Jump to content
WAMAS Tank of the Month


Tank Of The Month

October 2007

Dave Sandstrom

Congratulations to you Dave, on being selected tank of the month.

About the Tank

    Stony corals:
  • Hidden Cup Coral
    (Phyllangia Americana)
  • Tube coral
    (Cladocora Arbuscula)
  • Lesser Starlet Coral
    (Siderastrea Radians)
  • Brain Coral
    (Platygyra sp.)
  • Large Ivory Coral
    (Oculina varicosa.)

  • Porous/Corky Sea Rod
  • Orange Spiny Sea Rod
    (Muricea elongata)
  • Knobby Candelabrum
    (Eunicea sp.)
  • Sea Plume
    (Pseaudopterogorgia sp.)
  • Angular Sea Blade
    (Pterogorgia sp.)
  • Fire Coral
    (Millepora sp.)

How long have you been doing this?

35 years doing various types of fresh water aquariums and marine tanks since 1984.
I started this Caribbean reef in April, and it has finally been running since July 07 and I'm really enjoying it a bunch.

Who got you into the hobby?

I first got into the fish hobby when I won a gold fish at a local fair, and then in 84 I got into salt because I became interested in breeding Scatophagus argus, aka "scats," so I got a collecting permit to get some marine plants, and set up a planted SW tank without even knowing that it was something new. The scats didn't breed, but I discovered a lot of cool organisms..

Who in the hobby most influences you?

Julian Sprung, Charles Delbeek, and Martin Moe.
I think they give very knowlegable and honest information and each of their books are "nice reads" as well and excellent references.
My wife, Joanna, understands my passion for this "fish thing" so I'd like her to know that I appreciate the support she gives me.

Tank setup and equipment:

My Caribean reef is a 65g tank and is lit by 1 x 250w 65k Iwasaki MH with 2 x 96w PC bulbs. The stand is based on a "HowardofNoVa" design. It has a 6" mixed grade arragonite sand bed with a plenum, and 2 additional powerheads for more flow inside the tank. I made and attached a full end dual overflow which drains down to a triple divided 40b sump. In the sump, I have one section for macro algeas which flows into a section as a fuge and then into a final section for frag growout. The water returns to the main tank from the frag grow out via an Ehiem 1260. The algae section and the fuge are both lit by a 65 fluorescent flood light and the growout area by a 250w-14k hamilton MH. I use a simple kalk laced 16g vat for top off and even mix a little vinegar in with the magical kalk to help with alkalinity.

  • 4 Pigmy Angels
    (1 lucky male and 3 females)
  • 4 Dusky Jaw Fish
  • 1 Pair of Red Headed Gobies

What is your maintenance schedule like?

I change 10g each couple of weeks and clean powerheads and pumps a needed.
I also keep the top off filled with kalk and vinegar and it gets emptied at about 15g per week from evaporation.
I feed twice a day, dry food in the morning, and coral mush plus mysis at night.

What are some itmes that you would like to add to the set-up?

AguaC Remora protein skimmer and maybe a few chalk bass and a red-lipped blenny.

Why did you choose the livestock you decided upon and what are your favarite things about your tank/setup?

When we dive in the Caribbean, one of my favorite times is when we come off the reef and explore the patch reefs on the sand. I spent a lot of time focusing my efforts to recreate as natural a look as I could. This required a lot of effort into aquiring the correct macro algaes and species that one might see if they were scuba diving in this region. I feel like I did a pretty good job doing that and hope you'll agree. I also really enjoy watching my 4 angel fish interact with each other.

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

I'd really like to get the frag tank portion of the sump in better order, get the frags mounted and arranged so I don't run into problems with them. I'd also like to get an AguaC Remora protein skimmer for this tank. It's a great skimmer that does not use venturis, downdraft tubes, or air pumps. It uses the "Spray Injection System" which allows the protein skimmer to draw in much more air than many other protein skimmers. I think it will be perfect for this tank.

  • Margarita/Trochus Snails
  • Kehole Limpets
  • 2 Peppermint Shrimp
  • 6-8 Porcelain Crabs
  • 6 Large Nassarius
  • Blueleg and Redleg Hermits
  • Unidentified Urchin (frag tank)
  • 2 Red Mithrax Crabs (frag tank)
  • Large "Gerdes" sponge (fuge)

What makes your setup special or unique?

Like I said, it's a species tank, and I feel having it and paying attention to what I put in as opposed to "what color I want" makes it special. People often keep one or two gorgonians, but I really like having a growing forest of them. It's pretty brown, but it's what you'd expect to see if you were there.

If you had to start from scratch, would you do anything differently?

I'd make the overflow area a little smaller and move the tank a little more to the right so I coud gain more access to the right side. All in all, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out though. Ask me in 6 months when the tank has had a chance to settle down.

  • Red Sea Grape
    (Botryocladia sp.)
  • Dead Man's Fingers
    (Codium - Could be C. isthmocladum)
  • Sargassum sp.
  • Ochtodes sp.
  • Feather caulerpa
    (Caulerpa sertularioides)

What are your other hobbies?

I love to scuba dive and do it as often as I get the chance. We also like to walk our 2 dogs in the woods and always enjoy a good cycle ride.

What kind of music are you into right now?

I'd have to say Jazz, all types, mostly contemporary, and I'm particular to Joshua Redman.

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

I thought about this long and hard and decided it had to be the person who invented the button. I'd really like to meet them because it's an invention that has been in constant use for several thousand years. Pretty clever.

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

I'd love to go to the Solomon Islands, and spend as much time under water as I can.

Why did you choose the screen name you did?

My screen name is "mogurnda" and it always shows up in articles. I figured it was an easy to get name and could probably have it on any forum I choose. So there you go, "Mogurnda."

What is the last book you read?

The last book I read, I"m still finishing, but it's "A Beautiful Mind"

Football or basketball?

I'm not an avid sports fan but I'll choose football.

Scotch or burbon?

Not much beats a good bottle of Red wine

Do you have any advice for those folks whom are new to the hobby.

Listen to everything you can, but only believe half of it.
Everyone has an opinion and some are right and some are wrong.
The trick is figuring out which is which.