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WAMAS Tank of the Month

Itís an honor to be nominated for tank of the month by the folks at WAMAS. Iíve been a reefkeeper for 7 years now, starting with a 29 gallon Red Sea Max and working my way up from there. Keeping a reef tank has been both a challenging and rewarding hobby that I couldnít imagine living without. This community has been a huge help to me over the years.

My current tank is a 75 gallon rimless tank. It was reef ready, drilled with a center overflow in back. It has been operating for three years now, and currently is in my finished basement. I had to move it from our main family room after a water leak destroyed our hardwood floors (see ďChallengesĒ below!) It has a small 20 gallon sump underneath, a 30 ATO setup, both of which are plumbed to my RO/DI set up in an adjacent laundry room where Iím able to make both the fresh water and salt water. No lugging buckets for me!

The tank itself has plenty of flow. I have one Ecotech MP40 and two MP10s, one on the back. I also have two small Hydor Koralia pumps underneath the rock on the back wall to ensure no dead spots. The return pump is an Aqua-Mag 9.5. Iíve experimented with a number of settings on the Ecotechs and have settled with Reefcrest mode at about 75% power.

I have 2 Aqua Illumination Vegas, supplemented with 2 54w T5s. The Vegas were an upgrade from my old AI Sols. These included violet LEDs, but not UV. I run them at about 60% power with the green, white, and red LEDs much lower. The T5s were added for many reasons, mainly to get lower bandwidth UV light Ė I run with one ATI Purple Plus and one ATI Blue Plus Ė but also because I wanted a more volumetric light as well. The total photo period is about 8 hours now.

Having a small sump has presented challenges. Iíve considered upgrading it but Iím still size constrained without major plumbing changes. I use a felt filter sock that I change twice a week, and a Reef Octopus MWB150 Skimmer. I utilize small amounts of GFO and Rox Carbon in a BRS two stage reactor (ľ and Ĺ cup per month each, respectively.) I carbon dose vinegar. On top of all this, I do an automated 4% daily water change using a dual head peristaltic pump that comes on four times per day.

I do have a lot of live rock in my tank, and rubble in my sump. In hindsight I could have gone with less rock to provide more open space and a more modern appearance. I have about 1Ē of sand on the bottom of the tank just for looks.

I add BRS two part (sodium bicarbonate and calcium chloride) on peristaltic dosing pumps. My target alkalinity is 7.5 dKH, and target calcium is 400ppm. With my constant water changes, magnesium is always in line. I also dose 8 ml/week of Red Sea Max colors. I figure since Iím not using b-Ionic there are some trace elements that are getting pulled out, that water changes alone will not replace.

Fish: Mimic lemon peel tang, scopas tang, flame angel, black and white chromis, blue chromis, bi-color blenny, lyretail anthias, royal gramma, and a mated pair of ocellaris clowns.

Corals: Too many to count. Top favorites are Watermelon Chalice, Hot Orange Setosa, Fire and Ice Echinata, Duncan, Bubble Coral, Gold Torch, Punk Rocker Zoas, Gold Midas Zoas, Gold Maul Zoas, ReefGen Blueberry Fantasy Acro, and Packers Leptastrea.

I feed pellets in the morning and every other evening, and frozen food every other night. Lately itís been LRS Reef Frenzy which Iím very happy with. I also feed a sheet of Nori every day for my tangs and angel. The corals get Oyster Feast every other day as well.

You name it: Iíve faced it. Iíve been lucky to avoid AEFW and red bugs. That said Iíve had 3 tanks crashes over the years from water parameter spikes, battled ich, had monti eating nudibranchs, and coral aggression. All sorts of nuisance critters from astrea starfish, bad acro crabs, aiptasia, etc. Iíve moved this tank once and my old 29 gallon once as well. I started a 60 gallon cube I gave up on and had to break it down. Iíve struggled keeping acros and acans. Iíve dealt with overlighting, underlighting, overfeeding, and overcrowding. I finally got so frustrated with ich I pulled all my fish, QTíd them for 9 weeks after treating them with copper. Since then only quarantined fish are allowed in my tank. The tank leak was almost the last straw. It caused major damage to my hardwood floors, the repair bills were astronomical (home insurance was a savior here), and it forced my family to relocated for over a week while the work was being done. If thereís one thing Iíve learned, itís that ďnothing good happens fast in a reef tank.Ē If I have a problem, the best place to look for help is on the WAMAS forums. Itís full of good folks offering sage advice and personal help. I trust the advice here more so than on other more well-known, larger forums. Once Iíve isolated the problem, I try to change one thing at a time. When I alter too many variables, I have no idea whatís working and what isnít, and I often have to start over. I try my best to stay on top of testing and maintenance. It takes only a day to wreck a tank, and even if the livestock lives, it can take them months to recover. It took my tank nearly a year to recover from a crash related to switching salt.

That would depend on whether my wife reads this or not! Iíd love to upgrade to a 200 or so, spread my corals out, get a few more fish, and add a frag tank.

Again I really want to thank WAMAS for the honor of tank of the month and the support over the years. This has been a very rewarding hobby for me. Itís given me a great respect for the ocean and it allows me to share that with others. There are few things as rewarding as having a thriving, health reef tank to share with your friends and family.

  • Display: 75g rimless
  • Sump: 30g
  • Skimmer: Reef Octopus
  • Lighting: AI Vega x2 and 54W T5 x2
  • Return Pump: Mag 9.5
  • Circulation: MP40 and 2 MP10
  • Reactor: BRS

  • Salinity: 1.025
  • Temperature: 79°F
  • Alkalinity: 7.8 dkH
  • Calcium: 400ppm
  • Magnesium: 1250ppm
  • Phosphate: 0.03ppm

  • 1230 LEDs on
  • 1300 T5s on
  • 1900 T5s off
  • 1900 LEDs off