WAMAS Tank of the Month
First off I would like to thank WAMAS for this amazing award. I'd also like to thank my buddy Dave (Arkonen) for showing me this awesome club and for taking my pictures for TOTM. I started with my love for aquariums back when I was in high school. I had about 5 fresh water tanks in my bedroom (My mom was not happy). I always wanted to have a salt water tank but never could afford one as a teenager. Once I had that amazing Teacher's salary I decided it was time to set one up. I started with a basic 20 gallon setup with no sump. It lasted about a year then I upgraded to a 38 gallon. I had this tank for about 2 years and then I finally talked my wife into letting me go all out. I set up my current 93 gallon rimless and I haven't changed since. This tank took a beating about 8 months ago when my wife and I moved. We bought our "forever home" and I finally was able to have my dream which you will see here.
My current tank is a MarineLand 93 rimless cube. I also run a 55 gallon predator tank and a 30 gallon rimless Frag Tank. All three systems run off the same filtration. I have a combined total volume of about 240 gallons of water. My cube is my main display tank as it sits out in my basement living room where everyone can see. My filtration system runs behind the wall in a separate room. My 55 and 30 gallon are running in my office (Fish room) which is in the room next to my display.
I get all of my movement from two MP40w Quiet Drives by Ecotech Marine. My return line uses a Jebao DC 1200. I had some issues with my flow in the beginning. Being a cube I couldn't find the right amount to work for my coral. I run a mix tank of SPS and LPS, so my flow for the SPS was great but then it was an over kill for my LPS. After months of tweaking I finally found the right flow. I run my Vortechs in a wide range of flow. They go from a low Tidal swell mode to a full blast Reef Crest mode.
When I first set up my 93 I was using two Evergrow led it2040s. I used these lights for a solid two years. Unfortunately, during my move my dog decided to knock one in the coral tub. Thankfully no coral was hurt but my light was destroyed, so I upgraded. I currently run two Radion xr15w pro g4s. These lights are one of my favorite about my tank. They are amazing lights and have really made my coral explode. The ability to customize these lights through my APEX is just incredible. These lights are mounted using the Ecotech railing system with a custom built hanging kit built using closet racks.
My system runs behind my tank in a small room. Water first runs through a 40 gallon breeder that I use for my refugium. Next it runs into a Trigger Systems Cube sump. This is where the water runs through two filter socks and my SCA 302 skimmer runs. Connected to my skimmer is a AVAST Marine Swabbie and Skimmate Locker. Once it reaches my Jebao DC 1200 it runs through a Manifold that I built. Connected to the manifold are three AVAST Marine Fluidized Media Reactors. I have two MR5s that run BRS High Capacity GFO and BRS ROX .8 Carbon. The third is a MR16 that runs BioPellets.
I dose 15 ml of Red Sea Reef Coral Colors once a week. I use Vibrant every two weeks to control the algae film I get on my glass from my BioPellets. I have TLF Acropower, Brightwell Aquatics MicroBacter7, BRS Two Part system, Vodka, and Peroxide all hooked up to a Jeabo dosing pump. I dose 55 ml a week of Acropower, 3 ml a day of MB7 and Vodka and then 30 ml of peroxide a day. I run 60 ml a day of my BRS two part system. With calcium split into 5 different times and alkalinity dosed at night. Magnesium is dosed in the middle of the day with 25 ml. All of my dosing chemicals are held by containers made by Melev’s Reef. I stand by Acropower and Reef Colors. Once I started using these two products I really noticed a difference in my coral. The one thing that I added that really made a change to my SPS taking off was my BRS C02 scrubber. My PH was staying low due to my tank being in the basement. Once I got it above 8.1 my SPS took off.
My tank is a mixture of SPS and LPS. I've been adding SPS to my tank over the past two years. I've had them before but was always nervous to house the acropora and milipora, but now that I have them I'm glad I made the decision. My favorite coral right now would either have to be my Jason Fox Jack-o-lantern or my Strawberry Shortcake Acropora. My fish are my favorite thing to watch. Sometimes I catch myself just staring at my tank for hours because it’s so relaxing. I think fish are so unique in the way they act. I've had my Hippo Tang since day one and he is the boss of the tank. My favorite fish would have to be my mandarin. I also loved my Blue Throat Trigger but I lost him when I moved.
I feed my fish at least once a day with TLF nori and Formula One pellets. They are given LRS Fish Frenzy about every 2-3 days. My coral is fed with BRS Reef Chili, Oyster Feast, Algae Barns Phyto Feast, Polyp Lab Reef Roids, and LRS Reef Frenzy usually once a week.
The biggest challenges I have had in the past have been a crazy phosphate spike where I lost 2/3 of all my coral and the worse experience I had was this year, I came back from a baseball trip to find out my tank had Marine Velvet. Out of 15 fish I lost 11. It was a sad week in my reefing world. Definitely made me realize the importance of a quarantine tank. My best advice for this hobby would be to have patience. When I first started I couldn't keep my hand out of my tank because I was so worried that I was going to mess something up. Now I have come to realize that keeping my hand out of the tank and letting it do the work is the best option. Its worked very well for me.
Just what everyone else wants, to go bigger. I have always wanted my own fishroom with a good amount of space. I have that now. Once I talk my wife into it I would love to go bigger around 200+. I love my 93 and it would be very hard to give up but fish and coral grow and I will always need more space for new stuff and more fun.
Again, a huge thank you to WAMAS for giving me this amazing award. I have to come to love this hobby even more because of all the people that I have met through this amazing club. It really makes this hobby worth it all.
I use a variety of Hanna Checkers and Salifert Test Kits for my water.