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WAMAS Tank of the Month

I would like to thank WAMAS for the honor of being chosen for Tank of the Month! It truly was a surprise and honor to be chosen. I’ve only been a member of WAMAS for about a year, but have been in the fish keeping hobby since I was a child. My Grandmother got me into keeping freshwater fish at around 10 years old, and now 25 years later I have not been without an aquarium of some type since. I grew bored with freshwater keeping around 5 years ago so I made the jump for the second time to salt and have not looked back since.

My current tank has really been a series of upgrades over the last 5 years, from an acrylic 65 gallon flat back hex, to an acrylic 150 gallon with a fish room, then finally to the 300 gallon acrylic bow front (see the pattern…I really like acrylic). If you haven’t had the chance to read my build thread on WAMAS, I had to build this setup as if it was going to be my last upgrade (my wife has drawn a line in the sand). So I took plenty of time to think out how I wanted it to run and look, although most of the “look” came from my wife’s requests. The tank is 86” L x 32” T x 30” D, and the stand comes to a little over ten feet wide. This spans the entire wall of our basement family room, making a huge impression when you step into the room.

Water movement comes from two Jecod RW 60s, and an Ecotech Vectra L1 return pump.

I made the switch to LED lights a few years back, tiring of switching T5 and power compact bulbs and dealing with the unwanted heat. I started with black box LEDs and liked them. A year later a friend was selling his Radion Gen 3 pros, and I made the switch to Ecotech. The 300 is powered by 5 Radion Gen 3 pros. I run them on Radiant Color at 100% factory setting, for 12 hours a day. I alternate the lenses between 80 deg. and 120 deg. and achieve a good spread with very little shadowing. I don’t really get into the debates about LED vs T5s vs halides. The LEDs suit my needs and they grow coral, so that’s good enough for me!

I was on a budget on this build so I opted to save money on my sump and build it myself, saving my money to upgrade other equipment. My DIY sump is built from a 40 gallon breeder and a 20 tall frag tank, at less than $100. I run two filter socks into a single chamber for the Regal 300 internal DC skimmer. The skimmer intake is plumbed with push connects to my Geo 618 calcium reactor and DIY recirculating bio pellet reactor. I have about 200 lbs of live rock in the display and 120 lbs of sand. I don’t use any daily additives except Zeomag in the calcium reactor. My maintenance routine is simple. I clean the acrylic weekly with a Magnavore and a thin slice of Magic Eraser. Every three days I check the calcium reactor effluent rate and the top off reservoir. Every two weeks I do a 25 gallon water change. I am not a testing reefer: the only testing I do is alk weekly, and salinity during water changes.

My tank is a mixed reef with SPS, LPS, softies and clams. My fish include a powder blue tang, yellow tang, desjardini tang, hippo tang, magnificent foxface, engineer goby, pink spot goby, copperband butterfly, two black clowns and an orange clown, tomato clown, melanarus wrasse, sunrise dotty back, bicolor dotty back and a few others I forgot. My favorite is probably the copperband. He obliterated the aiptasia in my system about 2 years ago, and for that I will always be in his debt.

I feed the corals and fish at the same time every evening with a homemade concoction of Reef Chili, clams, squid, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and nori.

The biggest challenge I have ever faced…is always the one I am currently facing. It seems in this hobby we always have something to worry over: leaks, diatoms, cyano, hair algae, flatworms, redbugs, and the list goes on. But with each plague I have learned from friends and forums, lost countless hours of sleep thinking about what I could have done differently, and have had many great conversations with total strangers. As time goes by you look back and think “man, I wish I just had hair algae” when you are facing your next obstacle. As odd as it may seem it’s those moments that make me thankful for what I have learned through the experience of others.

My wife says I’m done…to be continued.

I wanted to thank the members of WAMAS and HgrReefs in specific. Guidance and knowledge from a local club is the backbone of this hobby, and people who will go out of the way to help a total stranger is what makes this seem like less of a hobby and more like a lifestyle.

  • Display: 300g acrylic
  • Sump: 40g breeder
  • Skimmer: Regal 300 internal
  • Lighting: Five Radion G3 Pro
  • Return: Vectra L1
  • Circulation: Two Jecod RW 60
  • Controller: Apex

  • Salinity: 1.025 sg
  • Temperature: 77.3-79.3
  • Alkalinity: 145-155 ppm

  • Copperband butterfly
  • Powder blue tang
  • Melanarus wrasse
  • Yellow tang
  • Hippo tang
  • Engineer goby
  • Sailfin tang
  • Magnificent foxface
  • Sunrise dotty back
  • Pink spot watchman

  • Pearl Berry
  • Mother of Pearl
  • Red Planet
  • Cali tort
  • Red Dragon (green tips)
  • Sunset monti
  • Any of my stags
  • Frogskin
  • Cotton Candy mille
  • Garf Bonsai

  • 10”—12” Derasa clam
  • 3 inch Crocea clam
  • Cleaner shrimp
  • Sea hare