Finally showcasing my SPS monster... 1300 gallon display... 2000 gallon system... and many past displays

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I did the same thing on the 1300… which was a bit more complicated… lighting over the 1300 includes six 400 watt 14K Ushio metal halides, five Ecotech Radion Gen3 Pros (with just the blue and red channels run), and six 140 watt VHO actinics… for a grand total of (said like Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) 4040 watts of light over the 1300 gallon… with the halides over the frag tanks and mixed reef I’m over 6000 watts… not including the refugium and other LEDs throughout…

Curtains down keeping fish and light in…



Curtains up…



I had the tank made with two braces, nicely breaking it up into thirds… here are lights being slid out of the way on the first third…





 
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And finally onto some full tank shots… these were from January of 2014 after water had been in the system a few months. We kept our old house for a few months that housed my other system shown above… before and after work for months I went to the old house to take care of my systems there, while I built these systems and got them going in the new house… it was a Herculean task I was able to accomplish with both my passion, and the help of my local friend Adam Dilks. Thanks Adam!

Here’s the 1300… with the wide side view… 8.5’ wide here… and six feet from front to back…



My favorite view… 8.5 feet from front to back and six feet wide…



And the view from the corner showing both sides…

 
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By February of 2014 after the system had water in it a few months I began moving some of my fish and corals over from the old house…



I soon had everything moved over from the old house… I broke those systems down and we sold that house… every coral in the 1300 came from my old 180 gallon…

Side view from the summer of 2014…



And the front view…



Nothing says South Pacific reef like a group of anthias…

 
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Again I cannot explain the amount of effort that went into this... I glued every pipe... placed every rock... mounted every coral... it's a bit frightening sometimes to see the world I've created and realize I'm in charge of it. I've planned my forever system since I was a kid... and it's nice finally having it... along with our forever house... knowing that whatever you do you will be able to ideally enjoy it for years to come. After things settled down with the system I had a theater put in not far from the tank… the pillars in the theater have the same stone I used near the aquariums…





My four grandparents were Italian, and it took some convincing the wife, but I added many Italian elements into the space... including a looong slab of Italian marble with a waterfall edge that's natural and contemprary... just the way my wife and I like it... and gray is my favorite color...

 
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Here you can see the tank in relation to the theater... disregard the 1300 as it's completely washed out in this shot, but you get the idea...





Water has been my life since I was a child... I grew up in Northern New Jersey on an island on a lake... we water skied and fished when the lake wasn't frozen... including barefooting... my older brother was the New Jersey State barefoot champion in 1987... and in the winter we played ice hockey... I played Tier 1 mite through midget and went on to play Junior hockey for the Washington Junior Capitals... I also grew up snow skiing in the winter and ski raced for my high school team... and of course I love the ocean and diving... so, we tried to tie water into the theme without going to overboard... another Italian element is the Italian tile we used underneath shaped like with waves...

 
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Even the sconces for the theater were wave inspired... :)





And this is what happens when you have a hard core reefer do theater lighting... I won't show the 50,000 possible color combinations... but you get the idea... my daughter loves turning it pink when she has all of her friends over... :celeb1:





But when I have my reefing buddies over of course our favorite is... turning on the actinics... :fun4:

 
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Back to the gigas clam... I'd been planning this system in my head for decades... there were constants in the planning... must haves for years that I planned... a large group of anthias... a bunch of angelfish... a magnifica anemone island... stands of Acropora everywhere... and a true giant clam... the gigas was acquired by my friend John in about 2006... he had in a tank just over 300 gallons and it was outgrowing it... fortunately I'm Clark Griswold and love to travel with the wife and kids... we're hitting all 50 states before they leave the nest. I had a road trip planned that included white water rafting in West Virginia, a visit to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, then onto Chicago... and on and on... we passed through Indianapolis and decided to stay a couple of days there, where John lives and had the clam. We visited him and I saw the clam... yada yada yada... he drove it out not long after.



The clam was growing like a root. After seeing the Tradacna gigas in Waikiki on a yearly basis grow I got a bit scared as I like to plan for the long term... the larger of the gigas the Waikiki Aquarium acquired in 1982 was five years old... born in 1977... same year as me... and back before we had kids in the early 2000s my wife would accompany me to Hawaii on every work trip I had there... at the time they were weighing the clams regularly... and my wife pointed out that the clams weight... 160... than 170... than 180... was pacing mine... she would jokingly tell me to not outpace the clam... fortunately I've slimmed down a bit now thanks to keto and lots of hockey… and the remaining clam is probably over 300 pounds... So, I wondered how large and how fast this thing was going to grow...



A few years ago I had James Fatheree over my house... who wrote the book on giant clams... it was the largest clam he'd ever seen in someone's house... one of the questions I had for him was when would this clam start spawning... and would my 1950 gallons of water be able to handle it. He said it would and for me not to worry... in retrospect... the clam had already been spawning... just lightly and I didn't realize it.



Then came Spring break... I had a thirteen day Griswold family vacation planned that included Las Vegas, NV Death Valley National Park in California, Hoover Dam, Zion National Park in Utah (AMAZING!), and the Grand Canyon and Sedona in Arizona. A few days before leaving I did two water changes back to back... on the second water change my 200 gallon water vat was probably in the 60s in terms of temperature... not really a big deal... except that it triggered something catastrophic in the gigas...
 
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The morning the day before we were flying out west for this trip I walked into the basement before taking my daughter to the bus stop as usual... the lights were off on the big system but as I walked by my eye caught something in the tank... it's amazing how you know the sites and sounds of your system so well... the tank was cloudy... I turned on the actinics and saw this through the side view... compared to the views above of my system... I couldn't see two feet into the tank...





I was speechless... but I had two things going for me to my benefit... one... I was home for the next thirty hours... and two... I knew this cloudiness was from a clam spawn and not cloudiness from death... at least not yet... My skimmer had gone nuts... my five gallon skimmer bucket was full... we all know what skimmate looks like... and what color... but this is what the bucket was... LOADED with clam sperm... and EGGS...





The water change I had done with colder water had triggered a massive spawn from the gigas... and initiated many of my other clams to spawn... I watched some in the 4" range shooting out eggs... but the amount of sperm the gigas put out I could not comprehend... IT HAD TURNED NEARLY 2000 GALLONS OF WATER INTO NEAR MILK!



I texted James Fatheree a pic... his response was "Cool!!!"... not cool to me :) I went to work wet skimming... and changing my filter socks... and had it nearly clear by the time we flew out the next day.
 
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I called up Joe Yaiullo at the Long Island Aquarium... a good friend and an inspiration for my system... he's a fellow NY Italian and he has that mix of technical and artistic traits required to have an amazing system... if you have not seen his 20,000 gallon reef you should plan to. He had been looking for a gigas clam and I had planned down the line to give this to him... but that spawn expedited it. I planned the trip and my father, myself, and my son drove this baby up... the clam was about 60 to 70 pounds... here's Joe receiving it... happy as a clam... notice the white ring of growth on this baby... the shell was almost 30 inches from tip to tip...





My son about to hand the clam to Joe... getting in the tank...





Joe almost fell over with it in the tank... it was funny because we got there after hours, and the facility was rented out by the fire department... all of these guys and gals dressed up... and there were wrestling a clam and guiding it into place...

 
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Always a great day at Joe's! Here's Joe, myself, my son and my father... a great trip... that's Bob Stark in the background... Co-owner at ESV and creator of B-ionic... he came out to the Island to meet us... asked me how much B-ionic I wanted... and I asked "how much can you fit in your car?" ... he rolled in with his bumper near dragging... his car was filled with buckets for me to take back to Virginia... thanks Bobby!





And a shot when we returned the next day... you can see it in the center... this is the left half of this 20,000 gallon incredible reef...





So... my lifelong goal of wanting a gigas in my giant reef is gone... been there... done that... I had no clue that this clam could have taken down my reef... you think 2000 gallons is a lot... but it's a drop in the bucket. I’m now sticking to my beautiful blue squamosas as the largest clams in the tank! :D
 
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Now, some shots of the 240 gallon... I've always kept a mixed reef... and wanted to keep a gigantea carpet anemone collection... and my Solomon island onyx percs that I've had forever... the female since 2001. As I mentioned above this tank is 5' x 3' x 25" high... and I set it up so that no plumbing is seen... not even the two Vortech MP40s that provide flow can be seen...



This system is down the hallway from the 1300 gallon...





And again the split screen at setup... and when it was finished...

 
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Also like a public aquarium I use a material called Kydex in my aquariums... this is a thin plastic that comes in many colors... I use black... and this allows me to hide all of the seams of the aquarium... and algae and everything to train your eye on the patch of reef... so that it looks like a reef... and not like an aquarium... this is what it looks like out of the tank...





When I'm on travel for a while and don't swap it out it gets overgrown with algae... like this...





But rather than scraping and scraping... I just swap in another piece of Kydex... I keep multiple sets, and clean them with muriatic acid to get all of the algae off and get them fully cleaned... look at the difference when a new set is swapped in... it takes minutes... forget algae scraping! Work smarter... not harder...

 
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