Reef Spotlight - November 2011 - "Acrotrdco"

I'm Howard, a 36 year old Canadian guy living in Hong Kong, married with no children yet and I work in the I.T. field. I live on the 21st floor...
  1. 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.

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    REEF SPOTLIGHT - November 2011
    The Reef Aquarium of:

    Howard Roy aka "Acrotrdco"


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    Introduction
    I'm Howard, a 36 year old Canadian guy living in Hong Kong, married with no children yet and I work in the I.T. field. I live on the 21st floor of a residential skyscraper, where like most residential apartments in Hong Kong, space is precious, so to make good use of every square inch I've got. I've set my tank on the window sill, making it part of my living room.​

    How long have you been doing this?
    I started keeping freshwater aquariums in 1996 during my college years, and later converted to a LPS reef tank in 1997, so that makes it 14 years already, although I did leave the hobby for about 8 years in between due to other commitments in real life. I actually minored in Oceanography because of this hobby.​

    Who or what was responsible for getting you into the hobby?
    I think it was either my sister or I.​

    Who or what in the hobby most influences/inspires you?
    The friendly staff at the LFS who taught me most of the beginner tricks when I started with my freshwater tank and they also inspired me to start keeping a reef tank.​

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    System Profile
    Display tank: Approximately 50 gallons. {40"(w) x 16"(d) x 20"(h)}
    Glass or Acrylic: PPG Starphire Glass
    Stand: Custom made wooden stand designed to fit over my window sill with a high gloss finish.
    Sump: Approximately 15 gallons. {28"(w) x 12"(d) x 14"(h)}
    Protein Skimmer: Bubble Magus BM-150 Pro
    Carbon/phosphate filtration: 2 reactors running Kent Marine GAC & PO4x4 and a Kent Marine reactor running NP Biopellets
    Return Pump: Newjet 3000.
    Water circulation: Two VortechMP10wES running anti-sync in Reef Crest Mode.
    Lighting: Four Maxspect Mazarra-P LED fixtures.
    Calcium/alkalinity dosing: Bubble Magus Dosing Pump with the 4 pump expansion (total of 7 dosing pumps).
    Auto top-off: Bubble Magus mechanical ATO.
    Heating/cooling: Teco TR15.
    System control: None​

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    Dosing
    - Alkalinity: Arm and Hammer baking soda; 60-100ml a day, depending on my KH.
    - Calcium: Kent Turbo Calcium; 60-100ml a day depending on my Ca.
    - Magnesium: Warner Marine Mg solution; 8-10ml a day, depending on my Mg.
    - Potassium: Aqua Craft K+; 8 ml a day.
    - Trace Elements: Seachem; 5 ml a day.
    - Strontium: Seachem; 4ml a day.
    - Bromine: KZ B-Balance; 2ml a day.​

    In addition, I'm also manually adding:
    - Iodide: Kent Tech-I; 1-2ml a week.
    - KZ Sponge Power: 2 drops daily.
    - KZ Stylo-Pocci-Glow: 2 drops daily.
    - KZ ZEOSpur2: 6-8ml once per month.
    - KZ ZEOBAK: 2 drops, 3-4 times per week.​

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    Water Circulation and Flow Summary and Objectives
    I didn't like the idea of running a short pulse wave mode, even though it looks cool. There will never be short pulse waves in nature, so I often run my twin MP10s on Reef Crest mode, because it simply works the best with anti-sync mode.​

    My objective is to create a random, yet alternating flow that cycles every 20-30 seconds, which mimics the current in the ocean and at the same time I try to create a very strong turbulence near the middle of my tank where it is needed the most.​

    Water Parameters:
    Temp
    : 80 F (25.6 C)
    pH: 7.9-8.2
    Specific gravity: 1.026 (35 ppt)
    NO3: Undetectable
    Ca: 440 ppm
    Alk: 7.0-7.8 dKH
    Mg: 1300
    PO4: 0.03
    Ammonia and nitrites: Undetectable​

    Lighting Summary and Objectives:
    With my new Mazarra-P, I'm now able to fully clone a photo-period profile I found online. However, I shifted it by a few hours so I get to spend more time watching my tank every evening after work.​

    I start my photo-period around 12:00 PM every day, slowly ramping up to its peak at 4:00 PM. It remains at the peak for 5 hours and then slowly dims down, finally turning off at 1:00 AM.
     
    Filtration and Water Quality Summary and Objectives:
    I had been using NP BioPellets since January 2010 with great success, so I have no plan to switch to another filtration method. I've also found that the bacteria grown from the bio pellets are also keeping my SPS's well fed (the PE at night is amazing), so I don't have to feed much, if any, coral food.​

    Tank Inhabitants - Fish:
    Sohal Surgeonfish (Acanthurus sohal)
    Tomini Surgeonfish (Ctenochaetus tominiensis)
    Spotted Surgeonfish (Ctenochaetus Strigosus)
    ScopasTang (Zebrasoma Scopas)
    Trio of Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis)
    Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus)​

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    Tank Inhabitants - Other Invertebrates:
    Pair of Pacific Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis)
    Turban Snails (Tegula funebralis)​

    Tank Inhabitants - Corals:
    Acanthastrea lordhowensis
    Acropora Millepora
    (3 specimens - orange-green, blue-green, and a tri-color pink-orange-green)
    Acropora nana
    Acropora valida
    Acropora efflorescens
    Acropora loripes
    Acropora granulosa
    Acropora clathrata
    Acropora nasuta
    Acropora selago
    Acropora tenuis
    Acropora loisetteae
    (2 specimens, green and blue)
    Acropora humilis
    Acropora aspera
    Acropora abrolhosensis
    Ricordea florida
    Stylophora pistillata
    (2 specimens - pink and pink with blue polyps)
    Montipora capitata
    Montipora capricornis
    (2 specimens - orange, green)
    Montipora floweri
    Montipora grisea
    Seriatopora hystrix
    Stylophora subseriata

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    Here are a few macros and close-up shots:

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    Fish and Coral Feeding:
    I feed my Anthias a few time each day with pellets to keep them well fed, and a cube of frozen brine shrimp every few days, which they share with my tangs (except the sohal).​

    For the tangs, I feed them with 1/4 a sheet of nori every day and every few days I pack the nori with flake and Kent Marine Zoe, to make sure they're getting the nutrient they need.​

    For corals, I rarely feed them to be honest. Occasionally, I feed them with Reef Pearls (maybe once every month) and once every week I also feed my Acans with pellet food, but that's it.​

    I think my Corals are getting their share of food from the bio pellet bacteria because I've had a small frag of leather coral growing underneath a piece of live rock. Originally it was just some tissue left behind when I removed a larger colony from that live rock, but it has grown into a quarter sized piece now, totally blocked of all light. Without photosynthesis I believe it was receiving its nutrient from feeding on bacteria alone.​


    Progression Photos:

    February 2011

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    March 2011

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    April 2011


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    September 2011

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    October 2011

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    What are your future plans for improvement/upgrade of the tank?
    With the limited space in my current apartment, it's not feasible to upgrade to a larger tank, so I'll stick with what I have right now. In terms of equipment, however, I've just made a recent upgrade to a set of Mazarra-P LED fixtures.​

    Any Final thoughts?
    It was an honor to be invited to share information on my tank with fellow reefers on Reef2Reef. One particular point I would like to bring up is that when I returned to the hobby back in 2009, I knew I was going to try a different approach when it comes to lighting, so you're witnessing one of the few SPS dominated tanks that has been kept under LED from day one.​

    Conclusion:
    I would like to share with everyone who's reading this article that the journey of reef-keeping is never a smooth one. It's a bumpy road with ups and downs, one challenge after another. In my case, I've experienced and combated several problems including bryopsis, cyanobacteria, Ca/KH spikes, and equipment failure. I overcame my bryopsis outbreak with high magnesium levels (1550) over several weeks but some of my corals didn't make it. I believe that the cyanobacteria outbreak was caused by using bio-pellets and it wasn't very severe, but it took me months to control and finally died off recently. After I gave away my huge poccilopora colony to friends, my Ca/KH spiked because that poccilopora alone suck up approx. 60ml of KH/Ca a day. I've also dealt with equipment failure & power outages as well as some unknown problems that have caused my corals to brown out, or even die, and I couldn't do anything about it but scratch my head, pondering.​

    One thing that has always worked out for me is perseverance and hard work, combined with an everlasting thirst of knowledge and willingness to try out new things. If people are telling you that "this isn't going to work" (you guys have no idea how many times I heard that when I started my new tank using all LED in 2009), don't listen to them, but to try it out for yourself. Take one small step at a time, and in time you can prove to all your buddies that you're right and they're wrong!​

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