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You are here: Home Volume XVI June 2015 The Reef Aquarium of Jonas Roman

The Reef Aquarium of Jonas Roman

By Jonas Roman Posted Jun 03, 2015 08:00 AM Pomacanthus Publications, Inc.
Swedish aquarist Jonas Roman has established a marvelously successful 650 liter (170 gallon) SPS-dominated, heavily stocked reef primarily using natural filtration methods.



My name is Jonas. I have been devoted to this hobby since 1992. I have had several aquariums with different profiles, and this is my latest one: a SPS dominated, 650 liter reef, one year after start. Some inhabitants and corals are from my previous smaller aquarium, thus some species are around 2.5 years old under my care.

I am particularly interested in the underlying biochemistry.  I have always been fascinated by systems based mainly on natural filtration methods and have made an effort in writing some materials for my aquarium friends concerning biochemical issues.


System and Methods

Summary of equipment:

  • Skimmer: Bubble Magus Curve 5 (run only at night)
  • Biological filter system: DSB+macroalgae refugium and Bioballs/Siporax
  • Calcium reactor: Deltec PF601
  • Circulation: 3x Ecotech Vortech MP40WS regulated by Apexcomputer
  • Lighting: Pacific Sun Pandora (3x135W LED plus 4x54W T5)


  • Water change (15%) every 4th week
  • Activated carbon intermittently
  • Weekly cleaning of the mechanical filter
  • No additives
  • No GFO



The filter and water purification is based mainly on natural biological filtration in the form of a DSB and a Caulerpa macroalgae filter, both located in a refugium. The lighting of the refugium is reversed, thus lighting the macroalgae 12 hours at night to obtain higher pH at night.

I have minimized the skimming and only use a small skimmer (Bubble Magus Curve 5) at some hours during the night.

The Calcium and KH "issue" is solved by a Deltec calcium reactor (Deltec PF601).  At the moment, it is running only in the daytime to minimize the pH drop at night. The return pump is a Jebaco 6000 producing around 4000l/h, and thus this is also the circulation above the DSB.  Before the water enters the DSB+algae refugium, it passes a mechanical filter, and after that bioballs and Siporax to strengthen the biological capacity and make sure that the nitrogen cycle is completed in all steps.


I use no additives at all - no trace elements, no organic additives, only water changes of 15% every 4th week. I do not feed the corals but rely on heavily feeding the fish instead. I use some activated carbon intermittently. I use no GFO because my nutrients are very low already.

The circulation is handled by three Vortech MP40WES, regulated by the Neptune Apex cycling between a lot of different circulation programs during the day.  The Neptune Apex computer also monitors and regulates the rest of my system.


I sometimes submit water samples to Triton Labs for plasma-analysis (ICP-OES) to be sure I am on the "way."  My current water parameter is around:

  • Calcium: 425 ppm
  • KH: 8.5 dKH
  • Mg: 1350 ppm
  • Sal: 1.024 g/l
  • Temp: 25 C
  • Nitrate: 0.2 ppm (Salifert)
  • Phosphate: "0" (Hanna checker). 0.016 ppm (Triton ICP-OES-test)




I have a heavy loaded system with a lot of healthy fishes. No fish have died since i started.


  • Valenciennea puellaris
  • Amphiprion ocellaris
  • Pseudoanthias squamipinnis (10x)
  • Naso lituratus
  • Pomacanthus imperator (juvenile)
  • Acanthurus olivaceus
  • Zanclus canescens.  I have had my Moorish Idol for 8 months ago now :-)
  • Euxiphipops navarchus
  • Paracanthurus hepatus
  • Centropyge loriculus
  • Halichoeres melanurus




  • Euphyllia glabrescens
  • Montipora digitata, confusa, and spp.
  • Acropora millepora
  • Acropora formosa
  • Acropora gomezi
  • Acroporatumida
  • Acropora carduus
  • other Acropora spp
  • Clavularia viridis
  • Zoanthus spp
  • Acanthastrea spp
  • Turbinaria reniformis
  • Seriatopora hystrix
  • Porites cylindrica
  • Stylopora pistillata
  • Caulastrea furcata
  • Tubastraea sp.




  • Clibanarius tricolor (10-15)
  • Clibanarius diguiti (10-15)
  • Astrea tecta (~50)
  • Collospongia spp
  • Lysmata debelius
  • Hymenocera picta


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