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WAMAS Tank of the Month

I started reef-keeping around 1995 when I walked into the LFS and stumbled upon their beautiful display tank. I was instantly hooked, and started scouring the local classifieds for a used tank to make my own.

The tank is a standard Marineland 75g (48x18x21) that sits in our home office, where I spend most of my time.

A pair of Vortech MP40s provides the in-tank water movement. I run the Vortechs on short pulse mode to create a slower back and forth motion. I had used reefcrest mode in the past, but as the corals grew larger the constant water flow created abnormal growth. They have always been set to 100% and anti-sync.

Lighting consists of two Kessil A360WEs and an AquaticLife Hybrid fixture with four, 54w T5s. T5 bulbs consist of two Blue Plus, an AquaBlue Special, and a Purple Plus (I’m not a fan of overly blue looking displays). The Kessils are on for 12 hours (10am to 10pm); they ramp up from 0% to 50% color for the first two hours of the photo-period, and ramp back down from for the last two hours. The intensity ramps up from 0% to 70% from 10am to 4pm, and then ramps back down to off at 10pm. The T5s come on 12pm and remain on until 8pm for eight total hours. Peak PAR in this configuration is about 365 with a whole tank average of 265. I’ve used a few different arrays over the years (VHO and various LEDs) but the Kessil shimmer won me over. If I’m not using metal halides, I’ll go with Kessil every time.

The tank was started with about 50lbs of BRS reef saver dry rock and a single piece of Fiji live rock to seed it. Sand is about 100lbs of Nature’s Ocean bio-active. A Deltec 1350 takes care of skimming duties and a variety of macro-algae go to work on the nutrients; originally consisting of three species of caulerpa (paspaloids, sertulariods, and mexicana) and some rogue chaeto that snuck in. Over the years, one species would become dominant and choke out the others only to die back and be replaced by one of the others. It has been really interesting to see how the macro-algae evolves within the refugium. Speaking of refugium, it’s a second generation Eshopps R-200.

The only additives used are BRS pharmaceutical grade two part with an occasional manual correction to magnesium if the water changes aren’t keeping up (rare). I try to keep the parameters close to natural seawater levels so they’re typically lower than what most reefers tend to keep.

Nine fish currently call the tank home: a coral beauty, yellow tang, Randall’s goby, Kaudern’s cardinal, yellow assessor, tail spot blenny, royal gramma, foxface, and a sixline wrasse. They live in relative harmony though I’m seeing a lot more of the yellow assessor lately and have a feeling the sixline has been harassing it. The goby is my favorite fish; I love the symbiotic relationship with the pistol shrimp. There are 17 different acroporas along with a couple montiporas, a purple scroll, a few green mushrooms, pipe organ, cyphastrea, toadstool, and a leptoseris. The GARF bonsai is probably my favorite coral.

I feed LRS Reef Frenzy twice daily along with occasional pieces of Julian Sprung’s Sea Veggies (meant to be daily but I seem to be lazy when I get home from work). I’ve been extremely happy with LRS products and the fish seem to enjoy it.

The only real challenge is the frequency at which I travel for work as it puts a lot of pressure on my wife; she always worries she’ll goon something up but she has done a fantastic job over the past three years and one month the tank has been set up (it often looks better when I’m away for a while…).

We have recently started setting up a 150g that will become home for much of what is in the 75g. Once that transition is complete, I’ll start working on a 120g in-wall for the office so I can reclaim the space being occupied by the 75g.

  • Salinity 35ppt
  • Temperature 78.8°
  • Alkalinity 7.6 dKh
  • Calcium 415ppm
  • Magnesium 1410ppm
  • Phosphate 0.10ppm
  • Nitrate 2.5ppm

  • Marineland 75g display
  • Eshopps R-200 refugium (Gen 2)
  • Modular Marine 1200gph overflow
  • Two Kessil A360WE Tuna Blues
  • 48” AquaticLife Hybrid
  • Kessil H160 and H80 over the refugium
  • Deltec SC1350N skimmer
  • BRS carbon reactor
  • BRS dosing pumps
  • Current USA 6010 return pump
  • Two Vortech MP40
  • Dual Visi-therm 150w heaters
  • Reef Angel + controller

  • Vivid Rainbow Delight
  • Tyree's Pink Lemonade
  • GARG bonsai
  • WWC Suicide Squad
  • Strawberry Short Cake
  • Cali tortuosa
  • Hawkin's Blue echinata
  • Reef Raft Wolverine
  • SC Orange Passion
  • ORA Borealis
  • WWC Yellow Tip Austera
  • Green tenuis
  • Copps' Rainbow Undata
  • Montipora capricornis
  • Purple scroll tubinaria
  • Green pipe organ
  • Green toadstool
  • Meteor Shower cyphastrea
  • Jason Fox Jack-O-Lantern leptoseris
  • Tri-color valida
  • And a few wild acroporas

  • Skunk cleaner
  • Tiger pistol shrimp
  • Tiger sand conch
  • Misc hermits and snails
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