Hi to all of you, Reef2Reefers! First of all, I am unbelievably honored to have my tank picked as Reef of the Month! It is humbling to be selected and included among all of those great and out-of-this-world setups that have been featured as Reef of the Month before me!
A little about me: I am 34 years old, and I live in a town near Amsterdam, Holland. I have four children, a true reefer in crime as a partner, and a goofy husky named Tikaani. I work as a counselor with (profoundly) gifted children.
We currently have a 132-gallon tank and a 50-gallon tank. The 132-gallon tank hasn’t seen a water change since the start of the tank 4.5 years ago. This tank has seen multiple rescapes, but the foundation, the reef pillar on the right, has stayed the same. We did actually add some reefbones to the pillar after yet another rescape and after our yearly coral-trim-session. So, everything has room again to grow out into colonies. Of course, we lost some corals over the years, and a fish or two. but we haven’t dealt with any major problems so far (knocking on wood real hard). And when we feel like we are cruising, there is always a parameter out of check to keep us sharp again. Some of you might know me from Instagram (@reefer_punk), where I post photos and videos of our tanks and of course, even better: photos with Tikaani in front of the tank, he is the true star!
System Profile Questions
- Display tank: Aquaja Diamond 120x60x60 cm (47.25”x 23.6”x23.6”)
- Glass or Acrylic: Optic White Glass
- Stand: Aluminum frame 85cm (33.5”) height and 160cm (63”) height in total with the display
- Sump: 80x40x40 cm (31.5”x15.75”x15.75”) Glass
- Protein skimmer: Tunze doc 9410
- Return pump: Jecod DCP 10.000
- Water circulation: 2x Maxspect Gyre 330 and 2x Jebao OW40
- Lighting (display): Aquaticlife hybrid with 4x T5 and 2x GHL Mitras LX7006 units
- Calcium/alkalinity/magnesium dosing equipment: GHL Stand Alone doser and GHL slave doser (second slave still needs to be installed)
- Auto top-off: Aquamedic ATO
- Heating/cooling: Grotech Cool Breez 8 fan (only during the summer)
- System control: GHL KH-director, GHL Profilux and powerbar
- Any other details: The light fixture is hanging on a homemade system with a tubular motor from an old roller shutter that lifts it up and down.
- Powerfilter: Tunze Silence pump 1073.020
- Temp: 25°C (77°F)
- pH: 7.8-8.2
- Salinity: 33
- NO3: 1
- Ca: 420
- Alk: 8
- Mg: 1250
- PO4: 0.04
What salt mix do you use? (Feel free to add why you choose this one.)
We are using DSR (Dutch Synthetic Reefing). The tank has been running over 4 years now without water changes.
What kind of rock did you start with? (live, dry, combination)
The starting rocks were live rocks in combination with a ceramic reef pillar and old rocks out of a 130-liter aquarium. In the past years, most of the rock was changed out with dry rock when we rescaped the reef multiple times.
What is your substrate?
Substrate: Carib Sea special grade reef live sand 1-2mm
What and how do you dose for the big 3 (alk/cal/mag) and are you dosing anything else for your reef health (carbon dosing, aminos, etc.)?
Dosing method: DSR EZ
Ez Carbon 1 ml per day to feed the bacteria
Ez Buffer 168 ml per day to keep kh at 8 (2.34 dkh/d)
Ez Calcium 42 ml per day (18.55ppm/d)
Ez Trace 20 ml per day
DSR Iodine 1 ml per day (0.01ppm/d)
DSR Po4+ 2 ml per day (0.05ppm/d)
DSR 2xNo3+ 4 ml per day (1.16ppm/d)
- Display tank:
- Sump (frag rack):
What is your export strategy?
Use a large enough skimmer, take a good look at the fish population (don’t overstock) and don’t feed your fish too heavily. We also use a powerfilter with some filter floss that helps with getting the detritus out.
What is your maintenance routine?
Daily: Feed the fishes, clean the glass, and manually dose NO3+ and PO4+
Weekly: Two times per week, we change the filter floss on the powerfilter
Yearly: Clip the large colonies down to smaller ones, so they won’t suffocate and so that the flow in the tank will be better again.
Tank Inhabitants—Fish: (Please List)
- Zebrasoma flavescens (yellow tang)
- Zebrasoma xanthurum (purple tang)
- Zebrasoma scopas (scopas tang)
- Pair of Synchiropus splendidus (mandarin dragonet)
- Pair of Amphiprion ocellaris (clownfish)
- Valenciennea puellaris (diamond goby)
- Cryptocentrus cinctus (yellow prawn goby)
- Halichoeres Melanurus (melanurus wrasse)
- Halichoeres Chrysus (lemon wrasse)
- Doryrhamphus excisus (bluestripe pipefish)
- 3 Pseudanthias squamipinnis (Anthias)
- Zebrasoma Velifer (sailfin tang)
- Stenopus Hispidus (banded shrimp)
- Lysmata Wurdemanni (peppermint shrimp)
- Archaster Typicus (sand sifting sea star)
- Maretia Planulata (urchin)
- Mespilia Globulus (urchin)
- Alpheus Armatus (pistol shrimp)
- Mithraculus sculptus (Mithrax Crab)
- Ciliopagurus strigatus (Halloween hermit crab)
- A variety of snails: turbo fluctuosa,Cerithium Litteratum, Nassarius Vibex, Trochus Histrio, Pusiostoma Mendicaria
- Around 70 different kinds of zoanthus and palythoa
- Acropora Microclados (strawberry shortcake)
- Acropora Tenuis (Walt Disney)
- Anacropora (slimeball)
- Stylophora Pistilla (green, bicolor, tricolor, milka, white, tonga)
- Montipora Digitata (forest fire red and pink; silver, green)
- Montipora Hirsuta
- Montipora plates (grafted orange/green, orange, green, purple)
- Montipora Palawanensis (neon green, purple/orange)
- Montipora Tuberculosa (rainbow encrusting)
- Euphyllia Paraancora (orange, purple/green)
- Euphyllia Ancora (multicolor, green, gold)
- Euphyllia Divisa (purple, green/purple)
- Ricordea Florida (rainbow, red, green)
- Caulastrea (neon green, blue, two color)
- Alveopora (brown/green, green)
- Goniopora (mint green, purple with blue heart)
- Duncanopsammia Axifuga
- Tubipora Musica
- Acropora Valida (bicolor, tricolor)
- Acropora Grizzly
- Acropora Formosa (red, green)
- Pocillopora Damicornis
- Acropora Millepora (pink)
- Seriatopora Caliendrum (green, tricolor, mint, purple)
- Rhodactis (purple bullseye)
- Blastomussa Wellsi (purple/green)
- Acropora Humilis (neon green)
Fish and Coral Feeding:
Boerlage frozen mysis, shrimp mix (Dutch brand) Aquaforest liquid Artemia, Mysis and Veggie mix, AF dry pellets. On the 132-gallon tank we do not feed the corals separately.
How did you decide what to keep in your tank?
We tried to find a balance between stone SPS and the movement of LPS. The one thing we instantly fell in love with are zoanthids and palythoas
Any stocking regrets?
After three years of moving the colonies out of the tank, there is still some pocillopora growing in the tank. Another regret is the discosoma superman shrooms that are popping out everywhere.
Any fish, invert, or coral you will NEVER keep?
The Lo Vulpinus (foxface) is a fish that neither of us find very charming. Also, anemones (like the bubble tip) are a species we are very hesitant about. Those should get a designated tank.
What do you love most about the hobby?
I love the fact that this hobby is so diverse, I love the fact that it still challenges me and that I still discover new things and animals. A definite plus is that the community is awesome both locally and globally. There are so many people that are always willing to help, to encourage, and maybe that is an even more important part of the hobby.
How long have you been doing this?
For 6 and a half years
Who was responsible for getting you into the hobby?
I gave my partner his first saltwater tank (a RSM130) 6 and a half years ago for his birthday. We both had lots of experience with freshwater (Malawi Cichlids). Very soon we started to do research together and found ourselves debating proper strategies, parameters, troubles etc. My partner does most of the maintenance in the display. Feeding, cleaning the glass, testing the parameters, refilling dosing containers, and rescuing corals are a joined effort. For the last two years, I have a small tank for myself, so the 132-gallon is for us both, and the smaller one is for me (I played that well didn’t I? )
Here's a photo of the 50-gallon reef:Who or what in the hobby most influences/inspires you?
What inspires me the most is the resilience that corals show. Even corals that look bleached and dead for many months can come back to life. That strength is something I want to show myself in life and teach to my children.
Who inspires me the most in the hobby is @Cat Welland (IG: @takeabreakhaveakitcat) for her awesome clam and always being helpful, upfront and honest, not only for what she has gone through in the hobby, but also on a personal note. Other people I find inspiring are Ian Cosford (IG: @iansreef) for his unbelievable zoa garden and his ability to never give up—I can’t name another person who keeps on trying to succeed with a certain species and never gives up on that. And Tommy (IG: @tommy-ng1981) who has a beautiful NPS tank which made me decide that one day I want a NPS tank too!
If you could have any tank, what size would it be and why?
I think that would be a 300x80x45 cm (118”x31.5”x17.8”) shallow reef tank. I love the stretched look and a shallow tank means that I can do maintenance myself a little better (I am short. ). The shallow would have a waterfall or volcano with some beautiful epiphytes Orchids (with air roots) and also the mangroves from the other tank.
Mandarin Dragonet without a doubt
Did the 70 different kinds of zoas/palys give that away?
The banded shrimp. He cracks me up every time when he comes out all mighty and powerful, but always is the last one to catch the food (and always misses in an attempt to catch a fish).
How do you typically get over setbacks?
I just talk it through with my partner or with friends within the hobby reflecting on what I or we can do differently next time so it won’t happen again.
Have you faced any major challenges with this particular tank, and if so, how did you overcome?
I don’t think we’ve faced anything major. Every spring there is some red cyano which we siphon out with a layer of substrate. We wash it, add some bacteria into the substrate, and put it back in the tank. The water we siphon out (we always work together on this), we bring back to the tank via a filter sock since we don’t do water changes.
What's the best thing you ever bought for your tank?
The best thing we got (sponsored, not bought) truly is the KH-Director. We’ve never had a more stable alkalinity. Since keeping it stable (swing of 0.2 max) our buffer consumption went up 4 times the previous number).
What are your future plans for improvement/upgrade of the tank?
Since the tank is getting older (we bought it used), we are saving up for an upgrade. That will be a smaller version (180cm) of my dream tank.
Any special tips for success or advice you'd like to share with other reefers?
Please be patient and learn to look at your corals. They will be better at telling you when something is up, more than chasing perfect parameters. I do not promote the use of chemicals when there is an issue in the tank; always look for a biological solution first. I do believe stability and thinking before you act are the keys to success.
Be yourself and reef that way. The greatest chance of really enjoying your reef and the hobby is understanding what you do, dose, change, and why you do that. Some in the hobby follow hype after hype, without doing the research and without the knowhow. That can cause a lot of trouble in your beautiful tank which isn’t necessary. You will grow together with your reef! <3