Oceans by Design <----> Crystal Reef Aquatics
  • November TOTM Winner

    Congratulations to NemCrazy


    Paul (NemCrazy)


    Tank Size
    The main display of this tank is about 110 gallons with about 30 gallons in the sump below. The display is made of corrugated fiberglass with lots of holes placed evenly across the floor. With a compartment between that and the second false bottom which, suspends over the cooling rods. The tank is constructed of double thick gas filled panes. This ensures that there is absolutely no sweating. Which is an important consideration in these systems.


    Date Tank Was Started
    This tank is very young and on Oct 2nd I put in the livestock from my 45 gallon which I started in mid may.

    How Did You Get Into This Hobby?
    Before I could remember my family had a freshwater fish tank with an angelfish and others. We had another in my 4th/5th/6th grade year. It was a 20h and I loved it. I researched books(remember those) to my hearts content and then I found a saltwater book. Which I had for many years and might still be able to recite some of the fish profiles. It planted a seed though. I was a frequent visitor to the Seattle aquarium and marveled at the puget sound tanks and their colors. While in the navy and stationed in San Diego I lived 1 block from sunset cliffs and all the wonderful tidal pools there. So when my daughter received a free 20h aquarium from my ex's boyfriend I jumped in with both feet. And soon made the jump to a modest 10 gallon "Nemo" tank at my daughter’s request. She is still the catalyst for much of these tanks. And on I went to having a 30 gallon LPS tank and a 46 bowfront bta tank. Then one day after going to the Seattle aquarium and drooling over Steve Weast's Coldwater tanks, I found a thread that told me that a new company called Coldwater marine Aquatics was able to sell that very livestock. And they were hobbyists that loved to educate me on what I didn't know. They really are the authority in this hobby. So, that brought me to where I am now. Well that and two test aquariums in my basement that were a pretty good success despite no chiller, thick acrylic, or double paned glass.

    This is the least demanding piece of the system. But that doesn’t mean there wasn't some planning. A lot of the anemones I have are photosynthetic but not nearly like their tropical counterparts. The lighting I initially had was sub-par. It was a T5 normal output with a 24" 50/50 led light bar. But when I switched to a simple T5HO 36" light bar. I could see a return of color and overall health. Yep a twin tube T5HO lamp worked sweet on a 110 display. But I also planned that the area under the media basket would stay shaded so I could put less light tolerant inverts in the tank. I also use weak led pucks and an old pc 50/50 fixture to increase spread without overpowering the PAR.


    This is where yet another major difference from typical reef tanks becomes apparent. Bio logical filtration is very slow to work and to react. In my first tank it reached equilibrium but only with lots of mechanical filtration which seems to be the key. That being said the tank itself is built in with an under gravel filter. There are two tubes that run from the bottom of the sump up to the media basket where I have a very large bag(4 units) of chemi pure sitting on a bed of filter floss with a filter pad covering it all. To get the water flowing from the sump, I installed two wooden air stones per tube powered by a high powered air pump. This flow pulls the water from the display through the pea gravel into the second chamber where I have 5 gallons of bio-balls into the chiller chamber where it gets pulled up the tubes carrying what is solid waste up to the media basket where it's filtered before returning to the display. I've also attached a fluval 404 filed with bio-balls and a mix of activated charcoal and zeolite. The main thing that I found is, don't let things accumulate to rot. Because there will be plenty the way these systems need to be fed.


    Live Stock
    I love Coldwater inverts I really do! To start off with I have a total of 42 different anemones from 7 different species. It's a pretty diverse bio tope. But my favorites are the anemones from the Urticina family. Like the Painted anemones, fish eating anemones, rose and the stubby rose. I have several painteds, a few stubby roses, and one I am trying to see if it's a fish eating anemone. I also have a couple green surf anemones that are as tough as damsel fish. lol. And many aggregating nems that split often and even tougher than the greenies. I also have a couple brown plumose and a couple whit plumose anemones that have 1000 tiny tentacles for filter feeding. The most cryptic of the anemones are my moonglow anemones and the striped green anemone. They hunker down in deep gravel or cracks with just their tentacles showing.
    The main piscatorial event of the system is a pair of tiny Catalina gobies. They are packed with color and active all day ambushing copepods floating in the current. And a tidal sculpin that can change patterns much like a starry blenny.
    Other critters of honorable mention include the blood stars (4), and ochre stars (3). The blood stars forage algae and bacteria much like a fromia but with an appetite for sponges much to my dismay. And ochre stars are hungry predators whom need distraction by way of dropping mussels in their path. Bought from the grocery store that is. The colorful lined chitons are a treat appearing in blues, reds, purples, and pinks. And the aggressive but vegan purple shore crabs. There is a rough keyhole limpet that is nearly three inches long two inches high with three spongers many barnacles and his own chiton. And so many shrimp, crab, limpets, periwinkles, blue topsnails, hermits you name it makes for a diverse crowd.


    What Was Your Favorite Part of The Build?
    The part I liked most was that it truly is a frontier in reefing. I often times am making an educated guess at what I'm doing with only a few that have tried doing what I'm attempting. I'm learning on the fly. I have yet to find a book on Coldwater systems. And fewer threads with any authority, at least in English (Coldwater systems are more popular in northern Europe.) And really I am nemcrazy and in my tank I have 5 different types of nems on a rock the size of a baseball. Imagine that lol!


    Dosing and Schedule.
    I only dose beneficial bacteria,I.e. Special blend/ nite out, prime, and coraline algae accelerator. And not in any order. I'll dose prime once a week and just started the coraline dosing.


    Feeding (Fish and Coral) and Schedule.
    I feed every day and will vary the food depending on days and Hours of the day. I dose marine snow 1/4 dose once a day and zooplex every other day. On those days I will feed mysis in the evenings. On the off days I feed chunks of shrimp, scallops, or clams to the anemones. I also have tangerine copepods in the tank and reproducing. Basically they eat every day. Sometimes twice or three times a day and I still think they need more.


    Do You Have a Favorite Fish and Why?
    Well my favorite fish are not really fish at all, they are any of the cuttlefish, stubby squid and octopus. I love how intelligent they are and their ability to color and shape shift is phenomenal. But as for real fish I like the painted greenling they are colorful and the anemones I have naturally host them. My paired catalina's are very pretty and can be seen darting into current to catch copepods floating in the current.


    What Is Your Favorite Type of Coral?
    There aren't any corals in my tank. There are very few corals in temperate waters. This is due to low light levels and water that lets light through. So I would have to say my favorite anemones are the Fish eating anemone or the white spotted rose. They have really nice coloring usually and really are very cool. The urticinas vary quite a bit in coloring even within their own species. My favorite in the tank right now is the stubby rose.


    Follow along with NemCrazy's tank build here 140 gallon Coldwater build.
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. reefman069's Avatar
      reefman069 -
      very cool tank. very colorful. congrats on tank of the month
    1. Scooterman's Avatar
      Scooterman -
      Congrats on TOTM! Very Nice!
    1. IPisces's Avatar
      IPisces -
      Hey, Congratulations. Those Nems are sooo cool. Oh, the chitons are really cool too. I didnt know they would come in different colors. Figured they would all be brown or grey or white.
      Great job on that tank. Its a new direction for the saltwater hobiest. Not one that most of us have even thought about before.
    1. Krish's Avatar
      Krish -

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. nata's Avatar
      nata -
      I love this tank..i am an anemonefan myself..well deserved tank of the month!!
    1. Peppie's Avatar
      Peppie -
      Very nice system Nem,
      It is good of you to post the things you are learning in the cold water world.
      There seems to be quite a bit of diversity in your unique system
    1. mercenary-grunt's Avatar
      mercenary-grunt -
      well done. well deserved. its good to have some one expanding the hobby as totm. ( no disrespect to everyone else's tank. )

      Sent from my Galaxy S3 using Tapatalk 2.
    1. NemCrazy's Avatar
      NemCrazy -
      Thanks everyone it really means alot to me to get totm in the presence of such aquatic artistry. I've always have been impressed with the reed that this community produces. Truly I am blessed to have you all to learn from. Thank you
    1. kpiotrowski's Avatar
      kpiotrowski -
      What I very deserving system for Tank of the month! congrats!
    1. N1Husker's Avatar
      N1Husker -
      NemCrazy- beautiful tank, very deserving of TOTM honors. The biodiversity of your ecosystem is outstanding. It was nice meeting you at the October get together.
    1. trido's Avatar
      trido -
      Very cool tank. Literally. Do you have any problems with the glass sweating?
    1. NemCrazy's Avatar
      NemCrazy -
      Quote Originally Posted by trido View Post
      Very cool tank. Literally. Do you have any problems with the glass sweating?
      None at all. It's 74 in the house and 52 in the tank and no sweating. The tank is double pained gas fill glass. Just like storm windows. But very thick acrylic will do the same. At least 3/4 but 1" is a much safer bet.
    1. str8juizy's Avatar
      str8juizy -
      You KNOW I have been loving your cold water tank since you started the smaller one... This one is AMAZING!!! I really want to go that direction when I get going again... definately need to come check you out! Congrats on TOTM... truly deserved!!!
    1. eddiecorrea's Avatar
      eddiecorrea -
      Rad tank. Congrats and nice meeting you at the Barrier sale.
    1. DBM Reef's Avatar
      DBM Reef -
      Congrats paul it's nice to see this tank up and running!
    1. NemCrazy's Avatar
      NemCrazy -
      Thanks to everyone for your kind words. It's been a real honor. My daughter's excitement dwarfed even mine though. Every time we were in a reef store shed tell anyone in ear shot lol. And a special thanks to dbm reef. Thanks for the tank!
    1. NemCrazy's Avatar
      NemCrazy -
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