Randy's Tank Description

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Randy Holmes-Farley

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In this thread, I thought I'd document my tank and the variety of methods I use on it.

It has been set up since 1995, but it moved from a 90 to a 120 at one point, got broken down and the rocks scrubbed at another, and rock has been added to it a couple of times.

As can be seen from the picture below from November of 2011, it is not, and never has been, an SPS-dominated tank. I generally prefer things that move around, lending more life to the tank. So LPS corals, anemones, etc.



and another at a similar time frame:

 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I guess I've been slacking, it doesn't look as nice today. :D

I may have let the Darwinian approach of letting corals and such fight it out for space too far, with far fewer but larger corals.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Anyway, now for some description.

The fish have obviously evolved over time.

Currently there are:

3 Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)
3 A. ocellaris (a long term trio)
1 Chelmon marginalis (a type of copper band butterfly)
1 yellow tang
1 one spot foxface (Siganus unimaculatus)

The clown trio lives currently in the blue gigantea anemone which is quite large, and may have been responsible for the decline of the green gigantea which thrived until the blue was added, then the green slowly declined ove ra few years until it died. The blue grew from a little one from Live Aquaria. The clowns have been spawning for at least a year.

The foxface was added to eradicate Caulerpa racemosa (which you can see seen in the background of the 2008 picture, to the left of the H. Crispa anemone).

The Chelmon marginalis was added to eradicate aiptasia, which is did a fabulous job at.

The two bubble corals (one a split from the other) have been in the tank many years (maybe 18?) and are now much bigger than the latest picture.

The big leather on the right grew from a tiny piece from a fellow reefer and was cut way back once.

I had a big school of green chromis, but they dwindled over the years. Same for anthias.
 

Chameleon

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Love the historical pics. The tank looks great in the 2011 pic too so dont down play it. Sorry to here you lost the green gigantea. Would love to see how it has evolved since Nov 2011 (3 years ago). I like the letting corals fight for space approach to reefing. Have you added any coral recently?
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Top off water is RO/DI collected in 2 x 44 gallon Brute cans (plumbed together).

It is mixed with limewater in 3 x 44 gallon Brute cans (plumbed together), and pumped to the tank with a Reef Filler pump on a big float switch in the sump.

New salt water is mixed in 2 x 44 gallon Brute cans (plumbed together). I use Instant Ocean, and add to each batch about 100-150 ppm of magnesium (I don't measure it, I just add about the same amount each time). I maintain the tank at ~35 ppt (sg ~ 1.0264).

I use the new salt water for automated water changes using a dual head Reef Filler pump on a time so it changes about 1% daily spread over many 15 minute periods of the day. I mix the salt water for about 24 h then turn off the powerhead (unless I forget :D ) and let it sit unstirred. I never heat the new salt water, except in emergency need of a lot of water. The old water is sent down a basement sink drain.

Temperature is controlled with a whole bunch of ordinary heaters on two Dynasense temperature controllers.

In the summer, the water is cooled by sending cold tap water through a big coil of plastic tubing int he sump, and then out tot he yard to water plants. The flow is controlled by a solenoid connected to one of the temperature controllers.

Water coming down to the basement from the main tank enters the first of three 44 gallon Brute can refugia, at the bottom. It rises through mostly live rock with macroalgae growing in the top 2-10% of open space. The water leaves that can and enters the bottom of a second, essentially identical can. Water leaves that second can and enters the first 44 gallon Brute can of the sump (yes, I like Brute cans :D).

In the first section fo the sump is the cooling coil, the skimmer inlet and outlet, a canister inlet and outlet, and another refugium inlet and outlet.

The skimmer is a ETS gemini 800 on an Iwaki 55RLT.
The canister I won at a MACNA raffle (along with a lot of other stuff) and it is filled with a mix of ROX GAC (from BRS) and GFO (from BRS).
The third refugium is mostly identical to the other two, but with less live rock (about 12-18" open water at the top with Caulerpa racemosa). It is fed by a powerhead and drains back tot he first sump section.

The second sump (44 gallon rute can) gets water from the first sump section. It has the heaters and temperature sensors for the temperature controller, and the outlet to the return pumps (two x Iwaki 40RLXT in series) that send water back upstairs to the main tank.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I dose vinegar into the water coming from the main tank to the first refugium, expecting that much of the bacteria growth will be on the rocks in the first two refugia. I dose it with a 1.1 mL per min BRS dosing pump. I dose it spread over the daylight hours, and I dose about 110 mL per day.

I dose iron and silicate about once a week (maybe less on silicate).

That's it on chemical dosing, since limewater top off supplies all calcium and alkalinity.

Believe it or not, the only things I measure any more are temperature (typically about 80-81 deg F) and salinity (aim for 35 ppt).

Foods

On the top of the second sump sits a nested set of two fish shipping boxes containing a 1.1 mL per min BRS dosing pump, a mix of Reef nutrition Arctipods and ROE (Real ocean Eggs0 and two frozen gallon jugs of water (keeping the foods cold). The pump is on a timer to deliver 1.1 mL about 10 times per day into the sump directly below it, so the fish get these foods many times per day.

When away, I also use two dry timers to deliver flake to the sump, but when home, I alternate daily between Rod's Food and Prime Reef Cubes (1 cube or a slightly bigger piece of Rods food each day). I feed the Rods food with a pipette to make sure the Chemon marginalis gets his share (he likes to pick at rocks, not chase food around the open water).
 

Keithcorals

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Do you have any pics newer than 3 years old?
Also it seems that you haven't changed much over the last 10years as far as the look of the tank. Is there a reason you don't update the look of you display?
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Lights are 2 x 250w DE 10,000k mh lamps, overdriven by a dual PFO ballast.

The lamps are several years old, and whenever I replace one, I prefer the older look better as they are warmer and I'm not a fan of intense blue lighting.

i also have one 110 w VHO actinic that is also years old and probably ready to be replaced.

Then there are four lights with 2 x 9 w fluorescent u-tubes for morning and evening intensity ramps.

The walnut hood (matches the stand) has a very quiet fan slowly blowing the air out the top.

Current in the tank is supplied by 2-3 Tunze 6055 Streams (only 2 are presently in working order) on the Tunze timer.

Backup power to the Streams is provided by a DIY UPS using two big industrial batteries and an inverter from Radio Shack.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Do you have any pics newer than 3 years old?
Also it seems that you haven't changed much over the last 10years as far as the look of the tank. Is there a reason you don't update the look of you display?
I don't have any newer pics handy, but will probably take some before long.

With the exception of the 90--> 120 change and the recovery from a crash while I was away, I generally let the tank evolve rather than making drastic changes. I've made giganteas more of a focus in the past few years than corals, but that's about it. I haven't added any inverts since the 2011 picture (at least I don't recall doing so).
 

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Great to see you on R2R Mr. Holmes-Farley! You have guided many steps I have taken in this hobby over the years with your seemingly limitless information you have shared with the reefing community. Thank you.
 
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