907 Tank & Stand Build - 55 Gallon

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Alright, update time! This will probably be long, since it's been a while. We've been busy with spring activities, but loving having the tank running! First batch of livestock was added 5/7, just over 5 weeks ago.

No major issues so far (knock on wood), but we can't keep zoas in this tank!! :confused-face: Have had 4 zoa frags, the first one went in a month ago today and is hanging in there, but only 2 heads opening now.. The others added later were fine for a few days or a week and then stopped opening, and I noticed some heads disappearing.. First thought was our low Nitrate issue as of late (and I'm unsure on phosphates), but then I saw a Tiger Cowrie on top of one. After some more research, not sure the Tiger was our best purchase..

Levels, RS for Red Sea test kit, HC for Hanna Checkers:

RS - NH3: 0-0.1
RS - N02: 0
RS - N03: 0 (main concern on levels, 0 Nitrates..)
HC - pH: 8.2
HC - dKH: 9.5
HC - Ca: 429

For low nitrates, I've been feeding a little extra, not really "over feeding" but both some flakes and half a cube of frozen shrimp, twice per day. Wondering if I need more fish in the mix to help stabilize nitrates out..

We've been dosing with 2-part Ca/Alk Reef Fusion every other day, ~6 doses and so far so good. It has brought pH up from 8.0 to 8.2 and dKH from 7.5 to 9.5. No other dosing currently (I like as little as possible..).

I've also been raising salinity during changes from the initial 1.023 to 1.025 full (1.026 when ready for RO top-up).

Need to get Phosphate ULR and Magnesium checkers too! Also to note, I've been perfecting my testing methods with the Hanna Checkers. After the first few tests with pH reading 8.6, incorrectly, I started doing more research. While these checkers are awesome, you need to have a solid procedure for the most accurate results. A few tips I follow are:

- No debris in the solution (take water from middle of the tank to avoid floaties)
- No fingerprints on the glass cuvettes (hold from top and wipe down prior to placing it in)
- No bubbles (tap the cuvette or wait to dissipate)
- Insert at the same rotation each time (for instance, with the 10 mL label always facing you)
- Careful with reagents, hold the bottle directly upside down and squeeze lightly for consistent droplets

I believe it was @blaxsun I stole a few of those tips from (thanks!), as well as storing the cuvettes with RO water when not in use. Then dump, rinse with tank water, proceed to test. RO water storage is my favorite tip I think, who wants to wait for them to dry to put away anyway? And then potentially leaving residue in there if you rinse with tap? No thanks! :)

We added a Galaxea frag a few weeks back, who we're now calling the "Demon Child" after catching the guy one night with his larger sweepers out. He's so small right now, we had him on the sand next to our flower pot and clove polyps, while all were acclimating, then one morning both of his neighbors looked like they got stung pretty good (Tiger Cowrie isn't 100% ruled out however). All are recovering anyway and Demon Child has been moved to his own corner of the tank (upper/right). He is cute though :)

I did have a "situation" 2 days ago. I had wanted to get a stronger coral putty, and sick of these guys getting knocked around, so I picked up some E-Marco 400 Aquascaping Mortar. While this is "approved" to be used on in-tank, underwater rocks, turns out it's a bit of a hassle. I used it with one coral, got the mixture where I wanted it, placed in tank and it immediately leaks a white milky residue visibly into the water, clouding things up. Not what I like to see. Did a little more research and while it is "safe", it can jack up your pH and Alk and make your skimmer go nuts. One and done, back to Coral Putty and probably $50 down the drain. bah. My skimmer is fine, pH still at 8.2 but dKH up to 10.4 (from my avg 9.5). I did a 5 gal/15% water change after the coral mounting episode, for good measure. Also when dosing 2-part the next day (yesterday), the 2nd part (Alk) did not get cloudy when I put it in tank water as it usually does... Weird, but without researching further yet (will see what next round does tomorrow), I'm assuming that the higher Alk in the water prevented the cloudiness...(?) Which I'm hoping settles back out here..

Fish are all great though! Mocha storm clown pair, pistol shrimp and watchman goby, and lawnmower blenny.

Corals Happy :)
Corals Not Happy :(
Wall Frogspawn
Plum Hammer
Blastomusa
Flower Pot Coral
Duncan
Orange Ricordia Florida Mushroom
Other mushroom (have not identified)
Favia
Acan Lord
Other Acan (have not identified)
Montipora
Clove Polyps
Orange Leptoseris
Aqua Lime Cyphestria - started bleaching after about 2 days, had it low in the tank, moved to a little shade on the sand bed, no bringing it back.​

Candy Cane - lasted a good few weeks before starting to fade, still have it in the tank but it's not looking good.

Zoas - Low nitrates and/or Tiger Cowrie issue is my best guess? They start closing, then disappearing..

Acan Echinata - Started fading out after just a few days or so, didn't take long to become just a skeleton :/

(EDIT: Didn't update my notes before posting)

Otherwise, just got my Inkbird temp controller in! To be installed this week. Also have a Jebao wave-maker at the post office to pickup, to get a little more action at the top of the tank without having to sacrifice positioning on the 2 MP-10 pumps.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some details, but that should cover it for now! Except, a few pics (orange filter with Galaxy Note 10):

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I recognize that lawnmower blenny! Feel free to beg, borrow and steal any ideas - chances are I'm not the original originator with most anyway. :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

I shall, definitely appreciate all tips! Feel free to heckle me on any tips I'm not following as well :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:
 
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Happy Friday! Our 55 just had its 2 month birthday, aww lol.

Some notes:

- dKH is still up at 10.1 after the E-Marco "incident" (maxed at 10.4). Still dosing 2-part as that number doesn't scare me yet.

- Nitrates are still 0

- We had a minor rock slide, the top center rock is coral-puttied to a big base rock in 3 places, all gave out and 3 rocks slid forward and down, bottom may have shifted slightly due to Mr. Pistol shrimp who is a gung-ho worker. No tank or livestock/coral injuries though, rocks placed back more stable. Need more putty to secure (LFS trip!)

- Candy Cane frag removed, it did not make a comeback after a great first ~3 weeks then deteriorating.

- Last zoas removed, 3 zoa frags did not make it. Not sure if it's the nitrates, phosphates, (which I don't have a tester for yet), tiger cowrie or the bristle worms that have I have been seeing more of.....

So we spotted one bristle worm a few weeks ago during feeding. Now when I feed, I can count 5-6 of em... I'm not opposed to a few but keeping an eye on them for sure. Now wondering if my extra feeding to try and balance Nitrates is just breeding worms instead...

Considering a wrasse that may help contlrol the population, and we are still low on fish anyway with just 2 Clowns, Lawnmower Blenny, and Yellow Watchman Goby. I know a wrasse can be tricky, but we had good success with a 6-line in our last tank..

On the way to the LFS, we'll see what that brings!! Looking for a Phosphate ULR checker, potentially a wrasse (have to see what I'd available), coral putty (but might start using super glue?!) and I would surprise myself if there is not a new frag or two in our tank later..

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Input always welcome, have a good weekend!
 
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Meant to update after the LFS run Friday, picked up a few things ;)

We were on the lookout for a wrasse, and decided to stay clear of a 6-line even though we had success with one in our last tank. The LFS agreed as their 6-line has been sold and re-sold about a dozen times they say!

However, they had a Pinstriped Melanurus on hand so he came home with us! Just realized I don't have any pics of him yet, will grab one when the tank awakens for the day.

Only other fish we added was a Royal Gramma. Super chill and super reef safe. He's a bit more shy but coming out regularly after a few days. Wanted a few more fish in the tank at least to help battle our low nitrate issue.

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Otherwise, frag time! I may be turning into a Florida Ricordia lover, picked up a green guy to go with our orange.

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Who doesn't love GSP?!

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Here's me over-doing Coral Crete on a new Bi-Color Hammer (I have mixed success with the Crete, need to look into super glue I think..).

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Last frag is an interesting one, hoping we can care for him properly. Tubastraea Sun Coral! Currently he only comes out at night, or when I'm feeding Reef Roids. These guys can even be mounted upside down in caves! We need to move him from his current location into lower light, but letting everyone relax for a few days.

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Last note for today, we spotted this guy which appears to be a micro brittle star hitchhiker!

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Haven't updated in a bit here, here's the recent haps':

Nitrates are coming up! Currently 3-5 with my Red Sea kit. We had been at 0 for a solid month+ which wasn't exciting me, but I've kept consistently over feeding a bit, flakes for lunch and flakes + 2 cubes frozen brine, carnivore, or mysis shrimp rotated. Our cleanup crew does good work so all seems well with the over feeding so far.

We lost our Plum Hammer after 2 months. I posted a separate thread on it here. Some say the low nitrates (and now too little too late), some say more frequent water changes needed, some say big swings in Alk can cause, some say too much coral feeding w/Reef Roids (was doing 2x/week) which raises phosphate, some say they just dont do well in new tanks. As of that I did decide to bump up water changes to weekly (I was doing once every 3-4 weeks), and settle down with the 2-Part dosing and roids. After a WC, no dosing for 5 days my pH is still 8.2, dKH 8.9, PO4 0.5. My goal has always been a dosing-free setup so we're chilling and monitoring with that for now. One thing I have used a few times is the Polyp Booster (phase 1 of the roids only) to get our Sun Coral to open for some shrimp. He has been getting into a routine however so only done that a few times and he is doing great so far. This guy can EAT! Target feed him some shrimp and it's swallowed in ~10 seconds.

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We also lost our GSP but it wasn't due to tank conditions technically lol. It looked great for 3 days, separated from its plug and fell down towards Pistol Shrimp who now uses it for cave decor. I pulled it out with big tweasers once, it was too late, he took it back in later that day and it has been there since. Oh Pistol Shrimp, lol. He also tried to steal our Goniopora Flower Pot on one occasion. No dice there buddy!!!

We got a nice bubble algea outbreak.. We had lost an Emerald Crab recently (I can never keep them long, same on our last tank), headed to the LFS now to get a few more. Recon here says get female emeralds if possible, also Foxface Rabbitfish can help so I'm wondering if I should consider a small one for this 55, even though they typically like a little bigger setup. Don't have many fish in here (2 Clowns, Melanurus Wrasse, Royal Gramma, Lawnmower Blenny, and Watchman Goby/PS pair)..

Otherwise if the crabs and what not don't handle the BA, I found this pretty cool site, Fish of Hex, where they sell nifty 3D printed aquarium stuff. May pickup a frag rack, and this bubble algea tool, looks pretty sweet:


20220713_190238.jpg


Speaking of the wrasse, he has been getting along great with his tank mates! No picking or chasing of others or of him, he's mostly curious but has not shown any signs of thuggin'.

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Also have a worm/feather duster outbreak, these little white guys have appeared all over, but haven't seen any worms poking out.. We are monitoring, hoping the tank is dealing with it for now..

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Still finding new hitchhikers, latest is a Stomatella snail!

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Otherwise, looking to add a Mag checker to our arsenal, hoping the LFS has one today..

Happy almost-Friday!
 
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Thanks Sam! Tank is coming along :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

I'm looking for a slow day at work to binge the last half of your build thread. Did some browsing lately and was bummed to see the [Korean?] Angel causing a fuss! I was considering one for my next tank. ..I'm starting to soak data for a bigger build already...

LFS trip here today, picked up 2 Emeralds, a Mummy Eye Chalice frag and got a free Cactus coral, I think he called it a "Cactus Rack Coral?" Pics to follow shortly, currently acclimating..
 

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Thanks Sam! Tank is coming along :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

I'm looking for a slow day at work to binge the last half of your build thread. Did some browsing lately and was bummed to see the [Korean?] Angel causing a fuss! I was considering one for my next tank. ..I'm starting to soak data for a bigger build already...

LFS trip here today, picked up 2 Emeralds, a Mummy Eye Chalice frag and got a free Cactus coral, I think he called it a "Cactus Rack Coral?" Pics to follow shortly, currently acclimating..
Timmy was rehomed to me from a larger tank with much bigger fish it was getting bullied! thanks! I think its a stunning fish; never thought I'd get one b/c technically I need a 6' tank and he loves to eat corals...
He is an Emperor Angelfish - looks a lot like a Koran Angelfish.
I named him accidentally when I was scolding him for eating my entire zoa rock.
nonetheless, some don't eat corals at all, the dwarf angelfish stand a better chance of being reef safe.
he has only nibbled at stuff when he is hungry aside from my zoa rock and neon candy cane.

Cant wait to see your buys! take your time acclimating!
 
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Timmy was rehomed to me from a larger tank with much bigger fish it was getting bullied! thanks! I think its a stunning fish; never thought I'd get one b/c technically I need a 6' tank and he loves to eat corals...
He is an Emperor Angelfish - looks a lot like a Koran Angelfish.
I named him accidentally when I was scolding him for eating my entire zoa rock.
nonetheless, some don't eat corals at all, the dwarf angelfish stand a better chance of being reef safe.
he has only nibbled at stuff when he is hungry aside from my zoa rock and neon candy cane.

Cant wait to see your buys! take your time acclimating!

Ah yes, Emperor - beautiful! Excited to finish my read through over there! :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes: My next tank, will be big enough for angels!

That Sun Coral is beautiful!

Thanks, this guy is very cool! Eats like crazy! The LFS said today if he does well in the tank, they'll order me a black sun coral as well, hehe. I haven't done much research on how creative people have been placing them here, but since they are non-photosynthetic (NPS), you can even place them upside-down in caves, etc. Only catch is, since they don't get any nutrients from light, they need more feeding. I'm in.
 
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Just to note here I did post another thread for hitchhiker ID confirm on the "Stomatella", some think he may be an Abalone :face-with-monocle:

 
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Got tired of knocking my dang cuvettes over halfway through running a Hanna test and drilled a 3/4" hole 3/4 the way through a 2x4 block to make a holder, works great!

20220716_115343.jpg
I am going to steel this. I'll call it my 3d deleted Hanna block.
 
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I am going to steel this. I'll call it my 3d deleted Hanna block.

This was my test block, easy peas so I'm going to make one to hold 3-4 Hanna cuvettes in a line and another for the Red Sea cuvettes which are a little bigger. Haven't measured for those yet.
 
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Did a full workup today (minus Mag since 8 don't have the checker yet), 24 hours after a 15% water change.

Haven't dosed 2-part in 9 days and not planning to add it back in unless I see something crazy going on.

Also have not used reef roids in the same 9 day period, but Phosphates are still high after 2 water changes 7 days apart. Nitrates have stabalized around 5 after that long run of 0.

This is the testing set from YESTERDAY, prior to a 15% change (H for Hanna, RS for Red Sea kit):

RS - NO3: 5
H - dKH: 9.0
H - PO4: 0.67

Testing TODAY 24 hours after the WC:

RS - NH4: 0
RS - NO2: 0.5
RS - NO3: 5
RS - pH: 7.8-8.0
H - pH: 8.3
H - dKH: 8.9
H - PO4: 0.58
H - Ca: 485 (not sure how much I trust this one)

Salinity 1.025.

So many phosphates...
 
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Cool event yesterday evening, caught our Stomatella hitchhiker (who is about an inch currently) standing straight up, blowing air bubbles, ha! Couldn't get the bubbles in the pic, but little poofs every 5 seconds for a short time. Interesting.

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Alright side note, we'll be doing a "restoration" thread (at some point) for a 72 gal bow front drilled Oceanic tank, custom 3/4"-1" ply stand w/18 gal sump (12x12x30), and 60-70 lbs dried out live rock. Picked it up at a local moving sale hehe. Older equipment will be tossed but good bones on this girl. Not my ideal SW tank but meh, projects are fun (right Sam?!).

Got a ton of cleaning, scratches to buff, lots of equip to toss and replace, but couldn't pass it up. AK winter project ;)

Base with casters already built to move it around the garage, $100 for 6-175 lb casters and 3 pieces of 2x4x8. 52"x20" OD.

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Ew.
 
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