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First build: 68 gal CADlights Mixed Reef

Gcowles

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This summer I purchased a 68 gal CADlights tank with all the equipment for $1100 on Craigslist. I just started the tank up at the beginning of November.

My equipment:
68 gal CAD lights tank and stand
Trigger Systems 30g ruby pro
Various 6 return pump
MP40
Bubble Magus Curve 7 protein skimmer
Avast Marine Spyglass reactor
AP700 light
Apex Classic
Apex ATO

So far, I’ve got 2 Ocellaris clowns and a few corals. The small ones I got at the LFS and the two larger pieces I also found on Craigslist. I cycled the tank with Dr. Tim’s and it seemed to cycle within a week. Ammonia is at 0, nitrite is 0 and nitrate is at 2. Ive Got GFO in the reactor and will be putting carbon in there too. I’m planning on letting everything run until January before adding anything else. I am planning on running Kalkwasser but need to get the test kits for calcium and magnesium. I haven’t decided what other fish I will get, but would like to get a small yellow tang, at least until he gets too big. I was also thinking of a wrasse of some kind, a goby for the sand and either a few chromosomes or anthias. Would that be too many fish?

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Mastiffsrule

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Sounds like a great build. Post some pics when you can.

I did kalk for years and loved it. I just could never get it dialed in with my mag. You got some nice equipment. Avast makes great stuff

Keep updating
 
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Gcowles

Gcowles

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I’d like to make it a mixed reef. I’ve had the coral for about 2 weeks now and they all look great so far. The Xenia are already getting bigger. Any suggestions on what I should add next? How long does it take to know if the coral is doing well or not. Will you know in the first few weeks?
 

bryanfuel

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I’d like to make it a mixed reef. I’ve had the coral for about 2 weeks now and they all look great so far. The Xenia are already getting bigger. Any suggestions on what I should add next? How long does it take to know if the coral is doing well or not. Will you know in the first few weeks?
You may have heard this already, but be careful with that xenia, it can grow to plague proportions. Pay special attention to the xenia in the time lapse below and notice how many times the owner had to trim it back and how it's always popping up on new rocks.

As for coral health, you'll be able to tell if it's surviving within the first week or two. Whether or not it's thriving will be determined by it's coloration and growth rate which will take longer to notice.

 
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Gcowles

Gcowles

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I’ve got the Xenia on its own rock on the right. Is that good enough to keep it isolated or will it spread to the rest of the rock in the tank?
 

bryanfuel

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I’ve got the Xenia on its own rock on the right. Is that good enough to keep it isolated or will it spread to the rest of the rock in the tank?
Some people have success with that, I've found that they like to have polyps pop up all over the place and not just on the rock they're on. It's definitely a cool coral! I just wish it spread less which isn't something you can say about most coral haha
 
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Gcowles

Gcowles

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Today I built a screen with a window kit from homedepot and a screen from amazon. I tried to build it around the light posts but it wasn’t stable enough. I decided to go straight across and will put thin sheets of acrylic across the ope spots at the back.
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Gcowles

Gcowles

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I added a few more corals today. I got a lot of frags off of a local reefer. I have noticed that there are a lot of very small particulates in the water column. I’ve also got a ton of copepods all over the glass. I moved the mp40 up a little bit to get more surface agitation, and it’s started collecting them at the surface in the corner. I removed a small glass of water and after 45 min the water was clear, with some particulates on the surface and some on the bottom. Are these all copepods and is this normal? Will it clear up soon? I replaced my carbon and am running the skimmer more wet to see if it clears things up. Besides the coral, the only inhabitants are the two clowns and 3 snails.

I was also wondering if I have too much flow in the tank. I’ve got the mp40 on the top left side of the tank. It blows across the middle of the tank and I get water coming back on the sides and at the bottom. I’ve got a few sps, and their polyps have been extended, but is this sufficient flow for them? I have it peaking around 54%. The green star polyps on the bottom are blowing around a lot, and I moved the frogspawn to the sand bed below the mp40 to reduce their flow. B3A69B23-4D9A-4F1B-A1FA-B790C5090750.jpeg A3746F5A-42C9-4781-98AD-06E7B0D2E335.jpeg F4DD152F-F3C7-4EAA-9D79-1EA5E1AEE4D3.png
 

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Gcowles

Gcowles

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Here is an update of the tank. Everything has been going great so far. I haven’t lost a single piece of coral or a fish. All but the initial 6 frags have been bought locally on Craigslist. I was having issues with colors fading on the frogspawn, war coral and the jack o lantern Leptoseris. I moved the Leptoseris and war coral under a ledge where they were shaded, and started adding reef roofs and Red Sea amino acids. Within 2 weeks the colors have all come back and look great! The two heads on the frog spawn has been in the process of splitting into 6 over the past few weeks. And the blue acros which were brown when I got them, have turned a deep blue. I’ve got several new additions, including a green birds nest, RTBA, yellow tang and yesterday just added two Lyretail anthias, which have just gotten out of QT.

Everything has been growing well, but the montipora caps seem to have stunted. Their tips were white and growing, but started growing down and then stopped. I have been having issues with my ATO, as one of the optical sensors went bad, so I think the pH swings slowed things down, but it looks like one of the edges is turning white and growing again. I thought they would really take off but that hasn’t been the case yet. Same with the zoas. My initial 2 have split to 4 in the 4 months I’ve had them.
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Gcowles

Gcowles

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The kalkwasser precipitate has been messing with the optical sensor on the ATO, so I’m switching to 2 part. Increased the calcium from 410 to 450 and seeing an increase in growth. I’m hoping the doser will make things more stable and keep things growing
 
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