WATCHGUY123 - MARK'S AMAZING LPS/SPS DOMINANTED 180 GALLON BOW FRONT
Thank you SOCALIREEFS for spotlighting my tank. I have gained much by this forum. I have met some great reef buddies, learned a
lot of useful reefing information (and just a little non-useful information),
shared many pictures, and found some great corals and equipment through the
various sponsors and sale threads.
I very well may be the oldest reef enthusiast around, or it
sure seems that way. But being a grey
haired reef hobbyist is still a lot of fun.
I thoroughly enjoy the hobby. There
is nothing like having an ocean in a glass box in your home. The fish as well as the coral are the colors
of the rainbow. When you walk into the
room with the tank, the fish literally become excited and begin to swim really
actively—I realize it is not about me but about being fed, nonetheless, I like
that. The challenges are endless with
this hobby and so are the chores but at least the chores are simple and after a
while the challenges seem less daunting.
I have enjoyed this hobby ever since my daughter was
thirteen. She is now twenty nine She wanted a saltwater tank and after asking
and asking, her mother and I relented.
Wow, that was not our best parental decision. With the money I have spent on saltwater
related stuff, I probably could have retired by now. So after two weeks or so of being diligent,
my daughter let me take over the tank—like was there any doubt that was going
to happen. I kept that lousy tank for
umpteen years and it was all wrong for every technical reason there is, too tall, not deep enough, wrong filter,
wrong , wrong, wrong . I loved it and
hated it. I was finally going to get rid
of it about 5 years ago when I discovered Craig’s list for the first time. Don’t know exactly what I was thinking, but
somehow looked up aquariums and found this 180 bowfront with a bunch of
equipment for sale and that is the genesis of my rejuvenation and most of my
success with saltwater fish and coral.
No matter what anyone says, size does make a difference.
180 Gallon Glass
Bowfront by Oceanic 72x24x18-24 (it bows)
Two overflows along
Oceanic really cool
black fake wood cabinet with two front doors
Canopy matching black
but plastic yet easily removable
I lined the interior
with 4 millimeter plastic but should have done a better job
30 gallon acrylic,
very cool three chamber sump with one filter sock
20 gallon acrylic
loaded with chaeto and lit by reefbreeders led fuge light
Bubble King 200 mini
in sump (but if you can believe it, the darn red dragon pump passed away this
week minus the warranty) so I am using a GSM as an emergency skimmer for the
next couple of weeks until my new red dragon ridiculously expensive pump
arrives) But, still gotta love Bubble King
Rowaphos in a
Nextreef reactor. I run it for about two
months. I put a small amount of carbon
in a bag and leave it for about a month or two.
I understand carbon a little but not sure how to tell if it really does
anything. I use it so I don’t get those
funny looks from other reef guys.
Drains and returns
I just replumbed my
tank some months ago. I used two inch
piping that went into 1 inch returns.
There are a lot of pipes and returns but it all seems to be working and
with a lot of that blue glue, no leaks yet.
I like plumbers, but if they can do this stuff, really, how hard or
complicated can it be. So, still keeping my fingers crossed. What’s the worse that could happen?
I switched to a
reeflo dart/snapper hybrid pump which was part of the replumbing process. When I spoke to reeflo in advance of this
project, they asked me to measure the length of pipe, diameter of pipes, height
of water and then said this was the incorrect pump because of too much head
pressure. Just like the plumbing, what
do they really know so I went ahead anyway.
That darn thing pumps like nobodies business. I strongly recommend their pumps, less so on
I have used two Tunze
6105’s Turbelle Streeam and and the Tunze 7095 controller but recently decided
to try the Jebao WP40’s and I really like them. I find between the reeflo
return pump and the these two powerheads that I have significant water movement
throughout the tank.
Just switched to new
for me but otherwise gently used Geissman light fixture. It is 72 inch with three x 250 watt 20 k
Radium single ended bulbs and 4 xT5 80 watt bulbs (three blue plus and one
actinic plus). Got it on a sale thread
on Socalireefs.com, thank you Jose Casas.
I use s Pro-Cal
Calcium reactor by Marine Technical Concepts and love it. I change out my CO2 tank about every six
months. It does not keep up with my
magnesium, so I add loads and loads of Brightwell Magnesion powder. I have toyed with getting a doser for
magnesium but as it is now, when my chiller turns on, the lights in the house
flicker. Maybe that is a sign that I
have enough electrical stuff hooked up to the tank as it is.
Auto top off
Tunze osmolator in a
25 gallon reservoir built by John at Advanced Acrylics. Another great connection through
Well since the lights
in my house already flicker and my cable box turns off when my metal halides
turn on, I elected not to install a water
purifier. I drive to one of two
LFS’s for their RO/DI water, and maybe it is or is not tap water from
them. It seems to work out okay for me. Hey, all those LFS store guys are consummate
professionals and I am confident that they watch the TDS carefully and change
out their membranes routinely. Those
guys are well paid and take pride in their craft.
I live in the San
Fernando Valley, that says all I need to about what I use for heating. My original Craig’s list tank purchase
included two chillers, an Arctica (JBJ)
¼ horsepower chiller which is my main chiller and then a Coralife ½
horsepower aqua-chiller in series or parallel (I get series and parallel
confused, so I use the one that makes more sense). I previously used the Coralife as my main
chiller but it sounds like a beer refrigerator in the grocery store that might
be going bad and the Arctica is silent and does an excellent job.
I think Neptune Apex
system is the absolute best controller available to the hobbyist. I have wanted one for years and still
do. I use a lot of power strips, a few
timers and I keep a sharp eye out.
Planning on purchasing soon though, I am tired of holding my breath so
that nothing bad happens unexpectedly.
Equipment misfire or failure is an impeding disaster so I am moving
forward on this project.
pH: no idea
Alkalinity: 8.5 hana
NO3: barely any
Ca: 400 hanna checker
and LFS double check
PO4: too high and
embarrassed to report but its .05 (I might have fudged that response a
little—but I just got back from a two week vacation and you know what happens
when you are gone)
chronically low but have been adding pounds of Magnesion over the last few
months and hoping to reach 1400
Nitrites and Ammonia:
have not tested these in years, not advocating that just saying.
Ok, ok, the T5’s come on at 11:00 am and turn off at
Metal halides turn on
at 3:00 pm and turn off at 9:00 pm
This is a new
lighting schedule for me since I purchased the Geissman light fixture. The reflectors on this are incredible and my
tank is super bright.
Filtration and Water Quality
I have experimented
with various systems, carbon dosing via vodka, vinegar and biopellets. It did not work out for me, I crashed. I know that carbon dosing and zeovit all work
but just not for me so far.
As you may have
guessed, I am perhaps lazier than most.
Don’t get me wrong even a lazy reefer has to work hard to be successful. My goal is the less work, the better.
I utilize the calcium
reactor to maintain alkalinity and calcium levels. My bias is that if you can maintain stable
alkalinity, then most everything else will be stable as well. Not quite a rule, but almost.
I like refugiums
because I think they further add diversity to our systems. Lots of pods and critters, and chaeto is an
excellent means of reducing/eliminating nitrates. Not an advocate of Caulerpa, it is a danger
to our ecosystem in California, its not necessary and chaeto works great. I run
my refugium on the reverse lighting schedule of my display tank.
good husbandry, water changes and appropriate fish feeding. I like fat fish so as a result I use GFO in a
I complete ten gallon
water changes weekly because that is all my back can handle. Wasn’t smart enough when I set this tank up,
to have an automated water change system.
I do use an ATO to keep salinity stable and I can not imagine working
I have a deep sand
bed in the display, bare bottom of course in the sump and mud in the sump. Mud in the sump is probably a waste at best
and perhaps worse in the long run, I really do not know. Put it in when I set up my tank and left it
alone ever since. So far so good, until
it is no good. Can not even imagine
trying to clean the mud out of the refugium without kicking up the mother of
all dust storms. Sticking my head in the
sand (or mud) on this one.
Speaking of other
things I wish I could do over. Rockscape. I love islands but when I set this up,
islands were not on my horizon. I simply
wanted a gazillion coral and so I have a rock wall. Love all the real estate to place my corals but miss the beauty of
island rockscapes. Oh, well.
Powder Blue Tang
Pacific Blue Tang
Yellow Coris wrasse
Blue Star Wrasse
Grey headed wrasse
Occelaris Clown Fish
Magnificent Fox Face
Scarlet Red hermit
Blue legged hermit
Rose Bubble tip
All of the above are
diminishing slowly due to my very hungry and aggressive wrasses—banana wrasse
Lots and lots of
SPS. I also have chalices, favias,
blastomussa and other cool looking lps
Fish and Coral Feeding
I feed on average
once a day. I use Nutralife Spectrum
pellets and Spirulina Flakes. Once in a
while a frozen treat of mysis and or tube worms. Corals get whathever fish poo they can find
Unknown month 2012
I am having so much
fun with this hobby. I bought a grown up
camera in October of last year and have been enjoying photographing the
tank. Perhaps taking pictures of my tank
may be the most fun associated with it.
Although spending relaxing time just staring at the tank is one of my
most pleasant pastimes. I wish I could
share some great secrets or keys to success but I have none of those. Patience, go slow is perhaps all I really
have to proffer. I have been taking care
of one tank or another for many years, and I finally got it right in the last
few years. All I really do are the
basic, fundamental things we all know. I
am very delighted that my tank is finally happy.
I would like to thank
some of the wonderful sponsors on Socalireefs, , Coral Gazers, Bulk Reef
Supply, Chance of coral, Fantastic Frags, Marine Depot, Reef Breeders, Reef
Raft USA, Premium Aquatics, Seaside Tropical, SPS Coral Store, and So Cal Corals. You may not know it but I have purchased
something from each and everyone of you.
I apologize if I left any other sponsors out who I have patronized and
Thank you to my
fellow reefers for your help, humor, information and misinformation, I have
relished it all. I especially want to
thank the various moderators and characters who make things so very interesting
with their constant input and chatter. I
very much appreciate the academic formality of the forum as well as the concern
and respect given to all minority groups.
You truly are a commendable group, thank you.
RedMed. Wow, you have been the featured
tank for almost a year now. That is
truly an outstanding accomplishment.
Most significantly, your tank is incredibly beautiful and I admire and
compliment you for that.
Finally, thank you Socalireefs. I am flattered, delighted and humbled. As long as nobody minds too much, I will keeping
posting more pictures and interjecting a thought or two along the way.