54 gal. Bow Front Corner Reef Tank
By John Fletcher “ReefAquarist”

Hi, my name is John Fletcher and I would like to tell you about myself, my experiences with the saltwater hobby, I am enjoying over the last 18 years.

I am from Coeur d’Alene, ID.  I began this hobby there, and for fourteen years continued, but not very seriously with a “fish only” tank.  Then the reef bug hit.  About four years ago I purchased a 54 Gal. Bow Front Corner Tank.  It began as a dominantly LPS (Large Polyp Stony) Corals and Softie tank, and was an up and down experience.  I had success, but also some failures.  However, it became a serious hobby slightly over three years ago when I moved my tank and my family 750 miles to Utah.  Just transporting the tank, it’s water and contents, was quite an experience (never stop quickly when carrying 54 gallons of salt water and contents in a Jeep)! 

Arriving in Utah, I located this club on the Internet and became a member; this year will make three years.  Joining has given me the opportunity to gain more education on Reef Aquariums, and share my knowledge with others.  I enjoy my hobby and find it relaxing and fulfilling.

As I stated earlier my current tank began as a LPS Coral and Softie tank, but for almost three years now, I have transformed it into a SPS (Small Polyp Stony) dominating Coral tank, making it a true “Reef Tank” in my eyes.  It begins with 3 to 4 inches of “Live Sand”, then an egg-crate, three-tiered shelf containing 45 – 50 lbs. of Fiji and Tongan Rock.  Upon these rocks sit over 30 different frags ranging in age from several months old to two years old.  I acquired most of my frags and new knowledge from Brad Danielson, owner of “The Aquarium”, in Sandy, UT (I am grateful to him for sharing these with me).  Among the 30 frags are: Acropora Yongei (AKA-Green Slimmer), Acropora Nana, Milliporas, Green and Pink Digitata, Army Green with pink/purple Edged Montipora Capracornius, Tan with purple Polyps Montipora Capracornius, and a Green Plating Montipora along with several unidentified species.  I also have the following fish and invertebrates:  a Citrine Goby, a mated pair of Percula Clowns, a Barnacle Blenny, a Purple Linckia Starfish, and several Hermit Crabs and Snails.

Ten months ago I removed the protein skimmer and filter floss from the back of the tanks filtering system (which is now used for circulation).  When I did this I had a huge algae bloom, particularly Hair and Bryopsis Algae.  It took 7 to 8 months for the tank to adjust, but to help assist in the process I placed two Lettuce Nutibranch in the tank.  This is not what I recommend for a beginner, but it is working for me.

Five bulbs totaling 440 watts of light, light the tank.  The five bulbs consist of 1, 175 watt (10,000K, Aqualine Metal Halide) on for ten hours.  The remaining 4 bulbs (3, 24” 75 watt and 1, 18” 40 watt) are VHO Actinic 03 lighting.  They are on one hour prior to the Metal Halide, and continue on for the ten hours during, then remain on for one hour after totaling 12 hours).  The hour before and after the Metal Halide imitates the sunrise and sunset.  For circulation I use 3 – Rio 1100’s.  I supplement my tank with B-ionic 2 part (calcium and alkalinity), Tropicmarin Strontium, and Kent Marine’s Expert Series Lugol's solution (bio-available) iodine.

 Maintenance consists of a biweekly 5 gal. RO water change mixed with Instant Ocean Salt.  I recently installed an auto top-off unit for evaporated water manufactured by Jon Finch (the tank evaporates about seven gallons a week, so this comes in real handy).  I clean the power heads about every two to three months and my son Jett and I clean the front glass with a magnet scraper.  This minimal amount of maintenance allows me to spend more time enjoying the beauty of my tank and not in the upkeep of it.  I also make my own fish food; part is solid and part I liquefy which allows the corals to feed.

 If you would like to come see my tank, please e-mail me at [email protected], I love to share. J 

Hope you enjoyed this information.

 John Fletcher “ReefAquarist”

More Pictures of John's Tank