90 gal mixed reef

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Onewolf

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My wife and I have had a freshwater 90 for several years and we decided that we wanted to add a saltwater reef tank. Initially we planned to start with a relatively small tank that I had found a really good deal on FB Marketplace (WaterBox 40AIO), but as we moved it around the house we concluded that we wanted the reef tank to be in the family room (which is where we spend most of our time at home) and we did not like the amount of light ‘spillage’ produced by the rimless tanks with ‘reef’ lights. Therefore we decided to replace the freshwater 90 in the family room which has a very nice stand and canopy with a saltwater 90. Because the freshwater 90 had a couple very noticeable scratches we decided to go ahead and purchase a new Aqueon 90 ‘reef ready’ tank rather than reuse/drill the existing 90 tank.

We purchased most of the basic components for the new tank from Top Shelf Aquatics based upon their recommendations:

  • Aqueon 90 gal Reef Ready tank
  • Eshopps RS-200 Sump
  • Reef Octo Regal 150 Int Protein Skimmer
  • IceCap ATO
  • Ecotech Reeflink (Part of Waterbox 40AOI deal)
  • Ecotech Vortech MP10 (Part of Waterbox 40AOI deal)
  • Ecotech Vortech MP40
    Ecotech Vectra S1 return pump
  • (2) Ecotech Radion XR15 G4
  • Finnex 300w titanium heater
  • Caribsea Reef Sand (3)
  • Dry ‘live’ reef rock (SolviReef from MACNA 2019 show)
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We decided to split the existing freshwater 90 inhabitants between a new tank in the sitting room and the Waterbox 40AIO that would be going into the home office. We had a 40 breeder in the home office on a stand I had built that we were going to move into the sitting room, but I decided it made more sense to replace the 40B tank with a 65 tank which has the same footprint as the 40B. However upon further review all of the fish (1 Angelfish, 9 X-Ray Tetras, 6 Albino Cories, 2 Clown Loach, 1 Common Pleco) from the 90 freshwater can live comfortably in the 65 so my wife gets to populate the 40AIO in the home office from scratch.

The new 65 freshwater in the Sitting Room:

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One holdup was that we wanted to replace the old/original carpet in the home office with hardwood floors to match the family room/hallway/dining room/sitting room/etc before moving the 40AOI into there. This introduced about a month delay to find/purchase the matching hardwood and then to install it.

The WaterBox 40AIO in the home office:

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Proposed Fish Stocking List – In relative stocking order
  • Sailfin/Algae Blenny
  • (3) Banggai Cardinal
  • (2) clownfish
  • Tailspot or Midas Blenny (?Compatible with Lawnmower Blenny?)
  • Firefish Goby
  • Royal Gramma
  • Orange Spotted Goby or Yellow Watchman Shrimp Goby or (2) Barnable Blennies
  • Wrasse - Six Line or Melanurus or Christmas
  • Hawkfish - Red Spotted or Flame or Longnose
  • Cleaner Shrimp(s)
  • Tang - Yellow or Tomini or Squaretail Bristletooth
  • Dwarf Angel - Flame or Potters or Eibli or Coral Beauty
  • Butterfly - Copperband or Threadfin/Auriga or Sunset or Longnose or Pearl Scale

The Aqueon 90 ‘Reef Ready’ tank. I am going to use a “Herbie” overflow/drain design.

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We had purchased a RODI water system for the freshwater tank but I decided we should get a better means of storing RODI water so I purchased a 100 gallon potable water storage tank from NorthernTools. I built a platform for the water storage tank to sit on which allows gravity drain to fill 5 gallon jugs of water.

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Continued....
 
REEFTIDE
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Onewolf

Onewolf

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My wife and I went to the MACNA 2019 show in Orlando (local) on Sunday morning. Unfortunately at least 1/3 of the vendors had closed/left because of the hurricane threat, but it was still worth the admission to see ‘stuff’. We really liked the SolviReef people and their rocks for aquascaping and this was the reef I built on their table. We ended up buying a bunch of their stuff. The footprint dimensions of the tank (48x18) with a large internal overflow weir are not optimal for reef creation, but we will have to try our best.

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I wanted to paint the back of the aquarium black and my first (failed) attempt was using latex paint. This was after taping in prep for painting.

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After the first coat of the latex paint. I did a second coat, waited for it to dry, but when I pulled the blue 3M painters tape the paint just peeled off.

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I used Flex Seal spray to coat the bottom of the stand Hopefully it might provide some protection in the event of a minor leak.

20190919_163223.jpg


After the latex paint failed, I tried using the Flex Seal spray on the back of the aquarium. It appears to have adhered much better to the glass than the latex paint. Albeit kind of lumpy on the right side, however the lumpiness is not visible from the inside of the tank.

20190920_160255.jpg


The basic drain/return plumbing with the Eshopps RS-200 sump

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I used 3/4" PVC flex pipe coming out of the Vectra return pump in order to try to minimize the pump vibration noise.

20190921_143222.jpg


Initial testing of the plumbing. No leaks, drips, etc. The Vectra S1 return pump is very quiet. Tuning the Herbie style drain with the gate valve seems like it might be somewhat fiddly.

20190921_143158.jpg


The gate valve for the primary drain.

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Onewolf

Onewolf

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Laying out the Solvi Reef rock pieces in order to theorize/test some reef designs.

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Ok, but too symetrical.

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The Aqueon 90 is less than 18" deep from front to back which is definitely a compromise when trying to build a reef.

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I installed four 18" long T-track rails on the 'ceiling' of the canopy in order to provide mounts for the Radion XR15 lights.

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The profile of the T-track will allow a "T-nut" to slide along the track and hold up the Radion lights above the tank.

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I found that the Radion mount screws are metric 5mm-0.8 thread and I bought appropriate length bolts and T-nuts to slide in the T-track.

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One light mounted (temporarily to verify the fit). The back side of the canopy is open which should hopefully reduce the likli-hood of overheating (the lights or the water).

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Onewolf

Onewolf

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I decided to use Tropic Marin Pro-Reef salt because that's what Top Shelf Aquatics says they use in their coral farms.

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We are going to use CaribSea "Reef Sand" 'live' sand. I bought four 20 lb bags. Hopefully that's enough. We only needed 3 bags.

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Moved the tank into the family room. Added the plastic egg crate and basic reef structures. I will be adding addional small rock base sections after I add the sand.

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We need to add a second powerhead. Still deciding between the Vortech MP40 (wife's preference) or something less expensive like the Skimz SS9.0.

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Starting to fill the tank with saltwater. I used a cheap Kedsun 550GPH submersible pump to mix the saltwater in a Brute 44 can in the garage and then used the same sort of pump to pump the saltwater into the tank.

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The right side of the tank.

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The left side of the tank.

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Interesting prism effect from the Radion lights while filling the tank. The prism effect went away after the tank was full.

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Lots of holes/caves for critters.

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The overall room the tank is in.

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I drilled three 1/8" holes in the Loc-line fitting just above the water line to function as an anti-siphon mechanism. Seems to work but it will be interesting to see how long it takes for those holes to clog up with calcium or algae....

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I still have not fired up the protein skimmer or the IceCap ATO.

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We are pretty happy with the overall aquascape of our 'reef'.

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Fired up the Reef Octo Regal 150 Int protein skimmer. It is producing tons of micro bubbles that are escaping into the display tank. LFS says that's normal for the first week or so.

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Onewolf

Onewolf

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Looks like good choices. I’ve had Banggai cardinals, and even had them breed, but my experience is that you can only have two in a tank. If there’s three, one will get beaten up by the others. Three is a bad number of cardinals, IMO

Thanks, Good info....
 
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Slothman

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My wife and I went to the MACNA 2019 show in Orlando (local) on Sunday morning. Unfortunately at least 1/3 of the vendors had closed/left because of the hurricane threat, but it was still worth the admission to see ‘stuff’. We really liked the SolviReef people and their rocks for aquascaping and this was the reef I built on their table. We ended up buying a bunch of their stuff. The footprint dimensions of the tank (48x18) with a large internal overflow weir are not optimal for reef creation, but we will have to try our best.

20190901_125018.jpg


I wanted to paint the back of the aquarium black and my first (failed) attempt was using latex paint. This was after taping in prep for painting.

20190919_044933.jpg


After the first coat of the latex paint. I did a second coat, waited for it to dry, but when I pulled the blue 3M painters tape the paint just peeled off.

20190919_052922.jpg


I used Flex Seal spray to coat the bottom of the stand Hopefully it might provide some protection in the event of a minor leak.

20190919_163223.jpg


After the latex paint failed, I tried using the Flex Seal spray on the back of the aquarium. It appears to have adhered much better to the glass than the latex paint. Albeit kind of lumpy on the right side, however the lumpiness is not visible from the inside of the tank.

20190920_160255.jpg


The basic drain/return plumbing with the Eshopps RS-200 sump

20190921_143144.jpg


I used 3/4" PVC flex pipe coming out of the Vectra return pump in order to try to minimize the pump vibration noise.

20190921_143222.jpg


Initial testing of the plumbing. No leaks, drips, etc. The Vectra S1 return pump is very quiet. Tuning the Herbie style drain with the gate valve seems like it might be somewhat fiddly.

20190921_143158.jpg


The gate valve for the primary drain.

20190921_143403.jpg
You used the 3/4 as a primary drain? And modified the mega flow kit to a herbie???
Asking cause I have this same setup only with the eshopps r-100 sump! Gonna copy your setup unless you have any objection!
 

Slothman

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moved out and started plumbing, decided to do a 3/4” full syphon drain and a 1” emergency/durso drain. Basic return going over the back.
I haven’t glued anything yet but I have some thoughts; am I going to have to run my pump low flow due to the 3/4” siphon not being strong enough. Will this make my “emergency overflow “ a weak durso essentially?
All one can do is find out!

 
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Onewolf

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October 2019 - After setting the tank up and starting a cycle using Dr Tim’s Live Nitrifying Bacteria nothing really happened for many months mostly because my wife objected to “the cleanup crew”. She didn’t like snails, hermit crabs, etc and that was a fight I didn’t want to start with ‘our’ tank. The solution?

June 2020 - We decided to divorce after 17 years of marriage. I got to keep the primary house (which I owned for about 3 years before I met/married my wife and she got our rental house (which she had owned before we got married)).

July 2020 – I add about 2 dozen red/blue leg Hermit crabs, 2 dozen misc snails, a Fighting Conch and 4 Occelaris Clownfish.

Two of the clownfish quickly claimed ‘alpha’ roles and continuously bullied the other two. After about 2 months one of the clownfish seemed to give up the will to live and died. For the next 3-4 months I only saw clownfish C when they were being fed.

January 2021 – The cleanup crew and 3 clownfish seem to be doing well (except clownfish C who was always bullied) and the tank is stable, however because I was not sure when I would be selling the house and downsizing/relocating I didn’t want to spend any money on additional livestock.

March 2021 – One of the ‘alpha’ clownfishes died. Not sure what happened because there were no signs of stress/disease. Clownfish C gets promoted to Alpha pair role.

June 2021 – I decided that I plan to be in this house for about another 2 years so I decided to add some livestock.

But first I added a second Vortech MP10qd. And then I learned that the new Vortech’s are not compatible with Reeflink/Ecosmart Live systems. I don’t feel like upgrading from Reeflink/Ecosmart Live to Mobius, so I am running the 2nd Vortech in manual mode.

Btw, the Banded Trochus snails have been reproducing so now there’s about 2 dozen of them in the tank.

First I added a Midas Blenny and a Blood Red Fire shrimp. The Midas Blenny has been a great addition. He gets along great with the clownfish. The Blood Red Fire shrimp spends a lot of time hiding in the rock work, but when it’s feeding time he comes out to join the fray.

Next I added some coral from LFS (Top Shelf Aquatics and WWC Winter Park): ? Zoa frag, Lemon Lime Clove Polyp, Blue Xenia (Cespitularia), Pulsing Xenia, and regular ‘blue’ Xenia, Duncan with 1 main polyp and 4 baby polyps, and a Long Tentacle Plate coral (Heliofungia actiniformis). I like movement/motion in the reef tank.

I added 2 Kryptonite Candy Cane frags with 2 polyps on each frag.

I replaced the Aqueon glass tops with DIY ¼” screen top kit from BRS. Based ATO tank refills I think the water evaporates at least 3-4 times faster with the screen top compared to the prior glass tops.

July 2021 – I added an Arc Eye Hawkfish from Living Reef LFS. I was somewhat concerned about the potential aggressiveness of the Arc Eye, but so far he’s been a model citizen.

Benny the Midas Blenny was ‘missing’ one morning. I found him in the internal overflow area. It was no fun trying to get him out of there! I pulled the drain pipes to SLOWLY allow the overflow area to drain into the sump which left about ¾” of water in the bottom (and almost overflowed the sump!). I used a LONG small net to net him and release him back into the tank. He appeared no worse for the adventure. There is about ½” space above the overflow weir below the screen top. I need to find a way to close that gap. I do not want to have to rescue another fish from the overflow area. (Edit: I bought an overflow cover from E-Bay for Aqueon Megaflow. It fits/works perfect!).

I added 3 more Zoa frags (Rasta, Frozen Apple, Magician?), a neon green Goniopora, a green Duncan with 2 polyps and 2 baby polyps, and a Fireworks Clove Polyp.

So far all the corals seem to be doing ok, but I'm a newbie with coral wrangling.

And some misc photos.

Blood Red Fire shrimp and Conch and Xenia


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Edit: Eagle Eye Zoa under white lights
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Onewolf

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Current water parameters:

Salinity: 1.025
PH: 8.3
Alk: 8.2
CA: 419
Mag: 1225
Phosphate: 0.02
Ammonia: 0.0
Nitrite: 0.0

I bought the Hanna Pro test kit for salinity/Alk/Ca/Phosphate which is so much nicer (easier anyway) than the 'manual' Salifert kits I had been using.
 
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