Captain Jimmy's first ever build - RSR 425XL

captain_jimmy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
188
Reaction score
139
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brooklyn
Hi, I’m CaptainJimmy, welcome to my first build ever.

I had never had any interest in keeping fish when I was young, I had three goldfish as a kid called Ren, Stimpy and Fluffy who lived a (very) short life.

Around a decade ago I stumbled across some cool pics of corals in a tank, did a search and came across a forum and discovered an entire world of people absolutely OBSESSED with reef tanks. It blew my mind!

I began to read through the forum, there were so many interesting threads. I knew nothing about any of the topics but the contributor’s passion was addictive and I couldn’t stop reading. I remember one afternoon while I was procrastinating at work I started reading a thread about someone looking for a bobbit worm in their tank. I’d never heard of a bobbit worm before so googled it (don’t do this btw, they are terrifying) and found myself following along. I think this was the thread if anyone is interested.
https://www.michiganreefers.com/forums/advanced-topics/84173-bobbit-worm-chronicles.html

Anyway, I was hooked. I discovered Manhattan reefs and R2R. I started researching tanks and planned to get one but I have lived in inner city apartments for the last decade and could never swing it. I have finally moved to a big place and have convinced my wife to let me pull the trigger as a covid time hobby, so here we go!

I have zero experience with tanks, plumbing, electrical work, basically any handyman stuff I don’t do. I have the soft, plump hands of a privileged layabout that works on computers for a living, manual labour has always been a foreign concept to me so needless to say this has been a seriously challenging experience so far. On the flip side it is exciting, i’m learning new skills and soon enough will be enjoying my aquatic friends with my family. :)
Plus, nipping over to home depot with the kid every weekend is pretty fun..

I have really struggled to find lots of details about things that are probably obvious to people with more experience, I found a lot of it quite stressful, however I have managed to bungle my way through so far and will do my best to list some of the info I couldn’t find and that I think will be helpful for people starting out.

I have already done a bunch of stuff, I have just been lazy about starting a thread so hopefully we can get through a few posts quickly.

Tag along for the ride if you like, I’m looking forward to discussing stuff with the wiser people around here.
 
Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting
OP
captain_jimmy

captain_jimmy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
188
Reaction score
139
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brooklyn
Buying a tank.

First step was negotiating with my wife as to the size of the tank. I’m sure for seasoned reefers a 4 foot long tank seems tiny but for a newbie it seems enormous.

I looked mainly at the Waterbox and Red Sea Reefer lines, specifically the RSR 425XL and the 525XL and the waterbox 130.4

What with Covid times everything was sold out online for a long time. I was hoping to pick up a tank on Black Friday but couldn’t find them in stock anywhere.

Eventually I went to a local fish shop near me and had a good chat with the guys there. They said they had a supplier and could get me a 425XL within two weeks if I ordered that week but the 525XL was out of stock and the Waterbox tanks are impossible for them to get.

This pretty much settled it for me, I would get a 425XL.

For those that don’t know it is a 112 gallon system. The display tank is 88 gallons and the sump is 34 gallons. It has an overflow built into the tank interior at the back middle from which it has two overflow pipes that run down into the front right corner of the sump. The water from there gets pushed through some filter bags then through another two compartments separated by baffles and then finally into a little section that the return pump sits in. The return pump sends the water back up the return pipe and out a little adjustable nozzle into the tank.

I kind of understood this stuff before getting the tank… but not really. Still, the 425XL got good reviews all over the place so I decided to go with it.

reefer_deluxe_350_system_600x600_2_1.jpg

Promo shot of the tank. Disclaimer - my house is not quite as white as the background of this image.

I called the LFS to order the tank but my contact had left for the day already. I jumped on to BRS to see if they were back in stock there and lo and behold they had 3 in stock. I’d rather support my LFS so I waited until the next day and chatted to my contact. He said they were unable to get any so I pulled the trigger on BRS.

So for those thinking of getting a RSR 425XL from BRS here is some information about the shipping process:
They use a dropship method of shipping where the tank gets dropped at the curb outside your house. It comes inside a wooden crate that is pretty big, I would guess it’s around 3.5 feet wide and maybe 5 feet long? It’s huge though. It won’t fit through a door and there is no way you will be able to move it without a pallet jack or something like that so plan carefully.

The crate is held together by metal strips that wrap around the whole thing. I managed to get these open by using a chisel and rubber hammer to basically slice the metal clasps open. I would recommend having some tinsnips or something handy though as it took me ages to work out how to do that and the chisel looks a bit worse for wear as a result.

On each corner/side the crate has metal brackets with screws drilled into the wooden sides. I used a power drill to remove these, it was fairly straightforward.

RSR didn’t actually get in touch with me about the shipping so I waited around for a week or so to get a tracking number before reaching out to Bulk Reef Supply. The BRS support staff were really helpful and the contacted RSR about the order and cc’d me. They sorted me out with a tracking number and it turned out the tank was already in South Carolina on its way! Giddy up!

Then the waiting began. It was around Christmas and a storm blew in on the east coast so shipping everywhere began experiencing delays. The delivery window kept pushing back day by day which was extremely frustrating. I could see the tank was sitting in a warehouse in Jersey, 20 miles away, but I couldn’t do anything to hurry it up or get an accurate delivery window. Fortunately I am working from home due to Covid so I was here anyway but if I had been going into my office I’d have been raging. Eventually i ran out of patience and got in touch with the shipping company who gave me a firm day and said a driver would contact me.

It would be delivered on New Years eve. What a great NY present to myself.

The day rolled around, I was pretty excited. I got out of bed, got the kid ready for school, went outside to walk him over and discovered it was absolutely dumping rain and was really cold. Ah jaysus, this is going to be a nightmare.

The driver got in touch 30 minutes before the delivery window and turned up right on time which was nice. It was still puking rain as we got the pallet off the back of his truck using his pallet jack. I was a bit shocked at how rough he was being with it, he couldn’t get the pallet up over the little curb of our driveway so started just ramming it back and forth into the curb until I asked him to stop. By the time we got it to my door the pallet had a bunch of broken slats and the whole thing was looking pretty limp. The guy made me sign then said “be careful, it’s glass” and walked off. Thanks a lot mate, I know it’s glass.

PXL_20210117_151625088.MP.jpg

I didn't get a shot of the whole crate unfortunately, it was a bit too hectic at the time to take photos. This is the pallet, the crate overhung the ends by a foot or more. So you can see it was a beast.

I live in New York and my house has an entry directly onto the street at ground level. I was going to put the tank in my living room on the ground floor which meant no stairs fortunately however there was no way I could get the pallet inside my place without pulling it to pieces. This is why I listed that info about the shipping up above, anyone wanting to order one of these needs to know that there is no way to get it through a door and shifting the tank itself is really heavy.

It was still absolutely bucketing rain and i could see the bits of wood making up the pallet soaking up the water so I quickly set to work trying to get it open. As I mentioned I am no handyman so I muddled my way through opening the crate as best I could using the few tools we own. I used a drill to undo the screws holding the wood together, used a chisel and rubber hammer to open the metal strips wrapped around the whole thing and I used a claw hammer to pry open the sides of the whole crate as they had also been nailed shut in addition to the screws.

Once opened the inside of the crate has the sump and stand separated into four boxes IIRC. They are fine to move with one person. The tank is wrapped in foam and also plastic cling filmed. It’s really very heavy, my wife and I tried to lift it with just the two of us and we couldn’t do it. We brought everything in except the tank and stood around scratching our heads as to how we would get it in.
I measured it, it would fit through the front door at least. We just had to work out how to get it over the threshold and we could slide it down the hallway. We grabbed a few of the bits of wood that were used to make the crate and put them between the edge of the pallet and over the lip of the door and pushed/pulled it along and into the house. It had probably a centimeter of rain in it by this stage as it had been pouring the whole time. We laid a removalist rug I had bought a few days beforehand specifically for this and slid the tank over the door lip and onto the rug, this meant we could move it around the house by pulling on the rug and it would smoothly slide. I highly recommend this to anyone that needs to move a big tank around their house, trying to carry it or sliding it directly on the floor would have been pretty tough.

PXL_20201231_155902616.MP.jpg

These are the boxes that the stand bits come in. That's the display tank at the back in front of the piano.

PXL_20201231_155918328.MP.jpg

There was foam wrapped around the outside of the tank and inside it were pipes and the box of screws etc. It felt pretty well packaged to be honest.

PXL_20201231_173550744.MP.jpg

My wife was a little shocked when she saw the size of the display tank. These pics don't really do it justice, it seemed enormous when it first arrived. I've had it a month or two now and it seems not so big now. ;Playful

Once in I started looking through all the boxes and checking everything for damage. Unfortunately one of the packages had been damaged during shipping and the door of the stand had a big ding in it. I really really wanted to start building but I knew I couldn’t look at a damaged door so I got in touch with BRS about the damage and they put me in touch with a RSR support rep. They were really helpful, I filled out a quick form and they let me know they would get a replacement door out to me as soon as they finished their annual stocktaking, it would be in a week or so.

PXL_20201231_165218996.MP (1).jpg

Dinged up door. Unfortunate. I was genuinely surprised anything managed to get damaged inside the crate even having seen how careless the delivery man was with it. It seemed like pretty sturdy packaging.

In the meantime my wife and I started to put together the stand. Here is what you will need if you are doing this for the first time:

Phillips head screwdriver
Hammer
Rubber hammer
Drill with phillips head attachment
I also used my leatherman but I use that for everything, you don’t need it.

PXL_20210116_213846747.MP.jpg

Assemble these things before you begin. Our toolkit was pretty basic in all honesty, fortunately we have a home depot nearby though.

The instructions seem really daunting at first glance but they are actually pretty good once you get started. My wife and I split up the steps as the individual sides need the pegs and screws put in before they all get assembled together. I don’t recommend doing this as there was a bit of confusion and we attached a piece incorrectly, it was a massive pain to get apart and redo.
It took us probably 4 hours in total. It might have been faster but my son wanted to "help".

PXL_20210109_184928160.MP.jpg


To get the tank up on top I had a couple mates come around. Four of us got it up there with no problems, took us 30 seconds.

PXL_20210120_230452195.MP.jpg

My son is very excited about it all.

I have decided to put it in the corner of our living room blocking the door to our garage (that we don’t use). We had a big mirror leaning against the wall there that I have since relocated to the other side of the room so now I need to work out a plan for covering the door as it is pretty unsightly. Possibly a large piece of board I will paint white and attach to the wall? Or even a white canvas or a big fish anatomy print or something like that. I’m still thinking about it.

If you made it this far through the post well done. Obviously I tend to get a bit carried away with the talking and typing, i'll try to keep it more brief in the future.
Next post I will talk about the other bits and pieces I purchased while I was waiting for the tank to arrive.
 
OP
captain_jimmy

captain_jimmy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
188
Reaction score
139
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brooklyn
I picked up a bunch of equipment last Thanksgiving at the Black Friday sales. I've gotten some bits since. Please if you use this equipment on a similar sized tank let me know your experience with it, good or bad.

Tank: Red Sea Reefer 425XL
Return Pump: Neptune Cor 20
Powerheads: 2x VorTech MP40's
Heaters: 2x Eheim Jager 200w
ATO - Tunze 3155
Skimmer - Reef Octopus Regal 150SSS 6"
Controller - Neptune ApexEL
RODI system - 5 stage premium Plus 100GPD from BRS
Lights - Kessil AP700
Light mount - Kessil A series mounting arm
BRS Refractometer
Dr Tim's 120 gallon fishless cycle bundle - Nitrifying Bacteria, First Defense Saltwater Fish Stress relief and Ammonium Chloride
Salifert kH/Alk test kit
Salifert Nitrate test kit
Salifert pH test kit
NYOS Phosphate test kit
Red Sea Nitrate/Nitrite test kit (I doubled up on these by mistake, forgot to remove the salifert from the cart)
Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt
55 pounds Real Reef Rock
40 Pounds Caribsea Shelf LifeRock
20 pounds CaribSea LifeRock Shapes
20 pounds CaribSea Fiji Pink Arag-Alive! Reef Sand

PXL_20201228_222456633.MP.jpg


I spent a lot of time trying to decide on different bits, there are so many threads and different opinions.

I took the COR-20 as I had decided already I wanted to use an Apex and try to automate as much as I can. The cor-20 can be controlled through the neptune fusion app on my phone which is nice.

I grabbed the AP700 during the Black Friday sales as it was nearly 30% off. It'll be fine for now. I really don't want to use the mounting arms on the back of the tank, i think it's kinda ugly. I wanted to use the hanging kit and possibly even build a hanging canopy but I have 20ft ceilings in the living room so hanging it was going to be really painful, I also know that it will take me forever to get sorted out and the arms I could just put up as soon as I was ready for it.

The Reef Octopus Skimmer was also on sale, it seemed like an ok deal, i am not sure if it is going to be big enough for the system and would appreciate feedback from anyone that runs one.

I got two different brands of Rock, the Real Reef Rock and the Caribsea LifeRock. I would NOT recommend doing this as they look completely different. I am considering ordering some more of the Real Reef Rock and seeing if i can flog off the caribsea rock on craigslist or something as I like the look of hte real reef much better and it also seems to be much more porous. They are both artificially constructed rocks but the Caribsea stuff is really dense, basically feels like concrete that was poured into a slightly bumpy mold.
I want to get the rock and sand in the tank this weekend so have been debating whether to order more rock or not. Hmmmm, maybe I will do a post dedicated to just the rock and see what everyone thinks.

For the record, so far I have spent $6,805.79 on all of this equipment. that amount doesn't include additional stuff I went and got from Home Depot, that's probably another couple hundred so let's say $7k so far.
There are some more bits I need but I am hoping this is the majority of the costs outside of livestock.
 
Last edited:
Lazy's Coral House
OP
captain_jimmy

captain_jimmy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
188
Reaction score
139
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brooklyn
OK, so I mentioned in the previous post that I bought two types of rock from different companies.

I wanted to get man made rock, i really don't think I should be harvesting real reefs just for a hobby. The ocean is dealing with enough as it is.
I watched down some vids about the man made rock options and it seemed like there were three main types for me to look at:

Ocean Live man made rock
This seems to be rock that is either mined or made and then placed in the ocean for a period of time

Tank Live man made rock
This stuff is also made/mined and then is placed in big tanks for a while to get some bacteria on it

Dry man made life rock
This stuff has bacteria spores seeded on it but it comes dry, it needs to go through a big old cycle to get the bacteria alive and well again.

The live ocean rock would be a faster start up as it should theoretically be teeming with beneficial bacteria and life and if I were to opt for the super fast shipping it might get here in time that it wouldn't all die. I opted against it in the end as it would mean I needed to aquascape and get the rock in the tank immediately and I wanted a little bit of time to get myself sorted out.

So that left the other two options, the tank live rock and the dry seeded life rock.

So I got 55 lbs of the tank live rock from Real Reef Rock.
https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/55-pounds-real-reef-rock-mixed-sizes-real-reef-solutions.html

It looks like this:

PXL_20210209_212737713.MP.jpg


This piece is actually broken in half, it toppled over while i was doing a test aquascape on my bench and split down the middle. It honestly seems slightly fragile so I am going to need to make sure I have a good cement or superglue or something so it doesn’t topple over in the tank and crack up.

This stuff seemed like pretty basic shapes when i first pulled it out but after a little bit of playing they stack together in interesting ways so I should be able to make something cool.

PXL_20210207_013154603.MP.jpg
PXL_20210207_013201909.MP.jpg
PXL_20210207_013240403.MP.jpg

This stuff came wrapped up in butchers paper and inside a waterproof plastic bag that was loosely wrapped up. I was a little surprised as I guess I didn’t really understand what I was buying, I thought this stuff was dried out. It was still damp from the tanks it had been in and since I didn’t realise i left it in the box for a day before I opened it and realised. I mildly freaked out that all the bacteria I had paid for would be dying off so I stuck it all in a Brute trash can and popped some salt water from my tank in there along with one of the mp40’s and a heater and have had it in my downstairs bathroom for the last week or so.
I feel kinda out of my depth in this process to be honest, I don’t really know what I am doing with it in there, it’s just sort of on hold until i get it in the tank. Is it cycling? Maybe? I don’t know, maybe someone that understands this can tell me. It seems like technically it **is** cycling but i haven’t been testing or anything and i didn’t add anything to the water, i just thought i should keep it wet.

****EDIT****
I just watched this vid where they explicitly state it doesn't need to cure and should just be kept in some saltwater so looks like I should be all good.
***** END OF EDIT ******

The other rock i bought was the caribsea life rock shelf and shapes.
https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/shapes-liferock-dry-live-rock-caribsea.html

This stuff looks pretty different to the Real Reef stuff (this is also broken unfortunately):

PXL_20210209_210002073.MP.jpg


You can see the colour is more purple and it is far less craggy. It seems much more dense than the Real Reef Rock. When it arrived the two biggest pieces were broken unfortunately. They mostly have one flat side and one slightly lumpy side so I thought it might make good base pieces to sit on the bottom of the tank and hopefully not have any pressure points down there. I was thinking originally I would need to take a hacksaw out and cut some pieces flat to use as a base but this stuff could work.

In all honesty I think I prefer the look of the Real Reef Rock stuff and am considering ordering more of it so I can have a unified look in my tank. If I do that I'd flog off the Caribsea stuff second hand if I can.

I did a couple of test aquascapes a few nights ago on my kitchen bench. I'd love to know what people think about them, I want to try and get the rock and sand in the aquarium in the next day or two and start cycling.

I'll put another post up shortly with the aquascapes, just to keep the length of this post down as I know I tend to go on and on a bit.
 
Last edited:
OP
captain_jimmy

captain_jimmy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
188
Reaction score
139
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brooklyn
Aquascaping.

My tank will be sat in the corner of the room so the main viewing angle from our kitchen or the sofa will be 45 degrees in from the front right corner.

I had an idea that I would have a kinda tall tower in the back left corner, the furthest corner away from the main viewing angle. This would be one side of a crevasse that the fish could swim through or hide in. I don’t know if it is going to work, I did a test scape the other night and would love some feedback if anyone has time.

Oh, also, I hate that the rock looks different so i think I need to order more of the Real Reef Rock. It will take so long for this rock to all look uniform and I worry that my impatience and enthusiasm to get it set up now will eventually leave me hating the different types of rocks.

PXL_20210209_215040251.MP.jpg

This is the front on view.

So the thought process here is this (brain dump incoming):
* I don't want a wall of rock, i'd like some islands
* I love the idea of having a kind of crevasse with towering walls that the fish can swim through
* I don't want a symmetrical tank, since the back left corner will be tucked into the corner of the room it makes sense to make this the "heaviest" corner with the most amount of rock.
* I have tried to make the three peaks have slightly different heights to break up the silhouette when you view it front on. The peak heights feel a little perfectly angled down from left to right but that can be adjusted.

PXL_20210209_215043552.MP.jpg

This is more or less what the main viewing angle from the rest of the room would be. I like that you can see into the ravine between the two large rock formations on the left.


Here is a little vid kind of showing more detail and angles of hte layout.

I really would appreciate feedback on this. A few questions I have are:
* is the vertical crevasse idea any good? I don't really see many people that have this type of layout so there could be a reason for not doing it?
* If that idea is ok, is this too narrow of a crevasse? Assuming i fill my tank with corals will it just get too cluttered?
* Are there enough hiding spots and homes for the fish here?
* Do people like the look of the layout?

I want to get this stuff in the tank asap, i'm itching to move on to cycling. ;Bucktooth
 

ZX6Reef

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
73
Reaction score
107
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Wilmington, NC
Great! Thanks for stopping by, much appreciated. Would love to know what you think about the aquascape ideas...
Scape looks good. Rule of 3rds is being followed and I dig the island look. Mine is a much smaller scale but similar-ish concept. I’m a big fan of negative space which I could have used a bit more of in mine.
 
Corals.com
OP
captain_jimmy

captain_jimmy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
188
Reaction score
139
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brooklyn
so life stuff has gotten in the way, I will attempt a proper update this weekend and I also hope to get my sand and rock into the tank this weekend as well.

In the meantime I have a question for more experienced reefers...

I have two brute trash cans in a spare bathroom. One of them contains RODI freshwater and the other contains my live rock in saltwater that has a heater and a powerhead in it. This stuff has been in there a couple weeks and smells slightly of dirt still.

Today I was checking some stuff and I accidentally dropped the lid from the rock trashcan into the RODI water. This lid is not clean, it's been on this brute can that is clearly generating gas etc from the rock curing/cycling.

Is the RODI water still ok to use or should I dump it? It feels so wasteful to tip out so much water but I don't want to contaminate anything. I figured since the rocks are going in to the tank anyway how much dirtier can the lid really be?
 

Jedi1199

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 16, 2021
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
2,480
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Mecred, CA.
so life stuff has gotten in the way, I will attempt a proper update this weekend and I also hope to get my sand and rock into the tank this weekend as well.

In the meantime I have a question for more experienced reefers...

I have two brute trash cans in a spare bathroom. One of them contains RODI freshwater and the other contains my live rock in saltwater that has a heater and a powerhead in it. This stuff has been in there a couple weeks and smells slightly of dirt still.

Today I was checking some stuff and I accidentally dropped the lid from the rock trashcan into the RODI water. This lid is not clean, it's been on this brute can that is clearly generating gas etc from the rock curing/cycling.

Is the RODI water still ok to use or should I dump it? It feels so wasteful to tip out so much water but I don't want to contaminate anything. I figured since the rocks are going in to the tank anyway how much dirtier can the lid really be?


You're fine. However much evaporation has collected on the inside of the lid is such an infinitely small amount that it would be virtually undetectable without the most advanced top-end lab grade equipment. I guarantee you will add more to the tank from the rock itself than what may have come off that lid. :)
 
OP
captain_jimmy

captain_jimmy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
188
Reaction score
139
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brooklyn
You're fine. However much evaporation has collected on the inside of the lid is such an infinitely small amount that it would be virtually undetectable without the most advanced top-end lab grade equipment. I guarantee you will add more to the tank from the rock itself than what may have come off that lid. :)
Great thanks, that's what I figured but wanted to be sure.
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock
OP
captain_jimmy

captain_jimmy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
188
Reaction score
139
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brooklyn
First Water and Re-Aquascaping.

** I have a fairly urgent question at the bottom of this post I would appreciate answers to. **
** Below the ------- **


I actually assembled my tank a while ago and filled it with water to leak test it. I had leaks coming out the bottom of the overflow where the pipes come through into the cabinet section. I was a bit worried I was going to have to get replacement parts but I noticed that all three pipes were leaking which made me suspect user error rather than a faulty part.

I siphoned the overflow as dry as I could and then undid all three pipes from that section and had a look at the instructions. I realised I had missed a step when I assembled them, once you screw them into place you need to duck under the cabinet and tighten them from underneath as well. It leaked everywhere so DO NOT FORGET TO DO THIS.

PXL_20210130_171348446.jpg

This is the bit that was leaking, screw these in tight.

So my tank had water in it, next step was to add salt. I got Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt and used a 2 cup kitchen measurer to add the desired amount in. I guess I got my calculations wrong because when I used my refractometer the salinity reading was way too high. Again, I siphoned out water and added RODI water until the readings were correct. It’s current 1.026, I’ll bring it down slightly I think next time I do a water change.


Adding salt... how exciting!

I put the Caribsea real reef rock in a brute trashcan with a heater and a powerhead in some salt water. I dunno why exactly but I figured I should keep it wet.

PXL_20210207_211400208.MP (1).jpg

There's probably a good reason to keep this stuff in this trash can but for the life of me I can't pinpoint what it is...

I thought about the aquascape I posted above and decided I didn’t like the different colour and style of the two different rock types and I would stick to one. So I had to rethink the ‘scape a bit.

I thought a trench would be kinda cool so tried out a few different arrangements and finally settled on this a layout with a trench on the left side of the tank and an archway with a flattish overhang on the right side. Here are a few build pics:

PXL_20210305_010242068.MP.jpg

My first try at the new layout idea. It progressed a bit from here, these felt too simple and rounded.

PXL_20210306_020003889.MP.jpg

I know it’s only a small trench, but it’s MY small trench.

PXL_20210306_015952891.MP.jpg

Balancing the tool to hold a bit of rock in place while the cement dries (it takes around 2 hours)


PXL_20210306_020000041.MP.jpg

My entire kitchen and living room was a disaster zone for days

PXL_20210306_015948231.MP.jpg

get some of these to prop up bits of rock while they dry.


I had bought some superglue from home depot to glue the rocks together and I ordered some e-marco 400 to cement bits and bobs together. I got the pink colour hoping it would match the colour of the rock. It doesn’t, but it’s better than white.

The cement was pretty good actually, it definitely doesn’t hold until it has fully set so I had a few accidents where I tried to move stuff too early and the partially dried cement just broke in half but it feels pretty sturdy once it dries. I tested it out by picking up one of the big pieces and holding it by a little piece I had cemented to the top and it seemed really strong, i wasn’t worried at all.

This took me 3 nights to put together, it was sat on my kitchen bench the whole time. The first evening I tried to keep it wet by spritzing it with a spray bottle filled with water from the brute but once I realised how long it was going to take to cement everything together I gave up. I realise this means I probably killed all the bacteria but hey, I didn’t have much choice.

I finished this 2 nights ago and put the rock in the tank. I added 80lbs of Caribsea Fiji Pink sand (I actually added 40 and realised it wasn’t enough so drove to a petco and grabbed couple more bags).

PXL_20210306_232459928.MP.jpg

The finished scape sans sand (with bonus reflection of me)

PXL_20210306_235752137.MP.jpg

Adding sand

PXL_20210308_185928275.MP.jpg

How it looks at the moment

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today I was finally able to start cycling using the Dr Tims pack I got off BRS. I cracked out all the testing kits I had bought and did a battery of tests before I added anything so I had a baseline. Results were:

Nitrates - 0.4
Nitrite - 0.1
Ammonia - 0
PH - 8.3
Salinity - 1.026
Phosphate - 0.025

So I added the first of the Dr Tim’s stuff, it’s called first defense and removes chlorine. I hope I don’t have any chlorine as I have been using RODI water but I used it anyway.

Next I added the Dr Tim’s One and Only which is the bacteria.

Next I went to add the ammonia. It says in the instructions do not exceed 4 drops per gallon. It comes with a little dropper lid you can screw on to the bottle so I put that on and tipped the bottle upside down over the tank being careful not to squeeze…. DISASTER! The ammonia came shooting out in a big jet of liquid. I panicked and quickly tipped it back up and proceeded to have a heart attack.

So that was about an hour ago, I don’t really know what to do as I have no idea how much Ammonia I put in. I am going to go down now and test what the ammonia levels are so I can at least try to guess at it. If anyone has any ideas about what i should do please reply below.
 

Attachments

  • PXL_20210207_024104715.MP.jpg
    PXL_20210207_024104715.MP.jpg
    105.1 KB · Views: 25
OP
captain_jimmy

captain_jimmy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
188
Reaction score
139
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brooklyn
OK I just tested the ammonia levels.

PXL_20210308_192726990.MP.jpg


Looks like somewhere between 0.25-0.5 to me

So I am unsure what to do, I *think* the Dr Tim's wants ammonia to be around 2.0 mg/L to start off the cycle.

If what I have added equates to around a quarter of that does everything think I would be safe to add 3/4 of the originally planned amount?

Eeek...
 
OP
captain_jimmy

captain_jimmy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
188
Reaction score
139
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brooklyn
24 hours on and I tested my water again.

ammonia: 1.9
nitrite: 0.15
nitrate: 0

Dr Tim says to wait another day and test and then to add ammonia if needed.

For anyone doing the Dr Tim's fishless cycle, I found this video today and highly recommend watching it BEFORE you begin your cycle.

 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

Speaking of your latest coral purchase...

  • It was a GREAT deal

    Votes: 94 37.8%
  • It was a good deal

    Votes: 77 30.9%
  • It was nether good nor bad

    Votes: 59 23.7%
  • It was a bad deal

    Votes: 15 6.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 4 1.6%
MAXSPECT
Top