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DBarsotti's SPS Jungle

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  1. #1
    CR Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Salinas, CA
    Awards Photo of the Month Tank of the Month

    Default DBarsotti's SPS Jungle

    fulltankshot - DBarsotti's SPS Jungle

    I would first like to thank the wonderful team at CaptiveReefs and the Reefing community for this amazing opportunity to share my tiny piece of ocean with all of you. Seeing as how my system has never been nominated for TOTM and it will be upgraded in the coming weeks, this is wonderful timing for its nomination. I feel very honored to have my system be September Tank Of The Month.

    My adventure into marine aquariums started in the 90's when my older brother was given a salt water aquarium system for his birthday. He was extremely intrigued with the idea of keeping saltwater animals and quickly set up the system and started stocking it with fish of all colors and shapes. Lionfish, tangs and my favorite, a tiny anemone. For months he struggled with water parameters and successfully keeping the livestock, of course these issues were due to the LFS at the time offering horrible advice on maintenance and always selling him fish that were WAY to large for his system. Eventually he gave up on his struggle to maintain the system and off to the garage it went.

    10+ years later in 2007 my girlfriend and I were at the county fair and she insisted on winning a goldfish in the pingpong ball gold fish game. Of course we won and brought home "McLovin" the gold fish. We bought him a 1 gallon tank, a castle, and all that junk that goes a long with goldfish. After watching McLovin swim around in his tank for a week, it inspired me to start researching the idea of setting up a salt water system. I quickly realized things since the 90's had really changed. Marine systems seemed to be a lot easier to maintain and they came in all in one packages!

    Within a month I was at our local LFS buying my first tank. A biocube29, I cut the top, added an Aqua-c Ramora skimmer and began stocking. Several months later I had a beautifully stocked aquarium with an assortment of soft corals and a single frag of pink birdsnest. Finding myself wanting more corals and discovering an unbelievable love for SPS I soon upgraded to my current 40g system. I continued to run my biocube for 2 years along with my 40g with much success, but about a year ago took it down to focus on the 40.

    My current system is a Petco 40 gallon breeder display 36x18x16, 15 gallon frag tank 21x18x10, and a 15 gallon sump. The system has been up and running for 3 years, full blown SPS for 2. It includes one external overflow that I've learned to hate with an extreme passion and has been the cause of various floods in the house. The display now sits in an acrylic tray that is capable of holding 15 gallons of water in case of an unexpected flood occurs. The frag tank was custom built by TruVu and is capable of holding at least 150 frags which definitely comes in handy as my corals grow fairly quickly and with the limited space of the 40g I'm constantly trimming corals. My skimmer is more than likely small for the bioload in the tank but I feel its compensated by a sump/fuge packed with macro algae. I don't run any sort of reactor and I try my hardest to keep everything simple, from automated dosing to gravity fed auto freshwater top off. If it wasn't for the need to feed the animals and water changes my tank could go for a few weeks without touching it.

    system - DBarsotti's SPS Jungle


    Main Display:
    Size: 36x18x16
    36" Current USA Outter Orbit 2x150watt 14k Phoenix Metal Halide, 4xT5 actinic
    Flow: three Koralia 2 and one Koralia 3

    Frag Tank:
    Size 21x18x10
    Lighting: 24" Current USA outter Orbit 1x150watt 14k Phoenix Metal Halide, 4xT5 actinic
    Flow: two Koralia 1

    Other Equipment:
    Skimmer: Aqua-C Ramora
    CPR External overflow box
    Mag 6 Return Pump split between the display and frag tank with ball valve to reduce flow to frag tank.
    Neptune AquaController3

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    I use B-Ionic 2-part to maintain Calcium and Alkalinity. Originally I hand dosed the tank every morning but as the tank matured the demand became so great that a full dose in the morning was too large. Now dosing is done with the use of 2 BRS Drews dosing pumps that are controlled by my AquaController3. Dosing is done in small increments throughout the night every 2 hours in an attempt to keep Ph stable during lights out. My Alk usually hangs around 9 dKH and I try to keep my Ca between 440-460ppm. The salt mix I use keeps my Mg at a constant 1500ppm.

    Water Parameters
    Ph 8-8.4
    Ca 440-460ppm
    Alk 9 dKH
    Mg 1500ppm
    Temp 79.5-81.5
    NO3 N/A
    PO4 N/A

    My System is cooled with a standard house fan thats plugged into my Aquacontroller, If the fan is unable to cool the tank due to extreme temperatures one by one the AquaController will shut down the lights on the tank.

    Typical Light schedule:
    6:00am Moonlights: ON
    7:00am Moonlights: OFF
    8:00am Display/Frag - Actinics: ON
    8:00am Refugium Light: OFF
    10:30am Display/Frag - Metal Halides: ON
    4:00pm Frag - Metal Halides: OFF
    6:30pm Display - Metal Halides: OFF
    7:00pm Refugium Light: ON
    8:00pm Display/Frag: OFF
    8:00pm Moonlights: ON
    9:00pm Moonlights:OFF


    I use Tropic Marine Pro Salt and ro/di water to perform a 10% total system volume water change every Sunday. I'm very serious about water changes and in the 3 years my system has been running I've never missed one. Every 3 weeks I change 1/2 cup of two little fishies Carbon in a nylon bag located in the sump/fuge. I empty the skimmer cup when necessary and clean the powerheads and lights every week. As for nutrient export, aside from the skimmer, as I said my sump/fuge is packed with macro algae, liverock and a shallow sand bed. The display tank also has a 2-3" sand bed that I believe is beneficial to the tank, I have 8+ Nassarius snails that constantly turn the sand bed. In my upgrade I will be using much less sand, no more than an inch, as I feel it will be much easier for the animals to turn/clean the bed. I no longer test for anything but Ca because I feel my tank is fairly mature and very stable. In the sump I use a Koralia3 that runs across the bottom of the bare sump areas to stir up settled debris.


    1 Purple tang
    1 Ocellaris Clownfish & her unknown Anemone
    2 Apogon leptacanthus
    3 Chromis Viridis
    Misc. Snails
    3 Small Emerald Crabs
    1 Sea Urchin

    Pterapogon kauderni (Spawning pair)
    1 Cleaner Shrimp
    3 Peppermint shrimp
    Misc. Snails and Blue legged Hermits
    2 Emerald crabs

    A. caroliniana
    A. Humilis
    A. Sarmentosa
    A. Lokani
    ORA Phil's Granulosa
    Montipora Palawenensis "ATL AppleBerry"
    ORA Hawkins Echinata
    ORA Green Montipora Digitata

    Eye Candy
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    Future Plans
    As I write this article I have my new 120 gallon 48x24x24 tank cycling and in the next few months I will be slowly moving everything from my current 40 gallon to the new system.
    Last edited by jimsflies; 05-06-2011 at 02:00 PM.

  2. #2
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    First Name


    Awesome tank Dominic! Looking forward to seeing that new tank packed full!

  3. #3
    shovelhead91701 - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    durant oklahoma
    First Name


    Congratulations! I can't wait to see all that spread out into some larger real estate! You are gonna get some monsters in that new tank I bet!
    The days are long and the work is difficult but every night I sleep as a man who has achieved his goals.

  4. #4
    Rabidgoose - Reefkeeper Moderator

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Thumb MI
    Awards Yugo Award Photo of the Month


    Congratulations, very nice tank!
    I simply can't trust people that don't like bacon,

  5. #5
    CR Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Salinas, CA
    Awards Photo of the Month Tank of the Month


    Thanks everyone and thanks jim the article looks great!

  6. #6
    Tom@HaslettMI - Reefkeeper
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    East Lansing, MI
    First Name
    Awards Yugo Award - For helping with the CR Booth at MCES Monthly Giveaway Winner Monthly Giveaway Winner Photo of the Month Tank of the Month


    Beautiful tank/system. I can't wait to see the new tank up and running.


  7. #7
    ReeferRob - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    First Name
    Awards Photo of the Month


    Congrats Dom, its a beautiful tank. Here's to the next one being just as nice just larger!
    "We shouldn't think of an environment where livestock can survive, we should ensure an environment where livestock can thrive."-Rabidgoose
    "If it's gonna be that kinda party, Ima stick my ........ in the mashed potatoes!"-Beastie Boys

  8. #8
    Sir Patrick - Reefkeeper A2 Club Coordinator
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    UofM territory
    First Name
    Awards Monthly Giveaway Winner


    Simply awsome!!!

  9. #9
    CR Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Farmington Hills Michigan
    Awards Photo of the Month - May 2012 Photo of the Month Photo of the Month Tank of the Month


    Just beautiful...well done!!

  10. #10
    CR Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Salinas, CA
    Awards Photo of the Month Tank of the Month


    Thank you everyone for the kind words! the new tank is 3/4 full now! mwahaha

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