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  • YHSublime

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to community member YHSublime and his 22 gallon nano reef for being selected for our July 2019 Reef Profile! With 3 sides to enjoy, this incredibly diverse peninsula reef aquarium offers a stunning view from virtually every angle. Through careful planning and dedicated sculpting, a masterpiece is growing! In this article YHSublime shares his experiences in the hobby and this aquarium's journey over the past year and a half. Share your comments and questions in the comments section below, and follow his aquarium journal for additional photos, history, and information about this stunning reef tank.

    YHSublime's 22 Gallon Peninsula Nano Reef


    Tank Specs

    Display: Mr. Aqua 22 Gallon Long (36" x 12" x 12") on a custom built stand.

    Rock: Started with dry rock and a chunk of live rock from a friend who I trusted!

    Sand: Used to, but not anymore!

    Lighting: Used to be an ATI 36" 4 bulb sunpower. Now its a custom LED fixture. 30 royal blue (452nm), 15 Neutral White (4500k), 12 Cool Blue (475nm), 9 Deep Red (660nm), 9 Turquiose (495nm), 6 True Violet (405nm), 6 Hyper Violet (430nm).

    Sump: Trigger Systems Ruby 36 Sump
    Heater: Cobalt Neotherm

    Circulation: x2 MP10's and a Mag 5 return pump

    Skimmer: Reef Octopus 110 INT

    Filtration: None

    Filter Media: None

    Top Off: Tunze Automatic Top Off unit.

    Dosing: ESV B-Ionic. Home made dosing containers, and Bubble Magus doser. 13ml a day of each solution stagged 30 minutes apart.

    Controller: None. I have a Reef Angel that I'll never learn how to program. Everything is independent right now, I have a Storm X controller for the light that I don't use, just a manual plug timer for on/off.





    Established November 2017, 19 Months Old

    Maintenance Routine

    I clean the glass when it's dirty! I have an algae scraper that can get down into the corners, so it helps keep things tidy in small spaces. I changed my water about once a month, 7 or so gallons. I test Alkalinity once a week with a Hanna checker, and then I write it down in the back of my work notebook and work backwards. I feed once (sometimes twice) a day, exclusively LRS.


    • 2 Platinum Clownfish (Amphiprion percula)

    Soft Coral

    • Zoanthid Collection

      • Armor of Gods

      • Cats Eye

      • Scrambled Eggs

      • WWC Twizzlers

      • Fruit Loops

      • Red Devil PE

      • Rastas

      • Orange Oxides

      • Playboy Bunnies

      • Shell Shockers

      • Miami Vice

      • Reverse Miami Vice

      • Utter Chaos

      • Strawberry Wines

      • Space Monsters

      • Pink Galaxies

      • Speckled Kraks

      • Sunny D's

      • Starbursts

      • Mandarin Oranges

      • Pink Diamonds

      • Yodas

      • Eyes of Sauron

      • Mowhawks

      • Cinamon Grandis

      • Purple People Eaters

      • Green Monsters

      • Darth Mauls

      • Hyper Jubilees

      • A few unknown varieties

    • Mushroom Collection

      • Jawbreaker mushrooms

      • Godzilla Bounce mushrooms

      • A mixed variety of Yuma's and Ricordea's

    LPS Corals

    • Space Invaders Pectinia

    • Some Rainbow Acans that have been hanging on for a year +

    • One Dendrophyllia

    SPS Corals

    • Reefgen Cervleen Blue Stag

    • Pink Lemonade

    • Bubble Gum Digi

    • Walt Disney

    • Strawberry Shortcake

    • PC Rainbow

    • PC Superman

    • Sunset Millie

    • Hulk Tenius

    • Cali Tort

    • Setossa

    • DC Aquaculture House Millie

    • Cornbread Purple Planet

    • Reef Raft Acid Trip

    • Cherry Corals Watermelon Millie

    • ASD Rainbow

    • Reef Raft Excalibur

    • World Wide Corals Pink Tip

    • Battle Corals Blueberry Fields

    • Ice Cream Cake Acro

    • Reef Raft Event Horizon

    • Reef Raft Pink Floyd

    • Sexy Corals Orange Passion

    • Red Dragon

    • Reef Raft Pink Cadillac

    • Jason Fox Homewrecker

    • Jason Fox Fox Flame

    • Battle Corals Battle Stag

    • TGC Cherry Bomb

    • TCK Pikachu

    • ARC Master Yoda

    • ARC Fireworks

    • Jason Fox Beach Bum

    • World Wide Corals Kung Pow

    • Top Shelf Aquatics Minion


    • I have a giant rainbow anemone, and a small rainbow anemone that is one of the nicest I've found in a long time.

    • I periodically stock up at Reef Cleaners. I also have collumbellid snails that reproduce in the tank. I keep a mix of hermits, snails, Emerald Crabs and Peppermint Shrimp.


    I have kept tanks as small as 5 gallons all the way up to 200 gallons. I have only been reefing for about 8 years, but I've had a tank for (almost) the entire time.




    I have always loved the look of the nano rimless tanks, I looked long and hard at the 12 gallon Mr. Aqua's, but I knew deep down that 12 gallons wouldn't be enough room for me. The previous owner of this tank was a local hobbyist having a moving sale, I was buying some corals and fish in person, and when I arrived I saw he had the tank I had been searching for, a 22 gallon long Mr. Aqua! I desperately tried to convince him to sell it to me, but he was set on keeping it for the move to set it up again. Not 24 hours later he texted me and said he had decided not bring it anymore, so I immediately went and picked it up! I had been low key looking for a 22 gal long for years, my patience paid off!


    December 2017


    I had a history of rushing new tanks along, so this go around I tried something new, and thoughtfully planned most of the details! Since my condo is relatively small, I wanted to make sure it wasn't overwhelmingly large. With my love of clean rimless tanks, function followed form in this instance. The aquarium itself acts as a divider from my kitchen and living room space into the bedroom and bathroom area. I tried out a variety of stands and wasn't happy with any of them. They were all either flimsy, or nowhere close the dimensions I wanted. I ended up finding a local who was looking to branch into some woodworking. I recruited him to build me a stand with the following stipulations: I wanted ledges on either end. I wanted it to be a tad shorter (top down is the best view) than your average stand. And I wanted the bottom to open from either side for maintenance. Originally the previous owner had fitted the tank with an internal overflow that took up 1/4 of the tank real estate. Standard internal overflows are rarely streamlined, the most practical solution I could find was the Eshopps S overflow box, so that's what I ended up replacing it with. I even drilled holes in the top of the stand to run the plumbing through, because I believe you should be able to have function and form together! Two drains (Herbie Style) and a hard plumbed return. I have often fantasized about having a small tank like this hooked up to a giant 100+ gallon sump behind a wall. I was able to create a smaller scale version of this dream. The sump is a Ruby Trigger Systems 36, which when full can hold almost 35 gallons, but as it sits now probably holds close to the same volume of water as the display. Since the sump is larger than the Mr. Aqua, I was able to plan my ledges accordingly, and left exactly enough space inside the stand to fit the sump, ATO container, dosing containers, and doser, which is mounted to the roof of the stand!


    March 2018


    This tank has gone through a couple of iterations. Originally I started with a sand bed. Being a Peninsula style, I wanted to make sure the equipment only existed off the back wall. The return pump is a Mag 5, and there is room for an MP10 circulation pump. This was causing all my sand to push off the front of the tank, and form a sand dune in the middle of the tank. Eventually I removed the sand.  At the start of the bare bottom transition, not having sand really bothered me, but I soon started covering it with GSP instead. Then I got rid of that, which was a maintenance headache, and now it's all coralline algae and corals covering the bottom. I have since had to break my rule and added another MP10 circulation pump to the front of the tank due to the copious acropora coral additions. The main rock structure has been the one constant throughout it all. Due to the amount of moving I had been doing, this tank was designed to be easily torn down and built back up in a new location. I can carry the stand and tank by myself, there are union fittings appropriately placed on my plumbing, and my rock work can be fit into 5 gallon buckets.

    Lighting wise, the tank originally was powered with an ATI T5 florescent lighting system. Once again however, my environment started dictating things around the aquarium. It was entirely too hot to run T5's in my small living room! My place was built in the 1940's, and there is no drywall, it's plaster and lathe. Because of this, it retains heat exceptionally well, and I don't have central air. Air conditioning comes from built in wall units. It was counter intuitive (not to mention expensive) pumping my AC to counter the heat from the ATI fixture, so I migrated to LED lights. The LED's are a custom built, but not by me. Prior to my tank, the fixture was exploding SPS growth over a 100 gallon tank. Over the Mr. Aqua, the fixture almost physically covers the entire top of the tank, some would argue that it's overkill. There are 84 (3 watt) Cree LED's: 30 royal blue XT-E's (452nm), 15 Neutral White XT-E's (4500k), 12 Cool Blue XP-E (475nm), 9 Deep Red 660nm Exotics, 9 Turquoise Exotics (495nm), 6 True Violet Exotics (405nm), 6 Hyper Violet Exotics (430nm). All of this is hooked up to a Storm X controller, designed to interface with an Apex, neither of which I use. I have all the lights on set to 65% from turn on time 11:00am to lights out around 11:00pm. Other uses for this light could be steering ships clear of rocks, or landing airplanes at night! 😄 


    May 2018


    I like to think that I'm the biggest proponent of KISS that you'll ever meet. In terms of filtration, I do about a 6 to 7 gallon water change once a month. I used to do a lot more, but as the tank matures I find I can neglect it longer. I run a Reef Octopus 110 INT skimmer, and skim dry, but only because I'm lazy. I have a refugium in the sump that slowly grows cheato and dragons breath. And hair algae! My top off holds about 3-4 gallons, and I need to refresh it every 4 days. I dose, but only ESV 2 part for my Calcium and Alkalinity. Even with my list of corals, I'm only adding 13ml a day of each solution. My tank is too small for a calcium reactor, and I don't have the space for one even if it wasn't. I like the ESV because it accounts for Magnesium, and that's one less thing and one less point of failure.


    July 2018


    Initially I made sure the tank cycled, but I also let it ride for two months without stocking. For the start of the tanks life after it completed cycling, I only checked salinity. When I started adding SPS I became a fanatic about testing my Alkalinity. I used to test dKH twice a day, and have records for the past year. Now I test about once a week. Once in a blue moon I will test for Calcium. I try not to knee jerk react to results, especially if they are off. If there's anything that has provided me success, it was been consistency. There are a ton of ways to control and adjust parameters in your tank, but I believe time, and proper husbandry will swing your tank into a correct rhythm.


    October 2018


    I'm lucky enough to work from home, so feeding time exists at least once a day, sometimes twice. I feed exclusively frozen LRS blend. I take a chunk and defrost it in saltwater in a small container in the fridge. When I feed I take cut all my pumps and flow and spot feed about my Platinum Clownfish pair, and whatever they don't catch ends up in the anemone. I have a variety of emerald crabs, hermits, snails, and peppermint shrimp that also will make their way over for feasting. I expected the peppermint shrimp to die a long time ago, but they have all thrived, and grown gigantic. I'll use a pipette to feed, and I'll take the murky water from defrosting the food and spot it over the corals if I'm looking to zen out a little bit. Otherwise, I keep my flow off for about 15 minutes, then I'll blast the leftovers around and turn all the pumps back on.


    June 2019


    I originally intended to grow primarily softies and LPS with this nano reef, but it didn't take long for the SPS bug to grab a hold, it happened early on. I'm a firm believer in only keeping what you're successful with, so if a coral dies on my watch, I wont keep trying. While there are a lot of higher valued pieces shoved in there, the OG's like Strawberry Shortcake or the Green Tenuis are still show stoppers, and are some of my favorites! Taking the acropora and essentially trimming it bonsai style keeps it fresh for me. I've been able to 'train' growth and sculpt them.

    Changes Along The Way

    The lighting swap was pretty big change, plus the addition of another MP10 circulation pump. I wanted to keep the front glass clean, I think that was a huge part of the aesthetic. Adding all the acropora I could and expecting enough flow off the back wall was poorly thought out. It's not a huge deal at the end of the day, as it makes such a huge positive difference.

    Goals & Future Plans

    I would like to eventually hook up a controller. I keep telling myself I'll save up for the Apex, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It took me a long time to figure it out, but the aesthetic and placement of your aquarium is just as important as the actual tank itself. I can't imagine another way to setup a tank in my current space after all the planning and thought that went into it. Another tank (besides this 22) that I have had my eyes on for years is a Deep Blue 60 or 80.


    Everything in my tank started as a frag. It's always a milestone for me when I can cut the pump and coral is sticking out past the water line. I realize this is arbitrary, but it's already happening with my fastest growing acro, and I can't wait to see if I can get them ALL there. It will be interesting to see, I think keeping parameters steady will become more of a tightrope walk, but I'm up to the challenge.


    I'm definitely in it for the coral, but when I have the space some day, I will do a big tank for the sole reason of having a Pomacanthus xanthometopo (Blueface) and a Pomacanthus imperato (Emperor), and a school of Hemitaurichthys polylepis (Yellow Pyramid).

    Words of Wisdom

    Nothing good happens fast. Test, but don't chase numbers.

    Advice For New Hobbyists

    Go slow. If you can wait, cycle your tank for 3 months before you start adding livestock. Use the community here at your finger tips, but don't forget to read books! Never stop learning!

    Tips & Tricks

    Keep consistent water quality. Have a backup plan. I keep extra pumps and heaters. Do preventative maintenance on your equipment. If you're going to spend a ton of money on what's in your aquarium, you should also be prepared to buy a generator, or a nice battery backup, the insurance will be paramount in the event of an emergency or power failure.

    Thoughts On...

    • Lighting Technology
      It's light, it grows things 😉 If electric/heat/money wasn't an issue, I would probably run a variety of T5, Metal Halide, and LED.
    • Skimmers
      You can have a nice tank without one. My current Reef Octopus has been my favorite skimmer thus far.
    • Sandbeds
      Look natural and I love them, but I don't have one! I have not lost any sleep over it.
    • Dosing and Feeding
      If you can't test for it, then don't put it in your aquarium. Stay away from dosing blindly or at random, calculate what your corals are using and then add it back in. Feed often, and feel well.
    • Aquaculture
      It's good!
    • Foods
      Feed quality frozen, and make sure your fish are getting everything they need.
    • Coral Fads
      Don't chase them, keep what you like.
    • Cleanup Crews
      It's not one and done, restock! Make sure you choose the right types depending on the job!


    Thanks to the Nano-Reef Community and Christopher Marks for the nomination and feature! It's a real honor, and I'm happy to be able to share what has been my favorite tank yet! Nano-Reef.com was instrumental in my research for putting this tank together. My hope is that somewhere along the line, my experience with this build can help out another hobbyist. Follow me on Instagram @YHSublime for reef updates (spiked with my other hobbies, beer and English Bulldogs).



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    Congrats and well-deserved! With a tank like this I knew it would only be a matter of time before you got TOTM. 😉

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    Wow!! Congratulations! Your tank is so beautiful - very well stocked and looks like it fits in perfectly in your home, with its location, the light, and the stand. Enjoyed the write up too!! 


    Perfect fireworks for a July TOTM!!! 

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