Congratulations to community member Sk8n Reefer and his 16 gallon nano reef aquarium for being selected for our April Reef Profile! Below is the aquarium profile Sk8n Reefer has written for us sharing his experiences in the hobby and his aquarium's progress over the past year. See what he's been up to and share your comments and questions in Sk8n Reefer'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.
Display: Innovative Marine NUVO Aquarium Nano 16 – 16 Gallons, 23.75" L X 13" H X 12" W
Lighting: AI Nano with controller and stock LED lighting on timers
Circulation: Upgraded Sicce Syncra 1.5 pump and 2 Innovative Marine AUQA Gadget Spin Stream on returns
Heater: Aqueon 50w
Reactor: Innovative Marine MiniMax All-In-One Desktop Media Reactor
Doser: Bubble Magus
ATO: JBJ w/3.5 gallon reservoir
Feeder: Eheim Automatic fish feeder
Established April 2014
Every day I make a visual inspection of all tank mates and adjust anything if needed, clean the glass if needed. I check the salinity in my salt mixing container and make a 1 gallon water change. Each week I stir the sand bed, blast detritus from the rocks, and check the tank's salinity. I change the filter floss twice a week. Every other week I change the carbon and/or GFO in the reactor, refill all dosing containers, and test the tank's Alk., Ca., and Mag.
• Salinity – 1.025
• Temperature – 79F
• Alkalinity – 8dkH
• Calcium – 450ppm
• Magnesium – 1350ppm
• Ca., Alk., Mag. – Daily 12 doses a day
• Acropower – 8ml weekly manually
• 1gallon water change 5 to 7 times a week.
• Carbon and GFO in reactor changed every two weeks.
• Filter floss changed twice a week.
• Morning – Various types of flakes and pellets
• Evening – A concoction of Rotifeast, Phytofeast, Oysterfeast, Reef Chili, Reef Roids, mysis shrimp and Rod's. All mixed together and broadcast fed to the tank.
• Ca., Alk., Mag. – Every two weeks since I started the doser.
• Salinity – Once a week.
• Phosphates – Only if algae seems to be growing or glass starts to show more algae.
• Picasso Clownfish (2)
• Tailspot Blenny
• Ponape Birdsnest
• Ora Birdsnest
• Green with purple rim Capricornis
• Idaho grape
• Ora purple Capricornis
• Season's greeting – encrusting
• Sunset – encrusting
• Reverse sunset – encrusting
• Mango Tango – encrusting
• Blue Digitata
• Purple tip with green polyps
• Dragon Scale
• Blue spp.
• Green spp.
• 2 Species of zoanthids
• 3 Species of mushrooms
• Cleaner shrimp
• Blue hermit crabs (7)
• Emerald crab
• Acropora crab
• Stomatella snails (many)
• Turbo snail
I started out with freshwater keeping oscars in a 29 gallon aquarium when I was about 12 years old. In the early 90's I kept a 90 gallon reef aquarium with softies and LPS with metal halides and VHO's and a wet/dry filter. That tank turned into two 40 gallon tanks which I kept for years and was successful keeping corals alive. I took an extended break from the hobby then came back strong with a 50 gallon acrylic tank in 2005 or so. I was also running metal halide and VHO's and started into SPS corals with the "green slimer". I kept that tank for about 4 or 5 years, and it was really developing into a nice display when we had the "vacation nightmare." We came home to a cold house that lost power in the winter and the tank was a green soup that we could smell as soon as we walked in.
I decided to take another break at that point, but never lost my passion for saltwater tanks. I would always stop into stores or see aquarium magazines and dream of having my own tank again. Last year after constantly nagging my wife about a tank she finally caved. I showed her Nano-Reef.com and all the small tanks that looked so beautiful and she admitted that it would look great in our Tiki room. I found a great local fish store, Aquatic Arts. I was very impressed by the healthy livestock. I've never been to a store with such healthy SPS, LPS and softies – it was amazing. They made my decision to start another tank easy. I hunted on Craigslist for months, then one day a brand new Nuvo 16 came up and I made the purchase. I had always run a sump with my older tanks, so this AIO idea was new to me, but actually made the whole set up much easier.
Once I found Nano-Reef.com and saw all the incredible tanks, I knew I had found a community that I wanted to join. The dedication and desire to learn and share from this community is truly inspirational. Finding a top notch local fish store that has impeccable husbandry of their tanks with healthy and unique livestock really inspired me to tank care of the inhabitants of my tank to the best of my abilities.
I am debating adding a skimmer – I do believe in the value they have for a tank, but with my maintenance schedule I have been able to keep nutrients in check. I am also considering removing the stock lighting and adding a second AI Nano to evenly spread strong lighting. There's been a fair amount of "upgrade" talk on my thread and eventually I think it will come. I am still really enjoying the small size and ease of maintenance with this tank.
It was tough growing out my Birdsnest from a 1" frag to the size of a softball and trading it in to my LFS. It would be nice to see large coral colonies grown from a small frag in my own tank. I am a fan of large cubes and that's probably the direction I will go. I plan on keeping this tank running even if I upgrade. My wife has always wanted clowns with an anemone, so maybe we will go in that direction next.
Advice For New Hobbyists
Read, study and learn as much as you can before you fill your tank with water. Try to plan out your tank and livestock the best you can and stick to your plan. Start with the best quality water you can find, either from your LFS or from a RO/DI unit, and never skimp in this area. The best salt mix won't matter if your water is not of high quality. Take things slow and try to avoid that impulse purchase of livestock you know nothing about. Reach out to the community here for advice and acknowledgments. Keep a journal of every little thing you do to the tank, from maintenance, adding livestock and testing – everything. It will be incredibly helpful to be able to look back and see what has gone on with the tank. Photographs are also incredibly helpful to document growth and change.
Everyone who has visited my thread knows I am big on feeding the tank. I mix a wicked concoction of liquid, frozen and freeze dried foods for the corals, fish and invertebrates. I don't feel my lighting is top notch, particularly on the sides, but I have achieved good growth and color by feeding the tank daily with a variety of foods. We feed twice daily, in the morning just as the white lights start ramping up my wife feeds flake and pellets to the fish and invertebrates. In the evening, just as the white lights are almost ramped down, I feed my mix. I keep my fish hooked on flake so I can easily use the automatic fish feeder when we are out of town. I always broadcast feed the tank. Sometimes on weekends I also add a little liquid food during the day for the corals.
Adding a doser to my tank was a great investment and helps keep parameters stable. Testing is vital to understand how to dose your tank, whether you use a doser or manually dose. I tested my tank everyday for a month and half while I was manually dosing to see what changes the tank was going through. Although I went through some test kits it was vital to understand the needs of the tank.
Coming from the days of strictly using metal halides, fluorescents and VHO's, using LED's for the first time has been a joy. The ease of use and ability to adjust strengths for different spectrums and ramp up/down to provide a more natural setting has been a welcome addition. I do also see the shadowing that LED tends to cause and this can be frustrating. I really like the hybrid lights that are gaining popularity and will probably go with a T5/ LED combo if I upgrade.
I would like to thank Christopher Marks for giving me the opportunity to share my tank and experiences as TOTM with the community. This is a humbling experience to be recognized by this group of dedicated and talented people. I would also like to thank all of you that have nominated me. All of my friends here that have helped me and lent advice along the way – I sincerely thank you. It's a pleasure to have a support group like this with such a challenging hobby and I look forward to learning and growing with all of you. Finally, I would also like to thank my wife Lisa for supporting my obsession with keeping reef tanks over the years.