I started in the saltwater hobby in 2006. I used to work in Wheaton MD and I would visit this LFS all the time and just stare at the fish tanks during my lunch break. There was a Midas blenny that really caught my eye with all his clowning around, and it seemed like I could watch that fish for hours. The Midas blenny is the favorite fish in my current tank. I left the hobby in 2012 for a few years then got back into it in 2015. I’ve been going strong ever since.
My display is a 105 gallon Deep Sea Aquatics tank measuring 48” x 24” x 21” dominated with a never-ending collection of zoanthids and palythoas. I went with a foundation of Tonga branch rock to create a very open aquascape. Probably 90% of the rock is clear of the sand bed.
The return pump is an EcoTech Vectra M1, and I run two MP40 QDs. The combination of the Vectra and the MP40s create good surface movement and several wave patterns.
The tank is lit with a Kessil AP700. I use the Kessil program to start the blues at 0800, then ramp up to 60% full spectrum. The program ramps the lights back down in the evening and everything is dark by 2200.
I run an SWC 160 protein skimmer inside a Trigger Emerald 39 acrylic sump. I also use five boxes of MarinePure ceramic spheres and Miracle Mud for natural filtration. My live rock is CaribSea Rock with Tonga branch.
My only additive is kalkwasser through my ATO. I do weekly water changes of 10% (15 gallons) with Red Sea Coral Pro salt mix.
Zoanthids and palythoas make up the bulk of my corals. I also have several LPS corals, and a few SPS. I like fish too, and there’s a few tangs and dwarf angels in addition to my favorite fish, the Midas blenny.
I don't feed the corals, but I do feed fish pellets throughout the week with an automatic feeder. I feed frozen mysis shrimp on weekends.
If I could do it all over again, I would have made better plumbing and equipment choices. I would have used a smaller sump and plumbed in a return manifold and auto water change. I’d have organized things better in my cabinets, and used some sort of cable management from the start. I think you should buy equipment that you can take to your next tank build because you’ll outgrow your first tank within a year.
I plan on installing an Apex and an automatic water change system to change two gallons per day via dosing pumps. I’d also like to add a calcium reactor to maintain calcium and alkalinity. I want to dive into SPS for the upper part of my reef to make this a mixed reef, so I’ll also add retrofit T5 bulbs. Finally I plan to build side cabinets to hide all the equipment.
My advice to others is research, research, and more research. Also, don't look at other peoples’ tank and then judge your own tank in comparison. Finally, don't get caught up in the main display because it takes a lot to get a tank established. Look at the sump when you go to the LFS...that's where all the magic happen.
- Display: 105 DSA w/ AA ClearView lid
- Sump: Trigger 39 sump
- Skimmer: SWC 160
- Lighting: Kessil AP700 LED
- Return Pump: Vectra M1
- Circulation: Two Vortech MP40QD
- Controller: Apex
- ATO: IM Hydro Fill
- Midas blenny
- Powder blue tang
- Frostbite clownfish
- Potter's angel
- Flame angel
- Blue hippo tang
- Gem tang
- Leopard wrasse
- Zoas and palys
- Golden torch
- Monti caps
- Space Invaders pectina
- Candy cane
- Bubble coral
- Red fire shrimp
- Cleaner shrimp
- Sally lightfoot crab
- Pom-pom crabs
- Blue starfish