April Tank of the Month
Shane Heil

Spectacular? Awesome? Incredible? Breathtaking?

That's it! Breathtaking is the word to describe this month's tank.  Shane Heil has captured the most alluring display of artistic design. This tank showcases the meaning of do-it-yourself. The self made custom built oak woodwork cabinetry is exquisite. When you add the actual interior of this incredible masterpiece, the whole package is ...breathtaking!!

Tank specifications: 120 AGA, 60L x 18W x 24H.
Lighting: Metal Halide 2 x 175w (10,000 K) VHO 2 x 140w (Actinic 03)
Photo period: _VHO x 12 hours, MH x 9 hours
Filter: Skimmer Make Turbofloater 1000 (run 24/7)Reverse Daylight RD refugium in sump DIY plenum under DSB
Additives: Kalkwasser (all top off is processed through a DIY kalkwasser reactor), Strontium, Molybdenum, Iodine, Magnesium, and others, but infrequently
Components: wave maker, kalkwasser reactor, top-off system, sump, etc.
Favorite / Unusual Coral: Purple Acropora
Favorite / Unusual Fish: Black Cap Basslet
Favorite / Unusual Invert: Long Tentacle Anemone hosting an 8 year old Ocellaris clown

Some questions to Shane from our presidency:

What is your feeding schedule?
Personally I think knowing how often they feed is quite interesting.  I am partial to the prepared, frozen foods. I generally feed two squares each day, one each from different packets. I counted last night - I have 7 different frozen varieties in my freezer. When I vacation or travel for work - I do not feed at all. My tank has went as long as 9 days without being fed. I add cyclopseeze about once or twice a week when I remember!

How did you hear about the club?
I heard about the W.M.A.S. through the reef tour. It had to be in 1995 or there abouts! (My first meeting was at the Tubing place if that helps to date my membership.)  I visited several homes that day, but the first to mention anything about joining the club was none other than Mark Petersen.  I wrote him a check on the spot and I have been a paid member on and off ever since. 

What do you like about the club?
What I really like about the club - both in the beginning and now - is the opportunity to talk with people who share my love of the hobby. People who are not addicted to reef keeping simply do not understand. You've seen the bumper sticker that says "Its a Jeep thing - you wouldn't understand." That's exactly how I feel about my reef. I'm sure non-reefers would cringe at the thought of spending $90 for a light bulb.  But not members of the club. They understand me - that's what I like most about the community the club offers.

What experiences and challenges have you had with your tank and what lessons have you learned?  Is there anything you do differently than others?
One lesson that I had to learn the hard way is not buying a pre-drilled tank.  I use a CPR overflow to route water to my sump.  It failed while we were on vacation. I have since added a powerhead with a venturi to remove accumulated air in the overflow. If you're buying a new tank and plan on adding a sump - make sure it it drilled.

I also built my stand purposely high. The bottom of my tank is 40" off the floor. I hated having to bend over to look at tank inhabitants. So - unless you have a love seat in front of your tank - build them high. Its just more comfortable that way.

One unique thing about my set-up is a 15 gallon top-off reservoir that I designed into my stand.  I placed a large drawer in the front of the stand and had an acrylic reservoir built to fit it (thanks Mike Berret). The water is pumped via a converted IV pump, through a DIY kalkwasser reactor, into my sump.  The reservoir holds enough water to keep my tank topped off for two weeks.

What do you do to care for your tank and do you have a maintenance schedule?
Water changes are infrequent at best. I shoot for a 35 gallon water change about every three months.  But that may or may not happen that often.  Water changes are by far the most work I put into my system and I just hate to do it. I use Instant Ocean salt mix - because I always have - not because I'm convinced other brands aren't as good.  Although I would be reluctant to
change because I have had great results thus far.

What are your thoughts on your lighting system and do you plan to upgrade or change it?
I am a member of the "can't have too much light" camp. Although my current lighting is sufficient, I am planning on upgrading my metal halides from 175w to 400w. This will give me a total of 1080 watts!

What does your "clean up crew" consist of?
Normal - snails, hermits, emeralds, peppermints, tiger tail cuke

What do you use for water circulation?
Return - SEN 900 w/ SeaSwirl
Powerheads: - 2 - MJ 900 on wavemaker- 1 - RIO 1700 on timer (on and off for 1/2 hour increments during lights on, off completely at night)

Shane has been in the hobby for 8 years. This tank is almost 4 years old. His occupation is Customer Relations Management. He lives in Brigham City and has been a member of the Wasatch Marine Society for (on and off) since 1996 years. Thanks for showing your tank, Shane! It is gorgeous!


You can also check out some cool graphs of Shane's tank parameters by clicking here!