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PNY's 1000 liter
  • This is the presentation of a 275 gallon marine tank with more Tangs than coral species. The tank is operated with lots of DIY equipment and a few selected quaillity devices.


    I've been in the marine aquarium hobby for about six years. Being an engineer at heart, designing and building equipment for my tank is an integral part of my hobby. Studying the design of equipment in detail takes the knowledge to another level. Here's a presentation of my 1000 liter (275 gallons) marine aquarium. (Before continue reading, please note that English is not my native language)

    This is the FOWLR that wants to be a reef tank!
    This tank was setup about 6 years ago as my very first marine / reef tank. After having two children I realized that my time and economy did not let me run this large tank as a full blown reef tank and its been running with very few corals for most of its time. Most equipment is dimensioned for a reef tank - This is the FOWLR thats wants to be a reef tank!

    The main display is a standard glass tank with eurobracing. Under that sits a large sump. The sump was custom built by me and implemented several features not seen on any sump back then. The display tank is not drilled, instead it has two small PVC overflows. This is the first marine tank I have setup. The aquarium was set up in July 2008 and is still in operation today (June 2014). Since then I've started a second tank, a smaller reef cube.

    The display tank houses 7 Tangs, 4 Pygmy Angelfish and a few other fish. The display tank contains about 120 kg / 265 lbs of live rock. It has coarse gravel mixed with some fine sand.

    The aquarium is running on a modern version of the Berlin method, ie filtering is handled by live rock and an efficient skimmer, combined with more modern methods of phosphate absorption, biopellets and dosage of carbon source.

    The aquarium is a 980 liter (260 US gallons) glass tank, 200 x 70 x 70 cm, in 12mm glass with black background and black silicon. Before turning this aquarium into a saltwater tank a few years ago, the aquarium was running as a "High-Tech" heavily planted fresh water tank for about 6 years. I reused the tank, the DIY stand, HQI lights (now replaced with LED) and UV-filter from that setup.

    Tank stand (DIY)
    The aquarium stand is a wooden stand with doors from IKEA. These doors are very resistant and still look very nice ten years after I built it! The tank base is about 1 meter above the floor so it provides plenty of room for my sump and equipment inside the stand. I also like the idea of being able to look straight into the tank in standing position. The stand is isolated with sound proofing foam. Two fans ventilates the stand. I built this myself the year 2002.

    Sump (DIY)
    The sump is a 380 liter (100 US gallons) tank measuring 115 x 54 x 60 cm in 10mm glass with black background and bottom and black silicon. The sump is placed inside the stand under the display tank. The sump is partitioned into four sections. The sump holds about 100 liter fresh water for top off. The design allow water to flow back into the fresh water reserve instead of out on the floor in case of a failure of the equipment controlling the ATO. The return pump has its own section at the right side of the sump and the skimmer has its own section above the fresh water reservoir. A water change section holds about 100 liter water and allows me to mix new saltwater while the rest of the system is running without using any external buckets.

    LED Light (DIY)
    The light is a full spectrum DIY LED fixture with DIY LED driver and DIY LED controller. The LED driver is a CAT4101-based design with six individually controlled constant current drivers per card and the LED controller is a very slim Arduino based stand alone 16 chn PWM controller with LCD, FAN control and RTC with battery backup. The LEDs are 35 pcs (115 W) Cree XP-G NW, 56 pcs (118 W) Cree XT-E Royal Blue (455 nm), 8 pcs (12 W) True Violet (420 nm), 7 pcs (17 W) Cree XP-E Blue (475 nm), 2 pcs (3 W) Deep Red (660 nm), 4 pcs (10 W) Green (495 nm) per fixture, (I have two fixtures).

    Overflow (DIY)
    The aquarium has a DIY PVC overflow made entirely from PVC pipes (no box required), utilizing a two pipe full siphon design for silent operation.

    Return Pump
    A powerful Laguna PT344 max flo 6000 pond pump recently replaced my Eheim 1260 pump to better match the flow rate of my skimmer. This pump delivers 6000 liter/h (1500 gallons per hour) (not all of the water is sent to the disply tank). The return pump also drives a manifold (DIY) that feeds the calcium reactor and biopellets reactor.

    The water movement in the tank is generated by five Tunze Turbelle Stream 610x each delivering a flow of 13.000 liter per hour. A Tunze Multi controller 7095 pulses the flow between the pumps. About half of the pumps is using the new wide flow outlets provided by Tunze.

    Top Off
    Top off is controlled by a Tunze Osmolator 3155. The fresh water reserve is a section inside the sump. The ATO section holds water for about 1.5-2 weeks between refills. I refill this container manually. The water is filtered by a five stage reverse osmosis unit that produces water for both my tanks. The RO has a booster pump and is capable of generating 400 gpd. The water quality is measured with an inline TDS meter on the RO.

    I try to change about 10% of water every to every second month. I create RO/DI water in the utility area of my house, and mix new saltwater directly in the sump.

    Ca Mg Alk and Carbon Supplement
    A Kamoer 3 channel dosing pump adds carbon source (vinegar and sugar) to the tank. A also have a Schuran jetstream 1 Calcium reactor that holds 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) of coarse coral media that was used to add Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg) to the aquarium. Currently the Schuran calcium reactor is offline.

    As a rule I don't use any additives that lacks a proper declaration of contents. No blue bottles, no vials of bacteria, no secrets or magic potions.

    Temperature Control (DIY)
    A DIY STC-1000 temperature controller regulates the temperature by controlling the heaters. The temperature controller provides redundancy to the thermostat in the heater and thus provides protection against accidental overheating of the aquarium at any fault in the heater.

    The tank contains a little over 120 kg (260 lbs) of live rock and a 1 inch sand bed with a mix of fine and coarse media for biological filtration.

    The skimmer I'm using is a Bubble King Supermarine 250 internal from Royal Exclusiv. Actually, this was the very first of this model to be imported to Sweden. This skimmer is rated at 2300 liter air/h i combination with a power consumption of 48 Watt.

    I've also experimented with a DIY recirculating bio pellets reactor to keep the phosphate and nitrate levels low.

    Ozone and UV filters
    Ozone is supplemented a few hour each night. This makes the water clear. The ozone is mixed with water in an Avast Mutiny II Ozone reactor and the water and air is post filtered by a Avast custom length reactor filled with 3 liter carbon (GAC). ORP is supervised using a Pinpoint ORP-meter.

    Additionally a De Bary AN-25E UVC filter is attached to the full siphon drain pipe from the aquarium.

    See the "Tank Specifications" tab for list of equipment and list of live stock.
  • System Profile
    System Water Volume: 1040 liter (275 US gallons)
    Display tank: 200x70x70cm, 980 liter glass tank
    Sump: 115x54x60cm DIY glass sump with a built in ATO reservoir
    Display Stand: DIY stand based on IKEA kitchen doors

    Lighting: 2x275W DIY LED, mainly Cree XT-E and XP-G
    Skimmer: Royal Exclusive Bubble King Supermarine 250 internal
    Return Pump: Laguna PT344 max flo 6000 (1500 gallons/h)
    Circulation: 5x Tunze stream 2 610x, each 13.000 liter/h
    ATO: Tunze Osmolator 3155 with 100 l reservoir in sump
    Temp Control: Dual DIY STC-1000 Temperature Controller
    Heater: Jaeger 2x300 W
    Fan: 2x GHL PropellerBreeze II 6
    Dosing: Kamoer 3 chn
    Calcium Reactor: Schuran jetstream 1 with 6 kg CO2 tank
    Other Reactors: DIY Biopellets reactor, DIY Activated Carbon reactor
    Ozone: Avast Mutiny II and custom postfilter
    UV-filter: De Bary AN-25E
    Auto Feeder: 2x Eheim 3581
    RO: 5 stage 400 gpd Reverse osmosis


    Blue Tang, Paracanthurus hepatus (x2)
    Purple Tang, Zebrasoma xanthurum
    Sailfin Tang, Zebrasoma veliferum
    Red Sea Sailfin Tang, Zebrasoma desjardini
    Yellow Tang, Zebrasoma flavescens
    Lipstick Tang, Naso lituratus
    Red-toothed Trigger, Odonus niger
    Flame Angel, Centropyge loricula (x3)
    Lemonpeel Angel, Centropyge flavissima
    Yellowtail Damsel, Chrysiptera parasema
    Clownfish, Amphiprion ocellaris (x2)

    Assorted snails
    Red-legged hermits
    Peppermint Shrimps, Lysmata wurdemanni

    Green star polyp sp.
    Rhodactis sp.
    Discosoma sp.
    Sarcophyton sp.
    Ricordea sp.

    Water Parameter Targets
    Salinity: 1.025 (Refractometer)
    Temperature: 25.3 (STC-1000)
    Calcium: 450 ppm (Salifert)
    Alkalinity: 8.6 dKH (Salifert)
    Magnesium: 1350 dKH (Salifert)
    Nitrate: 1-10 ppm (Red Sea / Salifert)
    Phosphate: 0.1-0.2 ppm (Hanna)