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October 2007 - Jack Tanner (jft) PDF Print

Congratulations to Jack for winning the MASA Feature Tank of the month, for October 2007.

You can read up more about Jack's (aka jft on RTAW Forums ) tank in Jack's 5x2x2 Reef Tank Journal Thread.



I'm relatively new to the hobby, I started out with a nano tank and 2 clownfish in an all-in-one unit inspired by 'Finding Nemo'. My girlfriend and I soon realised that we needed a much larger tank if we were to keep all the fish we wanted- particularly tangs. So, a few months later while my parents were on holidays a 5x18x18 tank was snuck into my bedroom. The tank was a pretty basic setup, t5 lights and no sump. The tank consisted mainly of soft corals, and while it was relatively aesthetically pleasing, it was inconveniently setup.
When my parents decided to move house, I started to plan the 5x2x2.This tank would be built from the mistakes made from setting up the 5x18x18.


The tank is a standard 5x2x2, which is 540 litres in the main display. I have a standard 4ft sump which is roughly 110 litres which equals a total water volume of approximately 650 litres. The tank has been set up for approximately 10 months now, so it is still very young. The tank is situated in the TV room, so the stand height was designed so that the tank could be easily viewed sitting down on the couches.


The amount of live rock is unknown, but to guess would be in the vicinity of 100+ kilo's. There is also a couple of large base rock pieces, used to build the foundation of the live rock structure, as well as a milk crate to provide a safe haven for the fish.

The sand bed is very small, only about 20mm. I never really liked the idea of an in-tank deep sand bed, but required some sand for the look I was trying to create. The extra height gained from not having an in-tank deep sand bed also gave me more possibilities in aquascaping and coral placement.

The majority of my filtration is housed in the sump. The first chamber houses the syphon/durso outlets, with the outlet of the syphon feeding into a bag of carbon. This first chamber also houses my AquaC EV-180 skimmer. The second chamber houses my remote deep sand bed/refugium/sometimes frag section. The refugium is home to a few species of Caulerpa. The refugium is lit 24/7 by a quad 2ft T5 light. The third and final chamber houses my return pump, which is a 3,100lph pondmaster pump.

Water Flow

Water flow is delivered from 2 x Tunze Stream 6100's controlled by a Tunze multicontroller 7095. Supplemental flow is provided by 2 x modded Tunze nano 6025's. The return pump has an in tank flow of 2,500lph after head loss which provides flow for behind the rocks. The overall tank circulation is approximately 50 times turnover of the display volume per hour.


The tank is lit by 2 x 250w metal halide lights, and 1 x 150w shop fitter halide. This was a recent upgrade from the previous 3 x 150w metal halide setup. The 250w halides run XM 15,000k globes, whilst the 150w halide is a cheap no brand 10,000k. The lighting schedule is as follows:

9am: Left 250w halide turns on.
9.15am: Middle 150w halide turns on.
9.30am: Right 250w halide turns on.

9pm: Left 250w halide turns off.
9.15pm: Middle 150w halide turns off.
9.30pm: Right 250w halide turns off.

Other Equipment

Top up is provided by a 30 litre custom built reservoir to fit next to the sump. This is filled with Kalk, which is mixed in 2 x 200 litre grey water tanks in the garage using an RO/DI unit. Cooling is provided by a single desk fan blowing across the waters surface. I am currently in the process of making up a quieter fan option using 8 x 80mm PC fans.

Water Parameters

Calcium and Alkalinity are tested almost daily, as I am still getting used to the tanks daily consumption. Specific Gravity is the only other measure tested on a regular basis, and is tested weekly. Ph and Phosphate is tested on a monthly basis. Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate haven't been tested for 6 months as they gave consistent undetectable results for months.

Typical test results are:

SG: 1.026
Calc: 440 ppm
Alk: 9-10 dKH
Phosphate: Undetectable
Ph: 8.2
Amm: Undetectable
Nit: Undetectable
Nitra: Undetectable

I have never tested for Magnesium, but will be in the next couple of weeks.

Additives and Conditioners

The only additives I use are Kalk for top-up, damprid for calcium, and bicarb for Alkalinity. I will soon be sourcing cheaper alternatives for calcium and alkalinity as my tank is consuming greater amounts.


1x Valentini Puffer (Cathigaster valentini)
1x Papuan Puffer (Cathigaster papua)
1x Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens)
1x Yellow-eyed Kole Tang (Ctenonchaetus strigosus)
1x Sailfin Tang (Zebrosoma veliferum)
1x Bicolour Blenny (Ecsenius bicolor)
1x Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia)
2x Occelaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
1x Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica)
1x Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)
1x Mandarin (Pterosynchriopus splendidus)
2x Chromis (Chromis viridis)


Acropora sp
Montipora sp
Pocillopora sp
Stylopora sp
Seritopora hystrix
Sarcophyton sp
Blastomussa wellsi


1 x Redline Cleaner shrimp Lysmata amboinensis
40 Cerith sp snails
100+ Turbo sp Snails
Heaps of crabs in the SPS colonies
1 x Friendly but creepy Mantis Shrimp (species unknown)


Initially water changes were performed religiously every week, usually around 15% each time. Once levels stabilized, water changes became less frequent, more like fortnightly to monthly. The current water change schedule is once every 2 months. I found water changes stressed my corals too much in terms of the temperature drop, and the RDSB and refugium took care of nitrates and phosphates. A water change does give me the opportunity to gravel vac the sand bed, as well as clean out some detritus that settles in the sump.
The glass is cleaned once a week, or as needed. Coralline is scraped using the scraper attachment as needed. Usually once a forthnight.
Damprid and Bicarb are dosed daily, at a rate of about 10tsp of each per day.
Fish are feed a combination of Hikari mysis, New Life Spectrum Pellets, Krill, Marine Dinner, and Nori.


I'd firstly like to thank RTAW for picking my tank as 'tank of the month'. It is an honour, as there are so many great tanks on this forum. I'm looking forward to my tank growing out in the coming years, and this is a great motivation for me to keep striving for growth and colour.
I'd also like to thank Reeflections and Seca Marine Life, the vast majority of my corals are from these stores. The staff are always helpful and offer great stock at great prices.
Finally, a thank you to my girlfriend Bonnie, who always looks after the fish while I'm too busy concentrating on the SPS! Thanks for the support, and letting me spend a lot of time and money on the hobby. I promise, it's nearly time to just sit back and enjoy it.

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