Lulu’s 25g Indonesian nano reef aquarium
It’s can be easy to forget that aquariums are enjoyed by people all over the world, and it might be even more surprising to hear of great aquariums that call tropical habitats such as Indonesia home. If you know a little about this hobby, you’ll know that the Indo region is home to some of the largest collections of coral reefs in the world. And in the midst of all these amazing natural reefs lives a little two year old nano reef aquarium gem maintained by Lulu Aulia Rachman.
(Disclaimer: English is not Lulu’s first language, thank you.)
Name, where are you from, hobby experience etc
My name is Lulu Aulia Rachman, I am coming from Bandung – West Java, one of the cities in Indonesia. I like the reef tank since a few years ago, but getting serious at it since 3 years ago. As a newbie, at a first time I like all kinds of coral, LPS, SPS and Softies, as if all the contents in ocean want to put into my tank, of course I can’t do that. One day I went into the local fish store in my town and see the tank stocked with SPS, it’s so amazing for me, and I want to have a tank like that. I went to aquarium maker here in my town and build a custom 25G tank. Within minutes of getting home it was all set up and cycling. I couldn’t wait to get things in there, and made the usual mistake of adding a few corals too soon. A few zoanthids survived, you can still see them today, but the other were gone. My first journey with SPS not too very good either, I buy many SPS coral without knowing how to care them. So eventually they end up in the trashbin. I wish I would have listened to the other hobbyist who tell me from the beginning, and I feel horribly guilty for it.
What size is your nanoreef and how old is it? What make/model is it?
My tank size 50cm x 45cm x 40cm with sump size 45cm x 30cm x 30cm, made by one aquarium maker in my town. And this tank has been running for more than 2 years.
Tell us about the filtration you run on this tank. What type of skimmer etc
For filtration, I think simple filtration is more better, I’ve just use a DIY skimmer from local forum sponsor with AB2000 pump and Fluidizer containing rowaphos, I do not use any other, because I think to get a good tank, doesn’t mean you must have high cost equipment. Moreover, my tank is a nano tank, so I think, skimmer and GFO enough to handle all. One day I read a quote that guide and inspire me… he say “There are ways to keep simple tank, it’s all about philosophy. I agree that good solid husbandry is much better than anything.”
My tank system hold about 30 gallons of water in total. I do 5 gallon water change every week using NSW. Since the tank is shallow and has no sand, I use my hand to clean the glass when needed and siphon out debris from the substrate on weekly basis.
What lighting do you use? Wattage? Spectrum? Photoperiod?
For lighting I use Ecoray 60D LED and another DIY 36pcs blue led light @1 watt as a supplement. Like most people, for the first time I was doubt to use led light, are the led light can make my sps grow and secrete the color best? After 2 years I used it, I am quite satisfied. Not so noticeable decrease in the intensity of the light, and SPS color looks better for every day. But still, MH and T5 in my opinion still the best for now.
My photoperiod is considered long when compared to other lighting cycles. My Ecoray 60D is on 12 hours total and my led supplement 14 hours. I have adjusted my photoperiod numerous times, and have found this setup to be the most effective for my tank inhabitants.
- Actinics : 30W Blue leds – ON for 12 hours
- Mixed : Blue and white – ON for 6 hours
- 36W supplement – ON for 14W
What other equipment do you run? Calcium reactor, aquarium computer, dosing pumps, auottop off etc
The other equipment I use is vortech MP10 and Bubble Magus 3 Channel dosing pump. its a good purchase and very usefull. Calcium and alkalinity are automatically dosed using 1st and 2nd channel and 3rd channel is Top off with RO water. Nightly I dose 2ml Zeovit coral snow and Pocci glow every other day. As for magnesium I still dosing manually.
Tell us about your corals. What have you got and how many corals do you currently have?
Most of the livestock in my tank is SPS, and several types of zoanthids.
- Seriatopora Hystrix
- Bali tricolor
- Purple Digitata
- A. Hoeksemai
- Green stlo
- Frag of Montipora Setosa
- Frag of red digitata
- Frag of Montipora Confusa
- Frag of blue tenuis
- Green acropora (Acropora Sp)
- Montipora Undata
- A. Desalwii
- Green Echinata
- A. Suharsonoi
- Clove Polyp
- Various Zoanthid
Your tank is fairly dominated by SPS – how do you find keeping SPS in a nano tank?
At first I thought that keeping SPS in nano tank is impossible, then I saw in some forums, many reefer are able to keep SPS in the nano tank even pico tank. Then I thought, why can’t I?
It took a bit of hard work to be able to keep SPS in such a small tank, because are limited by the small volume of water, than we keep SPS in a larger tank. The point is, provide their needs, light, waves, and give them water parameters in accordance with their natural habitat.
What about the fish in your tank?
To be honest I am not a fish lover, I like coral than fish. I keep a lot of fish just to keep my N & P in check, I see if my N & P too lower, my SPS become pale, and I don’t really like it. The fish get the occasional sprinkle of freeze dried cyclop-eeze and a pellet food once a day.
Tell us about the tank overall, what do you love about it, what problems have you had, modifications made etc
For me this tank size is already quite ideal, other than, the treatment cost is not too big. I’ve been keep the existing livestock for more than 1 year, i know their habits so I already knew there was a problem even just looking at a glance.
For now the problem is algae, bubble algae and bryopsis. they are really troublesome. I read on some forums that mithrax crab can control bubble algae populations, after I tried it successfully, but it still has not gone completely, I’m still trying to pull them out manually. As for the bryopsis, This type of algae which I still fight until this time, low nutrient and cleaner crew can not handle it. I am currently trying to raise the level of Mg to 1600ppm, hopefully it can kill bryopsis growth and kill them.
As for future plans, I think this tank has just about reached capacity with very little room to add anything new. I feel like I will need to upgrade to a larger tank to accommodate all of the growing coral. I am considering a cube 60 tank next. I will start fragging soon also, since many corals have already grown to the point where they are competing for space. I plan on fragging a few select areas of the tank to maintain distance and overall perspective of the layout.
Do you belong to a reef club? Which online forums do you use,? What books do you read for reef knowledge?
Yes, there is a local community in my town called “Bandung Reefs Club”, not only for share information about reefing but we also exchanged coral frag. We visit each other, just to hang out together. There is no other way to get a nice coral, apart from the local community, we’ll get it on the cheap and even free. In addition there are several marine aquarium forums in my country such indoreefclub.com and reefsforum.com, this forum very helpful and help me for share information about marine aquarium, username that I use almost same in every forum, namely lilopop11. For the book, I don’t have one, all the information I’ve got, its come from articles that are available in forums scattered around the internet.
Anybody you want to thank? Anything else you’d like to say about your tank?
Firstly I want say big thanks to my wife, who would have been very understanding of my hobbies, and still remains to understand even though I’ve spent a lot of money and time. If not for the spirit that she’s gives, maybe I’ve retired from this hobby since 1 year ago. In addition I want to thank for all my friends in “Bandung Reefs Club” which had a lot of help and sharing for in solve various problems in maintaining marine tank. Special thanks to Ihsan and Ricky who have helped me for editing this article .