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  • Scorched

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to Scorched for being selected for our June Reef Profile! His 12 gallon nano reef aquarium is a perfectly sculpted aquatic paradise. Below is the aquarium profile Scorched has written for us sharing his experiences in the hobby and his aquarium's progress over the past two years. See what he's been up to and share your comments and questions in Scorched'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 nano reef tank.


    Tank Specs

    Display: Mr Aqua 12 Gallon Long - 36" x 9.4" x 8.3"
    Sump: Standard 10 gallon glass aquarium with no baffles
    Lighting: 36" no-name Chinese fixture with 50% blue 50% white LEDs
    Filtration: 4" Filter sock with Polyfill BRS Dual reactor. 1st canister ¼ recommended dosage of biopellets, 2nd canister ROX Carbon
    Skimmer: None
    Heater: Finnex 50w Heater
    Circulation: Two ½" returns powered by an Eheim 1260 pump, by way of my DIY XAqua or Oceanlife-like overflow system.
    ATO: BRS 50ml doser on a digital timer set to turn on for 2-3 minutes 8 times a night. This matches the daily evaporation. Kalk is premixed with the RO/DI water.


    Established March 2012

    Maintenance Routine

    Weekly 5 gallon water changes using Red Sea Salt (standard blue bucket). I vacuum the entire sandbed during each water change. Filter floss is changed each week as well as refilling the top off container with new water and kalk. Biweekly I change the ROX carbon and check to see if the biopellets are clumping or if a small amount needs to be added. Glass is cleaned about twice a week with one of them being right before a water change. This is done with a tiny ice cube molded magnet cleaner that I purchased off a nano-reef member back in 2004. It has been going strong ever since.


    Feeding is twice a day with mix of flake, pellet, Cyclopeeze, and mysis shrimp randomly rotated. Corals are fed with reef chili and Acropower every 2-3 days. Lugols Iodine is dosed at one drop a week.


    • Midas Blenny
    • Misbar Clownfish
    • Purple Pseudochromis

    SPS Coral

    • Oregon Tort
    • Montipora Setosa
    • Green Birdsnest
    • Ponape Birdsnest
    • Kelly Green Psammocora
    • Pink Procilpora
    • Purple Stylophora
    • Nautispiral Montipora
    • Sungod Leptoseris
    • Sunset Leptoseris
    • Flashlight Acropora
    • Orange Pavona Maldivensis
    • Monitpora Spongodes
    • Blue Ridge
    • Red Montipora Digitata
    • Green Plating Montipora
    • Hydraphora
    • Frogskin Acropora
    • Electric Grape Montipora

    LPS Coral

    • Hammer Euphyllia
    • Frogspawn Euphyllia
    • Gold Torch Euphyllia
    • Red Goniopora
    • Dendrophyllia
    • Flames Leptastrea
    • Green Maze Brain
    • Duncan
    • Red Blasto
    • Teal Blasto
    • Mias Pot of Gold Favia


    • Rose Bubble Tip Anemone
    • Red and Orange Coco Worm (I tried really hard to get a picture of this guy but he hasn't been out in 2-3 days)
    • Porcelain Crab
    • A few hermit crabs


    I originally had a 5.5 gallon aquarium that started as a nano reef back when I joined the community in 2004. It lasted less than a year as I made it right before college. After I went to school the tank stayed behind and I tried to take care of it whenever I came home during breaks. It slowly perished. Once I had an apartment I brought the tank along and it became a FOWLR with a single clownfish. This same tank and clownfish went through 4-5 different moves as I changed apartments and houses. In 2010 it finally moved to my office where I currently work. It stayed next to my computer until 2012 when I got the itch to get into corals again, but I wanted to start fresh and do something sleek and new.

    Inspiration & Goals

    From the early design stages the goal was always to have a sleek simple look with the capabilities of handling SPS and LPS corals. I still wanted to stay small so that it could stay within my office but look impressive for its small size. I was inspired by ADA style tanks that focused purely on the livestock with little to no visible equipment.

    Equipment & Disasters

    Over the 2 years I haven't made too many major equipment changes. Most of my tweaking has been with amounts of media, feeding, and salt mix. I started with Red Sea Coral Pro as well as heavy biopellet and GFO usage. I thought a super clean tank with elevated levels for coral growth meant things would do awesome, but it had the opposite effect. Super clean tanks with ultra low nitrate and phosphates along with elevated alkalinity starve corals. They turn pale, have thin tissue, and are easily prone to die. It took me too long to realize that my over husbandry was killing my corals. With a lot of reading and months of tweaking one thing after another I came to my final equipment and dosages listed above. While everything has been doing fantastic compared to before, there is probably always things to tweak and improve upon to make things more stable and healthy for the corals.

    In less than a month this tank will move to a new office building only a block away. No new equipment has been purchased but I've always wanted a more roomy stand and better controllable lights. We'll see how things fit in my new space before I decide if new things become necessary.

    Words Of Wisdom

    In real estate it's Location, Location, Location. When it comes to reef tanks it is Patience, Patience, Patience. Don't rush the design part of your build. Figure out what types of corals and fish you want before you even get started so that you can design the best tank for them. Don't rush the cycle or overstock the tank with fish and corals in the first few weeks. Slowly add livestock so you can see how they react to your system. If changes need to be made, do them very slowly over days, weeks, or even months. Good growth and colorful corals take time, but bad things can happen to your tank in a matter of seconds if you rush things and aren't careful.

    Advice For New Hobbyists

    You will have problems and issues with your tank for the first few months. These growing pains are something almost every reefer has to go through with a new tank. Parameters will be unstable, all different types of algae will pop up, and some corals or fish won't make it. Fight through these hardships and learn from your mistakes.


    Everyone has an opinion on how certain things should be done and how things work. Read as much as possible and try to see what the most common or accepted opinion is. Be skeptical of advice if only one or two people believe it. Try to find reliable hobbyists that have similar tanks, or goals as you and ask them questions about how they solved similar problems. Remember that something that works for someone might not work for you. You may have to experiment with something similar to find the correct balance that works for your tank or routine.

    Thoughts On...

    I used to believe that lots of food polluted the water and made the tank unfit for the harder to keep SPS corals. Now I'm dropping in 3-4 times as much fish food as before as well as feeding foods specifically for coral. Everything has improved. Don't be afraid to add a little extra food to the tank. Having a large variety of different foods also seems to help with fish and coral health. Variety is the spice of life and each fish or coral is going to prefer something slightly different.


    Thank you to Chris and everyone that has been nominating me for TOTM for so long. When I was starting up this new tank I was in awe of so many past featured tanks and it was a goal of mine to be on that list as well. It is an honor to be included with so many inspirational tanks.



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    Very nice Scorch! A big fan of your build, and will be using it as inspiration for a minimally-scaped IM 16, mostly LPS and softies.



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