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WAMAS Tank of the Month

I have to admit I was caught completely by surprise when I was contacted by surf&turf about being the April ToTM. Iíve always received a great deal of inspiration from the ToTM winners, and to be chosen is a true honor. Iíve been involved with the hobby on and off for over 20 years. I started with fish only and then FOWLR marine tanks back in college. I put together my first actual reef tank in 2008. It was a 30g all-in-one tank that drove me absolutely crazy with hair algae and I became increasingly frustrated with the fact that I didnít have a sump for running a real skimmer or GFO. That resulted in the planning for my current tank that has been up and running for about 3 years now.

My tank is a 100 gallon Reef Savvy tank with 3 sides low iron and a blacked out back. Iím running a BeanAnimal overflow into a ~30 gallon sump. The tank is primarily SPS, but I also have a mix of LPS, and softies. I also have a few fish, but Iím always scared to add new ones to the tank due to risk of disease.

One of my primary goals with this build was to reduce the weekly maintenance and automate as much as possible. Automating water changes was at the top of my list. Iíve never experienced much satisfaction doing water changes. It always felt like a chore instead of a hobby. Keeping up with this on a larger tank was one of my greatest concerns, and delayed my move from my 30G. In preparation for this I ran 6 1/4Ē Polyethylene RO lines from the tank location to the soon-to-be fish room in the basement. I use a Spectrapure Litermeter to replace 2 gallons of old water from my sump each day, with new saltwater from my mixing station. I also operate my calcium reactor and ATO from the fish room.

I use a Waveline DC6000 for my return pump and an MP40 for additional flow. I purchased a second MP40, but found that 2 of them was just too much flow for my tank. I vary the flow type throughout the day with my Apex Controller.

Iím using 2 Ecotech Radion Pros for lighting. Iím a huge fan of the flexibility and also the lifetime of solid spectrum that you get from these lights. No more wondering if itís time to replace my bulbs! I spent probably 6 months ďtuningĒ the lights to both my liking and the corals. Sometimes all of that flexibility is a double-edged sword. I have not touched the profile at all in probably 2 years and my coral growth is fantastic. One area that my tank is lacking is in coralline growth. I can never seem to get the coralline to take off in my tank. If anyone is interested in an export of my schedule from Ecosmart, just let me know.

My overflow feeds into 2 nylon filter socks that I replace weekly. That then feeds into the main portion of my sump that contains a Bubble King Mini 180 skimmer, and a Phosban 150 with carbon and GFO. The Bubble King is topped by an Avast Marine Swabbie and also connected to an Avast Marine Skimmate Locker. The Swabbie really helps with keeping my skimmer production solid without having to resort to real wet skimming. In addition, the skimmate locker can shut down my skimmer using a pressure switch if it ever fills up. This eliminates the mess that ensues when your skimmer goes crazy and starts to overflow and splash all over the place.

I run a Lifereef calcium reactor with TLF Reborn media to keep my alkalinity and calcium at the right levels. I use a Masterflex peristaltic pump and AquariumPlants Carbon Doser CO2 regulator. I also occasionally add B-Ionic Magnesium if my numbers start to get a little low. Finally, I add Prodibio BioDigest and Bioptim every 15 days. Iím still not 100% convinced that it makes a difference, but I hate to mess with a working system.

My tank is primarily SPS, but I do have several LPS, mushrooms, and zoas. I try to purchase aquacultured corals or just swap with friends. Iím a big believer in reducing our hobbyís impact on the coral reefs to the extent possible. Iím hopeful that one day all of my tankís inhabitants will be aquacultured or captive born. I have a relatively small number of fish for the size of my tank, but currently no plans to add more. Iíve had the two ORA clownfish for probably 6-7 years and they are part of the family at this point. Iíve not added (or lost) a fish in probably 2 years (knock on wood!). The most interesting tank inhabitants have to be my Watchman Goby and Pistol Shrimp pair. They are always busy digging, or moving things around.

I feed twice a day. In the afternoon I feed flake food through an Eheim auto feeder. Then each evening my wife feeds frozen foods including mysis, Larryís, Cyclopeez, and fresh scallop. The scallop is usually reserved for the anemone and the brittle star. Whenever we are out of town for more than a day, we just adjust the auto feeder to feed twice a day.

The only real challenge I have with the tank is Vermetid Snails. Those things drive me crazy and I literally have thousands of them in the tank. They donít seem to harm anything, but most of my rocks are covered in their thorny growths.

I would like to build a refugium and have it located in the basement fish room. I still havenít figured out the best way to move that much water from the sump, through the refugium, and then back to the sump. I would like to avoid drilling more holes through the floor if possible. Plus, if there was ever a leak, it would not take long for it to get out of control when moving 110+ gallons of water per hour.

Every time I walk past the tank I have an extreme sense of satisfaction in watching the fish and the coral in this ecosystem. Each of the fish has their own personality and you truly get to know each other. They even know when itís time to eat and eagerly anticipate the pumps shutting down. Who knew fish could tell time?

I would be remiss if I didnít mention my wife. She is the creative mind behind the aquascaping and the coral layout. She takes into account what coral will get along best with the others, and how fast it is likely to grow. She also tempers my desire to constantly add more and more coral. Finally, Iím pretty sure the fish like her better than me since she feeds them every evening!

  • Salinity: 1.025
  • Temperature: 77.0-77.6
  • Alkalinity: 8.5 dKH
  • Calcium: 420
  • Phosphate: 0
  • Nitrate: 0

  • Display: Reef Savvy 100g (48x24x20)
  • Return: DC6000
  • Ciculation: Ecotech MP40
  • Lighting: Two Radion Pros
  • Skimmer: BubbleKing Mini 180
  • CaRx: Lifereef LCR1
  • Reactor: Phosban 150 w/Rox and GFO
  • Controller: Apex
  • ATO: Spectrapure

  • Pair ORA ocellaris clowns w/rose BTA
  • Foxface rabbitfish
  • Red Velvet fairy Wrasse
  • Hoevenís wrasse
  • Yellow wrasse
  • Watchman goby and pistol shrimp
  • Huge brittle star

  • Large tabling yellow/green acropora
  • Red goniopora
  • Red Dragon acropora
  • Large pink pocillopora
  • Mint pavona
  • Large green stylophora
  • Couple different favias (one huge)
  • Two large acans
  • Large branching montiopora
  • Various zoas, mushrooms, and palys