Congratulations to Spirofucci for being selected for our May Reef Profile! His 34 gallon nano reef aquarium features a carefully sculpted aquascape encrusted with vivid coral, complete with a matching display refugium. Below is the aquarium profile he 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 Spirofucci's featured reef profile thread. Be sure to also check out his aquarium journal in the members aquariums forum for more information about his aquarium.
Display Tank: Red Sea Max 130D 34 gallons
Display Refugium: Solona 34 gallon cube
Sump: Custom by Lifereef
Stand: Stock RSM
Side Cabinet: 5' long custom DIY to match RSM stand
Aquascape: Custom DIY bonsai style rock sculpture
Lighting: Display Tank, Ecotech Radion Pro natural mode @ 100%, Display Refugium, Radion G1
Skimmer: Lifereef skimmer
ATO: JBJ with Marineland Maxijet 1200
Circulation: Ecotech MP10w x 2, reefcrest @ 60%, battery back up
Heater: Aqueon 150 w
RO/DI: Sprectrapure CSPDI 90 GPD, with booster pump
Salt Mix: Red Sea Coral Pro
Sand: Caribsea, fine sugar
Dosing: Currently dosing B-Ionic two-part by hand and have purchased an automatic doser that I have not set up yet.
Water Changes: 10% weekly
Established November 11, 2011
Display Tank Livestock
• 2 Ocellaris Clownfish
• Midas Blenny
• Sixline Wrasse
• Serpent Star
• Hermit Crabs: Electric Blue, Blue Leg
• Snails: Nassarius, Dwarf Certh, Nerite, Turbo, Dwarf Planaxis, Stomatellas
• Rainbow Mini-maxi Anemone
• Cleaner Shrimp
Superman, Rainbow & Sunset Monti
Purple Valida Acropora
Hot Pink Birdsnest
• Birdsnest: Red, Ponape, Hot Pink, Tubbs, BOP
• Montipora: Sunset, Superman, Rainbow
• Digitata: LE Fiery Orange, Blue & Purple, Orneji Juici, Forest Fire, Green
• Millepora: Ultra Pink, Sunrise Rainbow, Rainbow Blue, Cherry Red
• Tortuosa: ORA Cali Tort, Oregon Tort, Rare Yellow Tort
• Styophora: Hot Pink, Milka, ORA Green
• Other SPS: Strawberry Shortcake, Royal Blue Turaki, Neon Supergreen Acro, Purple Valida Acro, Neon Green Slimer, Tyree Jesus Stag, Larry Jackson Tricolor, Blue on Blue Gomezi, Kryptonite Vermiculata, Tyree Pink Lemonade, Aqua Tenius, Snowcone Prostata, Pearl Berry, Tropical Desalwii, Alien Green Confusa, and many others.
• Zoanthids: Rasta
• Palythoa: Captain America
• Acanthastrea: Ultra, Rainbow
• Ricordia: 18 Different Colors
• Other Coral: Elegance, Emerald Duncan, Branching Duncan, NPS Gorgonian
Display Refugium Livestock
• Flame Angel
• Mystery Wrasse
• Swiss Basslet
• Black Cap Jawfish
• Helfrichi Fire Fish
• 2 Blood Shrimp
• 3 Mini Maxi Anemones
• 2 Rock Anemones
• Zoanthids & Palythoa: About 25 Different Kinds
• 12 Different Types
Like most reefers, I always had a freshwater aquarium in my life. In fact, I think my first tank was a 5 gallon metal frame aquarium that my parents got for me when I was five or six years old. When I was fourteen, I got a job in a local tropical fish store where I learned a tremendous amount about keeping fresh water fish. In the early 90's, I became very interested in all the reef tanks I was starting to see at local fish stores. Back then I bought almost every book written on the subject and gobbled up all the information I could. In 1994, my wife and I attended The Southwest Marine Conference put on by the Desert Marine Society in Scottsdale, Arizona, where I saw such great speakers as Dr. Walter Adey, Charles Delbeek, Julian Sprung, John Tullock, Thomas Frakes, Martin Moe, and our own Albert Thiel. The big debate back then was the pros and cons of the Berlin system vs. algae turf scrubbing. I watched an amazed crowd view Julian Sprung actually fragging corals!
After all that research, I slowly came to the realization that I probably would never be able to afford a full blown large reef tank, so I put getting a reef tank on the back burner. Just a few years ago, I got the itch again and thought that I might be able to finally afford one. I started looking for updated information on the internet and I found Reef Central. Yet again, I found that setting up a 100 gallon tank was still just out of my reach. About a year later I stumbled on to Nano-Reef.com! I was fascinated that all these people were keeping these nano tanks successfully. I had always thought that these weird small tanks were only for experts to play around with, just to see if they could keep a small tank going for any length of time.
It was then that I realized that I could actually afford a nano reef tank. The next step was to decide on which one. This was when I found StevieT's thread on his Red Sea Max. His thread convinced me that the Red Sea Max was the way to go, so I purchased my very first reef tank.
Evolution Of The Red Sea Max
After reading StevieT's thread, twice, I decided to budget a few of his modifications right off the bat, like the media rack, Tunze 9002 skimmer, and the skimmer cup. A few months later, I decided to go upgrade my lighting and got a Radion. I like the look of a topless tank but was worried about my fish jumping, and I did not want the glare of the Radion, so I made a 7 inch tall acrylic box for the top, which also had the benefit of hiding the ugly stuff in the back.
Earlier this year I decided to add a 34 gallon display refuguim beside the Red Sea Max, along with a custom sump. I dubbed the pair the 'Rio Grande Twins'! I suppose my little RSM is no longer an all-in-one aquarium. I am currently very pleased with this new set up, and have no immediate plans for any major upgrades.
Words of Wisdom
I still consider myself a noob of sorts as I feel I still have so much to learn. However, if I were to give advice to anyone starting in the hobby, I would tell them to research as much as possible both on the internet and in books. Find a tank on N-R that matches what you want to accomplish and build something very similar. I would also say that one should get the best lighting, filtration, and flow that you can afford, and acquire these things before you start.
Lighting Technology: Although there are many successful ways to light a nano tank, I think that good quality LED lighting is best when all the advantages are considered. I don't think you can beat them for the low consumption of energy, no light bulb changes, fuller spectrum, low heat output, smaller footprint over the tank, and programmability. Just be sure to purchase one from a company that backs up their product with excellent customer service, should something ever go wrong.
Aquarium Design: Not enough folks put enough thought into how they want their aquarium to look. I prefer to start with dry rock, and I take the time to build a nice custom aquascape. Taking a hammer to rock and putting together a scape with putty, glue, and maybe some rods is quite easy. I was inspired by quite a few bonsai type scapes during my research, so that is what I attempted to do with my tank.
A very special thanks has to go to Christopher Marks and his fabulous site for without which I would have never started my little nano reef. I like that he and the other moderators run a "loose ship," and allow members to express themselves compared to other sites out there.
No words can express the thanks I have for all the members that have given me great advice and shown an interest in my tank. You know who you are! Also, thanks to my wife who more than tolerates her living room being turned into a fish room.