Written by: UDJustin
Pictures by: Lazylivin
             My name is Justin Stekli, I’m 27 years old and  live in Centerville with my wife and my young daughter. I attend the University of Dayton and am majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology; I’m in my senior year and ready to graduate. My wife owns her own photography studio in Centerville. I have had a saltwater fish tank for about 14 years, currently I have the 75 gallon tank at my house, a 55 gallon at my parent’s house and a 26 gallon quarantine tank also at my parents. I am currently working on a 30 gallon cube for my wife’s studio, and a 75 gallon hexagon for seahorses (this one has been in the process for about 2 years now lol).
Hobby History 
            I started into saltwater about 14 years ago with a 33 gallon tank my mother purchased for me for doing well in school. I originally set this up keeping fish only, my most memorable fish I had was a porcupine puffer that had quite a personality. My mom grew so fond of the fish she purchased a 55 gallon tank that currently resides at their house about two years later. I was not the best fish keeper when I first started and didn’t really know much; unfortunately I killed a lot of fish starting out. My 75 gallon tank that I currently have was actually from a friend who got started into the hobby and after a few years she no longer wanted the tank so I purchased it from her. I again set this one up as a fish only tank and started the 55 gallon at my parents as a softy tank; I purchased a PC light system for it about five to six years ago.  I finally set up my 75 gallon as a softy tank about four years ago when I purchased a PC light fixture for it also. That lasted about four months before I purchased  two 250 watt halides I have currently running it.  
            I worked for Joel at aquariums etc for about two years which is where I gained most of knowledge that I have today. He taught me about everything  and inspired me in his own way (usually by laughing at me for stupid thoughts) to research for more information, so I bought quite a few books and read them cover to cover. That brings us up to current for the most part. 
Tank Design/ Objectives 
            My tank really didn’t have much thought put into it when setting it up. It was pieced together as I went along. You can tell this by the many flaws and redo’s that it has been through. I currently own a 200 gallon marineland deep dimension tank that is in the process of being started, this tank will have much more thought put into the design, as I know much more than I did when I started the 75 gallon tank. Look for updates on the site on the new tank, if I ever get it out of my garage ha ha ha.       
           I currently run two 250 watt galaxy metal halide ballast made by sunlight supply, with luminarc mini reflectors, and 250 watt mogul base 14K Reflux bulbs. I also run two 54 watt HO T5 420 nanometer actinic bulbs for dusk to dawn period and a set of moon lights to finish off the light cycle. I chose the Reflux bulbs after seeing Rich at Coral Ranch running them, I really liked the color I got out of them, I had previously ran 12K Hamilton bulbs and 15K XM bulbs, Reflux is by far my favorite.
            Lights get replaced every six to eight months to keep the bulbs fresh  from shifting colors too much. I also run a reverse photo period on my sump to keep the PH stable.

Light Cycle
  • T5's- 12:30PM -2:30PM
  • MH's- 2:30PM-9:30PM
  • T5's- 9:30PM-11:30PM
  • SUMP 11:30PM - 12:30PM
Water Chemistry
            To maintain the water quality of the system the water first goes through two prefilters and then enters a sump with my euro reef CS12-2 protein skimmer, the water then enters into another chamber with cheato in it, and finally it goes through my remote deep sand bed.
             Calcium and alkalinity levels are maintained with a Geo calcium reactor and also by dosing kalk water every day. I have an auto top off to control water evaporation and dose iodine and magnesium daily. I also employ an ozone generator and separate skimmer for injection into the water.
I do a twenty gallon water change every week with Brightwell NeoMarine salt and all Brightwell Aquatics supplements
Water Parameters
  • PH: 8.2-8.3
  • Alkalinity 10.3 dkh
  • Magnesium 1350
  • Calcium 410
  • Phosphates <.03
  • Nitrates undetectable
  • Nitrites undetectable
  • Ammonia undetectable

System Control
            I currently do not have any whole system controller running my tank. However I have a PH controller running the calcium reactor and an orp controller running my ozone dosage.

Water Circulation
           Circulation consists of four koralia 3’s in the display, and a mag 9.5 running as my return pump. I also have numerous maxi jets running carbon/phosphate reactors and one running my feed line to the calcium reactor.

 Live Stock
            Their are over 100 different corals in my tank. Species include; Acropora, montipora, favia, brains, acanthastrea, cloves, zoanthids, seritopora, numerous chalices, and I’m sure quite a few more I’m forgetting about. As for fish I have two ocellaris clowns, one female pink square anthias, a powder brown tang, and blue hepatus tang, a yellow tang, a yellow watchmen goby, a melanurus wrasse, a solorensis wrasse, and a splendid dottyback. I also have two cleaner shrimp, one pistol shrimp, one peppermint shrimp, numerous hermit crabs, numerous snails, and two pom pom crabs. I also have a mini max carpet anemone and three tridacna maxima clams.
            I feed my fish two cubes of formula two and a cube of mysis and one cube of squid a day. Feeding occurs over a three or four hour period to make sure that everyone gets fed enough and that it does not go to waste. I supplement the food with vita chem, garlic guard, and selcon, alternating days on which I use each. Corals are feed once a week with amino acids and rotifers, plus whatever makes its way to the polyps while feeding the fish. 
Future Enhancements
            Well as you read earlier I have a 200 gallon deep dimension marineland tank sitting in my garage that I hope to set up some time in the future. I also plan on upgrading the koralia powerheads to vortechs, modding my current skimmer to make it a recirc model, and buying an Apex controller to run the whole system.
Click here to comment or ask a question to Justin about his beautiful reef.