R2R Reef of the Month Spotlight: Renton777 - January 2017

[email protected]

Living the Reef Life
View Badges
Nov 18, 2012
Reaction score
Ontario, California
Reef2Reef Reef Spotlight of the Month: Renton777

1 alt.jpg

Build Thread: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/rentons-custom-200.101447/

Name: Nathan Gist (@Renton777)​



Hello, my name is Nathan Gist, and I live in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Like many others, I started in the hobby at a young age with a freshwater aquarium. As an adult, I had graduated up to a 125-gallon freshwater tank. Then, while browsing the internet, I came across sites and forums dedicated to reef tanks. I was blown away! Never had I seen anything like it. That is when my obsession started…

For 3 long years I read and lurked the forums planning my first tank. Finally, in 2011, I setup my first tank, a 93-gallon cube mixed reef. I started off slow in terms of stocking it with corals. I had my initial ups and downs, but before long I was off and running. I packed the tank full of corals, which led to an upgrade to my 200-gallon tank in September of 2012.

Now that tank is absolutely packed to the brim with corals, and I now have an 80-gallon frag tank to go along with it. Unfortunately, it will be some time before I go with a bigger display tank; however, it will eventually happen.

A couple of pics from the beginning:


Picture of current system:


System Profile
  • Display tank: 72” long, 30”wide, 22” tall AGE tank with powder coated steel bracing and PVC bottom.
  • Glass or acrylic? Standard Glass
  • Stand: 72"x30"x36" Powder Coated Steel Stand from AGE, outer skin is oak with red mahogany stain.
  • Frag tank: 80-gallon acrylic frag tank (plumbed into main system)
  • Sump: Custom 3-piece acrylic sump (see pics below)


  • Protein Skimmer: Aquamaxx ConeS CO-6
  • Carbon/phosphate filtration: Bulk Reef Supply dual reactor with Rox Carbon and BRS High Capacity GFO (I run relatively small amounts). I also run Warner Marine Ecobak Plus Biopellets in a reactor right next to my skimmer. I have learned not to use too many biopellets because they can really strip the water of nutrients to the point that the corals suffer.
  • Return Pump: Water Blaster 7000 return pump
  • Water Circulation (main tank): 2 x Gyre 150s controlled via the Apex using the Ice Cap module and 1 x Tunze 6105 controlled via the Apex. (frag tank): Maxspect Gyre 150
  • Lighting (main tank): 4 x Aqua Illumination Sol Blue plus a 5ft Build my LED light strip that is heavy with cyan and various blues (kind of has a sea green look to it); (frag tank): Orphek Atlantik 3.o
  • Ca/Alk/Mg: Calcium and Alkalinity are dosed using BRS dosing pumps controlled by the APEX. I use the 5-Gallon - BRS Bulk Sodium Bicarbonate and 5-Gallon - BRS Bulk Calcium Chloride.
  • ATO: Hydor Auto-Top-Off
  • RO/DI: 5-stage RO/DI
  • System controller: Neptune Apex controller with VDM module and two EB8s
A few pics of the frag tank:

frag tank.jpg

frag tank filling.jpg

frag tank2.jpg



Water Circulation & flow summary:

Using the Apex, Gyres and Tunze I have programs for each pump that vary intensities and intervals. Each gyre has 10 different programs throughout the day. This results in lots of different flow patterns throughout the day and prevents dead spots from forming.

Water Parameters:
  • Temp: 77.3 to 77.8 controlled by the APEX
  • pH: 8.0 to 8.2
  • Specific gravity: 1.025
  • Nitrate: I shoot for a range of 2.5 to 5ppm (Salifert)
  • PO4: Below 0.18ppm Low range (Hanna meter)
  • Calcium: 420 (Salifert)
  • Alkalinity: 8.6 (Salifert)
  • Magnesium: 1400 (Salifert)

Lighting summary:

Here is a graph of my AI Sol photo period:

light graph.png

Here is a link to the screens from Apex reflecting each channel: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/rentons-custom-200.101447/page-19#post-2819861

Here is the color arrangement and light output of my Build MY LED light strip:

Custom LED.gif

Here is a link to my Orphek settings (run on the frag tank): https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/rentons-custom-200.101447/page-19#post-2820580

Par readings on main tank and frag tank:

par main.jpg

par frag.jpg

Filtration and Water Quality Summary and Objectives:

As stated above, I run carbon, GFO, and biopellets in relatively small amounts.

I use a LiterMeter 3 system to automatically change 7 gallons a day. The system exchanges the 7 gallons of water in 150 small intervals throughout the day. I have a 55 gallon drum with clean saltwater that I fill up once a week that the system draws from. I calibrate the pumps once a month and that is pretty much the extent of my water change routine.

Previously I had changed 50 gallons once a week all at the same time. While the corals and fish did well under the previous routine, I think they have done even better with the automatic water change routine. I believe the new system provides for greater stability.

Tank inhabitants:

  • Orange Spot Filefish
  • Blue Star Leopard Wrasse
  • Achilles Tang
  • Yellow Tang
  • Hippo Tang
  • Yellow Eye Kole Tang
  • Target Dragonet
  • Psychedelic Dragonet
  • Ruby Red Dragonet
  • Royal Gramma
  • 3 x Square Spot Anthias

borb anthias.jpg








A note on the Orange Spot Filefish.

I recently lost the male after 3 years but he had been very healthy. I got him as an adult so I am not sure if it was old age or something else that caused him to perish. The female I have was a juvenile when I got her 3.5 years ago.

Both ate spirulina enriched brine and Sustainable Aquatic Dry Hatchery Diet Pellets (tiny pellets) very well.

In the wild Orange Spot Filefish almost exclusively eat SPS polyps. In my tank they certainly will nip at any sps polyps that venture out of hiding. Therefore, during the day none of the sps polyps show themselves, no polyp extension. At night, after the filefish go to bed, the polyps come out in full sway. The filefish have never killed any of my sps corals and do not seem to slow the growth or affect the color of the coral.


These fish are notoriously difficult to transition to eating prepared foods. I let the Diver’s Den do the hard work with the male and bought it from them. I happened to be at a LFS that had the female and she had been there for a couple months and had been eating well, so I lucked into that one.

Other inverts:
  • 3x Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
  • 3X Fire Shrimp
  • Banded Coral Shrimp
  • 2x Sea Cucumber
  • Fighting Conch
  • Various Hermit Crabs
  • Various Snails

Very Mixed Reef
  • Acroporas
  • Montiporas
  • Euphyllias
  • Corallimorphs
  • Zoanthids and Palythoas
sticks (best).jpg


top down.jpg


rock nems.jpg




chalice frag.jpg


stick 1.jpg








Fish & Coral feeding:

I feed heavy twice a day.

Morning: ½ of Nori. 2 cubes of mysis, 1 cube of spirulina enriched brine, Sustainable Aquatic Dry Hatchery Diet Pellets (tiny pellets)

Evening: Chunk of Rods Food and Sustainable Aquatic Dry Hatchery Diet Pellets (tiny pellets)

dark lighting.jpg

dark lighting2.jpg

dark settings 3.jpg

Closing Thoughts: I would like to thank all of the supportive people in the reefing community that share their experiences with others. Nothing has been more valuable than being able to read, question and interact with others in this hobby.

This leads right into my advice for newbies and experienced reefers alike. Always continue to read and research whether it is to setup a new tank, buy a new fish or to add a new coral. Gain as much knowledge as you can prior to taking action. Ask questions on the forums and seek feedback. And just as important, share your knowledge and experience with others!

full system.jpg


Owner Administrator
View Badges
Marketplace Rating
May 8, 2006
Reaction score
Beautiful reef and awesome tank log @Renton777 ! Thank you for sharing and thank you @mdbannister for putting this together!


10K Club member
View Badges
Mar 2, 2012
Reaction score
Breath taking corals and fish. System it self is beautiful. The AIs are certainly getting the job done on the larger system. Thank you for sharing, very inspiring.


Valuable Member
View Badges
Nov 16, 2014
Reaction score
Bloomfield, CT
I'm in complete awe of this reef! Kudos for creating an absolutely stunning and breathtaking piece of reef heaven. So inspiring to see and read about and it gives me a renewed sense motivation and certainly something to aspire to. Congratulations on being highlighted and its so well deserved!


Wrasses, Angels, & Tangs, Oh My!
View Badges
Oct 7, 2011
Reaction score
Chesterfield, VA
Beautiful tank and well-deserved spotlight! Love your fish selection and it's great to see such great color and growth in your corals.