33 Gallon build thread / First thread - Long / picture heavy


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Jul 23, 2019
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Its finally time for me to start a build thread. Im not an eloquent writer but ill try and be as detailed as possible. I have always kept aquariums ever since moving to the US in 2004. I started in freshwater and kept all kinds of monster fish like stingrays and more. One week when i was looking through the LFS i saw a reef tank with a clam and was absolutely mind blown. The coloration and the way it reacts to shadows really got me. I knew from that point i wanted a reef tank.

Fast forward to 2015 and i finally did. I 32 gallon biocube with no scratches for a steal. I did as any beginner would and used tap water with prime and loaded it with some corals, clowns, and nems. This tank didn't last very long, maybe 5-6 months, as i found my self constantly looking at pictures of reef tanks and was disappointed in the way my corals looked and grew. Things i learned from this tank was that don't use huge rocks to sculpt your tank because its impossible to get it to look good; corals take a ***** long time to grow. This hobby is extremely difficult.


Moving on to 2017 i decided i wanted to try again and do it right this time. I converted my 125g freshwater with stingrays and discus to a saltwater tank, the live stock were sold to help fund the project. I used a brand new RODI unit and instant ocean salt and tons of live rock. The lighting were three ocean revive t247s and this tank was amazing. I had some chromes and a yellow tang with a few beginner corals here and there. Unfortunately the floors were getting redone and kitchen dismantled so i had to sell the tank to move on only 3-4 months after being set up. Things i learned were RODI water takes forever to fill a large tank; making a lot of flow takes a lot of energy; big tanks take a lot money to fill with corals; having a sump underneath a tank is a huge annoyance; i didn't like black box leds.

A few more years go by and I decided i wanted to retry reefing one more time. February 2019 and I decided to change my 15 gallon long planted tank in to a reef tank. I had TONS of dry rock from my 125 so i decided to pull out the RODI unit and make some water for the 15 gallon. This tank started with an aqua clear on the back, a black box led, and a 13 dollar wave maker from amazon.

March 2019

Tank was doing well and the corals had some pretty good color! Do you see the clam? i finally got one! Over the course of the next few months i decided to add more filtration because i was getting sick of the red hair algae. Then i saw a good deal on a 20 gallon nuvo fusion and i had to get it! It came with a DC might jet which was amazing, spin stream nozzles, in tank baskets, and a mini protein skimmer. This tank made a HUGE difference in the growth of my corals as well as cycling my tank. I also implemented an algae scrubber from santa monica and this thing was brilliant. I did some trials where i ran the tank with out it for a few months and the tank began to grow algae so i kept it in the system. i did similar trials with the protein skimmer and saw no difference so that was taken out.
May 2019

June 2019

At this point the tank is TAKING OFF. My only filtration were sponges that i rinsed once a week, a bag chemipure blue i replaced every three months, and water changes every month of so (5 gallons). I feed rods and reefroids once a day if i remember. In june i decided it was time to up my lighting for my corals since they were all doing so well, i really just wanted to get a nice light blue glow in the tank with out blasting the blues, something i couldn't do with the black box. Saw a maxspect 420r on facebook and had to get it! This thing ROCKED, the spectrum looked amazing and it had great spread.

July 2019



August 2019 - october 2019 - My carelessness and lack of hood led the maxspect falling into the water, luckily i was there and was able to address the issue fairly quickly. Ended up getting a hydra 26HD from reef2reef, also when i made this account! At this point the tank is very stable, i got a jerboa DC wave maker to increase and control the flow. Still feeding the same amount of products. I also got lazy and stopped doing water changes at this time, the tank seemed to be doing very well without it.

Dipped my toes into sps... what a terrible mistake for my bank account


So unfortunately this is where the holidays came around and i began to get lazy with photos, the rest of the pictures lead up to april of this year!


April 2020
Corals are outgrowing the tank, my urge for sps continue to grow, did i mention i got a second clam?? At this pointed i decided that i had made the mistake of putting zoas on my my main rock work and it was time for that rock to come out. I fragged most of the zoas and sold them to fund a new project! The euphyllia were doing well but the lighting and flow in the tank was slightly overpowered so they never fully extend and get that hammer look. The sps i thought weren't growing but were very colorful so i enjoyed them. The gap wall on the back became quite the hassle, it would over grow its self at the water surface and form a lip that blocked the light below, very annoying. The algae scrubber scrubbing away. I was scrolling through facebook market place and saw a tank that caught my eye, and better yet it was free! i messaged the owner right away and hopped in my car (it was an hour and a half way and at 11pm). I got the tank home instantly fell in love with it! it is a 33 gallon acrylic tank 48x14x14 and had 6 holes drilled in the back (i don't know why but how annoying). It was pretty scratched up but i polished with with novus and it was bearable, so it should be ok once filled. I did the plumbing myself with future upgrades in mind. It was running into a 15 gallon sump i made from the very first tank.
-3 hydra 26s
-2 jebao cross flow (fake gyres)
-coraldudes dosing pump
-some custom rock work i made with dry rock and cement
-Brand new sump (literally 1 week old) trigger systems 44 triton sump, yes my sump is larger than my tank, like i said upgrades in mind
-Skimz sm small internal skimmer
-Stock list include:
-Purple tang
-Yellow tang
-Hippo tang
-Breeding pair of Benghai cardinals (occasionally find babies in the sump)
-3 small lyre tail anthias
-1 ignitus anthers
-royal gramma
-yellow watchman goby
-yellow coris wrasse
-melanarus wrasse
-Rods food three times a day
-Reef roids once a day
-Lots of algae for the tangs
-0 water changes so far
-BRS 2 Part (37 mls each)
-Iodine 1 drop a day
-Looking for recommendation for a complete trace element supplement, lmk!
-dkh 9-10
-calcium 420-450
-mag usually 1400
-nitrates / phosphates I've never tested for in my life, usually you can tell by how your tank looks










Sorry for the long read, but here are some updates. The refugium is going incredible, tank is looking clean and green algae is starting to recede, lots of coraline specks. The fish all look amazing and happy. The tank has taken a turn for sps and im hoping the turn into big colonies so i can eventually upgrade tanks, i sure have the sump for it. Im currently still filling the tank with euphyllia and sticks so if you want to donate to the tank let me know lol. If you guys have any questions about the build please ask, i skipped over a bunch of details to keep it relatively short-ish.

Questions for you guys:
-What do you use for trace elements
-What advice do you have for me / my tank
-where can i find some cheap acros around here!?
-how do i get better extension from euphyllia? i always have them turn into smaller round tips when they get to my tank, they lose that rounded hammer tip look
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