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50-gallon Reeftank Setup

Tank Setup

S&S 50-gallon black back acrylic tank. Shares the same sump as a 29-gallon refugium.


Custom Sealife PowerCompact  2 x 96 watt hood. One 6700K and one 7100K bulb. Perfecto SHOlight 1 x 55 watt hood. One 7100K bulb. Photoperiod is 10 hours. Light comes on at 1:30 PM in order to coincide with when I'm home to view it and to control overheating during the middle of the day.


CPR CS90 overflow into a TidePool II sump. 5 tbsp (75 ml) of Marineland carbon changed monthly in drip trays of TidePool II. CPR SR4 skimmer. 45 pounds of Fiji live rock. Four-inch layer of Caribsea Seaflor Super Reef aragonite over a 1.5 inch plenum. Red Tang Heaven (Gracilaria sp.) is grown in the refugium for nitrate control. Refugium has a six-inch layer of aragonite over a two-inch plenum.


Two Hagen 802 powerheads are the return pumps for the sump. One pumps back to the 50-gallon. One pumps back to the 29-gallon refugium. Used Fluval canister filter elbows for the return connection for the 50-gallon tank. Sea-swirl used as return for refugium. Two Maxi-Jet 900 powerheads connected to Wavemaster Pro wavemaker at opposite top rear corners of tank. Powerheads point slightly upward and toward center of tank. Wavemaster Pro set to 4-hour cycle that switches among gentle, rolling and turbulent wave modes. Hagen 802 powerheads also hooked up to Wavemaster Pro. When feed mode is activated on the Wavemaster Pro, Hagen 802 powerheads and one Maxi-Jet 900 are shut off for 30 minutes There is still water circulation and surface turbulence in the tank, but food is not sucked into the overflow.


1 tbsp each of Reef Evolution Strontium, Reef Evolution Potassium Iodide and Peter Wilkens CombiSan is added every weekend. 1 tbsp each of Reef Evolution Strontium and Reef Evolution Potassium Iodide is added to the NURCE. 2 tbsp each of C-Balance Parts A and B are added every two to three days.

Water Chemistry

Temperature = 80 degrees Fahrenheit

Salinity = 1.026

PH, Calcium, Alkalinity, Phosphate, Ammonia. Nitrite and Nitrate only checked during first two months of tank setup. Observation of tank inhabitants provides feedback on whether water chemistry parameters are optimal.


5-gallon monthly water change. Reef Crystals or Instant Ocean mix and water heated and aerated with airstone for at least one day before water change. Powerheads in tank appear to keep rocks free of detritus. Credit card, plastic putty knife from OSH and Kent scraper used to scrape coralline algae on front of glass.


OSI Marine Flake Food, Hikari Marine Mini Pellets, Hikari Cichlid Gold Baby Pellets or Vibragro are fed every day. Ocean Nutrition Formula 1 once a week. I drop a Formula 1 cube in cup of RO/DI water, break apart the cube with a turkey baster, suck up the particles of Formula 1 and water and squirt it into the tank. Nori and Red Tang Heaven are fed to yellow tang. Wavemaster Pro has a feed button that turns off the sump return when feeding.

Reeftank Inhabitants

Fish: Three Green Chromis, One Six-Line Wrasse, One Yellow Tang.

Mobile Invertebrates: Hermit Crabs, Hairy Crab, Bristle Star, Astraea snails, Cerith snails, Nerite snails, Trochus snails, Peppermint Shrimp and Cleaning Shrimp.

Sessile Invertebrates: Light Purple Mushrooms (Actinodiscus sp.), Bright Red Mushrooms (Actinodiscus sp.), Brown Mushrooms (Actinodiscus sp.), Dark Purple Mushrooms (Actinodiscus sp.), Striped Purple Mushrooms, Large Green Button Polyps (Palythoa sp.), Flowerpot Coral (Goniopora sp.), Acropora Formosa, Stylophora pistillata, Pulsing Brown Xenia, Clam (Tridacna crocea).

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