I would like to thank Captive Reef for selecting my tank as tank of the month. Also thanks to my fellow reefers at AMEPR (our local Puerto Rico forum) for sharing this excellent hobby.
I started keeping fish when I was a kid but my first reef tank started in 1990. I live in Puerto Rico and the sea is five minutes from home. My first tank was a piece of my backyard and all live rock I have today is the same rock in that first tank.
My original tank was a 100-gallon and I had many leaks and hurricanes affecting it during the first ten years, but the tank continued with ups and downs. In 1999 I transferred all of the rock and corals to a new 125 gallon which I have today. In 2005 I moved the tank to where it is today.
In February of this year after five years of coral growth it was almost impossible to maintain good water quality due to the size of the corals and the war between them. Some corals were getting out of the water! For that reason, I decided to start all over again and some major changes were made in water flow, filtration, lighting and coral placement.
I have a webcam on my reef that you can check out as well.
Equipment and Maintenance
My tank is a 125 gallon All Glass aquarium which measures 72" x 18" x 22" with soft and hard corals. Metal stand covered with wood.
* Temp: 80F
* pH: 8.0-8.2
* Specific gravity: 1.025
* NO3: undetectable (Api)
* Ca: 450 ppm (Salifert)
* Alk: 8 dKH (Api)
* PO4: 0.03 (Hannah Checker)
Sump: DIY acrylic, 29" long, 15" high and 12" deep and holds around 5 gallon of water. In my sump, I have all of the reactors, my skimmer and Chaeto algae with a clip light running 24/7 with a 23 watt spiral 6,500k bulb. My overflow is an Eshopps with two sponges to pre-filter the water going to the sump. I perform 32 gallon (25%) monthly water changes, using Coralife salt and adjust it for temperature and salinity by mixing with a pump 24 hours before the change.
Carbon/phosphate filtration: TLF Hydrocarbon in a Simplicity fluidized bed chemical reactor, Phosban in a TLF150 reactor and 400 ml of NP Biopellets in a TLF 550 reactor
Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQ-SC Quarium Pump (810Gph) that supplies water to all reactors, passes through the chiller, and returns to the tank.
Calcium/alkalinity/magnesium dosing: Ecoplus calcium reactor with ARM coarse media, using a Milwaukee PH controller for CO2 dosing.
Auto top-off: Automatic Top Off with Ultra Life Adjustable float switch, 5-gallon RO/DI reservoir with Aqualifter pump.
System control: Timers for the lights and a multi switch to turn on and off some of the equipment.
Lighting: 2 --20K 175w Plusrite Metal Halides (8h), 2 -- 160 watt VHOs (9h) Super actinic and 454, 1 -- Reefbrite blue led strip 48" (10h), and a Digikit 72" moonlight strip.
Water circulation: I have three Lockline spraybars. The one in the left is the return from the sump. The one in the center, right and a 3/4-inch flare at the bottom of the tank are part of a closed loop powered by a Little Giant pump 4 MDQX--SC (1225 gph). All live rock is placed on an eggcrate platform and the tank is bare bottom.
Feeding: For the fish, I feed a variety of the following foods twice a day; New Life Spectrum pellets mixed with Seachem Garlic Guard, Frozen Brine shrimp, Roger's Reef Food, and TLF Green Sea Veggies. For corals, I target feed weekly with the pumps off using 1/4 tsp of Coral Frenzy mixed with water and shredded shrimp for the LPS. I also use Seachem Reef Plus, Reef Trace, TLF Marine Snow, and 1 drop of Lugols Solution daily.
More Eye Candy!