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Dpoltsdsu's 120 Gallon (Not Just Acros) SPS Reef


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Hello All

I've been on the forum for many years now and have had quite a few build threads on here. This is my latest project!

This reef was "born" when we moved into our first house in June 2021. I transferred some of what was in my old nano reef into this 120. This is my first "large" reef tank after keeping smaller tanks for many years so this will be a great learning experience for me. Hopefully this thread can provide myself and others with my trials and tribulations as well as give a timeline of this reef's story as I hope to have this setup for many years.

Tank Theme/Goals

My goal for the reef is to have a lively, colorful, SPS dominate reef tank that reminds me of diving in the Pacific. Because of this, I don't want the tank to be super Acropora dominant. I'd like for the reef to have a multitude of different reef building corals, similar to what I'd see out on a wild reef. I will be collecting different species of Pocillopora, Stylophora, Montipora, and of course some Acros as well. I will also be including some Porites and other less common SPS. Emphasis will be put in diversity, unique growth patterns, and biodiversity rather than solely color and "collector corals".

The reef will feature a high light, high flow reef crest type of environment. I will be feeding heavy but will have plenty of nutrient export as well to keep a low nutrient environment that still has enough "nutrition" for coral feeding to try and mimic a natural reef.


Tank - Custom LeeMar 120 glass tank and stand (standard dimensions).
Rock - Mix of Caribsea and Salty Bottom Live Rock
Sand - Mix of Caribsea and Salty Bottom Live Sand
Return Pump - Ecotech L2 (run externally)
Flow - 2 Ecotech MP40's and 2 ReefBreeder's RPM's.
Lighting - 2 Ecotech Gen 5 XR30 Pro's set to AB+
Skimmer - Bubble Magus Curve 5
Refugium - Cheato Refugium grown by a Hydroponics Light
Dosing - Dosing will be solely handled by Tropic Marin's All For Reef. I've used this for a couple of years and had solid success thus far.


Poccilopora -
- Verrucosa
- Pistillata
- Eydouxi
- Damicornis
- Hystrix

Montipora -
- Digitata
- Capricornis
- Nodosa
- Undata
- Tubercolusa
- Setosa

Acropora -
- Tenuis
- Hyacinthus
- Millepora
- Valida
- Yongei
- Tortuosa

Pavona -

- Decussata

Soft Coral -
Helipora Coerula
- Sarcophytum
- Briarium sp


Here are some pictures as of 2/9/22. I've had a lot of these corals for a couple of years which is why some of them look more like colonies already. 



Brightened FTS.jpg

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My goal for the top part of the reef is to have a lot of staghorn type of growth with tall intersecting species of coral. This will allow for some interesting growth patterns and also allow more light to pass through to the bottom of the reef.

I want the “focus” of this top part to be a large patch of interconnecting Montipora Digitata. I’ve always had a soft spot for this coral and love it’s growth pattern. I plan to have numerous color morphs to create an interesting and beautiful middle-top section that will immediately draw one’s eye. 

So far I have collected the following Digitata color morphs:

- Forest Fire Montipora Digiatata

- Purple/brown Montipora Digitata (scientific I know)

- Magenta Montipora Digitata

- Green Montipora Digitata 


These will be featured in the middle top. I also have some Green Slimer that’s been encrusting on the top left that I hope can fill in that area. 



Digitata Section




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  • dpoltsdsu changed the title to Dpoltsdsu's 120 Gallon (Not Just Acros) SPS Reef
On 2/10/2022 at 9:14 PM, Christopher Marks said:

Thanks for sharing your latest tank @dpoltsdsu! Looking forward to seeing this reef grow out, it’s really off to a great start, that one year mark will be here before you know it!

Appreciate it! Can’t wait to see how this tank grows!

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Despite the point of the tank, I do have a couple "designer Acros" that I got from a friend a while back. One of these is a Walt Disney Acro. Admittedly, mine doesn't have the very best color out there but I do get a pretty nice growth rate out of it as well as some solid polyp extension for a Tenuis.


Coral on 1/10/2021 in my old nano reef - 





Coral as of 2/15/22




Acro now.jpg

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Here is one of my “not super common in the hobby” SPS - Pocillopora Verrucosa


Ive had it for a couple of years now and it’s one of my favorite corals. It has a pretty cool “knobby” growth pattern and has been pretty hardy although it’s a pretty slow grower. 

This coral has a pretty cool color pattern with green polyps along the base and purple polyps on the top of each “knob”. 

I have it on a little ledge that gets pretty high flow and it seems to like the spot. It has definitely increased its growth rate over the last couple months for whatever reason. 




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  • 2 months later...

Have had a couple busy months (got married) but the reef is going strong! Will post a better update in the next couple of weeks after the honeymoon!



FTS 4.25.jpg

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On 4/25/2022 at 4:33 PM, kimdawg said:

Congrats on getting married!  Your tank is beautiful.

Thanks! Appreciate it!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Getting back into the reef a bit after all the craziness of planning a wedding. 

Here’s a FTS of the reef as of 5/16. The coral growth has been pretty extensive. The tank is filled with fast growing corals regardless but i am still pruning every 2 weeks or so. I haven’t added anything new in a while but am always on the lookout for less common SPS. There’s some hair algae growing but that is just the flow of having a reef tank. 

Note: a bunch of frags have been knocked off by myself cleaning or my tangs so the sandbed is a mess of coral. Hoping to remove some so I can get a bit more of a “natural” looking reef. 




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