So you may have already seen pictures on the gallery of my aquarium. But I decided to also create a thread which outlines my progress, as well as
give everyone a chance to ask me questions and the such.
So first how did I get here.....Well I have been into reef tanks for a long time, starting with a 30gal, moving to a 46gal, then I had my 120gal for a
while. And the newest on the list is the 180gal. This is after about 10 to 12 years of experience. The tank measures 6ft x 2ft x 2ft. It is lit
with 2x250watt MH, 1x400watt MH, and 2 VHO actinic lights. The sump is about 75gal, and in that about 50gal is occupied with water (mostly fuge
First the old 120gal tank (old photo too):
And then we have the new tank setup dry:
And then add some fancy pumps....The panworld's ended up being a bit load. Two of them have been replaced with Velocity Posiden PS2 pumps which
contains no fan. They move slightly less water, and run hotter (thus increasing the temprature of the water). But they are dead silent. I plan to
eventually replace the third pump with a panworld as well.
Two of the pumps feed the return out of the lower aquarium to the upper...the third one feeds the skimmer which is the only real filtration on the
The RO/DI unit can only output 50gallons per day. It is an extreme form of filtering water which requires passing water over a membrane and then
using osmosis to provide the filtration. So it took a solid 5 days to fill up the system so that it can run.
Then I siliconed in some dividers in the lower aquarium (sump/fuge) to direct water flow. This prevents bubbles from getting sucked up into the
display tank. You can see I have started to add some algae to start the fuge (which is used for nutrient export as well as a place for no predators
so the bottom of the food chain has a place to thrive)
And then you can see the skimmer running. The skimmer works by using a property that proteins will stick to the outsides of bubbles. So it creates
tons and tons of very small bubbles. And by doing such, as they float up they create a foam of nasty at the top. We collect this nasty and get rid
Added a few pieces of rock to start as a source of colonizing the bacteria necessary for the nitrogen cycle. I also at this time painted the back of
the tank black with an acrylic paint. This is just for astetics, and was something hard for me to decide on because of the way it reduces light in
the tank. Beyond just being black, having something painted to the back changes the way the glass naturally reflects.
After that I added more rock. Some of it new, some of it from the old tank. This rock had lots of dying stuff on it. This dying crap produces
ammonia, which pollutes the water. But it gives a source of food for bacteria that is the start of the nitrogen cycle. This amonia will be converted
into nitrites (also very toxic). But then other bacteria will eventually convert the nitrites into nitrates. And eventual even that will get broken
I also started placing the rocks, trying to figure out a layout I want. Also seeing what I like/dislike with the rock pieces I am working with.
After that it was a long waiting game. I purchased two MP40w pumps for circulation. These pumps send a magnetic field through the glass to power a
propeller on the other side. One of the largest reasons I choose them is the power consumption. These two pumps total use about 50watts. Any other
solution I would consider would be closer to 200watts. They also have nice features in that they are constantly changing the current and surging up
and down. They communicate wirelessly to each other so that they can adjust the power in unison to produce more wave like motions.
Then it was weeks of waiting, waiting for the nitrogen cycle to complete so that I can safely add fish and corals. It took a long time for the
bacteria to establish because on type wont establish until the other's are finished. Once I was at 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites, and 0ppm nitrates I
was able to move the livestock from the old tank. You can see it is a lot more full and different looking now.
What's next? More waiting, need to make sure that everything is stable and good. But in 4 to 5 weeks I plan to buy a lot more corals. These
corals will be introduced early so that they can start growing with the rest of the colonies. I don't necessarily want tons of different kinds of
things, but I want big colonies of what I do have.
There are two fish I still want to purchase also. A mandarin and a yellow clown goby. The mandarin will have to wait till the aquarium is
established. They refuse to eat man made foods, and thus it's food must naturally be produced in the aquarium (in vast quantities too).
I plan to update this thread and keep everything up to date as it evolves. Until then, feel free to post any comments/suggestions/questions!!