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WAMAS Tank of the Month


First I would like to thank WAMAS for the opportunity to showcase my tank. Second, I would like to thank Frank Derflinger aka surf&turf for being a great mentor for the past 14 months of my reef tank learning curve. I can honestly say that if I had not found WAMAS and all the helpful people on this forum, I would have given up long ago. I've only been in the hobby seriously since December 2012 when I set up my current tank.

My current tank is a 135 gallon 36"x36" Cadlights starphire rimless aquarium with a DIY stand.

In-tank water movement comes from 2 Vortech mp40s and one wp25. I use a Mag 9.5 return pump.

My current lighting is 2 Ecotech Radion gen 2 fixtures. I had metal halides on my previous FOWLR setup but the heat and water temps drove me crazy. So far I'm very satisfied with the LEDs. Lights come on at 1 pm and go off at midnight.

I use a custom myreefcreations sump with four built-in filter sock holders. I run an Avast CS1 skimmer with a Swabbie and skimmate locker. Approximately 120 lbs. of live rock and a 2 sand bed provide biological filtration. Recently I added a carbon reactor, a biopellet reactor, and a 40 gallon fuge/frag tank. I use a Reefkeeper Elite to keep an eye on everything.

I use a Bubble Magus triple doser with BRS calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium supplements. My target dosing levels are 425 ppm calcium, 8.0 dkH alkalinity, and 1250-1350 ppm magnesium.

I have a medium bio load with a good mixture of fish. My current stocklist includes two buckshot clownfish, a male lyretail anthias, a yellow tang, some cardinals, and a magnificent foxface. My favorite fish is the lyretail. It seems like whenever a fish starts picking on another fish, the lyretail moves in and puts a stop to it immediately.

I would say Im in the dont feed enough category. I feed a variety of pellets and frozen foods about every other day, and Rods frozen food is my fishes favorite.

My biggest challenge has been high nitrates. This has been a nightmare almost to my breaking point. At one point I was going through a box of salt each week from all the water changes. They are still a little high at 20 but compared to the 80+ they were at for the first 9 months, I can deal with 20. My second challenge is figuring out where I can possibly fit more coral!!! And third was trying to make everything happy in a mixed reef. Ive never had any detectable phosphates, but nothing was growing or coloring up. As soon as I ditched the GFO, added bio pellets, and let phosphate come up to .04, the corals exploded with growth. It was like steroids for my tank.

My future plans are the same as most. I want a bigger tank so I can fit more coral. I purposely built my stand oversize with a 48x48 footprint so someday I can upgrade. 48x48x24 sounds about right to me.

I have two bits of advice for other reefkeepers. Dont put your tank in the living room if you have small children. Ive lost a few skittish fish because of this one. Second, if youre lazy this is not the hobby for you. Try NASCAR collectibles or something! Finally, thanks again for the chance to showcase my tank and thanks to all the officers and sponsors of WAMAS for making this possible for us all to enjoy.


  • Salinity: 1.025
  • Temperature: 78°F
  • Alkalinity: 8.0 dkH
  • Calcium: 425-450 ppm
  • Phosphate: 0.04 ppm
  • Nitrate: 20 ppm

  • Display: Cadlights 135g
  • Sump: 30g sump
  • Skimmer: Avast CS1
  • Lighting: 2 Ecotech Radion g2
  • Return Pump: Mag 9.5
  • Circulation: 2 MP40 & Jabeo WP25
  • Reactors: TLF & Hydra Aquatics
  • Controller: ReefKeeper Elite
  • ATO: Avast
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