Reef Spotlight: 202 Diesel Tank

Posted by on December 10, 2015 - zero

Reef Spotlight

December 2015 Reef Spotlight

Ben VanderNoort (Diesel)

Tank Thread:



Hi there! My name is……….. Ben VanderNoort and this is about my 202 Diesel Tank.


As usual a little bit about myself to make this thread more interesting!!

I promise to keep it simple.

Many people here know me by my “Diesel” name. If you would like to know how I got that name, you can send me a PM.

I’m Ben and have been living in the US for 20 years, before that I lived in The Netherlands and Amsterdam. That is a thread of its own, more like a book.

I started to get into fish tanks when I was 5 years old (1969) at school, as every classroom had one or more that time.

My teacher chose me to maintain them, and I was more than happy to do so. It was better than sitting in the classroom.

It didn’t take me much time as they were all freshwater tanks.

I got my own tank when I was 12, and oh boy I was a happy camper.

It became a freshwater tank as most people in Holland were all freshwater junkies anyway.

Since then, I have had a few awesome planted tanks and won many awards throughout Europe.

Ok, this is getting boring without salt… Let’s jump to the salty part of this story.

My first salt water tank, and it was fish only, wasn’t until I was 22 (1986). I didn’t enjoy it as much as the freshwater tanks but it was a start.

As life got busy two years later, I couldn’t maintain them so I got rid of it all very quickly and donated them to the local school.

6 years (1996) later I moved to Houston, Texas. It was a big move for me, and in 1998 we bought our home in Katy and are still here.

That same year, I got myself a 55 gallon freshwater planted tank. I got in contact with Jeff Senske from ADG and had many layouts on the system.

I also had a 20 tank shrimp farm as I was breeding freshwater shrimp. I sold them on EBay and to the local fish stores.

The first Salty Diesel tank in the US was a 120 gallon, and I had a lot of fun with it. The 202 Diesel tank came to life in 2012. That tank was custom made by Planet Aquariums.

It’s a three-sided Starphire with PVC bottom and CTC overflow, it has a small Euro brace around.

I designed and built the stand myself. I used different kinds of materials to finish it off, marble and glass tiles and granite as the edge around, and custom doors with brown smoked glass.


System Profile:

Custom made tank 72 x 27 x 24, Black glass Eurobrace top, CTC overflow, PVC bottom.

I built the stand myself from plywood.


Sump is custom made by BAO in Houston, and I can’t be happier with the quality.

Using the Lifereef skimmer from Jeff – I’ve never seen a skimmer perform better than this one IMHO.

I don’t run any GFO or Activated Carbon, have no live rock in the sump, nor do I run bio-pellets.

The return pump is still a MAG 18 but the Ecotech Vectra is sitting next to the tank, as I just had the time to install that beast, LOL!

I run three MP40’s QD, setup with ESL through the Reeflink.


And let there be lights too………………. ATI Hybrid 8 bulbs powermodule, nuff said!!

ATO is a Tunze how awesome is that!!

Running a Calcium reactor from GEO with an regulator, set and forget.

RODI, the Smart kind from CoralVue, how I love this unit!




Tank is cooled by the in-house AC and water will never get above 78.

If needed, it will be kept in check (if temps drop below the 77) by a Jager 500W heater, I have a 300W as backup.

The Diesel tank is controlled by the APEX with all the bells and whistles.

For flow, I use a random of flow patterns from Ecotech schedules.

  • Water Parameters (Parameter and means of testing)

Oh Boy really………….?!?

Of course, test as much as possible in the beginning of your tank. Make it your own on how the test kits work and get to know your tank in that way.


Temp, as APEX probe morning 77 and evening 78

pH, morning 7.75 and late afternoon 8.12 (apex probe)

Specific gravity, I think that’s at 35 if I rely on my APEX, but I test my water SG before I do a WC.

Ammonia, 0………… right?

Nitrate, that’s what I test for weekly and it’s set on give and take 0.25 (RedSea Pro)

Nitrite, 0 when I checked last………….. like three years ago.

PO4, should be low, somewhere around the 0.05 mark. (Hanna checker HI96713)

Calcium, some kind of steady as I test weekly, 430 (RedSea Pro)

Alkalinity, daily test come down as average a week at 8.2 (Hanna checker)

Magnesium, weekly test and never under 1350 or never over 1500. (RedSea Pro)


Using all Giesemann Bulbs,

Front to Back…………


Aqua Blue

Super Actinic

Super Purple

Center consists of 4 x 175 LED’s and I use all blue at 100%, Warm white at 35% Red is turned off.

Actinic Blue

Aqua Blue

Super Actinic

Aqua Blue

My led’s will ramp up at 10 AM, and by 11 AM the four center T5’s are coming on, then by 1:30 PM the rest of the T5 bulbs are coming on.

At 7 PM, the 4 outside T5’s will turn off, and by 10 PM, the four center T5’s will turn off.

Led’s will do the rest to ramp down and the tank will go dark at 11:30 PM.


I do a WC twice a week of 10 gallons each on Monday and on Fridays.

I don’t run a refugium.


The visitors in my tank are:

1 Mystery Wrasse. FJW Houston

1 Blond Naso. FJW Houston

1 Bandit Angelfish. Urban Aquatics Houston

2 Bellus Angels females. FJW Houston.

2 Ruby Red Scooters. FJW Houston

2 Bluestar leopard Wrasse. Urban Aquatics Houston.

1 Magnificent Foxface, FJW Houston.

1 Black Tang, FJW Houston.

1 Gem Tang, Urban Aquatics Houston.

1 Rare Yellow Tail Damsel, FJW Houston

1 Flame Angel, Urban Aquatics Houston.

1 Melanurus Wrasse, Urban Aquatics Houston.

2 Cleaner Shrimp FJW Houston.

2 Blood red Shrimp, FJW Houston.

Lots of CUC’s of course.


I feed my fish as much as I can, mostly live food (Black worms, Mysis Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp)

And I feed frozen Larry’s blend, and Nori from Rods.

Only when I’m lazy do I feed them some dry pellets, but that’s only once a week.

7 8 9 10 11 12

“Corals” is the name of the game!

90% Acroporas and a few rare Blasto’s and Euphyllia’s.

I have an eye for rare SPS and love the color variation of them.

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35


For the Diehard fans enjoy the Vid………….

The advice I have is: set a goal, start slow, read and ask a lot.

Don’t get upset if you don’t succeed at first, as it will happen. If you crash, get up and try again.

Always strive for the best, and don’t settle for less.


People that I have to thank…………………. is this like the Oscars and I get only 10 seconds?

Well, I’ll make it fast: my wife for giving me the time to do so, Dennis @d2mini for all the pics, Michael Paletta for the long phone conversations, Adam @Battlecorals, if not for him it would never be as it is today, Dan @The Coral Kings great info on what will work and what not, Gary @Reef Pets for all the Humor, Will with ASD for letting me pick corals before they went on sale, my good friend David Rains with Urban Aquatics for all the help when needed, Dennis with FJW in Houston my go to fish and corals store, Patrick with Ecotech for giving me the opportunity to be part of their Beta test team, Tony with Reef Raft USA, Chris with CoralVue for the latest news on T5’s and other cool gadgets, and all the geeks here on R2R, and of course Team R2R for giving me the opportunity to be a Spotlight of the month.


Thanks for watching!

Ben (Diesel)


Leave a Reply