Aquarium of Doug Wojtczak

Owner: Doug Wojtczak
Location: Justice, Illinois. USA

My main show aquarium, which was setup on March 10, 1998, is a 75-gallon (48 x 18 x 20 (height) inches) All Glass aquarium with matching pine stand and canopy — this is the largest of the four reef aquariums I keep. The initial intention was to have a fish-only setup, but the store where I purchased the aquarium had a reef aquarium on display and I was hooked. My goal was to create a very active heavily loaded reef environment, and with 18 saltwater fish and over 40 corals I am close to achieving that goal. It had taken more than 16 months for the taquarium to finally achieve a balance and become stable enough to handle the high bio-load. In August 1999 my Cappnella sp. dropped five new buds, and on October 15th dropped another one. The original buds are growing into nice large colonies and the recent bud is coming along nicely as well.

Live Rock / Substrate
Seventy-five pounds of dead limestone was added as base rock, 30 pounds of Fiji live rock was added the first week the aquarium was set up and then 45 pounds of Fiji live rock and 10 pounds of Tonga branch were added in 5 pound increments over the course of eight months after the the aquarium was set up. The substrate is a 1-inch layer of crushed coral.

The live rock acts as the bio-filtration for the aquarium. The sump is a converted Amiricle wet/dry filter with about 8 gallons of water capacity with all bio-media removed, using the Amiricle U-tube hang-on overflow box. The return pump is a Supreme Mag 7 at 4 feet of head, giving about 450 gallons per hour flow back to the aquarium. About 10 pounds of small live rock pieces are stored in the sump and used as the base for coral cuttings and misbehaving occupants that cannot stay in the main aquarium. An A.E. Technologies Reef Devil skimmer using a Mag 7 pump keeps the aquarium very clean — to the point of overskimming. The protein skimmer was originally run with a RIO 2500HP, but the Mag 7 really does a much better job. The aquarium also has a 25-watt Aquanetics U.V. sterilizer that is run for five hours each day using a Maxijet 1000 powerhead.

Lighting is provided by an Icecap 660 ballast that is connected to four 110 watt VHO tubes. The combination of two URI 50/50’s and two URI Actinic 03’s creates very pleasing bright-white light. The sunrise/sunset/moon cycle is controlled by a Digital Oceans Lightwave and Skycast. The photoperiod is about 12 hours, with the lights on at 11:45 a.m. and off at 10:15 p.m.Water Circulation

Wave action is provided by a Digital Oceans Lightwave and Skycast lighting and wave controller. There are two Maxijet 1000 powerheads in each bottom back corner of the aquarium facing each other, and two Minijet 404 powerheads half way up on each side facing the front of the aquarium. The Digital Oceans products produce a very random wave and lighting pattern ranging from calm and sunny to dim and stormy.

Water Management
For the first four months, 10 percent of the water was changed each month. This caused some major saltwater fish loses, so no more water changes were performed for about 13 months after that. I recently started changing water again, but only 1 gallon a week to keep the sump clean. I have used Instant Ocean salt mix from the start and have tried a few others, but have found Instant Ocean gives me the best results. Specific gravity is kept at 1.024 to 1.026, temperature is between 78.6 and 80.2 degrees Fahrenheit, pH is 8.10 to 8.40, alkalinity is 3.0 to 3.5 meq, calcium is near 400 parts per million and ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are always at 0. An Octopus 3000 monitors all water parameters, such as pH, temperature, conductivity and ORP.Maintenance/Feeding

The saltwater fish are fed heavily every day getting different types of flake fish food three to four days a week, and frozen brine shrimp, Formula One and Formula Two mixed with Selcon for the other days of the week. Top-off water is added each day and is produced by a Kent 24gpd RO/DI unit with the DI output connected to an Aquarium Pharmecuticls Tap Water Purifier. Two Little Fishes Kalkwasser is made each day and dripped in to the aquarium from a DIY doser. I used to use a combination of different trace element additives, but have just started using an all-in-one additive (Combisan) and have seen good results after only a few days. The front and side glass are cleaned every two to three days with a magnetic scraper, and the back glass is scraped every two to three weeks to remove the heavy amount of coraline algae growth. The skimmer collection cup is cleaned every three to four days and the pre-filter in the overflow is cleaned as needed. The glass tops are still used to keep overactive fish from exploring the carpet, and are cleaned once every two to three weeks.


Regal tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), brown scopas tang (Zebrasoma scopas), coral beauty (Centropyge bispinosus), flame hawkfish (Neocirrhitus armatus), red-spotted hawkfish (Amblycirrhites pinos), Banggai cardinal (Pterapogon kauderni), percula clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris), green chromis (Chromis viridis), Mandarin (Pterosynchiropus splendidus), lawnmower blenny (Salarias fasciatus), firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica), zebra watchman goby (Cryptocentrus sp.).

Four toadstools (Sarcophyton sp.), four open brain corals (Trachyphyllia geoffroyi), two trumpet corals (Caulastrea furcata), moonstone (Favia sp.), colt coral (Cladiella sp.), Acropora, finger leather (Lobophytum sp.), two green finger leathers (Lobophytum sp.), daisy coral (Alevropora sp.), five green star polyps (Clavularia viridis), three brown star polyps (Clavularia sp.), fox coral (Nemenzophyilla turbida), pipe organ (Tubipora musica), sun coral (Tubastrea faulkneri), large tubeworm/feather duster, green mushrooms, white strip brown mushrooms, xenia (Xenia sp.), orange sponge, cup coral (Turbinaria peltata), brown button Polyps (Zooanthus sociatus), green button polyps (Zooanthus pulchellus), Kenya tree (Capnella sp.), green tree (Nephthea sp.).

Two cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis), one blood shrimp (Lysmata debelius), six miscellaneous blue and red leg hermits (Clibanarius digueti), about 30 snails — both Turbo and Astrea, green brittle star, red brittle star.

Article Categories:
Fish · Reef Tanks