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WAMAS Tank of the Month

First off, I would like to thank the WAMAS TOTM Committee for the nomination! It constantly amazes me how a $20 annual membership has saved me so much money and forged many friendships. I’d like to use this platform to direct all non-members to make the best investment of their life and become a paying WAMAS member! A shout out to all the officers, mods, and volunteers that keep this big ol' wheel turning.

My tank is a Mr. Aqua 22 gallon long peninsula tank. I've had tanks from 5 gallons to 180 gallons, and this one is my favorite. It's in my living room of my condo, which is a pretty small space, and the tank is positioned in the room to fit in unobtrusively with everything else. The stand, custom built by our own BenA, is a reclaimed red oak piece with a live edge. My favorite way to look at a tank is top down, and the height is only 34" to make that easy.

The original owner had installed an internal AOI overflow that took up a quarter of the tank. I removed it and drilled the back end for an eShopps overflow. This skims the surface great and is almost “coast to coast”. A Mag-5 serves as the return pump, and the return plumbing is also drilled instead of hang on. I don't like hang on returns because I feel they are an easy point of failure, and I wanted a cleaner look. Originally I had one MP-10 on the back wall with the Mag-5 on full throttle, but eventually had to add another MP-10 on the front as I started moving into an SPS dominated display. They both run at 50-75% throughout the day, and I'm getting ready to ramp them both up to 3/4 all the time as I slowly phase out some of my softies and LPS that can't handle it.

I started with an ATI T5 fixture (my favorite style of lighting) combined with a Reef Brite. Unfortunately, my space is so tiny and holds heat so well that I had to make the swap to LED. AlanM was selling his old custom built fixture that he used on an SPS dominated 75 gallon rimless, and I've always been a fan of going big or going home. After a bit of a learning curve, I finally got it neatly installed, wired, and set up. The light is the exact same dimensions of my tank, so it's definitely overkill: 30 royal blue XT-E (452nm), 15 neutral white XT-E (4500k), 12 cool blue XP-E (475nm), 9 deep red 660nm, 9 turquoise (495nm), 6 true violet (405nm), and 6 hyper violet (430nm). I have all the lights at 65% and run them from 1145 to 2330.

I'm a huge believer that time and stability is the foundation of success. I have a Reef Octopus 110 internal skimmer that skims super dry. I do water changes (about 7 gallons a month) and I recently switched to plain old IO from Reef Crystals. I used filter socks for a bit, but I really don't have the time or patience to deal with them.

To keep up with my calcium and alkalinity levels, I use ESV B-Ionic 2 part. I like it because it takes care of magnesium for me and that's one less thing. I use a Bubble Magus doser and made my dosing containers out of VOSSE glass water bottles. Despite the behemoth amount of SPS, I only use 15ml a day of each solution. I also add 1-2 drops of Lugol’s iodine per week. I have no way to test whether this method works or not, but it makes me feel good about myself, and I've convinced myself it makes for brighter colors.

The tank is dominated by a ton of colorful acropora, millepora, and zoanthids. There are some other nice pieces like Oregon Mummy Eye chalice, Jedi Mind Trick montipora, and a frag of Space Invaders pectinia. I also have a number of mushrooms, including Jawbreakers, Godzilla Rainbow Bounces, St. Thomas shrooms, and other yumas and ricordea. My fish are a pair of Picasso clowns. Finally, there’s a rainbow anemone that looks very similar to a CSB (but isn’t), and a GIANT rainbow that takes up the back half of the tank.

I feed frozen food exclusively. I use whatever blend of LRS I happen to grab while at my local LFS. I defrost a chunk in a tiny 2oz container and use a baster to feed at least daily. I turn off all pumps and water movement and let everything digest. I also spritz my zoanthids with the cloudy water left over in the 2oz container.

The biggest challenge I'm facing right now is size, but I knew that would be the case from the beginning. I have this disease where I want to keep every single coral and fish, and I'm limited with my space. It's also a blessing, as it's forced me to decide what I'm going to keep and what I'm not going to keep, and I'm sure I'll thin my current batch of corals and replace with things as I continue to grow this tank. Function following form, or form following function. I wanted to keep this build as clean as possible, but things like power heads on the end are going to be a must if I want to keep everything happy, alive, and growing. Sometimes you have to give and take, and be willing to sacrifice. And algae. I've had so many different types of algae. It took a year or so until the tank even went through its motions. Looking at pictures at 6 months in, my rock was black and I thought I had completed the entire cycling process. In hindsight, it was really just beginning.

My future plans are going to be to eventually swap out the lights, or figure out how to use the built-in controller, and maybe think about setting up the Reef Angel that's sitting in the closet. I'd also like to add a turf scrubber, but realistically I'll just end up putting a small pump in my fuge to keep things moving around more.

My advice to is to take your time. Estimate how long you think someone should take, and double it. Read books. There's a lot of great information on the internet. There's a lot of misguided information as well. Most books will have the science behind the reason. The cheapest way to cycle your tank is to pee in it. Never pet a burning dog.

  • Display: Mr. Aqua 22 Gallon Long
  • Sump: Ruby Trigger Systems Sump
  • Lighting: Custom LED light with 84 (3W) Crees and Storm X controller
  • Circulation: Mag-5 return and 2x MP10s
  • Skimmer: Reef Octopus 110-Int
  • Doser: Bubble Magus

  • Salinity: 1.025
  • Alkalinity: 8
  • Calcium: 450

  • Reefgen Cervleen Blue Stag
  • Pink Lemonade
  • Bubble Gum digi
  • Walt Disney
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • PC Rainbow
  • PC Superman
  • Sunset mille
  • Hulk tenius
  • Cali tort
  • Setossa
  • DC Aquaculture House mille
  • Cornbread Purple Planet
  • Reef Raft Acid Trip
  • Cherry Corals Watermelon mille
  • ASD Rainbow
  • Reef Raft Excalibur
  • World Wide Corals Pink Tip
  • Battle Corals Blueberry Fields
  • Ice Cream Cake acro
  • Reef Raft Event Horizon
  • Reef Raft Pink Floyd
  • Sexy Corals Orange Passion
  • Red Dragon
  • Reef Raft Pink Cadillac
  • Jason Fox Homewrecker
  • Jason Fox Fox Flame
  • Battle Corals Battle stag
  • TGC Cherry Bomb
  • TCK Pikachu

  • Armor of Gods
  • Cats Eye
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • WWC Twizzlers
  • Fruit Loops
  • Red Devil PE
  • Rastas
  • Orange Oxides
  • Playboy Bunnies
  • Shell Shockers
  • Miami Vice
  • Reverse Miami Vice
  • Utter Chaos
  • Strawberry Wines
  • Space Monsters
  • Pink Galaxies
  • Speckled Kraks
  • Sunny D's
  • Starbursts
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Pink Diamonds
  • Yodas
  • Eyes of Sauron
  • Mowhawks
  • Cinnamon Grandis
  • Purple People Eaters
  • Green Monsters
  • Darth Mauls
  • Hyper Jubilees
  • Some unknowns as well
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