Well firstly id like to thank MASA for the privelidge to showcase my system, without this community this would be a lonley hobby. I have been involved fish in general since primary school and with marine fish and aquaculture for as long as I can remember my passion started off when I was urged to start a small 3ft fish only system at the age of 12, After finishing my Matric year at school I went to work for an LFS, being able to get some different unusually beautiful corals and fish fuelled my passion and I subsequently found myself going bigger and bigger as cash allowed. I finally downsized to a 4ft tank because of past success achieved with this size tank and this is the system featured here.
Description and Short History
The tank is 1.200 x .750 x .600 constructed out of 10mm glass with clear silicone, ( DT is 540lt) I struggled with my previous tank of .700 deep so opted for a shallower depth , it has a 38 x 38 x 1.8 square tubing steel frame with shutter ply cladded to it and stained with a woodoc finish, the sump ( 84lt) is simple and unattractive, housing only a skimmer, heater and return pump, I have plans for a better bigger sump and hope to include a refuguim for the benefit of pod production but all of these ideas will be implemented in my future build of a similar size..
My rock in the DT is the main sorce of biological filtration in the system, and my scaping is was made up of 90% base rock and was inoculated with 10% bought live rock from differing regions for biodiversity, being on a budget made me have to think cost effectively and patience was a major factor while waiting for the rock to gain life. I am happy to say that the rock was colonized fairly quickly with coralline algae taking on a more natural appearance from the white it started off as. Skimming plays a major role in my filtration and I opted for as big a skimmer I can accommodate in terms of height beneath the cabinet allowing me to feed more frequently without as much pollution. My OCTX200 in sump skimmer is rated for 1500lt. I do a 200lt water change once a month using NSW which takes me about 20 to 30 minutes to perform.
Circulation & Waterflow
I went to town on circulation in anticipation of going full sps but found more comfort in LPS and softies due to my demanding work schedule, I have 2 x OR3500 on a CLS system which pull from 2 strainers situated in each top corner at the back of the tank and return under the rockwork through a manifold to flush detritus. Since the addition of the substrate I only run these periodically prior to a waterchange to flush dirt to the front, otherwise they upset the sand too much.Vortech MP40w pump and OR3500 return provide most of the circulation within the display. I plan to buy another Vortech as I find these pumps simply fantastic aside from the slight humming sound they produce when changing flow speeds and pattern. Their different settings and controllable water output allow me to occasionally change the flow patterns flushing out detritus that has settled due to consistent flow patterns. These pumps have a maximum flow rating of 12000lph but I probably run mine most consistently in the 6000lph range. And faster than this and my LPS corals don’t show as nicely.
An Aquamedic aquasunlight NG unit consisting of 2 x DE 150w Aquamedic 13k bulbs and 2 x 54w T5 are my main sorce of lighting, I would like to add another 2 x 54w Actinic and later on move to 20k bulbs but all seems suffiecient for the inhabitants I currently keep. My growth has not been optimal but slow and consistent.
My lighting is on from 05:00am – 07:00am (T5 and Hailides) and again from 16:00pm – 20:00pm
I currently don’t run my lights during the day and once I install 2 more actinic I will run these from 05:00 – 21:00 as I did with my past tanks, keeping the Hailide pendant on the current photoperiod. I believe the lower lighting helps to lower any algae blooms. And also keeps my landlord at bay from moaning about increased electricity consumption. I would love to have a similar unit with 250w lighting, but this will have to wait a while.
I have a Resun Chiller rated to do 1000lt plumbed to the system which stands outside with plumbing though the wall, but it is only put on in summer owing to its massive draw on electricity. My system is very simple and although I have an Aqua Medic calcuim reactor/ denitrator and kalkstirrer, I have never hooked them up to the system. I prefer manual dosing of Cal, Mag, Alk, and Iodine. Testing is not a regular occurrence with me but I do revert back to water changes should anything look off. I believe large water changes are essential to any marine tank and a very stabilizing factor in keeping all parameters in check and removing waste.
Glass scraped clean using a blade (cheap R14 window scraper blade and holder) and magnet cleaner once a week
A 200lt Water change is performed once a month at which time the sump is siphoned clean of any detritus that has settled there.
Skimmer cup is cleaned out weekly
Water is topped up every third day (approx 6lt) I’m a tap water user at present but I will use my RO unit as soon as I get around to hooking it up).
Cover glass for lighting is cleaned from salt spray every 2 months..:top:.
Feeding & Additives
Dosing is done manually and performed every alternate Thursday,
Magnesium, Calcuim, Iodine and Alk are my main additives
I dose prior to a water change and again after one. I feed flake, tetra bits, nori, frozen and live brineshrimp. I feed my corals egg roe and pink prawn twice a month.
Bubble coral Plerogyra sinuosa
Frogspawn Eupyllia divisa
Hammer coral Eupyllia ancora
White Trumpet coral Caulastrea echinulata
Mushrooms Actinodiscus sp
Richordia Richordia sp
Pulsing Xenia Xenia umbellata
Colt coral Cladiella sp
Pin cushion leather coral Sarcophyton
Green plating montipora Montipora Capricornis
Green Montipora digitata Montipora Digitata
Zoanthus polyps Zoanthus
Star polyps Pachyclavularia sp
Branching Alveopora Alveopora gigas
1 x Flame Angel Centropyge loricula
1 x Bicolor angel Centropyge Bicolor
1 x Mandarin (f) Synchiropus splendidus
5 x Orange Goldies Anthias squamapinnis
2 x threadfin Goldies Anthias Caberryi
1 x Royal Gramma Gramma Loreto
1 x Yellow Tang Zebrasoma flavescens
1 x Regal Tang Paracanthurus hepatus
2 x Ocelaris clowns Amphiprion Ocelaris
1 x Scarlet Hawkfish Neocirrhites armatus
1 x Blue Chromis Chromis Viridis
2 x Cleaner shrimp
2 x Rose Bubble Tip Anemone
Tank Specification and Water Params
Tank Dimensions: 1.200 x .750 x .600
Sump Dimensions: .600 x .400 x .350
Refugium Dimensions: none
Tank Volume: DT 540lt + Sump 84lt =
System Volume: Total 624lt not taking into account any displacement but LR etc
KH: - medium (Red sea test kit)
My son was my main inspiration for me to restart a tank after I lost everything a few years ago, I just couldn’t keep such beauty from my children after seeing his face so he is the main cause that I’m actively back in the hobby, but I am lucky to have the support of my wife Candice, Luckily she also loves the color and life the tank gives to our home. My Nemesis fish is a powder blue surgeon and unfortunately Candice’s favorite fish! Even after receiving one in immaculate condition I somehow lost it. Other thanks go to my friends Justin, Kunhardt and Clinton who keep me going when times are tough and the thought of giving up comes to mind. I have always approached the marine hobby in a brotherhood fashion and use it to build relationships rather than show off. Like many of you I’m already contemplating a new build but that’s a whole other story and hopefully another TOTM…