Name: Mark Mikina
R2R Username: @M&M

Build Thread: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/marks-rimless-nps-paradise.256387/



Hi! My name is Mark Mikina, and I live in Chicago IL. As long as I can remember, I was always fascinated with fish and aquariums. When I was a kid, I had freshwater tanks with goldfish and guppies, later graduating to more difficult fish like Discus. One day I visited my good friend and saw his SPS reef for the first time. Since that day, I was hooked. About a year later after getting some experience with easier corals, I set up 120-gallon SPS tank that I was honored to have featured here on R2R (There's a video of that reef HERE.

SPS corals were my passion until I got my first dendro and sun coral. I researched as much as I could about them, and finally last year after moving into my new home, I was able to set up a tank dedicated only to NPS corals and deepwater fish. I am totally in shock , having my second tank nominated as ROTM 6 years later, and I am especially proud of this one, as most ROTM are still SPS tanks and most people view them as the pinnacle of reefing. I hope this will bring more awareness about the "dark side" of reefing and more people will try to keep these fascinating corals and animals coming from the deeper waters of the ocean.



System Profile:
  • Display tank: Elos 120 XL
  • Glass or Acrylic: Glass
  • Stand: Self made
  • Sump: 40 gal
  • Protein skimmer: ATI Powercone 200IS
  • Carbon/phosphate filtration: Carbon only (passive in-sump)
  • Return pump: Jebao 1200 DCT
  • Water circulation: Maxspect Gyre XF-150 mounted vertically
  • Lighting (display): 2 x 3W blue led , Coral Compulsion 14W PAR 30 22K
  • Calcium/alkalinity/magnesium dosing: No dosing, regular WC 50 gal monthly
  • Auto top-off: Tunze
  • Heating/cooling: No heater
  • System control: Reefkeeper lite

Water Circulation and Flow Summary and Objectives:

For water flow I use Gyre XF-150 mounted vertically. It provides constant, medium strength gyre flow, perfect for NPS corals and my Anthias. It flows around centrally positioned rock structure, getting food to all my corals.


Water Parameters:
  • Temp: 68-70 F
  • pH: 8.0
  • Specific gravity: 1.027
  • NO3: 10 PPM
  • Ca: 400
  • Alk: 7
  • Mg: 1200
  • PO4: 0.5 PPM
  • Ammonia and nitrites: undetectable
Lighting Summary and Objectives:

Dim, blue light designed to simulate the deep water environment. It also does not allow algae to grow.
Photoperiod: On from 4 PM -11PM


Filtration and Water Quality Summary and Objectives:

With constant feeding, removal of nutrients is achieved by using filter socks on returns (those are changed twice a week). My big, effective skimmer is the workhorse of my system, but it is shut down for a few hours during feeding. Recently I started biopellets to help with NO3 removal. 50 gal. WC are performed monthly. Carbon is used to keep water crystal clear and is used passively in small bag in sump along with 10 liters of Siporax.


Calcium/Alkalinity/Magnesium Summary and Objectives:

NPS corals are not fast growing like SPS, so regular WC are taking care of Ca, ALK and Mg.


Tank Inhabitants


1. Tinkeri Butterfly
2. Multicolor Angel
3. 3 x Chalk Basslets
4. 6 x Resplendent Anthias
5. 3 x Sunset Anthias
6. 2 x Sailfin Anthias
7. 1 x Red Saddled Anthias
8. 1 x Sunburst (Fathead) Anthias













Other Invertebrates:

1. Staghorn crab
2. army of hermit crabs
3. 2 x basket stars
4. 2 x red squat lobsters
5. 1 x tube anemone
6. 3 x Porcelain crabs
7. feather duster worm







1. yellow sun corals
2. orange sun corals
3. black sun corals
4. balanophyllia
5. fat head dendros
6. chilli coral
7. orange finger gorgonian
8. red finger gorgonian
9. menella sp. gorgonian
10. spider sponge










Fish and Coral Feeding:

I feed my tank 3 times a day, mostly frozen for fish and sun corals,and powdered food for gorgonians. Every 2 days I target feed all of my suns and dendros. I noticed, if I go about a week or longer without target feeding they don't open as much. Black sun corals get food every day. My fish, especially anthias are fat and happy with this amount of feeding.


Who was responsible for getting you into the hobby?

I saw a beautiful reef tank in my friend's house few years ago, and I just fell in love with it. Next day I went and bought new aquarium and equipment with his help and slowly got into this hobby.

fish10 again.jpg

How long have you been doing this?

Since 2010

Who or what in the hobby most influences/inspires you?

Honestly, I don't follow anybody in particular, what inspires me the most is nature. In all of my tanks I tried to mimic the natural environment. I do like the look of a full, mature reef. The NPS deepwater tank I have right now gives me a feeling of something mysterious and very relaxing.




What are your future plans for improvement/upgrade of the tank?

I am happy as it is right now, no future plans to upgrade anything.

Final Thoughts?

I want to thank the R2R staff for selecting my tank as ROTM. I also want to thank all of the members contributing here. There is a ton of knowledge between all of us here. I love this hobby, and even though sometimes it gets hard when things don't go our way, it teaches me patience and persistence. I can't imagine ever being without a reef tank in my house.