Greetings from Russia! Honestly, I was not ready to receive an offer from [email protected] to present my reef in the Reef of Month nomination cause there are lots of beautiful reef systems besides mine.
Some words about me... My Name is Vitaliy, I am 50 years old. I was born and live in Moscow. I travel a lot, but last year's COVID pandemic destroyed my travel plans. My hobbies are hunting, fishing, aikido and knife fighting at a young age. Currently my hobbies are Ashtanga vinyasa yoga and actually aquaristics.
I fell into aquaristics when I learned to walk, and in 7 years I had gold fishes and guppies, which we were collecting from water treatment plants. I kept cichlids, discus fishes, planted tanks, but I finally started reef keeping in 2008 and I fell over with it.
I was immediately attracted by corals, but fishes remain as a necessary component of the reef. I’ve started with LPS and SPS from the very beginning. In my first steps, I lost LPS some times, but I found that I have a mutual language with SPS and I understand them very well. I tried a lot of different ways and manufacturers until 2015, when I established my easy reef keeping method which I would gladly share.
Let’s Talk About the System!
My tank is custom built with dimensions 110x50x55 and is made from 12mm OptiWhite glass without any braces.
My sump has 4 compartments.
- Filter socks with a removable shelf. I use them sometimes when I clean the display tank glass or rocks.
- Skimmer compartment. I use a Mini Bubble King 180 protein skimmer.
- Live rocks
- Sicce Syncra SDC 7.0 return pump used at 60% of power.
FLOW: I use 2 Maxspect Gyre XF-130 flow pumps on one common controller with different flow modes every hour during the day. First part of the day the flow is quite calm so LPS can show their polyps and enjoy it.
LIGHTING: The display tank is equipped with 4 Radion XR15 G5 blue light fixtures and 2 Kessil A160 light fixtures. I’ve created a custom lighting program with spectrums measured by Apogee MQ-510 PAR-meter. PAR level on the top part of the reef is 400-500, middle part around 350, and bottom part around 250. Light is on for 12 hours, peek lighting runs for 6 hours.
I do not have a top-off canister because I use an Osmosis Manager (https://www.aqualabtronix.com/osmosis-managment) directly connected to my RO system (Atoll A-575 with SPECTRAPURE SPECTRASELECT PLUS™ 99% 90-GPD RO MEMBRANE, MAX-CAP DI and SUPERDI SILICABUSTER DI).
There is a Schego titanium heater for temperature control and fans on a common controller. I keep my system at 24 degrees Celsius.
Dosing & Parameters
I use Tropic Marin® Original Balling for major elements supplement with GHL 2.1 doser. I want to switch to Tropic Marin CarboCalcium, but my Balling stock is quite large. Besides Balling I dose Tropic Marin microelements A-Elements and K-Elements with another doser H2Ocean P4 Pro. I use a magnetic stirrer in microelement canisters.
I keep the following parameters:
- pH 8.2 during the day, 8 at night. The skimmer takes air from outside of the house.
- Salinity at 35 ppt.
- NO3 around 1 ppm.
- PO4 around 0.1 ppm.
- Calcium from 450 to 500 ppm.
- Magnesium from 1300 to 1500 ppm.
- KH around 7.7.
I use Tropic Marin Pro-Reef and Preis Aquaristik salt mixes. I do 1-2 water changes per week of 10%.
I’ve started my system on live rocks and will always use it until it is available. Once in 4-6 months I change 10% of live rocks in my sump with fresh rocks.
I run my display tank without sand, but in a new system I’ll use a thin layer of coral sand to get a more aesthetic view.
Currently I use only skimmer for nutrient export, but I used Tropic Marin NP-BACTO-BALANCE for several years. When nitrate disappears at all I use amino acids to supplement it. My strategy is that the main parameter in the tank is phosphate and I adjust all other parameters according to phosphate level.
My routine tank maintenance is:
- Enjoy the reef on a daily basis.
- Clean display tank glasses, skimmer cup and check KH level twice a week.
- Water change, NO3 and PO4 testing once a week.
- Refill Balling canisters once a month.
- Test Ca, Mg and send water for ICP-OES analysis once in 4-6 months.
Fishes and invertebrates in my aquarium:
- 5x Pseudanthias squamipinnis
- 5x Chromis caerulea
- 2x Synchiropus splendidus
- Chrysiptera parasema
- Demoiselle de Tabolt
- Zebrasoma flavescens
- Pterapogon kauderni
- Pseudocheilinus hexataenia
- Halichoeres melanurus
- Wetmorella albofasciata
- Synchiropus marmoratus
- Anthias inermis
- Stenopus hispidus
- Lysmata amboinensis
- Saron marmoratus
- Dolabrifera dolabrifera
- Mespilia globulus
- Diadema setosum
- Tripneustes gratilla
- Trochus snails
- Nassarius Distortus snails
Corals in my tank:
- Yellow Tips
- Spyro the dragon Acropora
- Blue Dreams Acropora
- Shortcake Acropora
- Walt Disney Acropora
- Fox Flame Acropora
- Pink floyd acropora
- BILL MURRAY
- Pink Lemonade Acropora
- Cherry bomb acropora
- Pink Cadillac Acropora
- Red Planet
- Orange Passion
- Rainbow Acropora
- Pearlberry Acropora
- Sunset acropora millepora
- Confetti Acropora
- Pantera Rosa
- Lemon sour milli
- Flaming Phoenix
- 10 variants of Acanthastrea of different colors
- three variants of Acanthastrea Bowerbanki
- 8 types of Euphyllia hammers
- 2 types of short polyps Torch Euphyllia
- Monty forest fires
- scourge bam
- mystic sunset
- reverse sunset
I use an automatic fish feeder which feeds fish with Aquaforest sinking pellets 3 times a day.
I feed some corals when I am at home with LPS food from Aquaforest. I feed targeted Acanthastrea only.
How do you deal with problems in the tank?
I never experienced serious problems in this system. There were some equipment failures which might have led to a full system crash, but I have 360-degree cameras and can observe both sump with all equipment and display tank. There are almost no power failures in Moscow, but I have an IceCap Backup battery which can supply power for circulation during 24 hours.
What is the best purchase you've made for your reef?
The best equipment I’ve ever purchased is an Osmosis Manager. It has worked for many years and simplified my tank’s maintenance.
Do you have any future plans?
My next reef is already under construction now. I am making a new system in my new apartment, comfortable for me and my reef keeping style. This system will be a little larger with 120x70x55 dimensions.
What advice would you give to other reefers?
What advice can I give? Discipline, coral observation, which will help to feel corals in the future. Despite many people saying that numbers do not matter, I think that reef like numbers and accuracy.
So this is my short story, you can always contact me if you have any questions. I want to thank all who like my small reef and separately thank [email protected] with all the Reef2Reef team for giving me the opportunity to show my system.
With best regards, Vitaliy.