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 Ken's Reef Tank
Reef Tank Diary    Reef Picture Archives
blue damsel
Blue damsel

serpent star
Serpent Star


coral group
Coral group

reef 8/99

Tank: 29 gallon all-glass with cover, with a hang-on overflow box and a 15-gallon all-glass sump. (updates: sump changed to 10-gallon tank, refugium and propagation tray added.)

Filtration: Turboflotor skimmer, fed by a MaxiJet 1000 in the sump. 

Lights: 1 URI Actinic White (40 watts) and 2 URI actinic 03's (40 watts) run by an Ice Cap 430 ballast, under an Aqua Mirror reflector. The lights are run 12 hours a day, starting at  around 7pm to minimize heat buildup during the daytime. 

Temperature control: 1 Visitherm heater in sump, set at 78°F or 25.6°C, and 2 computer fans blowing into reflector. Temperature stays at around 82°F or 27.8°C. 

Substrate: Live rock from various sources, coral sand. 

Water: Instant Ocean salt mix at a specific gravity of 1.026, circulated by three MaxiJet 1000 powerheads controlled by a Sandpoint wavemaker set on the alternating current mode. Two of the powerheads are pointed towards front and center, and when they turn on at the same time the resulting turbulence is driven towards the back of the tank. The third powehead sends a current under the rocks from the left back corner of the tank. Water from sump is returned by a Mag Drive 700 pump and sent to a pipe pointing to the bottom right back corner of the tank. 

Additives: C-Balance, a capful each of parts A and B once a week. 

Livestock: 1 royal gramma (Gramma loreto), 1 blue damsel (Chrysiptera sp.), 2 yellow watchman gobies (Cryptocentrus cinctus), 1 pistol shrimp, 1 algae-eating crab, 2 banded coral shrimp (Stenopus hispidus), assorted Astraea and Turbo snails, blue-legged hermit crabs (Clibanarius tricolor), scarlet hermit crabs (Paguristes cadenati), 2 brittle stars, 1 red serpent star, 1 rock anemone (Phymanthus crucifer), assorted hard corals (Acropora, Blastomussa, Caulastrea, Euphyllia divisa, Leptoseris, Lobophyllia, Montipora, Porites, Pavona, Platygyra, Pocillopora, Turbinaria) assorted soft corals (Capnella, Lobophytum, Nephthyigorgia, Pachyclavularia, Sinularia, Xenia), assorted zoanthids, assorted corallimorphs

     Reverse osmosis filtered water is passed through ion exchange resins in a home made filter canister before being added to the tank through a pipe into the sump as make-up water for evaporation. About half a gallon is added daily. 

     The glass cover is washed weekly to remove dust and salt buildup. I prefer to use a cover to limit evaporation, and because some members of the household might be tempted to dip into the tank with curious fingers. I found a pacifier in the sump once! 

     The animals are fed with Vibragro once every day or so. Partial water changes used to be performed every week; these days I just siphon out the detritus in the sump whenever it looks like there's a lot of it building up, and add enough new seawater to replace it-- this is done every month or so, with maybe two gallons new water added each time. 

     This reef tank was started in 1996. However, most of the live rock and some of the corals were from a previous aquarium that were salvaged from a 60-gallon tank destroyed during the 1994 Northridge, CA earthquake. The survivors (the oldest being a colony of zoanthid polyps which I've had since the late 80's)  were established in another 60-gallon tank, but the tank never really looked good again until everything was eventually moved to this 29-gallon. For a while, VHO fluorescents lighting was used, but the corals didn't seem to like it very much and the colors looked pretty bad. They didn't start flourishing until the lighting was switched back to regular output fluorescents. 

     The tank has gone through minor stages of hair and bubble algae when it was first set up, until a sally lightfoot crab (disappeared 8/99) was added and another small crab that used to live in a Pocillopora coral head grew and moved out to graze on the rocks. These two seem to be the major grazers of hair algae in the tank, while the snails and hermit crabs eat diatoms and film algae. 

     An Aiptasia anemone problem was eliminated when I put in three Lysmata wurdemanii shrimps, but these shrimps in turn disappeared when I added a pair of Stenopus hispidus

     As of  July 1999, the Xenia has multiplied to the point where cuttings are being made weekly and the new colonies are traded in for other corals and supplies. The Reef Tank Diary will log what goes on starting July, 1999. 


 Copyright © 1999 by Kenneth K. Uy. All rights reserved.