Big Bertha: 180g Build

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forestsofkelp

forestsofkelp

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Monthly update: probably my last for a few months. Everything is going well. Levels are stable apart from a little alk rise when I was out of town. Added some clams that are having a little trouble adjusting. Added a avast plank to feed regularly, it works great. Highly reccomended. My power filter is keeping the water crystal clear, I love that thing. And, I’ve dropped my photoeriod from 11 to 1.

looking forward to it growing out and getting some more fish over the next 6 months or so, slowly raising the intensity 10-20%, and getting those clams in good health. Might suck out some of the sand bed as it’s accumulating some detritus.


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forestsofkelp

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Starting in Jan I started having a few corals die off that should not have. My tank stopped consuming. Alk and PO rose, nitrates were high.

Apart from the poor basic chemistry, which I got it fixed with the help of a great local reefer. it looks like I had a metal contamination. Its not clear where it is coming from; I *think* its a contaminant from bad salt as my pumps, magnets etc look ok. I also ended up developing zinc in my RODI, unclear why as I was running 0 TDS.

I think I screwed up some dosing and misinterpreted the tank results, leading to poor parameters. The metal was just icing on the cake.

My RO and DI filters have been replaced, Ive ran metasorb, and I am sending another ICP test tomorrow and reinspecting pumps/magnets

if the metal is all cleared, I think I am good and it was a 1x contaminant/messed up dosing
If the metal is not cleared, I need to find the source.
Regardless I am going to switch salts and do some large water changes
I plan to continue to get a second set of eyes on the tank until its WELL settled.
I have a large stock of fish incoming, a refugium is up and running and hopefully corals again in the next 2-3 months.
 
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I still get rising metals in the tank, notably aluminum. However, nothing is corroding in my tank. Its unclear where its coming from. I have a few theories

1. Rusting material: Its possible I missed something. I dont see anything though. It could be my screen top; replacement is on the way
2. Contaminant: doesnt explain why it's till rising, even with metazorb (which got some out)
3. Food/dose: I think its unlikely but possible
4. Bad salt batch: I am leaining toward this right now. Going to do some big water changes and see if it comes back. The salt I am using is verified no metals, good salt, clean from trusted keeper/LFS. I am going to ICP that one, two tests, one to ATI and one to reef labs
5. Bad test: its possible these are just ghosts. Going to send multiple ICP tests next time I check the tank water; two to who I have been using (ATI) to see if they internally match, and one to a second (reef labs).

In general though tank is looking better. I'll post some pics soon

The weird thing is my ICP tests show different values than my home tests, by a bit. My home tests should be good though.
 
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Ok, long time no update. It's been a little crazy with a toddler

I got my phos and nitrate under control. I never found the source of my metal contamination; did 3x 100g water changes, and am waiting to see if it comes back.

Lost a few pieces I really liked. It was a little distressing. But my parameters are good, tank is consuming, I have some coralline. A lot of fish are inbound.

I have a few test frags. If they grow for the next few months, I'll probably buy a few nice pieces to replace what I lost. I'm going for 2-3 big colonies, 5-6 medium, 7-8 "nice size" pieces

I can see why sps are addicting. Coloration is amazing, lots of polyps, and they don't really run into each other.

So far its just keeping the chemistry consistent.
 

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forestsofkelp

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The tank is doing great. I am going to go softies with some SPS so a mixed reef, but my emphasis will be on the softies.

I am looking at some clams, and I was fortunate enough to acquire a tank acclimated H. magnifica (been looking for one for years) and its clowns. Hopefully he does well, he is on the glass up high so I hope thats it for him

Parameters are stable, running 1.027 SG, Alk 9-9.3, Mg 1300, Ca 500, N 3 P 0.04. Might raise my nutrients once I get a few more fish and I can feed heavier. I also installed a Kh director, yes its overkill. Yes its nice to check my alkalinity anytime I want.

I am really looking forward to the upcoming year. I am kind of happy the mag is on the glass, away from corals, but a little annoyed as it just sits there, "floating" in the aquascape
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I had a little algal outbreak, but everything is still healthy. Its strange, my Phos was hanging at 0.08, went up to 0.13. N 5, went up to 10. Next week, turf algae everywhere. Then, P and N dropped to zero, so I had trace red slime. Now I am aggressively water changing to get the gunk out and feeding heavy to bring P and N back up, and I got a CUC reinforcements coming..they were getting sparse too. I think a fish died and set it all off.

I also had an equipment "failures"...my Kh tester pump failed to on somehow and overflowed my waste reservoir. Fortunately, I have leak detectors. It passed inspection by GHL so I may have accidentally switched it. One issue with these app controllers is its very easy to accidentally hit the wrong button. Fortunately it wasnt a doser.

I added a powder blue tang, a true yellow scopas tang, and a pair of Golden Rhomboids. I am still growing out my corals. I'll try and get some good pics for the next update

My mag picked a spot and his very, very happy. Balls up every night.

If anyone else is interested in Mags, he hasn't been *that* hard to keep. To be fair, I got a healthy, 5 year tanked specimen so I cheated. But his flow needs have not been too remarkable. He did, however, need 400-500 par and a rock island to be happy

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Thanks! I try to keep it real…none of this “oh my tank is amazing look at my acros grow”. I really want anyone who tries this to see what sort of stuff comes up.

the only major issue was the metal contamination, everything else has been fine. I am learning a ton, it’s actually really fun. Not sure if I’d do a 180 again though..love the size but the scale makes massive change/deep cleans difficult.

when it’s rocking (which it usually is) it really makes me happy
 
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Still battling hair algae, and a bully in the tank.
I actually kind of like the algae, I think its giving good spots for copepods and bergia nudis to breed. Also adjusted my flow, slower return but more and stronger wave motion on my powerhead. Now I get good intermittent flow all the way to the end of the tank, and surface disruptions. Everyone is loving it! The Panta Rhei have to be manually programmed, no premade wave modes for me.

I got some more clean up crew; for some reason, my urchins didn't make it.

My aiptasia are going away, but slowly. I never got the tidal wave of aiptasia disappearance most people describe. Instead they kind of just slooooowly disappeared over the course of 3-4 months. When I check the tank at night, I see one (always, just one) cruising around. I have wrasses, inc. melanarus and they didnt eat them. I think they ate enough aiptasia to taste bad. I went from many aiptasia to now just two really big ones, a small nest of 3, and 1-2 on some returns/glass. The aiptasia did eat the ones in the sand too (I think...).

My main goal now is to get these aiptasia and algae more under control, get my corals encrusted/securely attached, and deal with the bully anthias (already killed like 3 expensive fish). Hopefully my PBT puts him his place.

I have a few more items on my dream list and I am picking one of them up Monday....
 
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