View Full Version : April 2010 TOTM - Jason Austin (jaustin)

04-06-2010, 8:51 PM
Congratulations to Jason Austin!
Tank of the Month April 2010 (

<Pictures are courtesy of Jason himself. He's on the other side of the state, but still welcome here! Click on pictures for larger version>

A bit about you as the hobbyist (

Iíve been in the saltwater hobby since 2003. It all started with a 125g FO I bought from someone in my town. I fell in love with all the hobby had to offer, and I hadnít even been exposed to the world of reef keeping yet. After a year with the 125g, I stepped down to a new 75g setup where I added LR and green star polyps. Green star polyps lead to mushrooms and xenia, and thatís when my love for reef keeping really began. Down here in Valdosta, we only have one store that sells saltwater fish and coral. My inspiration started there at Exotic Fish. Jim, the owner, has several reef tanks setup with tons of corals. I canít even tell you how many hours Iíve spent in the store asking questions of the owner and his son. They have made me the reef keeper I am today.

Having my tank picked for ToTM is amazing! Iíve never had my tank featured for anything special, and this is an honor I will never forget. There are so many great people here at ARC and so many reef tanks that make my jaw drop. ( (

History of the tank

My 60g Cube tank has been set up for almost two years now. Iíve wanted a cube tank ever since the ďShow Me Your Cube TankĒ thread on Reef Central. I love the depth of 24Ē tanks and didnít want something too huge to start an SPS reef in, so the 60g cube was perfect. ( ( (

How the tank got to where it is today

My tank is what it is today because of the support of my wife Kristy, Jim and James at Exotic Fish, and several ARC members that have sold and traded corals with me. A special thanks to Rit and David for the nice, colorful pieces that are the centerpieces and highlights of my tank today. ( (

Specifics of the tank

The tank is a custom build that I bought from Exotic Fish in Valdosta, Georgia. Itís drilled in the back for an internal overflow I built.

System Profile
System water volume

Display tank volume 60g

Tank dimensions
24" cube

Sump volume
30g ( (

Equipment list such as pumps, lighting, cooling/heating, and miscellaneous

Mag 12 return pump hooked up to a SQWD, Vortech MP40, 400W Radium MH/Coralvue Dimmable Ballast/Lumenmax II Pendant, Icecap 660 VHO Ballast driving two 24" VHO (Super Actinic, and Actinic 454), Three 4" Fans for cooling, Ranco Controller controlling 250W and 100W heaters, TLF Phosphate reactor, and light timers.

More in depth sections
Lighting (ie: photo period)

VHO photoperiod is 9hrs and MH photoperiod is 6hrs ( (

Filtration (ie: types)

Super Reef Octopus XP 2000 External skimmer that is an absolute monster of a skimmer, passive activated carbon, cheetoh in the sump, and BRS Phosphate in a TLF reactor.

Cooling is done by three 4" fans. One fan runs 24/7 over the sump, and the other two come on with the lights; they are located in the hood. The fans tend to be a bit noisy, but they keep me from needing a chiller, which is nice. and the noise is something I've gotten used to hearing.

Coral-possible further breakdown
Lots of SPS! Some Tyree Chalices, ORA acros, and a fist full of zoa/palys. ( ( ( (

Baby Regal and Scopus Tang, two Yellow Spotted Gobies, Flame Hawk, 5 cromis, two Lyretail Anthias

Other Inverts
Harlequin Shrimp, Pompom Crab, 3 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Scarlet Hermit Crab.

Feeding and Additives
Specific brands
 and/or types

I feed the fish 2-3 times a day. They get all kinds of food from flake, freeze dried mysis, frozen brine, mysis, and ocean plankton. All frozen foods are soaked in Brightwell Vitamarin M before they are fed to the fish and corals. Corals are fed weekly with target feeding of the LPS and tank dosing with Bulk Reef Supply Reef Chili.

04-06-2010, 8:51 PM
 I unleash my OCD on the sump, Skimmer, and on the cleanliness of the glass.

 Empty/Clean skimmer, fill top off res (35 Brute) and mix with Kalk powder, change GFO, and change Carbon ( ( ( ( ( ( (

Water Parameters
Specific Gravity

Final Thoughts
What is your key to success or what have you learned?

They key to my success is patience and good equipment. I've been through all the junk and had to re- purchase everything from power compacts, metal halide lights, and skimmers.

What are your future plans for the tank?

Future plans are to setup a 120g SPS reef 4x2x2" RR tank. ( ( (

What is the worst and best thing you have ever bought/added/done to your tank?

The best thing I've ever added to my tank would have to be a tie between my 6-line wrasse and my harlequin shrimp. Both creatures keep pests at bay to allow my reef to flourish. They also add to the overall beauty of the reef.

Describe any disasters you have had

I've had my fair share of disasters that's for sure! I've left the RO unit on overnight and flooded the bathroom and the office next to the bathroom. It took a day of steam cleaning to suck up all the water and several cleanings after that to keep everything from molding and smelling up the house. ( (

My old 30g sump cracked on me one day. Luckily, I caught It early and swapped it out with a 20g tank i had laying around until I could have another sump made. I've also had the pleasure of having red bugs on my SPS. It wasn't that big of a deal; some interceptor cured that problem quickly and without any complications.

If you're just getting Into the hobby, be sure to buy quality equipment the first time or you'll be buying it again later on. Research your fish and inverts before you buy them. My big soap box speech concerns lighting! I'm a believer in strong, quality light. I'm partial to metal halide, and anything over 24" deep deserves 400w MH IMO. Stick with bulbs that are recognized for their quality, and don't go cheap or, like I said, you'll be paying for it again.

Acknowledgments (

I would like to thank ARC for this opportunity to show my tank and to share my thoughts in this hobby. A special thanks to my wife who supports my hobby and takes care of my tank while Iím deployed or out of town. Thanks to Jim and James at Exotic Fish here in Valdosta, and thanks to all of you involved with reef keeping and ARC! ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( (

04-06-2010, 9:37 PM
Another deserving reef. Way to go 'J'.

We are ARC!

04-06-2010, 9:38 PM
Great tank and well deserved! Congrats

04-06-2010, 9:44 PM

04-06-2010, 9:49 PM
Looks great. Way to go J. Love the undata and the watermelon chalice.

04-06-2010, 9:52 PM
Wow that is an awesome cube!! Congrats on the TOTM!

04-06-2010, 9:52 PM
Beautiful. Congratulation!

04-06-2010, 9:55 PM
Congrats! How has the flame hawk behaved?

Atlanta Aquarium
04-06-2010, 10:34 PM
Wow!!! I'm speechless. I love seeing mixed reef.

04-06-2010, 10:35 PM

04-06-2010, 11:25 PM
Great job man! Get those cheetoh's outta your sump though:D

04-07-2010, 1:16 AM
Congratulation, Beautiful tank, love the cube!

04-07-2010, 9:01 AM
GORGEOUS Aquarium... Congratulations!!

04-07-2010, 9:09 AM
Congrats to a deserving tank! It's wonderful to be able to see tanks even far away from us. You did such a good job it was like a "virtual tour of tanks"!

04-07-2010, 9:44 AM
Hoping My 60 Cube build will only end up half as nice! Congrats!

04-07-2010, 9:59 AM
So proud to have viewed your cube up-close and personal. Also mind bending to know that I actually own decendents of some of your fantastic underwater garden. CONGRATULATIONS on everything! Bubba:goodjob:

04-07-2010, 12:23 PM
Awesome! I love the lights....will have to do something like that some day. More than deserving TOTM.

04-07-2010, 7:42 PM
Wow, thanks for all the nice comments! I have learned so much through this club.

Happy reeding!

04-07-2010, 9:51 PM
Congrats it's awesome...

Columbus Reef
04-07-2010, 9:58 PM
Congrats! Be-a-utiful tank!

04-07-2010, 10:22 PM
Very nice, congratulations!!

04-07-2010, 11:05 PM
Beautiful tank.

Son of Adam
04-07-2010, 11:17 PM
Great looking reef well done

04-08-2010, 2:03 PM
Congrats Jason!

04-08-2010, 2:06 PM
well done cube :)

04-09-2010, 10:07 PM
Thank you everyone!

04-10-2010, 5:55 PM
Nice tanks congrats.

Good job TOTM guys.


04-10-2010, 10:40 PM
Does anyone know the name of the large green sps in the middle of the tank? Is it a Bali slimer?

04-10-2010, 10:53 PM
Yeah it looks like a green Bali slimmer. I'm sure JAustin will confirm it soon enough.

04-11-2010, 7:18 AM
green Bali slimmer it is. I'll be up in Atlanta the weekend of May 7th if you would like a frag.

04-11-2010, 9:44 AM
Thanks Jason... may have to pick one of those up from ya!

04-16-2010, 12:16 AM

04-18-2010, 6:10 PM
Amazing tank, very nice!

04-29-2010, 11:02 AM
Beautiful Tank!!!!!

05-05-2010, 5:30 PM
what are these?




and how do you guys make your monti's do this? glue them to the glass?

05-05-2010, 5:34 PM
Dragon Soul Favia

M. Undata

and I use a mag cleaner. You can't see it because it's covered in Corelli.

05-06-2010, 4:48 PM
AWESOME by the way... beautiful mix of colors under both MH's/Actinic and Actinic only...

I love the clean glass.. do you scrape it every day or something? lol

05-06-2010, 6:56 PM
Thanks. But none of my pictures were taken under actinics only, all taken under metal halide and 454