1200g Reef (2003-2008)
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02-10-03 Lee Read Jewelry
I am happy to share what I do with everyone as long as they understand my underlying philosophy. I believe you should question anyone that tells you there is only one right way to do anything. I believe there are 500 right ways to do almost anything, there are just ten million wrong ways to do the same thing. I remember what it was like when I started and how I wanted to know exactly what equipment and techniques other people were using. I will give you viewers as many specifics as possible, but as you know there are may ways to accomplish the same results. Please feel free to include this information along with the photos of the tank.
The tank sets in the middle of a 10,000 square foot jewelry store. It was set up in January of 2000. The tank is 1 inch acrylic and is twelve feet long, four feet wide, and three feet tall. Because it is viewed from 360 degrees the overflow is in the rock column in the center of the tank. The water travels approximately 40 feet through a 6 inch pipe under the floor to the support room where there is a 150 gallon sump. The total system is approximately 1200 gallons.
The tank was set up using 600 pounds of rock from the Utah desert seeded with 300 pounds of rock from Fiji and Samoa obtained from Harbor Aquatics (www.harboraquatics.com ask for Joy). The desert lace rock was soaked in saltwater for 4 months before the tank was started. While I am intrigued with the live sand filtration process, because the tank is so deep and the access so difficult the tank has no substrata of any kind. I like to vacuum out detritus and not having any sand makes that easy to do. Also with the tank being acrylic there is much less danger of picking up sand particles in the magnetic cleaner and damaging the tank. The biological filtration is provided by the rock. I run four Berlin XL brand 30 inch skimmers in the sump. I also run a 12 x 12 inch Poly-Filter by Poly Bio Marine at all times. These items are purchased through Champion Lighting (www.championlighting.com). I use titanium ground probes in both the tank and the sump.
The main return pump is a Dolphin 6850 and a Dolphin 5400 runs the four skimmers. The tank has four Rio brand 3100 and four Maxi Jet 1200 brand powerheads that are hidden in the rocks to provide water movement in the tank. All pumps and powerheads run 24/7. I run a Marine Life Aquatics Model CR-1500 calcium reactor. I monitor temperature, pH and ORP with an Octopus 3000. I have no wavemakers or doser. I use a simple fan to blow across the sump for cooling and two 300 watt Visitherm heaters for heat. There is no refugium and I don't use a denitrator.
Lighting consists of four, 4 foot VHO Actinic made by URI and two, 6 foot VHO Aqua Sun bulbs. All fluorescents are run by Ice Cap Brand Ballasts. These lights run from 7AM until 8PM. In addition the tank has four, 400 watt metal halide fixtures with a slightly shorter photoperiod. They run 10,000K German bulbs on Blue Line ballasts and they come from Champion.
Water temperature is 78 degrees, Specific Gravity is 1.024, pH is about 8.20 depending on the time of day. ORP is a minimum of 350. I have no idea what the other parameters measure. The only additive I use is a monthly application of Lugul's iodide solution. All water used in the tank is RO produced with "The Ultimate" style unit from SpectraPure. I use a boost pump on the RO unit and it makes a big difference in the efficiency of the RO unit. I use Crystal Sea brand salt.
The following is a list of the livestock:
One Powder Blue Tang (Acanthurus leucosternon)
Two Common Clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris)
One Rusty Dwarf Angel
Four Green Chromis (Chromis caerulea)
Two Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)
One Naso Tang (Naso lituratus)
Four Hippo or Regal Tangs (Paracanthurus hepatus)
One Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens)
Three Sailfin Tangs (Zebrasoma veliferum)
One Yellow Eyed Tang
One Blue Eyed Tang
One Fox Face Rabbit
Assorted Leather Corals (Sarcophyton)
Two Flower Pot Corals (Goniopora)
Assorted Mushrooms (Discosoma)
Assorted Snails (Molluscs)
Assorted Hermit Crabs
Five Brittle Stars (Echinoderms)
One Sea Urchin (Diadema setosum)
Assorted SPS Corals (Acropora)
I feed three times a week. I have found out the hard way that there is a direct correlation between overfeeding and hair algae. I feed one sheet of Seaweed Selects (Brown Marine Algae), then I feed New Life Spectrum (Marine Formula) until the fish are satisfied.
Under the heading of general husbandry I have found the most important thing I do is enjoy the tank. By that I mean I look at the tank everyday to see how healthy everything looks. Most tanks will have super sensitive fish or corals that are indicators of good water conditions. If I see these inhabitance not doing well I check the specific gravity, and may do a water change. I also don't lose a lot of sleep if something doesn't do well in my tank. If it lives that's great, if it doesn't do well I move it to a different light/current location, but that's about it.
We clean the inside of the tank every other day using "Mighty Magnets" from www.fishdudes.com. These powerful magnets are the single most important piece of equipment I have for keeping the tank looking great. But be careful, they are so powerful you can easily hurt yourself if you let them come together with you fingers in the middle.
When the tank was first set up I was doing a 300 gallon water change every month. After learning how much to feed I have reduced that to one 300 gallon water change per every 6 months. The most important step in getting the tank to the level it is now is also the least fun and that is about 18 months ago I quit adding new fish. I found that every time I put something in new I ended up with some sort of new disease and that was very frustrating.
As for problems, I will say that the growth of coralline on the acrylic surface is a constant headache. Once a month I have to use a metal scraper to keep this algae under control and I do pay a price with some scratches in the tank. The tank had a tendency to run warm when I first set it up but by adding several muffin fans in the hood I was able to avoid adding a chiller.
That's a snap shop of tank and how it works. I have found that every tank I have ever had is different and that this hobby is half science and half art.
Thanks again for your inquiry and for what you do for the hobby,
I'm sure you'll agree with me the 1200 gallon reef system in the above photos is spectacular! Larry Read's father started the Lee Read Jewelry business over forty years ago, and later moved it to its present location in Meridian Idaho.
Keep in mind that 99% of the coral animals are captive bred! Only the two Goniopora specimens are from the wild.
Larry also works with local schools by providing information on related subject matter and tours of his system.
My congratulations to Larry Read on a beautiful system and for taking time out from his busy business life to mentor local school children.