January 2013 Tank of the Month
Written by Eugene Weldon
Eugene Weldon's (rehype) 22 US-gallon Reef Aquarium
First, I would like to sincerely thank the staff at Reef Central and Reefkeeping Magazine for featuring this build as tank of the month even though it is no longer running. Unfortunately, the tanks inhabitants were lost as a result of Hurricane Sandy. It was running for just about 2 years prior to the hurricane.
I have kept freshwater aquariums for most of my life, but I was always was intimidated to try saltwater. However, six years ago I decided to give it a shot and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have gone through many of the trials most new reefers experience. There were many times I wanted to throw in the towel, but there is something very magnetic about this hobby and once your hooked…your on for life.
I honestly feel I tend to overdo it on filtration, but since I like to overfeed my tank it helps to have redundancy. There were many forms of nutrient export performed within the sump. First means of export is the SWC 120 skimmer. Second, a chamber dedicated to cheato growth. Third, an Aquaclear 30 hang-on-back filter that served as a Carbon/GFO reactor and mini algae turf scrubber. Finally, the middle chamber of the sump had a deep sand bed growing mangroves. This helped keep my nitrates at an undetectable level and my phosphate at 0.03ppm.
• Display tank: 22 Gallon (24in x 24in x 9in) Custom aquarium made by Pico Aquariums
• Light Mount: Cadlight Artisan Tree
• Light: 24 inch 6-Bulb ATI Dimmable Sunpower with Reefbrite XHO LEDs x2, Innovative Marine SkkyeLight LED
• Sump: 18 Gallon Cadlight Sump with 25-watt Flood Light for refugium
• Controller: Neptune Apex
• Dosing Pump: BRS Drew's Doser
• Water Circulation: Ecotech VorTech MP10W x2 with Battery Backup, Hydor Seltz L40 return pump
• Auto Top-Off: Elos Osmocontroller
• Skimmer: SWC 120
• Heater: Fluval M200 x2
• Filtration: Aquaclear 30 hang-on filter, 9 watt Aqua Advantage UV sterilizers x2
• Cooling: JBJ 1/15 Chiller
Filtration, Maintenance, & Lighting
I am a firm believer in water changes. I would perform five-gallon water changes with RO/DI water and Oceanic Salt every week. I used a Nimble Nano to clean the glass every few days. Weekly maintenance included emptying and cleaning the skimmer cup, replacement of filter floss, GFO, carbon, and finally vacuuming the sand bed.
I have tried just about every type of lighting out there and I have found that I am most happy with a T5/LED Combo. I feel it gives me the most color options while providing the best overall coral growth and coloration. My bulb combo consisted of ATI Blue plus x4, ATI Coral plus, GE6500K, and Reefbrite XHO LEDs x2. The photoperiod was from 7:00am to 6:00pm. The Sunpower was set to slowly ramp up from roughly 7:00am - 12:00pm and to slowly ramp back down from 3:00pm – 6:00pm.
I used a BRS Drew’s Doser for maintaining alkalinity. My supplement of choice was Brightwell Aqautics Reef code B. I was dosing up to 26ml a day to maintain 7-7.5 dKH. I never had to dose calcium as my salt mix provided more calcium than my system could consume between water changes.
I fed 2 cubes a day, consisting of Spirulina brine, Mysis, Cyclops, or rotifers. I also fed flakes, pellets, bloodworms, and baby brine shrimp randomly throughout the week.
Disaster and Regrets
Well, I lost this aquarium recently as a result of Hurricane Sandy. I lost power for about four days and while I was able to keep the aquarium oxygenated (via the VorTech Battery Backup) the first two days it was the sharp drop in temperature that led to this aquarium’s undoing. Looking back I wish I had been able to invest in a large generator as it may have prevented the tank loss. However, in all reality you cannot be prepared for every disaster, as some things will just be out of your control. For instance many people lost their belongings, homes, and in some cases their lives as a result of that storm. So I consider myself very fortunate. I do not have any regrets. I consider everything that has happened, good and bad, a learning experience and only helps to make me a better reefer.
I would like to thank everyone that continues to contribute to this wonderful hobby and the efforts made to preserve our oceans and the abundance of life within them. I also would like to thank everyone that nominated this tank for Tank of the Month as it is truly an honor to be featured on this site. I am most appreciative and humbled. I also would like to thank my wife for her support and not divorcing me over my love of this hobby.
Feel free to comment or ask questions about my tank in the Tank of the Month thread on Reef Central.