Zachtos' 300G WI Reef


New member
I have migrated my old thread to a new thread thanks to Photobucket. Summary Below:


  • 300 gallon marine land deep dimension (6'L x 3'W x 2'H)
    custom foam/live rock background
  • 300-400lbs live rock
  • HPPE (starboard) bottom / no substrate
  • Dual overflows configured as herbie and durso combo

  • 50 gallon rubber maid sump
  • 2 Jebao DCS-9000 return pumps
  • Super Reef Octopus 5000 skimmer and HY-5000 pump
  • Super Reef Octopus SRO 3000 Calcium Reactor
  • Milwaukee MC122 pH Controller
  • Two Gauge Co2 Regulator with Solenoid Valve and Bubble Counter
  • Automatic float top off switches with maxijet 1200
  • 2 custom built Algae Turf Scrubber 75 watt LED fixtures
  • Taco Bronze hot water recirculation pump for heating closed loop

  • 6 Rapid LED Corona fixtures

  • 2 MP60 vortech pumps (6000gph x 2)
  • 2 Tunze 6214 waveboxes

  • 3 custom automatic feeders on custom controller
  • 20 gallon frag tank with custom 150W LED fixture
  • RO/DI system with dual membrane and booster pump

  • 10 gallon quarantine tank (not shared with display)
    fish are all in QT 2 weeks with cupramine and prazipro, maracyn if needed. Skipped for dragonettes, shrimp/snails. I used much larger QT systems in parallel the first few months of stocking, now just the 10G for impulse purches.

  • 3 yellow tang
  • 1 regal tang / hippo
  • 1 blonde naso tang
  • 1 achilles tang
  • 1 sailfin tang (pacific)
  • 1 foxface rabitfish
  • 2 regal angel
  • 1 cherub dwarf angel
  • 1 potter dwarf angel
  • 1 flameback dwarf angel
  • 1 coral beauty dwarf angel
  • 3 lyretail anthias
  • 4-5 green chromis
  • 3-4 blue damsel (+7 yellow tail in QT)
  • 1-2 firefish
  • 1 cleaner wrasse
  • 2 true percula clownfish

  • Rose Bubble Tip Anemone
  • 1 harlequinn shrimp (for asternia - new)
  • 1-2 cleaner shrimp
  • 1-3 peppermint shrimp
  • 6+ mexican turbo snail
  • 20+ cerith snail
  • 10+ nassarius snail
  • 10+ banded trochus snail

  • Mostly encrusting montipora for now
  • Some Milli/Stags
  • Some green star polyps
  • I kind of lost interest in naming coral honestly. Bleh. Now I just like to grow it and get a general name if needed (blue stag, green milli etc). This is more for a show piece for the kids now, so the fish now take priority.

  • 50-75 gallons per month water change (17-25%)
  • Weekly algae turf scrubber cleaning (maybe 2-4 wet cups of algae)
  • Monthly granular activated carbon 6 cups (bought in bulk from general carbon)
  • 4 / day automatic feedings of pellets/flakes
  • 2-3 sheets day of red nori/seaweed
  • 2-4 tablespoon/day of frozen seafood blend (custom)
    paramater checking weekly, alk x 3/wk

Build Summary:
I installed the 300G into the wall with a DIY stand then covered with drywall. The cover is custom oak doors with epoxy on the interior. I am heating the tank with natural gas water heater via closed loop PEX coil controlled by a Ranco with Taco water pump. I tried to use only DC pumps for flow and minimized any pumps in the water to keep heat transfer low. The LEDs are about 12" above the water and give more than enough light. The wave makers are nice during the day, but does create slight clicking noise. I like having no substrate because it keeps the tank clean and flow high. The turf scrubber is one of my favorite devices, as I literally control my Nitrates with a dial, very easy. Calcium reactor is very nice compared to my old unit, and the skimmer with auto neck cleaner is a must IMO. Very happy with required maintenance, but wish I made water changes a bit easier, that could be improved in future perhaps. The sump I wish was larger, but I wanted to keep everything contained and humidity low. A floor drain is a very nice thing to have, and sealing everything around the room makes me sleep better at night. I do worry about glass breaking a seam, but I'd rather deal with that than the eternal scratched up acrylic tank I had in the past.

I lost 40 of 50 coral frags that I bought over 8 months. I think it was due to instability of alkalinity and specific gravity.

I now use a milwaukee digital refractometer and am more careful with water changes.

I had a 3 part dosing system but gave up on that because I had difficulty keeping alkalinity steady and feel that they may have contributed to coral deaths.

I have lost some fish to fighting in the system, but it's fairly tame overall. 2 of the 5 yellow tangs, 2 flame dwarf angels, pseudochromis, 2 mandarin dragonette (1 in a vortech), 3 anthias, 5 chromis, 1 firefish. Nothing major or anything expensive aside from the flame angels which seemed to get picked on too much. Basically if they acted to finicky, they starved to death. Overall the multiple feedings are critical to the health of everyone else.

Asternia star fish are a problem right now, not sure if they contributed to coral deaths, but they make it hard to control alkalinity. I recently added a harlequin shrimp and am manually removing them by the fist full.

-No photos anymore because of shitty *** photobucket's change of policy, so now here I am with IMGUR account instead.
zachtos' broken Photobucket reef

Things I've learned since the last 240G reef:
1. Algae Turf Scrubber (ATS) kicks ***! I love this thing, wow.

2. LED lighting is a bit frustrating. Yeah I save a lot of money on energy, but I am still learning about how it is now powerful enough to kill some corals... It does look nice though.

3. You can't beat the reliability of a calcium reactor, screw the 3 part stuff.

4. DIY foam backgrounds are awesome. I love this one even better than the first, though removing it someday will suck.

5. Vortechs and DC return pumps are sweet. Aside from energy savings, they are so quiet, and tranfer little to no heat into the tank. Vortech is overpriced though. I can buy a high end Virtual Reality headset or a magnetic fan blade for underwater.

6. Coral are more sensitive than I recall. I just did not have these problems with the old 240G. I am chalking it up to lower water volume that means less stability, so the 3 part system had to go. I'll give it some more time with the Ca Reactor before trying coral again.









New member
It's looking really good still! I'm amazed at how much purple there is. Good call on the calcium reactor... it's so much easier in my opinion compared to dosing. It sounds like your fish assemblage has mostly "stabilized" by this point. Very cool that you are able to keep multiple pygmy angels, including the Potters.