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WAMAS Tank of the Month



Thank you WAMAS! This system is something that I’ve always wanted to build since my first MACNA event: a species-specific system. I’ve always had a fascination in seeing one particular type coral in mass quantity, while also maintaining quality. This nine-gallon nano tank allows me to focus on keeping an ecosystem that is extremely unique, beautiful, and most of all low maintenance.

This nine-gallon Reef Crest drop off nano tank was built by Adam at Artfully Acrylic. It’s actually his prototype model that I snatched up because I didn’t have the patience to wait for him to build me a newer system. Call it my early Christmas present for December 2015!

All the flow in this system comes from the Quiet One return pump. Originally I didn’t think it was sufficient, but it’s perfect for rock flower anemones.

For this system I wanted a smaller high-output LED fixture, and the AI Prime fixture did the trick. Since the tank is sitting on my kitchen counter behind the sink, I need something that was clean and small but still provided a high output. The schedule was matched to natural daylight: lights on at 0700 and off at 1800, with moonlights from 1800 to 0200.

I have bio media ceramic blocks inside the baffles in the back panel of the tank. I also have a large sponge that acts as another passive filter that I change out weekly (I clean and rotate four sponges). I also have around 10 lbs. of real reef live rock and 15 lbs. of live sand.

I’m a firm believer in Dr. Tim’s Bacteria. I use the small 2 oz. bottle every time I add something to the tank, including corals. I don’t add anything else.

I went a little over-board and originally ordered 30 Rock flower anemones from Rare Reef LLC and over the next 24 months they spawned multiple times and now I have over 50 rock nems in my system. There are also smaller zoanthid colonies: Rastas, Orange Madeirans, Captain American, Purple People Eaters, and Utter Chaos. I have two Mexican and Asterina snails, an emerald crab, and a hermit crab.

Originally I was feeding the nems raw shrimp and fish pellets monthly. After the first spawning I decided to feed them weekly to see if I can encourage more spawnings. It turns out that spawning happens twice a year in my tank no matter the feeding frequency. I did however manage to get them to swell to extremely large sizes for rock nems. I transferred the anemones to a holding system until I can completely cycle the new tank, and they reduced in size by half because I stopped feeding them. They are photosynthetic, but they seem to thrive with supplemental feeding.

Because this is only a nine-gallon system with invertebrates dominating, finding a balance of water quality with constant feeding was definitely a challenge at first. After several months and constant weekly water changes I saw significant improvement of overall health of the system. Routine maintenance is king with smaller systems; miss one water change and you’ll see changes in both the color and the size of the rock flower anemones. Going on vacation usually spelled disaster, so finding a reliable backup person to take care of my system was crucial. Big shout out for Eric Leeds for helping me out with my system all the times I was admitted in the hospital due to my heart issues.

The Reef Crest RC19 is the newest tank upgrade for this system; I needed more space so I can add more rocks for the RFA to grow onto. Huge shout out for Adam for always making quality systems for me to infuriate my wife with!! Lol

This tank has been an absolute challenge for me; I have always wanted a species-specific system with ambitions of propagation. I have succeeded in that goal by propagating RFA morphs that have amazing colors, and are happy and healthy.


  • Main display: Artfully Acrylic Reef Crest 9
  • Skimmer: None
  • Lighting: AI Prime at 50%
  • Return Pump: Quiet One

  • 50+ rock flower anemones
  • Emerald crab
  • A couple snails
  • A hermit crab

  • None!

  • A few zoanthid rocks