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You are here: Home Volume XI May 2012 Feature Aquarium: The Reef Aquarium of Tomi Wittfooth

Feature Aquarium: The Reef Aquarium of Tomi Wittfooth

By Tomi Wittfooth Posted May 23, 2012 11:00 AM Pomacanthus Publications, Inc.
This month's Feature Aquarium comes to us from Finland. Tomi's serendipitous discovery of reefkeeping has culminated in his latest 570 liter (150 US gallon) reef aquarium. While his tank is still relatively young, its vibrant beauty is undeniable.

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I was introduced to marine side of aquariums purely by accident. I had ordered myself a new Dennerle 30l nano aquarium with all the equipment to make my own "amano-nano" as I wanted to try something new with an aquarium. By this time I already had 3 TOTMs at cichlid-forum.com (1 malawi and 2 SA tanks). However, I was sent only the tank and some very basic essentials such as a nano-thermometer, etc.  So now I had a whole month of waiting ahead and browsed through the internet for ideas and inspiration. All of the sudden I found myself at nano-reef.com and needless to say, all the freshwater nano equipment was later sold, still unboxed.

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The Beginning

My reefkeeping started happily with that 30l nanocube.  However, my appetite wasn't quite satisfied with this tank so a few months later I transformed my 225l SA cichlid / panaque pleco aquarium into a reef with HOB skimmer and a 6-bulb ATI T-5 fixture. This tank was sailing smoothly for well over a year until I decided to go all out with saltwater. I sold my 430l FW angelfish tank to make way for a custom 140x70x55cm, 570l (150 US gal) tank. And now just over year and a half later I am honored by the request to be featured here at Advanced Aquarist.  Seeing many of the past feature tanks this is truly a honor.

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Philosophy Behind My Tank

Having a laid back and borderline lazy personality, aiming for maximum growth (or maximum anything, really) has always been out of equation for my part. For me, this is more about pure aesthetics and providing the best care for the animals depending on me while not forgetting about passing down the respect for nature and its diversity.  Naturally, the corals grow and need pruning every now and then, but that really isn't a goal in itself but more of an indicator of doing things correctly (or close enough).

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Technical Side

Apart from the tank itself, most of my equipment has been purchased used or other cost-effective source. Stream pumps and lighting are from other tank tear-downs, sump tanks and ATO reservoir are from a closed-down LFS, etc. For me this has been a great way of upgrading and streamlining the system as it has shaped up during its existence.

Even after my two previous reef tanks, I didn't have all my wishes and goalscompletely sorted out.  This tank has given me a great opportunity to modify my equipment accordingly.  As an example of my evolution, take my cryptic refugium zone. My tank is placed partly under the stairs leaving little to no useful space on its left side.  I thought about extending the cabinet all the way under the stairs but thought it impractical to keep heavy salt buckets etc in such confined space.  So I plumbed in there another tank divided in two compartments. The bigger section is filled with live rock and sponges serving as a cryptic refugium to add filtration to the system and to preserve microfauna. The smaller section functions as a ATO reservoir refilled with a pump and hose so the lack of workspace isn't an issue.

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Tanks:

  • Display: 140 x 70 x 55cm (56 x 28 x 22 inches).  570 liters (150 US gal)
  • Sump: 70 x 50 x 40cm (28 x 20 x 16 inches)
  • Cryptic sump 50 x 40 x 40cm (20 x 16 x 16 inches) filled to the brim with premium LR filled with various sponges, worms, foraminiferans...
  • Main tank Plumbing:
    • drain 40mm (1 3/4 inch)
    • return 32mm (1 1/4 inch)
  • Cryptic tank Plumbing:
    • drain 32mm (1 1/4 inch)
    • return 32mm (1 1/4 inch) teed off of main return and flow controlled with 2 ball valves.

Equipment:

  • Tunze 7096 multicontroller
  • 2x Tunze 6105 stream
  • Tunze 6015 stream in cryptic tank
  • Eheim 1262 return pump
  • eheim 1048 and 1250 feed pumps
  • PhosBan 150 reactor for biopellets
  • PhosBan 150 reactor for carbon and PO4 remover
  • Weipro temp controller
  • Jäger 150W heater (double thermostats for redundancy)
  • Bubble Magus NAC7 skimmer
  • Bubble Magus MB-T01 dosation pump
  • Eco-Lamp KR93 200W LED
  • Arcadia 18W T8 refugium light
  • Gembird Silvershield USB programmable cord
  • Dual sensor ATO w/ 15gallon reservoir
  • Display tank overflow killswitch for return pump
  • APC Smart-UPS 750XL with additional APC battery pack
  • D-D 150GPD RO with DI unit
  • Emergency killswitch sensor to shut off return pump if water level rises in display
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Methodology

From the start of this tank, I've maintained pretty much same routines all the way:

Daily:

Feeding 0-3 times a day with pellets, flakes and/or frozen Omega One and Ocean Nutrition foods to keep diet varied. 1-2 days per week without feeding. Also, quick check in the cabinet to see temperature is within range and everything is working properly. Clean pumps as necessary.

Weekly:

Fill the ATO reservoir with saturated kalkwasser.  Also add magnesium to ATO water and empty/clean the skimmer cup.

Bi-weekly:

Change 60l water with 1.026 s.g. water.

Monthly:

Change out the activated carbon and PO4 remover from reactor. Prune macro algae in refugium.

Water chemistry has been stable during the past one and a half years with the use of "Mg enriched" kalkwasser and very frugal balling dosing (80ml/liquid/day) resulting in steady growth even with relatively dense SPS population. Also, since biopellets were introduced, my nutrient levels have dropped down to insignificant levels allowing for more generous feeding routines.

I recently changed from T5 (8x54W) to LED lighting and so far I'm very satisfied with it both for coral coloration and tank temperature.

Livestock

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SPS

  • Acropora yongei, gomezi, nana millepora, gemmifera, valida, echinata
  • Montipora digitata, danae, spumosa
  • Porites sp.
  • Pocillopora eydouxi
  • Stylophora pistillata

 

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LPS

  • Cycloseris sp.
  • Australomussa sp.
  • Blastomussa wellsi
  • Trachyphyllia geoffroyi
  • Lobophyllia heprichii
  • Acanthastrea lordhowensis
  • Symhyllia recta
  • Hydnopora rigida
  • Caulastrea furcata
  • Echinopora lamellosa
  • Favia sp.
  • Favites sp.
  • Catalaphyllia jardinei
  • Euphyllia paradivisa (not 100% sure on this)
  • Duncanopsammia axifuga
  • Turbinaria reniformis

 

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Softies

  • Ricordea yuma and Ricordea florida
  • Parazoanthus gracilis
  • Protopalythoa sp.
  • Zoanthus sp.

 

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Invertebrates

  • Entacmea quadricolor
  • Lysmata amboinensis
  • Alpheus parvirostris
  • Mespilia globulus
  • Linckia laevigata
  • Echinaster luzonicus
  • Wide range of bugs, pods, worms, snails etc. including a 7cm chiton

 

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Fish

  • Zebrasoma flavescens
  • Zebrasome xanthurum
  • Paracanthurus hepatus
  • 6 Pseudanthias squamipinnis (1.5)
  • 2 Amphiprion ocellaris (1.1)
  • 2 Gobiodon histrio (1.1)
  • 2 Pterosynchiropus splendidus (1.1)
  • Labroides dimiatus
  • Centropyge bispinosus
  • Crysiptera hemicyanea
  • Pseudocheilinus hexataenia
  • Atrosalarias fuscus
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Future Ambitions

I am very satisfied with the progress of this tank while still being somewhat concerned on whether I can manage to keep such a wide variety of growing coral colonies long-term. As I have no aspirations of going any bigger, it's just some species may have to go and give way for others to thrive and grow towards their LED sun. Whichever way things go from here, I wish that my somewhat humble setup manages to give inspiration for someone out there looking for ideas just as I was amazed on how such small tanks could mimic parts of the Red Sea and Indo-Pacific.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the staff and members of aqua-web.fi and nano-reef.com for all the advice and support I've received during my time in the hobby and for the inspiration to start with the salty side of life in general. Also, I would like to thank Leonard Ho for believing in this tank already a year back as having potential to be a featured aquarium in Advanced Aquarist.

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