I am happy with the ASM G3 performance. The only "mod" I made was with the output. I replaced the existing tube with a longer piece of PVC so that I could raise the water level higher inside the skimmer. My Nitrates are still under 5ppm, despite the high stocking levels.
I am very happy I made this a fish only. The sheer numbers of fish I have been able to put in this tank would have been impossible with a reef. So many fish that I've wanted to keep over the years, and now i'm able to give them the space they deserve. Plus, I'd like to have a couple more little rugrats (aka children) and we all know how expensive this hobby gets! For now, my 54 bowfront reef is keeping me content. At this point, I figure I will convert this 180 into a reef in 7 to 10 years, when we move to a house with a fishroom and space for a larger FOWLR system.
Here are some pictures of the 180 I took earlier this week: BG_ST_Aug09.jpg BG_YT_Aug09.jpg BGAug09.jpg Full2Aug09.jpg FullAug09.jpg
As you can see, I have still not purchased a background. I figure the glass will be covered with coraline in the next month or two anyhow, so what's the point. I have been very happy with the growth of coraline algae, which I attribute to a very close monitoring of calcium and alkalinity levels.
My params: 8.2 - 8.3pH, 12DKH alk, 440ppm cal, 5ppm Nitrate, 78F temp.
Stocking list: 2 Yellow Tail Damsels, Clarkii Clown, Cuban Hogfish, Red Squirrelfish, FoxFace, Majestic Angel (Blue Girdled), Scopas Tang, Yellow Tang, Sailfin Tang (Z. veliferum), Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus tominiensis), Clown Tang, Blond Naso Tang.
At this point, I am done adding Tangs. I have been very selective and careful in mixing these Tangs together and would not encourage anyone to attempt this unless they have multiple aquariums and a backup plan, especially when mixing Zebrasoma species in the same tank.
My favorite fish to observe is the Red Squirrelfish, which is surprising to me. The behavior reminds me of a small Firemouth Cichlid, hanging out around the rock caves with a great deal of caution. It is also fun to observe at night, when the other fish are all resting and the Squirrelfish has the entire 180 gallons to swim around.
I am also still having great success with the Clown Tang, which has now passed 4 months in captivity and appears to be growing and healthy.
I have had my eye on an Achillies Tang at the LFS. I need to turn the other way and ignore this fish!!!