October 2010 - Murray & Gemma Stiles (GemmaS & Semillon)

Congratulations to Murray and Gemma Stiles on winning TOTM for October 2010 with their Red Sea Max 250.

Murray and Gemma are known as Semillon and GemmaS on the RTAW forums and you can find out more about their tank in their tank journal.





This is our first venture into the keeping of marineorganisms after keeping numerous cichlids as well as a planted freshwateraquarium. We started researching information on marine aquariums around a yearago and got this tank started 4 months later.  We Chose a Red Sea Max 250 for our display asit seemed like a decent size for a beginner just learning their way. Inhindsight the RSM 250 would be more suited to an experienced aquarist lookingto keep a specialised anemone tank rather than a tank for beginners.


The Tank.

As stated, the tank is a Red Sea Max 250, which measures 960 x 552 x 665 mm with a volume of 250 litres. Thissystem comes standard with a 6x39W T5 lighting fixture that we have found to besufficient for our mixed reef. The only issues we felt we needed to address withthis system where the lack of flow and a means of keeping the tank cool.


We’ve retained the built infiltration of the RSM which allows for surface skimming of the display waterand also allows the protein skimmer and return pumps to be concealed from view.

The system contains 35kgs oflive rock and a shallow sand bed to provide biological filtration. Theeternally temperamental RSM 250 protein skimmer is still inservice since we felt there is no point in heavily modifying an "all in one" setup. There are two sponges that are in place to stop micro bubblesfrom exiting the skimmer, these also provide a fair amount of mechanicalfiltration as well.


Water Flow.

 The RSM is fitted standard withone 1200lph pump and one 2400lph pump for circulation. We have supplementedthis with a Vortech MP40WES.  We like to mix it up a bit with the flow, when out of the house I like Nutrient Transport mode to really clear out any detritus from the tank, though when we are around we tend to run Reef Crest (100%) or Lagoon mode (80%) since its quieter. Night times is usually Lagoon Mode (100%)


The lighting is the standard RSM fitting, but we havechanged out the bulbs to the following configuration.
x3 39W ATI Blue Special
x2 39W ATI Aquablue
x1 39W KZ Fiji Purple

We run these lights for 10 hours per day.


Other Equipment.

The only other equipment we have added so far is a Hailea 250A chiller. It has been reliable so far, if a little noisy.

Water Parameters.

SG: 1.0255 (Refractometer)
Alk: 8.5dKh (Salifert)
Ca: 400ppm (API)
Mg: 1380ppm (Salifert)
PO4: 0.00ppm (Hanna Checker)
NO3: 1ppm (API)


Additives, Conditioners and Maintenance.

We run Rowacarbon - 1 cup, semi-passively in a  ~2000L/hr flow section of the filter chamber.


x2 Amphiprion ocellaris (ClownFish)
x1 Centropyge bispinosus (Coral Beauty)
x1 Cirrhilabrus condei (Conde's Fairy Wrasse)
x1 Nemateleotris magnifica (Fire Goby)
x1 Pseudochromis porphyreus (Purple Dottyback)
Salarias fasciatus (Lawnmower Blenny)
Synchiropus splendidus (Blue Mandarin)
x1 Zebrasoma xanthurum (Purple Tang)



SPS: Various Montipora and Acropora
LPS: Various Acanthastrea, Echinophyllia (Chalice), Euphyllia (Hammer,Frogspawn, Torch), Lobophyllia and Scolymia.


x1 Tridacna maxima clam
x1 Lysmata amboinensis (Redline Cleaner Shrimp)
x1 Entacmaea quadricolor (Bubble Tip Anemone)
x1 Strombus Snail
x3 Trochus Snails
Many turbo snails



On a daily basis we manually top up using RO water, usually2-3 cups worth. We also dose 110mls of Randys Two Part Recipe #2 to maintainour calcium and alkalinity levels. The fish are also fed evry day.

The display glass requires cleaning twice a week with themagnet cleaner.

Weekly maintenance consists of a 20L water change usingartificial salt water. Our salt of choice is D-D H2)cean salt. We also cleanskimmer cup and neck, clean the bubble trap sponges, rinse the carbon media bagand clean any salt splash from the lighting. The corals are fed a mix of frozenrotifers, cyclopeeze and Tropic Marin Zooton/Phyton at this time.



Thanks to everyone on the forum who has answered our manyquestions over the last 12 months, especially those who frequent the RTAWchatroom or have put some effort into populating the Reefpedia with usefulinformation. Special mention to Michael (galleri) and Ben (n0rk) for answeringso many of our questions!