Filter Cups.

Our little helpers. Even compared to skimmers, filter floss cups are probably one of the least glamourous part of our tank. At least skimmers come with different features, different capacities, different shapes. The recent trend of automatic roll filters have put these guys even further down the list!

Well, we have tried some different methods and have even gone back and forth a few times. Much like our lights, this final configuration is on brand with super simple so it looks like it’s here to stay – at least for now =).

The Red Sea Reefer series, as some of you already know, has this “feature” in that it doesn’t fit the off-label 4″ filter sock/media cup sizes. You MUST buy on label or modify or source a custom maker. We COULD complain, but then we would have missed out the challenge to find the super simple solution.

What we learned: filter socks

Filter socks are great…. with some investment and some work. 100-200um filter socks come in around $4-5 a piece for the off labels. As we talked about before, we needed to modify them to get them to fit in our Red Sea trays. Once installed, time to clog (TTC) was about 4-5 days. We chose to hand wash them until we found this amazing small, portable washer unit. We just didn’t feel comfortable throwing the socks in our home laundry machine for many reasons, but mainly cross contamination.

We were tossing and replacing these socks every 2 months or so. After a while, we just got sick of washing the socks and they were more expensive than we wanted to spend for recurring maintenance.

What we learned: mesh socks

On one of the posts on, someone mentioned that they used 50-100 um MESH filter socks and they were so much easier to wash. Why didn’t we think of that?! It was brilliant and we really liked it for a long time. We even ponied up and bought the on brand socks (Red Sea 4″ mesh socks) so we didn’t have to modify anything.

Time to clog (TTC) was about a week. We were tossing and replacing them every few months after washing couldn’t keep them unclogged. But like all tank related things, we thought – could we do better?

What we learned: Red Sea filter media cups + filter floss

Ok. No more washing socks. We were done. We looked into the auto-rollers but permanent modification of our sump wasn’t in our wheel house and wasn’t something we wanted to do. Our only choice left was no mechanical filtration or filter floss.

Since the reefer does not come with a filter floss tray, it was going to be filter floss media cups. Again, we went with on brand since we didn’t want to modify anything.

4″ diameter, 8″ height
media on bottom + floss on top

We tried different iterations to try to reduce the number of times we needed to change out the floss:

  • All floss – needed a lot of floss to cover all of the holes in the cup; didn’t really change TTC
  • Bottom media + top floss – helped with reducing how much floss we had to use, but media would need to be rinsed A LOT.

With the iterations above, we missed the common sense piece (why TTC on socks lasted longer than floss) – as long as we weren’t increasing the surface area of water passing through the floss, regardless of how many layers we tried, the time to clog (TTC) was going to be the same. Duh.

What we learned: Our filter cups + filter floss

We like the filter floss way. As a friend said to me: “There’s something satisfying about putting in pure white filters in place of gunked up green ones.”

This leads us to our filter cup design and how it affects our tank set-up and maintenance. Our considerations:

  • Modifying the sump to increase flow surface area was not an option for us.
  • Clean look
  • Super simple maintenance
  • Bonus: optimization of sump space

Our cup design: Our cup is 2″ in height, 4″ in diameter. We kept the holes to just the bottom of the cup so that we can use half the amount of floss that we used with the Red Sea cups.

With the cups installed, we gained 6″ of height, which is the perfect space to stash media. Flow is not obstructed and it is super easily to pull out the media for a quick rinse/shake during water change time. TTC on the floss is about 3-4 days for us.

2″ cup height
3x more space for media

Thanks for reading and we hope that you too keep your tank maintenance super simple.


Our Lights.

We’ve been through our fair share….. par what?!

When we start our first 45 gallon tank, all we were concerned with was learning how to maintain a saltwater tank. We knew we wanted clown fish, some softies, and maaaaybe a clam. Well, after many trials and tribulations, we finally got something going that wasn’t just a tank full of algae. Our first light that helped us with our “success” was what is now well known as the 165W Viparspectra. Arguably, we had the best success with this light to date.

When we decided to upgrade our tank, we picked the Red Sea Reefer 350 for a myriad of reasons. Primarily, we wanted something that looked super sleek with a sump. This also led us to light #2 – Current USA Orbit Marine LED Aquarium Light.

This light was great looking, but we shortly found out that it wasn’t going to grow much more than the softies we already had and we were looking to get into acros and a clam or two. We considered going back to Viparspectra, but then after reading up in Reef2Reef forums, we found Noopsyche K7 Pro 2 LED. It received raving reviews on spectrum and value. We had success with black box before, so why not!

As you can see, we paired it with the Red Sea LED Pendant set up for the same reason as before – looking for something super sleek and clean. We had 2 units at first – set front to back/width-wise. It didn’t cover enough length of the tank. We then tried to make some makeshift brackets so that we could sit them length-wise. Not pretty.

We even added a third light to get more light and tried to fill in more void. Still no bueno.

SO after several iterations, we designed our own tray adapters to really give it that finished look. We took it a step further and added integrated fans. They are plugged into our Neptune APEX and set to turn on when tank temperatures hit 82F. Let’s go summer! We’re ready!

If you like how the lights look and are curious how the coral like them, check out our other blog posts and judge for yourself! Keeping it super simple….reef on!



One of the first corals in our tank – The Big Polyp Blastomussa Coral is also commonly known as Blastomussa Pineapple Coral or just Blastos. They are considered LPS. We first stumbled upon this coral as an add-on coral in a bulk buy.

This wellsi is a stunning red with deep blue center. Started out with about 5 polyps. This is about 6 months of growth.

So shortly after the first, we bought a few more. We ended up with 3 more wellsis and a merletti – from Australia. Blastos can come in blue, brown, red, green, or a combination of all of these colors. There’s two common types that we are aware of: wellsi and merletti. Wellsi has larger polyps and is the first type that we got. Who knew that this coral would quickly become one of our favs.

Growth rates vary. Average seems to be 1 polyp every 2 months or so. Wellsis seemingly growing faster than the merletti for us.

It was hard at the time to really tell the polyp size difference between wellsi and merletti when buying online, but when you see them next to each other, it’s much more apparent.

What we learned: Placement

Blastos are a pretty hardy and low maintenance coral. We learned pretty quickly that they like low water current and moderate to low light levels. In fact, with too high of either, the wellsi start looking like merletti!

What we learned: Food

Blastos, like other LPS, get majority of its nutritional requirements through photosynthesis. It does not require additional food to maintain health, but we have target fed mysis and they do have small feeder tentacles that come out where food will stick. Regardless of whether it makes a significant growth difference – it’s fun to target feed! We also found that routinely feeding amino acids make them their fluffiest the next day! We have used both Red Sea Plus AB+ as well as AquaVitro Fuel.

What we learned: Conclusion

WE LOVE BLASTOS. They are seemingly underrated. We love how low maintenance they are yet they can easily be the “feature of the tank.” They are non invasive yet a good grower, colorful, have good movement, and look great in clusters. All wins in our book.