First, I would like to say it's a great honor to be nominated and to be featured on TOTM – thank you for choosing me this month. I'm especially grateful to my family who continue to support and encourage me with this hobby. It’s been a long journey from getting my first freshwater guppy in the first grade, to getting my first big saltwater aquarium 10 years ago. I still remember the day my mom and I drove for three hours to purchase my first saltwater aquarium, and then drove another three hours to get 30 gallons of RODI water from a local reefer because we couldn’t wait a week for the RODI machine to come. We didn’t get home until almost 1AM that day. We were exhausted, but we were so excited that it was totally worth it.
My current tank is an 80 gallon mixed reef with a 20 gallon sump. The tank is set up in my home in Virginia.
Two Jebao-40 pumps and a Gyre 230 provide in-tank circulation. My return pump is a Sicce 3.
I am currently using three Hydra 26 LED fixtures. I have used everything from metal halide to T5 before, but the user experience, spectrum customization, and small form factor of LED won me over easily.
My biological filtration system consists of 50 lbs of sand and 50 lbs of rock. I use a Reef Octopus 110 skimmer and filter socks for mechanical filtration. I do a 15 gallon water change twice a month.
I use kalkwasser for my top off to raise my calcium and alkalinity. My target level is 400 for calcium and 8.0 for alkalinity.
I have a mixed reef with about equal amount of SPS, LPS, soft corals, zoanthids, and anemones. For SPS, I tend to stick with beginner-friendly SPS such as green slimer and a varieties of green bird nest. They are very easy to keep, grow very fast, and have great colors when healthy. For LPS, I really love acans and euphyllia such as torch, hammer, and frogspawn. I just love the movement these coral add to my tank. I also keep a variety of anemones in my tank. I’ve collected quite a few rock flower anemones and have six huge bubble tip anemones. The trick to these guy is to keep them on their own island away from the SPS because they love to move around and sting things.
I feed a combination of pellets and flake food from my auto feeder once a day. I usually do an extra feeding in the evening if I am not too busy or just want to interact with the fish. I feed my anemone salmon on the weekend and that seem to make them very happy.
I went through a battle of ick when I first started this tank. It really taught me a great lesson on quarantining my fish. I’ve lost many corals, but nothing hurt more than losing my favorite pair of clownfish that I raised from babies.
My tank is still very new, so I’m planning on just really enjoyING it as it matures. I’ve collected many small frags, so with patience and time I’m looking forward to watching them grow.
This hobby requires a lot of time and patience, but the journey is worth it. Life will get busy and difficult sometimes but if you are willing to put in a little work, you will be rewarded. My aquarium is a piece of happiness for me – no matter how my day went, it’s such a joy to kick back and relax in front of my aquarium when I get home. I’ll never grow tired of it. Also, joining WAMAS and being a part of this community has been one of the best things I’ve done in this hobby. I’ve made many friends and I constantly learn new things every single day.
- Salinity 1.025
- Temperature 78
- Alkalinity 8
- Calcium 400
- Magnesium 1300
- Phosphate N/A
- Nitrate 0.5
- Display: 80g
- Sump: 20g
- Skimmer: Reef Octopus 110
- Lighting: AI Hydra 26 x3
- Return Pump: Sicce 3
- Circulation: Two Jebao 40s / Gyre 230
- ATO: Tunze 3152
- Clownfish pair
- Lyretail anthias pair
- Diamond goby
- Starry blenny
- Yellow watchman goby
- Yellow tang
- Red planet acropora
- Bonsai acropora Euphyllia
- Zoanthid garden
- Six sexy shrimp in rock flower anemones
- Three anemone crabs in my BTAs