Barrier Reef's Red Sea Reefer 750 Display Tank

Written by: Cy Forell


For aquarium hobbyists, there is nothing quite like the excitement and challenge of designing a new system, and seeing it through to the point where it becomes as close to a thriving ecosystem as possible. From choosing your aquarium and equipment, to designing your hardscape, the decisions and options seem endless. It's also important to plan for equipment failure and include a monitoring system to alert you of issues while you are away. This is the story of our store's new Red Sea Reefer 750 display tank.

Plating Montiporas whorling into each  other

“I need the sea because it teaches me.” – Pablo Neruda

Red Goniopora
Acropora Milleporas

The System

After fifteen years, our original 300 gallon display tank began to look aged. Tim and I started discussing how we wanted to replace it. We had been slowly remodeling the store and created the perfect location to accommodate a six to seven foot reef aquarium. Being a Red Sea Certified Dealer made the choice of aquariums easy. Having one of our longtime friends offer us his white Reefer 750, along with some equipment, allowed us to dive right in to the project!

Our goal was to keep a SPS/LPS mixded reef and to display as much of our favorite equipment as possible so customers can see the results in person. Photosynthesis is powered by four Red Sea ReefLED 160s using tank mounts. We like the way corals fluoresce under Red Sea's LEDs and the control allowed through the ReefBeat app allows you to fine tune your photoperiod to match your preferences. These lights provide 400-500 PAR throughout most of the upper half of the tank, and our Acropora frags are all growing and showing vibrant color.

Water movement in this 160 gallon aquarium is driven by two ReefWave 45 gyre style powerheards, which also connect to Red Sea's ReefBeat app. The main circulation pump is an Abyzz. Why? Because why not!? Usually, we use Octopus Varios return pumps and the new Red Sea ReefRun DC pumps look promising as well. We just happened to have an Abyzz in storage and figured this was the perfect opportunity to pull the Ferrari out of the garage.

Organic waste and detritus removal is carried out by an Octopus Elite protein skimmer and a Two Little Fishies PhosBan 550 media reactor. We use Seachem Matrix Carbon, PhosGuard, and CupriSorb every couple months or as needed.  A ReefMat 1200 fleece roller also helps by pulling out solid waste. Finally, we do 10% water changes every week to ten days.


Maintaining stability is critical in order to keep Acropora and other SPS corals thriving. To achieve this we dose calcium, alkalinity, magnesium, and trace elements using both a Red Sea ReefDose 4 and a Neptune DOS/DDR and Trident. We keep things simple by using Seachem Fusion 1 & 2, along with Red Sea's Trace-Colors A-D.

While nothing beats keeping a close eye on your aquarium, the Neptune Apex offers a second layer of observation, and peace of mind while the staff is away. It monitors and controls dosing, temperature, pH, ORP, salinity calcium, alkalinity, and dosing reservoir fluid levels. If any of these stray outside our pre-programmed ranges we are notified by text and email. It also controls an AFS autofeeder that supplies TDO Chroma Boost Pellets to feed the fish. Additionally, through sensors and the Heartbeat feature, the Apex will let us know if there is water on the floor or power has been interrupted.

Blue iQuatics rock
Montipora coral

Finally, we rounded out the system by using Blue iQuatics man-made rock and CaribSea Ocean Direct sand. We absolutely love this rock. The manufacturer uses molds from some of their favorite pieces of reef rock and then hand-paints the rocks to create a uniqueness to each piece. It comes in a variety of shapes and styles, and is very porous allowing for incredible natural nitrate reduction capability. The owner of Blue iQuatics came out and installed a complete background, and built the reef structure for us.

To finish off the presentation, custom glass doors were made and LED accent lights were installed, so customers could view the inner workings. We also installed an Adaptive Reef controller board and Red Sea Slide Out Panel. These allow for a clean, organized installation, and help hide all the electrical cords and plugs.

Acropora speciosa

"The sea, once it casts it spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." - Jacques Cousteau

Sunset Millepora
Acropora sp.

Corals & Fish

In Spring of 2022, we added the first fish and corals to the new display. As of Spring 2023 our fish population is very simple. We have a Desjardini Tang, Hawaiian Yellow Tang, Wantanabei Angelfish pair, Diamond Sifter Goby, Pealry Jawfish, and a Blonde Naso Tang. As you've seen in the photos, the corals are what make this tank so special. It currently houses over eighty different coral pieces, of which fifty are SPS. Some of our favorites are the RRC Jawdropper, Acropora speciosa, JF Homewrecker, Walt Disney Acropora, BRA Bubblegum Millepora, RMF Ruby Red Granulosa, and the Original BRA Blue Matrix, which we purchased from Reefer Madness as a freshly imported Maricultured colony in the early 2000's. As you can see, many of the corals are already competing for space while others have just put down bases and are starting to add size. We are excited to watch this tank mature and hope it continues to produce frags we can share with hobbyists around the country.

JF Homewrecker
BRA Bubblegum Millepora
RRC Jawdropper