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  • Zuma

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to community member Zuma and his 48 gallon nano reef for being selected for our October 2019 Reef Profile! This SPS dominant reef tank has shown tremendous growth in its first year, flourishing with simple dedicated care. In this article Zuma shares his experiences in the hobby and this aquarium's journey over the past year. Share your comments and questions in the comments section below, and follow his aquarium journal for additional photos, history, and information about this beautiful nano reef tank.

    Zuma's 48 Gallon Nano Reef Aquarium

    October-2019-Featured-Reef-Profile-FTS.jpg

    Tank Specs

    Display: AquaTop Rimless 48 Gallon (36”x18”x18”), black painted back panel, drilled to accepted an Eshopps Eclipse M overflow.

    Stand: DIY plywood stand.

    Rock: K.P. Aquatics Aquacultured Live Rock.

    Sump: DIY Acrylic (26”x 14” x 14”) with three chambers.
    Lighting: 2 Radion XR15 G3 Pro's w/ RMS mounts (running AB+ schedule).
    Heater: Eheim Jager 150 watt heater.
    Circulation: 2 Vortech MP10's set to reef crest mode (50%), Jebao DCP 4000 return pump.
    Skimmer: Eshopps X-120.
    Filtration: Cheato refugium and filter sock (sometimes...)
    Filter Media: Occasionally use a bit of carbon.
    Top Off: Smart Micro ATO w/ Kalkwasser in top off reservoir.
    Dosing: B-Ionic Calcium and Alkalinity.
    Controller: None

     

    Established October 2018

    Maintenance Routine

    I'm all about keeping maintenance low on this reef, and when you read about some of the more successful old school tanks, people tend to mention that if your tank is doing well, keep your hands out and let it do its thing! That's assuming it is established and doing well, of course. 😉 

     

    I feed the 1 cube of food daily and check to see how everything is doing; it's fun to see what the various fish and inverts are up to each day. I clean the algae off the glass about twice a week and perform a 5 gallon water change once a week on the weekends, along with changing or rising the filter sock in the sump. I try to siphon detritus out of the sump at this time as well. I usually harvest some cheato macro algae out of the refugium and empty and clean the skimmer cup during the water change too. I used to test my water parameters weekly for the first few months of the tank, once it became stable I dialed it back to monthly tests. That's pretty much it for maintenance, other then my daily observations, which is part of the fun.

    Fish

    • Randall's Goby

    • Picasso Clown (2)

    • Springeri Damsel

    • Leopard Wrasse

    • Rainford Goby

    • Atlantic Blue Tang

    Soft Coral

    • Various Zoanthids

      • Rasta's

      • Eagle Eye's

      • Sunny D's

      • Fruit Loops

      • Scrambled eggs

      • Bam Bam's

      • Chucky's bride

      • Various no-name greenies

    • Tyree Green Leather Coral

    • Ricordea Mushrooms

    LPS Coral

    • Couple of Acans

    • Duncan Coral

    • Meteor Shower Cyphastrea

    • Candy Cane Coral

    • Hammer and Torch Corals

    SPS Coral

    • Idaho Grape and Red Montipora Caps

    • Jedi Mind Trick

    • ORA Green Birds Nest

    • ASD Rainbow Milli

    • Red Planet Milli

    • Various Acropora Tortuosa (Cali Tort, Big E's Navy, Miyagi, a wild colony)

    • Forrest Fire Digi

    • Tri-Color Valida

    • Bali Green Slimmer

    Invertebrates

    • Blue Carpet Anemone

    • Fighting Conch (I love this guy and its crazy eyes!)

    • Blue Leg Hermit Crabs

    • Trochus, Asteria, and Turbo Snails

    • Limpets

    • All types of orange, blue and white sponges, various feather dusters, sea squirts and worms that came on the live rock.

    History

    I've been keeping aquariums for a long time, both freshwater and saltwater. My first few tanks were actually “biotope” type tanks without realizing that's what they were at the time. I grew up close to the beach and my friends and I would collect critters from the tide pools, bring home buckets of ocean water and sand to set up tanks in my room. We would observe all the life for about a week and then put everything back in the tide pools, then do it all over again, good stuff. I then moved on to cichlids and community tanks, I even had a reef tank back when “Berlin” tanks were all the rage. More recently I got really into freshwater planted tanks after seeing one of Takashi Amano's books and just being blown away by the aquascapes.

     

    freshwater-planted-tank.jpg
    My Freshwater Planted Tank

     

    I hadn't kept a reef tank for over a decade, but after a recent trip to Hawaii the reef bug bit me pretty hard and I set up an IM Nuvo 20 nano reef. I decided to go with KP Aquatics aquacultured live rock as I know good live rock is the backbone of a reef's bio-filter and is worth every penny in my opinion. It is also so cool to see what incredible life is in and on it, all sorts of interesting hitchhikers!

     

    IM20.jpg
    Original IM Nuvo 20 Nano Reef

     

    After some success with the 20 gallon tank I decided to get a larger tank that was the exact same dimensions of my freshwater planted tank, 36”x18”x18”. I was trying my best to do the reef tank on a budget, so I built the sump, ATO reservoir, and stand myself; it took a bit of time and research but I was very happy with how they all turned out at the end of the day.

     

    stand.jpg

     

    I did not have a plan set for my DIY sump, but I did look at the dimensions of a Trigger 26 sump online and modeled the one I made exactly after it, right down to the number of baffles, spacing etc. I was able to get sheets of plexi-glass off Craigslist for a really good price; it was not that difficult to build but did take a bit of time! As for the DIY stand, my freshwater tank of the same dimensions has an ADA style stand, so I basically took measurements off that, studied how it was built, copied the construction and finished it it black. I did go over these plans quite a bit whilst in the planning phase, to make sure I was on the right track.

     

    FTS-after-transfer-10.2018.jpg
    October 2018 - After the IM 20 Transfer

     

    The transfer of the nano reef to the bigger tank went well, and once the larger tank established I decided to up my game a bit and added some more difficult SPS coral (not super difficult but a few torts that take a while to settle in), since I felt like this tank could accommodate them. Since then I've just kept things stable with my maintenance routine.

     

    FTS-11.2018.jpg
    November 2018

     

    I would say that at about the six-month mark most of the SPS coral really started to take off growing. To accommodate the up-tick in growth I recently had to start dosing Alkalinity and Calcium supplements as the SPS were using them up at a rate where my 5 gallon weekly water changes and top-off water with Kalk added couldn't even keep up.

     

    FTS-05.2019.jpg

    May 2019

    Inspirations

    Wanting a little piece of the ocean in our home was a big inspiration for setting up the tank. The ocean is a big part of who I am and I still visit and get in it to surf weekly. All the amazing tanks on Nano-Reef, and several members in particular @Asureef and @buddythelion, really got me motivated to set up a reef tank. I hope my journal here will help other hobbyists as well with their quest to create a little reef in their home too.

     

    FTS-08.2019.jpg
    August 2019

    Future Plans

    Well, similar to Sharbuckle's featured reef, when Christopher Marks contacted me about possibly writing up my reef for the October TOTM, I had just finished transferring the reef into a Red Sea Reefer 425XL I acquired from another hobbyist. I really liked my 48 gallon set up (so far I think it worked better than the Reefer), but I also really like fish as much as the coral and I wanted to add a few fish that require additional swimming space. Moving forward I'm thinking that I would like to reduce the amount of SPS coral in this larger setup in favor of a more mixed reef containing corals that offer a bit of movement.

     

    RSR-425xl.jpg
    Red Sea Reefer 425 XL 88 Gallon Upgrade - Present Day

    Advice To New Hobbyists

    Patience, try not to rush through the initial cycle process; it's tough because you're excited to get your reef filled in, but using as much live rock as you can acquire and letting the tank develop biologically before you add a bunch of corals will really pay off in the long run and avoid problems down the line. Also, there are many paths to success, high end gear may not achieve any better results than mid range stuff; used is great too and a good way to cut down on costs! Joining a local reef club can also be a great resource and it's a great way to get together with like minded folks, talk shop and trade corals.

    Acknowledgements

    I'd like to thank Christopher for selecting my tank as TOTM, totally unexpected, and considering how many other awesome tanks are here on Nano-Reef, it's an honor.

     

    @Zuma

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    banasophia

    Posted

    Congratulations!! It was a beautiful reef in your 48 gallon tank, and looks like it has made an amazing transition to the 88 gallon setup as well! Such great timing on this TOTM so we are able to see it through the expansion. 😍😍😍

     

    I love your mix of corals, and especially love your leopard wrasse, what a gorgeous fish!! Following your journal now and looking forward to watching your reef continue to grow. 

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    billygoat

    Posted

    Stunning! That's some really incredible growth considering the system was only a year old when transferred. Excellent work and very impressive! 😊

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    3 hours ago, banasophia said:

    Congratulations!! It was a beautiful reef in your 48 gallon tank, and looks like it has made an amazing transition to the 88 gallon setup as well! Such great timing on this TOTM so we are able to see it through the expansion. 😍😍😍

     

    I love your mix of corals, and especially love your leopard wrasse, what a gorgeous fish!! Following your journal now and looking forward to watching your reef continue to grow. 

    Thanks!  I was really stoked on this tank and am missing it a bit but also excited to have a little more room for more fish in the reef!

     

    1 hour ago, billygoat said:

    Stunning! That's some really incredible growth considering the system was only a year old when transferred. Excellent work and very impressive! 😊

    Thank you!  Indeed things really took off after about 6-7 months and I feel the established live rock really helped the transition go smoothly.

     

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    I couldn’t miss to notice but the freshwater tank is so stunning in the pic you got there! 
     

    Congratulations on the TOTM! Great setup and an amazing tank. Awesome job. You’ve a wonderful diversity in your tank and I like your mantra of “Keeping it simple”.

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    Amazing looking tank! Congrats 👍

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    On 10/1/2019 at 11:35 PM, Krish87 said:

    I couldn’t miss to notice but the freshwater tank is so stunning in the pic you got there! 
     

    Congratulations on the TOTM! Great setup and an amazing tank. Awesome job. You’ve a wonderful diversity in your tank and I like your mantra of “Keeping it simple”.

     

    On 10/2/2019 at 5:01 AM, Asureef said:

    Amazing tank, congrats on TOTM!!

     

    On 10/2/2019 at 5:27 AM, mitten_reef said:

    Great tank! 👍👍

     

    18 hours ago, Sancho said:

    Amazing looking tank! Congrats 👍

    Thanks!

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    Sharbuckle

    Posted

    Congratulations! Beautiful tank, you did such a great job. Excited to see your new tank grow old 🙂 

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    MarioDeMel

    Posted

    Stunning tank.

    How can I contact you to get some tips??

     

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    17 hours ago, MarioDeMel said:

    Stunning tank.

    How can I contact you to get some tips??

     

    PM me anytime and I'll let you know any tip and tricks I can think of!

    On 10/5/2019 at 6:21 AM, Sharbuckle said:

    Congratulations! Beautiful tank, you did such a great job. Excited to see your new tank grow old 🙂 

    Thnx!  

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