Congratulations to community member HarryPotter and his 73 gallon reef aquarium for being selected for our March Reef Profile! Sometimes our community members outgrow their nano reefs, HarryPotter's Red Sea Reefer is an evolution of two nano reef tanks that came before it, showing tremendous growth and development. Below is the aquarium profile HarryPotter 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 HarryPotter'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.
Right off the bat I would like to thank Christopher Marks for creating and maintaining such an excellent forum. Also, this tank would not be here today without the enthusiastic and continued help of Nano-Reef.com members, who have stuck with me and encouraged me throughout both my idiotic ventures and “smooth patches” in this tank's history. You all know who you are, and I infinitely admire your patience and appreciate your help throughout the year. I am grateful to have my tank featured, especially as it is not quite a “nano” reef anymore!
Established February 6, 2016 - Contents transferred from a 45 gallon I started here on N-R May 16, 2015.
Every 2 weeks I do a 20 gallon water change using Red Sea Coral Pro salt. I fill my Brute plastic trashcan that has a circulation pump with RO/DI water, add the 6lbs of salt (I stole the kitchen scale!), and check the salinity. Then I mix up my sand bed and siphon tank water into a second, identical, Brute container. This way, I take out and add the same amount. Post water change I check salinity and dust off the slime from corals, making sure nothing was buried. I will also remove any dead snails and move corals that I might have noticed an issue with during the week. I try to “Check in on” the tank daily, to make sure nothing requires my immediate attention.
I test when I suspect there is an issue, based on my close watch on coral health and polyp extension. Besides salinity, I do not test regularly, partly because I can be disorganized and lose pieces of the test kits. This is frequently criticized and I cannot recommend this because there is no warning of arising issues. But if one tests very frequently, that can lead to chasing parameters and possible instability. I would rather have slightly less optimal STABLE parameters than bouncing parameters. My ultimate fear is that my love of marine life and this hobby is lessened by monotony, making the hobby a chore, so I use large 20% water changes to bring parameters back to standard.
This tank is fed Mysis and Reef Roids. Yep, that’s it!
Every week I clean the glass with the Flipper magnet. Every other week during my water change I use a razor to clean areas I missed, clean the skimmer and socks, rearrange corals that are fighting, and any other tasks at hand.
I dose 36ml of Ca and 36ml of Alk daily, on alternating hours. The 1L containers need to be refilled monthly. Which, now that I think of it, makes sense. 1000ml container/36ml per day = 28 days!
- 2x True Percula Clownfish
- 1x Pencil Wrasse
- 1x Bengali Cardinalfish
- 1x Midas Blenny
- 1x Bicolor Blenny
- Kenya Tree
- Tons of assorted Zoanthids
- Tons of assorted Euphyllia sp!
- Candy Cane
- Assorted Acanthastrea
- That’s what fills up my tank!
- Tons of Montipora & Acropora
- Bubble Tip Anemone
- 18x Rock Flower Anemones
- Maxima Clam
My family has always been pet friendly and had a few freshwater tanks, ranging from cichlids to mollies. My first marine tank was a JBJ 28 that I set up in one day, per my LFS’s advice, with two clownfish, a bubble tip anemone, and live rock. You can imagine how that went. Six months later I tried again doing it “properly” after reading forums and being introduced to Nano-Reef.com, and my second attempt went really well. I was enjoying my JBJ 28g AIO, and added a 10g tank in the stand to have a DIY refugium. I gradually progressed from mushrooms and xenia to montipora, clams, and acropora, my current favorite coral. About a year post-restart, I was sent a JBJ RL-45 in compensation for a faulty heater that cooked a freshwater tank of my fathers. Here is where I started my first thread, “Harry’s Hyper JBJ Rl-45”. From there, my passion and love for the hobby grew exponentially as I learned from the dozens of years of combined experience from incredible members here. After another year, my corals were close to hitting the glass, and I quickly snatched an incredible deal on this Red Sea Reefer 350. My transfer is well documented here; my biggest mistake was that it lacked nutrients in the new tank to support my clams.
My goal for the Reefer 350 was to have a thriving mixed reef, of everything from acropora to zoanthids and anemones. Most of my equipment came from the initial purchase of the used tank such as the return pump, skimmer, and Apex controller. With the quality equipment, a true mixed reef was possible. Being modern and sleek was a goal, so I hung my lighting fixture and kept almost all cables out of the tank. An exception to that is my heater, which people comment on, but I have that in the display so if I forget to turn the return pump back on, the temperature will remain stable. On the left side of my tank I have an island of about 18 rock flower anemones that actively spawn. On the right side, the rock is absolutely covered in hard corals. In the center, the largest island has a jumble of LPS and SPS corals, with a few softies towards the front. I separated these to create different environments and to create visual appeal. The right island was the centerpiece of my 45-gallon AIO and the rest was fresh reefcleaners rock, which I love for the porosity, no leaching, and lack of pests.
In the last 6 months or so, things have taken off to the extreme. My hard corals are growing like weeds, requiring trimming every water change to avoid warfare. The back of the tank is covered by coralline every month, which I take this off to keep the sleek, cordless look I aimed for.
This tank is here to stay. The corals are almost hitting the glass again but this time there will be no more upgrades, its time to frag!
Words Of Wisdom
- Don’t add anything you can’t test for
- Don’t chase numbers
- Don’t use chemical media unless there is no other option
- When in doubt, do a water change!
- Mix sand with every water change to avoid nutrient buildup
I love T5s. Before settling on my ATI SunPower, I tried Ecotech Radion, a NanoBox fixture, and a cheap Ocean Revive black box. The results were okay, but the disco ball effect, spotlighting, and lack of spread were quite bothersome. Without a doubt LEDs can grow incredible coral, but I have yet to see a LED setup that can produce similar results for a tank this size under $2000. Hybrid fixtures, with LEDs and T5s, seem like an excellent choice yet are very costly at this point in time.
I don’t feel that skimmers are a necessity in a reef tank, but they result in less water changes and lower nutrients in your tank. The ability to feed more while still maintaining nutrient export results in healthier fish and corals!
An aesthetic necessity if one wants to be mimicking natural reefs. With proper maintenance it is easy to prevent nutrient buildup in your sand bed, and I cannot see myself having a tank without one. I love wrasses, many of which require sand beds, and prefer the look compared to bare bottom tanks. The downside to sand beds is that one cannot have as much flow low in the tank, which allows detritus to build up in comparison to high flow bare bottoms that keep detritus it in the water column to be filtered out.
Dosing & Feeding
In a SPS dominated tank, dosing makes growth possible. To maintain parameters without supplementing basic elements and buffers would require a ridiculous amount of water changes, that I, among many, don’t have the time or patience for. As for feeding I keep it simple, using just mysis and Reef-Roids to feed my fish and coral accordingly. Reef-Roids is my coral food of choice due to the polyp extension it provokes. Other foods I tried did not as dramatic an effect.