd like to thank Christopher Marks for featuring my tank, the Nano-Reefers for the wealth of knowledge this community provides and my family for allowing me to bring a piece of the ocean home.

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    Congrats jaypagi!!






    Congrats looks really nice.



    Congrats! :)


    Thank-you all I had so much fun scrambling to take some new pictures and working on the write up over the last few days, I hope everyone enjoys it.

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    Good job dude!



    Congrats JayPagi ... love how clean and well thought out it is!



    Congrats! Nice and clean.



    Very nice. Congrats.


    Thanks everyone.

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