Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Low Tech System

About eight months ago I decided to set up a low tech reef tank. Not a "getto" reef but one that has the basic elements of the traditional reef tank without all the bells and whistles. Live Rock (Tongan Branch and some Fiji rock), 100 lbs of Carib-sea aragamax sand, a sump with a Little Giant pump to recirculate water, two 175 watt 20,000k xm bulbs, 4x32 watt actinics, and nothing else. NO SKIMMER. I am using kalkwasser additions for my make up water. The Tank is a 150 gallon plexiglass tank with an overflow which runs from front to back on the right side of the tank. The tank is at least 15 years old and I had to buff the scratches and dried coraline algae off which took about 10 hours.
After going through the normal break in period brown diatoms to a little red slime I have reached the point of nirvana an algae magnet once a week. Well at least that is what I call my nirvana. How about you?
I have a breeding pair of Ocellaris clowns. I had them in another tank and moved them to the 150 and about a week later the female layed eggs. They have had that same ritual every two weeks for the last six months. And when I have the time and the patience I promise I will raise the fry up to healthy clowns that I can give to my friends.
The tank has five species of soft corals Cladiella spp., Sarcophyton sp., green Sinularia sp., Capinella sp. and green Nephthya sp. Also some red mushrooms Discosoma sp. and one purple and red Rhodactis sp. I have never seen this combination of color in a mushroom coralmorph before. I'll try to post a picture.
I am not going to bore you with my water chemistry stats. But they are with in all the generally accepted levels. And seem to stay that way as long as I do my monthly water changes and kalkwasser additions.

So if your looking for a simple and easy reef tank I recommend low tech soft coral reef tank.
Live rock,
Araganite sand,
Return pump,
A few animals,
and you are set.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Northcoast Reefers Should Be Renamed The Northcoast Beer Drinkers

Last Week I spoke at The Northcoast Reefers meeting at The Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa. It was a Monday night football night and there still was a good turn out. My talk was on reef aquarium books and magazines. It is not the most interesting topic but i think it is one that is over looked by many hobbyists. Books and periodicals like magazines and newsletters are great sources of information. Unlike the Internet (which you and I are both using at this moment) where there is so much information you can't tell if what you are reading is accurate on any of these sites and forums. You never know who is making the claim. On most sites with you should be skeptical even on my blog DO NOT EVER BELIEVE ANYTHING I WRITE ON THIS BLOG OR WHAT YOU READ ON THE INTERNET without checking out the sources yourself. If I make any claims I will provide sources.

Where was I ?... Oh ya books at the brewery. I wanted to bring a can of PVC glue and have everyone take a sniff so they could enjoy the talk just a little bit more. But judging from the feedback from everyone I didn't need it, or maybe it was all that beer ? I can't remember.

Books and magazine are great resources. I like to keep them around as references. Say I see this creature crawling up the glass of my reef tank and it is waving at me I know that I can always run over to my book shelf and pull out Anthony Calfo's Reef Invertebrates book and without fail he will have a picture and a brief description of this waving creature. The Charles Veron book helps me most at my work. We get these long lists of available corals from our wholesaler and it never fails that there are some corals that we are not sure what they are and most of the time I can find it in the Veron book.

Anyway I want to thank the Northcoast Reefers for putting up with me and hopefully I can do it again in the near future.

Keep on Reefin'

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Must See Event

I just found out that on October 14th Steve Tyree is going to speak at the next Bay area reefers meeting on coral propagation as a business. If you don't who steve is or whar he does check out his web site:

I will definately be attending maybe a few of us can car pool the 14th is a saturday and it starts at 1pm and the meeting is in hayward. For directions and more info go to
I am really looking forward to this the last time saw steve talk was I think back in 1996 at the San francisco aquarium society meeting i'm not sure. Check out Steve's web site it is great.

Keep on reefin'

Monday, September 25, 2006

I Love The Smell Of Skimate In The Morning

I was given this over sized Euro-Reef RC-500 by my boss at Caesars. It just did not fit right on the 300 gallon reef. So I took it home. It's an external model. But I am going to put in a sump. I have had a couple of these lg. external skimmers leak from the seals around the pump. I'm not going to let that happen again. I have used a number euro-reefs skimmers and love the ease of the plug and play design it's great. My favorite euro-reef model is their smallest it is the RS-80 it is rated to only +/- 80 gallons. But it will out work anything that is comparable to its size.
The last time I was impressed with a skimmer was back in 1984 when I bought my first Sanders skimmer. It was 30" tall and had two large lime wood airstones, a Dynamaster piston pump to run it. I remember thinking that it couldn't get better than this. Oh how time fly's when your messing around with your reef tank. If you have opinions on skimmer brands or anything else feel free to post a comment.

Keep on Reefin'

Friday, September 22, 2006

More Rants

I has been a while since I have posted anything it is amazing how life can just be so crazy. Now since everything has calmed down I am going to get back to business.
I wanted to remained everyone that the next Northcoast Reefers Club meeting is on Oct 9th at the Russian River Brewery on 4th st. In Santa Rosa at 7pm. I am going to give a talk on the variety of media that is at our disposal to learn as much as we can about reefkeeping. And how to wade through the B.S. that is posted all over the internet from the wantabe's on many of the chat forums to the guy's at your local fish store. By the way don't even believe the info that I post here go out and do your own research and then decide if you can deem it reliable. I am also going to bring a few speices of macro-algae to share. It should be a fun night.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Open Sharing of Information

Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with a long time friend who shall stay anonymous. He has been keeping reef tanks for well over 10 years and is now dealing in rare marine fish. He told me that he was finished with having people over to see his tanks because they just want to know where he got a certain fish or coral. Trying to find out his sources, and just pumping him for information about his techniques on reef keeping.
I respect his views but I feel that he is so wrong, communication between hobbyists is crucial. Of course he would not be where he is without other hobbyists sharing information with him.
So, I wonder were would the hobby be without the sharing of ideas anecdotal, scientific or just plain crazy ones.
Even though I have a background in marine biology most of my practical hands on info has come from talking to other aquarists and by trial and error with my own tanks and passing on what works and doesn't work.

I curious to find out what people think about this subject.

Keep on Reefin'


Monday, March 06, 2006

New Reef Club in Sonoma County

There is some very exiting news out of the Northbay. A new and I think the only reef club has formed called The North Coast Reefers. There has been a few meetings, one about every two months. It is my understanding the group is going to start meeting once a month. If you want to subscribe to their newsletter here is the link

The next meeting is March 10th at 7pm directions to the location is in the newsletter.
Hope to see you there.

I was at and I noticed that one one of there articles they had a pod cast about the article. It turns out there is a web site that is pod casting information on reef tanks it is really great! I encourage everyone to check it out.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Welcome reef geeks!
Most of the discussion will be about reef aquariums. But I may touch on many other aspects of the aquarium hobby from African Cichlids to Amano planted aquariums but I will mainly focus on the reef keeping aspect of the hobby.
I have been keeping aquariums for most of the thirty seven years that I have been walking and swimming on this wonderful blue orb we call Earth. I have kept most every type of fish at one time or another. And have tried every concievable method of fish keeping from reverse undergravel to the Ing method.
But this does not prevent me from learning new things everyday, that is what has kept me going for so long in this hobby.

My hope is to share Ideas and thoughts and get feedback from you the reader to create a dialog that will help us all become more aware of what we are thinking and doing in the aquarium hobby.

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