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  • Clown79

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to community member Clown79 and her 25 gallon nano reef for being selected for our June 2019 Reef Profile! Home to an incredibly vibrant array of unique coral, fish and inverts, this lagoon reef flourishes under her dedicated care. In this article Clown79 shares her experiences in the hobby and this aquarium's journey over the past four years. Share your comments and questions in the comments section below, and follow her aquarium journal for additional photos, history, and information about this gorgeous reef tank.

    Clown79's 25 Gallon Nano Reef Lagoon

    I would like to thank Christopher for selecting my tank for TOTM. I am truly surprised and honoured for my tank being featured amongst all the beautiful and equally worthy tanks on Nano-Reef. Thank you to everyone here on Nano-Reef for the friendships made help, guidance, support, and fun times. This is such a great community.



    Tank Specs

    Display: Innovative Marine NUVO Fusion 25gal Lagoon 24" x 20" x 12"

    Lighting: Ai Prime HD & Ai Prime, custom light fixture.

    Wavemaker: Aqamai Kps

    Return Pump: Innovative Marine Mighty Jet  538gph with Vivid Creative Aquatics RFG nozzles.

    Heating: Cobalt Neo-Therm 75w with Inkbird ITC-308 controller.

    Filtration: Innovative Marine Media Baskets x 2

    Filter Media: 2 layers of filter floss in each, Seachem Matrix Carbon, Purigen.

    Dosing: Manual

    Top-Off: Manual


    Established June 2015, Upgraded October 2017


    Maintenance Routine


    • Visually inspect the tank & livestock – AM/PM
    • Top off evaporation – AM/PM
    • Feed fish
    • Dose Esv – Bionic 2 Part


    • 3-4gal water changes every 1-2 weeks
    • Stir sand bed and use turkey baster on the rocks mid-week.
    • Change filter floss mid-week.
    • Mid-week test Alkalinity.
    • Feed Reef Roids and dose Phytoplankton.


    • 2-3 weeks I change out the carbon.
    • 3-4 months I change out the Purigen, I don’t recharge it.
    • 3 months I do a thorough cleaning of pumps, hoses, and wavemaker.
    • 2 weeks I test Nitrate & Phosphate.
    • Monthly test Calcium & Magnesium.

    Water Changes

    I am more relaxed about my maintenance routine, it’s based on the tank's needs. As the tank has matured, there is less frequency at times with water changes and testing. I go with how the tank looks and the happiness of inhabitants.

    • I change around 3 to 4 gallons every 1 -2 weeks.
    • I start off by scraping my glass of any algae, use the turkey baster on the rocks, lightly brush off the wavemaker & nozzles as needed, vacuum sand lightly.
    • I siphon any detritus from the back chambers (alternate each week) excluding where the pod condo is, I don’t want to lose any pods.
    • Inspect heater.
    • Change filter floss.
    • Rinse media bags in water change water to remove any detritus.
    • Check salinity once done.
    • Test Alkalinity.


    • Ocellaris Clownfish: Pink & Floyd

    • Midas Blenny: Frankie

    Fish Feeding

    I like to feed a variety of fish food to provide as much nutrients to the fish as possible. I change it up throughout the week but feed daily.

    • PE Mysis flakes.
    • New Life Spectrum Thera A pellets.
    • Omega pellets.
    • Hikari Frozen mysis, Omega One Reef Formula, Cyclops.

    Soft Corals

    • Yellow Fiji Leather
    • Green Star Polyps
    • Ricordea Yuma & Florida
    • Discosoma Mushrooms
    • Zoanthids

    LPS Corals

    • Acan Lords
    • Euphyllia
    • Fungia Plate
    • Blastomussa – Merlati & Wellsi
    • Purple Duncan
    • Chalice
    • Dragon Soul Brain

    SPS Corals

    • Montipora -  Digitata & Capricornis
    • Birdsnest
    • Stylophora

    Coral Feeding

    I feed the corals once a week. I spot feed LPS, softies, and with the remaining food I broadcast feed the SPS. I prefer to feed with all water movement off for 10 mins, it gives corals time to eat and prevents the food from ending up in the filter. I dose phytoplankton weekly at lights out and turn all water movement off for 30 mins.


      • Tiger Conch
      • Nassarius Snails
      • Trochus Snails
      • Cerith Snail
      • Spiny Star Astrea Snail
      • Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
      • Scarlet Hermit Crabs


      Back in 2007 I started my 55g reef tank. I had already had numerous other aquariums but not a reef tank. It was an easy decision since I had had a long fascination with reefs and its inhabitants. I remember the excitement in planning and researching my first reef tank. The joy and feeling of accomplishment was great, watching everything grow, the symbiotic relationships, it was all amazing. I also remember the mistakes, challenges and lessons learned. I learned so much from the hobby and I really enjoyed having my aquariums.


      Unfortunately due to life changes, I had to shut down my tanks. It was a difficult decision but I knew that it wasn’t the end of my reefing days. In 2015 life changed again and I had the chance to start a reef tank which I greatly missed having in my life. I had to do research all over again as so much had changed since my first tank. I started off with a standard 15g on a budget. I used 95% liverock and 5% dry. The tank cycled smoothly in 7 days.


      Original 15 Gallon Nano Reef


      I had some issues along the way. I took my time researching and finding the cause of the issues and how to deal with it. Patience and going slow was something I learned with my 55g after making mistakes with rushing. The best advice I ever received – go slow, don’t panic, no rushing.


      First time hosting frogspawn coral


      The tank went fairly smooth besides me changing aquascape, corals, and equipment because I wanted something different. Had a few fish losses from jumping fish and my killer Pom Pom crab. Upgrade time came within 2 years. I really fell in love with the Innovative Marines and went with the Lagoon. I was really excited to get this tank.


      Tank Transfer.jpg
      Tank transfer 15gal to 25gal IM Lagoon


      The idea of the transfer was intimidating and worrisome. I didn’t want to lose anything in the process, I had never done a transfer with a reef. I made sure I had everything I needed and could possibly need ahead of the upgrade. Organizing everything ahead of time helped a lot with the transfer. It still took all day but in the end we were happy and exhausted.


      Dark Side of the Lagoon - Moonlit Night


      I've learned a lot with this tank and enjoyed all the different experiences from it. The tank has helped me during stressful times, it’s relaxing, and has given me the opportunity to meet others with the same passion as me.


      There are so many beautiful tanks out there. I went through a lot of TOTM’s, journals, and threads, it was very helpful and inspiring. I learned so much and continue learning from everyone. I gained inspiration and knowledge from others experiences, challenges, mistakes, and achievements.




      Dinos! The day I confirmed I had dinoflagellates I felt defeated. Dinos!!! Every reefers worst nightmare. I wasn’t ready to give up and of course made a few mistakes to start. I started doing some hard core research. I learned a lot! I decided I wanted to go the safe and natural way to beat the Dinos because the cause is often lack of nutrients and biodiversity. That’s the perfect environment for Dinoflagellates to appear and flourish. At the time my nitrates and phosphates had bottomed out. I stopped water changes, cut photo period, sucked dinos out daily, changed carbon more often, seeded copepod & rotifers, started dosing phytoplankton, and started heavy coral feedings.




      Within a month the dinos could not be detected under microscope. It took getting my nutrients above recommended levels to beat dino’s but it worked. The one piece of advice is confirming what dinos you are dealing with because treatment can be different depending on the dinoflagellate. I know Dinos can appear at any time so I am trying to keep the conditions they don’t favour. I made a pod condo and seeded it, I wanted a place for them to be safe and reproduce. They are dinos main competitor. I have continued my phytoplankton dosing just in smaller quantities and less frequent. Since adding this to my routine I have a lot more pods, corals are happier, more colourful, and I have had growth. I didn’t lose any coral directly from the Dino’s but my next challenge was Philaster parasite (RTN parasite). I lost 2 corals to it.

      Thoughts & Wisdom


      • I believe in having nutrients. The system and its inhabitants from the tiniest to the largest need it. Years ago zero nutrients was recommended but as the hobby, experience, and research has evolved we now know that nutrients is important.
      • Having low to none existent nutrients can have as many consequences as very high nutrients.
      • I now keep my nutrients higher than the recommended levels.  My tank has seen a marked improvement since I started phytoplankton dosing which does come with higher phosphates.


      • When I first started, I tested weekly if not more. I recommend testing in the beginning to help understand what is going on in the tank and how it effects the livestock. It gives you a good idea of how each parameter is used and how they effect eachother.
      • If there is an issue in the tank testing is going to help correct it, if the parameters are the cause.
      • As my tank has become stable with maturity, I have become more relaxed with my testing.


      • Lighting is important to corals. It’s their life source. I have experienced growth and colouration with both budget and brand name lights.
      • Understanding the importance of lighting, PAR, spectrum is something I think helps with choosing a good light. Doing a lot of research on coral lighting needs is going to prevent issues that arise with lighting.
      • There can be too much light and too little light. I have given low light and seen little growth but I have also used too high of light and burned corals. Knowing what each individual coral needs in respect to lighting will prevent  these issues.


      • Flow is important for not only gas exchange, it supplies food to the livestock, and helps keep the tank clean moving detritus to the filters.
      • I believe you can have too much flow, some corals simply don’t like it and it can damage them whereas other corals need high flow. I feel the tank will let you know if you have too little or too much by the corals appearance and detritus levels.


      • Stability is very important, more so than achieving a certain number.
      • Dosing usually becomes necessary when you have corals that use up parameters, it’s important to not blindly dose but to replenish parameters that are used.
      • Testing is important when one wants to start dosing and while dosing to ensure that parameters aren’t jumping everywhere.
      • Dosers are very helpful but manual dosing works as well.
      • Everyone’s number one advice is going slow and being patient. This is really important in this hobby at any stage. It’s not fun when starting out but going slow does pay off in the end. I learned rushing or panicking when there is an issue ends up creating more problems and some which aren’t easy to deal with.
      • Do lots of research, read TOTM’s, journals, and threads, things are always changing and there is always room for learning.
      • Water source is really important. Getting your municipal water report can help with choosing what water you will use and even when choosing RODI system filters.
      • Getting to know your tank by visually inspecting it regularly will allow you to know when there is an issue and how to proceed.
      • Keeping track of parameters, media changes, upgrades, changes in the tank, and any issues in the tank is a good habit to get into. It is always helpful with any situation you may encounter.

      Future Plans

      Since I just upgraded I’m pretty content watching everything grow and mature. My near future goals will be adding another fish and hopefully a Scolymia. Maintaining good nutrient levels to keep the corals happy and keeping Dino’s away. In the distant future I would like to upgrade to a much larger system.




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      Beautiful!   Hope to have a lagoon tank as stunning as yours one day.



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      Lovely lagoon!  I love the yellow fungia plate.


      Can you share what are your target (ideal) water parameters?

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      Nano Rob


       Congratulations,  your tank is beautiful  😁

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      Congrats....this tank is impressive!!

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      Congrats... Amazingly good write up. 

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      reef r madness


      Truly amazing tank..

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      Thanks so much everyone.



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      Beautiful tank! I've been considering a toadstool leather for my tank. I really admire your Fiji yellow! 

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      7 hours ago, Firefish15 said:

      Beautiful tank! I've been considering a toadstool leather for my tank. I really admire your Fiji yellow! 

      Thank you.

      Toadstools are great and easy. Sometimes grumpy corals.


      Here, yellow fiji's are hard to come by. I had been waiting 3.5yrs to find one

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      Congrats on being featured, Clown79! Your tank is beautiful and the mix of colors you have in there is amazing. 

      • Thanks 1

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      1 hour ago, Donnan said:

      Do you run a skimmer? 

      No, I don't run one on any of my tanks

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