Tank Of The Month
Mufflerguy was the winner of the Boston Reefers Society Tank Of The Month on December 2006.
I started keeping freshwater fish when I was a teenager, but this became boring after some time. I had always loved the way salt water tanks looked, but was always warned that they were too expensive and too much work to maintain. My wife, three kids, and I went to see the movie, “Finding Nemo”, and that was the beginning of my addiction to reef tanks. I had started with a 140-gallon fish only system, only to start adding a couple of softies and zoanthids. Soon, I began adding LPS and eventually SPS corals, over a period of a couple years. When this tank became too full to and any more, I decided to get a 180-gallon to place in my four-season room. This is the tank featured in this article. It was originally a fish only with live rock (FOWLR) system for over 1-½ years with a beautiful selection of fish, until I added an extra large map puffer fish. I neglected to quarantine first. Unfortunately, it was diseased and the illness spread to all the fish in the tank, killing them all. I was devastated, and came very close to selling the whole set-up. My wife and friends encouraged me to wait a few months before making this decision, and I was glad I did. I rinsed the rock and sand, recycled the tank and began building this LPS dominated tank.
This tank is a 180-gallon, Reef-ready All Glass Aquarium with a home-built custom stand, canopy, and light set-up. This tank is plumbed to a 50-gallon sump and a 20-gallon refugium, both of which are located in the basement.
Circulation of the system is within a closed loop with a spray bar behind the rock near the substrate. A Mag 12 pump is used. GenX Mak 4 pump is used to move water up from the basement. I had two Seio M2600’s in the tank, but found that the corals open much larger with larger with all the current, so they were removed. An automated top-off system is used with Kalkwasser. The protein skimmer is an ETSS800, with a second GenX Mak 4 pump. A PMCR422 Calcium reactor doses the tank, using ARM media. The calcium levels in this tank have been fairly easy to maintain when compared to my SPS dominated tank. I use a Phosban Reactor with Rowaphos as well as Kent Carbon in a nylon bag on top of floss at the overflow entrance into the sump. A powerhead feeds the refugium, which is lit at all times (24/7) by a 90 watt outdoor spotlight. I have found this light to work as good as more expensive options. I harvest a plastic bag full of calerpa every month. I use an Aquacontroller Jr. to control nearly everything, including a fan in the canopy and another fan that is located in the basement, which comes on when necessary for cooling purposes. Control air conditioning helps to cool the room down on hot summer days and a chiller is used on occasion when the outside temperature rises to more extreme temperatures. Being in a sunroom does not help much for maintaining the tank’s temperature, but I have been able to manage it using the Aquacontroller.
I complete 60-gallon water changes biweekly using Tropic Marine Pro Reef Salt. I had used Instant Ocean and found the results of the Tropic Marine better, requiring no additional dosing.
I feed a large variety of foods, ranging from the normal frozen variety from local fish stores, to seaweed, cyclopeeze, oyster eggs, and a homemade recipie using a variety of fresh seafood from the fish market mixed with garlic and Zolcon. I make batches of the homemade mix and freeze it , feeding when necessary. I do not spot feed any of my LPS, although they tend to grow fairly well.
I have an addiction to keeping wrasses. They are beautiful, reef-safe, and are not aggressive.
2 – LaBout Wrasses
My tank is primarily stocked with LPS coral species. I have many color morphs of Acanthastrea Lordhowensis, Micromussa, and Echinata. In addition to these corals, I have the following:
I have a lot of people to thank for the success I have had in this hobby. Most of all, a good friend of mine, Tony Lombardo. In the beginning, a friend of mine, a fish wholesaler, suggested I call Tony for some tips on starting a reef tank. Tony talked for me for an hour and a half on the phone that night, having never met me before. He had to answer questions such as, “What is live rock?” and “Do I need a protein skimmer?” With his help and kindness, along with the help of the BRS, RC, and other friends in the hobby, I have had pretty good success in reef keeping. I also have my wife and three children to thank for putting up with my addiction to this hobby. My wife regularly picks up corals that have. been shipped to my work and acclimates them for me. I am a lucky guy. I am always striving to create a healthier environment or obtain another color morph that I do not currently have, which keeps my interest high in this wonderful hobby.
© 2006 Matthew Dumas, Chiminh Luu ,Greg Thevenin, Heather Thevenin