Tank of the Month | UltimateReef.com | 10.10
Vikky (vikky) Stunning Reef Tank
1 Introduction
Well what can I say, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would receive a PM from Chris informing me that my basic simple setup had been nominated for TOTM.I spend allot of time enjoying reading other members tank threads so I know the standard out there is very very high so for members to take the time to vote for my tank is a real humbling experience. I must apologise for my lack of photography skill before we start, Iím ok at reef keeping but Iím certainly no David Bailey and my camera is something from the dark age.

Angled sps shot My first encounter with glass boxes started about 20 years ago with my first ever tropical tank, containing the usual angelfish, loaches, red tailed shark and tiger barbs and a vast array of plastic plants pretty basic stuff but I enjoyed it none the less.

My first encounter into the salty side started just over 2 years ago with my Rio 180 which soon became fully stocked to the point an upgrade was inevitable. Iíve always wanted to have a simple easy to maintain system so with this in mind I went about my upgrade, the rest, as they say is history.
Various sps 2 Tank Information
My tank is a 5 foot Jewel vision 450 bow fronted tank modified to house a 42x15x18 inch sump. The sump is fed by a black acrylic centre weir containing a twin standpipe setup with a 50mm main feed to the sump and a 40mm backup. The sump has a built in 25ltr ro compartment for my auto top up. The original black brace bars have been removed and replaced with clear acrylic bars to stop the shadows when the lights are on.

The cabinet has been highly reinforced and the bow front has been continued by building the middle door from black acrylic and bending it to shape by the addition of galvanised braces on the inside bent to the curve of the unit.
3 Lighting
The lighting has taken me over a year of swapping and changing of bulbs ballasts and combos until I finally managed to get the look and performance I was after. I've tried various halide bulbs and tube combos, I think you have to as we are rarely lucky enough to like the look and performance first time round.

I now run 2x250w 10k BLV halides hooked up to Coralvue 250w Ballast. My 54w t5's consist of 1xkz Fiji purple and 1xkz new generation. I also run 1x duo marine blue aquaray and 1x duo reef white aquaray. These really help take away the harsh white look of the 10k halides and the overall look now is pleasing to the eye but still packing the 10k punch.
Zoas under led\
My lighting cycle:
10.00am: T5's come on.
10.30am: Marine blue aquaray comes on.
11.00am: Reef white aquaray comes on.
11.30am: Halides come on.

7.30pm: Halides off.
8.00pm: Reef white aquaray off.
Zoanthids 8.30pm: T5's off.
9.00pm: Marine blue aquaray off.
4 Water Movement
Thereís nothing complicated about my water movement what so ever. It consists of four modded tunze 6025 powerheads, two high in the front corners and 2 low in the back corners blowing behind my rockwork, I also have a small Hydor Koralia in my sump just pointing at the surface to add extra surface movement and to stop any scum build up.

I have considered upgrading a lot of things especially my powerheads but everything seems very happy so why upset the apple-cart.
engine room5 Filtration
My filtration again is very simple. I use 70 kg of live rock which has been aquascaped using 10mm acrylic rods forming towers and bommies which allows for lots of swimming space both at the front and the back. The sump has various grades of sand with a cheato compartment lit 24/7 by a 125w 6400k Envirolite which leads me to have to harvest my cheato on a regular basis.

The main inlet to my sump has a 200 micron filter sock attached which really helps with fine particles in the water column but has to be washed out every two days. I used to run a gravity fed Deltec AP851 but for me I found it overkill on my tank and it was stripping my water bare, in the last few months I have tried a few smaller skimmers and am currently using a small Deltec MCE600 and so far the balance seems to be just right for what I want.
6 Heating/Cooling
Keep it cool My heating and cooling system is so basic itís embarrassing. There are 2x 300w heaters in my sump keeping my temperature at 26.5 one acting as a backup. Once my temperature rises above my required temperature I switch on two wall mounted fans that are on the wall at either end of my tank which do a brilliant job.

My room is quite warm at night so even in the depths of winter the tank temperature will only drop 1 degree. During the summer months the fans are on pretty much 24/7 giving me a much increased evaporation but my auto top up takes care of it just fine.
7 Supplements
Supplementation is taken care of with manual balling-lite using the Fauna Marin salts and trace B's to maintain my calcium, magnesium and alkalinity. My dosing for each salt is split throughout the day into 10 reasonable doses but I have to admit defeat after four months of manually dosing and have now secured a GHL doser just to make my life easier and for added stability that I cannot achieve 100% doing it manually. From the top

Daily I am dosing:
  • 225ml of the Sodium Bicarb solution.
  • 47ml of the Calcium solution.
  • 10ml of the magnesium solution.
Since beginning the balling-lite four months ago I have noticed a huge difference in the overall health and growth of my stock and a massive monetary saving compared to the Tropic Marin method of supplementing that I used previously.
TaNkshot8 Monitoring
The only automated part of my system consists of a digital thermometer and an aqua digital auto top up.

9 Feeding
Partial tank An hour after all my lights have been on I feed a nice pinch of new era flake held in front of a powerhead all my fish will take this now and my cleaner shrimp loves it. Throughout the day I feed drained off frozen consisting of mysis, red plankton for the small mouths, chopped mussel, rots, chopped prawn and krill a small amount every 2 hours or so.

Like myself, my stock loves to eat and does so quite often! Iím a firm believer in not stinting on feeding my fish and corals not to the point of causing myself nutrient issues, just little and often. I have worked out how much is enough and split this amount into 6/7/8 small feeds throughout the day, some of my fish especially the Chromis really need regular feeding, what they donít eat the rest of my fish mop up.

FULL I also feed nori twice a day in a clip and scrunch a postage stamp size piece of nori in front of a powerheads for the fish that like it like my coral beauty and clowns but are too nervous to compete at the clip with the tangs.

Monthly I add 2x100ml cultures of copepods to keep my mandarin happy and am currently looking into culturing my own supply.

I also feed the tank with KZ coral snow once a week after dark, frozen cyclopeeze and lobster eggs every Sunday after dark and add some phyto on Monday and Thursday nights also after dark. Most of my LPS get a feed twice a week with chopped mysis or whatever meaty food I have to hand and my sun coral is fed out of the tank every 2 or 3 days.
Left tank10 Husbandry
This aspect of the hobby for me is one of the most important not to neglect and can be the success or downfall of any system and is something I enjoy especially when the benefits are so blatantly obvious.

I religiously change 10% of my water weekly using reef crystals salt which equates to 50ltrs. It is mixed in a plastic dustbin the night before and a powerhead and heater added so itís ready the next day. My auto top up chamber holds 25ltrs and needs to be refilled every 4 days, more in the summer.

Middle tank I have to admit to being a bit obsessive with testing and test daily alk, cal, mag, sg and nitrate even though I know what the results are going to be, itís just for peace of mind and to keep the test kit manufacturers more than happy as they donít last me five minutes.

Daily I clean my front glass and wash out my skimmer cup as I feel it works better when not coated in proteins.

Every other day i scrape the sides and back of the glass, as itís a black background and shows off the corals well I like to try and keep it spotless. Once a week before I add my coral snow I use a baster on my rockwork just to dislodge any detritus build up the flow isnít shifting.

Right side Monthly I soak in vinegar, all powerheads, my heaters and my skimmer just to make sure they are working 100% virtually all the time. Every 3 months my return pump gets the same treatment.

My carbon sits in the chamber in my skimmer to get good flow over it and my ROWAphos sits at the bottom of my filter sock just to make it that little bit more active. Both are replaced every 6 weeks and added to mesh bags.
11 Problems
This is where I find some suitable wood to touch because luckily Iíve had thus far very few problems.

I have an ongoing battle at the moment with a maxima clam that shed its foot 3 weeks ago and isnít looking its best but is hanging in there and still opening and reacting well to movement, fingers crossed it recovers.

I lost my beautiful flasher wrasse a few months ago, he decided to jump and was found behind the tank, pretty gutting especially when it could have been avoided with some sort of cover on the tank top. I will replace him as he added something special to my fish list but not until I sort out a cover to stop him jumping. Other than that Iíve been very lucky but I am a realist and appreciate anything can go wrong at anytime, from equipment failure leading to problems or some sort of crash but I do my best to make sure I have things covered.

Red montipora digitata Acid green acropora Blue acropora

12 Livestock
I consider my tank a mixed reef as it consists of SPS, LPS and soft corals which is especially challenging due to the added risk of the usual chemical warfare that can happen between the different coral families. Placement of corals needs quite a lot of consideration and sometimes Iíve got it very wrong.
13 Fish
I am pretty happy with my fish stock at the moment and the fact that I have no plans to add anymore gives great peace of mind regarding introducing any disease. I have a nice harmonious tank now and know one bad apple can cause havoc so Iím settling for what I have. Due to the nature of my rockwork the fish have just as much room at the back of the tank as they do at the front and there are lots of caves, tunnels and spots for them to rest or go for some me time.

My fish stock is as follows:
Sailfin blenny
(salarias fasciatus)
Blue chromis x2
(chromis viridis)
Royal gramma
(gramma loreto)
Green spot mandarin
(synchiropus picturatus)
Yellow tang
(zebrasoma flavescens)
Regal tang
(paracanthurus hepatus)
Common clownfish x2
(amphiprion ocellaris)
Green clown goby
(gobiodon atrangulatus)
Coral beauty
(centropyge bispinosus)

Common clown Regal tang Mandarin under led\ Royal gramma Sailfin blenny Yellow tang Clown goby

14 Corals
At the moment I am keeping a mixed bag of corals. I have a few softies but mostly keep LPS and SPS. Hereís a selection from each group.

Soft corals: Various zoanthids, ricordia floridas, various colours of mushrooms and some pulsing xenia.

LPS: Bubble coral, Various Euphyllia, various Tubastrea, various Lobophyllia, Catalaphyllia, favia, Duncanopsammia, Fungia, sun coral to name but a few.

SPS: Various acroporas, montipora digitatas, plating montiporas, Pocillopora, Seriatoporas, Oxypora, Hydnophora, Echinopora and encrusting montiporas to list just a selection.

Birds Nest Coral Millipora Purple montipora digitata Green acropora Blue acro 2 Tri colour acro Seriatopora caliendrum Echinopora lamellosa Sun coral Oxypora Trumpet Blue Lobophyllia Catalaphyllia Candycane Bubble coral Frogspawn Lobophyllia Blue mushrooms

15 Invertebrates
My clean up crew consists of 12 large turbo snails, 6 blue legged hermits, 4 common brown legged hermits, lots of dove snails and the usual hitchhikers like Stomatella Snails, Cerith Snails, Nassarius Snails and lots of small brittle stars.

Cleaner shrimp I am down to just one cleaner shrimp now as I recently lost one due to old age, they were fully grown when I got them and have been with me over 2 years. I also have a small Harlequin Shrimp to keep my asternia population in check. My shrimp crew is finished off with 3 peppermint shrimps who I only ever see after dark.

On my sand bed sit two small clams,1 blue maxima whoís recovering hopefully as mentioned in the problems section and 1 Derasa clam.
16 Final Thoughts
Everyday I wake up and watch my tank do the same, makes me realise how lucky we are to be able to do what we do this is what, for me keeps the passion for the hobby strong.

View from the sofa The hobby is not for everyone and comes with its highs and lows but what a rewarding hobby it is when things are going well and all achievable without really needing to leave your house. We spend hours watching our tank and its usually the little things that make us smile the most, from the gentle sway of a coral in the flow, a fish happily grazing the rockwork for food or a hermit checking out possible new accommodation.

As it stands for us now in the hobby we only have one upgrade planned for the future which is a fish only system as there are lots of fish we would like that are not suitable for a reef, first though we need to build the place to house this tank so no doubt itís not going to happen anytime soon.
17 Acknowledgments
FtS Firstly I would like to thank all the UR members for taking the time to read my tank thread and find it worthy of their vote for TOTM and Chris for his help with this article without him it wouldnít have happened. Without you guys and gals I would never have been able to achieve what I have so far in my small reefkeeping journey.

Iíve had so much advice from so many people that has been invaluable in this learning curve of a hobby and I constantly still find members experience so important and some of you have become good friends in the process.

I would also like to thank the UR team for making this experience possible and in making it a pleasant journey. A great big thanks also has to go to my local fish shops and Robin at Coventry Aquatics for his patience in my early days of noobness, I must have drove him insane (probably still do)!

Lastly but not least my hubby for having longer arms than me and being the one who has to constantly have salt stained t/shirt arms. The tank is not just my efforts, without his input it would never be where it is now...thanks.

Click me!

Please leave your comments and questions on the Tank of the Month thread at UltimateReef.com.

Fact File
Water Parameters
Temperature: 26.5
pH: 8.2
Salinity: 35
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0-5
Phosphate: 0.008
Calcium: 425
KH: 9
Magnesium: 1350

Skimmer: Deltec MCE600
Lights - Halides: 2x 250w 10k BLV's
Pumps: 4x Tunze modded 6025's...1x Eheim 1260 return.
Heaters: 2x 300w
Lights - VHOs: 2x 54w t5's 2 sets of Aquaray Duos
Top up: Aqua-digital auto topup

Tank Specifications
Tank Dimensions: 5 foot bow fronted.
Sump Dimensions (1): 42x15x18
Tank Volume: 450ltrs
System Volume: 650ltrs before displacement

Written by, and, photography by Vikky (vikky).
Image copyright with photographer - if you wish to use an image please contact the photographer.
This article may not be reproduced or copied without the express permission of the UR.Com Board owner or the UR.Com TOTM Co-ordinator. Published on December 1st, 2010 at UltimateReef.com

Copyright © 2010 UltimateReef.com