January 2019 Reef of the Month: Michael J. Cuttone

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Seawitch submitted a new Article:

January 2019 Reef of the Month: Michael J. Cuttone

Drum Roll Please! We will be bringing back Reef of the Month starting right now.

It is with great pleasure and admiration that Reef2Reef awards Michael J. Cuttone from New York our Reef of the Month Award for January 2019. Mike's forum name is MJC, and his build thread can be found here.

Below you find out all kinds of information about Mike's tanks and overall system and some exquisite photos. You can read his comments and advice, and savor his humility. Congratulations, Mike.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Front of 140-gallon display tank.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Back of 140-gallon display tank.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Display tanks 1 and 2 tied together.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Corner view of display tank 1.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Description

MikeC's 325-gallon soft coral dominant system: 140-gallon soft coral display with a 75-gallon SPS display tied into one.

Display tanks: 140 gallon & 75 gallon

Glass or Acrylic: Glass

Stand: :DDIY

Sump: 75-gallon glass

Refugium: 12-gallon Mr Aqua chaeto/pod home and a 35-gallon conical settling tank.

Protein skimmer: SRO-XP-5000 cone.

Carbon/phosphate filtration: See below.

Return pump: Iwaki 30 for return

Water circulation: Closed loop run by a ReeFlo Dart.

Lighting (140gal display): ATI 8 bulb Powermodule Hybrid with 2 Reef Brites.

Lighting (75gal display): ATI 6 bulb Powermodule with Reef Brites.

Lighting (refugium): Led Grow Lights Bulb 24W, MARS HYDRO Full Spectrum Grow Lights for indoor E27.

View of sump under display tank #1 on left. Water maintenance room ahead.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Calcium/alkalinity/magnesium

Carbon reactor: Next Reef MR1

Dosing: Kalkwasser at night

Calcium reactor: GEO618 w/Peristaltic Dosing Pump.

Auto top-off: TUNZE Osmolator

Heating/cooling: 3 Eheim heaters/fan

System control: APEX

Any other details: SpectraPure MaxCap RO/DI System

Water Circulation and Flow Summary and Objectives:

Drilled for closed loop through a 6-way flow diverter. Two holes in the bottom, two in the back mid level & two are over the top in the back. The objective is to keep detritus moving.

Refugium in front and conical tank behind.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Water Parameters:

* Temp: 78

* pH: 7.9-8.12

* Specific gravity: 1.026

* NO3: 0

* Ca: 450

* Alk: 9.5 DKH

* Mg: 1500

* PO4: 0.05

* Ammonia and nitrites: n/a

Papa clove polyps, blue sponge trumpets, and zoa cluster.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Lighting Summary and Objectives:

Photoperiod

* 140-gallon soft coral tank: 10am-6pm ramp up and down one hour and Reef Brites for dusk and dawn.

* 75-gallon SPS tank: 1pm-8pm

* Refugium: 4pm-10am reverse cycle

Pink Pulsing Sinularia.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Filtration and Water Quality Summary and Objectives:

My maintenance consists of every 2-3 days glass cleaning (if my glass is cleaner for longer than that I know I need to feed more lol.) Every two weeks a 45-gallon (I don't like the term "Water Change") I prefer "detritus removal" which is IMO is a better goal to focus on than just replacing water.

I also have a conical settling tank that helps out a lot. This is where my main detritus settles and where I drain water from. The settling tank drains from the DT to this tank with a centrifugal flow so detritus settles to the bottom to be later drained. Detritus-free water rises to the top and overflows into the 75 gal sump to be skimmed, and then it goes back to the DT.

Two cups carbon also get replaced every two weeks. I use BRS PREMIUM ROX 0.8.

I also dose Kalk (Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime) at night to help with pH.

Starry Blenny hanging out on the Squamosa clam.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Tank Inhabitants—Fish:

Between both display tanks:
Atlantic Blue Tang
Starry Blenny
Yellow Banded Possum Wrasse
File Fish
2-Lawnmower Blenny
2-Red-Lined Wrasse
2-Clownfish
2-One Spot Foxface
2-Six line Wrasse
9-Azure Damselfish

Red Pom Pom Xenia swaying in the current.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Tank Inhabitants— Corals:

Giant red mushrooms
6 different kinds of Gonipora
Giant pom pom red Xenia
Neon green cabbage coral
Turquoise green Kenya tree
Green Sinularia
Neon green Sinularia
Purple Nephthea
Papaya clove polyps
Pulsing pink Sinularia
Yellow, red, and green finger coral
Yellow Fiji coral
Tracy Morgan gorgonian
Trumpet coral
Various mushrooms
Various zoanthids
Squamosa and Maxima clams
Orange plate coral
Green hairy mushrooms
4 different kinds of toadstools
Blue photosynthetic sponge
Yellow polyps
Coco worms
GSP
Sympodium
Grandis polyps
Giant Orange Ricordea
Leptastrea
Acans
2 flower anemone
Blasto Wellsi
Reverse Superman monti
Purple Monti
Sunset Monti
Satosa

Blue-green toadstool.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Fish and Coral Feeding:

DIY Blender Mush: I blend these separately in a cuisinart for proper texture of each and use fresh not frozen. Shrimp, clams, silver sides, and some kind of fresh fish. I try to stay away from bottom feeding fish like flounder. I then mix this in with AmericanReef HPD food, PE mysis, Reef Chili, Reef Nutrition Oyster Feast, Reef Nutrition R.O.E., and Nori.

Put it in a few large zip lock bags and freeze it. Every 2 days When I'm ready to to feed i break off a small amount and put it in a hair-color-application bottle I got new from my wife (she's a beautician) with RO water and keep it in the refrigerator. I feed multiple small amounts throughout the day.

Clownfish in front of thick finger leather.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Who was responsible for getting you into the hobby?


My neighbor owned a local Reef store. My Dad had Angels when I was a kid.

How long have you been doing this?

7th year

How did you start?

You need to be good at what you do to be successful. Also the little not regularly seen things fascinate me.

When did you start this current (featured) tank?

2013. Entering its 5th year.

Any good or bad surprises?

Good surprises. My Clams spawn a few times a year. That's always fun to watch.

What are your future plans for improvement/upgrade of the tank?

I would eventually like to go bigger but that would involve me moving to another house. I have always envisioned a 300-400 gal SOFTY TANK with great color and movement.

Any advice for others and especially beginners?

Yes, unfortunately, a lot of times it is not what they want to hear. IT TAKES TIME & PATIENCE and the time is a lot longer that some are willing to accept, until it passes. I was the same way.

Twelve-inch Squamosa clam.

Photo is courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.

Final Thoughts?

When looking for direction/advice I would look for a mature tank you like or want to emulate. IMO, someone who has the same tank for five years or longer. This is what I would consider the beginnings of becoming a mature reef tank. It is always best, if possible, to see their reef in person and talk to them face to face.

Sometimes photos on the internet are? Well, let's just say IMO, some people tend to distort reality to make others envious of a false reality. By doing it this way you have a better chance of honesty and finding out their trials and tribulations. I do believe you will have better chances of becoming successful.

I don't claim at all to be an expert, but do be wary, There seems to be way too many reefers on the internet these days regurgitating information they heard. Do your research, and don't believe every anecdotal thing you read or hear.

Take everything with a grain of salt (no pun intended).

Water quality, Flow, Lighting,

"KISS" (Keep it Siphoned and Skimmed.)


Happy Reefing ;)

~~~~~~~~~~~

We encourage all our readers to join the Reef2Reef forum. It’s easy to register, free, and reefkeeping is much easier and more fun in a community of fellow aquarists. We pride ourselves on a warm and family-friendly forum where everyone is welcome. You will also find lots of contests and giveaways with our sponsors.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

About the Aquarist: Michael J. Cuttone

Mike has been a reef aquarist for seven years and a member of Reef2Reef since 2012. His forum name is MJC.

He has a high-tech, Apex-managed, 325-gallon system and is the recipient of the Reef2Reef Reef of the Month Award for January 2019.
 
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andrewkw

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Congrats Mike! I have followed your reef for years both here and on youtube. It is certainly one of the premier soft coral systems out there and a well deserved honor for you and your tank. Have you always had the calcium reactor or was that an addition after the sps tank was plumbed in?

I'll also say I'm thrilled to see a reef of the month featured again. This is one of, if not the best feature of any reef forum. I hope this is something we can look forward to seeing for many months to come!
 
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SPR1968

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Yup, @andrewkw @PDR and @SPR1968 it's going to be a regular monthly feature now! Mike has some really spectacular photos, eh? My personal favorite is the Starry Blenny on the clam.


writinggiphy.gif
That’s excellent news as I really missed seeing these beautiful tanks, and it’s good to see how different systems run etc.
 

Greg Gdowski

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Wow! That is absolutely spectacular! Every time I see stuff like this it is extraordinarily humbling.

Could you add a picture of your conical induction tank wrt to where it is in the loop of your system? I can see it in the one picture (ie the top of it). I'm guessing it is the first stop between your tank and the sump? That said, it appears to be level with the sump. Does it need a pump to circulate? It doesn't look like you have filter socks -- is that true?

The photography is also fantastic. What did you use to take the pictures? Did you use any filters?
 

Greg Gdowski

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Wow! That is absolutely spectacular! Every time I see stuff like this it is extraordinarily humbling.

Could you add a picture of your conical induction tank wrt to where it is in the loop of your system? I can see it in the one picture (ie the top of it). I'm guessing it is the first stop between your tank and the sump? That said, it appears to be level with the sump. Does it need a pump to circulate? It doesn't look like you have filter socks -- is that true?

The photography is also fantastic. What did you use to take the pictures? Did you use any filters?

Just watched your video on your conical tank. Very helpful!
 

MJC

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Congrats Mike! I have followed your reef for years both here and on youtube. It is certainly one of the premier soft coral systems out there and a well deserved honor for you and your tank. Have you always had the calcium reactor or was that an addition after the sps tank was plumbed in?

I'll also say I'm thrilled to see a reef of the month featured again. This is one of, if not the best feature of any reef forum. I hope this is something we can look forward to seeing for many months to come!
Thank you very much.
The reactor was added with the sps tank. I always just used KALK with the softy tank and everything was fine. I had a friend from my local LIRA club offer me a regulator along with a Korallin 1502 reactor and that got me hooked on a calcium reactor.
The 1502 has since been replaced by a GEO618.
 
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MJC

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Wow! That is absolutely spectacular! Every time I see stuff like this it is extraordinarily humbling.

Could you add a picture of your conical induction tank wrt to where it is in the loop of your system? I can see it in the one picture (ie the top of it). I'm guessing it is the first stop between your tank and the sump? That said, it appears to be level with the sump. Does it need a pump to circulate? It doesn't look like you have filter socks -- is that true?

The photography is also fantastic. What did you use to take the pictures? Did you use any filters?
Thank you Greg I'm glad you found the video the conical tank is in a awkward spot I will try and post a shot of it when I get home.
No filter socks.
As far as the camera I use my phone.

Camera settings
1.phone is a Samsung Note 8
2.Set camera to Pro mode
3.Set the Appratur to 1/90
4.Set the ISO to 50
5.WB to 10000k
6.Use Auto focus
 

TUSI

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Congratulations mike very well deserved. The nicest tank I have ever seen . Master piece by a master class man
 
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When you feed your fish do you feel like your feeding the algae as well?

  • Yes I feel I'm feeding too much

    Votes: 9 16.7%
  • Yes but not much

    Votes: 28 51.9%
  • No

    Votes: 17 31.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

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