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WAMAS Tank of the Month


Tank Of The Month

April 2007

Lee Stearns

Lee, congratulations on being selected TOTM, now you have some questions to answer:

About the Tank

Tank Specs
150 High Glass Tank
29 Gallon Sump
Geo Calcium Reactor
Aqua C Skimmer
2 DE 10 AB Metal Halides
6 4 ft T5's

How long have you been doing this?

I started keeping saltwater tanks almost 25 years ago. Back when corals could not be kept. After 12 years, I took a 10 year hiatus. 3.5 years ago I started up again.

What got you into the hobby?

I used to scuba when I was in Naval Flight School in Pensacola. I would dive right off the shore. That first got me interested. Back then I kept a 55 gal fish only. When I was stationed in Hawaii, I would collect Moorish idols and try to get them to eat flake foods. If they would eat, I would keep them. If they refused to eat, I would return them to where I collected.

Who in the hobby most influences you?

Randy Holmes-Farley. I feel you must get the basics of the chemistry down to be able to keep corals.

What about your equipment?

Basically I have a 150 High Glass tank, a 29 gallon sump, a Geo calcium reactor, a Aqua C skimmer, 2 DE 10 AB metal halides, and 6 4 ft T5's

I originally had 4 VHO's in the hood, but went to the T5's for longer life expectancy, and less electricity used. Consider me the “frugal reefer".

Alk - 3.5 mqv/liter
Calcium - 380
Salinity - 1.025
Temp - 82.5-79 degrees
Ph - 8.1-8.24

What is your testing routine and maintenance schedule like?

Mainly Alk about 3 times a week. Most important parameter in my mind. Also pH - by monitor daily, probably the 2nd most important parameter. Salinity - Once a week, Calcium- Once a month, and Magnesium - Once a quarter

I maintain my alkalinity using a calcium reactor. I finally went over to the “Dark Side" and purchased a reactor. I never thought it was necessary until I could not keep up with dosing a 2 part solution. Now, it is “set and forget" for 6 months, and life is easy. I still manually dose kalkwasser. I add a spoonful of kalk powder to a cup, stir, and pour off the unsettled portion directly into the tank in a high flow area. I also supplement iodine occasionally for the shrimp molts, and Phosguard in the sump.

4 Lyretail Anthias
2 Bengaii Cardinal fish
1 Hippo tang
1 Powder Blue tang
1 Achilles tang
1 Radiant Wrasse
1 Coral Beauty
1 Goby

What about feeding?

I feed Dianachi pellets, mysis, and nori

What type of corals are kept?

Too numerous to mention. My favorite coral is the blastomussas or the candy canes. Depends on the mood. My least favorite coral green hairy mushrooms, they tend to take over.

Do you keep any Inverts?

4-5 peppermint shrimp. Pair of skunk cleaner shrimp, and a few hermits and snails.

What makes your setup special or unique?

No corals in the tank has been taken from the wild unless it was traded for or introduced on the liverock. The only exceptions are the corals that were purchased for Dan's (dandy7200) contest.

Other philosophies I abide by are “nothing good happens fast" and know what you are putting into your tank.

What are your future plans for improvement/upgrade of the tank?

No future plans to improve the tank. If I had it to do over again, I would have purchased a 6 foot tank. There is 1 foot of wall space on either side where I could have gone bigger if I had known where my final position of the tank would be.

What are your other hobbies?

Scuba, skydiving, flying/aviation. I was a pilot for 20 years in the Marines flying CH-46 Chinook helicopters

What kind of music are you into right now?

Anything but heavy metal and rap. I was born and raised in TX, so I even like country.

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

Thomas Jefferson - He was a tinkerer, yet a president. Something you wouldn't be able to do today.

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

I would guess India. Why? Because it is one other the few places I have never been. In the marines, I have been to Australia, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia … (this is about where the reporter's furious writing came to an abrupt halt as the list became impossible to keep up with)

Why did you choose the screen name you did?

Lack of imagination?

What is the last book you read?

The Known World, by Edward P. Jones. It's a book about a black man who owned slaves.

Football or basketball?

College football - Hook ‘em Horns!

Scotch or bourbon?

Beer - Any good microbrew

Thanks Lee, for allowing us to check out the tank. And thanks from all the members that you have been so generous to. There are very few of us who have not been given frags from your tank. Your generosity and sound advice is always appreciated.