First reef - 75 gallon mixed reef

jake royston

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Hello! Finally getting the confidence to start a build thread. I’ve had freshwater aquariums for as long as I can remember. Buying my first house sparked an idea for a bigger tank. Purchased an inexpensive 75 gallon tank and stand combo from pets mart, with the idea of either a tank for some small lake bass or a freshwater planted tank. (Broke down and gave away my old 36 gallon bow front tank with CO2 setup. Then I thought about saltwater (FOWLR) due to the insane colors of marine fish. So I did some digging, found this forum, and decided I’d try my first reef tank! I had little to no idea what I was doing so this whole experience is a “learning tank”

I started with just the tank, and Fluval canister filter.

Ended up ordering the following:
- CaribSea life rock ~ 50 lbs
- CaribSea special grade live sand
- Current USA wavemaker x2 with controller
- AI Prime 16HD x2
- Eheim 300 watt heater
- Reef Octopus Classic 2000 HOB skimmer

Tank was filled and running in mid January 2021 once I moved in. I added a pair of Ocellaris Clowns, and let the tank cycle with microbacter start.
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over the next few months, I added a juvenile blue hippo tang (knowing if this tank became successful at keeping coral, I’d be upgrading to a MUCH larger tank within a year).
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Then came a yellow tang, royal grams, lawnmower blenny, and some corals (all of which died over time, due to not monitoring water quality as much as I should have been).

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After watching the corals die, I became unmotivated, and kinda let the tank ride out for a month or two (also tied up with work and whatnot). In this time, I figured I’d upgrade the flow, and picked up a RedSea Reefwave 45 to add some flow.

pulled the dead corals, and the tank was without coral for about two months. I ended up finding Dinos and cyano in my tank, and small amounts of hair algae. I ordered an array of Hanna test kits (alkalinity, calcium, phosphate and nitrate) as well as a test kit for magnesium. I then began better husbandry of my tank and closely monitoring and adjusting my water chemistry to acceptable levels.

Dr. Tim’s Dino kit got rid of the dinos, and I decided to try ordering some more coral. I put in some soft corals (toadstool leather, Kenya tree, and some GSP).

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Fast forward to last month (June 2020) I still had some small amounts of cyano phosphates fluctuated between .08 and .12, nitrates were around .5 to .25.

I splurged on some upgrades, and changed the following:
- RedSea ReefLED 90 with mounting arm x2
- ecotech vortech MP40 x2
- InkBird temperature controller with 300 watt titanium heating element
- Par meter
- plumbing supplies for my 75 gallon water storage tank
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I added a coral beauty angel into the tank about a week prior to these upgrades. After the upgrades, I began to notice the blue hippo flashing. Also saw those dreaded white spots on him and the coral beauty. So, I got to rip all the rocks out, scrub them down in a bucket of clean saltwater (might as well since I had the tank apart) get all the fish out and start treatment. I couldn’t remember where the rocks went, so I re-scaped. Here is the tank after.

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I still have a few different zoanthids that have made it through this whole journey that are alive and well. I have hornet zoas, magician zoas, superstar zoas, and a mystery zoa (I think WWC blue eyed girls zoas). They were all grey when I got them and are now starting to show some color, and they were a free frag that wasn’t listed in my order.

I set up a QT tank, and I am currently 5 days into copper treatment.
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Since the reset I have added a few more corals.
- Black torch won in POTO’s live sale for Independence Day
- neon bicolor hammer (which has been mostly grey with a hint of green on the stalks since I got it. Supposed to be purple tips and green stalks).
- neon green gioni
- pink tipped aussi elegance


More to come!

My current parameters:
Salinity - 35ppt
Temp - 78
Ph- 8.2
Alk - 8
Calc- 440
Mag - 1300
Phos- .12
Nitrate - 3.75 ECFA3CAD-AD4A-44C5-BBBD-75EFB451ECC0.jpeg F3EC7053-8432-4188-91B6-A90B4FD9246D.jpeg 6678117A-ACB4-49C9-99C6-6BE7542F6367.jpeg C6FF92FC-8D1B-48A6-B938-B750C5FD3298.jpeg 80B16AE1-7E5E-4B67-AE1F-6BCAA6C5D323.jpeg
 
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vetteguy53081

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Good thread and one that will sure get you a badge

@Peace River
 
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jake royston

jake royston

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Added a refugium today.
- Aquamax HOB refugium
- Algae arn ceramic bio cubes x12 (for extra bio filtration and home for the copepods
- 5280 pods
- Algae Barn clean chaeto
- Tunze refugium

Had to relocate the sensor and mount for the fill hose for my tunze ATO but it fit perfectly!
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I really need to get an ATO reservoir to replace the old salt bucket. I’ve got my eye on the trigger systems 10 gallon.

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Fits nicely!

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jake royston

jake royston

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This weeks project is complete! I finally made myself a salt mixing/water change station.
Used my existing 75 gallon water storage tank, and the stand I built from 2x4’s I had left over from renovations on the house. Ordered some 1” schedule 80 plumbing components, sicce synchra SDC 7.0 pump, automatic hose reel, water filter with 1” npt input and output, 5 micron sediment filters, and got to work little by little over the last week or so.

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Drilled the top of the tank and installed a 1” bulkhead, float switch for the RODI inlet, and some pvc with an elbow inside the tank for circulation.
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The hardest part was figuring out where to mount the filter and hose reel. Some leftover plywood from my kitchen cabinets came in handy! Mounted the hose reel next to the tank and the filter in the corner behind the hose reel.
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Finally came dry fitting the plumbing and getting everything cemented together.
Tested for leaks, made one fix, and were done!
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Pump works flawlessly and the wifi feature means no walking back and forth to the garage to turn the water on and off!
 
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jake royston

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Testing water today:
Alk - 8
Calc - 440
Mag - 1350
Phos - .10
Nitrate - 1.8

my phosphate levels haven’t dropped below .8 from what I’ve seen. Two days ago my nitrate tested at .01. I fed the corals and ghost fed (tank is fallow, fish are in QT due to an ich outbreak) and retested today at the above parameters.

I’m currently getting rid of the latest cyano bloom with dr Tim’s waste away gel. (Side note, I beat dinos with the liquid waste away and refresh combo, but failed to take off the shrink wrap on the gel tab so cyano made a reappearance. Phos and nitrate have not seemed to be affected much after I corrected this mistake last weekend) and have some GHA on the rock work also. My two hammers, torch, and gioni are shriveled. Not showing skeleton, but pretty close. Zoas are all doing fine.
Tank has a few snails and hermit crabs.

Should I try to knock down the phosphate with some phosphate removal media or just let it ride out?
 
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jake royston

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A little update:

did some reorganization yesterday to make some space for what ups is delivering tomorrow. Let’s just say it’s going to make keeping an eye on water parameters far easier for me.

I do seek a little advice. Here’s current numbers from last night:
Salinity: 35ppt (refractometer)
Alk: 8 dkh (Hanna)
Calc: 417 (Hanna)
Mag: 1260 (Salifert)
Phos: .09 (Hanna)
Nitrate: 1.85 (Hanna)

I added a couple coral frags on Tuesday. Neon frogspawn, pocillopora, alpha omega zoa, and frosted tips Acan.

my issue is with my euphyllia. They extend a bit, but seem a bit shy. I’ve always seemed to struggle with PE. Taking a look at flow last week I realized it was maybe a bit much. I was running the new MP40’s in reef crest, anti synced at 35%. I was looking at the calculator on ecotechs site and turned the power down to 27% two days ago. May still turn it down some if it may help. The Acan and pocillopora looks great, but everything else seems a Any input is appreciated! Only thing I can think of was salinity was a tad high 36-37 ppt earlier this week, and was brought back down to 35 over a couple days.

The gioni has been in my tank for about a month, and hasn’t really extended fully. It pokes through about 1/4” at night but shrinks back up before the lights kick on.
I moved it to a lower light area (80-90 par) Last week to see how it does, but still no improvement.
Torch, hammers and frogspawn all getting between 85-130 par.

Also, wanted to add that I have seeded the tank with bottled coralline algae twice now. I had a few small spots grow on the old reef wave before I removed it, has not grown on rocks or glass that I have noticed. Alkalinity, calcium and magnesium have been relatively stable for the past 3-4 months, alk varying no more than .3, calc b/t 415-440, and mag b/t 1250-1350.



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Gold hammer has been in the tank about 3 weeks.
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this is the most the Goni opens
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ARE YOU USING LIVE FOOD TO NOURISH YOUR TANK? (TELL US WHY OR WHY NOT IN THE COMMENTS!)

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