December 2014 Tank of the Month
Ian Geronimo's (sweet ride) 110 US-gallon Reef Aquarium
Reef Keeping Tank of the Month was first introduced in 2002. Over the years, amazing systems from around the world were brought into the forefront for everyone to enjoy, admire, and learn from. It is truly an honour to be in the company of so many accomplished "elite reefers". My name is Ian Geronimo, aka Sweet Ride (the handle is from a different hobby!). I currently reside in Ontario, Canada.
Ever since I was a kid I have always had some type of fish that I looked after. So the aquarium hobby in general is not new to me. However, my journey in reefing first started when we were given a fully stocked nano cube as a housewarming present. Rest assured I had no clue on what to do with it! I was lucky enough that the person who gave us the nano could also walk me through the "basics" of reef keeping and even provided me with everything that I needed to get started. As I got the hang of reef keeping, I had the urge to upgrade as well. Over the course of 5 years I had four different setups all larger than prior ones.
• Main Display: 110 gallon Peninsula Style with center/coast to coast overflow by Miracle Aquarium 60”L X 18”W X 24”Hz
• Stand: The stand was designed and built to have full access on both side from top to bottom
• Sump: 40 gallon breeder by Hagen
• Lighting: DT ATI Sunpower 6x54W with (4) ATI Blue Plus and (2) ATI Coral Plus, ReefBrite Tech Actinic Blue and ReefBrite XHO Actinic Blue for dawn/dusk simulation, x2 Coralife 3/4 watt moonlight, Sump (frag section): full spectrum Chinese LED
• Filtration: Vertex Omega 180i Skimmer
• Return Pump: Poseidon PS4
• Water Circulation: Modded Tunze 6055 Nano Streams X 2 on Tunze Multicontroller 7095 • Koralia Evo 1400 X 4 on Wavemaker
• Doser: Tom Aquatics Aqua-Lifter
• Controller: DA Reef Keeper Lite with ORP, PH & Temp Monitor
• Other Equipment: American Pinpoint PH &Temp Monitor
• Auto-top Off: Tom Aquatics Aqua-Lifter passing through an Avast Kalk Stirrer of a float switches controlled via RKL
• Heating & Cooling: The system has been running for 5 years and I never had a heater in it, ever! For cooling I have (10) 120mm computer case fan 6 of them blowing fresh air and 4 of them pulling out hot air (all fans are located on top of the canopy) this is controlled by RKL via water temp set points.
When the system was first conceptualized the idea was to only have a handful of SPS on each tier of the structure. Well I can tell you now that this didn't happen! Currently the system has over a 100 types of SPS. I continue to aggressively phase out some of the “starter/beginner” SPS that I have originally acquired to make room for new ones.
Every system is different and everyone has their own recipe for success. What I believe makes this system successful are these 3 things; flow, good nutrient export, and stable parameters. These three work hand-in-hand with each other. The system has close to 100 times turnover flow throughout the system via powerheads that are placed in strategic locations to keep excess nutrient suspended. Good nutrient export is achieved by not only having a good skimmer, but also by vacuuming the substrate during bi-weekly water change. I would also attribute part of this to carbon dosing via vodka as well as coral snow dosing. Stable parameters are achieved via 2 part dosing as well as the use of kalk as part of the ATO.
Metal halide, T5HO and LED all have its own advantages and disadvantages. If you're an old school reefer you will probably choose metal halide lighting. This is one of those technologies thoroughly tried and tested. If you like new technology, I am sure you have tried LEDs at one point in time or another and T5HO seems to be somewhat of a middle ground. All these light sources have proven time and time again to be able to provide adequate lighting for any type of reef.
When the system was first setup it had a pair of Aqua Medic 250MH with 14K DE Phoenix bulbs. The metal halides on their own were more than enough as far as growth and color are concern. However a pair of retrofit T5s were added shortly afterward to provide more of a dusk and dawn effect to the system. A couple of years later due to unforeseen circumstances the entire light source was replaced with a Tek 6 bulb T5 fixture. Fortunately for me one of the local reefer was also upgrading his lighting system so I jumped on the opportunity to also upgrade from Tek to ATI Sunpower 6, using the same bulbs from the Tek I could tell right away the difference between the two fixture. I decided later to enhance the look of the system even more by also adding two ReefBrite all Blue LEDs, one on each side of the fixture.
Current bulb/lighting combo from left to right;
ReefBrite XHO Actinic Blue
ATI Blue Plus
ATI Coral Plus
ATI Blue Plus
ATI Blue Plus
ATI Coral Plus
ATI Blue Plus
ReefBrite Tech Actinic Blue
The main component of the filtration system is a Vertex Omega 180i skimmer. I also supplement with carbon dosing via vodka, as well as KZ coral snow and bi-weekly water changes. In the past I have also used GAC, GFO, bio pellets, filter sock, and Prodibio. Each one of these products had its own benefits. However as far as my own system is concern the benefits were not significant enough. I removed them individually over time and I did not find any negative reaction that would warrant me to put them back online.
Water Circulation & Flow
Circulation is provided by a Poseidon PS4 return pump entering the tank via locline fitting in the viewing end of the tank. I also use two modified Tunze 6055 Nano Streams on a Tunze Multicontroller. These are placed on each side of the return outlet. Four Koralia Evo 1400s on a Wavemaker which is placed in front of the overflow to create random flow inside the tank.
As much as we just want to enjoy our system and not do anything, I find this is almost impossible. So to ensure that all the maintenance on the system is completed I have simplified them by not trying to do a lot at any given point in time.
• Annually: replace all T5 Bulbs
• Quarterly: clean via vinegar bath return pump, skimmer and powerhead; clean and calibrate all probes
• Monthly: check and log all water parameters
• Bi-weekly: 20 gallon water change using Kent marine reef salt
• weekly: check and log key water parameters; add 1/2 cup of kalk powder to the kalk stirrer
• As needed: clean glass; top up auto top off reservoir, 2 part dosing reservoir and auto feeder; empty and clean skimmer collector cup
Fish & Coral Feeding
The fish are fed three times a day via auto feeder with New Life Spectrum pellets. I also feed them nori, various frozen food, and flakes throughout the week as time permits. Despite the consensus that small polyped stony corals do not need to be feed directly, I still mix Nutra-Kol NutraPlus, Reef Nutrition OysterFeast, and Selcon and broadcast feed twice per week. The main pump and all of the power heads are turned off for 60 minutes to give the corals time to absorb the nutrients. During this time, significant polyp extension is visible in most of the small polyped stony coral.
The majority of the corals in the system were grown from small frags. There are over 100 different types of corals in the system.
First, I would like to thank my wife Imee and my two kids, Isabelle and Irwin, for being supportive all througout in this hobby of mine! I would also like to thank Jay from Reef Raft Canada for giving us our first ever reef setup. I never looked back! This recognition would not be possible without the nomination of the forum reefers! Thank you! Reefkeeper Magazine team thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my system with your loyal readers!
Feel free to comment or ask questions about my tank in the Tank of the Month thread on Reef Central.