My 270 Gallon Reef Tank
Articles I wrote about saltwater topics.
- Using berghia nudibranchs to get rid of aiptasia..
- Choosing acrylic or glass for your aquarium.
- A beginners guide to saltwater.
- My True Percula clownfish are laying eggs.
- How I perform water changes.
- Dealing with cyanobacteria.
- The nitrogen cycle.
- Choosing a substrate (sand bed).
- Basics of a refugium.
- Setting up a 10 gallon aquarium.
- Thoughts on Purple Up.
In August of 2007 I transferred my at the time, existing aquarium contents into a new 270 gallon acrylic aquarium. Since then I have been adding bits and pieces to the system, changing out items for new items and so on.
My current setup consists of the following:
- A 270 gallon aquarium made of 3/4" thick acrylic. The tank has two drain pipes located in a back centered overflow box.
The Tank is euro braced to maximize the amount of light going into the tank.
- A 90 gallon sump made of 1/2" acrylic.
- A 75 gallon All Glass Aquarium (AGA), which is my refugium. It has a lot of Caulerpa prolifera and a deep sand bed.
The refugium is fed from the sump by a Mag9.5 pump and has an overflow box that drains back into the sump.
It is lit by a fluorescent light purchased at a hardware store. It has a number of daylight bulbs in it.
- A 20 gallon glass aquarium which is gravity fed by one of the display tanks overflow pipes.
It drains to the sump. The tank itself houses eight red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle).
The tank sits in front of a window. No electricity drives this tank. It has a deep sand bed with some mud mixed into it.
- ASM G5 protein skimmer in the sump.
I hope to be able to shut this down with the addition of an additional 75 gallon tank and a sump with an algae scrubber.
- Three 400 watt metal halide bulbs. Currently I am running 12,000k ReefLux bulbs. Bulbs are mounted in Luminarc III reflectors and powered by Sun System, Blue Wave magnetic ballasts.
- As for flow, I have two MP40 Vortech power heads and two Tunze 6100's providing me with about 12,000 gallons per hour of flow or roughly 70 times hourly tank turnover.
I know this sounds like a lot, but in tanks of this size it really isn't.
- A GEO 618 calcium reactor.
I try to keep the tank as basic as I can. I only use RO/DI water, I don't add anything. All additives are through water changes and the calcium reactor.
I learned early on to keep my hands out of the tank, and that the less I dumped into the water the happier everyone was.
Like I mentioned I have a plan to add an algae scrubber to the system. I hope to have it up and running in the not too distant future.
Before getting to that point however I have to move the refugium, create a stand and add a new 75 gallon tank. The algae scrubber will then be in a sump area under the two 75 gallon tanks.
Here a progression of my current tank since setup in the summer of 2007.
This first picture was taken during the week it took for the RO/DI unit to fill the tank with new water.
The tank was filled with live rock, corals and critters.
This was my initial aquascape attempt. It worked pretty good although I later remodelled the center and the corals were moved around some more.
The tank began settling in a bit. Plenty of algae from the move. Patience is the key here.
Lots of algae. At this point I began pursuing more flow in the tank. I had underestimated the quantity of flow needed in a larger tank.
Almost a year into the tank the algae begins clearing away.
At the end of 2008 the tank was beginning to look pretty good overall.
Easy to spot the four months of coral growth since the last picture. In this picture I have just finished replacing my sugarfine sand with a coarser kind.
The sugar fine sand kept blowing around as I increased the amount of flow in the tank.
I switched bulbs to 10,000k XM styles.
I may switch back but I like the natural look.
The tank has been on auto pilot for three or four months now.
There is some cyanobacteria that needs tending to.