Lazys Coral House System Parameters
Eventually I will create a more formal page with pictures and information about Lazys Coral House. Hopefully this will do until then.
I have a total of 3 (added 4th spring 2022) raceways that house corals. They are identical acrylic tanks that are peninsula style. 1/2” thick. 93”x28x14”. All three tanks are connected to a common sump that is 96”x16”x24”. Total system volume is somewhere around 500g.
Temperature: 76 – 76.6 F
Temperature is maintained by way of 3 Finnex 500w titanium heaters. Each heater is connected to an apex energy bar. Each energy bar is on its own electrical circuit. One of the heaters is connected to a Ranco Temperature controller just in case the apex temp sensor failed.
- Heater 1 kicks on at 76.5 off 76.6 (Ranco)
- Heater 2 kicks on at 76.3 off 76.5 (Apex)
- Heater 3 kicks on at 76.2 off 76.5 (Apex)
Salinity - Specific gravity: 1.024 - 1.025
Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Salt
Salinity is maintained by a custom auto top off connected directly to the ro/di unit. It has a mecnical float switch in the sump along with a secondary safety float. They are connected to a electronic solenoid that turns on every 4 hrs for 10 minutes. If both floats are on water flows from the rodi unit directly to the sump.
- Calcium: 400 – 450 ppm
- Alkalinity: 9 – 9.5 dKH
- Magnesium: 1300 – 1350 ppm
The dosing is accomplished with BRS 1.1ml per minute dosing pumps connected to the Apex. I also have a custom safety device built by a friend (wall_tank) that monitors duration an outlet is on. It has ability to shutoff the dosing if the apex outlet is on to long or a user programming error occurs.
Testing is done by the Apex Trident however it has not been granted access to adjust dosing amounts. Testing is also done by sailfert and Hannah test kits.
pH of most reef tanks in a modern home runs 7.75-8.2. This is due to the amount of carbon dioxide in the house. The more people/pets and smaller the home the lower it is going to run. Unless you do some sort of augmentation that is the range it is going to be. Corals will be completely fine and healthy at this level. In most circumstances I wouldn’t recommend worrying about ph. Just keep alkalinity between 8.5 - 10 and wherever ph falls it falls. However in some circumstances you may want to bolster ph. For example, you have money to burn, you like adding equipment and have the space for it or you have aquaculture business where a 15%-25% increase in growth speed will give you a return on the expense to alter the ph. There are a couple ways to increase the ph and the method to choose is based on your systems layout, location in home, available space, percentage increase you want to achieve and monthly funds your able to throw at it. I won’t get into it here but you can look into some of these methods. Co2 scrubber, kalkwasser, exhaust fans, heat exchanger, external aeration.
My Raceway system pH runs 8.08-8.45 with a daily average of 8.22. I use a Co2 Scrubber that costs me $25-$30 a month to run in media. For quarantine system I don’t use scrubber and it runs 7.8-8.1 with average of 8.0
- Phosphates: .02 – .09 ppm
- Nitrate: 5-15
I like to keep my Nitrates above 5. The higher the better. (Second only to photosynthesis, nitrate is the primary fuel for coral in a closed system. In the wild there is lots of microfauna in the water column for the coral to feed on so nitrate is less important. In our closed system it is vital.) I turn off the skimmer at times and all macro-algae is removed from sump to keep the nitrate up as high as possible. When it gets to low the sps are the first to tell me they need food by loosing their deep coloration. Most tanks keeping it above 5 is not a problem. At least not until there is a very dense population of coral that will deplete it.
If you have ever heard me talking about lighting then you’ll know I can’t without also discussing Nitrate level. This is because there is a direct correlation between the nitrate level of a tank and the lighting intensity a coral can take. High nitrates, a coral can handle much much more light then it can in a low nitrate tank. This is the reason why there is so much disparity from hobbyist to hobbyist when discussing their light settings. The settings I am sharing below are my average over time. If my nitrates bottom out I drop the light levels until I can get them back in target range. At times when I have achieved nitrates above 15, I have been able to increase the intensity over what I have listed here
Lights come on at 1pm and off at 9pm. There is no ramp up/down.
- Sps tank 100% blue 15% white (Par levels range from 150 - 600 depending on coral placement. Avg is 250-300)
- Softie tank 100% blue no white (Par levels range from 50 - 300 depending on coral placement. Avg is 200)
- LPS tank 100% blue 1% white (Par levels range from 100 - 400 depending on coral placement. Avg is 200-250)
From water level to bottom of light is 11”
Keep in mind these are shallow frag tanks with corals raised up on frag racks.
All corals at Lazys Coral House are grown under Ocean Revive LEDs since 2014. If you would like to know about these lights you can find details here. I run the lights for 8 hours per day. 1pm-9pm. There is no ramp up/down. Both channels come on to full intensity and go off from full intensity.
A 200g water change is performed monthly. Then once a year I do a 200g water change each day for 3 consecutive days. This gives the system a 100% replacement to bring all parameters back to a balanced equilibrium. I also will do these 3 consecutive days of water changes if I experience any unexplained/unknown coral issue.