A 15-year-old's SPS/mixed 75g build



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Sep 28, 2020
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The main purpose of this build thread is to show other people my age that YOU CAN DO IT! This hobby isn't just for all the oldies here (although where would we be without the oldies?)Although the going gets tough (and expensive) it is possible to have a successful reef as a teen. And while I am lucky to have family that have supported me throughout the hobby, I have figured out ways to save considerable amounts of money without too much ill-effect to your reef. I started with FW and planted tanks about 3-4 years ago, and got my first reef, a fluval evo 13.5 last march. It has since run and I have real coral growth, even though I only have 6-7 corals. However, the itch to upgrade is real, and I want my fish to have a better home. I am using my bearded dragon's old 75 gallon as the main tank, and bought a 55g on the dollar-per-gallon sale at petco for the sump (I know it's overkill, but I have plans to add a second dt for cuttlefish to the system. I'm using mostly used equipment, and total expenses so far are $1150.
Here's what I have so far:
55g: $75
Triton Baffles: $140
Eshopps M Overflow: $145
2X Hydor Koralia 600: $74
3X 20-lbs fiji pink sand: $117
Tunze ATO: $150 (USED)
Marine-pure block: $30
$90 sicce Syncra 3.0
$175 Reef octopus 150sss space saver (USED)
60 lbs live rock

Stand is currently being built, but here's the current scape idea:
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It's a little short, so I'm ordering about 10 lbs more from BRS, at an added cost of $30.

Keeping it FOWLR for now, till I can afford a used Aquatic Life hybrid fixture with an XR15 or two. Want SPS, so that'll take a while!

Here are some tips I have for all you other young'uns:
Get fast-growing/cheap but pretty coral, like zoas, gsp, cyphastrea, sinularia, and others from local reefers so you can still have a filled-out tank without buying a lot of frags for $$$
Suck up to local reefers! Got loads of deals from older reefers on both equipment and coral for my old tank, just cuz I was an inexperienced kid, and treated them with respect and sort of a reverence. A couple of them even tossed in some free coral!
GET USED. It takes a while to find the right deals, but patience is a virtue!
Fish die. It sucks, but you have to get used to it. Also, don't impulse buy fish. Made that terrible mistake. Bought a ruby red dragonet on impulse because he was cheap and eating frozen. Turns out, while frozen is fine, they need pods. He became my favorite, and then started wasting away. Other times, however, it wasn't my fault. Had a lawnmower blenny that was just weak and didn't survive qt, and my first clown came with worms and didn't even survive for a week. Stuff happens, and you gotta deal with it. It sucks, but it's true

Anyways, I have no idea what this has become, but here it is! Follow for updates on my 75, and any of you experienced reefers, share your tips for us newbies in the hobby!
Also, I have an Instagram, @squidarcher, and if you guys followed, would be greatly appreciated! I post pics of my fish, corals, and other animals.
A Piece of the Ocean for Every Reef Tank

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Have you ever had a nano reef tank?

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Cultivated Reef