Product Update: Setting Up the Reef Casa Studio 12 Saltwater Aquarium Kit

by | Mar 19, 2023 | Equipment, Tanks | 0 comments

A month ago I was provided the opportunity to review the Reef Casa Studio 12 Saltwater Aquarium Kit. The Unboxing and Initial Product review can be found here, but for a proper review I need to get some long term experience with it. The nano reef tanks I owned (20L DIY AIO and my current Fluval EVO 13.5) always  required more attention than expected. These nano tanks were eventually plumbed for automatic water changes with the larger 510 gallon system which reduced the manual water changes. These outcomes were due to poor choices made for livestock and time commitments in the initial stages, and this time I will plan for a system I feel is simple and truly standalone. I will not have the opportunity to fall back on that auto water change crutch used in the past. Remember to follow the 6Ps as outlined in my Reef Mentoring Article Series.


My personal goals for this setup are below:

  • Where to place this system
    • First floor foyer
    • Completely standalone, away from other systems in the basement

  • What Level of maintenance do I want to commit to?
    • Low maintenance
    • No supplementation
    • Low to Moderate Light and Flow requirements
  • Livestock Bioload Theme
    • Classic Clownfish and Anemone System

Bill of Materials

I wanted to incorporate these optional components.

(Disclaimer: These were all purchased by me and are not part of the provided Reef Casa Studio 12 Aquarium Kit.)

  • Aquarium Stand (Landen Aquarium Wooden Stand and Cabinet for up to 20 Gal Tank)
  • Skimmer (MagTool Nano Skimmer AIO-70P)
  • 13W UV Sterilizer
  • CoralVue Hydros Controller System (X2, 4 Outlet WIFI Strip, Water Level Sensor, micro pump)
  • 10L ATO Water Jug
  • Motion Activated LED light for the cabinet
  • Wire Management Channel

Setting Up

I followed the recommended setup guide video Reef Casa provided (see below) after I created my aquascape.

Some Deviations:

  • With regards to the aquascape I only used half of the rocks (9-10lbs total) provided to create my aquascape. My goal was to maximize water volume for nutrient dilution. With just 5lbs of rock used, it resulted in just 10 gallons of fresh saltwater to fill the tank.
  • The filter pad was too dense.  The premature clogging in chamber 1 caused my ATO (sensor placed in chamber 2) to fluctuate and overfill. This lowered my salinity from my targeted 35 PPT and almost overflowed the display side. Ultimately, I removed the pad and decided to go with regular floss.

After two weeks I tested the ammonia and nitrate levels. The resulting Hanna Ammonia Checker reading = 0.04 ppm and nitrate < 20ppm (via API Nitrate test kit). I added the nano skimmer and UV sterilizer to the filtration compartments.

Note: Turn on the skimmer and UV sterilizer only after cycling is completed and livestock is added.


I chose the classic clownfish and anemone tank theme. I relocated five extra bubble-tip anemones I had in my sale/trade system. They consisted of 4 color variants (purple, purple speckled, rainbow, and rose). For compatibility, I also added other Actiniaria-like green and orange Ricordea florida, Maxi-Mini Carpet anemones, and a large green Rhodactis sp. mushroom with some “bounce” potentials. The green will contrast with the reds and purples of the bubble-tip anemones. Keep in mind that livestock color contrast is also part of good aquascaping and should not be overlooked.

As for fish I decided on purchasing 2 small Amphiprion oscellaris clownfish variants. The Darwin variant will become fully black with white stripes and the traditional Oscellaris has the brighter orange/Black/white combination. After introducing the clownfish pair they already started hosting in the bubble-tip anemones the next morning. As the system matures other additions can be made as needed; the Clean up Crew will be the first priority.

Till then Happy Reefing!

  • Ellery Wong

    Ellery is a mechanical systems engineer at a Fortune 500 technology company. He has automation experience in the automotive, appliance, printing and robotics industries as a product development professional but also has over 35 years of saltwater aquarium experience as a hobbyist. He currently maintains a 9 tank / 540 gallon SPS/LPS/Mixed systems. DIY is his forte!


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