EDITOR'S NOTE: The pics in this article were updated based on the member's build thread due to original photos posted in article being lost from server.
REEF SPOTLIGHT - January 2012
The Reef Aquarium of:
Scott Swanson aka "swannyson7"
You can also check out my tank build here on R2R:
I’d like to thank the entire R2R community for the opportunity to have my tank featured as this month’s Reef Spotlight. This is my first attempt at an SPS dominated reef and thus far has been pretty successful in it’s first 18 months. I hope you all enjoy my tank to the extent that I enjoy looking at it daily!
How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been keeping freshwater fish since I was young, starting with goldfish and graduating to tropical and cichlid tanks in the early 90s. I first dove into saltwater in 1997 with a FOWLR and at the advice of one of my Army buddies, started my first reef tank in 2003.
Who or what was responsible for getting you into the hobby?
My friend Gabe (Gar732) was the one that first gave me the reef bug. We set up a 20g tank in the barracks at West Point with a few damsels to fulfill our addiction. After visiting a few LFS in the area, we started talking about reef tanks, which he had kept in the past. He set me up with my first protein skimmer, a CF fixture, and the know-how to get my first reef tank started.
Who or what in the hobby most influences/inspires you?
The tanks of a few locals such as Scott Cato & Keith Berkelhamer provided the inspiration to dive into SPS keeping, and I haven’t looked back…
What are your future plans for improvement/upgrade of the tank?
Once I move into a larger house, I’d like to set up a 300g DD with a fish room in the basement, but unfortunately my current house doesn’t have the space to permit such a large tank.
Any Final thoughts?
Aquaculture is the wave of the future! It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the survival of the world’s reefs for generations to come. As reef hobbyists, we hold a pinnacle role in educating the masses regarding sustainable practices within the industry and we have the power to ensure that livestock is collected in a humane manner.
Display tank: 180 gallon AGA tank with corner overflows. 72”L X 24”W X 24”H
Glass or Acrylic: Glass
Stand: I built the stand to allow extra height within the stand, adequate access to every area of the stand , and incorporated slide-out tables to use while working in the tank.
Sump: 55 gallon standard tank with a built in 15 gallon refugium.
Protein Skimmer: Octopus Extreme 200 with the pump upgraded to a Bubble Blaster 3000.
Carbon/phosphate filtration: (2) TLF Phosban reactors running carbon & Rowaphos and a TLF 550 with 1L WM Ecobak. All reactors are fed by a Quiet One 4000 pump off of a manifold.
Return Pump: Quiet One 6000
Water circulation: (2) Vortech MP40w ES and (2) Vortech MP10w ES.
Lighting: (3) Reef Filtration Gen2 150w LED fixtures and a Nova Extreme Pro (8x39w) T5HO 72” fixture. In the NEP, I’m currently using six ATI Blue+, two ATI Purple+, two ATI AquaBlue Special, and two UVL Superactinic. The UVLs and two of the Blue+ are used for the dawn/dusk cycle, while the remaining bulbs are used for a full noon effect.
Calcium/alkalinity/magnesium dosing: For the first year of the tank, I was using BRS 3-part via BRS dosing pumps. At the one year mark, my Ca/Alk demand was becoming excessive, so I switched to a Korallin 3002 calcium reactor with an Aquarium Plants regulator. I’m currently using Carribsea Course media along with Brightwell’s NeoMag to aid in Magnesium demand. I also top off through a TLF kalk reactor to help maintain stable Ca/Alk, but it is only used when the lights are off in an attempt to stabilize pH.
Auto top-off: ATO is set up using multiple float switches for redundancy and it’s run through a breakout box on my Apex. During daylight hours, RO water is added, but when the lights are off, the ATO is pumped through a TLF kalk reactor.
Heating/cooling: The system uses two 300w Finnex titanium heaters. They have external thermostats with temperature probes, but are hooked up to my Apex for redundancy.
System control: Neptune Apex with two EB8’s, a breakout box, a pH probe, & a Temperature probe.
Water Circulation and Flow Summary and Objectives
Circulation is provided by two MP40w’s and two MP10w’s. The MP40s are run in antisync Reefcrest mode, while the MP10s are run independently in Reefcrest mode. The return lines split to two Locline outlets each, and I’m using a mix of penductors and flare nozzles to help increase flow. I’ve toyed with the idea of adding a closed loop as the SPS colonies grow out a bit, but for now, I’m undecided.
* Temp: 78-81F via Apex
* pH: 8.3-8.6 via Apex
* Specific gravity: 1.026 via Refractometer
* NO3: Undetectable via Salifert
* Ca: 460 via Salifert
* Alk: 8.1 dKH via hanna calorimeter
* Mg: 1350 via Salifert & Red Sea Pro
* PO4: 0 via Hanna Calorimeter
* Ammonia and nitrites: Undetectable via Salifert
6:30 AM: Actinic T5s ON
6:40 AM: Moonlights OFF
8:00 AM: LEDs ON
11:45 AM: Daylight T5s ON
2:15 PM: Daylight T5s OFF
5:00 PM: LEDs OFF
6:50 PM: Moonlights ON
7:00 PM: Actinics OFF
Filtration and Water Quality Summary and Objectives
My drain lines filter through two 200 micron felt filter socks, and one of the train lines has an outlet off of it to feed water into my refugium. The refugium has a DSB, LR rubble, and a ball of chaetomorpha with a MiniMag pump for circulation. For skimming, I use an Octopus Extreme 200 driven by a Bubble Blaster 3000 pump, but in time I'll be trying out a Bubble Magus BM180 that I won in "The Great Forum Giveaway" last year. I run one liter of WM Ecobak in a TLF 550, 4 cups of Rox 0.8 GAC in a TLF 150, and 3 cups of Rowaphos in another TLF 150. Carbon is swapped out monthly and Rowaphos is swapped out bimonthly.
Tank Inhabitants - Fish
(7) Green Chromis (Chromis viridis)
Melanarus Wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus)
Filamented Flasher Wrasse (Paracheilinus filamentosus)
Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus)
Pink Spotted Goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus)
Green Mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus)
Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens)
Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)
Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea)
(2) Dragonface Pipefish (Corythoichthys sp.)
Regal Angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus)
Lamarck's Angelfish (Genicanthus lamarck)
Ruby Headed Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus sp.)
(2) Bangaii Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)
Convict Tang (Acanthurus triostegus)
Mystery Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus ocellatus)
Percula Clown (Amphiprion percula)
Frag Tank Inhabitants - Fish
(2) Black Ice Clowns (Amphiprion percula)
(2) Chalk Bass (Serranus tortugarum)
Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia)
Tank Inhabitants - Other Invertebrates
Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni complex)
Marbled Fromia Starfish (Fromia sp.)
Maxima Clam (Tridacna maxima)
Crocea Clam (Tridacna crocea)
Derasa Clam (Tridacna derasa)
RBTA (Entacmea quadricolor)
GBTA (Entacmea quadricolor)
Maxi-mini carpet anemone
Coco Worm (Protula bispiralis)
Feather Duster (Sabellastarte sp.)
Various snails & hermit crabs
Tank Inhabitants— Corals
Various other UID Acropora sp. & Montipora sp.
And here are a few macro pics:
Fish and Coral Feeding
The fish are fed several times per day, primarily with a mix of Prime Reef flakes, home-made fish food, and spectrum pellets. I feed fresh nori every other day and I add freshly hatched baby brine shrimp to the tank once per week. Periodically, I’ll also feed the fish with various frozen foods such as brine, cyclopeeze, formula 2, or fresh oyster meat. I target feed my LPS once per week with Fauna Marin LPS pellets and for the SPS, I dose Brightwells CoralAmino and Lugol’s (For blue/purple coloration) daily. I also occaisionally broadcast feed Oyster Feast, coral frenzy, or Reef Roids for the benefit of the corals.
I'd like to thank the entire R2R community for allowing me to share my tank and most importantly, my wife for putting up with my addiction. After many years in the hobby, I've been through several ups & downs, learning a lot along the way. Every day in the hobby teaches me something new and I hope to continue learning for many years to come!