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MAY 2008



My name is Tom Ratcliffe but to the majority of my CANREEF friends I am known as: Tom R

 I am very proud that CANREEF has honoured my tanks with this month's TOTM.

I have been in the hobby since I was 10 years old. My first tanks were Fresh Water tanks made out of plywood with fibreglass linings (Wow, how far have we progressed since then).  I started with 10 plywood tanks approx 30G each. Since then I have always had a least one tank. After I was married and the kids came along my wife said enough was enough, the tanks had to go. If I recall her words were "get rid of the mess, we need somewhere where the kids can play". Although after a short discussion it was agreed that I could keep just one tank. I went out the next day and purchased a 135G tank and set it up with Discus.

 In 1997, I decided that it was time for me to move into the realm of SALTWATER. I converted my 135G (now African Cichlids) to a Saltwater Reef tank with soft corals and a few LPS. The progression started.




My current system tops out at 520G.

My display tanks are Mixed Reefs, but predominantly SPS


            180G Display

            125G Display

             40G Frag System x 3

             95G Sump


The system is part of our Home Theatre Room (16 x 28 Ft).

I have a display tank on either side of the room, with the Fishroom directly behind the 180G display side (L shaped room side 1 (20 x 5 Ft) and side 2 (19 x 5 Ft).

To facilitate the plumbing I put a false wall across the end of the room joining the Fishroom with the far side 125G display tank.



180G All-Glass Display Tank

                        Giesemann 72" 230 Eco Light (3 x 250W)                                            

                        Tunze 6212 Wavebox

                        Tunze 6100 Stream


 125G All-Glass Display Tank

                        Hamilton 72" Light (3 x 175W MH) (2 x 160W VHO Actinic)

                        Tunze 6000 Stream


  40G  Frag Tanks (24 x 24 x 16H) x 3

                        Coralife 24" 130W PC Lights x 3




Tank Chemistry:


Specific Gravity: 1.025   Alkalinity:  7-9 dkH   Calcium: 420 ppm  

  pH:  7.8-8.2   Temperature: Heating to 78F Chilling to 82F  Magnesium: 1400  ppm 

Nitrate and Phosphate undetectable


I employ the ZEOvit method to keep nutrients consistently low and trace elements consistently high. I also rely on my ProfiLux Plus II controller to keep some of the other levels consistent. I've found stability of water chemistry to be just as or more important than the actual amounts of each element.

From my experience, using Instant Ocean Salt with the addition of both calcium and magnesium works best for me when it comes to maintaining my water quality levels.

ZEOvit Supplements Added

  • ZEObak:                                       8 drops every 4 days

  • ZEOfood:                                      8 drops every 4 days

  • ZEOstart2:                                   0.5ml twice a day

  • Amino Acids:                                 8 drops daily

  • Pohlís Coral Vitalizer:                 10 drops daily

  • Potassium Iodide Fluoride:        2 drops daily

  • ZEOvit Coral Snow:                    5ml every 7 days

  • ZEOspur2:                                   5ml every 10 days



System Equipment

                        Amp Master 3000 (approx 3600G per hour)

                        OA Calcium Reactor c/w 2nd stage (old Phosban Reactor)

                        OA Kalkwasser Reactor

                        ASM G5 Skimmer

                        2 x EBO 250W Heaters

                        Pacific Coast Imports C-0500 1/2Hp Chiller

                        Kent Marine Maxxima 100G per day RO/DI Water Filter

                        GHL ProfiLux Plus II Controller

                        ZEOvit Nutrient System

                        Grotech ZEOvit Reactor

                        DIY Water Top Off & Water Change System

                        950W Generator (disaster plan)




Lighting and Photoperiod:


Moon Lights 9:00am-11:00am & 9:30pm-12:00am

Actinic  10:00am-10:30pm

Metal Halide (14500K) 11:00am-9:00pm







Feeding and Tank Husbandry:

I am not one who over feeds my tanks. The fish are fed once a day and for the most part they get a couple of small pinches of Ocean Nutrition mini pellets. I mix equal portions of formula 1 & 2 into a container. I like using mini pellets as they give the fish a variety of foods with great nutrition and very little pollution to the tank. Once a week I feed the fish a mix of frozen brine shrimp, mysis and blood worms.

The corals are constantly being fed through the dosing of ZEObak and Amino Acids. Twice a month I feed the corals a mix of Reef Roids and Cyclop-eeze.




Maintenance consists of:

  • Daily review ProfiLux data

  • Monthly 50G water Change

  • Daily ZEOvit chores (dosing supplements & pumping reactor)

  • Every 12 weeks change out ZEOlites in reactor

  • Weekly cleaning the ASM Skimmer

  • Glass cleaning inside and out as needed

  • Monthly add Kalkwasser to reactor

  • Change out Calcium Reactor media as necessary

Tank Inhabitants: 

Fish - 180g

Bluegirdled Majestic Angelfish, Flame Angelfish, Whitetail Pygmy Angelfish, Chevron Tang, Pencilstreaked Rabbitfish, Solar Fairy Wrasse, Canary Yellow Wrasse, Neon Dottyback, Green Mandarin Dragonet, Red Scooter Dragonet, 7 Lyretail Anthias, 2 Percula Clownfish, Blue Devil Damselfish



Fish - 125G

Bluegirdled Majestic Angelfish, Flame Angelfish, Lemonpeel Angelfish, Yellow Tang, Orchid Dottyback, Green Clown Goby, Percula Clownfish, 2 Blue Devil Damselfish, 2 Humbug Threestriped Damselfish





Knobby Sea Rod, Dead Mans' Finger, Colt Coral, Anthelia, Xenia, Kenya Tree, Leather Corals, Green Star Polyps, Toadstool, Cabbage Coral, Sinularia (brown & green), Green Bulb-tip Anemone, Assorted Zoanthids, Assorted Mushrooms, Assorted Ricordea, Montipora capricornis (orange, green & brown), Birds' Nest (pink & brown), Montipora digitata (orange & green), Acropora millepora (red, green & blue), Assorted Acropora staghorn corals, Assorted encrusting Montipora, Pocillipora (green & red), Torch Coral, Candy Cane (green & brown), Grape Coral, Branching Frogspawn (green), Branching Hammer, Horn Coral, Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp, Fire Shrimp, Blue Leg Hermit Crabs, Scarlet Hermit Crabs, Tridacna crocea, Assorted snails, Blue Tuxedo Urchin







I would like to thank the staff of my LFS (J&L & OA) for putting up with my many hours of questions and "what if's". I would also like to thank my many internet friends from CANREEF and THE REEF NETWORK; you are the source of many of my greatest REEF accomplishments. I have truly enjoyed the many years I have spent in this hobby; however, the hobby has never been better than it is now. The use of the internet has taken the hobby to a whole new level.


Thank you all for showing an interest in my Reef System.








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