View Full Version : illumnae's SPS shallow reef

08/03/2017, 02:40 AM
Hello everyone!

I set up my SPS reef tank in early 2016, but have been plagued with problems since its inception - if it could go wrong, it went wrong some time during the past 18 months! I've had to reboot the tank several times due to problems as unthinkable as a friend's hands being "acidic" enough to drop my tank pH to 7.3 for hours simply by helping me to glue SPS colonies (it happened twice - whenever he stuck his hands into my tank, the pH dropped to 7.3 for several hours), and as mundane as being overrun by dinoflagellates.

This is how my tank looked like after my friend helped to rescape the tank and glue the corals (picture was taken sometime around Christmas 2016):

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4428/35510619794_ed80833bbd_h.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/W6Xd6q)2017-08-03_03-51-10 (https://flic.kr/p/W6Xd6q) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

Soon after that picture was taken, I lost all my SPS (suspected due to the pH dips) and the resulting reboot ended up in a dinoflagellate infestation, which resulted in yet another reboot sometime in April 2017.

Finally, it seems that things are settling in (knock on wood!) and my SPS kind of look happy. This is what my tank looked like at the end of June 2017:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4345/35537775453_92fe9b7bcc_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/W9mowr)2017-08-03_03-50-36 (https://flic.kr/p/W9mowr) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

I'm hoping that now that things are progressing well, I'll be able to finally progress in my journey with this tank :) This thread will hopefully document this journey moving forward.

Some details about the system:

Tank dimensions: 72" x 28" x 20"
Lighting: 5x Radion XR30 Pro G4
Return: Abyzz A200
Flow: 2x Maxspect Gyre 150 with new controller
Skimmer: Nyos 220
Calcium Reactor: Skimz CM152
Controller: Apex 2016

I'm currently using Fauna Marin salt for my weekly 10% water changes, and dosing the Tropic Marin Bio-Activ system (Elements A- and K+, NP Bacto Balance, Reef Activ and Reef Mud Vital). Bulent aka DiscusHeckel has been very very helpful in answering my many queries about this system.

08/03/2017, 02:47 AM
Here's a photo dump of some top down shots I took last night:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4298/35936917080_dbb196c496_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/WKC6qC)SPS 1 (https://flic.kr/p/WKC6qC) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4378/36333441575_54ff3838f4_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/XmEokR)SPS 2 (https://flic.kr/p/XmEokR) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4392/36196948391_07af01d467_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X9APF6)SPS 3 (https://flic.kr/p/X9APF6) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4305/36196948011_24d60a9e68_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X9APyx)SPS 4 (https://flic.kr/p/X9APyx) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4300/36196947761_fcbbc1218e_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X9APue)SPS 5 (https://flic.kr/p/X9APue) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4323/36196945661_80efc40c3b_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X9ANS2)SPS 6 (https://flic.kr/p/X9ANS2) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4406/35936915130_aa4dafb535_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/WKC5R1)SPS 7 (https://flic.kr/p/WKC5R1) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4348/36196948171_1336dece52_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X9APBi)SPS 8 (https://flic.kr/p/X9APBi) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4435/36196947391_b2d572f17d_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X9APnR)SPS 9 (https://flic.kr/p/X9APnR) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4374/36164706462_ed2e840ab0_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X6KzgL)SPS 10 (https://flic.kr/p/X6KzgL) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

08/03/2017, 02:49 AM
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4375/36196946821_6e9ce8b11c_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X9APd2)SPS 11 (https://flic.kr/p/X9APd2) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4398/36164706302_e46434c87d_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X6Kze1)SPS 12 (https://flic.kr/p/X6Kze1) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/15[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4355/36196946181_3e9781fbc0_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X9AP1Z)SPS 13 (https://flic.kr/p/X9AP1Z) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4338/35936912740_e8f5909158_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/WKC58N)SPS 14 (https://flic.kr/p/WKC58N) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4346/36164706052_7c797d9a8a_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X6Kz9G)SPS 15 (https://flic.kr/p/X6Kz9G) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4318/36164705622_1e961928f5_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X6Kz2h)SPS 16 (https://flic.kr/p/X6Kz2h) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

08/03/2017, 06:23 AM
The macro shots look very impressive. I have subscribed.

Good luck with your journey.


08/03/2017, 07:47 AM
Wow! Beautiful photos and gorgeous scape.
Your corals seem to be appreciating your new direction. They look extremely happy.
From now on, don't let that acidic friend of yours in the house!!!
He may be a mutant!!
Looking forward to seeing your system develop.

08/03/2017, 07:57 AM
Very nice indeed

08/03/2017, 12:17 PM
You may need to give your friend a nice gift of long rubber gloves! Lol

08/04/2017, 01:01 AM
The macro shots look very impressive. I have subscribed.

Good luck with your journey.


Thank you very much Bulent! The tank took a very noticeable turn for the better once I implemented the TM supplements as advised by you. I will keep persevering :)

Wow! Beautiful photos and gorgeous scape.
Your corals seem to be appreciating your new direction. They look extremely happy.
From now on, don't let that acidic friend of yours in the house!!!
He may be a mutant!!
Looking forward to seeing your system develop.

Haha, thanks Matt! Your tank, as well as Bulent's have been an inspiration for me on this journey. After much tinkering over the past 18 months, I have learnt the hard way that the corals appreciate less tinkering. It is a daily challenge to keep my hands away from the tank, but it's paying off.

I have told my acidic friend to stick to freshwater tanks, where acidity is appreciated moreso than marine tanks :lol2: He is a very talented freshwater scaper - he ranked very highly in last year's IAPLC competition.

Very nice indeed

Thank you :)

You may need to give your friend a nice gift of long rubber gloves! Lol

Haha, maybe I do!

08/21/2017, 11:01 AM
I apologise in advance for the shaky footage, some out of focus footage and inaccurate colour. This is my first time shooting and editing video, so I'm still learning how to use my camera for video taking. I also have no idea how to correct white balance like i do in Photoshop. For more accurate colouration please see my photos above. If there's interest in my tank, I'll definitely try to do better and make more videos :)


08/21/2017, 06:34 PM
looking fantastic! such good pe.
Where are you keeping your nutrient levels?

08/21/2017, 10:49 PM
Hi Matt, thank you... your tank is one of my inspirations :)

My nutrients settled at 0.2 nitrate and 0.02-0.04 phosphate. I dose TM Bacto Balance daily, and I can't seem to keep nitrates high without regular dosing. I dose 1ppm and within 2 days its back to 0.2. I've noticed though that no matter what system I run on my tank, I always trend towards low nitrates to high phosphate ratio. No idea why.

08/22/2017, 02:11 AM
I would increase fish population gradually and feed them moderately.

08/22/2017, 07:12 AM
Thanks Bulent! I recently lost a number of fisb due to misplaced trust in an lfs. Previously my bioload was very high (5 tangs, 2 swallowtail angels, 3 large anthias, hogfish, wrasse). I would find increasing feeding increased phosphate at a highdr rate than nitrate. Before I started Bacto Balance I was actually dosing 5 to 10 ppm of nitrate weekly to maintain detectable nitrates at 1 to 2.

However since starting Bacto Balance, nitrates settled at 0.2 without dosing and sps colours are not paling noticeably.

I'm working on restoring the livestock population, but it takes time as I collect rare fish

09/04/2017, 12:27 AM
So I've been dosing Reef Actif for a month, and Bacto Balance for slightly longer than that. My nutrients ratio is definitely not normal. I read that 100 no3 to 1 po4 is a healthy ratio to have, but my tank is settling itself at about 2-4 no3 to 1 po4. Even with dosing up to 10ppm of nitrate a week, I'm unable to raise my nitrates beyond 0.2 for any significant period of time. It drops back down to 0.2 within 3 days maximum. On the other hand, my phosphate bounces up and down between 0.05 to 0.1 - I see it drop and stay at about 0.05 for a couple of days, then without any change in routine it goes up to 0.1, then starts dropping again. If I increase feeding, nitrate stays the same and po4 goes up instead. I'm not sure how to adjust my ratio and maintain it at the desirable 100:1

09/04/2017, 11:05 AM
I did a fish spotlight video on one of the inhabitants of my tank :) It's a 5 stripe hogfish from Australia, and one of the most outgoing fish I have.


09/07/2017, 04:30 PM
Very nice collection of fish!
Hard to watch the bodianus with the gem tang and angels zooming around, though!
If I were you, I wouldn't try too hard to alter your nutrients (with n additions) while using a fixed amount of bacto balance..
It's designed to hold things steady..
Also, if your system is doing well and corals are happy- which they certainly seem to be- don't get too fixated on specific numbers. Your tank is doing well as is..
I think your only option for raising n while using the bacto balance is to use less of it.. and then maybe use some gfo on p.. or maybe using less bacto balance will only raise n and p may stay the same... not 100% sure about that.

09/08/2017, 12:40 AM
Thanks Matt! I've cut back on dosing N and instead mix a little Ultraphos in my carbon. I change the carbon weekly, so I can fine tune the amount of Ultraphos to what is needed.

Oh, and the angels got killed by the hyper aggressive zebra tang :(

09/08/2017, 10:58 AM
Ouch!!! :(

10/02/2017, 09:57 AM
Please join me in welcoming the latest inhabitant into my tank, Bodianus*sanguineus!* I've been wanting one of these since my Bodianus bennetti (previously Bodianus sp "Kimura"?) passed on, and thankfully Iwarna Aquafarm managed to source one for me from Blue Harbor Osaka recently.* Really good timing in light of the potential ban on collection of ornamental fish looming in Hawaii!* Sorry for the many dust spots in the picture, the fish just stirred up the sand!

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4507/37454621691_a7f9ab15fc_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Z4JJ8v)Hog 1 (https://flic.kr/p/Z4JJ8v) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4426/37454621401_cd48c7f7bb_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Z4JJ3v)Hog 2 (https://flic.kr/p/Z4JJ3v) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

Here's a recent FTS too to end off. Colours and stability in the tank are improving week by week. I'm really very impressed with the Tropic Marin Bio-Actif system. It's perfect for a newbie reefer like me to get a nice sps system going :spin1:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4506/36745278384_7d240d759c_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/XZ4a5u)FTS (https://flic.kr/p/XZ4a5u) by Yi Xiang Lye (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

10/02/2017, 10:31 AM
Beautiful fish and stunning fts!

10/02/2017, 10:55 AM
Thank you! He actually has a slightly deformed mouth, but he's eating well!

I actually have 1 more fish but he's being harassed by the eternally agressive polyzona tang. I won't announce him till he's an accepted member of the tank. Wrangy would love him, but I don't think he follows this thread.

My parameters are very stable now except kh for which consumption keeps increasing. I'm slightly over double the consumption of 2 months ago.

I'm still experimenting with the amount of FM Ultra Phos I'm refreshing weekly to maintain stable Po4 levels - it's currently 0.01 when Ultraphos is refreshed on wc day but rises to 0.05 and stays there by mid week. I don't necessarily want to maintain it so low but I want to achieve stability first.

Corals are not paling out despite nitrate being rock solid at 0.2.

No3: 0.2 (daily)
Po4: 0.01 - 0.05 (daily)
KH: 6.3 - 6.7 (daily)
Calcium: 440 (weekly)
Mg: 1410 (weekly)
K: 400 (weekly)

10/15/2017, 03:21 AM
Did up a video showcasing the equipment I use on my tank