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WAMAS Tank of the Month

Jon Chiu (amos)

Congratulations Jon, on being selected tank of the month.

About the Tank

Experience in hobby

Favorite Corals
  • Ricordia yumas
  • Ricordia floridas
  • Rhodactis sanctithomae
  • Rhodactis indosinensis
  • Zoanthids
  • Palys
  • Euphyllia paranchora
  • Favia
  • Montis
  • Acropora

How long have you been doing this?

I started this reef in 2004 as a 29 gallon. After about a year, I moved everything into a 55, and then in March of this year, moved once more into a 90.

Who got you into the hobby?

Six years ago back when we were both single, my friend Jon Jenkins and I went to burger king, stopped by walmart to pick up some wood chips for the hamster, and ended up buying a 10 gallon tank for the apartment. Six years later we both have 90 gallon reefs (until his wife lets him upgrade to a 120).

Who in the hobby most influences you?

Jon Jenkins, who always seems to have a differing opinion/experience on almost everything having to do with the hobby.

Tank setup and equipment

This is a 90 gallon with a 15 gallon sump. It evolved from a 29 gallon, into a 55 gallon and finally to what you see here today. For me, the driving factors have been money, time and simplicity. When I upgraded to the 90, my wife and I both agreed that the build be self-contained. Everything essential to the day-to-day operation of the tank had to be inside of the stand.

From a setup standpoint, I stuck to the bare minimum: lights, the skimmer, pumps, and a heater. On the inside of the tank, I chose a shallow sand bed (~1.5") primarily for the look, and have added live rock slowly through each tank upgrade. You don't have too much liberty by ways of aquascaping when you are transferring the contents of a tank, so the rockwork is mostly piled haphazardly.

Since its inception, I have routinely chosen easy, fast growing corals. I had no luck with leathers, but mushrooms have done very well in this tank, and now its primarily mushroom dominated, with some montis and others thrown in there. I'd rather buy a small frag and watch it grow than buy a colony and worry about its survival. Every coral in the tank started as a single frag or polyp with the exception of the zoas. Once again, time, money and simplicity drove almost all of my decisions.

Tank Specs/Equipment
  • 90 gallon AGA
  • 15 gallon sump
  • Octopus INT-PS-150
  • Tek light 4 X 54watt
  • 2 modded Maxijets (1200s)
    On a wavemaker
  • Magdrive 5 return pump

What is your maintenance schedule like?

I do a 10 gallon water change every week.

What brand salt do you use??

Instant Ocean

What do you feed your fish and or corals?

Primarily the Ocean Nutrition line (Formula One, Formula Two, Prime Reef) and frozen mysis. This is supplemented by other foods, such as daphina, seaweed, etc. I target feed my brain coral crushed flakes. I tried combo vital at one point, and bought some marine snow. Combo vital didn't seem to do anything but make algea grow, and I never opened the marine snow.

How do you maintain calcium/alkalinity?

I don't intentionally. Mostly I rely on regular water changes to maintain the parameters.

Do you dose anything? If so, how much, how often?


Do you use vitamins or amino acids?


What type of lighting do you have and what schedule do you have them on?

I use a Sunlight Supply Tek light (4 X 54watt T5s). I have three ATI Blue Plus bulbs and one GE 6500K. Two of the blue plus bulbs run from noon-11pm. The other two bulbs run from 1pm-10pm.

Where do you keep your water parameters?

I recently received a refractometer as an early Christmas gift. Previously I relied on a hydrometer. Miraculously, my salinity was at a healthy 1.026. Temperature runs 79-81. I do not test anything else regularly.

Do you have any tricks or methods to keep your water parameters where you have them?

The single most important thing that I did was to get on a consistent water change schedule. I battled typical algea problems in the beginning, and didn't see much color or growth until I got into a disciplined habit of doing water changes.

What kind of water flow do you have? How do you accomplish it?

I have two modded MaxiJet 1200s on an alternating wave maker. One has the BIG propeller on it, and it really moves the water column!

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

Right now, there are no real major upgrades in the works. Its hard to be content in this hobby, but right now I'm just trying to enjoy what I've been blessed to keep. Also, in this hobby I've learned that you shouldn't mess with it if it works, unless you know for sure its going to make a positive impact. My only real short term goals are to nurture a better coral color balance.

What makes your setup special or unique?

Well, nothing really. I bought standard parts and did few DIY projects. I adhered to some basic tenets of this hobby: build slowly, do regular water changes, add only what you can test for. This setup is a little different in the sense that lighting is less than what is typically recommended for a tank this size, and I have been slowly expanding into more light demanding animals to see what can be kept. I have had success keeping and growing montis and a green bali slimer, which has been placed close to the top of the tank. The other difference may be that my setup is fairly minimal: no refugium, UV sterilizer, additive dosing, prop tank, QT, etc. Nothing about it is fancy, but it works for me.

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

Sure. Who wouldn't? I'd build my stand slightly better. I'd find the ideal aquascaping from the get go. But that's pretty much it.


What are your other hobbies?

This is really my only “hobby". My wife tells me that video games is a hobby, so I guess I'll have to include that.

What kind of music are you into right now?

Anything and everything. I don't follow particular artists, just good music.

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

I'd like to meet me at 24 and give myself a good talking to.

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

Somewhere near the ocean, where people aren't stressed all the time and give a hoot about something more than running the rat race.

Why did you choose the screen name you did?

It's the name of my very first clownfish.

What is the last book you read?

The last book I actually completed was probably Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi.

  • Starry Blenny
    (Salarias ramosus)
  • White Cheek Tang
    (Acanthurus nigricans)
  • Blue Jaw Trigger
    (Xanthicthys auromarginatus)
  • Melanurus Wrasse
    (Halichoeres melanurus)
  • False Percula Clownfish
    (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Football or basketball?


Scotch or burbon?


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

Buy used from other hobbyists! You get better equipment at lower prices, healthy live stock with a better chance of survival, and you get plugged in with other hobbyists who can support your journey.

Things I wish I knew 6 years ago:

Oh… lots.