By Bob Goemans
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Pieter van Suijlekom's Reef Aquarium Revisited

Authored by: James Gasta

In the February, 2006 issue of Reefkeeping Magazine, Pieter van Suijlekom's six meter, yes, six meter (19.5 feet) reef tank was featured as the tank of the month, truly a hard act to follow.

February, 2006 (HQI lighting)August, 2012 (Orphek DIF 100XP LED Pendants)
February, 2006 (HQI lighting)August, 2012 (Orphek DIF 100XP LED Pendants)

This massive aquarium has a total volume of 2,074 gallons. The tank itself is 1,582 gallons but a 125 gallon seahorse tank, 152 gallon frag tank, and a 264 gallon sump are incorporated into the system.

The front glass was bent by Teherode Glas located in Voorthuizen, Netherlands and is the largest size that would fit in their oven. The tank construction and set up was performed by Arie van Leerdam's company, Aqua Compleet.

The original lighting consisted of:

6 - 400 watt HQI 14,000K lamps

3 - 1000 watt HQI 14,000K lamps

4 - HO Phillips 140 watt actinic 03 tubes

The total light output consumes 5.8 kilowatts of power per hour. Without knowing the energy cost per kilowatt hour in the Netherlands, the average cost per month to run this system in the United States at 10 hours per day is nearly $250.00 per month. Obviously a less expensive means was needed to reduce energy consumption and Pieter recently chose 16, Orphek high output DIF 100XP LED Pendants to replace the original HQI lighting. Using the same figures for average U.S. energy costs, the energy use would drop to $67.20 per month, a yearly savings of nearly $2,200.00 per year while still providing the light output and a much better PUR spectrum needed for all Pieter's corals. This figure does not include yearly lamp replacement which in itself is a hefty expense.

Sixteen DIF 100XP LED Pendants are used to replace the original HQI lightingSixteen DIF 100XP LED Pendants are used to replace the original HQI lighting

Obviously a tank of this size requires a massive amount of water flow and this is accomplished by four Red Dragon in tank pumps with a total output of 48,000 l/h (12,672gph). Another pump rated at 30,000 l/h (7,920gph) is used as a wave maker and changes direction of flow every two minutes. The return pump from the sump is a 19,000 l/h (5,016gph) feeding four bulkheads. This represents a total flow rate of 97,000 l/h (25,608gph). These large pumps require operation by motor starters equipped with thermal heaters that trip if over current is detected.

The relay panel also consists of a GHL controller, DC power supply, and an APS (automated power supply) which in the event of a power failure will provide essential functions for the aquarium. The GHL controller provides the photo period as well as dimming functions for the 16 Orphek DIF 100XP Pendants.

What are Pieter's ideal water parameters? Pieter recommends the following:

Temperature – 24-26C (75-79F)

Salinity – 37ppt (1.0279)

pH - 8-8.3

dKH - 10.0

Ca - 450ppm

Mg - 1470 (The three to one recommended ratio with calcium is only 9ppm off on the calcium parameter, excellent!).

Some photos courtesy of Reefkeeping Magazine

(This article is provided by James Gasta who writes and generates blogs and articles for the Orphek website, James also volunteers his time as a crew member for Wet Web Media (

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