I have been in the aquarium hobby ever since I was a kid. I always enjoyed helping my dad with his 75 gallon reef setup.
I had freshwater tanks growing up until I went to college, where I got my first reef tank. It was a custom acrylic 10 gallon tank with a built in overflow/sump section. I had a 2-bulb T5 fixture above it with mostly LPS and soft corals. It didn’t take long for me to want to upgrade. I knew I wanted another all-in-one system, but it needed to be a lot bigger and able to grow a mixed reef (specifically SPS).
I wanted the best of the best so, the next thing I know, I’m selling my 10 gallon tank and ordering an Innovative Marine 38 Gallon Nuvo, EcoTech Marine Radion XR30w G2 LED Light and an MP10 powerhead.
I started out with just the tank, light, powerhead and a heater. I intended to be very picky about each piece of rock in my tank, so I got the aquarium up and cycling before I ever added any. I visited my LFS and picked up about 30 pounds of live rock and two Green Chromis fish to help the cycle along. I went through a pretty bad green hair algae phase the first month my tank was in operation, After lowering the intensity of my light and adding some Boyd Chemi-Pure, it all disappeared.
Once I saved up some more money, I purchased an Innovative Marine Midsize Protein Skimmer, Tunze Nano Osmolator Auto Top-Off System, SpectraPure CSP RO/DI System, Marine Depot Refractometer, and two Innovative Marine CustomCaddy Media Baskets.
I immediately fell in love with all of these products. First I put in the media baskets. They double the amount of filter media you can put in while capturing debris and filtering all the water passing through. I moved the top chamber down so I could fit more filter media. I placed a large bag of Chemi-Pure inside without restricting the water flow.
The protein skimmer came next. It is the first protein skimmer I have used but was beyond easy to assemble and install. It took me a while to adjust the skimmer but now that I have it dialed in, it has been pulling stuff out I didn’t even know I had! It fits perfectly inside the second chamber.
I always wanted an auto top-off system so I saved the best for last. I loved the simplicity of the product: it didn’t have many components and was very easy to install. I was worried the wires would not be long enough, but Tunze provides you a lot of room to work with. It isn’t too loud when it turns on either and it has kept my water at the perfect level.
The SpectraPure system was the final piece to the puzzle. It is actually my first RO/DI filter system. If you know basic plumbing, you shouldn’t have any issues getting it up and running. It is very compact and leaves plenty of room under my sink cabinet. The water flow is great and the flush system is easy to operate. I am eager to see how much I’ll save mixing my own saltwater.
I am beyond excited about my tank right now! It is running like a charm with minimal effort. I now have the mixed reef tank I’ve always wanted.
Next I’ll add an Innovative Marine MagnaFuge LED Refugium Light to my new media baskets. The EcoTech Marine Reef Link is a must-have for me, too, since I am running the Radion and MP10. I would like to add a controller some day to simplify everything even further, possibly the Neptune Systems Apex AquaController.
I’d like to add some new corals next to the growing corals in my tank so my aquascape will eventually be covered in corals. I have always believed in getting top-of-the-line products so everything will run smoothly and efficiently. I have never been happier with my aquarium than I am today and I can’t wait to see what challenges the future holds.