Manos Foundoulakis's (manosdr) Reef Aquarium


I live in Rethymnon, Crete, Greece, and I began my marine aquarium with great enthusiasm in January of 2003 after keeping various types of freshwater aquariums for 25 years. The 123-gallon aquarium is glass, with dimensions of 150 cm (59") x 50 cm (19.7") x 62 cm (24.4"). The water is 54 cm (21.2") deep, for a total volume of 405 liters (107 gal). I decided to use two big Juwel Jumbo internal filters, described below, because the aquarium is set up in my living room and I felt that for aesthetic reasons I wanted nothing obviously visible around the aquarium. It was impossible to use a sump or refugium because of a lack of space. I filled the aquarium with water to which I had added Red Sea salt, and after a few days I added live sand to a depth of 7 cm (2.75"). After 15 days I began to gradually place live rock into the tank, starting with 50 kg (110 lb) and progressing to 80 kg (176 lb) total over three months. I studied how to place the rock so that I could create caves and openings in order to provide the fishes and other animals with places to hide, but also could allow water circulation to avoid "dead" areas with poor circulation.

Aquarium Profile:

405 liter (107-gallon) aquarium, made of 15 mm (0.59") thick glass.


Initially, the tank's circulation was provided by two internal filters circulating 2000 l/h (500 gph) each, and two pumps pushing 300 gph and 700 gph. I later placed other pumps behind the rockwork and toward the tank's front to improve circulation around this area, and so that I could have total circulation of 25x the water volume, or 2000 gph. Finally, I placed these six pumps on a Natural wave wavemaker.


The tank has two internal Juwel Jumbo filters that each pump 250 gph. One (biological) uses Siporax and blue sponges, and the other (chemical) contains phosphate removal media (Elimi-phos, Phosguard and Green-X) and Fluval activated carbon. In October 2004 I installed an Otto-700 sand filter and connected it to an external filter with carbon and blue sponge, which functioned as a pre-filter for the sand filter. Initially, I used a Prizm skimmer by Red Sea, but soon determined that it was insufficient for the size of my system, so after 15 months of operation I replaced it with an AquaC Remora skimmer powered by a Maxijet 300 gph powerhead; this considerably improved the water quality.

Water Parameters:
Ca: Ca: 370 - 400 mg/l
Alk: 2.8 - 3.5 meq/l
Mg: 1300 ppm
SG: ~1.025
Temp: 78.8 - 81.5 °F
pH: 7.9 - 8.1
NH3/NH4: 0
NO2 & NO3: 0
PO4: 0

For two years I have used a Sera Denitrator (below right photo) for denitrification. I also use a 5-watt Tetratec UV sterilizer with a 175 gph pump in operation for 30 days each month. Also I use an RHS-10 ATC refractometer for precise measurement of specific gravity. I finally added a regulated Sfiligoi Superflite chiller to the system, which maintains the temperature from 80 - 81.5° F during the summer months. All the equipment is connected with two backup power supplys to protect it from a power outage. Finally, I use a RO-MAN six-stage RO/DI unit producing 100 gal/day, and two 300-watt heaters on a controller.


The tank is lit by two 40-watt T8 bulbs (one Marine Glo blue actinic and one Power Glo 18,000 Kelvin), four 54-watt T5 Arcadia bulbs; three are Marine White 14,000 Kelvins and the other is a Marine Blue actinic. The two T8 bulbs run for 14 hours and the four T5s run for 12 hours, coming on one hour after the T8s and off one hour before the T8s.

Feeding and Additives:

I feed the tank once a day, usually at midday, alternating with Ocean Nutrition flake foods: Prime Reef, Formula One and Two and Brine Shrimp Plus. Also, once each week I add some Sera Granu Marin and krill, and other times each week I alternate feeding with frozen krill, Mysis and spinach. Once each week I feed Microvert, Chromaplex, Zooplex and Kent Marine Essential Elements. I occassionally add strontium, magnesium and iodine; every two days Kent Marine Turbo Calcium and Super Buffer is added, and every three days I add Seachem Reef Buffer. Every five days I add Seachem Kalkwasser.

Click here for larger image Click here for larger image


I change 20% of the water every 30 days with saltwater created from the six-stage-RO/DI unit. I use Tropic Marin Pro-Reef salt.


7 Acropora species
Asst. plating Montipora
Merulina sp.
Hydnophora sp. (green)
Heliopora sp.
Seriatipora hystrix (purple)
Seriatipora sp. (yellow)
Stylophora sp.
Montipora digitata
Caulastrea sp.
Tubastrea sp. (orange)
Physogyra sp.
Euphyllia ancora
Euphyllia divisa
Favia spp.
Galaxea sp.
Nemenzophyllia sp.
Turbinaria sp.
Lobophyllia sp.
Trachyphyllia sp.
Asst. mushrooms (green & red)
Ricordea sp. mushrooms
Yellow polyps
Snake polyps
Star polyps
Tree coral
Sinularia sp.
Cladiella sp.
Klyxum sp.
Gorgonian (blue)

1 Blue (hippo) tang
1 Pseudochromis fridmani
1 Yellow tang
2 Gramma loretos
2 Percula clownfish
3 Bicolor blennies
1 Yellow-tailed damsel
1 Six-line wrasse
1 Rusty angel
2 Spotted cardinalfish
1 Bicolor angel
1 Siganus vulpinus (Foxface Lo)
1 Mandarin dragonette
1 Valenciennea longipinnis goby

6 Lysmata amboinensis shrimp
2 Lysmata debelius shrimp
1 Coral Banded shrimp
1 Peppermint shrimp
1 Enoplometopus sp. lobster
10 Astraea sp. snails
15 Turbo snails
40 Nassarius sp. snails
20 Dwarf blue hermit crabs
20 red leg hermit crabs
2 Diadema sp. urchins
1 sand sifting starfish

Final Thoughts:

I plan to add a calcium reactor and two Tunze nanostreams with a controller at some point in the near future. I want to thank Reef Central for the hospitality and learning that it offers to all of us reefkeepers and to Skipper for selecting my tank as Tank of the Month. Additonally, many thanks are due to for their friendship and advice in setting up my system.

Feel free to comment or ask questions about my tank in the Tank of the Month thread on Reef Central.

If you'd like to nominate a tank for Tank of the Month, click here or use the button to the right.

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