View Full Version : February 2008 Tank of the Month - Darren Hayes

02-01-2008, 2:39 PM


Well like a lot of “Reefers” I never imagined that I would be asked to do a write up or be selected as Tank of the Month. I am very honored but do not feel worthy. My tank is a constant work in progress.

I first had a salt water tank in the mid – late 80’s and it was a fish only tank. The knowledge level that I had then and the information available was nothing like it is today. I look back and the only advice that I was given was from a kid at the LFS in Charlotte and the fish that I mixed together makes me cringe. It was a short lived hobby for me then.

In 2005 I started to get the “fever” again (I have found that it never really leaves you). My wife Teresa and I had 2 daughters in college at the time so I promised her that I would just get a small tank and that the expense would be minimal. So I set up a 12G Nano Cube with live rock, a couple of clowns, and some assorted Zoas and softies. It was a successful tank as I had done a lot of reading on Reef Central and The Reef Tank sites. After about 3 months the 12G was just not big enough. Somehow I convinced my wife that “we” needed to upgrade to a bigger tank. So from the 12G I went all the way up to a 20G H tank. This lasted for another 3-4 months and another upgrade was in order so I went to a 40 breeder. As you probably guessed this did not last long either and I went to a 58G RR tank. I kept this tank for about a year and just a few months ago had a custom made tank built.

The 95 gallon Starfire

My current tank is approximately 36 x 25 x 25 which I believe is about 95G. I had it custom made by Glass Cages. The tank has starphire glass on 3 sides and a single overflow in the center. I have a 29G sump underneath with an ASM G2, a section for a refugium, and of course my return section. The oak stand was also made by Glass Cages and has a lift out panel in the front and a lift out panel on the side so that the sump can be removed if necessary. For lighting I use an Outer Orbit with 2 x 150W with 14k Phoenix bulbs and 4 x 39 W T5 Ho Actinics. The unit also has 16 LED moonlights half white and half blue. The return pump is a “Quiet One” rated for approximately 700GPH. In addition I have a Koralia 1, 2, and 3 for flow.

Maintenance wise I consider myself a “Simple Man”. I am a little afraid of “automatic” anything so I do most everything manually. I am fortunate to be able to work from home full time which helps a lot. I have my own RO/DI unit (Typhoon 3) so I make my own water and use Reef Crystals salt. I change between 5-10 gallons every 5-6 days. I dose a 2 part (Kent Tech CB A & B) daily and supplement the tank with Kent Magnesium and Turbo Calcium when needed.


The current fish in my tank are a Yellow Tang and 2 tank raised clowns. I had a 6 line wrasse until recently. RIP the poor guy committed suicide by jumping. I have a Flame Angel in quarantine that I just bought as I felt sorry for the guy / girl. According to the vendor it had an accident in shipping and only has 1 eye. The missing eye has completely healed over and the vendor had it for several months thinking that no one would want it. It appears very healthy and eats like a pig. I feed the fish once per day a combination of frozen brine, frozen mysis, flakes, and cyclopeeze. The tang also gets a daily piece of seaweed selects or Nori.


As for the corals I like to choose specimens with lots of color which also seems to equate to lots of $’s. I have several Acan Lord colonies / frags, Blastomussa Wellsi, Zoanthids, Chalices, and Micromussa. I also have assorted softies such as toadstools and mushrooms. I have recently received a few SPS which I am trying out. They seem to be doing well. The corals get fed at each water change. I take mysis, brine, cyclopeeze, flakes, and selcon and let them sit and thaw in some tank water. I then use a large syringe (no needle) or a turkey baster and try to hit all of the LPS that consume food. I also use DT’s a few times per week when lights are out.

Well that seems like a long “read” so I will close this out. I owe a lot to lots of people for their help and guidance. ARC has been a world of help with club meetings and members knowledge and advice. Special thanks go out to Mark, Rit, Jin, Brandon, “Big D”, and Melissa for guidance and frags that were purchased or traded for. There are many more folks but the list would be too long. If anyone has any specific questions please feel free to PM me.


Darren Hayes

Jin's note:

Pictures never do a tank justice. Darren's tank is much prettier in person, but at least you get a hint of how colorful it is! I loved this tank from the moment I saw it as a 54 almost a year ago. I wanted to feature it back then as well as the tank is so well maintained and every coral in the tank just pops out at you.

Its not a huge tank, and its not an expensive setup. There's no calcium reactor, no auto-top off, no kalk reactor, no ozone, no wave devices, no crazy skimmer, no huge sump, no controllers... nothing fancy. Yet, I think its still one of the nicest tanks in the club. Simply put the tank is an inspiration of color and balance. It goes to show you what you can accomplish with just intelligent reef keeping. Bravo Darren!

Thank you Darren for sharing with us!!! :)

Thank you Alex!

A special thanks and shoutout goes to Alex Ward, aka photokid, for volunteering his time and efforts into taking these wonderful shots. Heaven knows I can't take a picture, thankfully we are blessed with many talented people in this club. We drove to Ackworth to take the shots, and when the FTS didn't come out right... Alex drove up there by himself to retake the shot we needed. Does ARC pay for our gas? Heck no! We do it for the love of the hobby and for the club. TOTM would not be possible without him!!! Thanks bro!!! :yay:

02-01-2008, 2:44 PM
Very cool!

02-01-2008, 2:54 PM
Very very nice!

02-01-2008, 2:57 PM
always nice to see Darrens tank!

02-01-2008, 3:01 PM
Thanks for the acknowledgment Darren... But I do not think I do anything for your tank... Other then steal frags from it! ;)

It is an AWESOME tank, that is for sure. I am already going through the pictures, taking notes on what I want to steal next!!!

Thanks for being such a great part of this community. Keep up the great work on the tank!

02-01-2008, 3:05 PM
Anyone know what spectrum actinics he runs?

02-01-2008, 3:07 PM
Congrats on TOTM Darren, but I am not surprised after getting to see it in person this week.

02-01-2008, 3:11 PM
Anyone know what spectrum actinics he runs?

Darren please correct me if I'm wrong... I believe he is just using the actinics that came with his fixture. I'm not sure but I think they are made by current. The spectrum is something you can look up :).

02-01-2008, 3:18 PM
That is an awesome tank. I have tank envy... like always.

02-01-2008, 3:20 PM
nice setup

02-01-2008, 4:03 PM
wow, i have never seen his setup before, I like the simplicity.

02-01-2008, 4:42 PM
Wow...Thats all I can say....I am dumbfounded...

Jeez..That is beautiful..

02-01-2008, 4:51 PM
Very nice!

02-01-2008, 7:45 PM
Hey Beautiful tank. I'm thinking of ordering a rimless starphire tank from glass cages how do you like yours?

02-01-2008, 8:23 PM
yay first totm that has a display tank of under 100g.

02-01-2008, 9:26 PM
OMG! That is beautiful. When I got back into this hobby a month ago I had no idea something like that was possible. I have a lot to learn. I though flower gardens where beautiful. Being artistic I am fascinated by the colors. Good work my friend.

Linda Lee
02-01-2008, 9:38 PM
Very beautiful tank, Darren.

And, Alex, you did a great job with the photos!

Hope to see this tank on tour in the near future.


02-02-2008, 9:07 AM
Beautiful tank Darren. I like your approach to reefing.

02-02-2008, 9:45 AM
Thanks folks. As for the light spectrum on the actinics the fixture came with (and still has) 4 x 39W 420 I believe. I have heard that there are better actinic bulbs out there though so I will be trying those.

02-02-2008, 3:53 PM
Congrats Darren. Tank looks great!! :)

02-02-2008, 8:50 PM
Darren your tank is beautiful! Great job.

02-02-2008, 9:40 PM
Congrats man!!! I feel honored to live so close to a TOTM. LOL. Congrats!!!!

02-03-2008, 8:59 AM
Dang! I will send you my list of what I want. ;)

02-03-2008, 4:05 PM
Nice tank Darren! Love the Acans!

02-04-2008, 12:19 PM
This tank is STUNNING! I had the chance to see it yesterday and was AMAZED! Darren is also one of the nicest guys I have met since he was kind enough to give me a spare bulb he didnt need! Seriously these pictures do not do his tank justice, I dont think any could really! The colors were just breathtaking and he didnt even have his T-5s on. Im sure I looked like an idiot just staring with my mouth open for 20 minutes.

02-04-2008, 12:58 PM
Im sure I looked like an idiot just staring with my mouth open for 20 minutes.

Been there, done that... was my nose print still on the tank?!?

02-05-2008, 8:43 PM
Simply gorgeous... many congrats on TOTM! :)

Ralph ATL
02-05-2008, 11:33 PM
super nice tank! awesome job!

02-11-2008, 1:35 PM
Beautiful tank!!

02-13-2008, 3:18 PM
congrats FI! Nice tank and some nice shots in there too! gj alex!

02-23-2008, 11:03 PM
beautiful tank. Great aquascape and choice of coral congratulations

02-24-2008, 9:12 AM
What a beautiful, colorful tank. I hope to have one like it in the near future.

06-05-2008, 3:20 PM
A more recent full tank shot! :)