Akaimal [Anand Kaimal] 240 g SPS dominated Reef.


I would like to thank ChicagoReefs.com for giving me the opportunity to share my story and experience with fellow reef keepers all over Chicago land.

I must say that through Chicago Reefs I have had the pleasure of meeting some very dedicated and knowledgeable members, always willing to share and help, some of whom have become dear friends.

My journey into this fascinating world was initiated by my father who got me a 20G aquarium and a few gold fishes when I was just six years old. Ever since then I have always had an aquarium. I ran freshwater aquariums for years back in India, where it is illegal to keep or grow corals privately at home. As kids, my brother and I were very inspired by Jacques Cousteau's documentaries about the oceans. So having a Reef Tank was a dream that I cherished then. It was only after settling down in Chicago, that I finally decided to try out reef keeping, starting with a 120G fresh water tank donated to me. It was a disaster because of all the problems associated with a tank that was not reef ready. But I knew I was on the correct path and, with the knowledge and experience I gained, I decided to scale up. So in 2008 my wife and I decided to sketch out my 240G custom reef tank after doing a lot of research on various forums.

Growth Sequence pics

2008-0717                                                2008-1231                                                2009-0325


2009-0718                                            2009-1024                                                2010-0810

2011-0227                                              2012-0123                                           2012-0712

My goal was to keep it as simple as possible with minimum number of equipments. Since the tank is in the living room, I had to design everything to fit the limited space inside the cabinet. I spent a lot of time on designing my tank's plumbing, as I was aiming for maximum efficiency of the dart pump by using minimum number of joints and maximum diameter piping. The sump and refugium were ordered after that. Parameter optimization and maintenance was the key objective with minimal deviation policy. Throughout the years I have tried different types of lighting, salt, power heads etc. and ended up with this current setup.

I attribute my success in reefing to the knowledge of reefers all over the world. Key to success in this hobby is discipline. I would also like to thank my friends at ReefDepot for their support and assistance throughout the years.


  1. In the center I have 2 Apollo LED dimmable fixture controlled by Apex

  2. On both sides I have 2 DIY LED fixture that I built using components from ReefLedLights.com. It consists of a 36 inch heat sink with 
    1) 12 XTE Royal Blue LED
    2) 12 XPG Cool White Premium 7.5K 
    3) 8 XP-E blue
    4) 2 XP-E red
    5) 2 XP-E Green 
    6) 12 Violet UV LED's
    7) 24 XRE Royal Blue 
    8) 12 XRE Cool White 

  3. In between the fixtures I have two 4" giesemann actinic plus



The tank employs biological and mechanical filtration.

The biological filtration consists of more than 250 pounds of live rock, 1 inch of sugar fine aragonite sand, 20G refugium filled with a 12 inch deep sand bed, Chaetomorpha and live rock. For mechanical filtration, the water passes into the overflow then into the sump via a 100 micron filter sock. Next, the water passes through two separate chambers. The first area houses a heater, live rock and skimmer. The final area accommodates the return pump. Even with the heavy load, of corals, just 6 ml of vinegar dosing alone has kept the phosphates in check.



 To help maximize the flow from the return pump I employ two Wavy Sea wave makers. They keep moving back and forth evenly distributing the water from the sump. I currently use two Vortech mp60wes pumps and a Reeflo dart return pump. I have been extremely happy with this combination.


Feeding and maintenance 

On alternate days I feed Rods food and fat Mysis. On the days I feed mysis, I also feed the tank Oyster Feast or Routi Feast. Calcium and Alkalinity are maintained using a Geo Calcium reactor with an additional DIY chamber. Salinity is maintained by top off using a Litermeter pump.

Twice a week I feed the tank Zeovit amino acids and Zeovit Coral vitalizer. I also use Zeovit Coral Snow once a week.

I change the filter soaks once in 4 days and also clean the skimmer cup once a week. Chaetomorpha in the refugium is trimmed once in 2 weeks. I record KH once in two days and test phosphates once a week.

I do a 50Gallon water change once a month. At this time I also vacuum the sand bed and run carbon when needed.

I clean the skimmer and soak the Vortech wetsides in vinegar once in 6 months.

I also have a 1/3 hp Teco chiller. It keeps the temparature of the tank below 79 degrees.



1 large Mag FoxFace
1 large Yellow Tang
1 medium purple tang
2 clown fishes
1 small kole tang
1 large melanurus wrasse
1 large yellow corris wrasse
1 small Ornate Leopard Wrasse
1 small Black Leopard wrasse
1 medium meleagris Leopard wrasse




Corals and inverts

The cleanup crew consists of two cleaner shrimp, 1 Coral banded shrimp, Blue Legged Hermits, Courie Snails, Astraea Snails, bumble bee snails, emerald crabs.

Invert pics


Soft Corals


Green mushroom

Red mushroom



Frogspawn (Euphyllia paradivisa)

Favia (Favites spp.)




List of SPS

Green Enchinata

Ultra Aussie Granulosa with blue tips

Ultra Aussie granulosa with purple tip

Purple Monster

Ice Blue Humilis

Fire and Ice Enchinata

Various Fiji Acros

Blue Monster

White Milli

Pink milli

Deep water Acro

Lime in the sky Acro

Deep water Acros

Blue Enchinata

Pink birds nest

Purple Stag

Highlighter Cap

Blue Tenuous Acro

ORA red planet

ORA Pearlberry

Idaho grape monti

Sunset monti

Superman monti

And many more unknowns.


For anyone looking for advice, I would say, keep your setup simple. Keep the number of components to a minimum. This way you donít have to keep track of so many things. Also try to use as many external pumps as possible. This helps in keeping the temperature of the tank stable.

Thank you Chicago Reefs for featuring my aquarium and giving all reef enthusiasts a place to connect !