First large tank build! 240g 8'x2'x2' acrylic mixed reef w/ DIY stand and canopy

OP
i_declare_bankruptcy

i_declare_bankruptcy

out of control
View Badges
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
Messages
718
Reaction score
1,152
Location
SoCal
Just about everyone made it in -- I lost one chalk bass. Was very young and I believe couldn't handle the shipping stress. It passed as I added to the tank, but all other fish had an essentially stress-free transition. Pretty sad and I hate seeing fish die; he was still able to provide to the ecosystem for the anemones. I'd much rather recycle the nutrients vs wasting them in a landfill. I was accidentally sent two clownfish, which means a total of three in the tank. Fortunately they are very young and not fighting yet since the existing female is much larger -- this just means I'll have to have a little clown harem :)

I was also sent a 'normal' sailfin tang instead of a desjardini so I'll need to rectify that but he's a beautiful specimen regardless. Actually I think it is a Desjardini but very young and therefore hard to tell. I'll post a pic soon.

The triggerfish have already chosen a cave together and they're quickly becoming my favorite fish! I'll post pics once everyone is past the shy phase. I ordered:

M&F Blue Throat Triggerfish
Desjardini Tang
1 Ocellaris clown (got two oops)
1 Lamark's Angel
5 Chalk Bass (sadly one didn't make it)
 
Last edited:
Top Shelf Aquatics

fishguy242

Cronies
View Badges
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
23,802
Reaction score
125,534
Location
southern il
hi ,i looks great.. :cool: i meant to come back ,on the fine scratches ,try a magic eraser,have seen take out scuff marks..;)
now i'm waitin for the rss pic's...;Wideyed:cool:
 

Skynyrd Fish

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 18, 2013
Messages
1,977
Reaction score
4,738
Location
Beverly Hills MI
Nice setup. my Tanks acrylic. It’s been up 21 years. I use a micro fiber towel on the outside then the magnet. That felt is crap. I also use the cover from a dobi pad on the inside. I spray the out side with brillianze plastic polish before I use the magnets. This will help prevent scratches, and will clean fine ones up over time. I use a hammerhead magnet. Also don’t get any gravel in the wet side or you will scratch the living crap out of the tank. I have a one inch band of coralline before the gravel. You can hide this with a piece of removable trim. Cleaning this area will cause scratching. I will go bare bottom next time for sure. Camper truck bed is cool.
 
OP
i_declare_bankruptcy

i_declare_bankruptcy

out of control
View Badges
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
Messages
718
Reaction score
1,152
Location
SoCal
Hey guys I really appreciate the tips! I'm going to give all that a go. I definitely have a 1-2" band of algae on the bottom because I'm scared of the sand but I'm cool with it; I agree I'd rather not scratch the crap out of the tank.

I've been feeling pretty odd about the tank lately. I almost regret going with acrylic because of the scratching. I think this is something that wouldn't be a big deal if I had the time to invest in extra careful maintenance, but my career is just taking off and I'm pretty involved with my job. I need to surf after hours to maintain my mental health (what about if I ever find a girl), and while reef tanks are a big part of my life and a passion, I find myself cleaning the acrylic less often because of the amount of extra time it takes to be careful with the tank. Quick swipes with a magnet cleaner get deferred to weekends where I can take my time to be scratch free. It's no doubt way better looking than glass -- amazingly clear -- I'm just having a bit of buyer's remorse right now.

To be clear I did not commit to something I don't have time for -- the animals' health is always first and foremost and I will not let that fall by the wayside; it's just the extra oomph that an acrylic tank needs that is bothering me a bit right now.

These are things I suppose I'll have to adjust to, but just feeling a bit weird about my investment right now.
 

fishguy242

Cronies
View Badges
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
23,802
Reaction score
125,534
Location
southern il
hey...in couple years..not even going to see scratches..looking rt through..purdy!!!.. ;) :cool:
WP_20160312_009 (1).jpg
WP_20160809_007.jpg

these pics are at approx 8+ years...and yes lots of scratches, not first thing you'll see..:cool:
 
Fritz
OP
i_declare_bankruptcy

i_declare_bankruptcy

out of control
View Badges
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
Messages
718
Reaction score
1,152
Location
SoCal
Lost the Lamarck angel today. Was a tiny fish, maybe 1-1.25” at best; I had my suspicions about its survival in a bigger tank with higher flow and sadly those suspicions were correct. I think this particular fish was waaaaaay too young to be confidently sold and transported across the country. I should have noted this when receiving it instead of acclimating and introducing to the tank.

Also the desjsrdini (or sailfin can’t tell) is pretty thin and I can’t get it to eat. I’ve been dumping rods omnivore and vegetarian mixes into the tank and keeping nori sheets on a clip hoping it’s at least picking up scraps. I can see it peck at rocks occasionally but I really want to get it back to a healthy weight.

unfortunately I think this will be my first and last order with Dr Reef. Very nice guy but I don’t think this particular process works out for me. I think I’ll go back to ordering from TSM Aquatics and/or buying locally and doing observational quarantine, as painstaking as it is.

I’ve exclusively purchased fish through them for the past 1-2 years and still have all of those fish; they are fat and healthy. I purposely bought a tiny, tiny blue tang from them (had a smaller tank) about 2 years ago but it still arrived with decent weight and acclimated well to the tank. Now it’s 4”+ and quite fat. If only I could get it to stop attacking its reflection....

Anyways, bummer today for sure. When I purchase any animal, especially non captive bred fish, I take their survival seriously. We are taking from the ocean and that is no light thing.
 
OP
i_declare_bankruptcy

i_declare_bankruptcy

out of control
View Badges
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
Messages
718
Reaction score
1,152
Location
SoCal
Looks like I’m going to lose the sailfin tonight. I just can’t get him to eat. I’ve tried several different kinds of foods and methods — all of which my other two tangs go nuts for — broadcast and target fed, etc etc. No luck. Zero interest in food, doesn’t even perk up to it — but still evasive. He looked healthy in the bag when I received him but after releasing into the tank I noticed how thin he was. To be honest I’m unsure how the seller had him eating (seller lists what they feed; I matched it with no luck). I wonder if the seller tried to feed after the medication course ended or just shipped him right away.

Some of this is my fault, I suppose I could have tried a couple more feeding methods or maybe there was something I could’ve done differently during acclimation. However I’ve had no issues with overnighted fish from TSM, even
little fire fish were just fine and eating happily.

I think there are two factors at play (and these are just my opinions)

1) conditioning fish by shotgunning them with meds does more harm than good (thinking about this from the gut health standpoint — we don’t do this to humans, dogs, other organisms)
2) a period of observation is critical for a reputable seller that’s going to charge extra for fish — and I don’t believe you get that with the shotgun med approach

Of course these are conclusions drawn from one experience, but to go from having no problems with TSM to getting fish from a different seller and having 3 losses is unsettling.

I will stick to ordering from TSM and/or buying locally and doing observational QT (PITA). Everything I’ve said is debatable I’m sure but we all have to develop our own methods and I think this will be mine. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

New&no clue

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
9,734
When you've ordered from TSM in the past, what was your acclimation process? I recently placed an order with them and was told that they ship in 1.021 salinity. My DT is 1.025-1.026. Typically when I buy fish, I have my QT match the salinity the fish was currently in and slowly brought it up to match my DT over a couple of weeks while observing and medicating. I'm concerned about the big jump if I add directly to the DT. I was wondering if you've had any problems.
 

fishguy242

Cronies
View Badges
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
23,802
Reaction score
125,534
Location
southern il
When you've ordered from TSM in the past, what was your acclimation process? I recently placed an order with them and was told that they ship in 1.021 salinity. My DT is 1.025-1.026. Typically when I buy fish, I have my QT match the salinity the fish was currently in and slowly brought it up to match my DT over a couple of weeks while observing and medicating. I'm concerned about the big jump if I add directly to the DT. I was wondering if you've had any problems.
hi,are you saying adding directly to dt on delivery??
 
OP
i_declare_bankruptcy

i_declare_bankruptcy

out of control
View Badges
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
Messages
718
Reaction score
1,152
Location
SoCal
When you've ordered from TSM in the past, what was your acclimation process? I recently placed an order with them and was told that they ship in 1.021 salinity. My DT is 1.025-1.026. Typically when I buy fish, I have my QT match the salinity the fish was currently in and slowly brought it up to match my DT over a couple of weeks while observing and medicating. I'm concerned about the big jump if I add directly to the DT. I was wondering if you've had any problems.
I've never had an issue with this process:

Temp acclimate the fish
Put fish in bucket (make sure there's enough of their water or you might need to use a smaller container)
Check salinity
Salinity more than 1-2ppt off? -> drip acclimate, also use a container to remove and add more of your tank water to the bucket as well (especially if it's really off)
Salinity less than 1-2ppt off? -> add to tank unless fish looks unusually stressed then maybe consider QT

This has worked well for me in the past. I try not to drip fish for over 45 minutes; if the water is 1.021 I try to get it to 1.024-1.025 (depends on your tank salinity) within an hour at latest. Perhaps if you had a really sensitive fish you could temperature match the water and do a super long acclimation but that seems excessive; I've not had issues with my method with run of the mill hardy reef fish -- unless they don't come in healthy or they're not eating and emaciated, like I experienced this week.
 

New&no clue

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
9,734
hi,are you saying adding directly to dt on delivery??

sorry thought was different thread ..;Facepalmbut.. still legit question..;):)
Yes, as they were QT there I was hoping to add them in, but I don't want to shock them.

I've never had an issue with this process:

Temp acclimate the fish
Put fish in bucket (make sure there's enough of their water or you might need to use a smaller container)
Check salinity
Salinity more than 1-2ppt off? -> drip acclimate, also use a container to remove and add more of your tank water to the bucket as well (especially if it's really off)
Salinity less than 1-2ppt off? -> add to tank unless fish looks unusually stressed then maybe consider QT

This has worked well for me in the past. I try not to drip fish for over 45 minutes; if the water is 1.021 I try to get it to 1.024-1.025 (depends on your tank salinity) within an hour at latest. Perhaps if you had a really sensitive fish you could temperature match the water and do a super long acclimation but that seems excessive; I've not had issues with my method with run of the mill hardy reef fish -- unless they don't come in healthy or they're not eating and emaciated, like I experienced this week.
I actually read some more and it looks like they keep them at 1.025 and ship at that too. I'm not sure why the rep said 1.021.
 
Maxout
OP
i_declare_bankruptcy

i_declare_bankruptcy

out of control
View Badges
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
Messages
718
Reaction score
1,152
Location
SoCal
Yes, as they were QT there I was hoping to add them in, but I don't want to shock them.


I actually read some more and it looks like they keep them at 1.025 and ship at that too. I'm not sure why the rep said 1.021.
I'd be surprised if they did that to be honest. That's a lot of money in salt for fish that don't need that salt lol! I would expect / be prepared for 1.021-1.022. I can't remember what the last batch from them measured at since it was well over a year ago. Good luck with your order! TSM is great to work with :)
 
OP
i_declare_bankruptcy

i_declare_bankruptcy

out of control
View Badges
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
Messages
718
Reaction score
1,152
Location
SoCal
Been a while since I've posted an update. I wanted to express my frustrations with the fish order I previously mentioned. I've lost the majority of the fish in this order; the surviving fish are: 2 clowns, male bluethroat trigger, 1 chalk bass. The other fish slowly withered away -- some were eating, some weren't but they all exhibited the same pattern of 'woozy' behavior, which I obviously couldn't tell in the bag, but once introduced it became apparent after observing for a few days. I previously stated the specimens looked beautiful -- it had been a while since I've seen fish so I think I was excited (you know, with covid shutting everything down). In reality most of them were emaciated except for the clowns and triggers. The tang and angelfish were WAY too young/small to be shipped across the country, much less sold as pre-treated and nearly ready to go.

Now the male bluethroat has ick and is exhibiting some of the same woozy swimming behavior the other newly received fish showed. I don't claim to have an ich-free tank but my existing fish are extremely healthy and fat, with zero signs of ick on them; I think the bluethroat either came with it or is unhealthy and unable to fight it off. Fortunately he eats like a pig and I'm hoping with selcon and lots of food I can get him to pull through. So far he seems to have a good handle on it. I have a hospital setup in case things go south but I'm not convinced I'll be able to get him out of this big tank until he's weak.

I understand that purchasing 'conditioned' fish (seller's words) isn't a guarantee -- and I don't expect that. Everyone has to strike the right balance with quarantined animals. My train of thought at the time was prophylactic treatment + ich management. However, according to the seller, their conditioned fish are observed for a week prior to shipment. If that was the case, I simply can't imagine why they would ship those fish to me in good conscience, especially the tiny, skinny angel and tang.

It's certainly possible there's something up with my tank, chemistry, stray voltage, something. I'm not putting myself out of question here, but I'm also extremely skeptical of receiving an expensive order of many fish and only a handful of them surviving while my existing fish are swimming around happy and healthy in the same environment, eating the same food, etc. It's a peaceful, big tank with not many fish in it and tons of rock and hiding places.

I think I'm going to stick with TSM. Maybe I can buy from other hobbyists with known healthy tanks too. I don't mind a kind of observational QT but I'm also not convinced a full-quarantine-hazmat-suit approach is right for me or the fish either.
 

What percentage of blue versus white lighting do you think makes the best coral growth combo?

  • All Blue

    Votes: 16 2.6%
  • Mostly Blue

    Votes: 388 62.8%
  • Even Balance

    Votes: 158 25.6%
  • Mostly White

    Votes: 46 7.4%
  • All White

    Votes: 1 0.2%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 9 1.5%
MAXSPECT
Top