DSantaMaria's Waterbox 220.6 Reborn!

Dsantamaria29

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Hello,



This is my first build thread. It’s going to a little long winded because I want to document everything, successes, failures, mistakes and the funny little quirks. I also want a log because one day when this thing becomes what I want it to be I can look back and think maybe all that frustration anger and swearing was worth it.



My history (Skip this if you want it’s not really pertinent except to document my lack of patience). I started my first 20-gallon saltwater tank in 2015. I quickly upgraded from that to a 40, then a 75, then a 120 in the span of about a year. My 120 was up for about 3 years and got moved once when I bought a house. I really did enjoy the 120 however I ended up fighting dinoflagellates for about 5-6 months towards the end. The tank went largely unkept, besides feedings, because of this. It was to the point that I couldn’t even see through the glass because of the algae. During that time I continued to look through the forums and marvel at what these tanks can actually become. It started to peak my interests again.



I always enjoyed 1) the rimless tank look and 2) the 180 gallon footprint. The length allows more room for larger fish and more rock-space to get creative. I started looking at the water box and Red Sea reef aquariums and spent months comparing and contrasting that vs a standard vs a custom tank (I can dream but there was no way I was going to be affording that).



This is where the build thread actually starts.



Finally after sitting and staring and websites I placed my order July 9th with a 4-8 week backorder… Enough time to get equipment planned and purchased.



I was deathly afraid of introducing anything from my old tank into my new tank because I thought it would bring dinoflagellates and bad luck. I started with all new equipment. My list started as:



2 Ecotech MP40WQD

ATI Sunpower 8x80W

CAD lights Hanger

Super Reef Octopus 3000-INT skimmer

3 Eheim Jager 300W heaters

Tunze Osmolator

Jebao DCT return pump

80 pounds of Marco Rocks

80 TB saltwater Live rock

40 Lbs Fiji pink dry stand

40 Lbs Special grade dry sand





I already had an APEX on my old tank that I was going to use

My previous stock included:



Copperband Butterflyfish

Biota Yellow Tang

3 Lyretail Anthias

1 Banggai cardinalfish

1 Melanarus wrasse

1 Dwarf lionfish





I acquired equipment which sat, and sat, and sat. Weeks went by with no tank. I am not a naturally patient person so it was killing me I couldn’t do anything with my new tank. I started to pay more attention to my other tank which, once scraping the sheet of algae off the front glass, actually had become stable and dino free (Amazing what some time and patience can do). The fish were fat as all get out (the auto feeder was allowed to run wild, I also would drop cubes in about every other day.

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October rolls around and I finally get a message that my tank is shipping. Awesome! Now Let me tell you one thing that I did not account for is that these tanks are heavy. I read all these posts about it taking 4-5 people to carry these and for some reason my brain was like “nah I can get like one person to help and we got this.” Yeah… that’s not the case. That’s okay. I have time to place my order with TB saltwater for my rock.



A week later stand was assembled. Now I have a stand and a hanging kit set up for the tank however I’ve got to assemble the crew that’s going to haul this thing down to the basement. It took myself, my coworker, a bodybuilder and my girlfriend to get this thing INTO the house. Luckily the basement is a straight shot from the garage. Using an SUV to hold the pallet it came on in place we slid it down the stairs and then carried it the whole 12 feet from the stairs to the stand. It took 2 hours. I’m not allowed to ask them for help anymore.

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Tanks on the stand, looking clean. I’m giddy like a kid on Christmas opening a Nintendo 64 (you know the video). Now I need to get this thing plumbed and wet. It took about 2 full day and 1 carefully monitored one for my 75 GPD to fill this bad boy. I filled it up and checked the plumbing (Because that’s what you do….fill er up straight away with RODI and hope it all works….). Lucky for me it ran like a top. Now its time to put the Marco rock and sand in. Guess who didn’t account for that neat thing called DISPLACEMENT. So after putting the sand in this came across my mind. Crisis averted. Sand in, rocks in, salt in. Feeling pretty good.

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I ordered my TBS rocks. From order to delivery took about two weeks. Gave the tank some time to sit and me some time to put together the controller board.

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November 1st I went to pick up my rocks at the airport for the receptionist to tell me “Someone already picked them up.” Now I live in South Dakota. There aren’t many people here who would be picking up rocks at 10 am. Turns out they got sent with a local shipping company who handles all the LFS shipments. They call him back and I get my rock. Go home and open the boxes, put it in the tank, stare at it all.



There is a lot of cool stuff on the TBS rocks. Macro algae, Pistol shrimp, Barnacles, crabs. Its good for me because I get to watch these things run around while I wait for the tank to “cycle” (Mini-cycle?). I didn’t have much die off even though I used straight ammonia to feed the cycle. In this time I also got lucky and got myself a Neptune Trident!

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I let the tank cycle for about 2 months. This is when it could handle a larger amount of ammonia in a short amount of time. It was time to tear down the old tank and put my fish into the new. The fish went in Dec 15th.
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Fish in, looking good. Not too much for algae growth yet. Thought I was ready to go. Let it sit for about a month before I started to want to add corals. Found some local guys selling SPS and decided to add them. Also added a Regal angelfish. They did pretty well. This brings us to the end of January.

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Then I seen’t them…… Dinoflagellates.

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gabrieltackitt

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really good write up! Love seeing detailed build threads. Be sure to add it to your profile so you get the nifty Build Thread Badge.


Haven't had to deal with Dinos yet but there are loads of information on here about them. I'm sure someone from the #reefsquad can help point you in the right direction to start with.
 
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Dsantamaria29

Dsantamaria29

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I know that look, that stringy, brown bubbly looking crap that makes your stomach drop. I get a sample and put it under the microscope and figure out they’re ostreopsis. I order two el cheapo UV filters and tack them on the tank. Nitrates and Phosphates dropped to 0’s so I started to dose them. The UV took care of the Dinos however I had a large Cyano outbreak. Started dosing microbacter7 and suctioned out all the cyano which actually worked.



Dinos beat, Cyano beat. I’m feeling like a good reef keeper now, one of the pros. A week of stability and I decide to order some bomb SPS from Battlecorals. I highly recommend him as his products are phenomenal. I add these corals to a frag rack and let them acclimate. After a week (Feb 21st) I place them on my rocks after getting some PAR readings from a meter.

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March 5th I start with an outbreak of Small Cell Amphidinium Dino. I continued my dosing and Would siphon them out of the sandbed. Turns out my UV pump was clogged so I exchange that. A week later those are gone. I added a Powder Blue Tang and 2 more anthias. I also added two MP60s for added flow. The MP40s don’t really do much in this length plus I figured more flow may help. After being scammed off eBAY (thank goodness for paypal) I purchased them from BRS
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March 21st I find my self in the midst of a hair / bryopsis war. Its everywhere. The corals are still going strong and growing. I do some manual removal and let it be. Late night I look into the tank and find something has ripped up one of my SPS. I suspect it’s the powder blue tang for some reason (He was the newest addition) so I rip apart my rockscape and put him in the sump until I figure out what to do with him.



April 1st I ordered a second batch of corals from Battlecorals. I did have some RTN on one of the first batch but did not heed any warnings. Into the rack they go. Mind you the algae has returned in full force.



April 2nd. Now, with brand new corals, I decide to all out war with fluconazole. I dump the dose in and shut off the skimmer. It works and kills all the algae. I tried to suck out as much algae as I could without doing a water change. The nutrients spike and I cannot control them now as I have taken away my means of control by killing the algae. I keep doing water changes but nothing seems to work.



April 8th. Added a Kole tang and a Yellow wrasse. Still issues with some hair algae but the bryropsis is gone.

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April 15th. I’m now having issues with STN and coral death. I attribute this to huge nutrient swings and the overall instability of my tank. At this point I regret jumping into corals so early. I also have a mass explosion of Cyanobacteria. I also still have something eating the non-dead corals.



April 16th. I ordered a sBAR from SBReeflights for some added pop from the UV. I’m not overly fond of a super blue daytime look so I run 2 Giesemann tropic 6500K, 1 Actinic, 4 Blue plus and a Coral plus. While following the video to convert the LED dimmer to the APEX RJ45 I found out that the dimmer is sending a voltage to the APEX which basically started melting a resistor in the APEX. Luckily the APEX still works however I now have no 0-10V ports nor can I run my new light.



So here we are. April 19th and the present-day continuation of this battle. I’m pretty stressed but I don’t want to give up. I still have cyano but I’m trying to deal with it via Microbacter7 and maintenance. I ordered an ATS for the tank in hopes that it will help with nutrient control and algae control in the display.
 

Hemmdog

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Good write up! The first year of a tank is always the most stressful. What are your parameters? What are you feeding? How much and how often? How long are your lights on?
 
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Dsantamaria29

Dsantamaria29

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Current parameters:

Temp: 77.3-77.8 (77.5 current)
pH: 8.05 (8.3 during the day)
Alk: 8.51
Ca: 466
Mg: 1441
NO3: 5 taken Friday (prior to water change)
PO4: .15 taken Friday (prior to water change

light schedule:

11:00am-1200pm (1 Blue+ and 1 Actinic)
12:00pm-6:00pm ( 3 blue+ 2 6500k 1 Coral+ Plus the two above)
6:00pm-7:00pm (1 Blue+ and 1 actinic)

Feed: Mix of pellets in the auto feeder 3x/day (TDO, PE mysis, TheraA, Algaemax)

Daily -
Either reef frenzy
or
1 cubeFrozen PE mysis + 1 cube spirulina brine shrimp
 

Hemmdog

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Current parameters:

Temp: 77.3-77.8 (77.5 current)
pH: 8.05 (8.3 during the day)
Alk: 8.51
Ca: 466
Mg: 1441
NO3: 5 taken Friday (prior to water change)
PO4: .15 taken Friday (prior to water change

light schedule:

11:00am-1200pm (1 Blue+ and 1 Actinic)
12:00pm-6:00pm ( 3 blue+ 2 6500k 1 Coral+ Plus the two above)
6:00pm-7:00pm (1 Blue+ and 1 actinic)

Feed: Mix of pellets in the auto feeder 3x/day (TDO, PE mysis, TheraA, Algaemax)

Daily -
Either reef frenzy
or
1 cubeFrozen PE mysis + 1 cube spirulina brine shrimp
Is there a way you could feed more frozen and eliminate the pellets?
 

Hemmdog

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I probably could. Is this because pellets are higher in phosphates or the smaller particles for the corals?
The phosphate is my concern. Great build thread though! Here to help if you need it. :)
 

PilotOfSubmarines

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Great write-up! I'm surprised you didn't get good flow with the (2) MP40's. I have one on each end in my Waterbox 220.6 and even in the middle bottom I get strong side-to-side flow. (with a lot of rock)

Keep this thread going!
 
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Dsantamaria29

Dsantamaria29

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Great write-up! I'm surprised you didn't get good flow with the (2) MP40's. I have one on each end in my Waterbox 220.6 and even in the middle bottom I get strong side-to-side flow. (with a lot of rock)

Keep this thread going!
It totally may have been the way I ran them. I ran them on reefcrest at 80%. I wouldn't say that the flow was terrible at all but I wanted a bit more. I also went with mp60s in the hopes that in the future this tank will be full of corals. Wishful thinking at this point haha
 
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Dsantamaria29

Dsantamaria29

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Here’s an update with a current tank shot. I’m continuing my issue with cyano again as well as some GHA, likely related to unstable nutrients. As you can see this coral has some tip death as well as some stn at the base. This is the issue I’ve had with the corals that have died.

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lpsouth1978

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It totally may have been the way I ran them. I ran them on reefcrest at 80%. I wouldn't say that the flow was terrible at all but I wanted a bit more. I also went with mp60s in the hopes that in the future this tank will be full of corals. Wishful thinking at this point haha
I run a pair of MP40's on my 75, so I plan to use 4 of them on my 230.6. It is currently sitting empty, but I hope to have water in it in the next week or so. I am just waiting on the last of the rock to ship so I can get the scape done.

Love the tank and scape. Hopefully you can get a handle on the nutrients and save those SPS soon. Keep us updated.
 
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Dsantamaria29

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Little update on the current happenings,

April 17 - I purchased an SB reef lights sBAR to attach to the Apex to add some blue to my T5s. Following the wiring instructions I wired it up and attached it to the Apex RJ45. For some reason the dimmer was sending power to the Apex board and caused the Apex to overheat, melting one of the resistors. I pulled the wires and unplugged everything from the apex. It was very warm and still had smoke coming out of it. I did a factory reset and actually got it working again for the weekend. No issues.

April 20th - Went to work at 7 pm. After walking into work I started to get wonky readings from the APEX. I called my GF to have her make sure the thing wasn't burning down. She looked at it and said it was fine. All of a sudden she told me "It's got no power now." I immediately got into contact with the owner of my LFS to see if he would open and sell me a new apex brain. Luckily he was able to and I had the GF run and grab it. Now the tricky part was to explain to her how to get it hooked up and running with the internet which didn't take her too much time at all!. I walked her thought installing the backup file which went fine until it mislabeled the modules and caused havoc. I again had to have her restart it and reinstall it and physically reprogrammed all the plugs

Earlier this week I was looking at the tank and noticed these weird little white things that shoot out of the rocks around my corals. I have now identified them as some form of hydroid. I ordered some Fenbendazole per a thread I found and will attempt to kill the buggers.
 
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Dsantamaria29

Dsantamaria29

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Little update.

I started to have some worsening bleaching / STN with the corals. I decided to up the filtration which allows me to up the input of nutrients. I added an ATS as well as a Klir Di-7. I also started my skimmer back up and started to run carbon. To counteract this I have started to feed more, including AB+. Ive put my PO4 back on a pump to try to maintain ~ 0.1. I have been measuring nightly. The plan is to do this and continue feeding until my feeding cycle can maintain the levels I want and gradually back off dosing.

I have also been watching my Nitrates as they seemed low. I initially started to dose via KNO3 however I feel the AB+ is raising the levels well so I decided to shut that dose down.

I also changed some bulbs around and cut my light cycle. Previously I was running:

(2) 6500K,
(4) Blue+
(1) actinic,
(1) Coral+

I have since changed to

(2)6500K
(2) Blue +
(2) Actinic
(2) Coral plus

Lots of white light. Not sure how this will impact the corals however I am running the actinic bulbs 8 hrs / day and the rest 3.5 hrs / day. I cut the main lighting cycle for now due to Algae / coral stress.

One other note: covering my bases I checked my salinity and found it to be 1.028-1.029. My apex however reads 35.4 PPT. I double checked my salinity with a Milwaukee refractometer and found that also read 1.028. Plan is to use lower salinity water changes to slowly bring it down to match the Milwaukee / refractometer.
 
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Dsantamaria29

Dsantamaria29

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I decided to do an ICP test due to the issues with corals I have had. The test showed an elevated Tin (18 mcg/l) and Aluminum (4 mcg/l). I checked all my equipment for rust and found that my TLF veggie mag had rusted and was disintegrating. I checked the rest of my equipment and other than some rusted hinges on the stand door I didn't find anything else rusting. I did some research and found that anecdotally people with these clips have also experienced the same issues with STN that I have. I am hoping that after some water changes and time my tank will make a turn around for the better!
 
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