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  • Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to Lalani for being selected for our December Reef Profile! Her 10 gallon nano reef aquarium is a stellar example of what can be built from all natural filtration and simple reef keeping techniques. Below is the aquarium profile Lalani has written for us sharing her experiences in the hobby and her aquarium's progress over the past year and a half. See what she's been up to and share your comments and questions in Lalani's featured reef profile thread, or in the comments section below. Be sure to also check out her aquarium journal in the members aquariums forum for more information about her nano reef tank.


    Tank Specs

    Display: Standard 10 gallon 20" L x 10" W x 12" H
    Biological Filtration: Approximately 8lb. rock and 1" sand bed
    Lighting: Current Sundial 4 x 24w T5HO
    Heater: Hydor THEO 50w
    Circulation: Koralia Nano, Aquaclear 70 HOB w/ surface skimmer


    Established May 2012, as a downgrade from a 40 gallon. It sits next to it's fraternal twin, a 10 gal freshwater planted tank.

    Parameters & Maintenance Routine

    • Weekly 2 gallon water changes using Oceanic salt mix and RO/DI water.
    • Addition of baking soda to maintain an alkalinity of ~10dKH.
    • Clean the glass twice weekly or when needed.
    • Small pinch of Formula One flakes once a day.
    • Daily top-off with RO/DI water, usually 1/4 gallon.


    Maintenance on this tank is fairly minimal as long as water changes are kept up. I don't keep any picky or demanding livestock, so I don't test the water for anything other than alkalinity. I like to keep my tanks simple and natural, so none of my display tanks have been plumbed and I do not run chemical filtration. Simple is good for a low-maintenance tank like this one!


    • Onyx True Percula Pair, I raised from them fry
    • Royal Gramma


    • Turbo Snail
    • Emerald Crab
    • Mini Carpet Anemones (Stichodactyla tapetum)
    • Mussel Hitchhiker
    • Clams & Other Small Bivalves
    • Sponges
    • Ball Anemone Corallimorphs (Pseudocorynactis caribbeorum)

    Soft Coral

    • Various Zoanthids
    • Various Palythoa
    • Green Star Polyps
    • Purple/Brown Star Polyps
    • Neon Toadstool
    • Various Yuma Ricordea
    • Various Florida Ricordea
    • Rhodactis Mushroom

    LPS Coral

    • Hammer Coral (Euphyllia ancora)

    SPS Coral

    • Porites
    • Stylophora
    • GARF Bonsai Acropora


    When I made the move to return to college, I brought my old 40 gallon breeder reef tank along with me, but after making two moves the tank was nowhere near its former glory. For quite some time I barely looked at the tank, so it, and its inhabitants, slowly faded until I finally had enough and tore the tank down in May of 2012. I considered selling everything off and taking a break from the hobby, but decided to simply downgrade to a smaller tank. All of the inhabitants that remained were able to fit into this little 10 gallon aquarium!

    It was a ramshackle little tank in the beginning, I was using old T5 bulbs and hardly doing any maintenance, which resulted in cyano taking over and beginning to smother the corals. After getting back in touch with my local reef clubs and being inspired by some of the gorgeous tanks here on NR, I decided to get the tank in shape and make it something I could be proud of! So I started with new bulbs and a couple of chemiclean treatments, as well as large water changes to clear it out. The cyano quickly became manageable with weekly water changes, and the next plague of fluffy pink algae was tamed by turbo snails. Now that I have been keeping up with the weekly water changes and basic maintenance, the tank looks much healthier and I'm happy with the way it is turning out.

    The star polyps growing on the back wall is something that I have wanted to try for quite some time! Luckily it doesn't seem much interested in attaching to the side glass and the two types take turns growing on top of one another so they appear intertwined.

    Recent Changes

    I recently added some acropora frags to the tank to see how they would fair and they are doing quite well, showing lots of growth in the few weeks I've had them. I plan on using epoxy, rubble, and magnets to disguise and hang their plugs on the back wall (after I cut some star polyps!).

    Future Plans

    Now that the tank is looking nice and healthy, I have the urge to upgrade to a 40 gallon breeder aquarium again. Unfortunately I won't be able to start a new build until I move on to a new school within the next year. It would be too much trouble to start a new tank, just to move it a couple months later, but the upgrade will happen! The plan is to install a false wall at one end and create a penninsula-style AIO 40br.

    Advice For New Hobbyists

    • Research, research, research! I can't tell you how many mistakes I have avoided simply by reading up before purchasing/buying/building things. It will save a lot of wasted energy and money.
    • Keep up with your water changes. A simple water change schedule can mean a world of difference for the health of our tanks. Believe me, I've learned the hard way!
    • Get to know your fellow reefers, here on the forums as well as the locals. Reefkepers are some of the most generous and helpful (albeit a little weird) people you'll come across, and bouncing ideas off one another can lead to some really cool projects!
    • Last but not least: It's good to pay it forward. Over the years I've received many cool freebies from reefers and I've given away many corals as well. It's a good feeling!


    Thank you to Christopher Marks for selecting my tank to feature this month! There are so many gorgeous tanks here on NR, so I feel honored that my little 10 gallon was chosen. Also thank you to those who nominated my tank! NR has been such an inspiration for me over the years and I'm glad to have been a part of it for so long!



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