I've been in the hobby since 2011 and this tank just turned "one year wet" on April 26th. This has been my most successful tank so far in regards to stability and coral growth, and honestly it's been the most fun to work with! I wasn't sure if I'd get back into the hobby after I lost all my fish (40+) when I moved two years ago, but keeping it simple has helped me come back better than ever.
My tank is set up in our basement office, next to my desk. I try to keep the tank as low maintenance and as low stress as possible. Weekly water changes keep up with just about any issue, and I've made those nearly automated. This small tank has given me an opportunity to try things I couldn't in a larger tank.
Two MP10s perpendicular to each other in the tank keep a lot of movement going on the sides.
I kept my Acan LED fixtures from my old build. I'm using two on my display, one over the frag section in my sump, and I even have another on my quarantine tank. I really like the range of colors, how easy they are to change a setting/time/intensity, and the automation of different times/lighting.
The tank drains into a compartment with chemipure, purigen, and phosguard with filter floss. After that I have a section for frags and some spare live rock. Next is my fuge with a 4" sand bed for mangroves and Caulerpa serrulata. I n my return compartment I have an AquaC remora HOB skimmer to save space, an Eheim Jager 150W heater, and a Mag7 pump.
I don't dose anything as of yet. Up until now I've been able to keep up with target levels with consistent and frequent water changes.
I have a mixed reef with an abundance of softies. Zoas and palys dominate the right side of the tank, while two rose bubble tip anemones take up center stage. I also keep a few SPS and LPS, including my favorite, a pink pearl bubble coral. Fish really make the hobby for me. When I come home and they're excited to see me, or when I'm sitting at my desk and they gather at the glass to beg. I have a soft spot for "rescues," but for the most part I've stuck to my original stock plans. The yellow tang was a big impulse, but now I can't imagine the tank without him. He's the star of the show; but the pygmy hawkfish likes to steal that show. Surprisingly everyone gets along very well in the tank and I think I've struck a great balance with different personalities and niches.
I feed LRS reef blend in the evenings, and add a cube of PE Calanus or mysis once or twice a week. I also provide clams on the half shell and small pieces of shrimp occasionally.
One of the bigger challenges is playing chess with my bubble tip anemones in such a small space. I feel like I'm constantly moving frags around to keep them from getting stung, while my nems act like pair of inflatable wacky waving tube men. I also have some nuisances like the occasional aiptasia, and some bubble algae, but it never gets so out of control that I stress over it.
I would like to set up dosing soon; just fill this tank up with more sps and see more growth overall. I already have plans to add an additional tank onto the system this year so that my clowns and tang can have more elbow room, but plans for this tank will be to just improve on what's there.
I'm very honored and want to thank WAMAS for selecting me for TOTM, and also for helping me so much over the past few years. This is a great community that I'm proud to be a part of. I've had a lot of ups and downs in the hobby, but each time someone in the community has helped me pick back up and start again, and inspired me to continuously improve.
- Display: Deep Blue 30g (24x24x12)
- Sump: 30g (48x14x10)
- Skimmer: AquaC Remora HOB
- Lighting: Two Acan LED 600PA-18Bs
- Return: Mag7
- Circulation: Two MP10s
- Controller: ACIII w/ pH and Temp
- ATO: JBJ
- Salinity: 1.026
- Temperature: 80.2
- Alkalinity: 8 dKH
- Calcium: 420
- Nitrate: 0
- Coral beauty angel
- Spotcinctus clown pair
- Chalk bass pair
- Neon goby pair
- Caribbean sailfin blenny
- Yellow tang
- Target mandarin
- Sixline wrasse
- Pygmy hawkfish
- Bubble coral
- Purple and green slimers
- Hawkins echinata
- Red setosa
- Multiple leathers
- Encrusting gorgonian
- Various chalices, acans, zoas & palys
- Cleaner shrimp pair
- Brittle stars
- Tiger conchs
- Nassarius and marginella snails
- Astrea snails