Chingchai Uekrongtham's Reef Aquarium


First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Chingchai Uekrongtham (aka 'low profile' on I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand. Most people here still believe that small polyped stony corals can't survive and grow in a closed system.

I was born in March so it’s especially meaningful for me to have received a private message from one of Reef Central’s moderators informing me that my tank has been chosen for Tank of the Month and would be featured in Reefkeeping Magazine in the May issue. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the people involved in the decision-making process and Reef Central. This is a great honor – not just for me but also for my country. I sincerely appreciate it.

I started this hobby almost nine years ago with zero knowledge of how to keep marine fish and corals. I thought then that I could just ask my local fish store for everything, but I was just being naïve. My first tank was a fish-only system with fake corals and lousy filtration. It’s not difficult to guess how long this tank survived. During the third year, I came across Reef Central via the internet. It opened a door for me to reach out to obtain a wealth of useful information and techniques, and to make an online connection with very knowledgeable people. That was my first essential step to becoming a real marine aquarist.

The Beginning

My obsession with SPS started about five years ago. For me, it was quite a big challenge to establish a SPS tank. When I looked at all the Tank of the Month articles in Reefkeeping Magazine, I couldn’t imagine how corals could grow so fast and become so colorful.

This tank is actually my second SPS tank. In July 2006, I transferred all fish and corals from the old tank that had been running for more than three years. The reason for the move was due to the fact that the first tank was quickly becoming too small for my corals, and there were too many scratches on the front panel. Those bothered me a lot whenever I looked at my reef.

I spent a year planning the new tank project, trying to figure out what would be the best solution. Finally, I decided to go with a rimless tank. Acrylic then became my only option. I didn’t want to have a conventional tank with a sump underneath. So I designed it in such a way that the tank was positioned at eye level. The sump and all the equipment were then located in the cabinet on the right-hand side of the tank.

One of our club members is an interior designer. I let her take care of the tank's design, the lighting pendant, the tank's stand and the sump's cabinet. I think she’s done a great job.

System Profile

My main display is a custom-built acrylic tank made by Reynolds Polymer Technology with 1.5" thick walls and base. A chemical bonding method was used to assemble the tank. It is rimless and seamless. It has two 1.5" drains and two ¾" returns.

Main tank: acrylic ( 66"L x 36"W x 30"H ) 1,140 liter / 308 gallons
Sump: glass ( 26"L x 36"W x 14.5"H ) 150 liter / 58 gallons
Refugium: glass ( 36"L x 36"W x 12.5"H ) 200 liter / 70 gallons

Water Circulation

Water movement is one of the most important factors for a small-polyped stony coral tank. It not only helps the corals grow faster, but it also results in the tank having a minimum of dead spots. Consequently, I installed as many Tunze pumps as I could to create a turbulent wave motion. The maximum water circulation in my tank is around 180,000 liters (47,551 gallons) per hour. However, I have to bear with the bulky look of those pumps. I can only hope new sleek models will come out in the near future. You may wonder why I don’t use a closed-loop. The reason for this is because I don’t appreciate all the plumbing and refuse to drill all those holes in my tank.

- Tunze Wavebox 6212 x 4
- Tunze Turbelle Stream 6301 x 2 (side position)
- Tunze Turbelle Stream 6201 x 2 (back position)
- Tunze Multicontroller 7095

Filtration and Equipment

My filtration system is simple. Water from the main display runs down to the sump into a Polyfilter bag. It then goes to the protein skimmer and flows through an ozonizer that is connected with carbon media in a Phosban reactor. After that, the water is then pumped up to the mixture of Chaetomorpha and Caulerpa (macroalgae) in my refugium and flows downward to the sump and finally returns to the main display.

When I first set up this tank, my protein skimmer was an ETSS 1800. I used it for one year and decided to switch to a Bubble King. The performance of the Bubble King is obviously much better; it can produce tons of foam. My water is now crystal clear and has not had a yellow tint ever since.

- Bubble King 300 protein skimmer - external
- Sander C-300 ozone generator
- Iwaki RT-100 return pump
- Eheim 1260 universal pump for refugium
- Ecosystem Aquarium Miracle Mud
- Giesemann T5 39-watt Aquaplus x 7 for refugium lighting
- Pinpoint ORP controller
- Two Little Fishies 150 Phosban reactor
- Two Little Fishies HydroCarbon 2
- Schuran Jetstream 1 calcium reactor

Water Parameters
  •  Specific gravity: 1.026
  •  pH: 8.0 - 8.3
  •  Calcium: 400 ppm
  •  Alkalinity: 10 - 12 dKH
  •  Magnesium: 1300 ppm
  •  Ammonia & nitrate: undetectable
  •  Temp: 75 - 76° F
  •  PO4: 0


Lighting is one of the most important factors for a small-polyped stony coral tank. I don’t believe in the theory of 1 watt per 1 liter. That is why I put as much wattage as I can in my lighting fixture. The fixture is custom-made and assembled of stainless steel material. The system's total wattage is 3,272 watts. Last month I changed the metal halide bulbs from Ushio 10,000K to Giesemann 12,500K, and I am happy with the results. It’s brighter and bluer. 

- Six Giesemann MEGACHROME Marine 400-watt single-ended 12.5KK MH bulbs
- Eight Giesemann T5 39-watt Actinic Plus bulbs
- Four URI VHO 140-watt Actinic Blue bulbs
- Six IceCap 400-watt metal halide ballasts
- Two IceCap 660 VHO ballasts
- Four Osram T5 Quicktronic eballasts

  • T5: 7.00 a.m. - 8.00 p.m.
  • VHO: 7.00 a.m. - 7.30 p.m.
  • Metal halide: 8.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
  • Refugium: 8.00 p.m. - 8.00 a.m.


I feed my fish only once a day. I don’t think fish can stop eating. They can eat all day. But that is not good for SPS corals which require pristine water. I use various types of dry food and all the well-known brands. Frozen food is used twice a week. I feed the corals DT's Oyster Eggs every other day at night. And I always shut down my skimmer for 3-4 hours during feeding time.


Cooling System

Weather in my country is extremely hot and there’s high humidity. The average outside temperature is 27-35° Celsius. To make sure that there’s no loss to my fishes and corals, the tank is located in an air-conditioned room. I also installed a chiller by using an Aqualogic titanium coil, connected with a home-use 28,000 BTU Mitsubishi air compressor with an Aqualogic temperature controller. In the event that the chiller quits working, the air-conditioned room can still maintain a proper temperature for my tank.

- Aqualogic titanium coil
- Mitsubishi air compressor 28,000 BTU
- Aqualogic temperature controller
- Eheim universal 1260 pump

Calcium and Alkalinity

On a daily basis, I dose 120ml of C-balance by Two Little Fishies. This two-part calcium and alkalinity maintenance system adjusts calcium, magnesium and strontium ions to natural seawater ratios. Calcium is provided by a Schuran calcium reactor. The media inside the reactor is replaced monthly. No other supplement is added to my tank.


On a weekly basis, I change 15% of the water using Reef Crystals salt mix prepared with reverse osmosis water. I feel this is the best way to maintain optimum water conditions, and I strongly recommend this to SPS keepers. I dose Probidio (1 ampoule of Biodigest and 6 ampoules of Bioptim) every two weeks. The skimmer cup and polyfilter bag are cleaned every two to three days. On a monthly basis, I trim the macroalgae in the refugium.


I'll list fish and invertebrates in my tank, but I have to admit that I am not very good at identifying corals. My tank is dominated by SPS ( Acropora, Montipora, Stylophora, Pavona, etc.) and some LPS (Frogspawn, Cynarina, Scolymia, Tubastrea, Lobophyllia, Trachyphyllia geoffroyi, etc.)

  • 1 - Achilles tang
  • 1 - Black tang
  • 1 - Gem tang
  • 1 - Resplendent anthias
  • 1 - Sunburst anthias
  • 1 - Bartlett anthias
  • 1 - Dispar anthias
  • 1 - Red Stripe anthias
  • 2 - Ventralis anthias
  • 2 - Lavendar firefish
  • 2 - Percula clownfish
  • 1 - Mystery wrasse
  • 1 - Interrupta angel
  • 1 - Resplendent angel
  • 1 - Rhomboid fairy wrasse

  • Tridacna derasa
  • Tridacna crocea
  • Tridacna squamosa
  • Tridacna maxima
  • Blood Red fire shrimp
  • Hermit crabs
  • Sally Lightfoot crabs
  • Peppermint shrimp


My special thanks to Apinun Leenothai for the outstanding photos of my tank. Without him, my tank would not have been Tank of the Month, for sure.

I'd like to take this opportunity to invite fellow aquarists around the world to visit Thailand. We have some of the best diving sites, famous beaches, shopping locales, nightlife havens and more. Moreover, you are all welcome to see my tank in person. I also can show you the biggest area of local marine fish stores which is in the same area as our fish club. You can visit our website for more information at

Last, but not least, happy reefing to you all.

Feel free to comment or ask questions about my tank in the Tank of the Month thread on Reef Central.

If you'd like to nominate a tank for Tank of the Month, click here or use the button to the right.

Reefkeeping Magazine™ Reef Central, LLC-Copyright © 2008

Tank of the Month - May 2008 -