December 2012 TOTM: SWSCJ’s 450 Gallon Reef

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I’d have to say that I owe my passion for the marine aquarium to my mother. As a
marine biologist and oceanography teacher she exposed me to the wonderful world of ocean life. Growing up in our house there was always an aquarium set up. Since then I’ve had aquariums on and off the last 30 years, but got back into it this time about 6 years ago. My girlfriend, Jennifer, has been an awesome and important partner in our 450g Fish & Reef tank build. We set this tank up November 19th 2011 after she spotted it at a local fish store on consignment. We’ve been at it ever since….

Set Up
The tank: an acrylic 450g Tenecor with 30g refugium linked to a 30g sump. Return pump of 3600 GPH also feeds two 550 reactors. One for phos and one with carbon.

There is an inline 120W Aqua UV sterilizer as well as a Skimz SK 251 protein skimmer. A secondary 9.5 Mag pump feeds the Tradewinds ½ HP chiller. Tunze ATO with 10g tank completes the space. Lighting is a Hamilton Cebu 72”. It includes three 400W MH 14k, two 80W Blue Actinics, and two 80W Purple Pluses.

Tank Dimensions: 96”L x 30”D x 36”T

Several hundred pounds of live rock were placed on and around a plastic crate table to create hiding space for the large fish and allowed us to maintain more water volume.



  • 10” Blue Unicorn Tang
  • 8” Orange Shoulder Tang
  • 8” Blonde Naso Tang
  • 6” Desjardini Sailfin Tang
  • Purple Tang
  • Lavender Tang
  • Scopas Tang
  • Squaretailed Bristletooth Tang
  • Sailfin Tang
  • 3 Lyretail Anthias
  • 3 Clownfish
  • Bangai and PJs
  • Damsels
  • 4 Blennies
  • Black Cap Basslet
  • Urchines
  • Cleaner shrimp
  • Fire shrimp
  • Starfish
  • Horseshoe crabs
  • Snails and hermits
  • Corals are all LPS and softies




The fish….are spoiled. Diet consists of XL and medium mysis, brine, garlic pellets, garlic flakes, and nori. Corals get a dose of Coral Frenzy 3 times per week.

I do 80g water changes every two weeks using Brightwell salt. Change the phos and carbon once a month. I usually add alk buffer once or twice a week. That’s pretty much it.

Closing Thoughts
I believe every tank has a personality and sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Jennifer and I have just finished a 180g SPS dominate lagoon tank that were having a lot of fun with.

We didn’t build our tanks alone….Ryan & Tammy @ Animal Adventure, Jeff & Debbie @ Reef Chief, Leroy & Carolyn @ Fish Safari, Jimi @ Atlantic Sea Farms, Andy & Edgar @ Animal Jungle., Davis @ Aquacare. If ever in Va. Beach,Va. and surrounding areas….check these places out. Thanks to Aquarium Advice for giving us the privilege to share our tank with everyone.




Filed under TOTM.