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.
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!
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.
36" Current USA Outter Orbit 2x150watt 14k Phoenix Metal Halide, 4xT5 actinic
Flow: three Koralia 2 and one Koralia 3
Lighting: 24" Current USA outter Orbit 1x150watt 14k Phoenix Metal Halide, 4xT5 actinic
Flow: two Koralia 1
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.
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.
Alk 9 dKH
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.
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
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
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
ORA Phil's Granulosa
Montipora Palawenensis "ATL AppleBerry"
ORA Hawkins Echinata
ORA Green Montipora Digitata
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.