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WAMAS Tank of the Month

Hilary Foster (Hilary)

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

About the Tank

  • 1 Tail Spot Blenny
  • 1 XL Blue Spotted Xatchman Goby
  • 3 Pajama Cardinals
  • 1 Orange Stripe Cardinal
  • 2 Bangaii Cardinals
  • 1 Swiss Guard Basslet
  • 1 Blue Eyed Kole Tang
  • 1 Yellow Tang
  • 1 Yellow Belly Hippo Tang
  • 2 Ocellaris Clowns
  • 1 Melanurus Wrasse
  • 1 Mandarin Goby
  • 1 Scribbled Rabbit

Experience in hobby

How long have you been doing this?

I've been doing fresh water since I was 10, I started my current set up in March of '08, and it is my first salt.

Who got you into the hobby?

I got myself into the hobby. I scuba diving (my other hobby) is what originally inspired me. I saw tanks in LFS's and was told about WAMAS by an LFS and it all started from there.

Who in the hobby most influences you?

Other WAMAS members really, I can't pick just one. I love seeing all the other members systems and drawing inspiration from each.

Tank setup and equipment

This is a 90 gallon AGA RR with a 30ish gallon acrylic sump sump. The sump is divided into 3 chambers Fuge, LR chamber, and skimmer chamber. The tank has a 3-4" sand bed of Caribsea Seafloor aragonite, looks almost like crushed coral and I'm very happy how that has turned out. The aquascaping is my own design as well and it also turned out well.

My lighting is from a current outer orbit 2 x 150 DE MH with actinic supplementation. I've very pleased with the light and the actinics really make the corals pop. Money is a factor, but I work very hard to do research an ask a lot of questions before purchasing corals and livestock and I've worked hard to get the pieces I've wanted. This method has resulted with the collection of corals I have now with a few less commonly seen pieces I really enjoy, such as the my sponges, dendrophyllia, and rhyzotrochus among others. Everything seems to be going well and I'm enjoying the hobby a lot.

What is your maintenance schedule like?

I try to do water changes every 2-3 weeks with RO/DI and instant ocean, around %10 actual volume. I also do water testing around the same time, and try to dose accordingly. Other than that its a simple set up, empty the skimmer cup periodically and mess around with coral placement, the tank is stable on its own.

  • SPS
  • LPS
  • Softies
  • Sponges
  • RBTA
  • A little bit of everything

What brand salt do you use?

I use Instant Ocean.

What do you feed your fish and or corals?

I feed a mishmash of frozen foods and all the fish and corals seem to love it. I spot feed the rhyzo a silver side weekly, and target feed my non photosynthetic sponges, sun coral, and gorgonians.

How do you maintain calcium/alkalinity?

I mostly rely on regular water changes to do this. I will dose something if testing indicates I need to do so, but I don't use a Kalk or Ca reactor.

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

I have some items from Brightwell and again use them as testing dictates.

Do you use vitamins or amino acids?

No I like to keep it simple.

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

I have a Current Outer Orbit fixture, 2 x 150 watt 14k bulbs and 4 x 54 watt actinics. It also has 18 lunar lights which give the tank a cool look when the other bulbs are off. The lights are controlled by my Aqua Controller III. The halides run for about 5 hours a day and the actinics for 14 hours.

Where do you keep your water parameters?

Typically my water parameters are Sg 1.025, temp 80, calc 415, mag 1200, alk 6.2 Hk

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

Not really, just try to keep my water changes on a consistent schedual.

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

Flow comes from my return a Mag 7 and two Korlias a 2 & 3.

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

Right now I don't really have any plans I like it how it is. I might like to move to a 125 but I'm somewhat worried about weight issues having it on the second level of my house. For now I may consider upping my lighting to 250 halides and maybe getting some more flow in the tank, I'm not in any sort of rush though.

What makes your setup special or unique?

I try to keep a little bit of everything SPS, LPS, and softies so my tank has a good mix and a “natural" look. I really like the rhyzo (my avatar) and haven't really seen it any where else. I also keep 3 different types of cardinal fish which has turned out very well, even leading to spawning.

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

I'm not sure if I'd do anything differently, the tank is pretty nice as it is. I might have tried to find one skimmer that really worked for me from the start I'm on my 2nd now, but I really like this one.


What are your other hobbies?

My biggest hobby is SCUBA, I love to dive as well as I am an instructor. I also have a small assortment of fresh water tanks, and I keep and breed a small variety of birds mostly finches.

What kind of music are you into right now?

I like most everything, I suppose you could say I'm into 80's music.

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


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

Fiji, I'd really like to go diving in Fiji again.

Why did you choose the screen name you did?

I'm not very creative I guess, but it works.

What is the last book you read?

The Magicians Assistant.

Football or basketball?


  • Blood Red Fire Shrimp
  • 2 Skunk Cleaners
  • Coco Worm
  • Feather Dusters
  • BIG Mixed Clean Up Crew
  • Maxima Clam
  • Dalmatian Linkia Starfish
  • Candy Stripe Pistol Shrimp
  • Pom Pom Crab

Scotch or burbon?


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

Research, Research, Research... it will save you a lot of head aches and disappointments. Also ask as many questions as you can, knowledge is a great thing in this hobby.

Things I wish I knew 6 years ago:

This hobby, I wish I would have started sooner!