907 Tank & Stand Build - 55 Gallon

AquaCave

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Just watched his stand video. He states that design will support a 48" tank without center supports. 2x6 not necessary.
agreed! I had a 75Gallon on a DIY 2x4 stand without center bracket - I would have felt ok putting a 90 on it.
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Great job with the stand .
a solid foundation is the key ….,

that stand could possibly weigh as much as the tank sitting on it . But we know it’s solid .
Following along to see this build mature

Thanks - and welcome to the party!

agreed! I had a 75Gallon on a DIY 2x4 stand without center bracket - I would have felt ok putting a 90 on it.

I agree also, my center supports are definitely overkill, especially with a 55. With some rough calcs, I think I could hold about 30 of these tanks, filled, on top of each other..!

Yesterday/Day 8 measurements are looking good! Ammonia and Nitrites down to 0!

pH: 8.0
Ammonia/NH3: 0
Nitrite/NO2: 0
Nitrate/NO3: 20+

We are ready for fish! We did have something else come up for today, so likely will run to the LFS Fri/Sat (about a 2 hour round trip). I do need to do a water change first anyway, to bring salinity back up to 1.024, and make sure my temp settles down to 78-79 (since those have both been adjusted for cycling).

Also posted a separate thread about the growth I'm seeing in the tank, definitely have some type of algae getting ready to go nuts..!

 
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Alrighty, no testing yesterday but completed a 30% water change to raise salinity back to 1.023, and dropped temp to 78. These Eheim heaters are annoying, we're already ready for an upgrade. Both the blue and red pieces on top move, making it impossible to tell what your temp is set to, without just changing it and waiting.. Which one even controls the heat, the blue or red piece?! We're running 2 of these, I'm thinking we swap to a nice single heater and use these for heating salt water for water changes, and/or backups.. Current mixing station is 2-5 gal buckets with submersible pumps, heaters would make a nice addition maybe with an air stone.


Open to suggestions.. Anyone have experience with the Aquael heaters? Looks like we would need a 200w for this 55 gal..


Been seeing a lot of people using Inkbirds controllers as well..

At any rate, I believe we're off to the LFS later today, stay tuned :)
 
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Thanks!

And we're back from the LFS! They still had the Mocha Storm Pair! And now they don't! :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

Also added our cleanup crew and some corals, could not resist! Will get pics of the corals when the lights come on today, we had them lowered yesterday while everyone settled in. They were all fully opened within a few hours though!

Livestock in 5/7/22:

Fish - Mocha Storm pair (~1.5")

CUC - Tiger Cowrie (×1), Emerald Crabs (x2), Turbo Snails (x2), Astrea Snails (×8), Hermit Crabs (x13), Margarita Snails (×6), Cerith Snails (×5)

Corals - Wall Frogspawn colony, Goniopora "flowerpot" frag, Plum Hammer, Favia frag, Acan Lord frag, Green Star Polyp frag, and of course a Zoa frag.

More pics of corals to follow later, but check these mochas out!

IMG_3186.jpg
 
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Monday update - everyone in the tank is doing well, minus one of our emeralds. Upon introducing him Saturday, he went straight under one of the upper rocks and didn't move for the day, then we found him upside down Sunday AM. Bad luck I guess.. Removed him, no other issues.

No change in levels, planned to test anyway: Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 20, pH 8.0

The clowns have been getting flakes and shrimp, and we target fed the corals yesterday with some Polyp Booster and Reef Roids. I may have gotten a little too much of a squirt into the flowerpot coral, he balled up pretty good but was back in action after a few hours. My wife scolded me and deemed herself coral-feeder from here on out :upside-down-face:

Trying to get these lights dialed in, without too much fussing. Running dual Radion XR15 G5 Blue lights controlled via the Mobius app. We had them set to more of a white while cycling by adjusting Kelvin, then changed to the "AB+ Spectrum" when adding livestock, with intensity super low for the first day.

These lights are BLUE! I had adjusted red, green and whites yesterday but after a short while of fussing, wasn't sure who I was stressing out more, me, the tank or my wife, so I just put them back on the standard AB+ spectrum, which runs all different color LEDs 100% equally on these G5s, 100% point intensity but 50% "schedule" intensity. 7-8 hour viewing period, little ramp up and down, and a moonlight period. We extended it slightly overall but not too much.

I think I'll lower to 40% schedule today, not sure if I'll do any other adjusting but would like a little less blue. When I'm in with the tank for 15-20 minutes then look outside, all I can see is deep orange until my eyes re-adjust o_O

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I'm just getting back into the hobby so I don't know anything about anything, but are you worried that you're going too fast?

The reason I ask is that I watch videos / read threads about people keeping their tanks dark for 2 - 4 months to avoid the ugly phase and liven up their rock... but I'm watching you cycle a tank and add a bunch of livestock all in a matter of 10 days.

When I was doing this in the 90s, I cycled my tanks for just a month and never had an ugly phase, so when I see people recommend up to 4 months I'm taken aback. But 10 days seems like lightning speed to me.

There was no Dr Tim's magic sauce back then, so I'm eager to see how it goes.
 
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I agree this is on the quicker side.. Our last tank we cycled for just over a month or so, also had live sand, live rock, no Dr. Tim's, and all was well. There is definitely no harm in cycling longer, however both the LFS and our research agree that if the Tim's cycle is followed exactly and measurements are good, all should be well. Especially with 120 lbs live sand and 91 lbs live rock for bacteria colonization.

In total here we were 16 days after startup when livestock was introduced. Our tank was setup 4/21, Dr. Tim's cycle began 6 days later on 4/27 ("Day 1"). Followed instructions exactly and watched the nitrifying process work - after a week or so, adding ammonia chloride was continually converted down to nitrates, Dr. Tim's states that on day 9 of their cycle if this is occurring based on measurements, "add fish!"

Started getting decent algae growth on about day 8 of cycle as well, less light would likely calm that (we ran at ~50% after the first 48 hours of Tim's cycle), but, have a cleanup crew on the job now..

We haven't intended to rush anything, but Tim said we're cycled!
 

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Started getting decent algae growth on about day 8 of cycle as well, less light would likely calm that (we ran at ~50% after the first 48 hours of Tim's cycle), but, have a cleanup crew on the job now..

We haven't intended to rush anything, but Tim said we're cycled!
Yeah, I was noticing that your CUC is pretty sizable, I'm sure that'll help. The live rock/sand was procured from tubs at the LFS?

Oh, and I forgot to comment on this: 22 hours of daylight. Jesus. :anguished-face::beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:
 
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Yeah, I was noticing that your CUC is pretty sizable, I'm sure that'll help. The live rock/sand was procured from tubs at the LFS?

CUC is hard at work for sure! Both sand/rock were purchased from the LFS, yes - sand was 6 bags of 20 lb CaribSea (expiration April 2024), and live rock was from their tubs (not sure on it's origination).

Oh, and I forgot to comment on this: 22 hours of daylight. Jesus. :anguished-face::beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

Yea, current daylight is 17 hours and increasing. No dark "night" time here from April to Sept..!

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All good in the tank today, levels great, everyone is happy

Adjusting these dang Eheim heaters here and there to get proper temp. They're "set" at 75 and 77, to get 78.6 degrees. 2 thermometers agree. Going to upgrade to a higher end heater shortly here and use these for backups and warming up saltwater during changes. Research on them shows this is common and people just tweak to get what the want and never touch them again.

Corals got some shrimp yesterday, probably will skip feeding today and get them on a 2-3 times per week target feeding (?), have to refine my schedule there.

Little shrimp for the Clowns 2x per day currently. Tossing in some flakes as well but they are not interested yet.. Heading back to the LFS Friday, will grab some pellets for them also to keep up on variety.

LFS also has a Lawnmower Blenny for us, trying not to rush livestock too much though!

Have been starting to research tank photography also, might be a good excuse to upgrade this 2005 Nikon D80! Some of the pictures on this site are crazy!

My little Samsung phone:

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Deep sand bed. Or at least deeper than I've done before. Is it hard to maintain? I recall being told that it introduces anaerobic biology and was told it could cause issues. But I wouldn't know first hand.

Have you done a deep sand bed before? What was your experience?
 
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Too early to have any reports from this sand bed, but we like sand sifters so wanted to make some room down there.. I like how we get a lot of support for rock stacking also. We had 80-90 lbs or so in the last tank, some sand sifting stars, other stuff I don't remember but no issues we knew about. Will report if anything pops up though..

Clowns have definitely found their night spot in a cave we added on the left, thinking about adding a Duncan coral in the area - might be a good compromise instead of an anemone..?!

20220511_143419.jpg
 
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Weekend Update: Have some more additions in the tank! ..And still working on better picture quality with our old DSLR, always something else to do and research with this hobby!

Lawnmower Blenny and Pistol Shrimp/Watchman Goby pair made the journey to our fish submarine :) Pistol Shrimp is working on an underwater mansion for Goby currently..

Bumped up sand CUC slightly since this bed is so deep. Added a sand sifting star, 6 Nassarius snails, and one more cowrie. Plus 2 peppermint shrimp.

No LFS run is complete without a few frags.. Was looking at 3-5 of them, but they offered to kick a few extra in with 5, and somehow we ended up with about 10 *shrug*.

Zoas x3, got a nice variety, will be some forthcoming pics on these guys!

Duncan w/4 heads. Put it in the sand bed over by the "Clown Cave" as an offering..

1 Acan Echinata frag, de-plugged this and glued with my Acan Lord and Favia frag over on the lower right front. Snails kept knocking these off the rock at night when sitting on their plugs.. Plan to make this area "Acan Alley", currently the roof for PS/Goby.

Mushroom, need to identify exact species, and placement.

3 Encrusting corals frags, not yet sure on placement. I do like the ceramic skulls and other things people grow these on.. Keeping an eye open for options.. One of these is an aqua lime cyphastrea, need to identify the other green and orange guys.

Candy Cane frag, 1 head. Wife would not allow me to leave without it :)

Huge day in the tank Friday, but everything seems settled in and eating like champs by late Sat.

Next up is figure out dKH and pH. They're currently "ok" but want to see if we can master them for coral growth. dKH currently 6.25 Meq/L, pH 8.0. Looking for that 9 Meq/L and 8.3 pH. Started reading Randy Holmes Farley papers o_O

Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20

Still measuring with our Red Sea kit, have some Hanna Checkers in the cart however, would like to pick up all of those eventually, a few at a time..

New additions are dog-approved!

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How do you deplug a frag? Been wondering.

So far I've only done a few, still learning as well. I used a small small screw driver to pry at the base. Not sure about the softer-based corals yet but I've seen discussions about using a flat blade and sliding it under.

All Zoas will stay on plugs here since they'll grow over them.

Also saw a thread here where someone was modifying frag plugs with a dremel to make them look more rocky, changing the post to a smaller acrylic post and drilling holes in their rock prior to starting up the tank to have places to move them all around.. Looked pretty cool. Too late for that for me though :)
 

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So far I've only done a few, still learning as well. I used a small small screw driver to pry at the base. Not sure about the softer-based corals yet but I've seen discussions about using a flat blade and sliding it under.

All Zoas will stay on plugs here since they'll grow over them.

Also saw a thread here where someone was modifying frag plugs with a dremel to make them look more rocky, changing the post to a smaller acrylic post and drilling holes in their rock prior to starting up the tank to have places to move them all around.. Looked pretty cool. Too late for that for me though :)
I've been wondering if somebody makes 'break away' plugs, so you can just snap off the excess plug surface if it'll just be in the way.
 
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Time for an update! Tank is settling in, I'm trying to get all of my over-buy set of frags in comfortable locations by letting them sit for a day or two, adjusting if necessary, then puttying in place. Wanted to putty as little as possible, but between the turbo snails and other CUC, they keep getting bumped around.. Plus, pistol shrimp is very interested in, everything lol. I have just done about 5 so far, been using CoralCrete which my LFS touted as their "second best", but the "best" (I can't recall the brand), was a tub for $50. Since I thought I wouldn't be using much, went with the cheaper tube, but might invest in the better stuff (uh-oh, excuse for a trip to the LFS!). CoralCrete seems to work, with some fussing, but we like frags, and we want to do mostly corals in here with just a few, reef-safe fish. Removing the frag from the plug is easier to glue, than gluing the flat plug to the rock, which I try to do for corals that will grow over the plug. And I'm scared to de-plug some of then, like the Clove Polyps (which I had mistakenly called a GSP earlier)..

Another edit from the frag list, I had listed 3 Zoas, but actually 2 were Zoas and one is a Blasto Merletti! I have the Blasto glued to a 4" or so loose rock, to keep it on the sand bed but give it a better base. I like the setup, wife is skeptical, we will see who wins lol.

As another update from earlier (I had a separate thread on it), I was able to get ahold of EcoTech by phone and they were super helpful and friendly. Quick chat and they have a new controller for my MP10 pump on the way under their warranty exchange program :). When I bought 2 new pumps, this one has never been able to connect to wireless/Mobius. Full details in the thread I linked to earlier.

After some research we decided to begin dosing the tank with Reef Fusion 2 Part, Calcium and Alkalinity. Our dKH had been staying around 6.25 to 6.5, with pH 8.0 - both a little too low for our liking. Two doses (few days apart) has brought the pH up to 8.2 and dKH to 7.0, headed in the right direction. I'm not paying much attention to Calcium, per Randy Homes Farley the Ca will change more slowly than KH, so chasing Calcium numbers is not appropriate and can result in a roller coaster effect. Also tips were to dose directly for KH, and do not change dosage (such as only dosing KH and not Ca), continue dosing the same amount of each with KH as the target. More to come.

Those numbers are with my Red Sea test kit also, but we ordered some Hanna Checkers! But for some reason they won't be here for 3 weeks! (#AlaskaShipping :/ )

Wife picked up these cell phone camera filters as a hold-over while we research our DSLR upgrade. That's a big purchase and something that can last 10-15 years, not trying to rush it. But these filters are actually pretty cool! I was skeptical, but they definitely will hold us over :)

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Started with the yellow filter yesterday and only took a few while working on the tank. After consideration I'll probably get the orange filter back out later today and get some better pics! Want to at least add some FTS's here for the timeline log:

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Pistol shrimp is a hoot! Good thing we have wide rocks as the base, he is moving some sand. And also attempted to steal by Blasto yesterday after mounting, bad shrimp! :rolling-on-the-floor-laughing:

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A few taken prior to getting the filters yesterday, Lawnmower Blenny is a hoot! Seen here spying on our Duncans:

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And this little guy, peppermint shrimp, I basically have to shoo him off when I'm working on corals in the area, he keeps jumping on my hand every time he gets close to it, ha!

IMG_3345.jpg


That's probably long enough for today, happy Friday!
 
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Happy Tuesday! Few updates to add to the thread here.

First for the Vortech MP10 issue, my new card arrived yesterday via the EcoTech warranty exchange program, installed and both pumps are online with Mobius, woo!! The original one is boxed up and ready to return. No more manually turning one pump down and back up for feeding time :). EcoTech support was very friendly and quick, once I got them on the phone (they did not reply to the support email address).

Few other tool arrivals yesterday, a Sea Squirt for feeding corals, 15" tongs for working in the tank without always being up to my shoulder, and 35ppt solution for calibrating the refractometer. Hanna Checkers are another few weeks out, booo.. Also, I forgot we had ordered a wave maker as well to add surface agitation without having to move both MP10s up higher, but, still playing the waiting for shipping game..

I've been calibrating my Vee Gee refractometer with RO while waiting on the 35ppt (I don't have measuring tools precise enough to make my own 35ppt), which per much debate here is not the preferred method (RO), calibration should be done with the same type of solution that is being measured (35ppt saltwater). At any rate, the solution showed 1.0264 immediately, so my calibration with RO was correct anyway :)

Also adjusted tank salinity over the weekend, it had been floating on the low side of 1.023 (~1.0225), so I used the rest of my salt (uh oh, another excuse for an LFS run! :) ), in 3 gal RO to make a 1.031 solution to bring overall SG up to 1.024. I like it in the 1.024 range better.

I have a mini mixing station setup now, well not really a station, but a spare flow pump, heater and air stone that I just plop in a 5 gallon bucket with RO and salt and let it run for a few hours, now we can add nicely mixed and heated SW in during changes! Also bought a Jebao submersible pump which I can use as a second 5 gal bucket mixer, and also to pump my water changes into the tank, instead of using a 2 qt pitcher which leaks water all over the place... 5 gal is about 15% of my ~34 gal total, so I'll probably stick with 5 gal changes every 1.5-2 weeks or so, but not really set on the schedule or amount there yet.

Otherwise, these guys are just clownin' around while I try not to fuss with the tank too much :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

20220521_173925.jpg
 
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Some Hanna Checkers are in! Slowly building our set, so far we have pH (8.2), Calcium (450) and Alkalinity (9.5). Looking to add their ULR Phosphate and new Magnesium checkers next..

Have seen the pH checker peg at 8.6 a few times but with more careful droplet size it agrees with the Red Sea kit at 8.2. Only used the Ca/Alk checkers once so far.

Inkbird heater controller is also on the way. That's a no-brainer for $32. I'm also getting annoyed with fidgeting with 2 Eheim heaters up and down, this will resolve!

Only other note is we have low Nitrates that we are keeping an eye on. I've done a few 15% water changes, probably will space those out a bit and feed a little more liberally.. Ammonia 0.1, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0-2.

I was wondering if the low nitrate was bothering my smaller Zoas, but also found a hitchhiker bristle worm in the area yesterday, hmmm..

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