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.