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November 2013 Tank of the Month



This Article Features Photo Zoom

Andrew Graham's (v1...rotate) 'A Reef in the Sky' Aquarium





Well, what an honor! I would like to start by thanking those who nominated my tank for TOTM. There are many great aquariums on this forum and many have been used for inspiration and ideas. Many thanks must also go to the Reef Central forum and Reefkeeping Magazine for giving me this opportunity to share my tank. My name is Andrew Graham (V1...rotate) and I live in Hong Kong. I am originally from Australia and have always had an interest in marine life when growing up. Besides having the standard gold-fish and tropical fish tanks when growing up I never had the opportunity to have my own salt water aquarium until I moved to Hong Kong. My interest in this hobby grew exponentially after meeting my girlfriend who now my wife, as we both shared the same interest. I used to read (and still do from time to time) many of the articles and threads on reef central back when I started this hobby and used to gaze at amazement at previous TOTMs. The amount of information and knowledge on the forum and the Reefkeeping magazine is incredible and is where I gained most of my initial experience. My first saltwater tank was a Red Sea Max 130 (RSM130). I chose this tank due to its all-in-one compact design and I considered it would be a great starter tank. The tank was a great way to build my knowledge in the hobby but after 9months I wanted to upgrade to a larger tank. I was addicted. So the research and planning began for what is my current tank, known as 'A Reef in the Sky'.


'A Reef in the Sky' - Brief Explanation

For those who haven't seen or followed my thread here on RC, I wanted to create an aquarium that was automated, stylish, quiet and looks like a piece of Art. Everything from the stand, shape of the tank, sump and lighting unit were designed so the aquarium would look modern and stylish. The concept of 'A Reef in the Sky' was simple; I lived on a high floor of an apartment complex and I wanted to have a reef tank. My goal was to successfully keep and grow SPS corals as this was seen as a challenge in the reefing community. The SPS corals themselves looked very appealing and colorful. To help achieve this, I decided to embark on the Zeovit method. Much has been written on this method over the years and I have been using it for nearly 4 years. So far, I am very happy with it. There was a lot of reading and research required before embarking on this method as many things can go wrong quickly without proper preparation.






System Profile

• Display tank: 66"x 26" x 22" with ¾” Low Iron Glass
• Sump: 46” x 22” x 15”
• Lighting: ATI Hybrid LED 8x80W + 4x75W
• Water Circulation: x2 Tunze 6105, x1 Tunze 6055, x1 MP40W ES, x1 MP20
• Skimmer: Vertex Alpha 200
• Return Pump: Red Dragon 6500
• Chiller: Arctica DBA250
• Chiller Pump: Red Dragon Mini5000
• Reactor: Zeovit Reactor - Small
• Controller: Profilux II
• Doser: Profilux x4 unit
• Heater: x3 50W









The sump consists of 2 main sections and a smaller section where the water drains into to, to minimize the spread of micro-bubbles. Water passes through the skimmer before flowing through the bubble traps then onto the return section which houses the Zeovit reactor, chiller and return pumps and the carbon bag. There is minimal live rock in the display tank and a shallow layer of sand. I use no filter socks on the drains and I consider my skimmer to be the backbone of my system. It does an extremely good job and I clean the skimmer cup weekly during water changes.





There is much debate over types of lights and I believe it simply comes down to personal preference and budget. When I started this tank I chose a light based on its appearance, as I wanted to have a very clean, stylish and minimal look above the rimless tank. The ATI Powermodule ticked all the boxes I was after and had a proven track record. Over the years I have used various lights, starting with the ATI T5 Powermodule Dimmable 8x80W followed by x2 LED ECO Lamp KR 93SP units. Switching to LED was a big gamble and I had success with them however after some debate, I decided that I would return to using the ATI Powermodule. Recently I upgraded and combined the best of the two lighting options and now use the ATI Hybrid 8x80W + 4x75W LED. Check CVS Ad on WeeklyAds2. I particularly like this unit because it still has the clean/stylish appearance and each of the four clusters of LEDs can be adjusted to represent any of the ATI bulbs colours. In my opinion, the concept of a combo T5/LED light fixture are the future.






Current lighting from front to back:
  • ATI Blue Plus
  • ATI Actinic
  • ATI Blue Plus
  • ATI Coral Plus
  • ATI Coral Plus
  • ATI Purple Plus
  • ATI Blue Plus
  • ATI Coral Plus


Electrical Panel

To keep a clean and tidy look, I wanted to have a very tidy electrical section that hid all the messy cables. The glass section in the door allows me to see indications without having to open it.






Water Circulation & Flow

Good, strong flow in the display tank is an important aspect of keeping the corals healthy. The display tank has x2 Tunze 6105, one at either end which are controlled by the Profilux controller. A MP40W ES and MP20 are located at either end. There is also one Tunze 6055 located on the overflow side to provide extra flow behind the corals. As the corals have grown overtime I have changed the pump settings and locations to help maximize the flow. It simply allows me to continually experiment. There are x2 Tunze 6045 in either section of the sump, which are pointed towards the bottom to help prevent detritus settling. It has helped dramatically and reduced time when cleaning the sump. The Red Dragon return pump ensures a solid amount of water is circulated each hour.



Water Parameters:
  • Salinity: 1.025 - 1.026
  • pH: 7.8 - 8.2
  • Calcium: 380 - 400 ppm
  • Alkalinity: 6 dKH
  • Magnesium: not tested
  • Nitrate: not tested
  • Phosphate: 0.01 - 0.04
  • Temperature: 27oC - 27.5oC
  • Potassium: 380 - 400 ppm





Maintenance, Feeding & Supplements

The tank is monitored by a GHL Profilux II computer, which controls various equipment and monitors temperature and pH. I only connect heaters for approximately 3 months of the year and the chiller operates the remaining 9 months. I use ESV B-Ionic Calcium Buffer 2 part System (Alkalinity and Calcium). Both components are automatically dosed multiple times per day at 10minute intervals directly into the sump. There is no need for me to dose Magnesium as I find it is maintained nicely by dosing the 2 part and weekly water changes.

I use just over 1.5L of Zeolites media and approximately 90% is changed every 6-7weeks after letting the new zeolites soak in RO water for 1-2days. My Zeovit supplements are constantly changing as I try new dosing patterns and amounts.

My dosing schedule is:
  • Zeostart: 0.2ml x2 per day
  • Zeobak: 6 drops x2 per week
  • Biomate: 6 drops x2 per week
  • Food 7: 4 drops x2 per week
  • K-Balance: 3ml x4 per week
  • B Balance: 3ml x2 week
  • Spur2: 3ml every 9-12 days


The fish are generally fed once per day and I feed various small Ocean Nutrition pellets & seaweed plus some frozen food a couple of times a week.


Tank maintenance is very important to me and below is what I usually do:

Daily: Zeovit supplements, Clean glass, feed fish, monitor sump water level/top up if required

Weekly: Water change (23gal) using Korallen-zucht Reefers Best Salt

Monthly: Change carbon, change Zeolites (6-7weeks)

Ad Hoc: Clean various pumps, clean skimmer, change T5 tube







The tank consists mostly of SPS coral species and a handful of LPS.




  • Scolymia australis
  • Acanthastrea lordhowensis
  • Favia sp.
  • Duncanopsammia axífuga



Fish / Invertebrates:


  • x1 Blue Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)
  • x1 Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens)
  • x1 Achilles Tang (Acanthurus achilles)
  • x3 Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis)
  • x1 Bartlett's Anthias (Pseudanthias bartlettorum)
  • x2 Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
  • x1 Magnificent FoxFace (Siganus magnifica)
  • x2 Black Sea Cucumber (Holothuria atra)
  • x2 Tridacna maxima
  • x1 Tridacna derasa






A Reef in the Sky would not be possible without the assistance my wonderful wife. I consider myself extremely lucky that she not only shares an interest in this hobby and the tank itself but that she also does many of the chores required in helping to maintain the tank while I am away on work trips. I would also like to thank the many others who follow ‘A Reef in the Sky’ and its progress. I enjoy sharing my experiences and ideas so if you are ever in Hong Kong for travel or business feel free to contact me. Happy Reefing everyone!








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

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