Tank Of The Month

Snappy's Mixed Reef Tank

First I would like to thank AquariumPros for featuring my humble glass box this month and for this opportunity to share a little of my Reef and few of my thoughts with others. I have always been fascinated with the ocean and the vast and diverse life forms we find there. It truly is another world and I love this hobby that allows us to keep a small piece of it in our homes. I apologize for the poor camera skills and picture quality but hopefully you can still get some idea of what I have been busy doing over the past 16 months. I have a real love for all corals. The fluorescent colours and movement of softies and LPS, the awesome formations and vibrant colours of SPS, all continue to amaze me. This hobby has been an evolution for me and still continues to evolve. I have had my ups and downs, my trials and errors, all which together has brought me to where I am today…… “The Mixed Reef.”

130 gal display tank
approx 350 lbs of live rock
30 gal acrylic sump

Water Parameters:

Temp- 27 C
SG- 1.025
PH- 8.1
Amonia - undetectable
Nitrites - undetectable
Calcium - 425
Alk - 8 DKH or 3.2 MEQ/L
Mag – 1250 ppm



My lighting is a 6' Hamilton fixture with 3 x 175 watt 10 K MH's and 2 x 30" 96 watt power compact atinics.

Lighting Schedule:

MH's on: 8:AM
MH's off: 10:PM
Atinics on: 8:30 AM
Actinics off: 11:PM
This 15 hour schedule gives me more time to work and play with my reef and since I am only using 175's my hope is that any lack of light intensity is in part made up by an extended photo period. The corals seem to thrive under these conditions.



1-yellow tang
1-blue tang
2-blue mandarin (M&F)
1-yellow coris wrasse
1-six line wrasse
1-coral beauty angel
1-royal gramma
1-bi-colour blenny
1-false percula clown
2-black false percula clown
1-yellow tail damsel
1-blue devil damsel
1-4 stripe damsel
4-green chromis (1M&3F)
1-purple fire fish
2-watchman gobies (M&F)
2-banggai cardinals
1-red serpent star
1-black brittle star
1-red spot star
1-sand sifter star

4-skunk cleaner shrimp
1-fire shrimp
1-peppermint shrimp
?-snails (hard to put a number)
1-rose tip bubble anemone
?-acro-crabs (most of my acro’s have one)
1-anemone crab
1-coco worm
2-hawaiian feather dusters
*-christmas tree worms
1-red tunicate

2-tridacna crocea
1-tridacna maxima

I have over 150 pieces of coral and many that I don’t know the name of.
I will list what I can, some Latin, some common names and obviously there are many sub-species, especially in the SPS catagories:
Green star polyps

Candy canes
Open Brains
Pagoda cups
Sun Coral
Plate coral

Mycedium Elephantotus
Montipora cap.
Monipora Digitata


For the past 25 years or so, which is about when I saw my first captive reef display at a store, I have wanted to have a reef of my own. About 17–18 years ago when my cichlid aquarium sprang a leak, I decided I would shut things down. Knowing I would eventually get back into the hobby I told my wife I would settle for nothing less than a salt water set up. Well in October 2004 my saltwater plans finally started to become a reality and I had a custom tank made. I had no experience in saltwater but I knew it was what I wanted. The learning curve was huge.

I have evolved a great deal throughout the process and have a good chuckle when I see the picture of my original 2 month old set up. I hope you find it entertaining as well.

I started with corals that had less light requirements as I thought PC lighting would be all I would ever need, as it seemed pretty bright to me. Well in July 2005 I upgraded to MH so I can try my hand at a couple of SPS corals.

Needless to say, I fell in love with SPS and couldn’t settle for just a few. My reef continues to be a work in progress and I have a sincere passion for the hobby.


My system is run old school and low tech with no calcium reactor or auto top off.

Aqua Medic Turbofloater 5000 Shorty Protein Skimmer run by 2 Ocean Runner 3500 needle wheel pumps (1 in sump, 1 external)

18 watt sterilizer

Fluval 400 run through the sump with carbon

Tank is fed by an Ocean Runner 6500 returning through a 1.25" line split to each side.

I have 5 power heads located throughout the tank to create a random flow.

I also use a 200 micron pre-filter sock plumbed to the overflow pipe in the sump to help water clarity.


I perform a 10-15% water change on a weekly basis, empty the skimmer collection cup bi-weekly, top off with approx 2 gal of fresh water daily. All other maintenance and chemical additions are done as required.

I also stay busy with a few other aquariums:

20 gal frag/seahorse tank

33 gal preditor tank (green wolf & snowflake moray eels, blue spot puffer, picasso trigger, misc crabs)

65 gal acrylic bow-front African cichlid tank


Fish are fed a mixed diet daily. The feedings are rotated with 3 varieties of flakes, pellets, Brine "super" shrimp, mysis pe, cyclopeze. I sometimes add in some "nori" however as a general rule there is fresh fresh algae growing that the grazing fish are kept pretty busy and well fed.

Corals are fed a mixed diet as well but every 2nd evening. It is also rotated with a variety of phytoplankton, "combo-vital", cyclopeze, oyster eggs and "reef roids". Some of my LPS and the RBTA are also given an occasional meaty treat, but there is no particular schedule for these feedings.


I once again want to thank AquariumPros for this opportunity and honour.

As my reef starts to fill up for me it is nowhere near the end. I am always on the look out for rarities that I can trade for or purchase as the evolution of my young reef carries on. The rate of growth in many corals is astounding so I am continuously grooming and pruning which leads me to a whole other part of this great hobby, frags. The fun just never stops.


Click on images to enlarge

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