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WAMAS Tank of the Month


Tank Of The Month

March 2007

David Hochheiser

Congratulations Dave on being selected for WAMAS TOTM March!

Thanks, I'm honored.

About the Tank

Tank Specs
Display 180 gallons
Sump 40 gallons
Refugium 29 gallons
Frag Tank 40 gallons
2 Wavy Seas
2 Tunze Streams
Deltec APF600 skimmer
Koraline 3002 Calcium reactor
Kalk Reactor
Everything lit with T-5 driven by Ice CAP ballast
Neptune ACIII Pro

First off can you give us the run down on your tank set up?

(See White Box ->)

That's a pretty good list of equipment. What would you say the “heart of the system" would be?

My Neptune Controller without a doubt. This one piece of equipment has already saved my tank once. Last year when I went to MACNA in Houston I got a page on my cell phone from my controller back home. It alerted me that I had a GFCI tripped and the tank was not getting the needed power to provide life support. I was able to call a friend and have him go over to the house troubleshoot the situation while I guided him by the assistance of my tanks web cam. Without the controller I could have lost everything.

Wow, what a great tool to have. I have seen your website where you have all of the tanks parameters listed there right?

It's all uploaded in real time via the web server built into the controller and I wrote a program that interfaces it to my site.

Ok, how about second most critical component?

Lighting. I have been using T-5 lighting since the very beginning of when it started coming onto the scene. I was told by so many people early on that you couldn't grow stony corals with anything other that metal halide. That just didn't seem right to me. I even talked to experts in the field of lighting and got their opinions and the consensus was that T-5 just didn't have the PAR needed for the corals to grow. I have never been one to take even an experts word on something when I felt there was a chance that I might be on to something.

You seem to have great growth and color from your lighting.

I'm happy with the results.

How long have you been keeping saltwater tanks?

I got my first 55 gallon in the mid 80's. It was kept as a FO tank for 5 years. I broke that down at some point when I was in college and didn't have the time/money to keep it going. About 6 years ago, I moved into my current home and set up another 55 FO tank. Soon after that I bought a 29 gallon tank that was setup as a complete reef. Very soon after that, I moved the contents of both tanks into a 125 gallon and in December of 2004 I moved everything to the 180.

Who got you into the hobby?

don't remember who or why I first got into it. I have always been intrigued with reefs and salt water fish though.

Your setup is very high tech and methodically laid out with a lot of attention to detail, do you have any reef keeping rules that you break?

I would never say there are hard rules about reef keeping. Go slow and be patient, that's about it. I take every claim with a grain of salt even when those claims come from experts in the field. Having many different opinions and philosophies out there is a motivator for me to research and make my own conclusions.

Do you spend a lot of time keeping this tank maintained?

Not really. I change 10 gallons of water 3 times/2 weeks feed daily, add water to the top off, daily alk testing, and lately I have been trimming corals back just to keep the growth in check. Other than that and regular cleaning that's all I do.

Do you have an upgrade in your future?

Nothing planned. I just set up my frag tank which will free up some space in the tank and I'm pretty content with everything else. I may just do some tweaking of things here and there like changing out one of the larger fish for several more fairy wrasses.

Pink Margin Fairy Wrasse
Chevron Tang
Blonde Naso Tang
Green Mandarin
Blue Chin Trigger
Ocellaris Pair
CB Butterfly
Sailfin Tang
Mysteri Wrasse
Lineatus Fairy Wrasse Pair

What are all the fish you currently have?

(See White Box ->)

What are some of your other hobbies?

Definitely music. I play bass guitar and acoustic guitar. I also am very active in sports and play softball in spring and summer.

What kind of music are you into right now?

Blues, light rock and pretty much anything but rap.

Who would you most like to meet past present or future?

Jascque Cousteau and Jesus.

If you could go one place on earth where would it be?

Australia, the Great Barrier Reef.

What book is on your nightstand right now?

1001 ways to reward employees (by Bob Nelson PhD)

Football or basketball?

Football. Pittsburgh Steelers. Been a fan since I was a little kid (before I knew anything about football)... I liked their black and yellow colors.

Scotch or bourbon?

Scotch, single malt please.

Thanks Dave for taking the time to tell us about your tank!

Any time.

Bubble coral recovery pics:



Growth pics: