View Full Version : 2016 Summer Featured Tank - Shrimp!

08-04-2016, 03:00 PM
“Candy Box” – our 33 Gallon cube Reef


I have owned a marine tank in one form or another for over 20 years. The plunge into predominantly reef occurred while dating my wife. As I introduced her to the world of marine fish, she began to contemplate the idea of a reef tank and soon after we set one up at her house. From there on in, as our relationship matured so did the reef tanks. But as the tanks grew bigger and bigger, so did the frequency of our re-locations for school and work. Eventually, during the most recent move, we decided to sell everything off and have a break. However, shortly after moving in, the silence in the house was unbearable…my wife in particular, missed the quiet hum of the tank that we have grown accustomed to over so many years. This is how our little reef cube was born! We deliberately kept it small, knowing full well that we would most likely need to shut it down on a subsequent move, and for ease of relocation.

Originally the tank was slated to house a frog fish with minimal coral, because we did not want to have a tank full of SPS to have to break down on yet another move. We started out with 2 medium pieces of branching Tonga rock on top of one large Fiji rock plate. But as the story often goes in this hobby; and in large part due to this great Canreef forum where we quickly met fellow “reefers” on the island, the tank rapidly filled up with diverse SPS frags from the great generosity of our new found friends. Since there are so few pet shops on the island to get corals from, this connection with other reefers is an excellent way to help one another.


The tank and system profile:

Main Display: 24" long x 20" wide x 18" high.
Stand: custom built aluminum 1" x 1" square tubing, 40" high.
Sump: 24" long x 12" wide x 21" high.
Return Pump: Laguna Powerjet 1300.
Water Circulation: One MP40 QD.
Skimmer: Bubble Magus NAC 7.
Calcium Reactor: Barr Aquatic CR1200.
Light: Radion G2.
Controller: Apex Lite.

The tank is custom built with Starphire glass, all polished edges and black silicone.

The tank has a bare bottom, except for a 5" x 9" “sand bedroom” for our leopard wrasse to sleep in. Personally, we both prefer the look of a tank with sand, but chose not to bother with the extra maintenance and the restriction it places on high flow (in order to avoid sand storms); not to mention, we have yet to lose a snail to a bare bottom tank.

Our single Radion (G2) LED light is on from 7:30am-7:30pm, with peak of day: blues at 100%, red and green at 13 %, whites at 33% at an intensity of 100%.

The automatic top-off is controlled by Apex with a break out box and 2 Digital Aquatic float switches.

All equipment is housed inside the stand, with the exception of the water changing bin which is behind a wall next to the tank, and functions as the top off bin as well.

Everything for our reef was custom built and assembled based on 20 years of experience designing and planning our own tank and sump layouts.

http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/tank_shot_1.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/tank_shot_1.jpg) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/full_tank_shot1.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/full_tank_shot1.jpg) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/tank_shot_2.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/tank_shot_2.jpg)

Water Parameters:

Salinity: 35 ppt (SG 1.0264) using Sybon refractometer
pH: 8.0 - 8.1 (Apex pH probe)
Calcium: 430 ppm (Salifert, tested every 9 days)
Alkalinity: 8 - 9 dKH (Salifert, tested every 9 days)
Magnesium: 1330 ppm (Salifert, tested monthly)
Phosphate: 0.01 - 0.03 ppm (Salifert, tested rarely)
Nitrates: 0.0 - 0.03 ppm (Salifert, tested rarely)
Temperature: 78.0 -78.9 F


All elements are replenished via the calcium reactor. I do add some Zeovit Amino Acid and Coral Vitalizer at a few drops every 3 days, but do not see any improvement in growth or colour compared to when we are away for an extended time, since upon our return the colour and growth are just as good.


It is well known that larger tanks have better stability, however I have found achieving stability to be quite easy in this tank because everything is automated and in large part because the calcium reactor is very well tuned…I have gone 4 months without having to fine tune it.


Platinum Percula Clownfish (mated)
Exquisite Firefish
Yasha Whiteray Shrimp Goby
Ornate Leopard Wrasse
Green Mandarin Goby

http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Firefish.JPG (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Firefish.JPG) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Mandarin1.JPG (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Mandarin1.JPG) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Ornate_Leopard_Wrasse.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Ornate_Leopard_Wrasse.jpg) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Platinums.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Platinums.jpg) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Yasha.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Yasha.jpg)


2 Fire shrimp
13 Trochus snails
3 Astraea snails

http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Fire_shrimp.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Fire_shrimp.jpg)



RR Cherry Pie
RR Purple Monster
RR Pink Floyd
RR Wolverine
RR Red Dragon
RR Purple Dragon
RR Teal Dragon
RR Red Diablo
RR Pretty in Pink
RR Godzilla
RR Scorpion
RR Pearlberry
Strawberry Shortcake
Tyree Pink Lemonade
ORA Pearlberry
Hot Pink Millepora
Sunset Millepora
Jedi Mind Trick
Superman Prostrata
Spiderman Aussie Acro
Appleberry Undata
Deep Blue/Pink Prostrata
Hot Pink Prostrata
Pink plating Montipora Cap
Idaho Grape Montipora Cap

Candy Apple Reds
Sunny D’s

Aussie Pink Acan
Meteor Shower Cyphastrea

http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Aussie_Pink_Acan.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Aussie_Pink_Acan.jpg) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Hot_Pink_Milli.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Hot_Pink_Milli.jpg) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Meteor_Shower_and_Red_dragon.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Meteor_Shower_and_Red_dragon.jpg) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Pearlberry.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Pearlberry.jpg) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Pink_cup.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Pink_cup.jpg) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Pink_cup_and_Turaki.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Pink_cup_and_Turaki.jpg) - http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/thumbs/Red_Dragon.jpg (http://www.canreef.com/photopost/data/3107/medium/Red_Dragon.jpg)

Maintenance and Feeding:

Our tank is nutrient low, ever since I’ve noticed that the less we feed the faster the SPS grow.

The fish are fed once a day with brine/mysis shrimp when one of us is home, plus the feeder goes on at 10:00am and 3:00pm (with approximately 9 pellets falling at each feeding).

I clean the glass every 3 days.

Water changes are done every 3 weeks of 13 gallons with Instant Ocean salt. The water provided for the water changes is via a 4 stage Kent Maxxima RO system.

The protein skimmer cup is cleaned every 3 days and floss changed every week.

Calcium and alkalinity are checked approximately every 9 days.
The return pump and skimmer are cleaned every 6 months.

What's the secret to your success?

Always dip your corals, no matter who you get your corals from (whether a favorite vendor or a reefer friend). Most likely they do not know they have any pests until it's too late.

Have a cover for your tank (unless you have absolutely no fish or inverts). Even the “non- jumpers” will eventually end up out of your tank - it is just a matter of when.

Keep things simple and have the minimum amount of equipment and pumps possible so there are fewer opportunities for things to fail. Having said that, do back up your equipment for safety, so that if one device fails, another will correct/take over.

If you are planning to use a calcium reactor, purchase one rated for 3x your tank size.

Do your research before purchasing coral and fish. In our experience, the vendor can special order you whatever you’d like, so make sure it is suitable for your reef first.

Just because one method works for your fellow reefer, it does not necessarily mean that it will work for you.

Ultimately, the “secret to success” with whichever style of reef you are keeping is: if what you are doing works, stay with it, and if not, change some element and see if it will change for the better.

-What do think hinders people from success?
Trying to have all the candies in one box…not all corals like the same water parameters and corals will usually “tell” you this on their own, revealed through their colour and growth.

-Do you dive? Which reefs have you seen?
Both my wife and I scuba dive, and from our observations of various natural reef systems, we have yet to see a reef with an abundance of SPS, LPS and softies all in one area. (As a side note, to this day our favorite dives were in Fiji).

-What's the biggest mistake you ever made, learning experience, or disappointment?
We’ve had great success with clams and had a collection of them in our cube… unfortunately however, one day one of them spawned, and within 3 days all of our clams perished. To this day we’re still scratching our heads as to what created the chain reaction and what caused 6 healthy clams to spontaneously die in less than a week.


-When you think of the ultimate reef tank or particularly inspiring, which one(s) would that be?
I have seen a great number of reef tanks throughout the years. The reef which has inspired me the most is Wayne’s (Rice Reef). His corals have colours which the dictionary does not have words for. He has continually proven with his routine that what seems impossible can be achieved.

I would like to sincerely thank Canreef for choosing our little reef for TOTQ and all of the reefers on the island and mainland who have greatly contributed with their advice and all our lengthy discussions, to allow this reef to thrive.

08-06-2016, 05:12 PM
Congrats Shrimp!

08-06-2016, 05:26 PM
Nice little tank, congrats Patricia and Raf!

08-06-2016, 07:04 PM
Great looking tank Raf and Patricia , congrats !!

08-06-2016, 07:30 PM
Really nice

08-06-2016, 09:53 PM

08-07-2016, 12:30 AM
Great looking tank, loved visiting and seeing it in person. Congrats!

08-07-2016, 04:07 AM
That's some serious list of SPS pieces. Very nice!

08-07-2016, 02:11 PM
That's some serious list of SPS pieces. Very nice!
No kidding eh?! It's a long list too!

Rice Reef
08-08-2016, 03:48 AM
Congrats to you and Patricia, Raf! You guys certainly deserve the recognition! What you have achieved with a Acropora dominant tank will not be easily mimic , especially in a 33 gallon tank... No sir! At a time where there is economic uncertainty, your tank will give others hope to enjoy a smaller tank instead of shutting down for good. Your recognition will inspire old and new reefers in their own ways, to enjoy this crazy hobby and addiction. For the record, it is your tank that had inspired me to stay in the hobby as I was going to call it quits eighteen months ago.

Again, congrats to you both! For now, let's have a great time at Macna in 32 days!

08-08-2016, 05:44 PM
Thanks everyone for the kind words!
Wayne, we too are counting down to San Diego :)

08-09-2016, 11:06 PM
Congrats Raf!!!

08-10-2016, 02:03 AM
You deserve this. You have had a very stable consistent small tank with excellent coral for the last 2 years. You have a very simply designed system and it has proven to be very reliable.
Proud of you guys. Your tank is an inspiration.


09-22-2016, 10:05 PM
Congrats Raf and Patricia! I still don't know how you grow corals so well with so little nutrients.. You've got a real style..

09-23-2016, 12:01 AM
Congrats Raf and Patricia! I still don't know how you grow corals so well with so little nutrients.. You've got a real style..

I suspect the calcium reactor in the foyer with the candlestick.

10-30-2016, 10:15 AM
Tank looks great. A well deserved recognition. :woot: