Tank of the Month - January 2006

January 2006 - Tank of the Month
Gary Williams 

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1.  Your name, location and occupation. Include how long you have been an aquarist, how long you have been a WMAS member and how you heard of our club.

Name: Gary Williams
Location: Stansbury Park
Occupation: Kennecot

2.  Describe your tank. Acrylic or glass? Size in dimensions and gallons. How long has it been set up?

Acrylic / Glass: Glass
Size in gallons: 210
Age: (how long has the system been running) 2

3.  Describe your lighting system, including your photo-period. Add what you would change if you could.

Aquamedic Pendant
3 x 250w HQI 10K Metal Halide. These bulbs run 10 hours per day.
2 x 48w T-5 Actinic. These bulbs run 12 hours per day.

4. Describe your filtration system. Include: How deep is your sand bed, plenum, your skimmer size and model and how long you run it, your circulation pumps (how many and their size in gallons per hour), your sump/refugium  including Reverse Daylight, biowheels and skilters, HOT systems, clean up crew.

The filtration on this aquarium is traditional live rock with a  sand bed, with external refugium and skimmer. There is 210 lbs of live sand in the main aquarium and approximately 200 lbs of live rock. The refugium is a 75 gallon aquarium filled with macro algae. Half of the refugium is lit 24/7. Housed in the sump is a small Berlin skimmer. Also plumbed into the sump is a small UV sterilizer that is ran 24/7. An Iwaki 70 provides the lift to return the water to the main display tank and provides all necessary current.

5.  What are your maintenance techniques? Include water change schedule.

Maintenance on this aquarium is limited to two water changes of approximately 40 gallons performed each year. The glass in regularly scraped and corals are trimmed as necessary. Water to replace that lost to evaporation  (4 gallons daily) is provided via Kent Bare Bones RO unit.

6.  What additives do you use? Kalkwasser, Strontium, Molybdenum, Iodine, Magnesium, Other

CA  - Reef Advantage ( 8 tsp weekly)
Alk – Reef Builder ( 4 tsp weekly)
pH – Reef Buffer (as necessary)

7.  Describe  your feeding philosophy. Include your schedule, and what you prefer to feed your system?

8.  Stand and Canopy

Wood: N/A. The stand is steel.
Color: Black
Special Characteristics: The Aquamedic pendant is suspended from the ceiling using two thin wires. This provides easy access to the aquarium and gives a very nice look to the display. Using steel for the stand allowed options for the stand uses. In this case, there are shelves that are used to store toys for kids.

9.  Items of interest: Favorite or unusual Fish, coral, or invertebrate

Fish Include:

Green Chromis – 8
Bartlett Anthias (male) – 1
Bartlett Anthias (female) – 1
Purple Tang – 1
Blue Tang – 1
Mandarin Dragonette – 1
Yellow Tail Damsel – 4
Oscellaris Anemone Fish – 2
Gold Banded Maroon Anemone Fish – 1
Lawnmower Blenny – 1
Fairy Wrasse – 1
Mystery Damsel (non-chromis – Green Chromis) – 1

10.  Can you include a table showing your elemental levels of Ca+, alkalinity, S.G., temperature, pH and other interesting testables?

Water parameters tests – very irregularly.

11.  What experiences and challenges have you had with the tank? Any lessons learned? Is there anything you do differently than others (or differently than previously)? If so, why?
I've done marine aquariums since April of 2000, and one thing I have learned is that this is an experiment.  Sadly, there are losses but you have to accept them and learn from them.  I have read lots and lots from experts on the subjects of Marine Aquariums and Marine Fish, but still I have tried things that they suggest against.  That’s part of the excitement, proving them wrong, and trying to keep the really pretty things you want.  Most of the time they are right but I have had some successes with Moorish Idols and some corals.

I like being creative with the space that I have available where ever I live.  3 or 4 years ago I was on the Reef Tour and in my tiny studio apartment I had a 75 gallon tank with another homemade 12 gallon aquarium hanging from the ceiling above the 75. I now live in a great house with the perfect spot for my 210 gallon aquarium. I have gotten comfortable with the way I maintain my aquarium, I use the same supplements, and I don't try anything new anymore.  I am willing, but there just hasn't been much else worth trying.  I am a big fan of keeping more and different sea creatures, and I can never have too big of an aquarium.  Eventually I'm just going to have to live in the ocean.

My fish are always happy because I feed them, my macro-algae is always happy because I feed my fish, and my corals are always happy because my macro-algae is always fed because my fish are fed.  And if you understand all of that your name must be Adam. I think it is important to try and make this hobby as easy as possible and get some of the automated equipment - but work your way into it.  Don't buy it all at once and think that you can keep corals and fish now.  My most favorite item is the automatic top off valve that is hooked to my RO unit and sump.  I don't, however, think that you should skimp on the money end of things.  This can be an expensive hobby, but if you think you really need that UV sterilizer because your fish are dieing, don't buy another fish, wait till you can afford the UV sterilizer.

And lastly, I think some folks try to keep their water too clean, and think that by adding a cup of dirty water every once and a while, will feed the tank well enough.  This is just an opinion and my tank might crash tomorrow and I will have to re-think everything, but right now what I have got going is working for me.     

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