(va_reefman) Reef Tank
The system was started from a 72 gallon
bow front about five years ago. We were keeping mostly LPS
and softies in that tank. After 8 months we decided to go
with a bigger tank. The 180 gallon was setup in the spring
of 1998. We transferred all of our corals from the 72 gallon
to this tank and added a few hardy SPS to test the system
and our ability to keep them. After a year with the new
tank, we noticed that it was more suitable for SPS than
softies and LPS, so we upgraded the lighting on the tank
to 400 watt metal halides and created a full-blown SPS system.
Besides a few pieces of LPS in the tank, it is now almost
completely stocked with SPS.
gallon AGA tank with two corner overflows
- Tank dimensions are 72"
x 24" x 24"
- 180 gallon AGA manufactured
- 55 gallon AGA sump
- (2) 30 gallon propagation
- 20 gallon refugium
Plumbing and Filtration
I was lucky enough to have a storage
room on the other side of the wall where the tank is located,
so I use it as a fish/equipment room. All plumbing to and
from the tank goes through the wall to the sump, which sits
on the other side of the wall. A MAG 12 is used for water
turnover from the display tank to the sump. I get approximately
800gph turnover on the system.
From the sump, I use a Little Giant 4 pump to power my skimmer,
which is a copycat version of the ETS 600 classic. Two MAG
5 pumps are used for circulation on my two 30 gallon breeder
tanks. These are my SPS grow-out tanks, and they are connected
to my main display tank. Since the refugium is situated
at a three feet height, I use a Hagen 802 powerhead to pump
the water into it and from there it is gravity-fed back
into the sump. For biological filtration, there is approximately
250lbs.of live rock in the system.
- Main tank is lighted with six
metal halides: 3 x 400-watt 20K radium and 3 x 175-watt
- Propagation tank #1 is lighted
with one 400-watt 20K radium
- Propagation tank #2 is lighted
with one 250-watt 6500K Iwasaki
- Refugium is lighted with one
- Propagation tanks and refugium
are on reverse photoperiod with the main tank
- Four Radioshack 4" fans
- All lights are on timers
Main Tank Photoperiod
- Total of 12 hours: 20K on for
three hours followed by the 20K and 10K on the next
six hours with only the 20K on for the remaining
This is one of the areas that I
struggled with the most in order to find an ideal balance.
I attempted to find the proper lighting combination that
would provide for both good coral growth rates, and yet
still offer an aesthetic appeal. For two years the tank
was originally lighted with three 250 Iwasaki and two 160
watt VHO. Later, I upgraded to three 400 Iwasakis with the
same VHOs. The growth rates were super, but I hated that
yellowish look of the tank and decided to try another combination.
I tried out the 20k radium and found it a bit too blue for
my liking. With the addition of three 175w 10K to balance
out the yellowish tint, I found the combination that I was
looking for and discontinued using the VHOs.
- Fish are fed every two/three
- DT's phytoplankton is added
three times a week
- Iodine is added weekly
- Clean glass viewing panel: once
- Clean skimmer cups and chambers:
once a week
- Water changes: 35 gallons every
8.10 - 8.3
79º - 81º
Currently, I have eight Maxijet
1200's running on an Ocean Motion wavemaker. The two corner
overflows also provide roughly 800 gph fixed current blowing
behind the rockwork. At this point in my tank's development,
I believe additional circulation would be beneficial, and
I will probably install several SeaSwirls or a closed-loop
recirculating system when I move to the new house next month.
A K2R Calcium reactor, located in the sump and filled with
CaribSea ARM media, is used to maintain calcium levels and
also provides supplemental trace elements. CO2
is supplied from a 15 lb. bottle, which usually keeps me
supplied for 6 months between refills. For monitoring pH
levels, a Pinpoint pH monitor is used. I am using a Kent
HI-S 60 gpd RO/DI unit for all make-up water, which runs
into a 15 gallon bucket leading to my sump. There is a Kent
float valve located in the sump that controls the top off
levels. My system evaporates around 10 gallons per day.
Instant Ocean salt has been used exclusively since day one
of setting up the tank. No chiller is in service, since
I keep my house at 72º in the winter and 75º in
the summer; this enables my tank, which is located in the
basement, to stay in the 78-81º range all year round.
Various color Montipora digitata
Various color Montipora capricornis
Various colors of encrusting Montipora
Purple tips Elegant
Red lobo brain
Various colored polyps
Black Clown goby
Yellow Clown gobies (6)
Green Clown gobies (3)
Feel free to comment
or ask questions.
more information check out John's website.