Hardware and Maintenance


On November 4th, 2000, I purchased my setup from Reef Science in Danville, CA. Some of the smaller parts were purchased online from Marine Depot. Since the initial setup, I have changed a few things like replaced the protein skimmer and added a calcium reactor. Here is a list of the current components:

  • Aquarium - Custom 48x18x24 90 gallon Lee-Mar glass tank, 1/2" glass, Euro design with perimeter bracing
  • Stand/Canopy - Marine Systems 36" white washed oak stand with Euro doors, metal halide canopy (extra height)
  • Lighting - 48" retro kit, 2x55w PC Actinics, 2x250w 10,000K halides (Hamiltons made in Belgium), plus a small flourescent light for inside the stand
  • Sump - Custom Precision Marine acrylic with baffles and skimmer stand
  • Protein Skimmer - Precision Marine Bullet 1 (Becket injection), plus their small automatic shut-off waste collector
  • Calcium Reactor - Geo dual-chamber reactor with 5 lb CO2 bottle and Precision Marine regulator/solenoid kit
  • Substrate - 100 lbs live sand plus 13 lbs of Garf Grunge
  • Live Rock - ~200 lbs Fijian rock
  • Chiller - 1/4 HP Aqua Logic with coil
  • Heater - 200w EBO Jaeger
  • Pumps - Main pump is MAG 12, skimmer pump is MAG 12, calcium reactor pump is MAG 2, four Maxi-Jet 1200 powerheads inside tank, one Rio 800 for refugium system
  • Controller - Neptune Systems AquaController II Backlit, with pH, temperature, and ORP probes, plus 4 X10 controller modules, calibration fluids, and their AquaNotes Windows software
  • Automatic Top-Off - Vertical mount float switch inside sump connected to a solenoid switch and an Aqua Fx Barracuda Model 100 4 Stage RO/DI System which gets water from the kitchen sink
  • Refugium - Do-it-yourself (DIY) fuge made from a 3 gallon rubber bucket from Home Depot, a Rio 800 to push water up into the fuge, some PVC parts drilled into the side of the bucket to gravity flow the return water back into the sump, a Lights of America fluorescent bulb for the light source, and a few inches of Southdown sand for the substrate
  • Testing - Salifert test kits for Alkalinity, Nitrate, Strontium, Magnesium, Phosphate, and Silicate, Red Sea test kits for Ammonia, Nitrite, and Calcium, plus a North Coast Marines refractometer
  • Chemicals/Additives - Amquel Dechlorifier, Instant Ocean synthetic salt, and the following additives: Two Little Fishies' Iodine, Kalkwasser, and Combisan as necessary
  • Camera - Nikon Coolpix 950
  • Miscellaneous - two 4" fans for the canopy, plumbing, Tunze magnet, micron bags, three powerstrips, titanium probe, fish net


Maintenance is a key factor in the success of a reef tank. With that in mind, I perform the following tasks:
  • Daily - Feed fish with blended mixture of O.S.I Marine Flake / Julian Sprung's SeaVeggies / Formula Two / Nori seaweed / Selcon Vitamin Additive, add 25 mL of DT's Live Phytoplankton or Two Little Fishies' MarineSnow and if not they are not available use ESV freeze-dried Phytoplankton
  • Every week - Replace micron bag and foam blocks in sump with clean ones, empty skimmer waste collection cup and clean skimmer, feed anenome with piece of squid or shrimp soaked in Selcon
  • Every two weeks - Add carbon for 1-2 days
  • Monthly - Test water parameters, download data logs from AquaController, prune macroalgae growing in refugium
  • Every six weeks - 10-20% water change with Instant Ocean synthetic salt (and three weeks later add 5 mL of Iodine or 25-50 drops of Combisan), recalibrate pH probe
  • Every three months - Clean Becket injector on skimmer, check TDS reading on RO/DI system water output
  • Every six months - Replace calcium reactor media
  • Every Summer - Increase the tank temperature range by two degrees to reduce the load on the chiller
  • Every year - Replace metal halide and actinic bulbs, add a refresher detritivore kit for the sand bed
  • As needed - Clean green and coralline algae off glass, check that corals aren't knocked over, blow sand and detritus off corals and rock with eyedropper, add Kyolic garlic extract to fish food (only for ich treatment), clean dried saltwater off bulbs, clean intake on chiller from dust, clean intake on fans in hood from dust, refill CO2 bottle for calcium reactor

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