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Postby davez104 » Sun 11 Sep, 2011 4:54 pm

The winner of the August 2011 TOTM competition is:

Quietelk with his beautiful SPS reef system.

Kindly donated by:

Aquablue Distribution


Quietelk has won:

$100 in Ocean Nutrition Foods



You can find out more about the winning tank tank in this Tank Journal
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby davez104 » Sun 11 Sep, 2011 5:04 pm



My first system was a 4' x 18" x 18" tank designed by Jem Aquatics in Canberra. Daggy fluoro tubes, Queen skimmer, trickle filter onto bioballs... but it worked really well and after a couple of upgrades (T5 lights, AquaC skimmer) it turned into a really great, if rather flubbery, mixed reef. Then the power blew :(.

Now I'm in the Blue Mountains just five minutes' drive from Salt Aquariums, so it seemed almost like fate that I should get back into the hobby. I grabbed a little nano cube to see how I could manage system care with two small kids, but pretty soon the bug had re-bitten hard, I was running at 150W MH over this 120L tank and trying to do impossible stuff with SPS... so an upgrade was necessary!



Enter this Dalbarb 3 x 2 x 2 system, on 22 December 2010. The idea here was to keep things as simple as possible and make this a "one plug in the wall" tank - no plumbing into the house, no drilling into the wall. The only changes to the house are two tiny holes in the ceiling for the Vertex Illumina's suspension kit.

I went for the three-footer as it precisely fits a space in the family room between two doors. It does mean I can't bolt on a refugium or anything as there's no space for a cabinet next to the tank.

If I'd had a bit more cash, I would have gone 3 x 3 x 2, as the space would fit that too. An upgrade one day maybe?

Since I got pretty good results without a sump on the nano, the sump on this system is pretty minimal - just a 500mm cube that exists as somewhere to stash the skimmer and heater, really. There's a bit of Matrix in there, sort of as insurance against a dead fish or other nutrient spike. And with 125L of volume, it's a good, well, sump for any overflow should I lose power.

The system has a traditional, old-school weir and return pipe on the opposite side of the tank. I know fancy boxes and coast-to-coast weirs are all the rage now, but I still think there's some value in having the return as far from the overflow as possible.

The tank is euro-braced as there's no hood or collar - that's because the Vertex is a slab of minimalist black awesome that doesn't need to be hidden away. The solid wooden stand is 1000mm high for maximum presence!


Aquabee return pump
Vortech MP40W main circulation
2x Tunze 6025 (probably redundant)
Deltec MC500 skimmer
300W heater
Vertex Illumina SR900 LED pendant
Tunze Osmolator top-up



I'm pretty sure there's less than 100kg of live rock in the tank. I wasn't really keeping track of how much I put in there. Could even be as low as 40kg I guess.

I also have some matrix in the sump, though any benefit it gives is probably in my mind!

I run a filter sock on the end of the return pipe to pick up a bit of gunk.


Clean the glass constantly. Probably four or five times a week. There's not much growth of algae that needs a scraper, but the glass dusts up really quickly - sometimes within hours of a clean!

I change out 60L of NSW every week.

The filter sock needs cleaning every week until it gets to a point where it clogs up again within 24 hours, then I buy a new one.

I empty and clean the skimmer max twice a week, often only once.



I feed a slurry of Reef Roids, frozen brine (the one with spirulina), a cap of amino acid / vitamin mix, and daphnia every other day.


I add 20g of Red Sea Reef Foundation B to the top-up water every time I refill the bucket to maintain KH - carbonate gets depleted VERY quickly in this tank. I add 10g of Red Sea Reef Foundation ABC+ to the sump every day. This seems to keep colours up and growth strong, though I am worried about a few colonies and may invest in a set of dosing pumps soon.



The glamour component of this setup - and the big equipment investment - is the Vertex Illumina SR900 LED pendant. It's awesome. I actually just run it using the default setting. That's a yellow dawn at 0800h ramping up to 100% white, 100% blue and 100% royal blue by 1000h. In the evening, white drops away by about 1900h and then it's an hour of deepening dusk until the royal blues go off at 2000h.

I know I can program all kinds of funky settings into this thing, but given the health of the stock at the moment I figure don't mess around with what seems to be working!


Siganus vulpinus (foxface)
Centropyge flavicauda (white tail pygmy angel)
Assessor flavissimus (yellow assessor)
Salarias fasciatus (jewelled blenny - calling him lawnmower is mean!)
2x Amphiprion ocellaris (one B&W, one natural)
5x Apogon cyanosoma (orange striped cardinals)
2x Anthias sp. (actual species unknown)
Gobidon citrinus (citron goby - a hitchhiker in a millipora colony!)
Paragobius lacunicolus (panda goby - another hitchhiker, haven't seen him for a while though)



Acropora sp.
Millipora sp.
Montipora sp.
Duncanopsammia axifuga
Porites sp.
Blastomussa sp.
Xenia sp.
A green brain I can't remember the scientific name of.
Lots of other bits and pieces.
Surprisingly resilient barnacles on rock and in several acro colonies.

I subscribe to the theory that having a bit of flubber - especially xenia - controls DOCs. I have a few acro colonies that came with softies attached. I figure this is the natural way and should be promoted. Xenia is easy to cut out - though it feels funny hacking away at coral that sometimes retails for $120! However, softies do eventually ruin the aesthetics of the aquascape as they grow so large so quickly. Frag and frag often!


4x Trochus sp. (snails!)
4x Strombus sp. (snails!)
Pair Stenopus hispidus (coral banded shrimp) - they spawn constantly
Quite a large mantis shrimp (10cm)
Many, many acro crabs of wildly different shapes, colours, sizes
Several small shrimp in acro colonies including a really cool red one
Many small burrowing shrimp
At least one very large pistol shrimp (10cm+)
I think there's one hermit crab left in there, I keep adding them but the mantis eats them all.
Scary black spikey-looking brittle stars
Enormous bristle worm or two.
Hundreds if not thousands of isopods, seriously they are out of control!



This little piece of paradise is not without its trouble. I'm currently concerned about a few coral colonies that have exhibited basal recession - none of the SPS in the top half of the tank has any problems, but some of the stuff at the bottom has struggled a little.

I had a nice goniopora that suddenly packed it in, but that's par for the course I guess. A big pink pocillipora I had to bust up and scatter around the top of the tank. The green montipora also lost most of its colour - though not on the rim where it's growing interestingly enough.

It's hard to decide on a course of action since overall the tank is really healthy and shows good colour and strong growth!

I also have trouble with the clavularia - which I like - far from being weeds as most people find, the two colonies I have go through phases of looking really great and then looking sort of withered. I pulled off a lot of nudibranchs over a period of several months so maybe there's one or two left... vigilance!

I am also undecided about the big mantis in the tank. He hasn't taken any fish or damaged corals, but he slaughters hermits and grabs other crabs when he can. I really like him, but I think he'll be on permanent probation, really.



All the stock in this tank comes from Salt Aquariums which quite frankly I wish all LFSs were like - clean, cool equipment, great stock. The tank is Dalbarb and beautifully made. Really though full credit has to go to Vertex - you totally get what you pay for with this pendant. For the price of a good computerised MH pendant but without the globe replacement costs, you get a very blue light that corals seem to love. And the simplicity of operation, low heat, and compact design is just fantastic.

So far so good - this tank has been easy to set up and cycle and has given me great results really fast. I can't believe it's only nine months old! I can't wait to see what it's like once it's three or four years! In fact I put most of the tiny problems with odd colonies down to the fact that this tank is still cycling, really.

One benefit of feeding Reef Roids is that I have really rampant sponge growth. Lots of species, including a yellow one that's grown so fast it's actually engulfed bubble algae! And the sump is filling up with feather-duster worms and colourless sponges really fast.

So all that remains is to thank the MASA gang for the honour of being Tank of the Month for August! And at the end of the day I hope my tank shows that you can get great results with only a couple of pieces of quality equipment, and a bit of old-fashioned diligence. Computers? Who needs 'em!

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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby nUm » Sun 11 Sep, 2011 6:19 pm

:clap: Congratulation

Rimless LED Cuboid (800x800x500) -- Reborn

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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby aufo8mycat » Mon 12 Sep, 2011 1:35 am

Congrats, beautiful tank!
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby 1dantheman » Mon 12 Sep, 2011 2:30 am

Nice great tank!!!!

Great work..!!!
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby Quietelk » Mon 12 Sep, 2011 2:08 pm

Thanks all! I've recently added a couple more colonies and had to do a fairly significant re-scape. Well, by my standards anyway! The left hand side has changed a bit and the green brain is more of a feature now because it's so nice.

I'll put up a new FTS in the TJ ASAP!
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby GrimReefer » Mon 12 Sep, 2011 3:49 pm

Awesome tank. love the mix of colours too!
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby mick777 » Mon 12 Sep, 2011 7:45 pm

Congratulation, well done and Very nice tank
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby teagleton » Tue 13 Sep, 2011 2:27 am

Well done mate beautiful tank indeed
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby galleri3090 » Tue 13 Sep, 2011 11:15 am

A beautiful tank, congrats.

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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby snik66 » Tue 13 Sep, 2011 12:29 pm

Wow thats awesome man good work! i wish my tank was that extra 1" wide!
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby jamesant » Tue 13 Sep, 2011 8:21 pm

Great tank.
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby Dan » Tue 13 Sep, 2011 9:00 pm

well deserved TOTM, always loved this tank. :clap:
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby Scutzy » Wed 14 Sep, 2011 10:42 pm

Stunning tank with such little equipment

Great work
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby marcus2529 » Tue 20 Sep, 2011 6:24 pm

Great looking SPS reef! Congrats on the win!
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby ClayLutt » Wed 21 Sep, 2011 6:00 pm

Great Tank love the colours!
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby oldsalty » Sun 02 Oct, 2011 7:13 pm

Conratulations on a well deserved TOTM
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby fishtales » Mon 03 Oct, 2011 7:28 am

Nice to see an uncomplicated tank. Well done!
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby koran1 » Mon 30 Jan, 2012 9:14 pm

congrats :thumbsup: looks great
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby Candice090 » Tue 21 Feb, 2012 8:24 am

wow this tank is amazing :) I can only hope that one day my tank looks half as good :)
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby lewy the tang » Sun 08 Apr, 2012 6:07 pm

Can somebody tell me whether a tank controller such as the reef keeper plus is needed for setting up a reef aquarium, because i'm afraid that if i don'y add one my new tank (that i am currently setting up) it will crash. :-s
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby Addict » Mon 30 Jul, 2012 1:02 pm

Have you noticed any stunting in growth or recession of your sps near softies? I've been noticing reduced growth of acro braches that are close to softies compared to the branches further away.
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby Bandit » Mon 22 Oct, 2012 12:48 pm

Now this is a tank to be proud of, and one that has given me a few ideas for my new one.

Thanks for sharing
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby Octo » Fri 05 Apr, 2013 3:20 am

WOW, mind blowing!
Starting to get the hang of this place
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby Damo » Tue 13 May, 2014 12:56 am

Congrats on winning TOTM.
Nice display, well done!
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby millotoli » Tue 13 May, 2014 1:02 am

was this in 2011?
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Re: TOTM August 2011 WINNER

Postby Raven » Tue 13 May, 2014 1:03 am

Lol yes. Wonder if the tank is still up.

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