My name is Tok and I've been in the fish world longer than I can remember but still consider myself a Rookie, starting with a gold fish bowl I moved from breeding freshwater to marines and now I'm the proud owner of an RSM 250.
I took on the RSM 250 as a reward for keeping a Tropaquarium 88 (130 Lt) going for 3 years on nothing more than a canister filter and some modification to the lighting. It was a great tank until all the occupants out grew it.
I had my reservations about buying the RSM knowing that not all was well in the early stages, but now that time has moved on and Red Sea have listened to the masses I thought I'd give it a go. After all if I can run a tank on a canister filter for three years this should be a walk in the ocean.
I promised my better half that if I did this upgrade I'd add nothing to the RSM and give Red Sea the benefit of the doubt. So this is it......
I guess at this stage I was still a novice and flying by the seat of my pants when it came to the planning and design of this tank. My idea was to make it as fish friendly as possible and leave enough space for the corals to grow out. I did not want to turn it into a "Fruit Sellers Stand".
I know what corals do great in my tank and what corals don't, call it a learning curve.
The beauty about the tank I chose was for its "All In One, Plug & Play System".
All the filtration system to the tank is situated in a rear compartment where you can access it by lifting the lid.
In this compartment you will find a bespoke Skimmer and compartments which hold your filter media and pumps.
I'm currently using the stock lighting, which consists of 6 T5's. The lights are controlled by an ATI dimmable controller which I modified and fitted to the Red Sea Max canopy.
I use the Red Sea Reef-Spec range which are:
BlueWhite 15000K X 3
Atinic 22000K X 2
Pink X 1
Flow in the tank is done by two Ecotech MP10's, which I run in lagoon mode 90% of the time. There are of course two stock pumps which are used for additional return circulation to the filter system and the chiller.
These are the parameters I strive to keep and I'm never to far off.
Parameters critical to control in reef aquaria.
Parameter: Reef Aquaria Recommendation:
Calcium 380-450 ppm Typical Surface Ocean Value: 420 ppm
Alkalinity 2.5-4 meq/L Typical Surface Ocean Value: 2.5 meq/L
7-11 dKH Typical Surface Ocean Value: 7 dKH
125-200 ppm CaCO3 equivalents Typical Surface Ocean Value: 125 ppm CaCO3 equivalents
Salinity 35 ppt sg = 1.026 Typical Surface Ocean Value: 34-36 ppt sg = 1.025-1.027
Temperature 76-83°F Typical Surface Ocean Value: Variable
pH 7.8-8.5 OK 8.1-8.3 is better Typical Surface Ocean Value: 8.0-8.3 (can be lower or higher in lagoons)
Magnesium 1250-1350 ppm Typical Surface Ocean Value: 1280 ppm
Phosphate < 0.03 ppm Typical Surface Ocean Value: 0.005 ppm
Ammonia <0.1 ppm Typical Surface Ocean Value: Variable (typically <0.1 ppm)
Since I started keeping SPS's I started dosing to keep my water parameters and corals in check.
I dose Ca, MG & ALK on a daily basis.
I change out my Chemi Pure Elite every 3 months, change the T5's very 6 month and do 20% bi weakly water changes. The glass and fine filter get cleaned when needed and the skimmer once a week.
Inspiration & Goals
I started off with the easy corals and ones that I could afford. After doing a lot of background research on each. I selected the ones that I knew would be easy to keep and provide me with great growth and color.
One by one the softies outgrew my tank, and I was forced to find new homes for them. I then decided to take a leap into the world of SPS. I'ts a love hate relationship and the SPS's definitely keep you on your toes when it comes to the water parameters. So far I seem to be getting it right, but still get the occasional panic attack when my parameters go off whack.
Words of Wisdom
Do your research before buying anything!
You don't have to put every coral there is to be had in your tank.
Nothing in this hobby can be rushed, take your time and be VERY patient.