The 187 Gallon Reef Tank of Afnan Mukaddam

Afnan Mukaddam’s custom 187 gallon in-wall reef tank is a great example of success from simplicity. With a well sized skimmer providing filtration, minimal rock work to allow for more water movement and a simple T5 lighting setup, Afnan’s tank is just at the beginning of it’s glory days. Many of the acropora in the tank have already grown quite large but still have plenty of room to grow into. The minimalistic rockscape allows easy access for trimming SPS colonies as they grow in and gives the large Achillies tang lots of swimming space. It also means that two MP40 powerheads provide more than enough flow for the system.

  • Setup Date: November, 2014
  • Display Aquarium: Miracles Aquariums 187 gallon Low-Iron Glass (60” x 30” x 24”) with modified Beananimal coast to coast external overflow
  • Stand: Miracles Aquariums Steel Stand
  • Sump: 54″ x 30″ x 18″
  • Skimmer: Royal Exclusiv Bubble King Supermarin 200.
  • Dosing: 2 x Neptune Systems DŌS Fluid Metering Systems
  • Return Pump: DC Pump 3,000 GPH Max Flow
  • Internal Flow: 2 x Vortech MP40’s
  • Main Lighting: 48” 8 bulbs ATI Power Module
  • Supplement Lighting: 2 x ReefBrite XHO LED’s
  • Reactors: Two Little Fishies Reactor running a small amount of Rowaphos for Phosphate Control
  • ATO: Tunze Osmolator 5017
  • RO/DI: Vertex Unit
  • Frag Tank: Currently Under Construction by Miracles Aquariums (future update coming)
  • System Controller: Neptune Systems APEX, WXM & 2 x EB8 Power Bars

Filtration & Fish

The large sump adds another 75+ gallons to the system and provides more than enough water volume for the relatively light bioload in the display tank. A Supermarin 200 protein skimmer and a small amount of Rowaphos in a reactor provide all the filtration for the system.
Most of the fish are smaller species except for 2 large tangs. This well managed bioload means less maintenance is required, adding to the tanks simplicity and stability. With a low rockscape, the fish actively swim above the growing coral colonies adding a natural look to the reef. One of the most beautiful fish we found in the system was a Marine Betta, hiding behind a large acropora colony on the back wall.

Coral & Lighting

The most impressive of the SPS in this system is the surprisingly large Pink Cadillac acropora colony that sits on top of the rockscape. This colony is at least 10″ across and has thick branches growing out in all directions. The deep purples and greens almost shimmer as you look down into the tank from above. Afnan attributes the corals coloration to the 8-bulb ATI T5 and accompanying blue Reef Brite LED strips which really makes the colours pop. But it’s also important to note that this tank was started with live rock that was taken from an established system. This has no doubt added to the tanks stability and overall success. With very few additives used in the system it’s incredible to see what can be accomplished with careful planning and stability.

Under the acropora that line the top of the reefscape is a collection of equally impressive LPS corals. Including a rainbow chalice and several large colourful acan colonies. The bright pinks of large symphyllia and gonipora corals add a bright contrast of colour to the glowing greens of a torch coral and several bounce mushrooms. A small cove in the rockscape on the left side of the tank has become what we can only describe as a bounce mushroom garden. This cove houses some of the largest bounce mushrooms we’ve seen! The bright greens and oranges turn almost neon under the blue Reef Brite LED’s. A vivid and varied collection of successes in a truly diverse reef.

Fish Room Setup

In the fish room, the tank sits on a steel stand with the tank controller and support equipment mounted to the wall next to it. A Neptune Systems APEX controller is used to automate and control the system with the exception of a TUNZE Osmolator ATO which runs independently. The ceiling mounted 48″ ATI T5 Power Module provides more than enough coverage on this 60″ long tank and sits around 15″ above the water line. This set up allows the tank to be easily accessed for maintenance and feeding. The Supermarin 200 protein skimmer and variable DC pump has been dialed in for maximum efficiency and produces some thick skimmate. The dual DŌS fluid metering dosing pumps from Neptune Systems provide extra accuracy when adding the 2-part and magnesium solutions to the system. We’re looking forward to revisiting the system in a year to see how things have progressed!