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Tank of the Month


This Article Features Photo Zoom

Krzysztof Kudraszow's (kshow) Reef Aquarium



I am not going to be original here, but I have to say that this prize is a great surprise for me. Like others, I initially created the tank for myself. Every step I made brings great satisfaction to me. However, I also found that I like to share my hobby with others. I usually place my tank on online forums because I want to get some feeback (notes, tips, etc). I’m always curious to hear what people think about it.  It’s even better when you find that people appreciate what you do! I have to admit that having my aquarium as the Tank of the Month is a huge privilege.

My name is Krzysztof Kudraszow. I’m from Białystok, Poland where, unfortunately, having a marine aquarium is quite an exotic hobby. I got into the hobby after my first visit in Egypt in 2003. Before that time I didn’t realize that it was possible to have a piece of that beauty in one’s home. Fortunately, I found some information about how it is possible! I decided no matter what, I was going to have a reef tank. Though I now know it is a difficult and expensive hobby.

Before getting my first aquarium set up, I decided to wait until I got my new apartment. During that time my goal was to gather some knowledge on how to keep marine organisms. I found most of my information from mainly Polish forums and, of course, Reefcentral. I made a trip one day to go see Andrzej Niewiarowski’s aquarium. This was the first time I had actually ever seen a reef tank and I have to add it was probably the most beautiful aquarium in Poland. It made a huge impression on me and I also now had an outline to follow for a functional reef tank.

In 2007, I managed to start up my first tank. It was a 300 liter cube (79 US gallons) located in a wall of my place. It was my first attempt keeping live rock, soft corals, fish, and somethings incredible! I found myself in front of the glass staring at it for many hours, not mattering if it was day or night. Every time I found myself staring, I happened upon a beautiful finding or something coming out from my own piece of coral reef that I didn't know was there.






I played around with a few filtration methods, checked out some devices, and worked with the lighting. I was already waiting until I could bring my new knowledge into play with a new tank.

A new stage of my journey came with the advent of the most beautiful thing in my life, the birth of my son. I had to make room for my newborn so I was forced to move my tank to the main room. I took advantage of this situation and decided to enlarge my aquarium to 500 liters (132 US gallons).





Current Tank

In my previous aquarium I used ceramic rock and my own PCV tube for aquascaping. This time I chose a construction methodology that gives the viewer an impression of depth while providing lots of space for placing SPS corals. In the current tank I forewent PVC tubes all together and decided to go with a lighter rock while using less of it. This allowed me to give the tank a sense of depth and create a lot of room for SPS corals, while at the same time giving the fish and the inverts a lot of nooks.


While moving to the larger aquarium, I decided to change the skimmer, circulation pumps, and lighting. The most important change was the filtration method. Around that time a new product appeared on a market, NP Reducing Bio Pellets. After my first visit at Krzysztof Tryc I knew that I had to use this method with my new tank.
During the move it took about 2 months to tear down my old tank and put up my new one. For those two months I had a friend of mine, Rafal Omieljaniuk, keep my corals. I would like to formally thank him for his kindness as all of my livestock was kept in good hands. Some livestock from my old tank did quite well during the move and to my surprise in the course of those two months it grew and had some nice colors appear. So from the beginning of my new tank it looked nice.



System Profile

• Display tank: 130 gallons / 500 liter (122 x 72 x 58 h)
• Sump:
44 gallons 110 x 40 x 40 cm .
• Skimmer:
Royal Exclusive Bubble King mini 180
• Lighting:
ATI Powermodule 8 x 54 W
• Circulation:
Return- Deltec HLP 4040 Tunze 6105 x 2, Nano Wavebox
• Controllor:
• Dosing Cotroller:
• Media Reactor:
BioPellets and RowaPhos 


The size of my tank depended on the type of lighting I had available. I’ve always claimed that the best solution for both the corals and me was HQI. I chose this lighting for my old cube tank (250W Reeflux 12k + Lumenarc). However, with my new aquarium I went with an alternative, the T5 bulb. I chose T5s after weighing the economic and aesthetic benefits/losses and also with eliminating the large amount of evaporation I get with my old HQI setup from heat. Fortunately, it turned out to be great idea and better than I expected. The reef is quite colorful and catches everybody’s eye. I found that the colors of corals were more important than the shimmering light. The corals felt that way too as everything started to become brighter. The large selection of bulbs to pick from allowed me to get the right combination of color to my eyes.

I feel that I only made one mistake with this lighting choice, an 8x54W. In the future I will replace it with 10 x 54W ATI Powermodule. The reason is not because of the actually difference in power from the extra bulbs but the ability to better light my tank. Currently, the corals at the front are shaded, resulting in slower growth as well as the corals towards the back. I believe this upgrade will solve that issue.

I’ve tested only ATI and Korallen Zucht bulbs. My current configuration, starting at the front, is:


Lighting from Front to Back:
  • 54W ATI Blue Plus
  • 54W ATI Purple
  • 54W ATI Blue Plus
  • 54W ATI Aquablue Special
  • 54W ATI Purple 
  • 54W ATI Blue Plus 
  • 54W ATI Aquablue Special
  • 54W ATI Blue Plus 




I didn’t want my filtration to be complicated or too time-consuming with upkeep so I bet on simplicity. The main filtration is the live rock of about 60 kg, the live sand (Nature's Ocean - Bio-Activ Live Aragonite about 40 kg), and a skimmer (Bubble King mini 180). The water filtration is assisted with a fluidized bed filter containing Bio Pellets (aboout 800 ml). If the phosphates go up above 0.04ppm I use an additional flow filter with Rowa Phos to help bring the levels back down. In addition, once a month I refill a bag with 200mL of Ehein lub KZ carbon. This amount of filtration works well together giving me the desirable effects I want.



Water Parameters:
  • Specific gravity: 1.026
  • Calcium: 410 ppm 
  • Alkalinity: 6.9 dKH 
  • Magnesium: 1200 ppm 
  • Temperature: 25 - 26° C
  • Phoshates: <0.04 ppm
  • Nitrates: undetectable

Water Movement

I believe that this was the most difficult issue in my tank to resolve. It took a lot of time until I found the best location for my flow pumps. I use the Tunze pumps due to my belief that the Tunze have a lower incidence of failure. If they do stop working the service on them is fast and in my opinion the best. I started with Tunze Turbelle Stream 6105 controlled with Profilux but after few months I ended up adding a Nano Wavebox. My tank is also supported by a Deltec HLP 4040 main pump.

Maintenance, Feeding & Supplement

Most of aquarists would concur that regular water change is key in this hobby. I try to do one every two weeks, roughly 10-15% of the total water volume with Aquarium Systems Instant Ocean salt. During these changes I do other maintenance like cleaning the cup of skimmer and refilling new carbon once a month.

I use the Balling method. Sometimes I add KZ amino acids (2-3 drops per week). My fish are fed 2-3 times a day with a blend of artemia, mysis, lobster, crab eggs, and Spirulina-Algae. The tang fish also eat nori from time to time.

As for coral feeding I have to admit that they weren’t fed for a long time, but when I started I notice some difference in growth or colors. When I feed it is mainly Reef Pearls and Reef Booster.




My tank is filled with about 35 fish. I like to keep many of the same species so that they will swim in a group, such as my Pseudoanthias and Apogons. Unfortunately, I can’t feed the tank inhabitants often so I chose Pseudanthias squamipinnis and Zoramia leptacanthus for easier upkeeping. My tank includes:


  • Zebrasoma flavescens
  • Paracanthurus hepatus
  • Naso elegans
  • Ctenochaetus binotatus
  • Amphiprion ocellaris x 2
  • Pseudanthias squamipinnis x 3
  • Zoramia leptacanthus x 17
  • Genicanthus bellus
  • Anampses meleagrides
  • Halichoeres chrystus
  • Labroides dimidiatus
  • dragonet


My coral collection contains about 30 SPS (acropora, seriatopora, and montipora). There are 10 LPS species (catalapylia, cynarina, and goniopora). My favorite coral is Seriatopora caliendrum and Pavona decussatus (cactus coral).






























I want to thank Reefkeeping magazine for giving me the chance of showing off my tank. Lots of thanks to Krzysztof Tryc, Andrzej Niewiarowski, Rafał Omieljaniuk, and Łukasz Kur. These are great people that are knowledgeable and passionate. I can always count on them. Last but not least, I’m grateful for everything my wife has allowed me to do.  Without her help I wouldn’t have this tank.



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

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