90 gallon reef tank

I started my 90 gallon reef tank in April of 2000. I purchased this tank to replace my 75 gallon tank but I ended up keeping both tank and still have both of them as of January 2013.

This tank has had many different rock structures, many different corals and fish, even more different skimmers, lighting and other equipment.  It has also had many many battles with various bad algae and other pests including a battle with aptaisa.

I would like to say that I am finally settled down on equipment but that could change.

Tank and furniture

All Glass 90 gallon tank (48″x24″x24″)
All Glass pine stand

Current Lighting

AquaticLife 48 inch – 6 bulb T5HO fixture
The current bulbs, as of Jan 23, 2013, are from ATI which includes, 3 – Aquablue Special, 2 – BluePlus and 1 – PurplePlus.

Even though I have only had these bulbs for a few days now, I am very happy with the look.  The coloration is as close to the URI VHO bulbs that I used to run on my tanks many years ago.  The color is a crisp white with a gentle blue tint.  Pictures to come soon.

Reef tank lighting history

I have used many different types and light wattages on this tank since it has been setup.

From start until present:

1) Six – 48″ 110 watt VHO tubes.
2) Two – 175 watt 10kk metal halides.
3) Same as above with two 110 watt VHO tubes.
4) Two – 250 watt Iwasaki 6500k MH.
5) Same as above with two 110 watt VHO tubes.
6) Same as 4 & 5 plus two more VHO tubes.
7) Two 400 watt Iwasaki 6500k MH.
8) Same as above plus two then four VHO tubes.
9) Various 10kk and 20kk 400 watt MH.
10) Same as above plus two VHO tubes.
11) Back to Two 250 watt Iwasaki 6500 MH.
12) Two 250 watt 10kk XM MH bulbs.
13)Six – 48″ 54watt T5 HO tubes.

I’m sure I forgot a couple of other lighting setups in between but you get the idea.

Filtration equipment

2 x Amiricle hang-on overflow boxes with sponges
Amiricle wet/dry converted to a sump
AquaC EV180 protein skimmer with Mag 12 pump

I have used a couple of different skimmers on this tank since I started it. I ordered the AquaC unit when I bought the tank but I replaced it with a Precision Marine Bullet after about the one year mark. After using the PM Bullet for three years, I switched back to the AquaC because the Bullet was too hard to take apart and clean. The AquaC seems to skimmer as well or better than the PM Bullet and is much easier to maintain.

Water Flow

Mag 9 pump used as return from sump
2 – Tunze circulation pumps ( I cannot remember the model number but they are over six years old)
SureGrip 100 magnetic powerhead holder (these are awesome)


Neptune pH meter
Medusa digital temperature controller
Neptune Aqua Controller Pro – pH, ORP and temp monitor

One of my favorite devices is the Medusa temperature controller. You plug the heater in to the unit, set the temperature on the display and forget about it. I holds the temperature within two degrees and is much more accurate then the little dials on the heaters themselves.

Current salt

Reef Crystals – I have tried many other brands but Instant Ocean and Reef Crystals are what I always end up using.

Water change schedule

Not enough over the years but now five gallons every week.

Current tank parameters

Calcium 460 ppm
Alk 2.5 meg / l or 7 dKH
Salinity 1.024 SG or 32 ppt- a little low from where I normally keep it at 1.027 or 35 ppt but salt creep seems to be the cause.
PH 8.2 – 8.3
Temp – 79 most of the time but it does fluctuate down to 78 at night.

Past equipment

Koralin calcium reactor – worked well but hard to maintian
UV sterilizer – worked well at beating algae but hard to clean and expensive bulb replacement costs
Ozone generator – this might make a comeback but not at this time