This tank is the product of ~ 36 years combined experience between my husband and I (Rick - 1991, me 1993), and while that number is a "wow" factor (at least to me!) it certainly doesn't mean that we know everything. We have though, both seen this hobby change in SO many ways. Certian equipment and corals weren't even heard of or invented yet back when we started out, so to be able to take advantage of all the new technology and be able to keep all these different specimens is truly amazing.
The current 180 gal has been running in it's current location since Oct 2009 and is stationed in our family room. It's an AGA tank with AGA stand. Rick built the canopy last summer. It contains 3 250w DE MH's that are 14k, as well as 2 4ft T5's that run the length of the tank as they are staggered. There are also 3 moonlights that do a pretty good job of letting us peak on everyone at night. :D
The sump is a 45 gal Aquarium Warehouse tank that Rick modified. There are 3 baffles that seperate the skimmer chamber (ASM) from the return pump (Mag 9.5), media reactor (Warner Marine - holds carbon) and a heater and it also holds some live rock that we are holding onto "just incase".
Attached to the sump is a CPR refugium that currently just holds some cheato, but I also plan on filling it with a DSB to create a better location for pods to grow.
Running outside the sump, but flowing into it is a MidWest Aquatics The DeNitrator. This is my favorite piece of equipment. It was well worth the wait and selling of old/unused equipment to be able to purchase it. You'll see why below. :D
The tank has approxamatly 120 lbs of LR. Some of which is pretty old. A portion of it made the hike from Long Island, NY with me when I moved to Michigan and had been in another system of mine since 2004. The other half came from a system(s) that Rick has had and is probably 15 years old.
There is probably 100+ lbs of LS in there as well. Also brought with me from NY and Rick's other systems.
Flow in tank is supplied by a Koralia 8 on the left side of the tank that shoots across at an angle to the right, and a Koralia 7 that shoots from the left side of the tank that keeps flow going to the bottom front. There is another Koralia in there as well (a 4) but it is in need of some service. It helps the Koralia 7 out. Of course, there are the 4 returns from the sump pump as well.
The inhabitants are as follows:
Hippo tang (x2)
Green chromis (x6)
Saddleback clown (the male of a pair -- some how the female jumped out of the tank)
Pearl eye Clarkii (single pearl eye)
3 Striped damsel
Black damsel (not sure what this one is -- got it for free from another reefer that was getting out/moving, but he's been a model citizen and it quiet pretty!)
Double Barred Rabbitfish
Mandarin Dragonet pair
Mix of SPS and LPS which includes
Green slimer, rose milli, blue/grey pagota cup, wellso, blue chalice, blue/purple unknown, blue tipped tenuis, idaho grape cap, orange monti, green scoly, orange digi, purple digi, yellow acro, blue tipped acro (2 types), monti verricosa, frogspawn, hammer (the chunkiest I have ever seen!), flames from **** lepto, purple and green diploastrea, aussie moon/star coral, misc maze corals, green trumpet, bubble coral, rainbow catspaw, pink catspaw, pinktipped/yellow birstnest other misc SPS and LPS.
Yellow fiji leather
Yellow finger leather
Green Tyree toadstool
3 different types of gorgonians
green bubble tip anemone (that hosts the saddleback clown)
~200 astrea snails and 100 blue legged hermits, ~50 nassarius snails
2 serpant stars
Blue tuxedo urchin
yellow sea cucumber
3 cleaner shrimps
2 peppermint shrimps
Params are pretty constant and as follows
NO3: < 5
To be honest, I don't test all that much, and when I do it's primarily for NO3 since the fish bioload is high. The coral heath is a pretty good indicator of what's going on with the water.
I do a water change weekly of ~35-40 gallons and clean the skimmer cup (which pulls out TONS of gunk!). We use Reef Crystals and a 5 stage RO/DI from AquaFx.
Feeding is done daily. We've cut back A LOT in the past year. We feed Formula 1 and 2 pellets, Spectrum pellets (daily), nori sheets (2x's weekly), frozen variety whenever I have the time. I've also been experimenting with a frozen plankton (it's pink!) from San Fransisco Brand. I've been trying to feed this about 15-20 min after the lights go out 2X's a week. So far, the corals (and fish!) love it.
We've also experimented with Marine Snow from Warner Marine. Jon gave us 2 bottles of this stuff at MACNA NJ to "play with". It's pretty cool. It's a double duty type of thing where you can use it to "clean" fine particles from the water column (skimmer then picks it up) or soak it with fine foods (like plankton) and then feed it to the tank (makes the finer stuff easier for the LPS corals and fish to ingest). So far so good. We have yet to report back to him on it though.
The future for our tank:
We plan on getting a Ca reactor in the next few months, as well as a RKE with all the bells and whistles. I think this will be especially important for those long trips we want to take so I don't have to be calling the "baby sitter" to get an update and I can just go on-line and take a peak.
I'd also like to get one more tang so we have a representative from each species. :D
On a side note, our son, Layne, has learned SO much from this tank. He can tell us quiet a bit about who lives in it and LOVES starfish!
I tried to make this thread as comprehensive as possible since I like to look at others' tanks and see what works/doesn't work for them.
If you have any suggestions/comments please let us know!!
Thanks for looking!
June and Rick