90 Gallon Macro Tank

reddevilant

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I started my current tank about a month ago. It is 90 gallons (4ft x 2ft x 1.5ft) and I found it on the facebook market place. To be on the safe side I resealed it because the seller had kept it outside in the cold. The cycling process was a little unconventional. Over the summer I started a small 10 gallon tank because my younger siblings wanted to keep some hermit crabs they would catch at a nearby beach. It was going great! Until I went away for about 5 days and left the tank with my family that's inexperienced with keeping a tank....I'm not sure what exactly happened, but the hermits died. However, the now vacated shells and the tank was still teeming with life. There was a healthy population of copepods and the shells were covered in tiny critters like feather dusters, spinoid worms, and even a nice spaghetti worm. I know many people would consider some of these critters as ugly pests but as a marine biology student whose favorite subject is ecology, I was incredibly interested in these tiny and odd creatures in this 10 gal ecosystem. They made a great clean up crew too. So, knowing that that I was going to start a larger tank in the near future I stuffed in as much bio-media and rock as I could and fed the tank and its tiny inhabitants twice a week with zoo and phyto plankton in order to cycle all the media.

The original 10g tank
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By Christmas I had every thing I needed to start the 90 gallon and it was up and running a week later. I am entirely inexperienced with plumbing and sumps so I am running two Seachem Tidals (HOBs have always worked perfectly for me) along with a Hydor power head to add some more flow. My lights are two Kessil A80 Tuna Suns which I hope to save up and upgrade by the end of 2021. I tossed in a couple large frozen shrimp to check if my cycling experiment had worked and to my surprise it worked absolutely perfectly. The tank was fully cycled upon start up. So I added my first batch of livestock which were a trio of Regal Damsels from Diver's Den, pods and Red Ogo from @AlgaeBarn, two Skunk Cleaner shrimp from my LFA, and 10 Nassarius snails and a clump of Blue Hypnea from Salty Bottom Reef Company. I know I should probably have waited to add damsels due to their bad reputation but it was love at first sight and they have been awesome.

A very bad picture of the 90 gal after the first addition of livestock. My main focus of the tank is to collect as many macro algae species as possible and have a macro menagerie of sorts. The rock structures on the right and middle-left have a lot of neat little caves and overhangs for the fish, the left rock has a several little platforms perfect for placing macros, and the center rock, from BRS is in the shape of a stumpy tree (the "trunk" is hard to see in this pic). My hope is to let the blue hypnea (and maybe ochtodes in the future) to cover the top to form my own little marine tree of life to act as a home for pods.
Tank.JPG


Since then I have added 10 porcelain crabs from Salty Bottom Reef Co and some more algae. I got small frags of Blue Scroll algae and Red King Thorn algae from Sustainable Ocean on Etsy. So there it is my current tank and first build post on R2R. In the near future I would like to add the three Assessor Basslet species and as many cool algaes I can find. Side note, since this is my fist time keeping a lot of macros I'm sticking to red macros for now as they're a little more forgiving when it comes to going sexual.
 
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reddevilant

reddevilant

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Here is some pics of the tanks inhabitants. I must note that my iphone photography skills are awful and these pics don't do the livestock justice.

Blue Hypnea (I recently fiddles around with the color setting on the A80 and the hypnea's color looks much better now)
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The recently added Blue Scroll Algae frag
blue scroll.JPG


King thorn algae
king thorn.JPG


Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
IMG_4156.JPG


Regal Damsel
IMG_4600.JPG
 
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reddevilant

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Finally time for an update! Since my first post I've added quite a few things. Since I have to run the tank with higher nitrates than a regular reef tank in order to feed the macros, I began to run into a little diatom and cyano problem which began to outcompete the macros. So, to counteract that issue I was finally able to get some Banded Trochus snails for a decent price on Reef Cleaners. These snails were surprisingly hard to find. My LFSs never had them and some sites were really expensive even for just a handful of them. But, I finally got 10 of them and cleaned the glass before I added them so that they'd focus on clearing the rock. The tank is mostly clean now but there is still a harder algae growth on the rocks that the snails won't eat. It looks like red/purple dots, with occasional green dots that cover the rocks. I'll attach a picture below and maybe someone could tell me what it is. Honestly, I'm not mad at how it makes the rocks look, gives them some color and makes it look a bit more natural. But, my main concern is that it may be soaking up nutrients away from the macros. I figure this is probably the reason why my macros have been alive and well but not growing significantly. Along with the Trochus I got 5 Tongan Nassarius because the regular Nassarius I have are really tiny and don't move the sand around as much as I'd like.......and they look really cool. The final invert I added is a black and white Crinoid Squat Lobster because they're very similar to the porcelain crabs in size, temperament, and diet. I'm really starting to love my little inverts almost as much as the macros.

Now on to the algae. My one casualty from the diatom/cyano bloom was the blue scroll algae but thankfully I was able to get more (from SustainableOcean on Etsy) and I got three frags so I could play around with the placement in the tank. The two new algaes I got were Galaxaura and Dragon's Breath (Halymenia durvillei) from Gulf Coast Ecosystems. They were very generous with my first order from them. On the site it said I would get two ~2 inch pieces of the Galaxaura and one 1 inch piece of the Halymenia. However, I got two 2-3 inch pieces of Halymenia and then one 2 inch and one large 4-5 inch pieces of Galaxaura. I was very happy that day lol.

In the future there are going to be some big changes. The damsels are getting way too aggressive and nipping at the inverts during feeding time and I think I even caught one nipping at the Halymenia. I know it was foolish to add them as the first fish. So I am more than likely going to rehome them so that I can add more peaceful fish. They are beautiful and I love them but its a big tank for just three fish, I can't have them throwing my money away if they harm my inverts, and I'd like to be able to have more fish so I don't have to dose nitrates. I made another thread about my potential stock list if anyone would like to check it out.

Here are some pictures of the new additions. You can the the red/purple algae on the rocks, especially in the last pic with the snail. Please let me know if you know exactly what it is.

Crinoid Squat Lobster hanging around in the red ogo
IMG_6742.jpg


Galaxaura
IMG_7579.jpg
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Halymenia Durvillei (Dragon's Breath)
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The tank with the new additions. I think it looks so much fuller even though I only added a couple things.
IMG_7583.jpg


Banded Trochus snail
IMG_7584.jpg
 

Subsea

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[My main focus of the tank is to collect as many macro algae species as possible and have a macro menagerie of sorts. The rock structures on the right and middle-left have a lot of neat little caves and overhangs for the fish, the left rock has a several little platforms perfect for placing macros, and the center rock, from BRS is in the shape of a stumpy tree (the "trunk" is hard to see in this pic). My hope is to let the blue hypnea (and maybe ochtodes in the future) to cover the top to form my own little marine tree of life to act as a home for pods.]

kudos to you to see both the micro & the macro of the marine ecosystem and the dynamics at play. Check out GulfCoast EcoSystem website. Free Guide link.


Where are you going to school that you are near marine ecosystems and able to collect different macro to stock your tank?

When I attended the Texas Maritime Academy in 1971, as a Marine Engineer first semester, I took Chemical Oceanography as a technical elective. I have been amazed ever since. Even after 50 consecutive years as a reef hobiest, I still wonder at the perfection of the micro to enable the macro to work.


During that first semester I set up a 55G Galveston Bay biotheme display tank. The center piece was a live oyster cluster with many fan worms & barnacles. From the rock jetties, I collected Condy Anemones and Peppermint Shrimp. Collection trips were fun outings combined with picnics and/or fishing.

coincidently, I started a 30G macro lagoon three weeks ago. Because I liked the concept so much, I am already upgrading to a 55G on steroids. After nitrification cycle is complete, I will add 50 pounds of diver collected, uncured live rock from 30 miles east of Tampa Bay.

image.jpg image.jpg
 
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You may have bought the piece of Dragon’s Tongue I was looking at.

I am most interested in the how this does for you. I especially liked that it was not as delicate as two native Florida species. It should do well with moderate/high lights. How long have you had Gracilaria Parvispora and have you noted any change in color.?
 

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Following! Once I get my new build established... the goal is to fill it with as much macro as coral. Hoping the weather is kind to us this year. Last years hurricane season was ugly. Noone could get boats into the gulf to collect. If Gulf Coast Eco ever gets red grape back in stock... I'm all over it. I added the red sampler pack to my 90 a while back and my tangs have pretty much decimated everything.
I figure that I need enough macro variety and backups in a smaller tank to keep it going strong. If I can get a backup macro tank going.... I can indulge in mantis or pistol shrimp because why not?
Can't wait to see how this goes for you. Nice work so far.
 
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@Subsea Your tank looks awesome! I go to Stony Brook University for marine vertebrate biology and I'm using all of my electives on focused on ecology. But who knows, maybe in graduate school I'll work with inverts and algae. In the first pic with the hermits the algaes were collected from beaches on the north shore of Long Island. All of the other algae in the 90g were bought. The Halymenia has been great however I did notice something had nipped at it. The snails and shrimp clean it but never eat it so I think it may have been the damsels. Maybe some food got caught on it or something and the fish took a bite. I've had the gracilaria for almost two months. At first it started going green in some parts but I bought ChaetoGro that same week and that did the trick.
 
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Following! Once I get my new build established... the goal is to fill it with as much macro as coral. Hoping the weather is kind to us this year. Last years hurricane season was ugly. Noone could get boats into the gulf to collect. If Gulf Coast Eco ever gets red grape back in stock... I'm all over it. I added the red sampler pack to my 90 a while back and my tangs have pretty much decimated everything.
I figure that I need enough macro variety and backups in a smaller tank to keep it going strong. If I can get a backup macro tank going.... I can indulge in mantis or pistol shrimp because why not?
Can't wait to see how this goes for you. Nice work so far.
Sounds cool! Yeah the tangs probably won't let you enjoy the algae for too long lol. I wonder if they would touch any of the more calcified algae like galaxaura. I'm thinking about starting a grow out tank for macros with an old 30g so I could farm and sell some of the algae on here to fund my own macro addiction lol.
 
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Following! Once I get my new build established... the goal is to fill it with as much macro as coral. Hoping the weather is kind to us this year. Last years hurricane season was ugly. Noone could get boats into the gulf to collect. If Gulf Coast Eco ever gets red grape back in stock... I'm all over it. I added the red sampler pack to my 90 a while back and my tangs have pretty much decimated everything.
I figure that I need enough macro variety and backups in a smaller tank to keep it going strong. If I can get a backup macro tank going.... I can indulge in mantis or pistol shrimp because why not?
Can't wait to see how this goes for you. Nice work so far.
Also I believe lowtidecorals.com has some red grape. Disclaimer, I have not bought from them......yet lol but they seem reputable and reviews look good. I've had my eye on their four pack that includes red grape, red razor, green ogo, and pom pom for decent price.
 
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Also I believe lowtidecorals.com has some red grape. Disclaimer, I have not bought from them......yet lol but they seem reputable and reviews look good. I've had my eye on their four pack that includes red grape, red razor, green ogo, and pom pom for decent price.
Gulf Coast has WAY better prices.... if only they could restock.
 

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@Subsea Your tank looks awesome! I go to Stony Brook University for marine vertebrate biology and I'm using all of my electives on focused on ecology. But who knows, maybe in graduate school I'll work with inverts and algae. In the first pic with the hermits the algaes were collected from beaches on the north shore of Long Island. All of the other algae in the 90g were bought. The Halymenia has been great however I did notice something had nipped at it. The snails and shrimp clean it but never eat it so I think it may have been the damsels. Maybe some food got caught on it or something and the fish took a bite. I've had the gracilaria for almost two months. At first it started going green in some parts but I bought ChaetoGro that same week and that did the trick.

How far are you from Montauk Point? A friend,
@Paul B, who moved there two years ago and just celebrated a 50 year mature tank with no quarantine. He collects critters in LI Sound and collects NSW from the Atlantic. Ask him where to get “grass shrimp”.
 
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How far are you from Montauk Point? A friend,
@Paul B, who moved there two years ago and just celebrated a 50 year mature tank with no quarantine. He collects critters in LI Sound and collects NSW from the Atlantic. Ask him where to get “grass shrimp”.
I got everything in that initial little tank just north of my school at Port Jefferson. I think that's like an hour or so away.
 
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Ok wow, I have not updated this in three months and a LOT has changed so here we go!

As you have probably guessed I have gotten a lot of new algae in the fast few months. Since March I have added a red Titanophora algae from Reef Cleaners, Byrothamnion and a Botryocladia species from Low Tide Corals, Dragon’s Tongue from @LiveAquaria , and finally a cluster each of thick and fine coralline along with a massive bunch of Portieria from Gulf Coast Ecosystems. I also got one free algae as it seems an iridescent species of Dictyota came in on something which I hadn’t noticed until it sprouted on one of my power heads.
Unfortunately, I did lose a couple in my successful fight against the diatoms and hair algae that was taking over the rocks and suffocating some algae. I believe I let the nitrates get too low by dosing microbacter7 too often. The first to go was my gracilaria which honestly, I wasn’t too upset about since its so easily available and cheap. Second was the blue hypnea, or so I thought. The large bunches started dying quickly by the time I noticed it going translucent. Thankfully though, I was able to save a few pieces and then I guess another piece got caught on a powerhead which turned out to be a perfect place to grow because it exploded in growth. Finally, I believe I have lost all my blue scroll algae which is upsetting because it was really starting to grow new plates and it was one of my favorites so I’m on the search for more.

Halymenia Dilatata aka Dragon's Tongue from Live Aquaria. It has since grown out to look more like other halymenia species.
algae (1).jpg

Botryocladia (Low Tide Corals)
algae (4).jpg

Byrothamnion (Low Tide Corals)
algae (5).jpg

Portieria, which has since turned red-orange (GCE)
algae (6).jpg

Thick and fine coralline (GCE)
algae (7).jpg algae (8).jpg

Red Titanophora (ReefCleaners)
algae (9).jpg
 
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There has been a lot of changes in stocking too. I re-homed the Regal damsels as they were getting too nippy with even the inverts. They were absolutely beautiful but they became a pain in the butt. They have since been replaced by two Seale’s cardinals (from @AlgaeBarn ), a citrinus clown goby, a black clown goby, a sharknose goby, two longspine cardinals, and a yellow brotulid from Live Aquaria/Diver’s Den. I really love all the new additions especially the citrinus clown because it loves to perch on some of algae and it looks so cool!

fish (1).jpg fish (2).jpg fish (3).jpg fish 2 (4).jpg fish 2 (1).jpg fish 2 (3).jpg fish 2 (2).jpg
 
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I added Tunze frag rock so I could have some algae closer to the light as I was running out of space at the higher end of the rocks. I also added an acclimation box to hold the little bits of algae that have fallen of or been broken off by a speedy fish until their big enough or I have time to attach them to their own rocks. As of now my only issues are trying to find more new algae species, the cyanobacteria that has broken out since the diatoms are gone, and the single aiptasia that popped up. I’m going to get some cerith snails and peppermint shrimp very soon to help fix those problems.

So, there’s the update! I’m really happy with the new additions and hopefully there are many more in the future! I’m going to try to do more frequent smaller updates especially since I plan and starting a second tank as a grow-out tank for algae that I may eventually link to the main tank as a big refugium. This way I can have them on alternate light cycles to avoid pH swings and efficiently grow the algae so that I can maybe start to sell some to fellow algae lovers and to help me fund this hobby lol. I’m going to Reef-A-Palooza this weekend and I know it’s all corals but maybe I can find algae while I’m there lol.

Here's some current pictures of the whole tank that I took this morning. Please excuse the cyano and some of algae that has misplaced by snails or fish lol.

tank (1).jpg tank (3).jpg tank (6).jpg tank (5).jpg tank (4).jpg tank (2).jpg
 
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