75g reboot after 1+yr of not being touched

jeremyd

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Hey everyone, I've finally decided to get started again after a year of not touching my tank and could use some advice.

Around last Thanksgiving while at a tech conference in Vegas, there was a power outage, and my apex for whatever reason didn't kick back on after power returned. I came home after ~ 4 days of no flow/filtration/lighting/heating, and so all of my fish and 90% of my corals, probably $5-7k worth, were dead. I have not touched the tank since. No maintenance, no cleaning, no water changes, etc.

I currently have some mushroom corals, a couple of hammer coral frags, some zoanthids, acans (surprisingly), some GSP, and 2 rock flower anemones, and tons of aiptasia that are still alive despite my 100% neglect since then. My apex has been managing flow and lighting, my auto top off is still running, but no cleaning or maintenance has been done other than this.


Where I need help: Attaching some pictures for reference, but I need help in deciding my approach to getting this tank going again. My thoughts are as follows:

1. Replace RO membrane, filters, and DI resin to ensure 0 TDS water for top ups again.
2. Re-Calibrate salinity/ph/orp/temp probes to ensure accurate apex monitoring.
3. Begin daily or every other day 10% water changes to get levels suitable to support fish and corals healthy growth.

Should I do any intense cleaning/scraping in the tank?
Should I replace rock or sand?
Should I start with fish or some type of cleanup crew first?
Any other thoughts? Pics attached with tank lights off and just an overhead light for clearer view of what's going on

IMG_2628.JPEG IMG_2629.JPEG IMG_2630.JPEG IMG_2631.JPEG IMG_2632.JPEG
 

TCoach

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I'd get the water parameters normalized over a couple of weeks (salinity/alk/ca) and then order a large clean up crew from reefcleaners.org. I'd reach out to then via their contact information and see what exactly they recommend in this case. Let them do the heavy cleaning, and you can focus on where to go from here.

Thanks,
-Chris
 
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jeremyd

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I'd get the water parameters normalized over a couple of weeks (salinity/alk/ca) and then order a large clean up crew from reefcleaners.org. I'd reach out to then via their contact information and see what exactly they recommend in this case. Let them do the heavy cleaning, and you can focus on where to go from here.

Thanks,
-Chris
thanks for the great advice Chris! I plan on taking measurements and replacing RODI filters today to prepare for that process.
 

TCoach

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Just remember to go slow on your water changes if you have live coral. They need time to adjust to the ever improving water! :D
 

TheGrimReeferTx

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Im no expert, so take what I say lightly.

But in addition to getting a good clean-up crew and doing 10-20% water changes, I would also put some elbow grease in it. Clean up sump and filtration. Maybe hit a few rocks at a time with a brush to kick up everything so that your filtration can capture it. I would be wary of doing too much at a time and causing too much instability.

For sure keep up updates on how this progresses and you bring it back to life!
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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if you don't rip clean that tank, it won't get fixed. 10% water changes doesn't export all that dead mass.


(a thread of fixing eutrophic tanks via rip clean)

its not that you can't grow coral in it once lighting and feed restores

it's that the dead mass will fuel cyano/dinos/algae for a long time once lighting and feeding resume, you want to start a costly reef in the oligotrophic condition vs the eutrophic one/stored up with waste

being super clean opens up the pores of the system and it works better, has higher surface area vs plugged up, and it works better in every possible way to be ripped clean vs left in place. it simply doesn't run better leaving it in the current condition/
 
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TCoach

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if you don't rip clean that tank, it won't get fixed. 10% water changes doesn't export all that dead mass.


(a thread of fixing eutrophic tanks via rip clean)
I did the rip clean when we originally moved my 92 corner from the original owner to my home. Worked like a charm.

Thanks,
-Chris
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Ive been uber lazy with my feeding an export this last 6 mos / corals growing well but Ive been dumping in bunches of feed and not much export work at all, my sandbed has a green hue on the top of it and its a little clogged with detritus and algae and waste due to my laziness in export. instead of just siphoning the top, I'm going to rip clean the entire nano it'll buy me 16 more months of getting to be lazy heh.

it's not that rip cleans are tolerated by reef tanks

it's that they are the healthiest thing you can possibly do to one. to open up 100% of the pores from the system and export 100% of the waste in the bed, you can go right back to power feeding and the corals mass up because the system has room to accept the rush and sustain of new clean protein

all the things that impact ORP are reset cleanly, upkeeping the tank water params is easier in a super clean tank vs one absolutely filled with organic waste that masks up the surface area. physical work is needed, like those youtube videos where overgrown lawns are cleaned up on speed video mode. that's what's needed in the reef tank, fully taken down and cleaned up but no bottle bac is used

we aren't resetting the cycle. we're merely exporting waste the right way, surgically.

if he begins to power feed that tank above after lighting instates, it'll algae bomb. he'll always be withholding stuff in the name of algae prevention.


rip cleaning makes the life arc of a reef tank polar opposite of that mode.

a neat way to see a rip clean is that it takes all the ends you wait 18 months for (and don't arrive without strong export) and provides them in 24 hours worth of work. we didn't use bottle bac, nor testing for any param

we took reefs apart, held animals in buckets, washed the sand, rasped clean the rocks, changed all water, and set it all back up skip cycle. this is a rip clean. it doesn't matter if it's a lot of work, its the requirement for the right fix.
 
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jeremyd

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All great advice. My first year I was so focused on what the perfect parameters were that I tried to always quickly course correct, not realizing that stability was infinitely more important than chasing a "perfect" parameter. This has been proven soo true looking at hammers still alive, whereas I couldn't keep them alive for the first 9 months or so.

I'll start with cleaner RODI water for auto top off, and start doing 10-15% once or twice a week to get back in line with healthy parameters. As well as taking measurements to see how far off I've drifted.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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aiptasia treatment during disassembly:

use no other way

take a knife and side slice if on hard surfaces/plastic grate areas

if on rocks, take a cleaned and sharpened flathead screwdriver, a small one, and push it up under the aiptasia and dig it out like a surgically excised polyp, that's literally what we're doing.

dig deep, leave a small divot where the anemone used to be. do this for any aiptasia, set back up the system aiptasia-free.
 

BeanAnimal

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if you don't rip clean that tank, it won't get fixed. 10% water changes doesn't export all that dead mass.

My tank is 20+ years old.
I did not do a single water change, dose, skim, or filter ANYTHING for almost 6 years.
Overrun with GHA and some other macros.

Added
Snails
Urchin
Skimmer
Dosing balanced Alk/Cal/Mag
Some manual algae removal
Chemipure Elite - not magic, just mess free way to run bit of carbon and a bit of GFO)
Still no water changes - ~7 years now?
No "rip clean".

Can he "rip clean"? - sure.
Will it work? - sure.
Is it the ONLY way? - not by a long shot.

Stop speaking in absolutes.
 
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jeremyd

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Okay so here’s all of my parameters after testing.

Temp: 78
Alk: 8.9 dkh
PH: 8.34
Salinity: 35.6ppt
ORP: 248
Nitrates: 0
Phosphates: 0.05 ppm


Obviously there’s trace elements to consider for optimum lps growth, but these seem like a pretty stable and safe starting point for a cleanup crew after not having touched it for a yr right?

I guess it makes more sense now how I still have a half dozen or so corals still alive.
 

BeanAnimal

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Tubro and astrea snails do a nice cleanup job. A tuxedo urchin will as well. You can certainly remove pieces of rock that are bad and scrub them in the sink. I personally would not "rip clean" simply due to the mess and the work, but it is a viable options.
 

brandon429

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rip clean before and afters are neat roadmaps eutrophic->oligotrophic

before: blanketing. high surface area rock areas and smoothed out by capping overgrowth

r1.jpeg



once all the animals were removed, his rocks were picked clean outside the tank and rinsed off in saltwater. this preserved the filter bacteria up under the overgrowths, and all overgrowth was removed by physical force, not by waiting 18 months for natural means which usually don't work.

this is how much detritus is in the OP's sandbed above, the reason for the rip clean:

r2.jpeg

and finished

r3.jpeg

the opened condition/no matting allowed a cull down of the total amount of live rock used to open up the scape. the matting is gone that reduced surface area, the whole system skip cycles without use of bottled bacteria. only the waste was removed, and in this case some live rock surface area too for a clean restart.


there is no case in which finding a way to keep what we see in pic #2 within a reef tank sandbed. though it might can be tolerated, it's unideal in every way. that's a massive oxygen sink. the heterotrophic bacteria that reside on the excess substrate reducing it further after it leaves or sloughs off another animal build up too much and cause the eutrophic condition.

resetting that back to clean makes the reef breathe again.

another:
p1.jpg


24 hours to:
\ p2.jpeg

see how washing out the substrate polishes up the entire color palette from drab to bright/sharp/laser mode
 

BeanAnimal

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rip clean before and afters are neat roadmaps eutrophic->oligotrophic
You are making the argument that "starting over with live rock" works. Nobody said it didn't.
You advice in other threads for tanks this size is to "rip clean" once per year. Surely it works, why wouldn't starting over every year not work?


this is how much detritus is in the OP's sandbed above, the reason for the rip clean:
Any sand-bed, even one with a UGF or your "rip cleaned" tank after a few months is going to have enough trapped material to cloud the water significantly, let a lone a neglected system. If it is not a DSB, one can as easily vacuum or stir sections of the bed and let the mechanical and biological filtration do its job.
 
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jeremyd

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All valid points. I personally like the idea of making sure my tank is safe for clean up crews and I like doing as much of the cleanup/maintenance as possible without human intervention via manual cleaning, whether that be a "rip clean", using tons of chemicals/additives/etc, when it's possible for a tank inhabitant to do the work.

I totally understand, and am intrigued by the "great looking and healthy tank in 24 hour" proposal. However, this tank has been incredibly ugly in my living room for the last 13 months, and I'm fine being patient this time around and am shooting for the most self-sustaining way of going about this.

I'm looking forward to taking daily/weekly progress photos, and perhaps doing a timelapse of the improvement over time.
 
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jeremyd

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I also just found out that apparently I have two hermits that have been in there for the last year! I had no idea I had any critters in there whatsoever, but it appears I have at least two what look like scarlet or red tipped hermit crabs in there already :)
 

kevgib67

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I also just found out that apparently I have two hermits that have been in there for the last year! I had no idea I had any critters in there whatsoever, but it appears I have at least two what look like scarlet or red tipped hermit crabs in there already :)
Alright, we are now going to have to add hermit crabs to cockroaches as to the only things that will survive a nuclear war!
 

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