Tank Of The Month
Greg Hiller was the winner of the Boston Reefers Society Tank Of The Month on Fall 2006.
Greg became interested in saltwater aquariums in 1996. He and his wife had recently moved into their home and felt that a particularly long wall in the house would be a great place for a fish tank. As a child, Greg kept freshwater fish so he initially planned on a large freshwater tank. His wife had other plans! She thought that saltwater fish are much more attractive. A 125-gallon acrylic fish only tank was Greg’s first saltwater tank.
Greg’s first set-up was a 125 Acrylic fish only. He eventually put intense lighting on the acrylic tank and began reef system. Unfortunately, his lack of experience caught up to him and he melted the acrylic tank, leading to a crack in the tank. He replaced this tank with a 65-gallon Oceanic tank. That tank is still part of his large system.
Greg’s current system is a 400-gallon glass tank that was custom built by Aquariums For You. The tank’s dimensions are 8’ X 3’ X 30”. The biggest challenge that was confronted when setting up this tank was building the room that it stands in. The tank is located in it’s own room of the house that was added on for the purpose housing the large tank. After gaining approval from the conservation commission, the room was built. The tank was placed on a steel frame with the help of twelve people to lift it.
Included in this tank’s system are a 110 gal Rubbermaid stock tank, the 65-gallon glass tank, and a 20-gallon acrylic (pet-store style) Refugium. These tanks are located in his basement.
Lighting over the display tank includes two 400-watt and three 250-watt metal halides. The lights are hung on a track above the tank. Using a timer, the lights slowly move from one side of the tank to the other side within a 12-hour period, returning back to begin the cycle again the next day. Every two hours, the lights move side to side on the track for four minutes, stopping about one inch from where it started on the track. Greg admits that this system is not flawless, but it is intended to simulate the movement of the earth in relation to the sun during the course of a day.
Circulation within the tank is provided by two Tunze 6200’s using a multi-controller. The main circulation pump is a GRI 520, which is located in the basement with the sump.
Protein skimmer is the ETS Gemini 800
Greg made his own calcium reactor using 6” diameter acrylic tube, using ARM media and a small Ehiem pump for circulation.
To cool his tank in the summer months, Greg uses a large fan placed over the sump for evaporation. Greg has also fashioned a natural cooling system for the tank using a large marine gas tank. The tank is buried in his backyard with aluminum tubes running out to it. Tubing is run out through the tubes, into the tank, and back into the sump. Water from the tank is circulated through this tubing for cooling. He also has a small chiller on his system when necessary.
Greg uses Instant Ocean Salt mix, adding small amounts of dissolved Calcium and Magnesium to the mixed salt water. Greg formerly used Vodka dosing, but discontinued after finding no benefit to adding it to his system. At this time, Greg is dosing with iron, but is not sure if there is any result from doing so.
Greg does not complete scheduled water changes. He propagates his corals on a regular basis, removing water as he does so. As a result of this water removal, Greg estimates that he does change approximately 10% of his water volume on a weekly basis.
Greg feeds his tank a variety of foods, including shredded frozen scallops, shrimp, clams, and squid. He also feeds pellets, dried algae, and mysis shrimp.
Majestic Angel – Pomacanthus navarchus
Pair Golden Angelfish – Centropyge aurantia
Pair Watanabe’s Angelfish – Genicathus watanebei
Powder Blue Surgeonfish – Acanthurus leucosternon
Sohal Surgeonfish – Acanthurus sohal
Lyretail Anthis (1 male, 3 female) – Pseudoanthias squamipinnis
Copperbanded Butterfly – Chelmon rostratus
Pair Pink Skunk Clownfish – Amphiprion Perideraion
GB Maroon Clownfish – Premnas biaculeatus
Pearly Jawfish (3) – Opistognathus aurifrons
Spotted Hawkfish – Cirrhitichthys aprinus
Pair Banggai Cardinalfish – Pterapogon Kauderni
Blue Assessor – Assessor macneilli
Royal Gramma – Gramma loreto
corals are numerous, making a list of the corals living in his tank quite the
task. His tank includes SPS, LPS, and softy corals. All of his corals began
as fragments. There are about three dozen different Acropora colonies,
differing in color and growth form. There are only
one or two table top forms, several staghorn type forms, a few Acropora formosa like forms, a few Acropora tortuosa like forms, and a whole bunch of what Greg
would call 'bushy' forms. Three colonies that he currently has were purchased
as wild collected, small colonies, all within the past year. All others came as
small frags from places like Tropicorium (Michigan), Inland Aquatics (Indiana),
and trading with hobbyists all over the country, and here within the BRS. This
also goes for all other SPS in the tank, except for a blue-ridge coral was
purchased as a wild-collected colony about 7 year ago
An unidentified form of branching Montipora
Other corals include
LPS (a loosely used term):
Soft corals & Polyps
corals and zoanthids:
In the future, Greg would like to remove some of his corals in order to allow for others to grow in. Even with all of Greg’s experience in the hobby, he still recognizes that there is nothing certain in this hobby and that there is a lot to learn. He is willing to experiment with new treatments and dosing regimes in order to share his knowledge with other hobbyists. Greg’s reef has made wonderful progress in its first year.
© 2006 Heather Thevenin, Chiminh Luu.