BPB's Humble SPS Dominant 90 Gallon

Bpb

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Intro:
Hey folks. I've been on here for some years now. I stay pretty active and opinionated. Never afraid to share my thoughts on this subject and that. Maybe a bit much on occasion, but I try to stick to what I know based on experience, and ask questions when in doubt. I've never had a build thread on here though.

Now I'll preface by saying my tank is now 5 years in my posession. It's experienced 2 tank wide crashes in that time, and done one full reset/rescape/start from scratch. So....while the tank has stayed wet with the same fish in it, it hasnt exactly been stable through its duration. As it stands, I introduced the first acropora after resetting it all in May of 2017. So as it is, I'm at about 13.5 months of growth at this point, but I didn't add everything at once.

Hardware/Specs:
Aqueon 90 gallon reef ready with stock plywood stand and canopy (roughly 8 years old I estimate)
ATI Sunpower 8x54 watt
4 ATI Blue+
2 ATI Purple+
1 ATI True Actinic
1 Giesemann Tropic
2x Jebao OW-40 powerheads
Eheim Jager 300 watt heater
Eheim 1262 return pump
PM R36 sump
Lifereef VS 24 Skimmer
Jebao DCP 10000 skimmer pump

Apex controller (Honestly....I'm down to using this as a light timer and temperature controller, I use none of its other features, and when it dies, I will just use my Cobalt temp controller and some wall timers for the lights.)

JBJ ATO (Also...I remember to fill the bucket once a month maybe. Otherwise I top off manually with a gallon jug when I remember to get around to it, or when I see the return pump suck air)

GEO 618 Calcium Reactor
Masterflex feed pump
Air Products dual stage brass regulator with 10 pound CO2 tank (at nearly 2 years now, I still am reading the CO2 tank as full and the media has been half depleted

Livestock (in order of addition):
Clarkii Clown
Azure Damselfish
Pajama Cardinal
Royal Gramma
Tomini Tang
Foxface Rabbitfish
Melanarus Wrasse
Ruby Head Fairy Wrasse
Yellow Tang
Sixline Wrasse
Blue/green Chromis

CUC:
Pincushion urchin
3 trochus snails
1 florida cerith snail

Philosophy:
I'm an acro head. Over time I've struggled mightily with acropora, as many of us have but I just cant give them up. Truthfully I have about a 2% interest level in any other inverts, fish, or coral genus, and about a 1% interest in equipment/technology. I'm as old school as they come for my age in the hobby honestly considering how relatively inexperienced I am.

I've fiddled with LED's, expansive Apex programming, just about all the popular and expensive powerheads out there (yes Ive had my run with Vortechs, tunze, sicce, ect). I've tried many of the fad systems and expensive salts. Ive run a good chunk of the zeovit products, the red sea system, no water changes, DIY food, ect. It's all just cost a bunch of money without giving me the results I expected. I can't blame one product for my struggles, but I can definitively say I know what works for me and my lifestyle. I like equipment that works, and that I dont have to mess with. Period. How in fashion it is, is of zero concern to me.

I like a tank where I can feed the fish, perform a 5 minute water change once a week, and otherwise I simply enjoy it. I don't want to have to dose anything, send of tests in the mail, buy dozens of products on the regular, and have my hands in the water every day. To each their own, but these are the things I appreciate about how I run my tank. Hands off besides the bare essentials.

I test Alk and Phosphate once every few days and adjust the gas on the calcium reactor as necessary. I will typically adjust it up to 7.5 or so, and leave it alone until it reaches 6.5 which usually takes about 4-6 weeks. SO it's not swinging 1.0 DKH in short time, but I'm also just keeping it on the lower end and not chasing it excessively. Trying to keep it at one number every day lead to more swings than doing it this way now.

I test Calcium, Magnesium, and Nitrate once a month. I try to target "normal" numbers:

Alk 6.5-7.5 DKH
Calcium 400-450 PPM
Magnesium 1300-1600 PPM
Nitrate 0-10 PPM
Phosphate 0.03-0.1 PPM

To maintain N&P on such a heavy bioload I dose 4 mL of Vodka per day in the mornings as I walk out the door (literally takes zero time at all), and I will use Phosphate RX (lanthanum chloride) to maintain phosphate as necessary. Even maintaining a GFO reactor is too much effort for me.

I use Hanna checkers for alk and phosphate for their ease of use, and Red sea pro tests for the rest.

I feed whatever frozen mysis the petco is stocking at the time on occasion, but my daily feeding is NLS Thera+ pellets and NYOS algae pellets. I will target feed the acros a mixture of Reef Chili and Coral Frenzy maybe once a week or if PO4 happens to fall too low.

Some Pictures incoming. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to discuss, critique, question, correct, or even derail my thread if you like. Total Debauchery is welcome here
 
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Bpb

Bpb

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And in the effort to provide full photo disclosure, I’ll share my details there as well. My bulb combo is a hair on the blue side. I just use my phone for pictures. I don’t have a DSLR or any high end software.

All photos taken with an IPhone X with some mild corrections made in Lightroom for IOS.

Two shortcomings of cell phone pics are over saturation of white and blue. They’ll dominate chunks of pixels so I do apply some correction for that. I adjust the white balance and shadowing to make up for those shortcomings. I get about 99% there by doing this. Some acros look incredibly vibrant and fluorescent, even under whites, some blend in with the rocks. That’s life. And I am not trying to hide or enhance anything. As you can see I don’t use any saturation boosting.

The third shortcoming is a lousy zoom. I try to get close on some for detail purposes but often times they come out grainy and pixelated. Still haven’t figured out how to combat that.




Those are the two sets of edits I apply to each picture I take. I have the numbers largely memorized so it’s a quick process. If it shows up a little dark I may boost the exposure a little more but otherwise it’s pretty accurate and reproducible.

I feel like the best ways to pick out a picture cheater are to look at the color of the surrounding rocks and sand. If they look that weird green/teal color, you know someone took a super blue picture and haphazardly applied a red filter.

If there’s a black background and colors that look unreal on the acro, it’s likely a blue led lighting, with an orange filter, and some heavy Lightroom applied and that coral will most likely be an ugly duckling by comparison under full spectrum lights. Just my $0.02
 

NY_Caveman

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Your love of Acropora shows. Thanks for sharing all of the details. I really enjoyed the method and the philosophy.

 
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Bpb

Bpb

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Your love of Acropora shows. Thanks for sharing all of the details. I really enjoyed the method and the philosophy.

Appreciate the comment. I’m sure everyone would think I have a love for discosoma and aiptasia too based on my pics. Those are a pain to manage.
 
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Bpb

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Looks good to me! Hanging in there through the ups and downs is tough.
Thanks for the comment. I wanted to throw in the towel a few times. Honestly what kept me in is the fact that finding homes for the fish and the time it would take to break it all down was actually more inconvenient than just staying the course. My own laziness kept me in the hobby!
 
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Bpb

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You made a build thread!! Nice pics for just an iPhone

That 1 cerith must be the loneliest snail in town.
Yeah I’ll be honest I’ve just never found snails to be all that effective with cleanup. They keep the soft film from forming on the frag rack but that’s about it. The single urchin is enough to keep the rocks picked clean, and id realistically estimate around 500-1000 bristle worms in the rocks that will take care of any left over food

Beautiful tank you have!
Thanks for the kind words!

Looking great! I can't get in the chat room anymore. Don't know what's wrong with it. Following along! Keep posts coming!
Thanks! That’s exactly what I was saying about the chat before! It works fine now on the new phone but it was un-usable before. I’m betting that’s why it is so quiet lately
 
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Bpb

Bpb

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Where are you in TX? And the pic is def creepy! Ghost?
I’m in College Station. Close enough for a trip anywhere if I have time to dedicate a day to it, which I never do. Far enough that it makes quickly trading frags a nightmare. I pretty much have to understand that any sps I buy, will eventually end up as calcium reactor media, because nobody local wants any!
 

dragon99

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I’m in College Station. Close enough for a trip anywhere if I have time to dedicate a day to it, which I never do. Far enough that it makes quickly trading frags a nightmare. I pretty much have to understand that any sps I buy, will eventually end up as calcium reactor media, because nobody local wants any!


But yea, very limited market.
 
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Well. Yeah we can trade one for one in our whole tanks but what do I do with the rest of the frags is more what I was getting at. You and mike are the only two locals I know of that keep acropora. I have 3 JF raspberry cheesecake frags on my rack right now I have no idea what to do with
 
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Bpb

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Here’s one I keep having to move. Started as a little 1/2” nub. Super brittle deep water piece that grows fast as lightening but doesn’t encrust. Much like a birds nest. It’s actually my first acro to acquire after resetting the tank back in May ‘17. I’ve probably fragged and rehomed about it’s current biomass in frags. It’s broken off it’s own base a few times from its own weight.

 

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