jnarowe's 1000g+ Reef System

"Our mission is to foster a diverse stewardship community that protects coral reefs through collaborative action, research, education, and aquaculture initiatives."


Construction Photos
Tank Start Up
Full Tank Pictures
DIY Fish Food


Here’s how I do it…

All items are RAW!! I don't use every item listed below in every batch, and the first 7 are not needed to save cost.

Frozen Cyclops (optional)

(I don’t recommend this unless you have the ability to rinse and drain it very well)


Frozen Krill (optional)


Frozen Silversides (optional)

(Even bait fish can be used)



Frozen Mysid (optional)


Frozen Brine (optional)


Frozen Formula 2 (optional)


Frozen Plankton (optional)


Shredded Nori (Kizami)


Japanese Dried Seaweed Sliced

Vitamins: Selcon, H2O Life Line, Vita-Chem

Selcon H2O Life V2H Coral Food Soak H2O Life GVH Fish Food Soak H2O Life V3 Vitamin/Amino Acids Soak >H2O Life GVH Seaweed Soak

Frozen Shrimp

Frozen Mixed Seafood

(Asian store, clams & mussels removed)



(Garlic Guard or fresh minced)



(large pellets)

Fresh Seafood (If Available)

Swordfish Steaks Yellowfin Tuna Steaks (Ahi) Whole Squid Medium White Prawns Sea Scallops   Live Manila Clams Live Penn Cove Select Oysters Bay Scallops Wild King Salmon Fillet- Previously Frozen Petrale Sole Fillets

I chop the mixed seafood and shrimp. I soak all the frozen items  for one hour stirring occasionally, rinse with RO/DI water, and allow it to drain thoroughly. Then I mix all ingredients together and ladle into Zip-Loc bags, flatten, and freeze.

The reason for soaking and thoroughly rinsing the ingredients is this greatly reduces the amount of pollutants that go into the water column. In our testing we have found that even the best quality frozen, flake, and pellet foods will test with a PO4 level between .75 and 2.0 and that after rinsing the frozen foods mentioned above will test out at between .25 and .01.

During the PSAS meeting I also had the opportunity to show participants the bucket into which all the soaking and rinse water had been accumulated and believe me, jaws hit the floor. It was a foul bucket of very muddy water.

When I feed, I thaw in tank water with more vitamins, shredded nori, and drain through a fine shrimp net. Then I place in bowl and dip the bowl in the tank slowly feeding while the fish do their thing. I cannot over-emphasize the benefit of the shredded nori. So many times I have seen reef keepers clip nori to their glass of toss in large pieces, only for it to be torn to shreds by the fish. What I observe is a lot of nori flying around the tank, getting caught under the rocks, and going into the overflow. I feel this is needlessly adding nutrients to the water column and with the shredded nori, the fish suck it all up like spaghetti with virtually no waste.

Resulting Product:

 blended fish food.

 finished bags of fish food.


I do not like putting in pellet foods or powdered spirulina. The whole reason why I make this food is to stay away from pellet and flake food which incorporates too much phosphate and nitrate, and has very little solid food value. Powdered spirulina just dissipates into the system without the fish getting the benefit of eating it first. Unfortunately, the downside of using the spirulina pellets like pictured above, is that they contain Ethoxyquin, a preservative known to cause mortality in fish. It is a common ingredient in fish food, and I am currently looking for a better source.

The primary issue is that flake and pellet foods aren't real food in a sense. They cost a fortune per ounce vs. using frozen foods, regardless of whether you are using "people" food or fish food. They also have some very questionable ingredients which I certainly do not want to feed my fish. Plus, you know exactly what your fish are getting and you can tweak it with vitamins you are comfortable with. Volume wise I use about 60 - 70% "human" food in my mix.

I also feel that the cyclops may be more of a risk that it is worth, just because of the particle size. It's extremely difficult to rinse and strain it, and I feel the pollution it causes may be fairly high because of that. This is a risk that outweighs the benefit IMO. Some people may have access to a rotifer sieve and this may provide adequate straining for the Cyclops.

The Garlic is optional of course, and that is a topic all its own. Sherman is always ragging on me for using garlic, just as I rag on everyone else for putting lettuce, broccoli etc. in their tanks. And he's probably right, but it as been my experience that it has helped my fish stay strong in the face of disease. It "may" help boost the immune system but whether that will ever be proved is doubtful. One thing is clear to anyone who has farted in the shower, scents travel fast in water, and it seems to really attract the fish to the food.

One of the most important parts of feeding IMO, is straining the food once you have thawed it. I had for some oddball reason forgotten to do this for a couple consecutive months, and I saw a drastic change in my nuisance algae and water quality. I can only assume it would be MUCH worse in a smaller system.

Another thing to note is that I also remove clams and mussels from the mixed seafood I get at the Asian store. The reason for this is that I don't want my fish getting a taste for clams, and both clams and mussels have a high waste to protein content. They are practically half crap.

On the flip side, shrimp and scallops are extremely high in protein and virtually zero waste product. They have a very high protein to weight ratio, so I tend to go heavy on those two. Scallops are expensive, but shrimp can be found rather cheaply at Asian and club stores.

And I do not turn off any pumps. I know most reef keepers do, but I like for the food to remain in the water column rather than sink, and I like all the fish to get an equal chance at the food. By turning off the pumps, the food stays in one location, and then the biggest bullies get the bulk of it.

And I also usually have animals in my overflow to get anything that makes it all the way there. This includes a nice gaggle of aiptasia and currently 2 neon blue gobies.


Home ] Construction Photos ] Equipment ] Skimmer ] Tank Start Up ] Full Tank Pictures ] TANK VIDEOS ] [ DIY Fish Food ] Corals ] Fish ] Pests ] Invertebrates ] Favorites ]