My minibow started out as a harmless project, but soon grew into a monster! I have always had tanks, I started out with a 90 gallon. I grew tired of the constant expense and upkeep of the 90 gallon so I switched over to a 28 gallon bowfront. Recently I have relocated to a different state so I had to give up the 28 gallon.
My uncle wanted to set up a reef for quite a while and I had him set on a 5.5 gallon. As we looked at the pet store we spotted the 7 gallon bowfront and he was hooked. We set up his 7 gallon with two Penguin Mini's, one for filtration and one for the Ice Probe chiller. We wrestled with that setup for months going back and forth with successes and failures. He was ready to give up when I got ready to move out of state. I ended up giving him my 28 gallon since I know I would get almost nothing for it from my local shop. He has been running the 28 gallon successfully since we moved it to his house.
I loved the size of the 7 gallon bowfront, and I was determined to make it run. Using the experience that I gained setting up his tank, I started planning my own minibow. I know that I wanted a "reef ready" tank, I was fed up with syphon-fed overflow boxes. I knew that I wanted to concentrated on SPS and LPS corals, I had plenty of soft corals in the 28 gallon and they were getting boring. I knew I wanted a larger stand to hide my equipment and give me storage space. I knew I wanted a sump setup to house my heater and chiller and give me more water volume. I knew I wanted a digital controller for the heater and chiller. Lastly, I knew that given the lighting requirements of SPS corals, I needed a strong lighting setup. When I added everything up, this is what I ended up with.