ChunkyMunky Pengopus's 63 gallon reef

ChunkyMunky Pengopus

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I can tell this will take a little while, so I'll do it in segments :)

Part 1: The Prelude

For quite some time, I had wanted a saltwater reef tank, a feeling many of us can probably still remember. A stroke of luck came to me one day when my uncle, who had a 55 gallon reef, generously decided to give me a 63ish gallon custom tank that he had found, as he has various connections and was able to get a bargain on it. Eager and excited, me and my father got to work on the plumbing and connection with the sump once we transported it to our home.

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Overflow into the sump, and the return to the left. This overspill area takes about 7 gallons of the otherwise
70 that this tank would be, but it was smartly designed



After about 5 months of tinkering and eventually cycling (This was a side project for most of that time), we started discussing what inhabitants we would get and were practically ready to go to the local fish store, when my uncle surprised us and said that he decided that he was going to renovate his house along with the wall the 55 gallon reef was nestled in, and was thinking of replacing it with a much larger tank when he was finished. I couldn't resist his offer to take the inhabitants off his hands for a while, and once he dropped the live rock, fish, and coral over, he said that we could merely trade items for his new tank.

Here is are some images I took in June of 2019, when the tank was first set up:
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I'm not sure why I decided to take the pictures right before I cleaned the glass, but I distinctly remember that was intentional for some reason or another. These are the best images I have of the 'early days' right now, although I have some better videos that I may need to convert. (Does anyone know what format videos should be in order to be posted?)

Unfortunately, the sudden change in bioload proved to be a bit too much for all of the new inhabitants, and the period that follows was one of introductions and losses.

I'll stop for now as it is quite late here, but the next part will be the equipment rundown, so stay tuned!
 
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ChunkyMunky Pengopus

ChunkyMunky Pengopus

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Alright,
Part 2: The Equipment

The display tank measures 36in wide, 24in tall, and 18in deep. That makes it roughly 67 gallons, but 10in X 24in X 4.5in is taken up by the 4.5 gallon overspill, so the display tank has an overall volume of about 62.5 gallons.
Water enters the overspill from the top, and it goes down a tube into the sump.

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My sump is quite messy, much more so than I would wish. But it's a sump so who cares ;Couchpotato

Water from the display enters a chamber on the right into the 30x12x15 sump, about 23 gallons. That means that the total capacity for the tank is 90 gallons, but probably only 80 is used.

After the entry chamber, water flows into a refugium, which is also where my eheim jager heater is. There is also some small live rock, sand, and copious amounts of amphipods and algae. For some reason I don't seem to have any copepods though. The refugium is lit by a Taotronics ttgl 20, and the light is left on 24-7. I also keep both the display tank and sump lidded, as to not lose water as often.

After the refugium, the water flows over into a chamber where I keep a sock with carbon, and some other live rock as well. The water from that section goes underneath and into the last chamber.

The chamber farthest to the left houses the return pump, but before that some water goes into the PhosBan reactor 150 phosphate reactor. This is basically the only active filtration in the tank, and I replace the phosphate every 6 months. I'm gonna be honest here, and feel free to give your thoughts, but I'm pretty sure I should replace it more often...

I attempted putting a protein skimmer, but the tank seemed fine and the area below was a bit crowded to fit a skimmer. I have a spare one that was used a while back, but its pump is broken and I couldn't find a suitable replacement for the pump. I am open to buying a new skimmer that might fit better if need be, but I don't quite see the need right now.

The return pump goes back up through the overspill and back into the display tank through two nozzles. Up in the display tank, I have 3 powerheads, two of them are fairly large and one is pretty small.

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The small one

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One of the big ones in the upper right corner

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Tank overview, so you can get an idea of the pump locations and flow, and yes those wires are a bit unsightly o_O

And now, for the lighting:

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I have an OceanRevive Arctic T247, mounted from the ceiling. I hope to get to some sort of cover for that eventually...

The current settings are: (C1 is blue lights, C2 is white lights)

C1 on: 7:30
C2 on: 9:05
C2 off: 18:45 (6:45 PM)
C1 off: 20:53 (8:53 PM)

C1: 28%
C2: 20%

And that is pretty much all the equipment in my tank :D

Part 3 will come shortly, writing it right now.
 

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ChunkyMunky Pengopus

ChunkyMunky Pengopus

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Part 3: Die Offs :eek:

Unfortunately, this is where the story of ours takes a turn for the worse. As mentioned in part 1, the circumstances the inhabitants were received in means that die offs were practically inevitable. However, looking back, much more could have been done on my end. Hindsight is 20 20...

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Here is a rather low quality image of the tank, but you can see most of the early inhabitants. I'll do a comparison a little later on to show what growth (and in some cases shrinkage) has occurred. Towards the very beginning, the emerald crabs that were in the tank stopped showing up and eventually they all died. A short while after, the 2 SPS in the tank started losing polyps. At this point, I was dosing calcium, but other than that very minimal 5% water changes quite sparingly. Unfortunately, I ended up losing both of them and it was quite a shame as they were seemingly doing very well in the beginning, and had great coloration. It would have been a good idea to join reef2reef back then:rolleyes:, but it didn't stop there. A small handful of other LPS corals also perished.

During this period, from summer onwards of 2019, I had decided that feeding too much may be an issue as there was a lot of algae in the tank. From then on, I would really only feed the fish once every 4-7 days ;Nailbiting. Looking back again, this may have been the reason that new additions didn't do well, even though the parameters were mostly consistently good. Additions included a lawnmower blenny that I adored, but only lasted about 2 months before disappearing :(
The other fish (A yellow watchman goby and a blue green chromis) were seemingly just fine, so I wonder what happened there.

A trio of hermit crabs were also added, but slowly they died off, until we got to the one I have today. He is doing well, though :). The hermit crabs meant, however, that the snails also slowly died off, likely because I misjudged the size of the shells that were in the tank. I should have bought or added more shells right away, but for some reason didn't. Another example of my 'lazy reefing' :mad:

This sort of trend continued into winter of 2019, when things started to level out and what was left survived or thrived for the most part. Unfortunately, in November of 2020, my chromis got a lockjaw and died shortly despite my efforts to help it. At the very least as far as I knew it didn't have to do with tank conditions.

Not to end on a sad note, I will show some of the growth that has occured, and in the next part I will try to go over all of current inhabitants of the tank as well as some nice angles and photos I took :)

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Its basically just the candy canes... They grow too much! The brain coral and Neon green nepthea have also been growing quite nicely. Only feeding about once a week has meant that green star polyps and hammerhead corals have not grown much, and the bubble tip anemones have actually shrunk considerably. Looking into it more recently, I can see that I should almost certainly feed more...
More on that in part 4

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Here is the nepthea, brain, and my sole remaining (saltwater) fish while you wait ;)
 

CMMorgan

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i'm looking hard ..;Watchingcannot find fish in last pic;Facepalm
possibly ,case of cyanide in blenny??;)
I see it! It's kind of like playing Where's Waldo.
 
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ChunkyMunky Pengopus

ChunkyMunky Pengopus

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Part 4: Current Livestock

Here, I'll go over all the animals in the tank

Fish: Yellow Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus)
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Can you see him now?? ;Smuggrin

Crustaceans: Amphipods
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Hermit crab RIP :eek:

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Jk just molting ;). Can someone tell me what species?

Molluscs: Cerith snail
Tiger Conch (and Asterina Star)
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Turbo snail and Cowrie

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Anemones: Aiptasia, Very shrunk bubble tip anemones

Corals:
Green Nepthea and Xenias (and waldo;))
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What is this coral?
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Branching Hammers and Branching Candy Cane corals
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Green Star Polyp (White base, I also some purple based ones)
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What is this coral that ended up upside down? I don't know why but he keeps creeping underneath
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What coral is this orange one?
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Green button polyp- They were closed shut for nearly a year but are starting to open up again.
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Brain Coral- I'm gonna need to remove it from that rock somehow.. :mad:
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I read somewhere that this anemone looking hitchhiker is actually a type of coral
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I also have these tube worm type creatures with xenia looking fans at the ends:
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And some pineapple sponges. I may have missed a few microorganisms here or there, but that is pretty much everything living in my tank!

Also, here are my parameters as of March 7, 2021: (API test kits, except the refractometer for salinity)
Salinity: 1.025
PH: 8.1
phosphate: near 0
KH: 8
Calcium: 340 (I'll update this in the morning)
Ammonia: near 0
Nitrate: near o
 
Last edited:

What temperature do you think it too high for your reef tank?

  • 79

    Votes: 32 10.9%
  • 80

    Votes: 56 19.0%
  • 81

    Votes: 55 18.7%
  • 82

    Votes: 63 21.4%
  • 83

    Votes: 43 14.6%
  • 84+

    Votes: 36 12.2%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 9 3.1%
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