July 12, 2021

Aquarium of the Week: james32's Jims Caye

Original bought at estate sale make unknown 7/8 inch thick glass 363 Gallons saltwater aquarium measuring 72'' x 19'' x 31'' has been running for 8 years, 7 months.


I Started keeping fish when I was around 10 years old and after setting up around 10 freshwater tanks between 5 - 20 gallons all at once, I felt I was ready for saltwater. The only thing is I only had a part time job at the local fish store in my small town (Port Perry) where I was in Charge of the fish department and counseling people on their fish problems yes even at 12 I was already giving advice and helpful advice.Anyhow I decided to sell my parkhurst Hockey card with players like frank mahovlich Henry Richard and all the old greats, I was able to get together $400 I got ripped off but I was impatient and wanted the fish more than the cards. I got my first saltwater tank like most people at Big als it was a 35 gallon setup with a double t8 florescent fixture and a Bio Life filter also had a skimmer but that cost extra 100 bucks for an air stone skimmer. My first coral was a Gonopora and It Thrived funny because I never added any additive but I made sure to do a 25% water change every month and never missed it by a day even when I had 12 other tanks in my bedroom to look after ,lets just say I was obsesed and still am!... After that there was a break in fish once I turned 14 and had already read every book on marine fish I could get my hand on I got out of the hobby completely and got into the teenage party scene lol..anyhow I got back into marine fish again later in life when I turned 23 and started with a 30 gallon cube Mixed reef which I thought was amazing as the hobby had changed so much since I was 12 years old. I am 33 years old now and since then I have had a 20 gallon nano , a 75 gallon with a 30 gallon sump mixed reef mostly softies, a 90 gallon with 20 gallon sump ,65 gallon with 40 gallon sump, seahorse tank , a 75 gallon with a 20 gallon sump and now I have a 3 gallon pico tope with 2 platinum clowns and the system you see here on this page. All the tanks I mentioned were mixed reef and this one has the most sps I have ever had I would say I am addicted. I have been lucky enough to see many reefs in person all over the world including Australia ,Bali Indonesia, every Country in Central America, Mexico 12 times I lived there for 2 years in Cancun and Playa del Carmen I also travel to Veracruz at least once a year to see family, I lived in Costa Rica , I should mention I lived in Australia for 6 months in Perth and got to see lots of wild life there in the ocean dolphins,crabs,etc I also went there when I was 7 and the time I lived there I was 17, also went to Japan,Jakarta, and to many countries to list my point is in all of these countries I made a point of observing the wild life on land and sea as this has always been my passion so my experience is no only in a glass tank in my living room and I was privileged to be healthy enough to work my butt off so I could afford to travel to all of these destinations. For now I am really enjoying the hobby and plan to upgrade to a much larger system but don't we all lol.. I think I will have to take a break and do some traveling before I get the next system but I am having a good time staying in one place for the time being and for a change I also have a 3 year old son whom which is my world and He is actually the proud owner of the 3 gallon pico tope and many corals in my system so yeah for now I am just going to stay put keep upgrading my current system and enjoy life as a father.
Thank You for reading


I am Currently using the Berlin system along with 2-3 liters of Nitra Guard Biocubes Titanium and I use a Phosban Reactor With Rowaphos. I have a 115 gallon sump with 3 Chambers and the middle chamber is full of Cheato ,Culipera Sp. and Mangroves.So I have that for a refugium but the bio cubes and rowa Phos keep my Nitrates and Phosphates at zero. Although the bio cubes were causing a little Cyano Bacteria I fixed the problem by adding a few more powerheads for flow and kept the lights off 2 days. I also plan to get some Coral snow and I have zeobac to deal with the Cyano as well as some Zeozym if necessary. For Skimming I use a dual beckett E.T.S.S enviromental Tower Scrubber My collection cup is bigger than my whole skimmer used to be it is a beast and does a great job !!! I clean The cup every day to every other day, it is run by a 1500 watt external pump


Currently I am adding Kent Tech I and Kent Tech M for Iodide and iodine and Magnesium. I also add Korallin-Zucht Concentrated Amino Acids 2 -4 times a week and I turn off my skimmer and Phosphate reactor for 2 hours while I do this.I used to add Brightwells Potassion When I was using the Zeovit systen but I am taking a break from the zeo system and seeing how this new plan goes for a while.I also Have a saline Solutions Calcium Reactor full of A.R.M Media and Neo Zeo for Magnesium I use a paintball 20 oz tank setup with a regulator from Aquatec and I have another 20 oz tank as a back up this works great.


For the Main tank which is 180 gallons I use 2 pfos each with 1 400 watt metal Halide and they are both 10,000 kelvin mogul bulbs and I have a sigle ballast that runs 2 400 watt bulbs made by PFO , as for actinics I use 2 80 watt 5 foot t5 bulbs both ati Blue plus. For the 75 gallon I use 2 175 watt Metal halide bulbs and I was using 2 54 watt ATI blue plus t5s on there as well but something broke on the ballast so I only use the metal halides now and they seem to be doing a fine job. For my sump I have a 4 foot power Compact Fixture with 2 Actinics and 2 day lights as well as moon lights all have separte switches.


For My main tank I use a 2600 Coralife Wavemaker and 1 korilia 4 and a powerhead 801 and I also have lock line coming from the main pump which is a reeflo Dart 3600 gph pump and this give my tank a lot of flow as well. In the 75 gallon frag tank I have the flow from the main pump as well and a 1400 gph Korilia along with a Korilia 3 and this is enough flow for that tank so far though I plan to add a second 2600 Coralife wave maker to the system soon. For the sump I have an eco plus 633 gph pump which was my internal return pump from my old 75 gallon system with 20 gallon sump and flo from the reeflo dart as well as flow from my reactor and skimmer etc..

Latest Parameters

  • Phosphate 3 ppm
  • Salinity 1.023 SG
  • Magnesium 1200 ppm
  • Calcium 345 ppm
  • Temperature 80.8 F
  • Nitrate 7.5 ppm
  • pH 8.05 pH
  • Alkalinity 11.2 dKH
  • Ammonia 0.25 ppm
  • Nitrite 0.00 ppm
  • Potassium 380 ppm
  • Silicate 0.20 ppm
  • Iodine 0.00 ppm


It is very important to feed your fish a variety of foods frozen foods are a must and at the very least must be fed once a week, also it is very important to use garlic on nori (seaweed) and soak the flakes in it for 2 hours prior to feeding especially tangs and sturgeons, at least twice a week if you do this you fish should never get any diseases!! ,not to say they won't be eaten by crabs you are un aware of or stressed to death by other fish you think are reef safe and it is common for people to blame the death of their fish on a disease. like for instance fin rot when it is really just being attacked with no where to hide, or they will see the fish being eaten by a pistol shrimp for example and assume right away it way this shrimp that killed the fish when you should be looking to be sure you are giving your fish the proper nutrients, and house them with proper and or reef safe watched and quarantined tank mates as 80 percent of the time the animal eating your dead fish (if you are lucky enough to even see the fish dead as they are consumed very fast in an established reef) was not that animal that did it but it is eating what is left (the food chain) anyway sorry I got a little off topic but you get my drift! I feed my fish frozen minimum once a week but preferably twice a week always soaked in selcon and or garlic guard and I feed a different flake food for each day in between alway high end foods as well... You get what you pay for!

Words of Wisdom

Always dip and quarantine all corals!! Also quarantine fish! and be sure to have a hospital tank and a quarantine tank before even buying a single fish or coral.. Always price match when shopping at big als as they will match any Canadian website price on any of their dry good products.. Try not to shop at big als..Do not try to buy cheap no name products as you will save in the long run ten fold if you buy a good quality product firat.. You can buy it now or later I promise you will buy it eventually.. Most important go slow and when in doubt do a water change!!

Disasters & Regrets

Sun Corals way to much work and in my opinion impossible to keep in a reef system long term unless you feed every day with mysis or some sort of meaty food even then they still die in the end ... some people say to feed them once a week with heavy flow but in the end none of these methods really work , leave them in the ocean and get some dendros they are much more hardy!! and not having a quarantine tank or dipping every coral before putting them in the main system... Now I know from experience that you need to dip all corals and have a quarantine tank to keep them in for at least 2 weeks while closely watching them ... You can try and skip this but you will end up writing these same words in the end trust me!!


Bob Fenner , Big als as they were the only store around 22 years ago when I got into saltwater and they helped me setup my first system ( I wouldn't take their advice ever again though but I thank them for being there when no other store was at least that I knew of at the time)so reluctantly I will thank them. And strangely enough I thank myself for never giving up even though I had many trial and tribulations and losses of money and lifes.... I am sure there is more but I haven't thought of them yet!

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