Tank Size - 72" Long x 24" Wide x 24" Tall, 1/2" Glass
Filtration - Large 'horse trough' Reservior
Pump(s) - Iwaki 20RLXT, 2500 gph Dolphin Pump, various powerheads
Protien Skimmer - ETS 1700 Downdraft skimmer ( copy )
Lighting - Three 400 wt. 65K Metal Halide's
Additional Equipment - MKR-1 calcium reactor
Placement - Oak Stand and Canopy
Tank Setup: The display is a 180 gallon glass tank (72”X24”X24”). There
is an internal glass overflow box that gravity drains into a 100 gallon
black Rubbermaid “horse trough” style tub. The sump normally has approx.
70 gallons in it at any given time.
Filtration: The heart of the filtration system consists of a homemade
downdraft style skimmer. The skimmer is a dual stack unit that resembles
an ETS 1700 and is driven by a Dolphin pump that delivers approx 2500 gph
at the head it’s operating at. The skimmer then drains freely back to the
sump through a 2” gate valve. No ultraviolet or ozone is being administered
but is being considered.
Circulation: The main water return pump is merely an Iwaki MD20RLXT,
but I plan on replacing this with a much larger pump. There are several
various model powerheads in the tank for general water movement.
Lighting: Lighting is provided by three 400 watt metal halide “hydroponics”
fixtures. The bulbs are 20,000 degree Kelvin lamps made by Radium. They
are all on for approx. 12 hours per day. The fixtures are placed almost
directly on top of the display, with only a small space to allow cooling
air to circulate into the fixture. There is no glass or acrylic lens filters
on the fixture, but there is a glass stuctural support on the tank’s top
below the center bulb. The bulbs are cleaned of salt spray about once every
Live Rock/Substrate: There is only about 200 lbs. of various Pacific
rock sitting directly on top of about 2 inches of CaribSea “sugar fine
aragonite”. There is no plenum and only a few sand sifting animals are
Make-up water and additives: All water that enters the tank is reverse
osmosis and occasionally calcium hydroxide is mixed in. The RO water is
“filtered” by an Ehiem canister filled with crushed coral gravel in an
attempt to utilize the RO water’s low pH to dissolve the crushed coral
and build up it’s calcium and alkalinity level. Addition of make-up water
is completely manual, it is simply siphoned into the sump from a 5 gallon
carboy through an airline tubing. There is an MKR-1 calcium reactor delivering
at the rate of a very fast drip with a CO2 bubble count of about 1 bubble
per second. The reactor is filled with plain, run-of-the-mill heavy grade
crushed coral gravel. No other supplements are intentionally added. Everything
the corals need, I feel, is supplied through the dissolution of the crushed
coral and water changes. My rational is that, when the corals that make
up the crushed coral gravel were alive, they utilized whatever minerals
they needed from the soup they lived in. If I redissolve them, it’ll be
good enough for my corals. There is also the danger of liberating phosphates
from the gravel, but, I’ve been using this recipe for a few years now and
admittedly, I do have some undesirable algaes (which the tangs love to
Water Quality Parameters: I must admit to being a very lazy chemist.
I test for alkalinity, calcium and pH on rare occasions. When I do, the
pH is typically between 7.9 and 8.3, the alkalinity is usually around 11
or 12 dKH, the calcium is somewhere in the vacinity of 450 ppm (my calcium
test kit is a LaMotte and is sometimes very difficult to read). Salinity
is maintained at 1.024. Temperature fluctuates quite a bit from winter
to summer as I don’t have a chiller yet. Summer temp has been as high as
85 degrees F and winter temp is held at about 78 degrees F. I have many
other LaMotte test kits but are no longer used (I’m sure the reagents have
long since expired).
Fish: There are three tangs, a Yellow (Zebrasoma flavascens), a Blue
Hippo (Paracanthurus hepatus) and a White Cheek (Acanthurus nigricans).
There is a Six Line wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia), a Green Chromis
(Chromis viridis) and 2 Blue Chromis damsels (Chromis cyaneus) . A single
Pajama Cardinal (Apogon sp ? ). A black “lawnmower” Blenny
(Salarias fasciatus). A pair of Black Clown Gobies (Gobiodon sp.) and several
sandsifting Gobies (Amblyeleotris guttata) (Amblyeleotris randalli). There
is also an Arc Eye Hawkfish (Paracirrhites arcatus).
Invertebrates: There are brittle stars, sea cucumbers, tiny abalones,
astrea snails, millions of tiny unidentified herbivorous snails, amphipods,
mysis shrimp and oodles of other plankton that emerge from who knows where
Soft Corals: There is a Sinularia coral that grew out from a rock, several
colonies of some type of Ricordea and other “mushrooms”, and a colony of
Clavularia. A small cluster of Pachyclavularia that is encroaching on a
large colony of Acropora. There is also tiny leather coral beginning to
grow from one of the rocks.
Large Polyp Stonies: There is a Trachyphylia, a large colony of Lobophylia,
a Catalaphylia who’s skeletal growth has gone from a mere few inches
to over a foot long (when it expands, it’s about 18 inches). There are
various “closed brain” corals of the Favia, Favites or Platygyra sp. There
is a Fungia that has budded off a daughter colony.
Small Polyped Stonies: There are about 50 colonies of SPS corals, the
majority of which have been obtained from Steve Tyree, Mitch Boley and
Clayton Romie as small fragments. They are as follows:
Porites sp ?
Pseudosiderastrea sp ?
Merulina sp ?
I’ll be adding many more fragments as time marches on. I really enjoy
adding small captive grown fragments and watching them grow into beautiful
little colonies, then into large colonies. They seem to take on a completely
new identity after introduced into a new system. Almost all of my fragments
have morphed into different shapes and vivid colors. I think the intense
lighting helps to bring out the colors and the powerful currents allows
the corals to grow into very realistic shapes, much like what is seen on
the real reef.
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