November 2015 Tank of the Month
Anand Kaimal's (akaimal) 240 US-gallon Reef Aquarium
My name is Anand Kaimal (akaimal) and I am from Chicago, IL. I’d like to thank Reef Central and Reefkeeping Magazine for giving me the opportunity to showcase my reef. I got the inspiration for starting a reef tank after reading one of the Tank of the Month articles back in 2007. Back then it was a dream to have something that was similar to a tank featured here. My tank is where it is today because of the vast knowledge available on reef central and support of so many fellow members.
My interest in the hobby was initiated by my father when he bought me a 20 gallon fish tank when I was 10 years old. Growing up in India, I didn’t know that it’s possible to keep corals at home until I moved to the USA in 2000 and visited a local pet shop. I was so fascinated by the idea of keeping corals in an aquarium that I use to frequently visit the place just to see the corals and marine fishes. So in 2006, after buying a house, I finally started entertaining the idea of having a reef tank. I started by reading the various threads on Reefcentral and setup a reef aquarium using a 120G fresh water aquarium donated by a family friend. In a few months with all the knowledge and experience that I gained, I decided to go for a reef ready aquarium. So in 2008, I ordered by 240G custom reef tank.
• Main Display: 240 US-gallon custom aquarium with starfire glass on three viewable sides with one overflow box on the back side (48”L X 48”W X 24”H)
• Stand: The stand was custom made by a local reef store
• Sump: 70 US-gallon acrylic tank
• Refugium: 20 US-gallon acrylic tank with mangroves and chaeto alga
• Skimmer: SKIMZ SK 222 Kone E-Series External Protein Skimmer
• Return pump: Reeflo Dart connected to two Wavy Sea wave makers
• Water Circulation: Vortech MP60 running on Reef Crest mode
• Calcium Reactor: Geo 618 calcium reactor with a second chamber filled with TwoLittleFishes media
• Other Equipment: Apex aqua controller and 1 x Two Little Fishes phosban 150 reactor with high capacity GFO
• Auto Top Off System: 5 stages RO/DI unit filter the water. Top off is done using a float switch connected to Apex aqua controller
• Heating & Cooling: Two 300W heater controlled by Apex aqua controller, and a Teco 1/3HP chiller
I wanted to keep the system as simple as possible. I didn’t want the system to look like a science experiment as it is in our living room. So I had to select the various components based on whether it fits the limited space under the cabinet. I decided to use the Reefflo Dart pump as it was the most efficient and silent pump available. The sump and refugium were custom ordered after a lot of thought and planning was put into how to do the plumbing with minimum joints to avoid efficiency loss.
Live rock was ordered from Tonga and was cured in the display. As a result I got some nice variety of coralline algae and sponges growing in my tank. The rock was arranged in a “C” shape so that I get a nice sand bed in the middle for fishes to swim.
Throughout the years I have tried different types of lighting, salt, power heads etc. and ended up with this current setup.
I use Tropic Marin Pro Reef Sea Salt since it replenishes all the trace elements and I am really happy with the results. I had trouble with other reef salts because of issues with high Alkalinity, low potassium levels etc. I also run activated carbon once a while. ZeoBac is added to tank every time I do a water change.
The only parameter I test nowadays is Alkalinity. I also test for Phosphates once a while but get readings between 0 and .02 all the time.
For anyone looking for advice, I would say, keep your setup simple. Keep the number of components to a minimum. This way you don’t have to keep track of so many things. Also try to use as many external pumps as possible. This helps in keeping the temperature of the tank stable.
In the center I have three Apollo LED dimmable fixture controlled by Apex.
On both sides I have two DIY LED fixture that I built using components from ReefLedLights.com. It consists of a 36 inch heat sink with:
1) 12 XTE Royal Blue LED
2) 12 XPG Cool White Premium 7.5K
3) 8 XP-E blue
4) 2 XP-E red
5) 2 XP-E Green
6) 12 Violet UV LED's
7) 24 XRE Royal Blue
8) 12 XRE Cool White
In between the fixtures I have two 4" giesemann actinic plus.
The tank was switched to use LED lighting 2 years ago. For the prior 6 years, the tank was running on 400 W Radium and four T5 bulbs running on ice cap 660 ballast. Not all corals liked the LED switch. I lost most of my milliporas, after the switch. I should say that all the stags love the LEDs. I am seriously thinking of switching back to Halide and T5 combination or T5 and Led combination.
The tank employs biological and mechanical filtration.
The biological filtration consists of more than 250 pounds of live rock, 1 inch of sugar fine aragonite sand, 20G refugium filled with a 12 inch deep sand bed, Chaetomorpha, mangroves and live rock. For mechanical filtration, the water passes into the overflow then into the sump via a 100 micron filter sock. Next, the water passes through two separate chambers. The first area houses a heater, live rock and skimmer. The final area accommodates the return pump. I also run one cup of BRS high capacity GFO inside a Two Little Fishes Phosban 150 reactor just for redundancy. I change the media only once in six months.
To help maximize the flow from the Reeflo dart return pump, I employ two Wavy Sea wave makers. They keep moving back and forth evenly distributing the water from the sump. Two Vortech mp60w ES pumps takes care of the rest of the needs. I have been extremely happy with this combination.
I have dosed Potassium a few times due to bad batch of salt. Calcium and Alkalinity are maintained using a Geo Calcium reactor with an additional DIY chamber. Salinity is maintained by top off using a Litermeter pump. My calcium reactor is having trouble keeping up with the needs of the tank now a days and so I have been dosing 20% of the Calcium and Alkalinity requirements using BRS 3 part and liter meter just to keep up with the demand.
Clown fish x2
Ornate Leopard Wrasse
Black Leopard Wrasse
Meleagris Leopard Wrasse
Maintenance & Feeding
On alternate days I feed Rods food and PE Mysis. On the days I feed Mysis, I also feed the tank Oyster Feast or Routi Feast. I use Zeovit Coral Snow once in a while when I feel that the water is not that clear.
I change the filter socks once a week and also clean the skimmer cup once a week. Chaetomorpha in the refugium is trimmed once in 2 weeks. I record KH once in four days and test phosphates once a month.
I do a 50 gallon water change once a month. At this time I also vacuum part of the sand bed that I can reach. I also run carbon when needed.
I clean the skimmer and soak the Vortech wet sides in vinegar once in 6 months.
I would like to thank my wife Devika for being so supportive through all the good and bad days the tank has seen. I would also like to thank my Mom and Dad for introducing me to the hobby and my brothers Aravind and Deepak Kaimal for helping me through sump over flows and taking wonderful pictures and videos of the tank. I would also like to thank my friend Robert Ambriz for all the help and support over the years. Thanks to ReefDepot brothers Mike and Mark Lukasik, reefcentral members: mdefo25 and badsmitty for the knowledge, inspiration and camaraderie we have shared.
Thanks again to Reef Central, Reefkeeping Magazine and other fellow reefers for nominating my tank.
Feel free to comment or ask questions about my tank in the Tank of the Month thread on Reef Central.