|Hi, I am Scott Morell, a volunteer here at GARF. My 120 gallon was
taken down in 2007 in preparation for my new 150 gallon tall. Here
is the history page for that 120 gallon "Bullet Proof" reef tank.
I have been in Austin for the last 5 weeks working on my regular job. I have been a member of the Reef Central site for over a year now. Reef Central and the GARF site projects have kept me from going nuts in the hotel room, If you have never been to Reef Central, check them out. It is worth the visit: Reef Central
A couple of months ago I went over to a buddies house and saw his
tank. Overall, his tank is the best looking SPS tank I have ever
seen. He has been selectivly trading with others around the country
for great looking SPS corals. I have many SPS corals but for the
most part they are dark in color. He has some awesome lighter
colored corals that really stand out in his tank. I decided to
go for broke and do some major remodeling. I had all ready removed
many of my soft corals and decided to do some major fragging of the SPS to
make room for some new lighter colored SPS.
I had an SPS fragging party on Monday and we made over 100 frags from
the SPS corals. Below is the after picture. Many of
the frags went home with members of the local reef club. I traded
for some lights and a pump. The rest seen in the sump picture on the
right, will be going to GARF.
I have made some pretty good coral trades lately. Below are
four of my favorites that I got recently. The top two came from GARF
and the bottom two came from Mike Paletta. The white one below is
not dead... if you look closely you can see the polyps. I mounted on
plugs so I can move them around and find out where they like it
best. I hope they maintain the colors they have now.
I have been thinking of adding a single Metal Halide bulb on
one end of the tank where there is 12 inches that the flourescent
bulbs don't cover. I might get that done this next week......
It has been fun watching the coral grow. The two
pictures below show five months of growth.
I saw a buddy's tank this week end and was very
impressed with it. He has mostly SPS corals with very few
soft corals and the tank looks awesome!!! I showed Monica
some pictures of it and she liked it too. So I have now
have permission to remove many of the soft corals,
rebuild the ends of the tank and add different SPS
corals. I decided to have a "Soft Coral"
fragging party this afternoon and my Sump/Farming unit
has over 100 cuttings of different Sarcophytons and
Capnella corals. I fragged a total of 6 in all. The
cuttings will attach to the substrate rubble during the
next couple of weeks. Below are the before and after
pictures. You may need to look close, the mother colonies
were all placed back in there original positions except
for one. Have some mighty mad corals right now.
Individual pictures of the corals!
During the last couple of evenings, I have been taking
close up picture of different corals in the tank. All of
the pictures were taken with a Kodak DC-240 camera.
Here is a link
to those pictures.
The precariously balanced tumbling of rock!
Due to a problem with "Precariously
balanced" rocks tumbling down (2/5/02), I have done
alot of rearranging with my tank starting on 2/6/02. Here is a link that
details the process.
Below are the latest pictures of the tank. Things are
pretty ugly compared to what they were a week ago with
all the glaring white aragocrete. Within the next couple
of weeks the whiteness will go away as the bactreia
starts to grow on and cover the new rock. The two large
zoanthid covered rocks, that filled the middle of the
tank, went to GARF because they no longer fit with the
Click on the images to view the original larger image.
Let'em Grow She Said!
The tank has gone through many changes since June of
1999. I used to have many different types of corals. No
one coral was larger than the size of my palm. I was
propagating coral monthly to keep them from growing into
Last summer, my wife Monica and I saw a tank that had
fewer corals, but the corals were much larger. We were
very impressed with this setup. Monica convinced me ( I
fought it) to let the corals in our tank to grow larger.
As the corals grew there were many colonies taken back to
GARF to be used as brood stock. Others were either traded
or given to friends. The choice, of which corals to
remove, was tough because I wanted to keep them all. We
ended up removing most duplicate corals and those that
were similar to each other.
We are even happier with the tank's looks (Monica was
right as usual) and I am being selfish and refuse to
remove any more corals to make room. However, we are back
to doing the monthly propagation to prevent over growing
It's a hobby! Let's change something! Let's add more
Until January 25, 2002, the lighting, in this tank,
consisted of seven - 40 watt normal output (NO) bulbs.
There were eight bulbs at one time but I discovered water
and electricity don't mix well but that is a different
There are many different corals that can not only live
under NO lighting but will thrive under it. I had many
soft corals, small polyp stony (SPS) corals, and large
polyp stony corals that were doing great. However there
are many SPS corals, that I would like to have, that just
require more light.
Recently, I was able to trade some captive raised
corals (from this tank) for 2 VHO ballasts, 4 sets of end
caps, and four 110 watt bulbs.
I have the VHO lights on their own timers and I have
slowly increased the amount of time they are on each day
so I didn't stress the corals. After almost a month, they
are on the same amount as the NO lights were.
Currently (2/1/2002) the tank uses the following
||110 watt VHO Actinic White
||110 watt VHO Actinic Blue
||40 watt NO Actinic White
||40 watt NO Actinic Blue
|A fellow reefer, here in Boise, uses the same brand
of VHOs that I do except he uses the AquaSun instead of
the Actinic White. His tank is much brighter than mine,
mainly due to the AquaSuns (and he uses 8 VHO vs. 4 VHO/4
NO). We have traded corals, during the last couple of
weeks and now have at least twelve SPS corals that are
the same. We are going to compare the corals over the
next few months to see what difference the lighting
makes. This might not be a fair comparison since he feeds
differently than I do and he has almost 10 watts per
gallon compared to my 4.8 watts. However, I know it will
be something we will enjoy!
Who knows, in a couple of
years I might change to Metal Halides. After all it is a
The Color Difference with
The most noticable change, with the addition of the
VHO lighting, was the color of an acropora GARF calls the
"Paletta Blue". This coral, under NO lighting,
had a redish brown body with light purple tips. With this
coloring, it was one of my favorite corals in the tank.
After about 2 weeks of VHO lighting I noticed the
color of the coral had drastically changed. The body of
the coral was turning from a reddish brown to a deep
green color. The tips of the coral was changing from a
light purple to a dark purple. With this coloring, it IS my favorite coral in the tank.
The two pictures below show the changes in color. The
picture on the left was taken 9/6/01. The picture on the
right is of the same coral, mounted (after above
mentioned tumbling problem) in a different location, and
was taken on 2/11/02.
|About half of the SPS coral colors have been affected
by the chage in the lights. The Green Slimer is noticably
darker, the baby blue tip and the Bali stag #1 have a
darker body color. However I have seen no noticable color
changes with the pink bird,s nest, purple bonsai,
hydnapora, or the cat's paw corals.
Fragging the Green
Slimer to make more room!
The picture below left was taken on 1/30/2002. During
the months of January and February, I did a lot of
propagating (fragging) on the green SPS (Green Slimer top
right of the picture). You can see the growth on the
three top branches where the frags were taken in January.
Each scar has healed over and now branched into at least
three tips. One tip, where it was fragged, has branched
into seven tips! This has given me the idea that I might
be able to trim/shape it like a bonsai tree???? You can
see white scars on the bottom center of the green slimer.
These were from frags taken on 1/27/2002.
The day after the picture below (left) was taken, I
fragged the green slimer due to the fact it was crowding
the corals to it's right. You can see many of the frags
mounted on plugs in the picture below (right). The large
SPS on the top left was going to be the next one fragged
since it is also crowding surrounding corals. However the
entire tank has since been rearranged and it was not
|The two pictures below are some of my favorites of
the tank. These were taken in July 2001 when the tank had
only 40 watt lighting. Notice how much more vivid the
coloring of some corals are in the picture above, when
compared with the pictures below. This color change
started with the addition of the VHO lights.
|Tank size - 120 gallon glass aquarium 5' x
18" x 26"
Stand " Made with 100
year old pine by closely following the directions at /news23p3.html#STAND
Hood - Made with 100 year old pine with mirrors
from Home Depot glued to the top for reflectors.
|- First picture of the tanks when it was a 100
gallon. Still had brackish fish
THIS WAS THE ORIGINAL TANK WHEN IT WAS
A FISH ONLY AQUARIUM
Filtration " Home made plenum following Joe Jone's
2 BakPak II protein skimmers with biological media
Approx. 40 lbs. Live rock (traded for a custom made oak aquarium
|- Tank June 99 - Right after fathers day when I put
in the Aragocrete the kids and I made. This is the 120
gallon tank. The 100 gallon was 30 years old and sprung a
|THIS IS THE ARAGOCRETETM
Approx. 150 lbs. Aragocrete. I
followed the directions on the following pages on the
GARF web site.
Approx. 20 lbs. of GARF Grunge.
This is what I believe to be one of the keys to the
success of my tank. The nitrate level dropped like a rock
when the Grunge was added
- Tank Sept.99 - You can start to see the dark
green algae forming that seem to turn into coraline algae.
- June 1999 to Sep 1999 -
Two 40 watt Power Glo (12hr) and one 40 watt Blue Moon
Sep 1999 to Oct 1999 - Three 40 watt Actinic White
(12hr) and three 40 watt Actinic Blue (13 hr)
Oct 1999 to May 2000 - Four 40 watt Actinic White
(12hr) and Four 40 watt Actinic Blue (13 hr)
May 2000 to Sep 2000 - Five 40 watt Actinic blue
(10hr) and one 40 watt 50/50 (10hr)
Sep 2000 to Present - Five Actinic White (13
hr)and three actinic blue (14 hr)
Heating - 300 watt heater
Cooling - 8" fan that is on the same timer as
the actinic blue lights. Temp rises to 86 degrees during
the day with out it.
Temp - 78 degrees.
|- Tank Oct.99 - Not much different but you can see
the 40 watt bulbs
|- Tank Dec 99 - You can really see the growth with
the soft corals. The Xenia in the middle was two months
old and ready to propagate.
|Additives - I follow Sally Jo's recipe at /news29p1.html#reef
for the additives.
Magic Reef dust
SeaChem - Reef Plus, Reef Calcium, Reef Builder,
Reef Advantage, and Reef Iodide (Formerly Reef Complete)
changes - 20 - 25% every 2 weeks using Ocean Pure(GARF now uses <b>Ocean Pure Pro salt</b>)
Specific gravity - 1.024 (requires 2 gallon of
makeup water per day to maintain) Makeup water - Using a
60 gpd RO unit. Add Reef builder and Reef complete here.
- - Xenia - 100+ Pom-Pom, Portland, and Creeping.
- - Capnella - 100+
- - Sarcophyton - 10
- - Zoanthids - a whole bunch
- Cat's Paw
- Pink Bird's Nest
- Bali Stag #1 and #2
|- Tank Dec. 00 - Most of the fast growing soft corals
taken to GARF for brood stock to make room for the SPS
and LPS corals.
Current - History -
June 1998 to June 1999 Marine fish only tank with a
plenum only (No Live rock)
June 1999 to present Marine Reef
June 1999 started with Gorgonians, Zoanthids and Mushrooms
July 1999 added Sarchophytons and Star polyps. The star
polyps did not make it.
Sep 1999 added Xenias and Capnella
Xenias become my best indication that something is wrong with
Last week my cooling fan quit ant they told me some thing was
They don't like the temp above 80 degrees.
Nov 1999 added first SPS corals, Pink Bird's nest and
Cat's paw which are still thriving. Also tried Green star polyps
again this time with success
- PinkBirdsNest9-20-99.jpg - Pink bird's nest a month or so
after I brought it home in September of 99.This is the first SPS
coral I placed in the tank.
- PinkBirdsNest12-12-00.jpg - This is the Pink Bird's Nest
coral 1 year later. It has been moved a lot but it prefers
moderate current close to the 40 watt bulbs.
Dec 1999 added Acropora SPS (Bali Stag #1 and #2. Green
slimer looking good)
- GreenSlimer4-15-00 - Green slimer in April a
couple of months after I brought it home. You can see the growth
at the base and the new branches. The more it grew the less
polyps are seen.
- GreenSlimer12-12-00 - Green slimer in
December. There has been a lot of growth. I only removed 2 frags
to place in my wifes 6 month old 29 gallon reef which is doing
July 2000 Added Large polyp stony corals
that are doing well and are dividing.
Aug 2000 added a star fish to the collection and it had
dropped all six legs and each leg has developed into a new star
fish. Lessons Learned
- Watch your animals they are your best indication something is
- Reef janitor are worth there weight in gold
- Place your system on a dedicated electrical circuit if possible
- Purple Tri Color 4-15-00 - This is a Tri-Color acropora that
I had just placed in the tank
- Purple Tri Color 5-21-00 - The same Tri-Color acropora a
month later. The color changed from pink to purple. This is the
same time I went to mostly Actinic blue bulbs.
- Purple Tri Color 12-12-00 - The same
Tri-Color acropora in December. Notice the growth at the base and
the stalk both. Once the top of the plug was covered the stalk
started to grow fast.
Thanks for all of your help,