Craigg’s Reef TankIntroduction
It all started in about 1991 when I bought my own flat. In this flat I built my own fireplace with a 4 ft tank either side, one held tropicals and the other Pacu (yeh I know how big they get..now). The hobby progressed after I got married to investigating marines and so the purchase of a 4 ft tank was made along with airstone driven skimmer. Anyway to cut a long story short that tank sat empty for about 6 years until we moved house, as I was afraid it would go through the flat floor if filled with water. On moving house we decided to set the tank up and took it to my LFS to get drilled, hah on attempting to drill the tank one side shattered completely due to the glass turning brittle I guess. Not to worry new 4ft tank ordered, pre drilled for sump etc. This tank was set up December 2001 and lasted at least 6 months before the urge for a monster tank took over, so the planning began. Heres a picture of the old tank.
Besides the 4 foot tank was in the conservatory and was manual everything and although I spent hours working on it never spent any time enjoying it. Therefore the new tank would not only be big but also be located in the living room and be as automated as I could afford.
My next tank was a 7 footer.
This tank was sumpless and paved the way for my current tank with many of its designs and ideas, however this tank had an early demise due to me forgetting to switch off the RO one day resulting in the cabinet getting soaked in water, this caused the melamine covered chipboard to “blow”. Due to the weight and the fact that I had 3 kids in the house I managed to persuade my insurance company that is was a major h&s risk, to cut a long story short a new tank was designed and ordered, this is my current tank and all details are in this document.The Tank
The tank is 90 inch Long * 36 inch Wide * 30 inch High and was built onsite by Mark from Taunton Aquarium Centre with glass provided by Seashell. The sump is 72 inch * 24 inch * 15 inch. The stand is a steel box section design provided by Taunton Aquarium Centre and is fully powder coated. As you can see from the photo below, space was tight, as at this stage I still had my other 7ft tank running.
All pipe work was completed by myself which I’m chuffed with.
None of the stand / sump etc can be seen as I have built a false wall which has given that “built-in wall” effect.
Water capacity is 327 gallons + 95 gallons in the sump. The tank has 2 weirs along the back wall which I will explain later. The tank was finally filled during August 2005. So is coming up soon to its first birthday.
I have no idea how much rock is in the tank but it was a large percentage of dry branch rock initially. I am now however adding a few bits of “Real” live rock each month to my sump, to counter act the negativity I have had from the dry stuff. The negativity being the worst hair algae outbreak known to man kind…….but only on the dry stuff, any “live rock” I had in the tank suffered no algae at all.Computer Control
I used to have an Octopus 3000 computer but controversially (even more so due to the fact that I am an IT Manager) I recently sold it as I don’t see the point in them.
To elaborate on that statement, I have timers for my lights, a separate Aqua Medic PH computer for my Calcium Reactor and a Tunze controller for my 10 * 6100 streams. What else do I need a computer for? In my humble opinion there is much better things to spend my money on like my 300 gallon water change system or corals and fish. Or of course my £150 per month electricity bill.Sump
My sump is a fairly standard affair, with the inlet chamber where I am crambing live rock. Then a DSB section, with algae and increasingly more Live rock (no algae at present as a Tang I put in their as punishment has eaten the lot), next section is the return via the chiller, but also has pumps to feed the Aqua medic 5000 shorty skimmer and 2 Fluidised reators for Rowaphos or carbon.
The outlet from the fluidized reactors then feed the “new” final section (which was my water change chamber). This final chamber now houses Mineral Mud and hopefully soon a whole load of Algae. This section I had to drill myself to bring into play.Skimming
Skimming is controlled a Aquamedic 5000 Shorty. Calcium/Alkalinity
Calcium is added using a Schuran Jetstream 1 which I’m well pleased with, this is added 24/7 using a dosing pump. (Co2 is only on during daylight hours though)
Kalkwasser is added via a Altec Omega dosing pumping water through my KS5000 Kalkwasser stirrer. This is only added between 2300pm and 10.00am due to a dramatic drop in PH at night if I dont add it this way. Lighting
Lighting is currently 4 * 400 watt affairs (Spiderlight reflectors, Coralview Electronic Ballasts and Coralview 10k lamps) and 6 * 40 watt Antinic Tubes.
Lighting period = Halides 15:00pm to 21:00pm (6 Hours) Antinics 09:00am to 23:00pm (14 hours)
I have had zero negative effect since dramatically reducing my halide lighting period, this was done for 2 reasons:-
1) I read somewhere that corals can only absorb so much light
2) Electricity costs are getting ridiculous.
As said I have had no negative effect and I have been running the lights this way for well over 3 months this way now. The Electronic ballasts were another attempt at cutting running costs.Circulation
Circulation is substantial and details follow:-
10 * Tunze Turbelle Stream 6100 (Output: 4000 - 12000 l/h each) There is also flow via my closed loop through my chiller this is via an Eheim 1060 (Output: 2280 l/h) All the Tunze equipment is electronic controlled via the Tunze 7094 Multicontroller with 2 extension blocks to accommodate 8 pumps, which I use to Pulse the flow throughout the day.
As can be seen Each weir hold 4 streams, 1 points downwards and acts as my reefclean / reverse undergravel type system).
The reefclean was my idea, as in my old tank I felt the sand was not really deep enough for a true DSB, I therefore put runs of glass along the base of the tank to support egg crate. All rock is then on top of this egg crate, creating a 1 inch void below. The plan was to then cover the remaining egg crate with smashed rock etc, which I did initially but hated the look when I started getting my hair algae probs. I have now removed this rubble and replaced it with coral gravel, which has fallen though the egg crate BUT because this is only at the front of the tank really doesnt matter. I will in turn then (when the cyno has backed off) cover this gravel with sand. Again this is all for aesthetics and only hides the egg crate at the front of the tank.
The other 3 blast water into the tank.
The other 2 streams have come about because I used to have 2 Tunze Turbelle Comline skimmers but decided they didn’t work for me, so I stripped the Turbelles out and converted them to 6100’s and then gave the remains away to a friend for spares. Thus I now have 10 * 6100 streams.
I’m kind of thinking of a wave box next but am not sure it will work well with my weirs.
Also the wiring is a nightmare as Tunze always seem to provide way to much cable.Temperature Control
Temperature control is more of a problem in the summer due to the 4 * 400 watt halides and the closed hood. I quickly discovered that I would need a chiller, I therefore use a AquaMedic Titan 2000. This keeps temps to a max of 26c. The chiller itself is a great bit of kit. I have one 300 watt heater in tank just to prevent a critical drop in temperature if something went dramatically wrong, but that said I never see it on. Top Up
Anyway as previously stated water is topped up from the pure RO tank using a Altec Omega dosing pumping but on route passes through the Aquamedic Kalkstirrer. This is only done at night by use of a digital timer. Water Chemistry
All perfect except Phosphate which usually hovers around 0.03mg/lFeeding
Mix of flake (about 6 different types of flake / pellet and cyclops all placed in one big pot, shaken like hell) and frozen (prefer mysis and red plankton but also make my own)Maintenance
The main maintenance is simple stuff like keeping the skimmers clean, topping up the Kalk Stirrer can be a chore and has to be done every 2 weeks.
Cleaing of the streams is well easy and only seems to need doing a couple times a year.
Also I have 2 huge vats (150 gallon each) in my Garage for water changes, these are connected but can be isolated from each other, therefore I could in theory complete a 300 gallon water change but have so far only been doing 150 gallon changes. (Due to the fact that I “HAD” a hair algae problem I have completed about 8 - 150 gallon water changes in as many weeks. This has cost a fortune in salt but has sorted the hair algae.
I could in theory make the vats part of the LIVE system 24/7 but only use this facility for water changes, they are linked to the tank via hard pipe and about 8 different taps for diverting flow etc.
No carrying buckets for me.Fish
I like my fish I do, hence I now have the following:-
1 * Cleaner Wrasse (had him for a few years, not sure what all this non hardy talk is about)
1 * Pajama Cardinalfish
1 * Yellow Tang (not mine, had 4 and so far managed to catch 3, this is going to a new home once finally caught)
1 * Algae Blenny
2 * Bartlett's Anthias (Xmas Island)
5 * Squamipinnis Anthias
2 * Coopers Anthias
3 * Pink Anthias
8 * Marcia’s Anthias
2 * Scribbled Anthias
2 * Pictillis Anthias
Therefore = 24 Anthias (6 different species)
1 * Niger Trigger
1 * Atlantic Blue Tang
2 * Wild Percula Clowns
1 * Hybrid Goldflake Flagfin angel
1 * Copperband
1 * Regal Angel
3 * Alleni Damsels
Total fish = 38 (well I did say I like my fish, I will continue to add more, I especially want to increase my Alleni Damsels to form a large shoal (so maybe another 20 of them).Corals
To many to list but I have I recon somewhere in the region of:-
30% softies (Mushies including Rhodactus (my favourite), Yuma’s (20 or so but find them pointless after spending a small fortune on them), Various Zoa’s.
40% LPS (Acans, Hammers, Torch, Frogspawn, Flavia etc)
30% SPS (mainly Monti of various colour / shade, and about 12 Pink Hystix of various sizes (all the same species though as I want the tank to look fairly natural in that you would not see 50 different acro in one tiny space in the wild) and a few Acros but I don’t seem to be able to keep them at the moment, so the ones I have are hardy, I generally don’t try to add Acros anymore.
So the tank isn’t really SPS, it’s a mix of all really.The Future
I am very pleased with my tank so far, bar the fact that I’m not that patient and just want it to grow.
There really is nothing I want to do to this tank now, its all as I want it.
Well except maybe trying a Tunze Wavebox.
Then its whether I decide to up sticks and move house, in which case I would probably have to sell the lot and try to quit the hobby (probably fail, in which case I would try for a 6ft wide tank of some sort).
September / October will be the time that we chose whether to put the house on the market, and since the tank takes up 25% of my living room then that will need to go prior to viewings……decisions decisions.Acknowledgements
The wife for not concerning herself with the financial aspect and for ignoring my abuse when “I” forget to do something resulting in a flood or whatever.
Mark @ Taunton Aquarium Centre, without whom I would not be in this hobby. I have absolutely no doubt about that. However I do wish he had less stock though, as I find it quite impossible to make the 160 mile each way trip and just go in for a chat, I always end up coming home with a box full of stunning pieces, made all the more easy as people just don’t seem to spot the acans etc that I do.
Haydn – for getting me obsessed with Anthias
Suk – For amazing generosity when I started this new tank by giving me loads of Hystix frags etc.
STD – For the loan of the fish trap, which allowed me to catch numerous tangs etc that I decided to move on, so I could add more Anthias.
The forums – a couple spring to mind, and what ever is said about either, they are both British (so more relevant to me) and have a vast amount of expertise to fall back on.