10000L Coral reef at The Maritime Museum & Aquarium Sweden

Sallstrom

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Hi everyone :)

Since I don't have any aquarium at home anymore I will write some about a reef tank at my work. I works as a marine biologist at Sjöfartsmuseet Akvariet, or The Maritime Museum & Aquarium in English, in Gothenburg Sweden. We are a small non profit public aquarium/museum. I am the curator of some of our tropical exhibits, the coral nerd to be more exact :)

Background

The tank was built in 1986 in concrete covered in plastic/epoxi with a large laminated glas window. The tank is 3,5m x 1,5m x 1,8m (lenght x width x depth).

When I started working at the Aquarium in 2009 the tank was a freshwater habitat with Swedish fish. Later we cleaned out the tank and built a background in plastic/epoxi. Not the best background, it was our first try, but it was cheaper than buying artificial rock. For two years we experimented with keeping swedish kelp in the tank, with mixed result(corals are much easier). After that experiment we decided to have a go on tropical corals. At this time we had a number of smaller reef tanks and a coral propagation setup behind the scenes and all theese tanks where getting crowded. And just like the kelp project, this reef tank would be a pilot study before we go into our coming rebuild of the whole Aquarium. We will close down the Aquarium in august 2018 and reopen in 2021. Our hopes is to have a really large reef tank when we open up the new Aquarium.

So that’s where we were in may of 2014. An empty 10000L tank with some lights and pumps left over from the kelp project.

The startup

We had five days from empting the tank until starting filling it up again with new saltwater. During theese days we started to scape with dry live rock. Since live rocks are expensive we were not able to cover all of the background from the start. Our thoughts was to get some rocks hanging on the background, with some help from PVC-pipes, and then get coralline algae to cover the rest of the background. It didn’t work out so well since we also added a bunch of sea urchins later and they keep the background nice and clean. So we’ve been adding more rocks whenever our budget allowed us to buy more.

We also attached two dry coral flatbed with PVC and covered the PVC with reef concrete.

We started to cure some of the dry live rock in freshwater, lowered the pH with CO2 and so on, but that was a bit too time consuming. So we decided to take care of the possible phosphate problem later instead. We used about 150kg of dry live rock from the start, and then we have been adding more. My guess is that it’s about 250kg rocks in the tank now.

On the bottom in front of the background we did a little wall of reef foam to get the sand to stay where we wanted. It’s about 150kg coral sand in the tank and the sand is only in front of the window where you can see the bottom.

We mixed reverse osmosis water with salt(Red Sea salt and Reef Crystal) in a mixing tank, 3000 liters at the time. Then pumped the mixed water to the tank. The idea was to get the old sand pressure filter running as soon as possible, and hopefully get some bacteria from the old sand we reused(silica sand). It took us five days to fill the tank because of our small reverse osmosis unit.. :)
Background 1.png

My colleague Jörgen who was working with me 2014.

Background 2.png

I reuse some slides from a talk I did this spring :)
LSS startup.png


The system at startup 2014:
We started the tank with almost the same technique as was used to the kelp project. Return pump is a pool pump at 6500L/h. A small sand pressure filter at 6500L/h. Two Tunze Masterstream for circulation(2 x 150000L/h). A KorallenZucht skimmer (L) and a calcium reactor from Schuran. The sump is a plastic box with the volume of 500 liters. Heaters are two 500W Titan heaters controlled by GHL profilux aquarium computers.

And since I like to have macroalgae somewhere in a reef tank system we connected a 500L tank as a refugium/algae filter.

The system today:
We have upgraded the calcium reactor to a Deltec 1370. We have 2 extra Jebao RW20 in the tank for extra movement in the surface. We also have connected our coral propagation systems, 800 and 1000 liters, to this system. And some cuttlefish tanks as well. We breed Sepia bandensis. So it's a lot in one system :) Yes, and we put in an extra skimmer. And a lot more light, but I will come to that later.
LSS today.jpg




Here are some numbers! :D

Equipment list and tank volumes:

Aquarium

Display 10000L

Sump 500L

Propagation tanks 800L & 1000L

Cuttlefish tanks 500L

Algae refugium 200L

Skimmers: 1 Deltec SC3070 and 1 Korallenzucht L

Calciumreactor Deltec 1370

Flow in display

Tunze Masterstream 150 x 2

Jebao RW20 x 2

Returnpump

Aqua medic poolpump - 7000L/h

Sand pressure filter – display tank 7000L/h

Controller

Profilux GHL aquarium computer

Phosphate reactor - Deltec 40L

Display lights

3 x 1000W Metal halide – BLV 14000K

2 x 400W Metal halide – Reeflux 14000K

3 x 150W Ceramic metal halide – Solljus

1 x 600W LED – Heliospectra LX602
Lights .jpg


Okey. That was some kind of an introduction. A lot of boring numbers and filters. Now I will go trough some old pics and share the progression of the tank, from may 2014 until today! Stay tuned :)

/ David
 
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Sallstrom

Sallstrom

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Okey! Here comes pictures from the start up until now :)

1.jpg

Like a moon landscape :)
2.jpg
Here we got some sand and some test corals in! And some beautiful diatom algae :D

3.jpg
Some more corals and some fish. I will post some more about the fish later.

4.jpg

Less diatoms, more corals :)
5.jpg

We got tired of seeing the white background so we filled up with more dry live rock.

6.jpg


7.jpg

At this point I mostly drink coffee and watch the corals grow.. ;)

8.jpg

More coffee

9.jpg


The BTA is speading...

10.jpg

Okey. That was all the pictures up to may 2017. Now I will search for some more newer pictures from some other angles.

/ David
 
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Sallstrom

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Todays redings :)
NO3 - 2 ppm
PO4 - 0,03 ppm
KH - 8,3 dKH
Sal - 34,7 ppt
Temp - 26-26,2 C
pH - 7,9-8,1

And it's time to send in another ICP test today!

We usually send in ICP test 6-8 times a year. The calcium reactor does most of the job keeping the parameters right, but sometimes we need to fill up some extra B, K, Sr etc. We dose Mn, Zn and Iodine everyday with dosingpumps.

Since we have an old sand pressure filter running on this system we need to backwash the filter 2 times a week. Therefore we need to replace some water since the backwash water isn't someting we want to reuse(we use LaCl sometimes to get the PO4 down, and this is filtered out by the sand filter). So with the backwashing it is about 7 % water change every month. We don't do any water changes more than that.
The media in the sand pressure filter is silica sand. We did have quite high Si the first 2 month but since then it's down to setpoint(Triton labs setpoint). We have discovered that if the silicia sand is in an anaerob water it will leak some Si, but if it's not it doesn't leak(or at least doesn't leak more then the organisms in the tank is taking up). We discovered this after we put the pump to another sand filter in the wrong socket and the pump was off every night :D

Have a great weekend!



/ David
 

JMMJ13902

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Wow, what a great work you guys have done. Hats off to all the marine biologists for spending their time and efforts doing research for good cause.

Thanks for sharing your beauty with us.
 
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Sallstrom

Sallstrom

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Wow, what a great work you guys have done. Hats off to all the marine biologists for spending their time and efforts doing research for good cause.

Thanks for sharing your beauty with us.
Thank you!
Glad to share our experiences and very glad to learn more from great forums like this :)
/ David
 
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Sallstrom

Sallstrom

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Stunning tank, love the rock work shelving on the walls worked out great! Definitely following along for more updates
Thank you! Let me know if there is any more info you are interested in. I worked with the tank since the start so I'm probably "home blind" as we say in Sweden :)

/ David
 
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Sallstrom

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Here are some pictures from this morning :)

IMG_3936.JPG
IMG_3935.JPG
IMG_3938.JPG
IMG_3944.JPG
IMG_3948.JPG


The new favourites on the last pictures. We added two Yellow Spotted Filefish 6 month ago.
No, special diet added for them. They are allowed to eat coral polyps :)

/David
 

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David if my math are ok , for circulation you have less than X10 total lt and for lighting less than 0.5 W/Lt, when what people being advised for sps keeping, is for x50 total lt for circulation, and >1w/Lt if no leds are being used......but yours are thriving!!!! Any comments about those common advices that you didn't follow, but your sps are more than happy, will be very interesting :)
 
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Sallstrom

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David if my math are ok , for circulation you have less than X10 total lt and for lighting less than 0.5 W/Lt, when what people being advised for sps keeping, is for x50 total lt for circulation, and >1w/Lt if no leds are being used......but yours are thriving!!!! Any comments about those common advices that you didn't follow, but your sps are more than happy, will be very interesting :)
Sure, there are some things in this system that doesn't follow the common "rules". I can write about three of them now :)

Flow - I use my eyes rather then count l/h :)
In this tank it's different zones of light and flow. At the surface there is a lot of light(PAR at 600) and a lot of flow. Halfway down it's als0 pretty much light(PAR 250-450) and a lot of flow(the two large streampumps sits at this depth). At the bottom there is lower light(PAR 100-200) and lower flow. I my opinion light and flow needs to be adjusted to fit together. That is why we put two extra Jebao Streampumps close to the surface where we thought the flow were to low compared to the light.
Also maybe 1/4 of the tank water is behind the background. In this area the flow is low. Our sand filter outlet is into this area, but no other circulation. I guess this area is some kind of cryptic zone, but we don't have any possibility to see into that area so I don't know :)

Light - Me meassure PAR and try to get enough PAR all the way down to the bottom to grow stony corals. Right now they do grow, even if the growth is a lot better closer to the surface then near the bottom. I'm not totally happy with our lights, but lights are expensive(eg LED) and our budget is not that big :) I will post our latest PAR readings as soon as I find them.

Turn around rate/return pump - It's only about 6000 l/h from the sump to the tank. Why is that? Well, we used a pump we had instead of buying a new one. That is also a "rule" I think is overrated that you need X liter/h turn around rate, sump - tank.

This tank wasn't built to host a coral reef from the beginning, we had to adapt things to get it to work. And we have taken some chances along the way and we have had luck so far :)

/ David
 
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Here are some PAR readings from April this year. It's the same light setup as now. The PAR is meassured with a Apogee MQ-200 PAR-meter, so it's just approximate numbers. The readings on the picture is taken at the corals/rocks, not out in the water coloumn(if you understand what I mean? :) )
PAR april 2017.jpg
 
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