First and foremost I am very honored to have my tank featured, thank you to Mike and everyone at SCR/PR.  I have been keeping aquariums since I was 12, starting with a planted freshwater tank.  I started my first reef tank at age 17, it was a 100g tank with an under-gravel filter and no sump…enough said.  Over the last 16 years I have had multiple tanks of different sizes and inhabitants ranging from mixed reef, to macro algae and sea horse, to full SPS. 

Current Tank


I set this tank up in February of 2012, it is a 50g CAD Lights aquarium with low iron glass.  Having faced every nuisance algae and pest over the years, I decided I was going to be patient and do everything I could to avoid these issues.  I built the rock structure out of Coralife dry rock and Marco Cement.  For about a month I seeded it with bacteria in a Rubbermaid container before moving it to the tank.  Between this and using dry crushed coral for the substrate I was able to ensure no nuisance algae, aptasia, or pests of any kind.  For inhabitants I gathered frags from various reefers and dipped everything before placing in the tank.  Setting up the tank this way was a lesson in patience, it was several months before any coralline grew and over a year before the frags encrusted and got big enough to enjoy.  I remember almost daily, my coworkers would come in and ask questions, trying to politely find out why my tank was so empty and when I was going to add some color. They looked at me like I had bugs coming out of my ears when I told them that the little sticks would turn into big colorful bushes!



KEEP IT SIMPLE!  I am a huge believer in this, stability is the key.  I don’t run carbon, GFO, bio-pellets, Zeo or any other additives, I simply make sure my skimmer is in good working order and I am religious about weekly water changes.  One important aspect that I think is overlooked by some reefers is to make sure the parameters of the water change water matches the water in your aquarium.  Many people think they are doing good for their system simply by adding new water, and often times parameters are close enough that it doesn’t matter and people get away with it.  However, there are many times this is not the case, for example;  I’ve used various types of salt mixes and have seen alkalinity range from 6 to 13dkh .  So if you keep your tank at 7dkh and you do a decent size water change with 13dkh change water you are causing a big enough alk swing to cause some adverse affects.  For that and many other similar reasons I check temp, salinity, alk and ph of my change water every time.  Even though I’ve been using the same salt for 2 years I still test alk and ph because you never know when a manufacturer could change something with a batch.  I wish I had something more profound to contribute here but that’s really it, I just check parameters a lot, monitor the coral often and keep things simple and stable.


The Routine

The tank gets weekly 20% water changes and as I mentioned, the change water always has the same parameters as my tank water.  I supplement calcium and alkalinity via a dual chamber calcium reactor and a Kalk reactor that is plumbed in with my ATO.  I use very small amounts of kalk because I have nightmares about ATO malfunction and kalk overdose, the only reason I even have it in the system at all is to keep PH up in the tank.  The calcium reactor works well but is very small, now that the tank is grown out I have to fill the reactor up with new media every few weeks, otherwise the effluent doesn’t saturate enough.  I see a noticeable drop in alk if I let the reactor chamber get down to half full or less.  Every 6 months or so I pull the whole sump out, rinse it and give the skimmer and return pump a good cleaning. 


System Specs

Tank = 50g Cad Lights 24x24x20

Sump= 12g Cad Lights with 10g ATO reservoir

Skimmer= SRO 1000 Internal

Calcium Reactor= Aquamaxx nano with DIY second chamber

Kalk Reactor= Tunze

Lighting = Ecotech Marine Radion Gen 1 with TIR lenses, 2 Kessil 150 14k

Flow = Tunze 6095 x 2

Lighting Schedule= On at 9:00am, off at 5:30pm …100% intensity while on, Radion set at 14k


Tank Parameters

Temp 77.5 +- .3

Salinity 1.0026

PH 7.9-8.1

Calcium 420+

Alk 7-8 dkh

Magnesium 1500+

I don’t test for any other parameters, I have found that the above mentioned (with the exception of magnesium) have the biggest affect on the health of the aquarium.












I owe most of my reefing knowledge to the members of the reefing community.  I’ve read dozens of books and magazines on reefkeeping but the majority of things that I apply to my reefkeeping were learned form the message boards.  I owe a big thank you to Kirt Eroh, my tank would not be what it is today.  Thank you to Greg Carroll for all of his advice and motivation during the dark times of reefkeeping, and for taking all the beautiful photos that you see here. Finally, thank you to my wife for putting up with my habit! 


I’ve met a lot of good people through reefkeeping and I am looking forward to meeting more.  Thank you again!