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  • SURVEYMAN46123

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to community member SURVEYMAN46123 and his 10 gallon nano reef for being selected for our May Reef Profile. Below is the aquarium profile SURVEYMAN46123 has written for us sharing his experiences in the hobby and this aquarium's journey over the past year! See what he's been up to and share your comments and questions in the comments section below. Be sure to follow his aquarium journal for additional photos, history, and information about this beautiful reef tank.



    Tank Specs

    Display: Innovative Marine 10 Gallon NUVO Fusion Nano all-in-one aquarium, 12" x 15" x 13"
    Lighting: Kessil A80
    Heater: Eheim 50 Watt Heater
    Circulation: Sicce Syncra Silent 0.5 return pump with Spin Stream Nozzle
    Skimmer: None
    Filtration: InTank Media Basket with filter floss and Chemi Pure Blue Nano (2 Packs – Replaced every 3 months)
    Top Off: Tunze Nano Osmolator 3152 
    Dosing: None
    Controller: None

    Established February 22nd 2017. As of May 1st 2018, 433 days old.

    Maintenance Routine

    • Daily: Scrape algae if needed, usually every three days.
    • Weekly: Turkey baste the rocks, siphon sand, change filter floss, and two gallon water change.
    • Monthly: Siphon out the rear chambers, clean media basket, scrub pump and Spin Stream nozzle.

    I feed crushed pellets once a day with either:

    • New Life Spectrum Marine Pellets
    • Hikari USA Seaweed Extreme Pellets
    • Colbalt Aquatics Marine Omni Pellets


    Twice a week I feed the corals with either:

    • Polyp Lab Reef Roids
    • New Life Spectrum Reef Cell


    Once a week with either of the above, I supplement in some Omega One Mysis Shrimp.


    • 2 Ocellaris Clowns (Flynn George and Rapunzel Peppa) My daughters named them ?
    • 1 Tailspot Blenny (Lenny)
    • 1 Yasha Goby (Yoshi)


    • 1 Cerith Snail
    • 2 Trochus Snails
    • 2 Nassarius Snails
    • 2 Scarlett Legged Hermit (Shiny and Tamatoa)
    • 1 Cleaner Shrimp (Harold)
    • 1 Candy Cane Pistol Shrimp (Mario)


    • Metallic Green Torch Coral (Euphyllia Glabrescens)
    • Purple Torch Coral
    • Aussie Gold Torch Coral
    • Indo Purple Tip Hammer Coral
    • Aussie Neon Green Hammer Coral
    • Blue Hammer Coral
    • Green Frogspawn Coral
    • Red Acan Lord
    • Watermelon Zoanthids
    • Blueberry Pie Zoanthids
    • Bam Bam Zoanthids
    • Sunny D Palythoa
    • Rasta Zoanthids
    • Unknown Yellow Zoanthids
    • Unknown Orange Zoanthids
    • Unknown Palythoa
    • Pink Zipper Palythoa
    • Cornbred Rainbow Infusion Palythoa
    • Blue/Green Ricordea Mushroom
    • Orange Ricordea Mushroom
    • Powder Blue Candy Cane Coral Colony x2
    • Duncan Coral
    • Meteor Shower Cyphastrea
    • Neon Pink Blastomussa
    • Purple Mushroom
    • Red Gorgonian (Fragged from a 25 year old colony)


    I started keeping fish once I graduated high school, unless you count the goldfish I won at the local carnival when I was 5. Ol Goldie lived for almost 7 years, but I attribute her long life to my moms weekly cleaning of her tank. My fist tank was a 20 gallon tank with guppies and other schooling fish. That tank wasn’t a success and I left the hobby for awhile. Once I moved into my own home I kept African cichlids for over a year before my first child was born. A few years ago we set up another cichlid tank which is still running in my living room.


    Quickly after setting that tank up, I stumbled across a Nano Reef on Instagram and I was intrigued. That desire to try salt was always there, but this kick started my little obsession. I also had a friend on a car forum with a nice tank so I started picking his brain. Eventually my research landed me on Nano-Reef.com and everyday at lunch I was browsing the forum. My confidence started to bloom and the itch became even stronger.




    My initial plan was to start off with a 20 gallon long tank I had in the garage, and some basic lighting. Investing in something I wasn’t sure I could succeed at was a big worry of mine, and I had convinced myself if I could keep things alive going simple, I’d upgrade. However after doing my homework for close to a year I still hadn’t pulled the trigger. Teenyreef’s tank quickly changed my mind, and I was soon researching AIO tanks and the NUVO 10 was at the top of my list. Then the week after Thanksgiving a package showed up on my porch. It was a gift from my sister, a Innovative Marine NUVO 10 kit! Bye bye 20 long, we were gonna do this right. Well, in my opinion that is.


    The NUVO was intriguing to me because I wanted to be able to hide the equipment. Also its cube shape was eye pleasing. Sure it was 10 gallons less than I had planned, but I think it’s more pleasing to the eye.


    February 2017


    Soon after getting the tank, my father and I started sketching up ideas for a stand. My wife wanted to incorporate some shelving for her snow globe collection and the rest was for the tank. Since my dad loves woodworking and I don’t personally have anything that was built with his two hands, having him build something for me was a huge plus. Something I’ll always treasure even if there is no tank. We incorporated an area to hold a 2 gallon reservoir for my ATO and cleaning equipment and another area to keep my power strip and any other items for the tank. As well as two drawers to hold food and fragging equipment.


    April 2017


    As for the tank I upgraded the return pump before adding any water with the Sicce Syncra 0.5 pump. It could push more water and it was silent. For flow I went with an IM Spin Stream nozzle. I considered multiple powerheads, but in the end I did not want any equipment showing in the tank, and for what I intended to keep it would be overkill. For heating I went with a reliable Eheim Jager heater, and keep the tank set around 79 degrees. Other than lighting the only other piece of equipment is a Tunze Nano ATO. All of this equipment fits snugly in the third chamber. There is 10 lbs of BRS Reef Saver rock and 10 lbs of Fiji Pink Sand. Until recently I’ve been using Instant Ocean Salt. It did great but I’ve since switched to IO Reef Crystals for the added Alk and Ca. I do not have my own RO/DI either. My water comes from Walmart. Distilled water, 3 gallons weekly. One for the top off and the other two for water changes. If I had a bigger tank that wouldn’t be the route I’d go, but for this tank it was the best option for me.


    August 2017


    I always knew “color” equaled $$$ when it came to corals, so movement became my focus. SPS has never been something I’ve been interested in mainly because of movement. Sure it’s there, but not as prevalent as in LPS like Euphyllia. The first time I saw a torch coral I was in love. However I was told to stay away from them as a beginner and stick to the “easy” stuff. What was my first coral though? Not a torch but a hammer coral. Haha. In the first month I had a hammer, two frags of zoanthids, and my large trumpet colony. Actually my trumpets are the only colony I have ever purchased. Everything else has been frags that I grew out. Currently there are only three frags in my tank that were purchased from a “shop”. All of my other frags have been purchased from local reefers that have fragged them from their own colonies. I prefer to purchase that way, because if someone lets you into their home for a sale you can really get a good look at their setup. I’ve found that if the tank looks awful your frag will most likely suffer in the long run. Plus local reefing buddies are also a good way to kill an hour just chatting about the hobby!


    November 2017


    The biggest change I’ve made with my tank was the lighting. For the first few months I used the stock Innovative Marine SKKYE light and it did just fine. However lighting is too important to slack on. My intention was to always use LED lighting on my tank and it was back and forth between the Kessil A80 and AI Prime. Eventually I went with the Kessil, mainly for the shimmer and simplicity of the light. I love gadgets as much as the next guy, but I felt the AI was overkill for what I wanted to keep. The Kessil is kept on a timer and on for an 8 hour period daily. Intensity is at 100%, and color kept around 40-45%. There is no plan for a future upgrade or adding a controller. Keeping things simple has worked to this point, why change it?




    My first fish was a Royal Gramma and it passed away within the first few hours. My LFS replaced it with another. Within a month it had ICH and it passed away. My tank went fallow for close to 3 months to make sure the ICH was gone. That has been my biggest disaster, and that’s really minor to what could happen. Eventually we added a Tailspot blenny and two clownfish. They have been wonderful additions to our little tank. In the winter we added a Yasha Goby and Candy Cane Pistol and I love watching them together. Honestly between the Yasha and Tailspot I have enough personality to fill up a 100 gallon tank. Love those two fish!


    As far as regrets, I don’t really have any to be completely honest. Sure I could have spent more money on jaw dropping and insanely colorful corals, but that’s not my thing. I’ve done my homework and made educated decisions. Been patient and done what I feel is right for me and my tank. Sure I’ve made mistakes, everyone is going too. I’ve learned not to panic and let my tank tell me when something is up. I do not test regularly other than salinity and temp. If something looks off for more than a couple days I’ll test. Over the past few months I noticed growth was stalling. Alk and Ca wasn’t where I wanted them to be at before I did a water change. I researched dosing and it wasn't an option for me, so I switched salts instead and my tank has been very happy.


    As far as upgrades are concerned, I’ve always wanted to upgrade to a 25 gallon lagoon. However this tank isn’t close to a finished project yet in my opinion. I have plenty of room for a few other low light corals to really fill it in. Then maybe I’ll look at an upgrade, but for now this suits me just right.

    Advice For Hobbyists

    If I have any advice is this: PATIENCE AND RESEARCH. You can’t have enough of both. Ask, research, and ask again. Choose what fits in your budget and needs. Go in with a plan and stick too it. Be different, take chances, but most of all have fun with it. If it makes you happy then the hobby is worth every penny you put into it. Also time rewards those who are patient.


    The best thing you can ever do for your tank, and honestly my favorite thing, is partial water changes. Weekly water changes have been the best thing I have ever done with my tank. I don’t believe in skimmers or deep sandbeds on nano’s. Yes I ran a cheato reactor for awhile but it was overkill. A good siphon weekly and routine maintenance goes a very long way. I feed my tank heavy but I’ve never had an outbreak of any form of algae. My belief is a strict water change routine has prevented that from happening. Also don’t overstock on clean up crews. Go light to start off with. They are cheap additions and you can always add more if you need it. I’d rather have too little than too much. It’s easier to add to than to remove contamination from death.


    Teenyreef and Lawnman have been huge inspirations for different reasons. Teeny just because it was the first NUVO 10 I could see with real potential. Lawnman’s beauty with soft corals and movement was another inspiration I wanted to mimic. Plus Lawnman is a local reefer and I’ve bugged him multiple times with various questions over the past year. He always responds and gives excellent advice. I also have to thank all of you that have answered my questions over the years and shared your knowledge with me. There are too many to thank! My club, INDMAS, is also a great resource for me and I’ve made some great friends though there as well. Lastly I’d like to thank Chris for nominating me. I’m still in awe I’ve been selected to join such a diverse group of tanks. I’m humbled.


    Paul aka @SURVEYMAN46123

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    Congrats!! Awesome tank, and I think you nailed the write-up!

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    Fun and simple tank! Keep up the great work. The placement of each coral is near perfect. 



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    Congratulations, Paul! It's been so much fun to watch your tank develop - you've really mastered the LPS/softie look in a small tank, it's absolutely beautiful. And thanks for the kind words :)

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