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Hey everyone! Been a long time fan of the rabbit holes of information on Reef2reef and figured this build deserved some proper documentation to hopefully one day become my very own rabbit hole!

The Backstory:
I've been keeping aquariums as far back as I can remember. Freshwater planted tanks were my first love but saltwater always intrigued me. After achieving my goals in the freshwater "high tech scene" I was ready for a new challenge and took the jump into reefing. The bug bit hard and I was instantly hooked. Fast forward 7 years and here I find myself embarking down the road to an sps dominant build.

I currently have a 10gallon aio sps dominant tank that is surviving but not thriving. The limited volume has been a real struggle keeping stable and the lighting is suboptimal and has alot of shading. The 80 that im planning to build is currently running and has been established for 4 years as a mixed reef that became overrun by RBTA's and GSP. It looks "nice" but it's time for some re-aquascaping. Sps have never done well in it in its current state and i chocked it up to running a high nutrient level, insufficient light, and not stable sps friendly params (hence the 10 gallon project).

The Plan:
I pulled all the RBTA's and any live rock that has even the slightest amount of GSP on it (about half the rockwork) and transferred to my frag tank.
To get nutrients/levels under control, I did an 80% water change with Tropic Marin Pro (same as I use in the sps nano) and shifted all the rockwork so I could siphon 100% of the sandbed. I added dry Marco rock to the top of my new scape.
For lighting I upgraded to 3 ai hydra 32hd with diffusers to get an even spread and higher average par.
Because this is essentially a remodel, i dont have to worry about a cycle as the majority of my existing liverock,sand, and bio media will be staying. The new rock added will probably go through an ugly phase but should seed fast and my CUC will keep algaes away. Im also going to keep my existing fish and mixed coral in the tank and then start moving the hardy sps in after a week to dial in the new parameters.

What I'm working with:

Tank: Deep Blue 80 gallon rimless RR
Lighting: 3 AI Hydra 32HD
Rock: ROUGHLY 50lb established live rock from existing system 40lb dry Marco rock
Flow: Ecotech Mp40 wqd, Jebao MLW-5
Return pump: Jebao Dct-4000
Skimmer: Reef Octopus Classic 200 Int
Heater: Eheim Jager 300w
Heater Controller: Finnex max-300
Ato: IceCap dual optical
Refugium lighting: Kessil a160we
Chemical Filtration: Dual Stage Reactor (currently running carbon as needed not 24/7)
Sump: Acrylic Single compartment w/single filter sock
Dosing: Jebao 3.4 4 channel doser
Salt: Tropic Marine Syn-biotic at 1.026
Additives: Kalkwasser (brs), Mag (brs), All4Reef (tropic marine), Acropower, Bacto-Balance (tropic marin), KZ Flatworm Stop
Feeding: Reefroids, Rods, PE mysis, frozen brine shrimp, Ken's Fish Ultra Marine Flake, New life Spectrum Pellets + garlic, BRS nori sheets

Fish/CUC: Vlamingi Tang, Yellow Tang, Hippo Tang, 2 turquoise Chromis, 2 Ocellaris Clownfish, Azure Damsel, Pink Smith Damsel, Gold head sleeper Goby, Banded Coral Shrimp,Blue Tuxedo Urchin, Tiger Cucumber, blue legged hermit crabs, conch, turbo snails, nassarius snails

There will be many pictures to come, video updates on my YouTube/Instagram Cloud9Aquariums, and of course all the down and dirty fish geek details will be dropped here.

Grab a beer this is gonna be a good one
 
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20220702_145608.jpg

Here's some before shots of the tank before the reset.
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And here is the 10 gallon which will provide the first wave of stocking. I was running a single kessil a160we and having alot of issues with shading/bleaching if I tried to turn it up. In preparation for the move I've brought two of my ai prime16hd over to start ramping and transitioning so they'll transfer better to the new tank with hydras.
 
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Okay so full transparency: I'm 4 weeks into this reset and want to bring this thread up to current date so today I going to be catch up time!
 
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Anddddd we're off! I pulled all the rock that had any gsp on it and then blasted the RBTA's off with a hose hooked up to a magdrive. It makes a mess but it's the only way I've found to get these suckers to release when their foot is burried deep in the rockwork without too much risk of injury. Can we talk about the amount of "I hope I don't regret this" that goes through your mind when tearing out an established tank
 
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I managed to distract the photo bombing tang gang so we could talk about the rockscape!
So I used my existing established rock to form the base (as you can see it's got a plethora of zoas and mushrooms). As a side note I siphoned about 40 gallons of water through the sand using my large python to really get any detritus out while I had the rocks out.
I carried a similar layout over from my last tank with a centralized structure to maximize flow and swimming space. I was able to form a network of inter connected caves (all angled) for the fish and water to pass through as well. I love tanks that hold mysteries you discover while you walk around. That front shot shouldn't show it all.
Topping off the structure, I used the new dry rock (I believe it's Marco rock but I got it off a local hoppyist so branding could be wrong) to create a gradual slope down the tank and give plenty of room for sps colonies.
As you can see I didn't waste any time reintroducing livestock and adding my first hardy tester sps (blue digitata and a purple birdnest)
 
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We're a week in!

Current status:
New rock is going through the uglies with a little diatom bloom as expected, parameters are holding well no3:25 po4:0.1 hoping to keep them around these values and let them lower slowly as i add in sticks. The testers I put in (pictured blue digitata and purple birdnest) are extended. They weren't in the best shape when I got them so how they look now is how they were in the shop. Cheap testers for the win.
I've ran my par meter through the tank and am getting an nice even 300-350 on all the top of the rockwork and 150-200 on the bottom. Loving the spread of the hydras with these diffusers
I also couldn't pass up a smokin deal on a nice sized colony of rr pink cadillac which was too large to fit in my nano for holding so I said yolo and tossed it in. As you can see it's VERY paled out (hence the smokin deal) but there's something so rewarding to coloring them up. I also cut a frag to bank with one of my friends because this is the first cadi I've seen local.
 
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Week 2 update!

All testers are happy and coloring up so I made the big move of my other pieces over from the nano at the beginning of the week. They transitioned flawlessly so I filled in the gaps with some pieces I snagged from the after-live sale deal from ARC!

Parameters: I brought my dosing schedule over as i dont expect much of a lapse. Currently dosing kalk overnight for pH boost, All4reef during the day, small amounts of magnesium to keep slightly elevated for monti's and corraline, and finally Acropower daily for aminos. pH 7.9 Alk 8.5 Ca 518 Mg 1440 No3: 18 Po4: 0.27
For whatever reason my Ca has been in the 500 range for quite some time. I havent verified with another tester besides my Hanna but nothing has seemed to mind.

Overall:
Everything is going as planned. Going to continue to watch the nutrients and begin carbon dosing when they rise. Testing alk daily to adjust kalk as things settle in. Hopefully I can get my pH average up as id like to be in the 8.3 range.
 
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Week 3 PHOTO Update!

Okay yall we need to get some shots of the all the pieces in this thread so we can look back and see growth/coloration changes. THIS ONE IS GONNA HAVE ALOT OF PHOTOS. I'm going to try to post with the names I got them as. There's a few I have no idea so feel free to shout them out if you know!

You may notice a few of the colonies I transfered from the nano have some patchiness and recession. I did my best to keep that tank stable but the real mistake was running a single point source light over it and having alot of shadowing (kessil a160we great light just wrong application). Lesson learned.
 
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20221030_133055.jpg

(Right) Forest fire digitata , (left) name unknown (bought as a gold rimmed tenuis)
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(Left bottom) red digitatta (middle) Sanjays Concord Grap Tabling Acro (right) ARC Master Yoda
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PC Rainbow
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JF Fox Flame
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Green Monti Cap (bleached out in the nano but slowly coming back)
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ARC Fireworks Acro
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Green Birdsnest (it got in a fight and lost )
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JF Jack-lantern lepto
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Myagi Tort
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Green Goblin Anacropora
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Red Monti Cap
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Purple Birdsnest
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RR Pink Cadillac (already getting more color)
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TCK New Dragon
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Milka Stylo
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RR Orange Passion
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Blue Digitatta
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ARC (Unknown acro, could be goldfinger it totally changed colors in the nano and receded where the kessil was shadowing)
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ARC Purple Milli
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(Left) ARC Rainbow Spath (right) Randy O's Humilis
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Red finger digitatta (started throwing polyps right before the move, have in a lower light/flow position for now)
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JF Beach Bum Monti
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Unknown Chalice
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Favites (unknown)
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Favia (unknown)
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Favites (unknown)
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ARC Bottom Dweller Acan Echinata
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(Left) TSA Purple Haze (middle) Green Milli (right) Tubbs Stellata
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Mushroom of some sort
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Zoa garden
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Big neon green mushroom
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Gonipora
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Gonipora (now glued in the goni garden, it was trying to make a move on my beach bum)
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Micro lord (returning from the brink of death after a valiant fight thanks to my tuxedo urchin)
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Cotton Candy Torch
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Birdsnest
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(Middle) garf bonsai (receded in the nano on a shaded side and bleached when I tried to add more lighting) 20221030_133408.jpg TSA Purple Haze 20221030_133616.jpg
Purple monsters and jf mind blowing paly
 
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General update: everything seems to have transferred well. PE is decent and color holding. Alk has been dropping daily so through the week I've doubled kalk dosing. Started to dose during the day to bring pH daily average up. Dosing triple at night vs day to keep the swing minimal. High is 8.0 low seems to be 7.8 (using salifert test so it's kind of a guess on the number). Nitrates have been creeping up faster than po4. Dosing Tropic Marin Elim-NP to restore numbers along with a weekly 10g waterchange to knock them back.
 
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Week 4 Update!

Remembering my "I hope I don't regret this" moments during the tear down and boy am I NOT regretting this one bit

This week was time to pull out all the stops and get this tank dialed in for growth. First on the agenda was drilling through the house to run my skimmer intake outside. The result: 0.2 increase in my average pH! Things are clearly in growth phase as my alk consumption has been hard to keep up with. Since week 1 we have quadrupled the kalk dose. Which also helped my pH... which in turn increases growth and alk consumption. pH low is now 8.0 high is 8.3 and I couldn't be more happy. On the nutrient front, elimi-np got me on track and I even got to do a couple heavy feedings with reef roids to keep the phosphates from bottoming out. Now I've transitioned to Tropic Marin Bacto-Balance for my carbon dose which is working perfectly. Po4 0.05 no4 22.7 hoping to maintain po4 sub 0.1 and nitrate in the 5-10 range. My weekly water changes have been with TM bio-actif and this upcoming water change will be with TM syn-biotic which should help maintain this trend until growth really kicks up and im fighting low nutrients. Thats going to be a great day!

I began a daily dose of KZ Flatworm Stop as I've read alot of great reports of increased growth (especially encrusting) and thicker tissue on sps. Still too early to state results but my PE this week has been EXCELLENT and the color of the pink cadillac is REALLY coming in nicely!
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Rounded out the coral additions with a spongode, purple rim monti cap, and green lepto
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The only negative change I've seen thus far is my JF fox flame seems to have bleached at the base and lost some color on the tips. Could be from the po4 drop or finally showing some stress from transition. I shifted it to a lower spot in the tank.
 
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Did my weekly water change today and it just hit me... we're over the ugly phase on the new rock and the coralline is filling in great! This tank is on steroids haha Let's gooooo!
 
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Week 5 Update!

Coralline growth is really taking off on the new rock! Seeing some great basing already from the acros, favites have made their way off the plug, milli is throwing some new branch tips, and the pink cadillac is continuing to color up!

Now that its been a few weeks of stable parameters and I've confirmed the stress from the move wasn't too much I ran another par test to start elevating numbers. The top left of my rockwork (gold rimmed tenuis) was receiving 325, center (arc fireworks acro) 250, right (tubbs stellata) 300, bottom left (torch) 210, bottom right (green goblin anacropora) 170. Looking down the length of the tank I'm realizing centering the lights isn't getting as much coverage to the face of the rockwork where I mounted alot of the acros so Ive shifted the entire bar forward 2-3 inches. With the shift and increase in intensity here's the new values: The top left of my rockwork (gold rimmed tenuis) 330 , center (arc fireworks acro) 310, right (tubbs stellata) 310, bottom left (torch) 230, bottom right (green goblin anacropora) 220. Because this is a shallow tank I'm trying to ease into it as the top of my cadillac is now in the 380's. Ultimate goal is to have everyone in the 350-400 range.

Alk consumption continues to rise (kalk up to 670ml daily) but im holding 8.2 and my calcium has finally dropped to 460. pH holding a low of 8 and high of 8.2 Nitrates are 22 and po4 .34 (i test nutrients prior to my weekly water change to see my high). Now fully running the tropic marin syn biotic salt and bacto balance for carbon dosing. Everything seems to be responding well. I did some heavy feedings/spot feeding this week so as not to bottom out my po4 again.

My Salinity was slightly depressed at the beginning of the week 1.024 so I salted my top off water and it's almost back to my target 1.026.

I'll be shooting a video tour of the tank this week and post the link when it's up!

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