Jump to content
  • Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to community member Bunster and his 25 gallon reef aquarium for being selected for our January Reef Profile! His nano reef aquarium features an incredible mix of coral and spectacular fish. Below is the aquarium profile Bunster has written for us sharing his experiences in the hobby and his aquarium's progress over the past year and a half. See what he's been up to and share your comments and questions in Bunster'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 reef tank.


    Tank Specs

    Display: Glass 60cm x 40cm x 40cm (96L / 25 gallons) with internal overflow sump (IOS) - 5 back compartments.
    Lighting: 1 set of Aqua Illumination Hydra 52 mounted 10" above the water line.
    Biological Filtration: 2" of CaribSea Arag-Alive Bimini Pink sand and 5kg of live rock.
    Circulation: VorTech MP10w and Innovative Marine Spin Stream attached to a 1200L/hr return pump.
    Cooling: Hailea HS-28 chiller
    Skimmer: Skimz SH1
    Mechanical Filtration: Filter floss, Biohome media, 2 Innovative Marine Minimax reactors, one running ZEOvit stones, the other running GFO and carbon.
    Dosing: Jebao DP-4 (4 channel doser) with Skimz dosing box.
    Metering: American Marine pH meter and a generic digital thermometer. I use a Hanna meter for phosphate and Salifert test kits for everything else.

    Established May, 2014

    Maintenance Routine

    • Salinity: 1.026
    • Temp: 26-27 Celsius
    • pH: 7.9-8.2
    • Calcium: 420
    • Alkalinity: 7.7 dKh
    • Magnesium: 1350
    • Nitrate: 1-2
    • Phosphate: 0.10


    To maintain these parameters, I'm doing frequent small water changes and relying on my auto doser. I'm a firm believer that a water change is still the best form of nutrient export. I'm currently using Fauna Marin salt mixed with DI water. I replace about 5% of the saltwater (5L) every 3 to 4 days.


    To keep up with the heavy demands of my SPS coral, I'm using Calcium, Alk, and Magnesium supplements in the form of Aquaforest Component 1,2,3. The dosing pump is currently pumping in 2 ml of each every hour to make up a total of 48 ml a day. Water changes help to even out the deficit. The dosing pump also acts as my ATO, it adds a fixed amount of DI water to the tank daily to replace evaporation.


    Daily chores include dosing 1 drop each of Aquaforest Pro Bio S (bacteria), Pro F (carbon source) and NP Pro (liquid polymer). Fish are fed daily with a mix of TDO and New Life Spectrum Thera pellets. I also dose Fauna Marin Ultramin S ( amino acids) 0.3ml every 2 days.

    I change out the filter floss weekly. Other weekly chores include dosing 2 ml each of Fauna Marin Color Elements to replace trace elements. I target feed the LPS coral with Fauna Marin LPS pellets and also Reef Roids to the zoanthids. I also throw in a cube of pappone made by a local reefer every 3-4 days, plus the occasional frozen mysis as a treat.


    Carbon, GFO and ZEOvit stones are changed out monthly. I check Alkalinity every 3 days and the rest of the parameters weekly.


    • Royal Gramma x2
    • Springeri Damsel
    • Tailspot Blenny
    • Broadband Goby
    • Black Ocellaris Clownfish
    • Coral Beauty
    • Christmas Wrasse (Halichoeres ornatissimus)
    • Leopard Wrasse (M. bipartitus)
    • Sunset Anthias (Pseudanthias parvirostris)
    • Red Spotted Goby
    • PinTail Wrasse

    SPS Coral

    • Orange Monti Cap
    • Radioactive Birdsnest
    • Bird of Paradise Birdsnest
    • Fiber Optic Pocillopora
    • Fiji green Pocillopora
    • Purple Pocillopora
    • Forest Fire Digitata
    • German Blue Digitata
    • Salmon Digitata
    • Purple-Tip Stag
    • Blueberry Limeade
    • Bali Slimer
    • Purple Stylopora
    • Blue Tortusa
    • Royal Blue Millepora
    • Cherry Blossom
    • Setosa Montipora
    • Montipora Capitata
    • Various Montipora: Sunset, Reverse Sunset, Superman, Jedi Mind Trick, True Undata, Rainbow, Galaxy

    LPS Coral

    • Assorted Acans
    • Assorted Blastomussa
    • Lobophyllia
    • Caulastrea Candy Cane
    • Duncans
    • Assorted Chalices
    • Favia
    • Pectinia
    • Euphyllia - Hammer and Torch Corals

    Soft Coral

    • Assorted Zoanthids
    • Golden Cloves
    • Assorted Ricordias
    • Green Star Polyps covering back wall
    • Blue Sympodium
    • Hairy Mushroom

    NPS Coral

    • Super Sun Coral
    • Chili Coral


    • Pom Pom Crab x2
    • Sexy Shrimp x3
    • Bumblebee Shrimp
    • Blue Coral Banded Shrimp
    • Pistol Shrimp
    • Derasa Clam
    • Rock Flower Anemone x 3
    • Blue Legged Hermit Crab x3
    • Astrea Snail x2
    • Nassarius Snail x3
    • Tuxedo Urchin
    • Serpent Starfish


    I've always had a fish tank of some sort since I was a kid, but they had always been freshwater. I've dabbled in planted, shrimps, discus and cichlids over the years. My most recent venture has been rearing kois with me building a pond in the garden. The idea to start a marine tank started early last year after I had torn down my planted tank on the kitchen counter. I had stopped scuba diving since the birth of my kids and I guess the allure of the sea somehow triggered me to start researching nano reef tanks. I stumbled upon this forum and other nano reef threads in local forums and the tanks were nothing short of inspiring. I think I spent about 2 to 3 months reading up before heading to the local marine shop to pick up my tank. I wasn't too confident about how successful the project would be so I guess I chose the simplest setup there was. 

    The tank as matured nicely over the past year and a half. I've slowly added more equipment as I saw fit. The dosing pump has really helped by taking over the tedious chore of manual dosing. The other significant upgrade has been replacing the Maxspect Razor 120W 18K LED lights with the AI Hydra52's. I've noticed a significant improvement in my SPS coloration ever since the LED upgrade.

    I've also been fortunate to be able to incorporate my other hobby of photography into reefing. And this little reef of mine has produced many memorable pictures.

    Inspiration & Goals

    I started this tank with the goal of it being a simple LPS/Soft coral tank. But a reefer gave me a frag of birdsnest to try out and the SPS poison took hold after that. The tank is currently something you would call a mixed reef running at maximum capacity. Its not easy balancing the needs of every denizen but somehow it seems to be working with regular feeding and proper husbandry. I don't plan to make any major changes to the tank at the moment.

    Disasters & Regrets

    A few months ago, I decided to take out the GFO and replace it with all-in-one biopellets. It was a bad mistake as my phosphates shot up without me realizing as I had placed blind faith in the product. I lost a couple of SPS frags and had some others turn brown before I bought a Hanna tester and found out that my phosphate was at 0.5. Phosphate levels are better now that I've replaced the biopellets with ZEOvit stones and reinstated the GFO. I must admit it's still on the high side but it seems to be on a downward trend so I will be patient.

    I'm also embarrassed to admit that my most common cause of fish death has been suicide by jumping. So always remember to put the cover back on especially if you're into wrasses and gobies.

    Words Of Wisdom

    I once read some wise aquarist saying that the hobby isn't about keeping fishes, its about keeping water. So aim for a reliable source of water and use good quality salt. Don't be complacent about water changes and remember to test the parameters often. Nano tanks deal with small volumes of water and things can go south quickly.

    Advice For New Hobbyists

    • Don't follow my stocking list! I must admit it does look quite crazy. But if you must, be patient in stocking. Try to aim for one critter a month.
    • Mount your corals well. Murphy's law dictates that your hermit crab with always push your favourite SPS frag into the mouth of some LPS.
    • Try to get to know your local reefers. I'm fortunate to be part of a chat group with a bunch of experienced reefers. So advice is just a message away.
    • Keep a good log. It helps you keep track of parameters and  your maintenance schedule. There are quite a few useful phone apps out there that help you with this.

    Thoughts On Aquaculture

    Its really rewarding to cultivate your own frags and to sell or exchange them with fellow reefers. Not only do you get to meet new friends, it goes further to help limit the impact of harvesting wild corals.


    Thank you Christopher Marks for the honour of being featured together with so many beautiful tanks that have always been an inspiration to me. Thank you all for your kind words in this great forum. I would like to thank my local reefing group, Sgreefers, for your invaluable advice... you guys know who you are. And lastly, a special thank you to my wife for putting up with the numerous hours I spend on this hobby.



    • Like 2
    • Wow 1

      Report Aquarium

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Way to go! I was just wondering - how long have you kept the chili corals? Seems a lot of people have trouble keeping them long term.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...