our reef tanks

We have five reef tanks in our home: a 240-gallon, a 55-gallon, and three 29-gallon. The 240-gallon is our new showcase tank, as automated as we can get it. The 55-gallon is the oldest tank; it's had life in it in one form or another for 12 years! The 29-gallon tanks fall somewhere in the middle, little pieces of reef tucked away in various rooms in the house.

Click here to see our picture gallery.

living room 240-gallon
Age: 11 years and 6 months
Lighting: eight 55-watt power compacts, four 250-watt metal halides
Filtration: deep sand bed, live rock, skimmer, refugium
Notes: This is a big-ass tank. We got it a few years ago, but let it sit while deciding what the cabinet should look like. Lots of work went into preparing the space for the tank. The tank is a Tenecor 240 gallon reef-ready acrylic tank. The tank itself is supported on a stainless steel stand we had custom made for this purpose. The floor has been reinforced to support the weight. Around the tank, we had custom wood cabinets built. You can see a chronology of the tank setup here.

Below the tank is a custom 50 gallon sump with refugium and EuroReef CS8-2 skimmer. Also below the tank is a ReefTek dual chamber calcium reactor, ReefTek Nielson reactor, Tunze osmolator, Tunze Stream TS24, RedSea 200mg/hr ozone generator, and 2 Little Giant 3MDQX-SC pumps. All of the equipment is on X10s controlled by the AquaController II, which is hooked up to a computer housed in a side cabinet. Above the tank are the lights; it got so hot in there that we had to cut a hole in the wall and install a fan to vent the air outside. We also have a  AquaLogic 1/3 hp Delta Star chiller, which we'll be putting in a "chiller hut" on the other side of the wall. We'll probably move the pumps out there, too.

Current fishy residents of the tank include a powder blue tang, a purple tang, two orange-spot (pretty prawn) gobies, and two percula clowns. We've also begun a healthy collection of corals: gorgonians, brain, hammer, frogspawn, candy, zoanthids, star polyps, xenia, alveopora, montipora, a few leathers, and acropora. Most of these are frags that we hope to grow over the next few years. Other inverts include cleaner shrimp, starfish, astrea and nassarius snails, blue leg hermits, sea cucumbers, and clams.


bedroom 29-gallon
Age: 6 years
Lighting: Two 55-watt power compacts (one actinic, one 50/50)
Filtration: plenum, Fluval 403, live rock
Notes: This tank currently houses a small sailfin tang, two chalk basslets, and a bi-color blenny.  This tank fell victim to a crash and a power outage and is just now being restocked.  There are a few candy canes, mushrooms, and polyps that survived as well. The Fluval is running phosban and is there mostly for flow. The tank is currently in an embarrassing algal state that we're working on cleaning up. The pictures below are a couple years old, from before the crash.


living room 55-gallon
Age: 12 years
Lighting: Two 110-watt URI VHO fluorescents (1 actinic white, 1 super actinic), two 175-watt 10k metal halides
Filtration: Live rock, Fluval 403
Notes: This tank has seen many ups and downs over the years, including a few unfortunate crashes. This was the reef tank until the 240-gallon came along. It's currently on light duty, housing a couple of anthias, a lawnmower blenny, and a yellow gorgonian that didn't like the light in the big tank. It had a 20-gallon sump with Berlin skimmer until it was moved to make way for the big tank. We'll probably improve the filtration, turn the MHs back on, and turn it into a clam and/or SPS tank. The below pictures are a few years old, from before the move. Unfortunately, the fish and coral in the pictures did not survive a power outage we had a few years back.


dining room 29-gallon
Age: 6 years
Lighting: Four 20-watt NO fluorescents
Filtration: Fluval 403
Notes: For a while, this tank housed some buttons and mushrooms. Now it's fish-only, and just has a couple of firefish and a royal gramma. The pictures below are a few years old, when we also had a squirrelfish and a couple of damsels.


family room 29-gallon
Age: 3 years
Lighting: Two 55-watt power compacts (one actinic, one 50/50)
Filtration: deep sand bed
Notes: This one only really got going recently. All of the rocks are aragocrete. The rocks were cured in freshwater for weeks before putting them in the tank but it still spiked the pH, so we waited for a while (um, years) before actually stocking the thing. The bookshelves were built to accommodate the tank. Current residents are three green chromis and some snails. This will probably be pretty sparse and serve as a growout, quarantine, or overflow tank.


April 13, 2004