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  If you happen to own a good book or happen to be knowledgable about macro-algaes, let me know if you can identify this stuff.

Tank Inhabitants

Common Name
Scientific Name
2 Green Chromis Chromis Viridis
1 False Percula Clown Amphiprion ocellaris
Camel Shrimp Rhynchocinetes Uritai
Flame Scallop Lima sp.
Clibinarius Tricolor
2 Turbo Snails Trochus sp.
Soft Corals/Anemones
2 Mushroom Anemones Actinodiscus/Discosoma
Ricordia Mushroom Actinodiscus Ricordia
3 Finger Leather Coral Cuttings Sinularia sp.
Orange Button Polyps Palythoa Saulis ;)
Yellow Polyps Parazoanthus sp.
Metallic Green Star Polyp Colony Clavularia Viridis
Caribbean Sun Polyps (not Tubastrea) Unknown
Green/Brown Cup Polyp Colony Palythoa sp.
LPS Corals
Red Open Brain Trachyphyllia Geofroyi
SPS Corals
Acropora Acropora sp.
Montipora Montipora sp.


The tank is currently lit by 45 watts of normal output flourescents in a DIY hood (3x Home Depot 18" under cabinet fixtures). The fixtures are auto-start and are timed to an 11 hour photoperiod with a 6500K full-spectrum Life Glo bulb with built in reflector, a Coralife 7200K Actinic 03 and an 18000K Power Glo (yes, that's the colour temp. they claim). I additionally had a 9w PC 5500K bulb in there, but it has been removed until I get around to making some more space in the hood. Well on my 10g tank that works out to 4.5 watts/gallon, a number significantly lower than what seems to be generally recommended for the keeping of SPS and more colourful corals, but so far so good =).


For nitrification I use an Aqua-Clear Mini with a single block of foam in it, no carbon. For de-nitrification I use a combination of a plenum and some live rock. I started this system with a 2.5 lb piece of Fiji rock (yes, I'm patient ;) but I'm quite sure the dead coral in there (~6-8 lb) is, at least bacterially, quite alive now since the system has been up for well over a year. The plenum was seeded with 2 lb of live sand and the rest is a crushed coral/shell mix (~6 lb). I run a Lee's Mini counter-current airstone skimmer on the tank continuously. Water changes are critical in a tank this size if you want to avoid dosing (which is less economical here). I change 1-2 gallons per week using distilled water and Instant Ocean salt. Evaporation top off is also distilled through an IV micro-drip. One of the troubles with distilled water, however, is that the fresh salt mix is a bit weak on calcium (400ppm) for my liking since that is the main source of replenishing trace elements through changes. So, I have experimented with a few variations to deal with this including keeping crushed coral in my distilled water to dissolve back some of the carbonates, but have settled on using a product made by Kent called RO Right. It is a mix of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium salts which helps my fresh salt mixes to now reach saturation levels of calcium. I had been running a Phos-Zorb pouch in the system, but since I switched completely to distilled water I don't think I'll buy any more of it. Now with my SPS in there I add some kalkwasser into the top off every few days at a very diluted ratio (~10:1), but that may change if I find the hard corals start growing out of control ;)

Water Parameters

Well I don't test my water for anything anymore since I have developed a sense of what my parameters are by looking at the tank, and I refuse to spend any more money to get consistent results from test to test. But when last tested my Nitrates were under 0.1 ppm, Phosphates ~ 0.2ppm. The tank is kept at 80F and seldom fluctuates more than 1 degree from day to night. SG is 1.025.


Below are some links that may be useful to someone interested in or currently running a smaller reef tank.

Albert Thiel's Aquarium Infobase -- An excellent and informative site that offers an astounding array of articles and resources of particular interest to the reef-keeper. Although not primarily a micro-reef related site, it is one that I'm sure hasn't been missed by most online in this hobby.

MegaDeTH's Reef Tank -- A friend of mine on IRC who shares my addiction. Although the site deals with his tanks up to a 55g, he maintains a nice 10g micro-reef using some interesting methods (ie. no skimming & no filtration =)

The Nano Reef Information Center -- An informative site devoted to micro/nano/pico reefs, currently modelling a 5 and 15 gallon reef!

Jon's 10 gallon Reef -- A 10 gallon micro reef with good information and pictures about his set-up.

Pico^2 -- A 2.5 gallon reef! It's an interesting endeavour documented with pictures.