Vega15's Gorgeous Mixed Reef
Thank you all for the nominating of tank of the month! I would also like to thank those of you who continue to share your advice and experiences with me. With out you as resource I could of never made it this far. As we all know this hobby can take a lot of time, money and patience so it is really nice to have others appreciate it!
A little history of how I got into this hobby. I started keeping freshwater fish at the age of 18. I did this with some success for around 20 years and found that I enjoyed the building up of the tanks just as much as the keeping of the fish. I always wanted to venture into the "mysterious" realm of saltwater but was always afraid to do so. Then came the Nano tank, which promised to have everything in it you need to run a saltwater tank. I bit and bought a 12-gallon Nano tank. Of course (due to my nature) I had to do as much modification on the thing as possible. Needless to say a year later I had over $1500 worth of equipment and livestock in the thing. I soon realized that I needed a bigger tank. Fortunately for me my wonderful girlfriend Marsha was willing to let me build my dream tank in our unfinished basement, with out her none of this would of ever happened! We both now really enjoy having our own "Ocean View" here in Grand Blanc Michigan.
Here are the tanks specifications:
180 Gallon (AGA w/built in overflows) built in wall with 100-gallon sump.
Iwaki 70 Return Pump.
6' Maristar Light Fixture w/three 150W HQI (Ushio 14K) bulbs and four T-5 actinic.
100-Micron Filter Socks.
ASM G-4X Protein Skimmer.
40W Aqua UV
Tunze 6100 w/Single Controller
Bulk Reef Supply reactor concerted into a De-Nitrate Reactor.
Bulk Reef Supply reactor running GFO
7-Gallon Kalkwasser drip system.
20-Gallon water tower for top off. Tank has a simple mechanical float for top-off.
300 Watts of Stealth Heaters on a controller.
Reef Crystals salt. Routine Tasks
45 Gallon water change every two weeks (religiously).
2-Fresh Filter Socks every week.
7 Gallons of Kalkwasser each week.
40 Watt UV
bulb changed every 12 months.
150 Watt HQI bulbs changed every 18 months.
T-5 Actinic bulbs changed every 24 months.
Water changes are done via valves and the return pump. I have two 45-gallon Rubbermaid Brutes with SW in them ready to go. I can do a 45-gallon water change in 8 minuets with out lifting a thing! This little bit of extra planning has really paid off as I don't sweat doing water changes. My philosophy is what ever you can do to make maintenance (on our tanks) easier the better off both you and your reef will be.
Temp Summer: 81-83 F, Winter 79-80 F
Specific Gravity: 1.023
Alkalinity: 9-10 dkH
Magnesium: 1240 ppm
Phosphate: .25 Feeding
Pellets (as the staple food):
I use a total of 8 different pellet foods. Pretty much everything that is out there in a small pellet. They are all mixed evenly in a single can that I use to feed 1 to 2 times a day.
I feed frozen cubes (2pcs per feeding every other day) mixed of Frozen Mysis, Spirulina Brine Shrimp, Marine Cuisine and Emerald Entree.
I feed Brown, Red, and Green sheets about twice a week and my Tangs love it.
Feed from my over producing fuge
1-2 times a week.
I run my HQIs on the average of 5 hours per day with the Actinics running 15 minuets pre and post HQIs on and off. All are on digital timers.
1-Blonde Naso (Male)
1-Orange Shoulder Naso (Male)
1-Black Spot Angle (Female)
1- Springers Dottyback
I love all of my fish but have to say that my favorite fish are my Tangs
Mixed Reef of LPS
and Softies with a little bit of SPS
(I am getting better with these guys but am far from "Experienced"!).
I have found that giving your reef the time it needs to grow out and mature is a great thing to do. This is no replacement for time though I have found the processes of finding mature colonies and placing them in a natural looking way to help get there a bit faster. I never wanted my reef to look like a 180-gallon frag tank :-)
I really like contrasting color so I try to not only collect colorful animals but to arrange them in a fashion that one stands out from the other. I am not a believer that you have to spend a lot of money on each coral, as there are a lot of colorful "everyday" corals out there that if placed in the right way can make a really dynamic display.
My favorite corals have go to be my Lobos and Palys. I love that fact that they love to be target feed and they really seam to benefit from the feedings. When feeding my Lobos pellet food they really open up transform themselves into a different appearing animal. Really fun to watch!
1-Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
2-Blood Red Shrimp
8+-Nassarius Snails (They are multiplying!)