Deep Blue 80g LPS and Wrasses

leahfiish

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Tank Stats:
Tank: Deep Blue Edge Series Reef Ready Rimless 80g 48" long x 24" wide x 16" tall
Stand: DIY (not myself but hired someone local), 36" tall
Lighting: Kessil ap700 with major optical diffusers, on mounting arms, 18" off the water line
Sump: 40breeder with DIY (leaking...) baffles, middle section is full of liverock and lit by a Kessil a80
Return Pump: Sicce 5.0 turned down to the lowest setting using the adjustment knob, with a 3/4" VCR Random Flow Generator
Rock: ~20lbs of dry tonga branch, 30lbs of TBS live rock (mostly in sump), and a West Mariculture bonsai reef structure
Sand: None currently
Flow: Tunze Comline Wavebox 6208 (and a RFG from my return)
Skimmer: Reef Octopus 152-s
Heater: Cobalt Neotherm 200w
Plumbing: Didn't use the plumbing kit and instead modified the corner overflow into a herbie style drain and ran the return line over the top of the tank
Lid: ClearView Tsunami lid
Background:
In July/August I had to move and shut down my barely 5 month old, brand new, custom-drilled, 120g. :( I sold the tank and all of my corals and packed up most of my equipment down to Tampa, and now I have a new tank. I loved the 120 but working in it was a pain sometimes because it's so deep, and I live in a 2nd story apartment so I don't think getting a tank that large would be a smart idea. I wanted a tank that would have enough room for some nice wrasses (my favorites), and that was shallow enough that I could reach the bottom. But not too shallow because those tanks don't really make great displays and this is in my living room. So I narrowed it down to a 75g or 80g, and decided on the 80g for a bigger footprint.

Setup:
I originally had a spot planned out for it and taped off but after getting the tank and stand, it just wasn't level at all and I had to shim it over 1/2" and even then it wasn't quite enough. It made me a little bit nervous, so I changed the location.
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While I was searching for a stand, I made the sump. I chose to DIY it because I was already overbudget and didn't want to spend another 300+ on a sump that didn't need to do anything special. I'm going to a very simple setup here. Skimmer, biofiltration, and that's it. No filter socks, although I left room to include them in the future if needed. I wanted a quiet setup so I aimed for about 500gph going through the sump. I also knew I wanted minimal rock in the display, so I left most of the sump available for supplemental rock and biofiltration. I'm using the same skimmer and return pump that I was previously using on my 120.
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I got the glass cut locally (googled glass cutters and called a few, picked the cheapest option, $35 for the 2 pieces if I remember correctly) and the 40b from petsmart. Got silicone, tape, and used some zip ties for spacers. I found this site invaluable in setting everything up and feeling prepared for this: http://gmacreef.com/

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I'm not very DIY savvy but I really wanted to try it. And after all said and done, even though it didn't turn out perfectly I'm still glad I did it.

Aquascaping:
After making the sump, I was still impatiently searching for sand. I found a good deal on tonga branch rock locally so I went and picked it up - about 30lbs.
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I quickly taped off a section of my porch and started testing out different scapes. I wasn't really planning on going with branch rock when I imagined this tank, but after working with it a little bit I thought it was pretty versatile and I liked how it looked.
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The rock spent a LOT of time on my porch, and I had a lot of free time during this period as well so pretty much every day I would go out and change something. I was still looking for a stand.
Here's some of the different aquascapes I tried.
I knew I wanted a lot of negative space, and places for lots of chalices and torch corals. I also really like arches and overhangs.
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Then, I got a pair of West Mariculture Bonsai Reef structures. I had been eyeing these for a while and they had a sale so I figured it was time!

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So obviously I had to redo the branch rock again...

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Still waiting on the stand.

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Tried different combinations of mixing and matching the branch and WM structure to make it look less silly.

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Peanut sometimes kept me company on the porch while I was working on the aquascape (don't worry it's all screened in)

Eventually my tank arrived and I could start planning things in the tank.

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leahfiish

leahfiish

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I kept trying different rock and structure configurations. I also eventually found someone local to build a stand for me, but still had to wait a few days.
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I really liked this last one. I decided I'd prefer the arch in the center though, so eventually just swapped the 2 structures and stuck with it.
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Finally my stand arrived!!!

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Make sure everything fit properly, and dry fit the plumbing.

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Painted the stand and brought it back in, and realized that section of my living room wasn't level at all even 1ft off the wall so moved it across the room.

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I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to level it but finally made it work. I put the sump on a piece of plywood and shimmed the plywood.

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Glued all the plumbing (pretty basic drain herbie setup).
Put the skimmer back in the sump and noticed these little cracks, not sure when this happened but hopefully it won't affect performance.
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Glued the plumbing in place


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Bought a Kessil a80 Tuna Blue from someone on R2R to light my sump.
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Took another 2 weeks or so to get my RODI properly hooked up in my apartment in a way that wouldn't be a total hassle... and finally... we're filling!

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At some point during this I ordered a custom Artfully Acrylic Tsunami Lid and it's great! I don't feel that it takes away from the rimless look at all and I'm sure it will save countless fish!
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I filled the display and mixed salt into it so it could get a few days head start to cycling. After it was filled I started filling the sump, which is when I found out my baffles leaked. :( I had to choose between delaying the build further and fixing it or continuing on with leaky baffles. Clearly I chose to continue but it is something that I hope to address in the near future.
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leahfiish

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I wanted to get some real live rock to jump start the maturation process. I have a friend watching some corals for me and I just generally really missed having a tank. I had always heard great things about TBS rock and it seemed like exactly what I was looking for to cycle my tank faster and get it ready for a bunch of corals quickly.
Plus, they are only 15 minutes from my apartment.
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I ordered 30lbs and it was packaged up in a styrofoam box with water, just like it would be if they were going to ship it, I assume. I specifically asked for small rocks because I knew I would be putting most of it in my sump, and they didn't disappoint!
I found all kinds of cool stuff. Lots of sponges, barnicles, crabs, snails, macroalgae, coralline.

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This (gorilla) crab was on the first piece of rock I pulled out of the box. He now lives in the first chamber of my sump.

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Lots of macro, many different kinds
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The crab again
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1 of the 2 boxes all laid out.
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This was probably the coolest sponge, very pretty purple.
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A baby urchin, unfortunately I don't think it made it.
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Weird slimy sponge
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Lots of barnacles
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Found 3 of these baby crabs, probably bad crabs but they are cute. So small though so I'm sure there's more than what I found.
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Lots of little unidentified snails.
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And here's most of the rock in my sump. I put 3 small pieces in the display that had a lot of sponges/macro.
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leahfiish

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Finally, that brings up to today.
I added my first 2 corals on Sunday and they're doing great so far.
A green chalice with orange spots.
And a green torch with yellow tentacles under blue lights.
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Here's one of the TBS rocks I put in the display.
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And the 2nd one with the purple sponges.
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I've since moved them to a different spot, I just wanted to watch them for a day to make sure I wasn't introducing any gorilla crabs.
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And finally a FTS
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Still dialing in my skimmer, and adjusting the flow patterns. Hoping to get a lot more corals in the next few weeks.
 
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NY_Caveman

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Wow! Love all of the details. Everything looks great. The rock is full of life (love that purple sponge!). Really like the branch rock too. Will be interesting to see how it works with the man made piece.
 
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leahfiish

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Wow! Love all of the details. Everything looks great. The rock is full of life (love that purple sponge!). Really like the branch rock too. Will be interesting to see how it works with the man made piece.
Thanks, I agree it will be interesting. Currently I am thinking of putting primarily leathers on it for now but it just depends on what corals I end up with.
 
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leahfiish

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Got some supplies this weekend and set up my qt for a new fish that I took home today. Gonna keep it a surprise for a little while until I'm more confident in its health.
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I also have a big assortment of frags coming in the next 2 weeks from a few different sources. Stay tuned for pictures!
 
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Glued the torch in place today and adjusted the flow pattern of the wavebox slightly...still learning how to use all the features although it was very easy initially to get it set up and running. If anyone has one I would love to hear about it.
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I also found a few more crabs so I moved all of the live rock back down to the sump.
 
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leahfiish

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I have so many pods in the display now! That's one of the results I was hoping for with the live rock. I also found another urchin and a few more crabs and snails.
I initially filled the tank with red Sea coral pro salt and alk has been 13.5-13.8 which is a little higher than I'd like so I'll be doing a few small water changes with Red Sea blue bucket to bring it down. I was hoping to keep elevated levels for faster growth but not this elevated. Once I get my alk where I want it I'll probably try to find a mix of blue bucket and black bucket that keeps it steady (while dosing in between water changes).
I've been eyeing this fungia at my lfs.
Anyone have one like it?
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jk_s124

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I love the aquascape! Very interested to see the blend bonsai style rock and natural rock! Lots of cool critters on your live rock! Very cool fungia! Sorry I feel like I'm exclaiming too much but I really like what you are doing! Best of luck and I will be following!
 
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leahfiish

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I love the aquascape! Very interested to see the blend bonsai style rock and natural rock! Lots of cool critters on your live rock! Very cool fungia! Sorry I feel like I'm exclaiming too much but I really like what you are doing! Best of luck and I will be following!
Thanks! I'm excited too so exclaiming is fine!
That's a beautiful plate! I have not seen one with that color combo
Me neither, I keep thinking I should buy it but I already have live sale shipments coming ...
 

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