75g first try

Lukeluke

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Hey all!

I decided I should start a build thread. If for no other reason than to keep a record of this process for myself. So, here we go!

I kept a 29 gallon, if I remember correctly, bow-front freshwater tank with a roommate something like 15 years ago. It was technically his tank, so it went with him when we parted ways. While I enjoyed the tank, the saltwater tanks I was looking at at the time were a completely different world, and I always wanted to give it a shot. So, after many years of not really being in a living situation where I would be comfortable running an aquarium, a family member had a 30 gallon aquarium (I know, title says 75, hang on...) he was no longer using and wanted to get rid of. I'm now in a place where I have the space for it. So, great! I'll take it!

Headed out to his place on a Saturday morning to get the thing cleaned up. It had been sitting for quite a while. It was never really cleaned out, just fish removed and drained. The smell was pretty awful, but tolerable. Got the gravel scooped out and put it on the tailgate of an ATV to start rinsing it out. Had my vinegar and a scrubby sponge, headphones on, and it was looking much better. I needed to re-arrange a bit so I tilted it up on a corner, it got away from me... and BANG! Big ol' crack down one of the long sides. Son of a... ;Rage

So much for that plan.

A few days later, after the rage cloud had lifted, I decided this wasn't going to be the end. So I started looking around local pet stores trying to decide what size of tank I wanted to go with. Then while poking around on craigs list I found a 75 gallon with a stand for $150. Fine. I got the space, so why not go bigger? And here we are.

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I started to put together my first order of gear. Rock, sand, heater and controller, power heads x2, filter, salt... etc. etc. Here it is as of today. It needs a little more water but I didn't have enough between my two brute cans to quite get it full. Or at least the pump wasn't able to quite get all of the water out of them. It's a 55 and 20 gallon can, by the numbers, there should have been enough.

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Some initial thoughts now that water is in the tank and pumps are running.

Seventy five gallons of salt water in a glass box in my living room induces a bit of anxiety. It's been full for a few hours and no major disasters yet, so that is starting to subside at least.

I may have made a mistake going with the HOB filter. That's a Seachem Tidal 110, which, in theory, is over-sized for the tank, but it's pretty noisy. I'm hoping the constant waterfall noise is reduced at least a little when I get a bit more water in it and it doesn't have as far to fall. The pump itself started out noisy as well, but it's gotten quieter since it's been running. I have my fingers crossed that once it's had more time to break in that noise will be reduced further. I'm also running it wide open to clear the cloudiness from the tank, and turning it down a bit later may help too.

The next thing to do is get the wiring sorted out. I have a GFCI outlet to replace the standard outlet. I also have a surge protector and temperature controller I need to figure out where to mount. And now that water is in the box, I'll be heading to the LFS for a few pounds of live rock. The first fish should go in next week.

I think that's it for now. Thanks for reading.

Current equipment list:

75 gallon, 48" rimmed aquarium and stand
50 lbs MarcoRocks
4 medium MarcoRocks foundation rocks
40 lbs Aragonite Fiji Pink sand
Brightwell NeoMarine salt mix
4 stage 75gpd BRS RO/DI unit
300w BRS heater/contoller
Hydor 2650 x2
Seachem Tidal 110
55 gallon Brute SW container
20 gallon Brute FW container
Lifegard Quiet One Pro 1200 for mixing station
Python WC system
Various tubing for the RO/DI and mixing station
 
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PeterC99

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Admire your resolve to not letting a big setback (tank breaking) stop you from this hobby. Nice find on the 75g!

Good luck with the rest of the build. Looking forward to hearing about your progress and seeing pics of your first fish & corals.
 
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Lukeluke

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Got the water level up to just below the output on the filter. Much quieter.

I'll have to add more salt to the tank now. No big deal.
 
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Lukeluke

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Did some testing just to see how the tests work. Using the RedSea test kit.
Salinity : 1.025
Ph : 7.8
Ammonia : 0
Dkh : 6

Salinity and Dkh are a little low still. Added just a touch more salt. Will check again later.

I also added some ammonia from the bottle bac cycling kit I got. Won't be using the bacteria since I ended up getting some live rock, but wanted to see how the ammonia was handled. Cuz, ya know... science. Brought it up to around 0.8.

After the testing I've decided I'm buying electronic checkers soon. I don't really trust my ability to match the colors.

Apologies for the frequent posts. I'm using this as a bit of a diary.
 
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Lukeluke

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Discovered a new problem I'll have to solve. I should've seen this coming. I live in Texas. Summers get hot. Dang hot. And the only reasonable place I have to store water is in the garage, where there is no air conditioning.

When I first filled the tank, it took most of the day for the water to cool off enough to turn the heater on. I'm concerned doing water changes is going to boil fish alive if I'm not careful.

So, couple ideas.

1. Smaller, more frequent water changes. Keep the volume of lava water going in low enough to avoid changing the total temp of the tank too dramatically. Not sure if this will work since the water is almost 90F in the barrel. Doesn't take much of that to bump the tank temp significantly.

2. Get a big pile of ice/freezer packs to drop into the barrel the night before a water change. Maybe into a trash bag first so they're easy to fish out. Take them out in the morning and monitor the temp on the day and do the change when it's close to tank temp.

3. I have a much longer than necessary tube for pumping water into the tank. Make a few coils in the bottom of a bucket and cover with ice water. Water cools as it flows through the tube and is hopefully close to tank temp by the time it gets there.

Anyone else solved this problem? Any ideas I didn't think of? Obvious problems with any of the above solutions?
 

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The tank is coming along nicely!

An idea for your water changes...put your water container on a furniture dolly so you can move it easily. You'll only usually do snit 10-15g water changes on a 75g tank. So, a smaller brute trash can will work.

Then wheel your brute into the house the day before the water change... put in your salt and pump and let it mix and cook overnight!
 
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Lukeluke

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The tank is coming along nicely!

An idea for your water changes...put your water container on a furniture dolly so you can move it easily. You'll only usually do snit 10-15g water changes on a 75g tank. So, a smaller brute trash can will work.

Then wheel your brute into the house the day before the water change... put in your salt and pump and let it mix and cook overnight!
Thanks for the suggestion. I wanted to try and avoid moving buckets of water around. And I didn't want to be mixing water for every WC. It will probably get easier, but getting the salinity right was kind of tedious. I'd rather do it once every few months in the bigger 44g brute. :)

I got enough tubing to drain water directly from the tank into a nearby bathtub, and pump water directly from the barrel in the garage to the tank. I have the RO system hooked up directly to the fresh and salt barrels with float valves so that part is mostly hands-free too.

I'll be doing at least one practice WC before fish go in, so I'll have an idea of how the warmer water going in will affect the tank temp. Could be as simple as doing the change first thing in the morning when the water is cooler.
 
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Lukeluke

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Another update/setback. I just realized I'll be out of town for a few days for the 4th of July. Probably shouldn't add fish until I get back. I could get an auto feeder and ATO setup by then, but I'd rather not have to worry about it while I'm gone. I wouldn't have much time to verify everything is stable before I left. I'd probably come back to dead fish. ;Wacky
 
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Following your thread! I have a 110g tank on the way (80g DT, 30g sump) and am using dry rock and live sand. Currently ghost feeding with Microbacter7 to cycle the tank. Learning the fundamentals in terms of water changes, cycling, etc. I have the same thing (week long trip coming up mid july) and I don't want to introduce animals until I either return, OR, cancel my trip lol.
 

HeYLoOkitzjOnny

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Get a big pile of ice/freezer packs to drop into the barrel the night before a water change.
I have a 60g tank and usually do 10g WCs. I live in Miami and while I typically just buy seawater from my LFS, I have the same problem with the heat if I have to store the water. To combat this, I keep a gallon milk jug of water in the freezer and dunk that in the can til it hits the right temp. It doesn’t take long to cool it from 88-90 down to 78ish. Make sure you don’t fill the gallon to the top so it won’t crack or pop when it freezes.
 

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Congrats on the new tank!
 
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Lukeluke

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I have a 60g tank and usually do 10g WCs. I live in Miami and while I typically just buy seawater from my LFS, I have the same problem with the heat if I have to store the water. To combat this, I keep a gallon milk jug of water in the freezer and dunk that in the can til it hits the right temp. It doesn’t take long to cool it from 88-90 down to 78ish. Make sure you don’t fill the gallon to the top so it won’t crack or pop when it freezes.
Ah, good idea! And cheap! Thanks!
 
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Lukeluke

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Oh boy. Major screw up, or just impatient?

While figuring out equipment, I checked my town's water report. Turns out they're using chloramine. General word on R2R seemed to be the standard carbon blocks in the ro/di would remove it. Or at least good enough. I did buy some test strips and some Prime just in case. I tested the ro water once I got it set up and it looked like a little bit of total chlorine was making it through.

Smash cut to Sunday when I dropped in the live rock. I also added some ammonia from the fishless cycle kit I got but wasn't planning on using since I had the rock that should take care of it.

I kindof expected that ammonia to get processed pretty quick, since the rock should have a bunch of bacteria on it. The next day, no change to ammonia levels, or nitrites. Mildly concerned, I decided to add the bottle back too. Then I thought about the chloramine. Oh no. Did I kill my live rock? I added some Prime and the last bit of bottle bac. As of today, no perceptible change to ammonia, or nitrite.

So did I kill my live rock, or are my expectations off? It doesn't look to me like the sponges on it are dead or dying at least.
 
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Lukeluke

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Oh hey! Nevermind. Just being a worrier apparently. Looks like nitrates are rising. Might be OK after all.

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Lukeluke

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Disaster averted. I did a ~60% WC and kept testing. As of today, ammonia seems to be zero, or close enough, nitrite between 0.2-0.5 and nitrate between 5-10. Given the nitrate result won't be particularly reliable since nitrite is still present, but all the bugs seem to be doing their jobs.

Having to wait until after my trip to add fish is a little frustrating, but slow and steady seems to be the name of the game. Next update will probably be the weekend of the 10th, when I decide whether I'm going with vanilla clowns or something fancier.
 
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Lukeluke

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So not the most exciting thing I can post as an update, but the sponges on my rock seem to be growing. So I have stumbled into doing something right so far.
Day 1
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Day... 15
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It's subtle, but the little guy at the bottom is definitely getting taller.
 
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Lukeluke

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Couple of equipment updates. I built screen tops and installed an ATO.

I might have to redo the covers, or dremel notches in them for cables to pass thru. I didn't really do cutouts for equipment, just made them a little shorter so there's a gap on the back. Seems OK for now.

As for the ATO, I went with the Xpaqua sumpless ATO. Seems to be doing it's job so far. I posted some more details on the actual install in another thread.

Thread 'Xp aqua sumpless ato' https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/xp-aqua-sumpless-ato.838804/

Leaving town today, and back on Tuesday. First significant amount of time away from the tank. Fingers crossed nothing goes wrong. Baring any major disasters, fish should be going in on Wednesday. ;Woot
 
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Lukeluke

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Today's the day. Two black snowflake clowns. Teenie tiny little things. They seem to be struggling with the flow. The tank in the store was pretty still. Hopefully they adjust.
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