BVF 75 Gallon Conversion

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Here is my introduction by way of a build thread. My daughter lurks here too, and I partly blame her for this :p … although she reminded me I’ve had aquariums since I was younger than she is.

This summer, while she was home from college we took the plunge of converting our 75 gallon African Cichlid tank to a reef tank.

Here was the last shot of the cichlid tank, on 6/7/21. Give me a little time to load up the posts and photos, it will be several posts (including an exciting 76-day fallow).
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Reef Chasers Aquaculture
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We took the fish to our LFS and bought life rock, dry rock, live sand and an RODI system. We bought a pair of AI Hydra 32 lights. I decided to start with the Fluval 406 canister filter we had been running for the cichlids. Spoiler…the sump is coming.

Got home and started cleaning.

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sanding…
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arranging…
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filling…
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and lighting…
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These AI lights are pretty cool, and fun.
 
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Everything was going well, so I decided to add a Powder Brown Tang, from a different LFS. Pretty fish. This was about 7/1.
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In a couple weeks, he was covered in Ich.
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And that’s when I found you good people at R2R and learned how important quarantining was in this hobby. Suddenly I’m telling my bride how having a reef tank actually requires like 3 tanks.
 
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So the tang died in the QT in my home office while I was on a conference call. It was pretty sad really. Then a few days later the clowns were covered up, and died a day later in the QT; which is quickly becoming a death chamber.
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I also discovered this Jason Fox character who has the most amazing coral photos I’ve ever seen. So I roll the dice on a few…
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man, those things are dull in daylight.
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Meanwhile, on 7/22/21, the goby moved to the death chamber too, and the 75 gallon went fallow. The goby didn’t die in the death chamber. In fact, I threw down a quick $350 and bought a 20 gallon long setup for the new QT. So here’s a quick 2fer build.
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And, a new pair of clowns to bring some life to the place. The goby moved in too. On 8/6, the goby lept to his death.
 
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In the fallow tank, all the corals are doing just ok. But without any fish, the algae grows crazy fast. I have 3 hermit crabs and. 4 snails, but I cannot train them to clean the sand for some reason. 7458C7C4-A3FC-4940-9763-A0ADB3107641.jpeg
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…except the Leng Sy Monti and the branching Cyphesterea weren’t doing good. They died pretty quick, and never really got the color they showed in the website. But the Bubble Gum monster was still holding color, and the mushrooms were doing good…except the discoma who refused to stay put. I finally lost him a couple weeks ago. The frilly mushroom is a champ. Palys doing well too.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
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In week 4 of fallow my wife took me to the good LFS and patiently waited while the owner patiently explained how to set up a sump. Then it became my birthday present. My daughter had left for Tampa, returning to college, so my little enabler was gone, leaving me to struggle through this fresh nightmare solo.

Sump details: Eshopps Alpha Fuge AF-100 with Eshopps PF-800 Overflow Box, Sicce Syncra 4.0 pump. Bought with the option of upgrading to 125g at some point.
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While at Lowe’s struggling to find all the pieces to plumb this thing, somebody kindly keyed my car. Fun surprise.

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After 2 more trips to Lowe’s and my second attempt, I finally got everything running. Without leaks.

I kept the Fluval canister running as my backup in case I blew up everything orange. As a Bama fan, I almost couldn’t buy that orange thing.
 
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After the constantly-running-toilet sound got in my head, I learned about this Stockman Standpipe contraption. Those are great, and I gradually tuned it until the flow was high and the sound was low.
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Jason Fox struck again with these little gems.
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Which went into the 3rd tank (death chamber). The nuclear Death paly had a little shipping damage, and 4 polyps separated from the colony. They’re doing great now, and are up to like 7 polyps already. Pay no attention to the birdsnest, it RTNd in about 2 days.
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Parameters have been stable all the while. I’m checking every 3-5 days, and doing 10-15 gallon water changes every 3rd day or so, just to suck out the uglies.
temp: 77
salinity: 1.025
dkh: 9-10
pH: 8-8.1
NH4: 0 (quit checking)
Nitrites: 0 (quit checking)
Nitrates: 1-2 (probably the most deficient of all the readings)
CA: 420-450 (probably the most variable of all readings)
PO4: .25
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock
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9/7, new coral, a Duncan Frag.
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And, over on the second stage, 30-day Copper Safe ends on 9/11 for the clowns and the new goby. Did I mention the first goby tile-surfed out of this tank on 8/6? So I replaced him on 8/7 and QT the three amigos together. I fished them out and placed them in fresh SW, and did a 100% water change in the QT, along with adding carbon to the filteration, replaced the goby‘s sandbox and added in the piece of Life Rock
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9/15, Week 9. just before I cut the cord on the Fluval. Mostly because I took it apart to clean it, and the impeller starting making horrific noises when I put it back together.
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Week 10, cord cut. Man, I really need to do some housekeeping under that cabinet. Skimmer waiting in the wings.
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After hours of internet research (the best kind) I decided on a Simplicity 120DC skimmer. I like the DC current, remote control, and internal pump takes up less space in the sump. The thing is very quiet.
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Coral update…Nuclear Death Palys are quite alive, candy cane is splitting, and the BGM has grown 3 new mouths, but has not grown any in size.
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