With some serious coaxing from my friend, Clayton,
a year ago we decided to overhaul my Reef Tank, and it was about time too.
It's ironic that being in the Aquarium Service business my own tank looked
like _ _ _ _.
As you can see the coraline algae had become quite
thick, and due to my laziness it required some significant work. The work
first consisted of dismantling the entire system. All the fish were moved
into a 100 gallon tank adjacent to the big tank.
Now the big tank was taken apart and moved out
into the backyard where the coraline algae was attacked....with 2000 grit
Wet-Dry SANDPAPER !
The second step, after the sandpaper, was to polish
out the scratches and the tank....... with an electric Buffing Wheel!!!
The fellow who did all this work was 'Cande', and other than slipping with
the buffing wheel and polishing his nose < lol >, he did a great job.
The tank looks like new.
Now, there needed to be some modifications to
the house electrical circuits to accomidate what I had planned. First was
to have three new, dedicated, electrical circuits and a series of outlets
added. One circuit and three outlet boxes for the pumps, another circuit
and three outlet boxes for the lights, and another circuit for the chiller
( which sits outside the house ). Each circuit was 20 amps and has its
Due to slightly limited space in the cabinet and
two pumps drawing a large volume of water from the sump a new sump was
designed for the tank. I knew that air bubbles from the overflow and skimmer
entering the sump would be a problem so two baffles were incorporated.
Each baffle would help minimize, slightly, the crashing of water. The water
is then forced down under a dam ( wier ) and then up through a foam sponge
( which unfortunately floats up ).
The pumps total five < g >....
One - Iwaki 40 RLT ( Japanese ) for Filter and
Two - Iwaki 40 RLXT's ( Japanese ) for Internal
One - Iwaki 70 RLT ( Japanese ) for the Downdraft
One Dolphin 2 ( 1/10th HP ) for Internal Circulation
( Almost 6000 GPH of water movement within the
One and one half inch pipes were used on the backside
of the tank to draw and return the water from the tank for the Dolphin
pump. Within the canopy the 1 1/2" line tee's into two 1" lines which run
to two independent 1" Seaswirl units. This adds 'kaos' to the already heavy
flow of water within the tank.
Now that the plumbing was all done it was time
to fill the tank. Since I am a true believer in the quality of, as well
as the convienience of, real ocean water, and considering I use about 400
gallons of it a week for my Aquarium Service business, why not have the
tank filled with real ocean water ! " Hey Mr Water Guy, can you fill my
tank up too ? "
After the tank was filled and all the plumbing
was inspected for any leaks ( I always count on at least one leak....so
that I am prepared for one ), it was time to add some live rock. I had ordered 400 pounds of Fiji live rock a
few weeks in advance and had it 'curing' in a pond in the patio.
Even with 'curing' the rock for three weeks the
downdraft skimmer really foamed up.This unit is very, very powerful. It's
Iwaki 70 RLT really jets the water down the downdraft tubes so heavily
that the tubes shake.
OK, the live rock is in the tank, so what is the
next step ?
I have just added two 40 watt Actinics and two
400 watt, 11,000K, German HQI Metal Halide bulbs and ballasts ( personally
I am a bit disappointed in the metal halides color as I was expecting an
actual blue color but I think we have all been fooled by the american bulb
manufactures....but thats another story ).
Now that the tank is running I and will be installing
a Knop "D" Calcium Reactor but until then I am adding significantly high
doses of B-Ionics to seriously increase the Kh and CA. shortly. One thing
I have discovered in the last couple of days that my 1/4 hp Chiller is
no longer able to keep up with the heat load, due to the five pumps and
lights, so I will be upgrading that to a 1/3 hp unit.
As any over-eager hobbyist it was now time to
add some corals < g >. Notice I said "over-eager" ? < bg >. Having
three good friends ( Clayton Romie, Cameron Azad and Robert Becker ) who
had well established SPS reef tanks....and add I did......... SIXTY FIVE
fragments < VBG >. It took five hours to epoxy all of them into place
to see the SPS coral fragments and their overall growth over time ?
At this time I just completed my
first algae phase which was cleaned up by a large number of Blue Leg Hermits, Astrea Snails,
and a few Tangs. Overall I am quite pleased with the proformance
of the tank, the equipment, and how well the corals are doing. I must admit that its be a long time since I had
a tank of my own....... and its nice to be a real hobbyist again < s
UPDATE - It is now the fall of 2000 and
the tank has been running for about 8 months. a number of the corals are
starting to put on some size. I have also started to add some gorgonians to the
tank. to sit and watch the water movement nd the corals sway to and fro in the
tank is, in my opinion, the ultimate in intent, desire, and accomplishment. here
is an animated picture of the water movement.
UPDATE - after 1 1/2 years of running I
have added a number of corals, lost some corals, grew quite a bit of coraline
algae ( I seem to be good at growing that < s > ) and I have tried a
number of new things, such as seafans and seawhips, to the tank. Here is the
tank as of December 2001.
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