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Mathdoc’s Reef Sanctuary

About the Owner

I am a pediatrician and a math teacher and have loved and kept both salt and fresh water fish for over 20 years. I have a Koi pond at home and a 180-gallon reef tank in my pediatric office. In general, children are very afraid of doctors and shots. The tank calms them down and helps so much. They also learn about fish and corals so it is an educational experience as well. Before I see patients, they have to sit and look at the tank, and then after they are seen, they spend some more time watching and relaxing.

Charles G.
Northridge, CA


Tank Volume 180 Gallons
Tank Dimensions 72″ x 24″ x 24″
Glass or Acrylic Glass with Starfire glass front
Sump Volume ~25 Gallons
Refugium Volume ~15 Gallons
Stand Type or Material Black Wood


Main Return Pump Two Taam Rio 26 Hyper Flow Water Pumps
Water Return Type Overflow box and back drilled tank
Wavemaking Devices 2 x Hydor Koralia Wavemakers, 1 x Two-Way and 1 x Hydor Koralia Four-Way Deluxe. All 6 pumps are Korallia #3– 12 volts controllable


Temperature Controls The entire tank, (which includes temperature, salinity, pH of tank and of Calcium reactor, lights, fans and all pumps) is controlled by a Digital Aquatics Reef Keeper Elite.
Fans 3″ fans for metal halide lights
Heater 2 x ViaAqua Titanium heaters
Chiller JBJ Artica Titanium Chiller 1/3 HP


Protein Skimmer ASM G-3
Ozonizer None
Carbon Seachem Purigen and E.S.V. Granular Activated Carbon
Also, Two Little Fishies PhosBan Reactor 150. I have 3 of them, one with PhosBan, one with carbon, and one with Seachem Denitrate. The PhosBan and carbon filter are running on one pump and the Denitrate runs with less flow on another pump. Both pumps are Hydor-Seltz L20.
Denitrification Two Little Fishies Phosban Reactor 550 with Seachem Denitrate and Two Little Fishies NPX Bioplastics Nitrate & Phosphate Reducing Polymer Media
Biological Filter I have Chaetomorpha and Fiji Mud (4-5 inches deep) in the refugium.
Refugium 90% full of Chaetomorpha with countless copepods and amphipods
Live Rock in Display Hundreds of pounds of live rock in display.
Live Rock in Sump I do keep some Purigen in bags in sump, but no live rock.
Sand/Substrate CaribSea Arag Alive Reef Sand

Metal Halide BUlbs 3 x 400 Watt Radium Metal Halides
Fluorescent Bulbs 2 x T5 lights for Refugium
LED 3 x Ecoxotic Stunner LED Strips and Digital Aquatics MLC Pod LED
Reflectors Lumen Max
Lighting Controller Digital Aquatics Reefkeeper Elite-RKE
Photoperiod 8:30 am to 4 pm
System Parameters

Temperature 80ºF – 81.3ºF
Specific Gravity 1.024 – 1025
pH 8.0 – 8.3
Alkalinity 9-10
Calcium 425-450
Mg 1300
Test Kit Brand Salifert and Hanna Instrument Phosphate Colorimeter
Nitrate < 0.02ppm
Phosphate < 0.03
Resins or Devices Used to Control Nitrate/Phosphate Two Little Fishies Phosban Reactors with Phosban, Carbon and Denitrate. 3 units, two pumps as above.
Calcium Reactor Vertex with pH probe

Maintenance & Dosing

Water changes 15 Gallons Every Fridays
Bulb Replacements Every 9 months
Water Tests Every 2 weeks at most
Resin Replacements Monthly or as needed
Salt E.S.V. B-Ionic Salt Mix


Fish Rod’s Food Original Blend and Mysis. Feed with Rod’s every day, Mysis 2-3 times per week and Two Little Fishies SeaVeggies (green and purple)
Corals Everyday Oyster Feast and Roti Feast
Others I also add DT’s Live Marine Phyotplankton to both the tank and the refugium.

Additional Notes

  • Problems Overcome With System: I have had many problems including Red Cyaobacteria. I found that when the lights are overdue for a change, the Cyanobacteria starts to grow. I also used Ultralife Red Slime Remover and it works well. I have also had problems with Flatworms. Have not figured that one out yet. Good flow has helped overcome many problems and is an absolute must, in my opinion.
  • Things You Like Best About System: I love the wide spectrum of colors I have and I love having a few soft corals, some LPS and SPS all mixed. It is not easy, but it is well worth the work! Mostly I love that every day 25 or more children can see and enjoy bits of the reef (aquacultured) from all over the world in my office! They learn, enjoy, and appreciate coral reefs more because of this tank.
  • Anything Special Unique About System: Mixed system (LPS/SPS/SOFTIES) and they all get along (well, most of the time, at least).
  • Overall Positives: Great coral growth and I have had many fish over 3-4 years. Amazing colors and textures. The water is always very clear.
  • Overall Negatives: I feed heavily, so I need to skim quite a bit. I also need to use lots of Phosban, carbon and Purigen as well as water changes to keep the SPS happy. The MH lights are very hot and I am thinking about changing to LEDs someday.


Stony Corals:

  • Montipora Setosa
  • Montipora Confusa
  • Montipora Green with Blue Polyps
  • Montipora Capriconus Red Cap
  • Montipora Sunset Digitata
  • Montipora Laker (encrusting)
  • Montipora Rainbow (encrusting)
  • Montipora Nodosa
  • Montipora Nugget
  • Montipora Garrets Pink Cadillac
  • Sunset and Reverse Sunset Montipora
  • Montipora Purple Haze
  • Montipora Neon Orange Digitata
  • Montipora Starburst Cap
  • Mystic Grape Favia
  • Mayan Sun Favia
  • Tricolor Acanthastrea Echinata
  • Acanthastrea Lord Toxic Orange and others without names
  • Stylophora Pistillata both pink and pink with green
  • Meteor Shower Cyphastrea
  • Acropora Strawberry Shortcake
  • Acropora Nasuta White and Purple
  • Acropora Oregon Tort
  • Acropora Light Blue
  • Acropora Purple Nana
  • Scroll Coral
  • Pavona Maldivensis
  • Blue Ridge Coral

Soft Corals:

  • Purple Hornets
  • Turple Terror
  • Armor of God
  • Electric Oompa Loompa
  • AOI
  • Blue Agave
  • Fire and Ice
  • Darth Maul
  • Gold Dust
  • Mary Jane
  • My Clementine
  • Yellow Jackets
  • Red Candy Apple
  • Vivid Nightmare
  • Tubbs Blue
  • Cinnamon Polyps
  • Palythoa Grandis
  • Mohawk and variable stars
  • Pastel and many other rainbow
  • Sinularia Green Variety
  • Goniopora Red, Purple and other varieties
  • Kenya Tree
  • Anemones Rose Bubble Tip and Green Bubble Tip
  • Ricordea Mushrooms including pink Yuma and green
  • Rhodactis orange and blue as well as and many other mushrooms
  • Many types of clove polyps


  • Yellow Banded Coral Shrimp
  • 1 Small Red Starfish (unknown type)
  • Many kinds of snails
  • Many type of hermit crabs

Noteworthy Specimens:

  • Tyree Mayan Sun Favia
  • Colony of Turple Terror AKA Bloodshot Palys
  • Jedi Mind Trick Montipora
  • Strawberry Shorcake Acropora
  • Monitpora Setosa
  • Colony of Yellow Jacket Zoanthids
  • Pink Elephant Palythoas
  • Wellsophyllia Brain Coral
  • Pink Ricordea Yuma
  • Sohal Tang
  • Montipora Starburst Cap
  • Colony of Electric Oompa Loompa

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