Chingchai Uekrongtham's Reef Aquarium
First of all, let me introduce myself.
My name is Chingchai Uekrongtham (aka 'low profile' on www.siamreefclub.com).
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
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
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.
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
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
8.0 - 8.3
10 - 12 dKH
& nitrate: undetectable
75 - 76° F
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
7.00 a.m. - 8.00 p.m.
7.00 a.m. - 7.30 p.m.
halide: 8.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
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.
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,
- Achilles tang
- Black tang
- Gem tang
- Resplendent anthias
- Sunburst anthias
- Bartlett anthias
- Dispar anthias
- Red Stripe anthias
- Ventralis anthias
- Lavendar firefish
- Percula clownfish
- Mystery wrasse
- Interrupta angel
- Resplendent angel
- Rhomboid fairy wrasse
Red fire 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 www.siamreefclub.com.
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
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.