This is the writeup for the AquaNerd November Tank of the Month contest winner. This month’s winner is Clint from Houston, Texas. He will be receiving a $50 gift certificate to ReefExotic.net. Below is a little information about Clint’s aquarium obsession along with lots of pictures of his gorgeous LPS dominated reef aquarium.
I got my first saltwater tank when I was 11 years old in 1991. It started as a 65-gallon glass tank with an under-gravel filter and a normal fluorescent light strip. Over the years it was converted to a nice reef tank that ultimately succumbed to hair algae while I was away at college for four and a half years at Texas A&M.
Since graduating, I have had the opportunity to have several tanks including a 120 gallon in-will reef that has a fish room behind the tank for housing all of the equipment and for performing maintenance. My latest tank, which was selected as AquaNerd Tank of the month, is not housed next to the fish room but still benefits from RO water produced in the fish room that is plumbed through the attic to the tank.
The tank is a 57 gallon Oceanic Rimless Illuminata Aquarium that measures 36”x 18“x 20“high. The tank was purchased with an Oceanic tech stand that has glass doors on three sides for easy access to the sump. Because of the strange interior dimensions of the stand and because of my decision not to compromise on the size and features of the sump I had Precision Marine build a custom sump. They did an amazing job fabricating my design. The sump fills the middle section of the stand perfectly and has preformed well. Unlike previous tanks that I have setup, I attempted to plan everything out and obtain and install all of the equipment before filling this tank. The tank was filled with water on August 29, 2009 so it is an understatement to say that the tank is new.
- 3 Bangaii Cardinals – Added 9-12-09
- Six-line – Added 11-3-09
- Palythoa grandis – First coral that I ever brought home as a carry on item on a flight home from a vacation to Indiana. Purchased from Inland Aquatics and added to tank 8-8-09
- Acanthastrea sp. – Added 9-12-09
- Aussie elegance coral – Moved from another tank. Purchased 6-1-08 and added to this tank 9-20-09.
- Various Ricordea Florida
- Various zoanthids
- Branching hammer head
- Aussie Alveopora – Purchased from LiveAquaria and added 9-25-09
- Meteor Shower Cyphastrea – Trade with fellow reef club member. Added 10-4-09
- Heteropsammia – Purchased from LiveAquaria and added 10-14-09
- Various chalice frags
- Other small SPS, LPS, and soft coral frags
- Blue Carpet Anemone – Purchased 6-12-08 added to tank 10-7-09.
- Yellow Banded Coral Shrimp Pair – Added to tank 11-3-09
- 4 Tongan Nassarius Snail – Added 11-3-09
- Squamosa Clam – Added 11-3-09
In the future I hope to add some interesting chalice and Cyphastrea frags.
Maintenance and Feeding:
Because the tank is so new, I do not have a well-established maintenance routine. I hope to conduct weekly 15-gallon water changes and filter sock replacements. Feeding has consisted of daily fish and LPS target feeding with frozen mysis shrimp. The Alveopora has been receiving bi-weekly target feeding of frozen cyclopeeze and Oyster-Feast™.
The tank has a very thin layer of CaribSea sand that was seeded from another tank to help accelerate cycling the tank. Unlike previous reef tanks I did not start off with any live rock, instead I used about 40 pounds “Reef Saver” Dry Aquarium Eco Rock. Mechanical filtration is accomplished with a 100-micron filter sock and a Vertex IN 100 In-Sump Protein Skimmer.
The tank is illuminated with two 150w 20K Radium lamps mounted in Coralife AquaLight Pro Metal Halide HQI Clamp-On Pendants. This lighting scheme was selected for its clean look and because it does not limit access to the tank. I can feed the LPS corals without moving a light hood out of the way, which is important to ensure that I keep up with daily maintenance. The stock magnetic ballasts were replaced with a Dual 150/175 watt Galaxy Electronic Metal Halide Ballast. A 1/10 hp JBJ chiller was added to combat the heat generated by the lights and to allow the central AC to be set back while I am away from the house. I use the same model of chiller on another thank that I have and have been very happy with its performance. The chiller is powered by the system return pump, an Eheim 1260. Additional water movement is provided by a Vortech MP20 pump set in short pulse mode. All of the equipment is controlled by a Neptune Systems Apex controller. I have plans to increase the automation and safety fallbacks on the tank but currently only have the controller programmed with basic commands to control the lights, chiller, skimmer, auto-top-off, and pumps.
I have not been following water parameter very closely but pH has been kept between 8.0 and 8.4 and water temperature maintained between 77 and 80F. As the calcium and Alkalinity demand begin to increase, I plan to maintain the levels with frequent water changes and the addition of a kalk reactor attached in line with the auto-top-off line.
Thanks for allowing me to share my new tank with you! Hopefully I will have the opportunity to provide a tank update in the coming years. Many thanks go out to the MARSH and ReefCentral members who have been there to answer my questions and offer advice. A huge thanks goes out to Chris (last name deleted for privacy) for watching over my tanks and feeding my other critters while on vacation. I also want to thank David at City Pets for providing a great deal on the tank and working with me, and Precision Marine on ordering the custom sump. I would also like to send a special thanks to my family for getting me started in the hobby, for feeding my fish for 4+ years while I was away at school, and for their understanding of this unnatural obsession I call reef keeping!