I would like to thank WAMAS for featuring my system. It is an honor being recognized and having an opportunity to share my system with the readers. I hope this inspires readers to continue advancing their knowledge and sharing with others. My philosophy follows the KISS+ method. Keep it Simple Stupid + Stability.
My current tank is an SPS-dominated 300g Marineland Deep Dimension, set up in November 2012. My overflow boxes follow the Herbie Overflow Method; both overflow boxes contain a primary and emergency drain. I transferred the fish, most of the live rock, and a few of the frags from my old 180g SPS setup.
Three Tunze 6100 power heads provide most of the flow within the display, with about 10,000 gallons per hour. My return pump, a Bubble Blaster 10,000, is throttled back to provide about 1,000 gph.
I run six Evergrow D120 units. This is my first system to use LED technology--I’ve been a strong proponent of metal halides, but wanted to test the new LED technology with this tank. So far I’m seeing adequate color and growth with these lights. Arguably, lighting is just as important as excellent water quality.
An ATI Bubble Master 200 provides skimming duty for this moderate bio-load system. 200 pounds of live rock and a shallow sand bed provides adequate surface area for bacteria to flourish. Additionally, I dose 6ml of a blend of vodka and white vinegar. I have used this bacteria-based filtration method for over 4 years and find it easy to implement and troubleshoot. I also change one cup of ROX activated carbon each month.
I dose 120ml potassium chloride each month, and occasionally iron.
I have nine fish now, which is a small number of fish for this size system. There are two large angelfish and three medium sized tangs, but all the rest are less than three inches. The Imperator is my favorite and he is seven inches. I will continue to stock until I reach 12 – 15 fish. All new fish undergo a rigorous quarantine process.
I feed once or twice a day. The menu includes seaweed, clams on the half shell, shrimp, pellets, and my homemade food. All fish are healthy, colorful, and active. Corals are not fed directly but receive nutrients from the bacterial-based filtration system. I occasionally add amino acids to feed the SPS corals. I find that this greatly increases coral coloration and growth.
This system does not require a lot of oversight, but I find this hobby challenging in many areas, including equipment and livestock. More recently, I have been helping other hobbyists develop solutions to the challenges they face.
I plan to implement a larger sump and an external skimmer. Next year I may set up an SPS frag tank.
Throughout my years in the hobby, I have found learning about the animals I keep to be very rewarding. I am continuously increasing my understanding of biological and chemical processes, methodologies, and meeting really great people. My advice for new hobbyists is that they should plan and research. Have fun, be patient, and pay it forward. One final comment: when showing your system to a visitor, wear a white lab coat!
- Salinity: 1.026
- Temperature: 77-80°F
- Alkalinity: 7-7.5 dKH
- Calcium: 410-420 ppm
- Magnesium: 1250-1300 ppm
- Phosphate: 0.03 ppm
- Nitrate: 0 ppm
- Display - Marineland 300 DD Starfire (72”x36”x27”)
- Sump - Glass 40 breeder
- Skimmer - ATI Bubble Master 200 with modified mesh wheel (40 SCFH)
- Lighting - Six Evergrow D120 fixtures
- Return - Bubble Blaster HY-10,000
- Reactor - Geo dual chamber calcium reactor; TLF carbon reactor
- ATO - Autotopoff sensor
- Controller - APEX (pH and temp)
- Powerhead - Three Tunze 6100
- Heater - Two Ebo Jager 300W
- Emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator)
- Powder blue tang (Acanthurus leucostern)
- Bartlett's anthia (Pseudanthias bartlettorum)
- Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)
- Green mandarin fish (Synchiropus splendidus)
- Blue face angelfish (Pomacanthus xanthometopon)
- Sailfin tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)
- Scopas tang (Zebrasoma scopas)
- Solon fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis)
- ORA Red Planet
- ORA Pearlberry
- Pink Lemonade
- Becker's tort
- Oregon tort
- Fire-Ice tort
- Palmer's Blue
- Acropora efflorescens
- A. gomezi
- A. millepora
- A. granuosa
- A. valida
- A. tenuis
- Montipora capricornis
- M. danae
- Green Pox pocilopora