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  • Tinpanva

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to community member Tinpanva and his 29 gallon nano reef aquarium for being selected for our December Reef Profile! Below is the aquarium profile Tinpanva 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 Tinpanva'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 this nano reef tank.


    Tank Specs

    Display: 29 gallon BioCube with matching stand
    Lighting: AI Vega LED fixture
    Circulation: Cobalt Aquatics MJ1200 return pump, 2 EcoTech Vortech MP10 ES
    Filtration: inTank media rack and refugium
    Skimmer: AquaMaxx HOB-1
    Heater: Hydor THEO
    Dosing: Tunze Osmolater ATO
    Controller: ReefKeeper Lite

    Established July 16, 2012


    The tank has 30 lbs of live rock for natural biological filtration. I pitched the stock protein skimmer and upgraded to the AquaticLife 115 skimmer, which was quickly upgraded to the current skimmer, the AquaMaxx HOB-1, which I feel is the main reason I've had such success with my tank. My inTank media rack is setup as follows: Top shelf – filter pads, Middle shelf – bag of RowaPhos, Bottom shelf – bag of nuclear grade carbon and a bag of Purigen. The refugium space holds a ball of chaeto macroalgae.


    • Salinity – 1.026
    • pH – 8.1
    • Temperature – 78 deg
    • Calcium – 450
    • Alk – 9ish
    • Mag – 1600 ppm (To battle bryopsis)
    • Nitrates and Phosphates – As close to 0 as possible.

    Maintenance Routine

    I feed Fish Frenzy daily, on Sundays a pinch of Reef Frenzy, and on Wednesdays a pinch of Reef Chilli. The tank's filter pad is changed out every few days, and I perform weekly 5 gallon water changes. I tend to "fuss" over my tank quite a bit, seeing dirty glass drives me nuts.


    I tend to enjoy my weekly water testing and keep an online log/diary. I use RedSea Pro test kits for NO3, Ca, & Mg. I use a Hanna Checker for KH. Seachem for PO4. Temperature and pH are monitored by the ReefKeeper and salinity is checked by a D&D Refractometer. My RO/DI water is supplied by a BRS 5 Stage System, to 30 gallons of storage with an automatic float switch to shut it off.


    In truth, my PO4 stays near .03 but my nitrates have soared up to 16. I've taken the usual steps to reduce them and in time I'm sure they will lower. I've tried to stop chasing the numbers and just let the tank tell me what needs fixed. Thus far, no ill effects to the high nitrates, so I'm not that worried about it.


    I maintain the numbers with a pair of dosing pumps for Calc and Alk controlled via the ReefKeeper. Not to bore you with the details, but I have them set up on two separate timers, thinking if I ever had a power blip or a short term outage, the worst that would happen is I would lose half a day's dose and the second timer would take over at the next 12 hour mark.


    • Ocellaris Clownfish (Black/White) (Amphiprion ocellaris)
    • Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
    • Neon Dottyback (Pseudochromis aldabraensis)
    • Helfrichi Firefish (Nemateleotris helfrichi)
    • Six Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia)
    • Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus)

    SPS Corals

    • ORA Green Birds Nest
    • Neon Green Birds Nest
    • Cali Tort
    • Richmond Tri-Color
    • Bonsai Tri-Color
    • GARF Bonsai
    • Nectar of the Gods
    • Unknown Neon Yellow Acro
    • Forest Fire Digi
    • Shades of Fall
    • Blue Bottle Brush Acro
    • Miyagi Acro
    • Purple Stylo
    • Upscales
    • ORA Borealis
    • Orange Monti
    • Green Apple Monti
    • Blue Flower Petal Monti
    • Purple Monti
    • Joe the Coral

    LPS Corals

    • Neon Green Candy Cane
    • Red/White Acan Lord
    • Duncan
    • Frogspawn
    • Orange Plate Coral
    • Predator Blood Favia
    • Bubble Gum Monster Chalice
    • Tyree Red Watermelon Chalice
    • Mummy Eye Chalice
    • Cornbred Aces Wild Chalice
    • WWC Ignition Chalice
    • Cornbred Flaming Bugatti Chalice

    Soft Corals

    • Gold Florida Ricordea
    • Orange Flordia Ricordea
    • Rainbow Flordia Ricordea
    • Green Flordia Ricordea
    • Green Yuma Ricordea
    • Neon Green Sinularia


    • Radioactive Green Dragon Eyes
    • Pink Panthers
    • Hells Flare
    • Orange Bam Bams
    • Jason Fox Sunflowers
    • Jason Fox Daisy Dukes
    • Sunny D's
    • Candy Apple Reds
    • Solar Eclipse
    • Googlie Eyes
    • Eagle Eyes
    • Tubbs Blue
    • Eagle Eyes
    • Pink Zippers


    • Maxima Clam
    • Hermits (10ish)
    • Banded Shrimp (1)
    • Zebra Turbo Snail (1)
    • Narcissus Snail (1)
    • Rose Bubble Tip Anemone which just split yesterday so I now have 2 (my first split)


    First of all, I have to say thanks to Chris and Nano-Reef.com for giving me the opportunity to share my nano reef aquarium with everyone here! Thanks to those of you that nominated the tank and felt that it was worthy of being spotlighted

    I guess I was 10 or 12 (a good 30 years ago) when my dad put together our first fish tank. It wasn't long before there were 2 then 3 tanks. Then came our first saltwater tank, it was a nice 55 gallon with several large (and bleached) coral skeletons, and near as I can remember maybe 10 fish. It was cutting edge ad the time with it's under gravel filtration system and fancy air stones. No sump or skimmer in those days, we would run a carbon pump every other month or so when the water test indicated it was needed or if there was a sick fish. The pump would screw onto the top of a mason jar that had a carbon filter in it and would then be pumped back into the tank. Looking back, it's a wonder we kept anything alive for any amount of time. Hell, I would even catch minnows down at the local creek to feed the fish.

    So that was my introduction into saltwater tanks. Crude and primitive to say the least! As the years went by, the idea to put together my own tank was always nagging at me, but there was always the kids and lack of cash that always prevented it. I remember one day a few years ago, I was sitting at home flipping through the channels and ran across an episode of Tanked. These cats had me convinced I could put together a reef tank in a weekend and have all sorts of corals and fish in a matter of days! I couldn't wait to run down to the local fish store and buy everything I needed. You can imagine the crushing discussion I had with those guys when they told me the "real" story. Well, I wasn't deterred, but a new plan was required. I knew I liked fancy gadgets and had already talked about upgrading equipment. So the plan was to buy everything I wanted before the first drop of water went in. It took 6 months or so, but I feel it was the best choice for me.


    When I first started out I was buying all kinds of corals and trading like crazy, one thing I learned the hard way was that is also a great way to catch all kinds of tank pests and STD's. I had issues with red bugs, flat worms, some kind of green slime that came in with 3 frags and exploded within my tank. Even though I dipped everything in Bayer Advanced, it did little to kill eggs. After a few of these incidents I set up a quarantine tank, a nice little 12x12x12 rimless aquarium. Now everything goes into that tank for at least 4 or 5 weeks before it goes into the BioCube.


    Quarantine Tank Specs:
    • Deep Blue Rimless 7 gallon glass tank
    • AC 50 HOB filter
    • Small bag of carbon
    • One VorTech MP-10
    • A DIY Rapid LED Fixture with Blue, Cool White, UV, & Moon Lights
    • A DIY Egg Crate Rack
    • Hydor Theo 50w Heater

    Advice For New Hobbyists

    I receive a lot of email and IM's from people asking for advice, I'm no expert, but I can say this, take your time, nothing good comes from rushing in this hobby. Take the time to setup and quarantine your corals. Lastly, find some way to make husbandry fun, nothing sucks as bad as feeling you have to do chores on your tank, eventually you'll start putting it off. For us nano reefers it's even more important, things go south fast with our tanks, that's no joke. Something as simple as your dosing container running dry for a few days causing something to drop too fast could cause ill-effects with your corals. Been there, done that. Oh, and one other thing, it's always handy to keep a red ink pen handy, that way if/when you spend way too much on something, you can just write ‘sale' on the receipt with a marked down price, wives don't need to know everything right?

    In Conclusion

    So far the hobby is just as exciting as it was to me two years ago, I still spend at least an hour a day sitting in front of the tank with my handy magnifying glass, just watching everything. It's the perfect ending to any type of stressful day. Like most of us, I've decided to work on an upgrade. I've been picking up a few items at a time, including a new 40b that's going to become my new sump for the 93 cube I plan to build next. The big question is to tear down this successful mature tank, or just start from scratch? Guess we'll have to wait and see.


    I want to say again, thanks to Nano-Reef.com for spotlighting my tank, but more importantly, I have to say thanks and give a shout out to my local club, The Richmond Reefers, and all the great folks that have put up with all my endless questions over the last 2 years. Not only have we been there for each other when situations arise, when there's an emergency, or just to hang out. You're not just fellow reefers, forum members, hobbyists, you're my friends.



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    Congrats! This is a long time coming. Inspirational and certainly one of my favorite set ups.

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    Congrats!! Great tank, and an excellent write up. I love that ric garden.

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    Deleted User 9


    Peace To All.


    Congratulations!! Great Reef!! Thanks for the details. Much success with You and Yours.


    Blessings To All.

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    Omg you finally got it! Congrats! Been saying this tank is amazing for months now!

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    Omg you finally got it! Congrats! Been saying this tank is amazing for months now!

    You were my second thought after I saw he won :happydance:.

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    Congrats. Great tank. Have always enjoyed your excellent photos as well.

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