I would first like to thank the WAMAS members that nominated me for TOTM! I also want to thank the TOTM committee for selecting my tank for January 2018 and for all the hard work they do to make the TOTM forum a reality – especially knowing they all have “real” day jobs! I started out many, many moons ago when I was 10 years old with stackable 10 gallon fresh water aquariums on a black wrought iron stand. Fancy tail guppies, black mollies, and swordtails – those were the days. After college I moved up to a 50 gallon tank with discus and angel fish. I switched over to saltwater about 25 years ago with a 180 gallon fish only tank and then moved up to my first reef tank – a 240 gallon acrylic tank about 20 years ago. The 240 was put together the old school way – 3-4” of sand and 200-300 pounds of live rock. It was a LPS and mushroom/softy dominated tank. I came home from vacation on day to 100+ gallons of water on the floor due to a split glass sump seam and a clogged check vale. Lost almost everything! Sold the 240 and downgraded to a 120 for a year or so and then had Adam (Artfully Acrylic) build my current 265 gallon display tank. The current system has been set up for about 18 months but has rock, fish, and corals that have been with me for years. I also have an 80 gallon Deep Blue frag tank.
My current tank is a 265 gallon mixed reef (84”L x 30”W x 24”H) with a peninsula style Herbie Overflow and a 45 gallon sump/refugium. The display and frag tanks are set up in my basement with my big screen TV so I can enjoy and work on them while watching sports. The current DT is a true mixed reef with SPS, LPS, zoas, and soft corals.
I have an internal Waveline DC12000 (3170 GPH) pump that returns water to my display tank. A pair pair of Vortex MP60s and a pair of Tunze 6095s provide additional flow inside the tank.
My lighting consists of a 60” 8 bulb ATI Sunpower T5 fixture using ATI bulbs (5 Blue Plus, 2 Coral Plus, and 1 Purple Plus). I also run two Reefbrite LED strips attached to the Sunpower. One Reefbrite is a Blue XHO and the other is a Blue TECH. I am completely sold on T5s and the ability to adjust the color mix to your liking, especially when supplemented with the LED strips. I ran 400W/250W MH and old T12 Actinics for years on my old 240 and had great success, but the short bulb life, heat, and space requirements for the ballasts and fixtures drove me to try T5s.
When it comes to filtration I still go with the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) approach. I use my old Euro-Reef RS-250 skimmer powered by 2 Sedra 5000 pumps. I have a refugium built into my sump and I have it filled with chaetomorpha algae. I also have a bag of carbon in my sump and add a bag of ferric oxide and a filter sock once in a while if I see any algae trying to grow. I do not do water changes on a regular basis (and never have) but when I do I change about 40-50 gallons at a time. I am not saying I recommend this to everyone but it has worked for me over the years so I have stuck with it.
I strive to keep my alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium at proper levels by dosing BRS two part through my Apex. I also use a kalkwasser stirrer hooked up to my ATO. I tried a calcium reactor a few years back but I guess I never had the patience to get it dialed in correctly so it now sits in storage. May try it again sometime but right now things are working great so I will stick with my KISS approach.
As you can see from my display tank picture, I currently have a mixed reef tank. I have always been very fond of LPS corals, especially chalices, brains/lobos, favias, hammers, elegance, etc. I also like the movement you get with large colonies of soft corals. My interest in SPS corals has really increased over the past 18 months and I have seen several of my colonies really take off in growth. I would have to say my favorite corals are the Reef Farmers Oregon Mummy Eye Chalice, the Bubble Gum Monster Chalice, and the WWW Blue Lightning Staghorn. As far as fish are concerned, my favorite fish has to be my very large Desjardini Tang. It will eat out of my hand and follows me around everywhere I go in the tank constantly bumping into my hand.
I feed a mix of Ocean Nutrition Formula One and Two Pellets and Flakes daily. I also feed a few cubes of frozen mysis shrimp one a week and drop in a small to medium sized sheet of algae for the tangs as well. Every week or so I add some Coral Frenzy and Cyclop-eeze for the corals.
Besides the challenge of never seeming to be able to see a new coral that I don’t want to buy, my only tank-related challenge is what seems to be an annual outbreak of nuisance turf or hair algae. It never seems to get out of control but as I continue to increase my SPS collection the presence of algae in the tank is becoming more of an issue.
In an attempt to eliminate the algae problem I mentioned above, I am in the process of adding an algae turf scrubber to my system to replace and or supplement my refugium. I also need to “thin the herd” so to speak so I will be starting that process very soon and will be posting a for sale thread soon.
I really enjoy this hobby and since my retirement a little over a year ago I now have more time to tinker with and enjoy my living reef.
- Main display: 265 gal. acrylic
- Sump: 45 gal. acrylic
- Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS-250
- Lighting: ATI 60” T5 8x54W W/2 ReefBrite Blue LED strips
- Return Pump: Waveline DC12000 Internal
- Circulation: 2 Vortex MP60s and 2 Tunze 6095s
- Reactor: Avast Marine Works Kalk Stirrer
- Controller: Apex Classic with 3 EB8s
- Salinity: 35ppt
- Temperature: 79F
- Alkalinity: 9 dkH
- Calcium: 520ppm
- Magnesium: 1440ppm
- pH: 8.1
- 1300: 2 Reefbrites on
- 1430: 2 T5s Blue Plus on
- 1600: 6 T5s on
- 2245: 6 T5s off
- 2230: 2 T5s Blue Plus off
- 0015: 2 Reefbrites off
- Desjardini tang
- Purple tang
- Yellow belly hippo tang
- Percula clowns (pair)
- Pajama cardinalfish (3)
- Bartlett’s anthias (pair)
- Purple dottyback
- Black sailfin blenny
- Oregon Mummy Eye chalice
- Bubble Gum Monster chalice
- Golden Eye chalice
- Cornbread Cotton Candy chalice
- WWW Blue Lightning staghorn
- Green highlighter staghorn
- Elegance coral
- Blue stylophora
- Orange/turquoise lobo
- Assorted zoanthids