And now for something a little different ...

AquaCave
Reef Chasers Aquaculture
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LBReefer

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I was doing some maintenance this afternoon when I saw a very large clawing coming up from behind one of my larger spans of live rock.

I'm planning to post him.in the invert section to confirm that this beast is in fact an emerald crab and not something more menacing.

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And some of the damage from my effort to evacuate the potential consumer of my missing fish.

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I took the big leap and purchased a calcium reactor from Geos Reef. The build quality is outstanding and well worth the long lead time. It was well packaged and shipping was on time.

And then it sat. And it sat. I was really intimidated by all the unfamiliar parts and scared of over dosing my tank. I had a couple small trips planned and used that as an excuse to delay...

...Until this weekend. I assembled the reactor and started flushing the media.

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The calcium reactor hit a snag as I couldn't figure out how to run the Kamoer pump. It turns out user error was the issue. The little white spacer was on the wrong side of the tightening screw.

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Feeling this frustration, I did something immensely dumb. I decided to plumb a third tank into the system. I'm playing catch up on the build, but I will be providing updates here. It's perhaps a bad sign when you can't keep up with your build threads.
 
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I purchased a used 70 gallon acrylic tank through our local reef facebook group. I feel like I got a good deal, but there are a few more scratches than I'd otherwise appreciate. On the flipside, it will make me less upset when I put the first scratch in.

I was really appreciate of the seller. We were supposed to meet halfway between Long Beach and Corona, but when my minivan proved a hair too short for the stand to fit, he drove the extra 80 minutes round-trip to drop off the tank and stand at my house.
 
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The first thing I had to do was to make some room. My mixing station migrated to the garage, which in turn required a complete clean out of the garage. I tried unsuccessfully to convince my wife this should count in my list of honeys do.

TeeTee, our tortoise also had to make a move to clear out space for the new tank.

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Her tank's new home sits where the water mixing station was.
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And now new real estate was available.

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And in went the new tank:
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The next step was to figure out the lighting situation. My goal was to reuse my kessil a360s from a previous build. I took five of my old lights and performed a thorough cleaning.

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At the end of the procedure, two of the five worked consistently. Kessil was kind enough to offer me a discount on replacing the other three and an additional a360x which had stopped working. One small fortune later, I had brand new lights for the new tank and a new lighting setup for my old tank.

I also learned that the new spectral controller will work with both the a360 and a360x.
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Plumbing was my next challenge. I wanted to dual plumb this tank so it share a sump with the rest of the system or be cordoned off to run independently if I needed to quarantine new frags. I plumbed one return and one drain to the main sump. The other drain tee's off to run either to the main or a separate qt. The other return will only service the qt sump, if/when it gets installed.

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Here's my Achilles heal. I wanted some space between these tanks so I could still access the wiring and backside of the main tank.

I'm planing to build some kind of cover to prevent accidental disconnects and reduce my tripping risk.

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Since this tank was using existing live rock from my sump and was plumbed into my main system, it required zero cycling time.

My dude and I headed to the Aquarium of the Pacific. The idea of this simply being a frag tank faded fast.

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Note: the sea turtle he demanded did not make it on the livestock list. That will have to be a much, much bigger build someday.
 
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Our trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific translated to a follow on trip to LaX Aquariums for some "fishies."

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I convinced him that the eel wasn't quite the right addition, but instead picked up a beautiful orange storm and a neon dottyback. Somebody demanded to hold his new on the way home. Thankfully I convinced him the were just as good.

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I decided this tank needed some unique rock work. I've always like the island with a large bay look. And I hope to add a carpet anemone to this tank at some point. The bay would make an awesome host site.

So let's get cracking.

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I used a combination of the sand and thin superglue method with extra layers of mortar to firm up the arms. I also decided that I didn't want the shape to be too uniform so one arm ended up wider than the other.

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I'm hoping my three year old won't be upset I borrowed his picnic table.

I'm pretty happy with the final outcome:
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I also added in a couple perches where I'm hoping that I could attach a mangrove plant.
 
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I also got the calcium reactor running. It took a bit of finessing to get everything working in harmony.


I had originally intended on using my Apex to control the CO2 regulator, but I got lazy and decided not to co-locate the thr Apex and the reactor. The Milwauke PH controller was reasonable at $150 and pretty straightforward to install.

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