Shallow Reef

Volume 8.6 Gallons
Dimensions 60cm x 30cm x 18cm
Make ADA
Model 60F


Before reefing, I kept a 10 gallon el natural planted tank. Started my first reef tank in 2013 with a 4 gallon pico. I figured working with a small tank would both be cheaper, as well as require me to pay close attention to details and water quality, which it did. Ultimately the small space became frustrating, and I wanted more corals! This shallow reef gives me more space, but keeps things nano which I like.


I really wanted to do a shallow reef in order to increase space but keep the water volume low. I find weekly water changes to have the biggest impact on coral health, and a 25% water change with 2 gallons is easy to manage weekly, and inexpensive salt wise.

I decided to go with a rimless ADA tank to keep a clean look. I also added a sump for water stability as well as to remove equipment from the display tank.



With my earlier pico tank, no skimmer or sump was needed, since water changes seemed to keep nutrients in check. In addition, the tank lacked any fish. With the upgrade to the 8.5 gallon and the introduction of my first fish, keeping phosphates in check has been my focus. Previously I ran a canister filter for GAC and GFO, and mechanical filtration with fine filter pads which got changed weekly. The canister filter worked okay, but was a pain to maintain, and the intakes out output always looked ugly in the display tank, even with some inexpensive lily pipes.

I've since upgraded to a 10 gallon DIY sump. I now run an SCA 301 Skimmer, and a Phosban 150 reactor, along with a filter sock that's changed every week. The display tank looks great with all of the equipment in the sump, and maintenance has become much easier.


AI Hydra 26 with the Director. Lights ramp up and down, with a top intensity for 4 hours Cool whites ramp up later and are only at top intensity for one hour around noon. Photoperiod is about 11 hours plus moonlight.

These lights have been hard to dial in, as they are deceptively bright for their size. I started off bumping up the intensity too quickly, which began to bleach and stress some corals. I've also determined that the lights were too close to the tank at 10 inches. I'm currently moving them up slowly to about 14 inches and have ramped down the intensity for my LPS.

White LEDs ramp up to 35% for one hour around noon. So at noon, the settings are:

35 35 35 35 35 35 35


MP10 on nutrient transport mode. I love the back and forth surge, and the coral seem to love it.

Sicce Syncra 1.0 return pump, dialed down.




1 Fish

Orange Clownfish Amphiprion Percula

19 Corals

Astral Cyphastrea Cyphastrea sp
Blastomussa Merletti Blastomussa Merletti
Brain Coral Trachyphyllia Trachyphyllia geoffroyi
Candy Cane Coral Caulastrea furcata
Chalice Coral Echinophyllia sp.
5 Florida Ricordea Mushroom Ricordea florida
Hammer Anchor Coral Euphyllia ancora
Leptoseris Leptoseris sp
Lordhowensis Coral Acanthastrea lordhowensis
Lordhowensis Coral Acanthastrea lordhowensis
Micromussa Coral Micromusa sp.
Red Mushroom Actinodiscus sp.
Torch Coral Euphyllia glabrescens

5 Invertebrate

Blue Legged Hermit Crab Clibanarius tricolor
Bowerbanki coral Acanthastrea bowerbanki
Rainbow Bubble Tip Anemone Entacmaea quadricolor
2 Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab Paguristes cadenati



2-part dosing is automated with a dosing pump, 24 times a day, keeping Alk and Cal steady.

I've also begun carbon dosing along with feeding the tank a mixture of vitamins and amino acids. I'm using RedSea's Reef Energy A&B for the vitamins and amino acids, and a home made carbon blend of Ethanol and Acetic Acid. My recipe is 500ml 5% Vinegar, 375ml 40% Vodka, and 125ml RO/DI.

Feeding See more

Coral Frenzy · Reef Chili · Live Phyto · Reef Plus · Live Phytoplankton


Cleaning glass as often as possible. I find the more frequently I stay on top of it, the less time scraping tough algae.

2 gallon water changes every week, new filter sock every week, replace carbon and gfo as needed.

On average you perform a 29.1% water change every 10 days.

0% total water change in January.

0 activities in the last year

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Inspiration & Goals

I've always been fascinated with marine life, and could watch marine life documentaries for hours. I love the idea of keeping a small slice of the ocean in my house, and enjoy learning the biology and chemistry of life.

When looking into starting aquariums, I was always drawn to the clean look of ADA tanks. I want the tank and equipment to fall into the background so the water and life inside becomes the focus.