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Age 3 years, 3 months
Started July 18, 2013
Official Volume 75 Gallons
Actual Volume 70 Gallons
Dimensions 48'' x 20'' x 20''
Make Miracles Aquariums
Model Custom Eurobraced External BeanAnimal
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reefman_qc ‐ Welcome to AL ! Nice tank !
cdefla ‐ Hello darwingduck! Thank you for your comment on my reef tank, and its abundance of coralline algae! As I don't have a definitive answer for you unfortunately, I contribute the growth to the original live rock specimens I purchased initially 2 years ago, fresh off the boat from the Maldive Islands (which wasn't cheap). Initially it spread well for the first few months, however once I started adding more SPS to my tank I started dosing Calcium, Mag, Strontium and Alk, all at once using Red Sea Reef Foundation ABC+. I've been in the hobby many of years like yourself, and have found no better product to dose a smaller reef system. Ever since using it, the coralline spread like wildfire. I purchased a new rock about 6 months ago to enhance my aquascape, which was just plain white with no algae growth at all. I would honestly say it was absolutely covered within 2 months. It is a pain of course because I have to scrape my glass frequently, but I gave up on the back glass, lol. I would also say stability has something to do with it as well, I dose on a daily basis.
fesso ‐ Looking great! Following here now too. How's the Apex?
darkwingduck ‐ Hey fesso! Thanks for the recommendation! The Apex is complex, but im getting there. Im just setting up the wireless access and then hooking everything up. Ive got the basic programming down, but there's a lot more to learn. This things amazing.


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A beananimal overflow with a couple of filter socks handles most of the filtration with a 900GPH Eheim return pump going through 3/4" return lines. I started the system with a Reef Octopus NWB-150, tried a Bubble Magus Curve5 and then finally got a Vertex Omega 130 and haven't looked back. The Vertex was best suited to my tank bioload and has easily been the best skimmer ive ever had. Setting it in the correct water height and adjusting the volute correctly was important to get it dialled in, but now that its set, it's a real work horse!


I initially started this tank with 150w K2 Viper Halide lamps that I retrofitted into a canopy contained fixture with 4 x 48w T5's to run actinic and blue plus bulbs from ATI. The halide ran for under 6 hours a day due to heat concerns but the colours I got on my SPS were incredible. The power drain and heat with this setup was considerable so I switched over to 2 x Kessil A360WE LED lamps and kept the T5's on during the transition. The Kesssil's are great lights, but I lost a lot of colour in my SPS as I transitioned the T5's out and the Kessil's took over. I blame this on the spread of the light and my power adjustements/settings not the lights themselves. Corals take longer to acclimate to LED's IME and a gently transition can make a big difference to success long term.

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I've faced a few challenges that were unexpected over the years, nothing too major but definitely worth noting. The first was when I changed my powerhead from 2 x Tunze 6095's to a single MP40QD. Both worked superbly on the tank, I am equally impressed with both, however the type of flow produced is very different and this caused issues with coral placement. On changing powerheads I had to move several corals to accommodate the new flow pattern and power and actually lost a small euphyllia frag because I didn't move it soon enough.
With flow in mind the second issue I faced was a combination of coral placement and rockscape. I built my rockscape to look the way I wanted it to and then placed corals as I went without considering the current flow (no pun intended). This meant I had turn the MP40 way down to accommodate my coral placements less I blow them off their skeletons. After moving things around, I got it all set and flourishing well but still wasn't totally happy with the way it looked. (im being really fussy here). Ultimately, next time, I'll spend more time thinking about what coral I plan to keep and build a rock structure that accommodates a flow pattern and power suitable for those corals. Lots more planning ahead of coral purchases.

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Feeding See more

Pellets/ Ghost feeding for cycle · Mysis in a media bag/ to aid cycle · Pellets / Ghost feeding still. No ammonia yet. · Pellets / Ghost feeding heavier now · Polyp Lab Reef-Roids / Ghost feeding everything · Cyclop-eeze / ghosties · Polyp Lab Reef-Roids - LARGE AMOUNT · Daily Feeding: Mix of Pellets, Cyclo-Peeze & Reef Roids
I find a combination of different foods both dry and frozen keeps my fish active and lively. A high quality fish food goes a long way to the health of your fish and i've had great success with Fauna Marin's foods. My fish also go nuts for Cobalt Omni flakes, they just love the stuff. A few clips of TLF seaweed, frozen mysis and a good helping of calanus (usually in the evenings as the corals open up) keeps everyone well fed.

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10 Fish

Kole Yellow Eye Tang Ctenochaetus strigosus
Leopard Wrasse Macropharyngodon meleagris
Lyretail Anthias Pseudanthias squamipinnis
2 Ocellaris Clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris
Pink Spotted Watchman Goby Cryptocentrus leptocephalus
Yellow Wrasse Halichoeres chrysus
3 Yellowtail Damselfish Chrysiptera parasema

52 Invertebrate

Blood Red Fire Shrimp Lysmata debelius
8 Emerald Crab Mithraculus sculptus
3 Margarita Snail Margarites pupillus
30 Nassarius Snail Nassarius sp.
10 Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab Paguristes cadenati


At first I started with weekly water changes of about 15%, but after the tank had been running a year or so I dialled back to 15% water changes very 2 weeks and noticed a big improvement in coral growth, vibrance and things opened up a lot more too. I think this was due to an increase in nutrients and stability. I think this would also be achieved through smaller weekly water changes too, but bi-weekly has been working well.

Diary Entries View all Diary Entries

Fragged up the whole system this week ready to move everything out and redo the system. Resetting with a new build, the BIG REEF tank.
Lots of Blow Pop's frags too! I had a 9" x 4" colony.
Lizard King zoa's fragged and ready to be sold.
This week I'll be fragging up and moving most of the coral into my frag tank as I get ready to redo the system as the BIG REEF with new rock, sand, plumbing, the works! Lots of corals to move over! Th
Tank is up and running. Pictures to follow soon.
Nitrite coming down to 0.50 and below. Nitrate lowering from 5ppm to less than 3ppm. Phosphate is also coming down but very slightly due to some hair algae growth. No lights running to limit algae gro

Words of Wisdom

Always remove frag plugs from new corals. Even plugs that are scrubbed with a toothbrush, dipped in coral cleaning and scraped with a scalpel can end up with bubble algae after a few days. Discard frag plugs with extreme prejudice.


I have run this system for just over 2 years and having experienced both incredible successes and losses alike with varying species of corals and fish. Making the switch from halides to LED's was a tricky one, but definitely one im proud to have succeeded with (acclimation is the key). Earlier this year a dosing line came loose and dropped the alkalinity significantly, this caused a lot of the SPS and chalice in the tank to recede and I eventually lost most of them despite efforts to save them. In the process I learnt a lot about the balance of nutrient levels and alkalinity and continued on with the tank determined to regain it's stability and have things flourish. Needless to say I was pretty devastated to lose so much because of a small hose coming loose. But after several months, the remaining corals finally started to bounce back and growth really took off again! Things are looking great and really growing well now. But the tank is mostly soft corals and LPS now and any SPS added would quickly become overtaken, so im going to redo the tank from scratch, new rock, new equipment etc and start fresh on an SPS dominant tank (with a few zoa's and mushrooms on the lower end) and start a new build thread.
I really want to thank the guys on GTAaquaria for their inspirations and support over the years, especially with Big Reef Depot, I hope that I've been able to be as helpful and supportive as you guys have been to me. The tank will continue here BIG REEF Tank Re-Build Thread: http://www.gtaaquaria.com/forum/show...=46508&page=23