Saltwater Aquarium/Your Expertise


QUESTION: Dear Marcus,
Big fan!! Thanks for taking the time to read my question...After reading your posts and the information you have shared with me and so many others, I had to reach out for your expertise! I am some what of a new hobbiest in the saltwater aquarium world (2 years), but have already fallen in love and willing to put the efforts/resources to be sucessful. My problem, and question to you is..........I have a 28 gallon nano cube. it is 2 years old this upcoming may. over the last two years, the tank has been perfect (all paramters wise) and stable about 70% of the time. the other 30 %, it gives me fits. corals go from beautiful to barely surving to beautiful (mushrooms, ricordeas, bubble tip aneome) Stock fluorescents lighting, have 1 clown, 1 tailspot blenny, 1 watchman goby (died randomly), 1 6 line wrasse (died this week), running carbon pad filters in side back reservoirs, sea gel, bio balls, normal calcium/buffer/magnesium/iodine additions as directed, water changes bi-weekly. my question is....what are the best practices I should follow, that I may be doing wrong or should ge doing that I am not? lighting upgrade? sump? And are there things im doing wrong? should I make it a goby omly tank?

ANSWER: thank you for the comments Craig, its nice to be recognized and thanked as an expert.

as for your tank,sure there are always things you can change that will make the tank function better. it seems you are doing fairly well now aside from a couple deaths. those could have been for any reason though,improper acclimation method, in tank aggression, etc.

if you plan on keeping more advanced corals such as lps and possibly a clam i would suggest upgrading lighting,i know there are some good retrofit kits that go well in a nano cube but you could always do  DIY. or simply just take the lid off and put a few panorama pro fixtures over the tank. the filtration system of the cube should be sufficient but you could always loop that under the tank into a sump in the stand. if you do tis i would suggest a sump of no less than ten gallons. a sump is just a great part of any system, you can grow macro algae in there, you can put an aggressive fish in there when he is being aggressive towards other fish,its very useful to any system so i would reccomend it, but like i said your setup as is, is already fairly good.

hope that gives you a good idea as to where to continue to in the hobby.


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QUESTION: Thanks so much for your prompt response and the great information!! Its awesome knowing that I am doing the basic things I need to with my system and that fish can die from things such as acclimation and aggression (I do believe that one or maybe both the deaths recently were more due to aggression from my clownfish). I may upgrade for the sump per your suggestion and will look into better lighting if I want to add more complex corals. I think the main reason I was reaching out was because I was noticing more algae growing than normal and wasn't sure if I may have been doing something wrong. I know overfeeding can cause this as well as deaths in the tank...but wasn't sure if there was something I was doing wrong which may have caused more algae? What would you recommend for a clean up crew in a 28 gallon nano? (I have about 10 hermits, 4 cernith, 4 nassurus snails, 6 of the "tinier-kind" of turbo snails). Or are there any supplements to help with algae? Thanks so much again for time and great information!

hello again Craig,

again thank you for the comments, your algae problem does not seem to be a problem of a inadequate CUC. excess algae an be caused by many things including overfeeding, overstocking, and too much light in the warmer spectrum. if you have power compact lighting which im guessing you do as you have a stock nano cube hood you will have alot of light in the warmer yellow spectrum. this will likely increase algae growth, a good way to help this is to upgrade lights,LED's, although expensive also will not initiate algae growth, even a higher K rating of metal halide. hope that helps.  

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i have about 15 years of experience in the reefing hobby but have been keeping aquariums for about 20, i am up to date on all the latest equipment such as led lighting, dosers, the new tanks available such as the red sea max and i can help you with many creatures that most other people have never even kept before such as sehorses, cephs, and sharks and rays.


15 years in the reefing hobby and it has come to my attention this site needs some more informed experts.


masters degree in marine biology

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