Lets Break some Reefing Rules...

4 May 2007
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Durban, ZA
Ok guy's the Reef Hunters have been scanning the Reefing horizons to find something interesting and we stumbled across this..


Mmm that's looks pretty ordinary from far doesn't it..

Hold on what's this


Is that a Clown Trigger.. in a community reef tank.. why yes I believe it is..

Ok so lets get some background on this system.
This tank belongs to Papu and is situated in Durban. The tank has been running in it's current form for about a year now. What makes it unique is that it pretty much breaks all the Reefkeeping rules as we know them. Aggresive triggers in a community Reef tank, Angels and Clams, massive bioload and nothing to special as far as filtration is concerned except for a kick ass skimmer.

Alan and I first saw this tank about 2 months ago and we were blown away by the sheer simplicity and beauty of it. Massive leather corals waving around in a gentle current, thriving LPS, clams and an assortment of various other invert life.
But mostly we were capitivated by Papu's awesome fish collection. Emperor Angel, Regal Angel. Majestic Angel, school of Hippo tangs, a Naso Tang the size of a bus and of course the triggers.
All of this a a standard 6 foot tank with a pretty ordinary sump. No DSB or De-Nitrator, No PO4 removal or carbon or anything specialised other than a Calcium reactor. Orginally the system was run with a AM TF 1000 skimmer.. Yip.

But then this was added


A Bubblemaster 200 :045:

But surely this can't make all that much difference, can it ? We all know the merits of having a good skimmer on your system but there are a lot of other factors that contribute to a succesful tank.

Another remarkable feature of this tank is the owner himself. Papu is a Hobbyist with a true passion for Marine creatures but being a foreign national he struggles to read a lot of the complex intracasies of the hobby. So he has pretty much taught himself eveything he knows. He does ask advice of fellow hobbyists in the LFS when he bumps into them and has been guided quite a lot by Sean and Chris at Northlands Pets but mostly it's been trial and error.
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There's a pretty impressive Tang collection here too..


Besides the peaceful Yellow Tang, Sailfin Tang and school of Hippos we have this Huge Sohal Tang as well as a Powder Blue which can be pretty aggresive buggers when they want to be.

Papu believes the secret to his success with keeping all these fish together is in the feeding, and boy does he feed. 4 to 5 times a day the system is fed heavily. Whole sheets of Nori are chucked in as well as a variety of other foods. You would think with all the heavy feeding it would lead to huge algae issues.. no, and I can't tell you why either.
Alan and I were summising that possibly the reason could be is that because space is so confined the fish haven't got any territory to fight over and therefore don't show aggresion... Just a thought.


This Hippo Tang is a magnificent specimen and is about 15cm's long


One of the beautiful clams in the tank


Generally the rule is that we shoudn't keep clams and Angels in the same tank..

Majestic Angel


Regal Angel

Since we last saw this tank about 2 months ago there have been some changes. Papu wants to diversify more into corals and has come to realise that there are limitations with keeping such aggresive and non reef safe fish together. So when we arrived we were pleasantly suprised with a new addition.


A new 2.5m x .8m tank has been added to the arsenal. This tank will run as a sperate system but the 2 tanks are linked by a common sump.



The common sump sits under the new 2.5m addition and water is fed back to the 2 tanks by 2 seperate return pumps.
The second tank was brought on line a couple of days before these pics were taken and I suspect that the live rock was still going through a bit of curing, hence the BM working overtime. The orginal display was also not looking at it's best for the same reason I'm guessing.
The plan for the new tank is too house mainly LPS corals ranging from all the Euphillia species to brains, doughnuts and all of our other favourites.
Don't worry guy's we will be revisting this system in a few months time so that we can track the progress.

Anyway back to the original tank that we were drawn too.
Lighting is provided by 3 x 150 W Metal Halides in conventional lamp holders, driven off magnetic ballasts.
Some supplemental lighting is provided by T5's. The lighting is suspended above the tank on a wooden beam. The cabinetry was all DIY'd by Papu himself out of plywood.

Bursa Trigger

Another reason why we think Papu get's away with this are the religeous weekly water changes using synthetic salt. IMO there is no better method of nutrient removal and addition of certain trace elements that are depleted from our systems.

Papu hasn't done any testing on the system so we don't know what the parameters are but Alan is encouraging him to get some test kits to check ALK and CA levels. There is a concern that with the big increase in water volume that his current CA reactor won't keep up with the demand when additional coarls start being added.


Beautiful Bi-Colour Angel


That's all for now folks. I will add more pics at a later stage and try to answer any questions you might have regarding this system.
I will let you guy's know what the total system volume for the 2 tanks combined is tomorrow. Should be in the region of 1700 litres.
Can someone also please ID the Trigger in the last photo. My intial thoughts were that it was a Picasso Trigger but the black marking on the belly has confused me a bit hence me calling it a Bursa. Can the trigger fundi's please confirm ;)
Scaley character, but good guess!!!

Can someone also please ID the Trigger in the last photo. My intial thoughts were that it was a Picasso Trigger but the black marking on the belly has confused me a bit hence me calling it a Bursa. Can the trigger fundi's please confirm ;)

Hey Anthony, good to see Papu's efforts sofar. :)

MASA will try to assist him no doubt, in attaining "Dual citizenship on 1 Sump Passport":whoohoo:

"picasso" is SUCH a catch-all moniker, referring to easily a half-dozen others BESIDES Rhinecanthus aculeatus

USUALLY "bursa trigger" may be associated with Sufflamen bursa.
ANOTHER FISH, but a close enough relative.

Papu has Rhinecanthus berrucosa, ALSO referred to as "bursa trigger" in various hobby/trade circles.

Have you been looking at stateside references? LOL

BlackPatch or BlackBelly Trigger are more appropriate common names.

It bears more than a close passing similarity, to the prized TRUE HalfMoon trigger from Pacific rim (worth ~5000ZAR)

BTW, ONE interesting AND entertaining factoid:
Humuhumu nukunuku apua'a is THE Picasso's native Hawaiian name, it means
"water pig with a needle"

Although, IN Hawaii the name, is MUUUUCH LONGERRRRR

i have always said this was possible.................infact had begun this quest myself as the clown trigger is my favourite species...............but was drawn away from completing this by a host of reefers who insited it was not possible.............of course alot of factors come into play here.....feeding patterns for one and fish temprament another.....
i am super stoked to have seen this succes.....well done papu..............
looks stunning, neva thought it could b done, well we learn every day
Tnx DR!!
Very interesting combo, lovely to see adventurous people pushing the limits, and succeding.

Just a warning to those who plan to. Before adding a potentially "problematic to the system" fish make sure you know how you're going to get it out if it starts to eat everything
Just a warning to those who plan to. Before adding a potentially "problematic to the system" fish make sure you know how you're going to get it out if it starts to eat everything

Good point Rob and a valid warning, as with anything in life there is a certain element of luck that comes into play in almost any situation. Generally advice given in this hobby is based on what will happen in the majority of situations and hard lessons are often avoided by following such advice.

Another point I should mention is that Papu runs his business from home so he is able to spend a lot more time with his system and keep an eye on potential problems that may arise.
Inspiring, Marco I agree with you.. LOL how many on this site would have told him he is bonkers... I dunno about luck, otherwise he is one of the luckiest reefkeepers I know. Crumbs, no test kits !!

WOW ! that is some collection of fish.. my 2 faves are in there, the regal and majestic angel, 2 fish that will end up in my tank one day !

Forget the fish co-habitability:001_huh: factor (which is amazing)... but what truly is amazing...is that this system has not yet reached critical mass and melt down. Heavy weight skimming must and can be the only reason. Papu you have the courage of ten tigers. Well Done:045:
This is a system that certainly creats alot of conversation, cant wait to see the new section up and running.
u see nething is possibile even the immpossibile so who are we to say
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