The Acropora wonderful aquarium with T5 from Giuliano Carafa
We had the luck and the honor to take pictures of the marine aquarium of Giuliano some months ago, but unfortunately due to the several obligations, we couldn’t fix the pictures we took, so we have had to postpone the publication until today.
This article is also available in: italiano
It’s a pity because the aquarium is beautiful. The Acropora are wonderful and the fish are in good health. Rarely you can find fish this big and so many in an aquarium with hard corals. And despite this, the corals are in great health and with incredible colors. It wasn’t easy to take pictures under the T5 and the balancing of the white resulted very problematic. We hope, in any case, that the pictures can convey the magic of this aquarium.
The aquarium dominates Giuliano‘s dining room, and it’s 120x80x60 cm, in extra clear glass of 12 mm. The gross liters are 576, the net probably around 500. Very spectacular. I like so much these measure because they can recreate the depth and let your view run.
While he shows his creature, Giuliano tells us about his passion for Acropora and fish and we can only nod looking at his splendid aquarium, and thinking that different corals would be just fine in our aquariums too.
The aquarium can be watched from two sides.
The technique used
The sump is 80x50x50 cm, and it has a partition of 22 cm that keep the skimmer always at the same water height. The refilling reservoir is of 35 liters.
The movement is granted by four pumps Ecotech Marine Vortech MP40qd of 17.000 l/h. That’s a movement of 60 times the volume. I don’t want anyone to say that movement is not important! This one in particular maybe is even a bit excessive, but it allows a perfect movement in aquarium. There are 80 kg of living rocks that assure a very efficient filtering, and the relationship between living rocks and water is 1 kg every 7 liters, always considering the grass volume of the tank alone. In a more specific way, counting also the space occupied by the rocks, the relationship is 80 kg per 468 liters, that is 1 kg every 5,85 liters.
The lighting, as we underlined in the title, is assigned to the dear old T5. There are 12 tubes of 120 cm placed on 2 ceiling lights ATI SunPower. The chosen tubes are:
- 6 ATI Blue Plus;
- 2 ATI Aqua Blue Spezial;
- 3 ATI Coral Plus;
- 1 ATI Purple Plus.
The lighting system is set on one hour of dawn, one of sunset and 10 hours of full light, for a total amount of 12 hours. The total watts are 648, and the daily consumption is about 7 kw.
The exchange between aquarium and sump is managed by a pump Newa NJ 6000 set on its maximum power. The maximum flow rate is 6000 l/h and hydraulic head is 3,6 meters. According to our program (here in italian) the aquarium should have an exchange of about 1400 l/h. We think that Giuliano‘s skimmer is a bit too small for his needs.
The aquarium has two drain pipes by UltraReef of 50mm.
The integrations in aquarium are handled by the system Triton Core 7 Other Methods (here an explanation, in italian, of the balling method) with the dosometric pump Aqua Trend Doser One Evolution with 4 channels. Each month are done the ICP-OES and N-DOC test and the eventual adjustments are done following Triton‘s suggestions.
The managing of the temperature is done by the chiller Teco TK1000 (here the italian review) which handles both cooling and heating. It turns on at 23,5°C and turns off when it reaches 24°C.
The heating is done by the heater inside the chiller and an external heater of 300W placed in sump, but Giuliano says it never got in action. But what strucked us the most it’s that the chiller is mounted on the balcony without any covering, as you can see in the following picture. A piece of advice for you readers, never do that!
Giuliano shows his skimmer, the UltraReef UKS 200 (soon we’re going to release a review because it just arrived to our department) equipped with the new pump Sicce PSK 1200.
Giuliano proudly shows a change he made on the power supply of the skimmer, inserting a timer that grants a retarded start in case of detachment and reattachment of the electric power. In this way you manage to have the estabilished level in sump before the skimmer turns on again, and you avoid that the liquid falls from the glass into the sump. We hardly suggest this modification to everyone.
Next to the skimmer there’s a UV implant, the Newa Mirror of 18W turned on 24/7.
But the technical equipment isn’t over, because in sump there’s also the zeolite reactor Zeolite Ruwal, charged with 500 grams of zeolite, that are regularly substitued once a month. Always present, as the berlinese rule says, a little sack with 250 ml of active carbon, changed every month.
The values in aquarium
Giuliano keeps the following values:
- KH: 8
- Ca: 440 ppm
- Mg: 1370 ppm
- NO3: 1,5 ppm
- PO4: undetectable
- Salinità: 35 per thousand
- Temperatura: 24°
The target for nitrates, according to Giuliano, should be of 3,5 ppm, as Triton suggests, but it’s an impossible value to reach even though the fish are well feed, continuously and with different products.
The water is changed every two weeks, changing about the 10% of the water, that are 50 liters each time. The water is made in a reverse osmosis plant of 5 steps with an H/M conductivity meter.
The alimentation of fish and corals in the marine aquarium of Giuliano Carafa
It doesn’t exist an aquarium without an efficent plan for the alimentation of the corals that wants to keep them in full health. Or, it shouldn’t exist. But Giuliano’s aquarium is the exception that proves the rule. Giuliano says that he never feed the corals, but he feeds a lot the fish only.
For what concerns the fish, in fact, Giuliano Cafara tells that he daily administers different food, for example artemias krill, mysis, red plankton and frozen lobster eggs, vegetable flakes by Ocean Nutrition and nori seaweed by SHG, also granular by Dottor Bassleer and mastic by Easy Reefs. Well, the fish are in great health and their back is very large, sign of their wellness.
The aquarium is simply amazing. I like them this way, with a lot of fish, high level corals and the small stratum of sand that makes the aquarium very natural. Congratulations to Giuliano for creating and maintaining this beautiful corner off barrier reef.
We have a lot to say, but let’s start with objective data: movement equal to 60 times the volume of the aquarium at maximum flow rate. Perfect.
The return pump of 6.000 l/h should grants, according to our calculations, an exchange of 1.400 l/h, almost perfect for the used skimmer. Probably it should reach 2.000 l/h in order to be perfect, but I’d say that’s a detail for an aquarium that has already showed an envied equilibrium. Even here almost perfect.
Speaking of the light. Here I have something to say, I don’t want to be critical, it’s just a discussion topic. Choosing T5s turned out to be a good solution for the health of the animals, I myself used similar ceiling lights in the early 2000, but… Yes, there’s a “but”: the T5s make the aquarium look bidimensional, flat. I’d like to see maybe some LED spots that create dinamic shadows in the water and improve the visual experience.
At the same time the global balancing of the tubes tends to the high part of the spectrum and this doesn’t make the colors of the corals stick out like they should. I, personally, would use some tube Coral Plus in place of a Blue Plus, but the configuration should be tested. But there are really minimal details. The aquarium is spectacular.
Another point I’d improve is the direct alimentation of the corals: if I were in Giuliano I’d try to feed the SPS with micronized zooplankton. I think in a couple of months the results would be incredible, given that the starting level is very high. I’d like to know that Giuliano made this choice and that in a few months he would tell us if his aquarium has improved or not.
Technically speaking there’re a lot of high level equipments. This reminds us that’s impossible to have good results without the proper equipment. Just one word: perfection.
We’ve nothing more to add! Continue on page two for the pictures of the fish!