Mark Cawthorn | REEFER XL 425

Reef Care Recipes | SPS Dominant

I have been a reef keeper since 2010. I began my journey with Red Sea Coral Pro salt, pre-mixed at my local fish shop.

I started with a few NANOs and corals. It took me almost two years to add some fish. During the first five years, I learned how to test the water, make additions to my take, and keep my tank levels stable.


Supplementing and Salt


I started with the Red Sea liquids, eventually changing to the powders that you mix yourself a few years into the hobby. 


Around that time I also started making my own water. Not long afterward, I changed to the Red Sea Salt (fondly known as “the blue bucket”) as my tank was almost full, and I no longer needed the accelerated growth that Coral Pro Salt provided.

Five years into the hobby I got my first Red Sea REEFER, buying the 170 as soon as they were released in the UK. 


I kept this tank for a year, filling it with LPS & SPS. I then upgraded to a REEFER 250, which I kept for another 2 years, once again filling it with LPS & SPS. When it was also full, I upgraded to my current REEFER XL 425, which is running on the full Red Sea SPS dominant recipe.

I chose the SPS dominant recipe because its levels mirror the blue bucket (Red Sea salt) which I use for water changes. Should I require a large water change at any point, I will be able to do so without upsetting my corals. NO3PO4-X and water changes are the only methods I use for nutrient control- I test my NO3 and PO4 at least once a week and adjust my dose if required.

Reef Energy Plus (AB+) has been a big plus for me. I have SPS corals that have been growing very slowly, but after 2 months of dosing AB+ (every day, at the same time) they are growing much faster. Also, my Rainbow Tenuis Acros have finally started to color up after a long stretch of being pale.

To keep my levels in line with Red Sea Salt, I’m currently dosing the following, daily:

This is my equipment list:

The reason I went with Red Sea in the first place was my local fish shop, which was running a display tank with all the additives and getting great results. As I grew into the hobby and started learning more, Red Sea’s simple instructions and guides were a big help.

What keeps me going in the hobby is the constant challenge of finding and growing new corals. Keeping the tank stable and watching the colours improve is a wonderful bonus too.

Also, the technology in the hobby now is simply brilliant, I can’t wait to see what is around the corner and coming out next.

More to explore