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Cultivated Reef
  • JohnnyMTB

    Christopher Marks

    Wow, when I received the e-mail from Chris asking me to have my tank showcased for Tank of the Month I was pretty shocked. This tank is young and still very much a work in progress. It is only 5 months old and still has a way to go until things start to fill in and a few more corals are added.  I would first like to thank Chris and all the members of Nano-Reef.com for all the help, answers, and suggestions given to me and all members through this reefing community.


    I was browsing RC, reminiscing over my old 55 gallon salt, when I saw a link to this sight. It was the perfect solution for a saltwater tank in a small apartment, and I thought it would fit my budget ( oh, how naive of me ). I spent about a month trolling the forums, and then made my first purchase: a 4-stage RO/DI unit. I cannot begin to tell you how important I feel this has been to my tank and it's inhabitants. On July 26, 2003, I went to a live rock dealer in Tampa Bay and picked up 20 lbs. of Florida Keys aqua-cultured rock and 12 lbs. of Key's live sand, and with a 10 gallon AGA and a 96 watt Coralife PC, the nano was born.


    Filtration is by an Aquaclear 150 with Seachem's Renew in a poly bag, changed out approximately every month. I also use 3 mini powerheads connected to a wavemaker for additional flow, the strongest currents are towards the top where the SPS are located. Water changes of 10% are done weekly with Instant Ocean salt. Reef Advantage Calcium and Reef Builder Buffer are added on alternate days with the top-off water. I've found small daily additions of Iodide keep the tank closest to NSW levels 0.06 mg/l. Aside from daily doses of Marine Snow, these are the only additives to the tank.


    I've tried to use as many small frags as possible instead of introducing large corals, hoping that these smaller specimens will spread and slowly fill the tank. The only fish in my system is a tank-raised percula clown. Most of my corals are aqua-cultured, I have two acroporas and two montiporas on the top of the tank and all seem to be doing well. Other corals include trumpet, torch, yellow polyps, daisy polyps, green stars, blastomussa, zoanthids, palythoa, mushrooms, and ricordea. All livestock was purchased from my LFS. The cleaning crew consists of approximately 10 astrea snails, 8 small hermits ( reds & blues ), 2 bumble bee snails, and 4 nassarius snails.


    In the future I would like to add some rare color variations of ricordea and zoanthid, along with some strange mushrooms to start filling in the bare spots. I think a move to MH lighting is inevitable; I would love to have a maxima clam. I am also toying with the idea of adding a hang-on refugium. Hopefully, in a year or so, this tank will be as stunning as some of the great nano's we have here in our forums.


    For any beginning reefers I can't stress enough the importance of good water, get a nice RO/DI unit before you ever fill your tank.  This, along with good water flow and a low bio-load has given me a tank free of diatoms, hair, and cyano algae.  I have tried to use nothing but tank raised and aqua-cultured specimens in my tank, they are not only hardier in the tank, but every little bit helps our natural reef sytsems.



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