Coral Reef Setup

Coral reef tank and storage shelves

Here is my tank and equipment. The tank is a 65 gallon All-Glass aquarium and stand.

As you can see, under the tank wasn't enough room and I expanded into a Economy Hardware shelving unit which happened to fit into the space. Between the additives, test kits and books, it's quite a mess.


The tank uses 3 inches of live sand, 80 pounds of Philippine live rock and a CPR BakPak 2R protein skimmer for filtration. To maintain circulation, I control two Hagen 802 powerheads with protective cages with a Red Sea WaveMaster Pro wavemaker. This setup provides convenient feeding button that turns off the skimmer, and a calmer water setting for night time.

Lighting is provided by a Custom Sea Life 2x96 watt PowerCompact fixture. New bulbs are always too bright, but after a couple months I can turn up the lights to 10 hours a day plus an hour of actinic light each for dawn and dusk. Normal lamp timers control the light fixture.

I use SeaChem Reef Plus, Reef Iodine and Reef Complete and Mark Weiss Coral Vital and Live Sand Booster to maintain coral growth. I feed the fish and invertebrates a mix of Formula One, Formula Two, Sweetwater Zooplankton, frozen Mysis shrimp and Marine Snow. By alternating the type of food, I've found the animals stay healthier and more interested. Heck, I wouldn't want to eat the same thing every day! And a side benefit is that Coral Vital really does control marine ich. My tank has both ich and oodinium in it (it's hard to keep them out), but between the shrimps and the Coral Vital it stays mostly dormant.

Cleaning the tank is pretty simple. Every week I use a Kent Pro scraper (a must-have for coraline algae removal) to clean what the snails haven't managed to get already. Then I use .5 micron filtered water and Instant Ocean to change 6 gallons. By changing approximately 10% of the water every week, I can create a more consistent environment than changing 30% every month.

Haplo and the coral reef tank

Comments? Questions? Contact l x s @ m a c . c o m.
All pages copyright ©2000-2012 Alexandra Ellwood.
Last modified at Saturday, April 28, 2012