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Flux Capacitor's 525XL

Flux Capacitor

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A few months ago I posted about getting some suggestions on how to prepare a new house build for our new tank. Well we finished building our new house, and moved in about a month ago now. I did take some of the suggestions, but the builder was unable to accommodate the drain in the floor. For those of you who didn’t read that post the tank is on the second level in a loft area. I had them run a 1.5” pvc pipe to the basement that was going to be used as a water change pipe, however I have since changed my tank plans. I am going to run the ATI essentials program, since triton is never available to purchase, which won’t require as many water changes as originally planned. The good news is the piping is there should I change my mind.

The tank is a Reefer 525XL. I ordered it before we moved to make sure we had it on hand to be setup right away. The tank has been up about 3 weeks now, and has completed its cycle. All of our fish, which got to live in some smaller tanks on the kitchen counter for a few weeks (shout out to the fiancé for letting that happen), are now in the tank. I’m going for an SPS tank, so hopefully I can achieve what some of the greats have before me.

Equipment List:

Nyos 160 Skimmer

2 MP40QD

Vectra M1 Return Pump

2 Eheim 200w heaters

ATI Sunpower 6 Bulb running 2 C+, 3B+, and one P+

Mars Hydra Grow 300w Light for the fuge

Tunze 3155 ATO with a 30 gallon brute in the basement for the resovour. I use a LiterMeter LM3 to pump the water up to the tank. Works like a charm

Apex gold system

2 DOS pumps for dosing the ATI essentials, I haven’t hooked this up yet, but that’s coming soon.

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Flux Capacitor

Flux Capacitor

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Thanks! I used Two Little Fishies Stax Rock. I really like the stuff. Created a lot of ledges for coral placement.

I also used reefflakes for the sand, I have to say the stuff is amazing. I have my MP40s at 60% and not a single piece of sand seems to have moved. So if anyone is on the fence about sand that handles high flow, I give this stuff two thumbs up.

I just ordered some cheato and pods from Algae Barn, those should show up in a day or two. I’ll get some pictures when that stuff shows up.
 
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Flux Capacitor

Flux Capacitor

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Current fish list:

1 DaVinci Clown (had two, one died about a year ago now, and I plan on getting another one)

1 Blue Tang

1 Yellow Tang

2 Female Lyretail Anthias, and 1 Male

1 Cleaner Shrimp

I’ll see if I can get some pictures of them later today.
 
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Flux Capacitor

Flux Capacitor

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Received my package from @AlgaeBarn really fast! Actually about 30 hours from when I placed my order. Thanks guys!

The pods were all swimming around, and Chaeto looked great. I put them in end if last week, and so far so good. The pods are doing good. I see them on the glass now and again. The cheato hasn’t done anything yet, but I’m expecting it to get going soon.

Here’s a sump picture update for the build:

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Flux Capacitor

Flux Capacitor

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Its been a long while since I have posted any updates. Moving, and finishing up the planning for our upcoming wedding has taken over any free time I have had outside of work. The fish are are doing great! The tank has settled in, and the ugly stages have subsided. Its time to start looking for some new corals. Right now I just have a Toadstool Leather and a few heads of Frogspawn from my old setup. Here is some updated photos

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Flux Capacitor

Flux Capacitor

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Inspired by today’s alert about build threads, and my new found free time with Covid, it’s time to update mine, and hopefully fill it with a bunch of photos. It has been an uphill battle ever since I put this tank up, and I think I’m finally turning a corner. So to start with I’ll show you the changes the tank has been through.

Back in December of 2018 I was having a hard time getting Chaeto to grow. The Chaeto would just melt away, and flow right through the egg crate. I reached out to @octoaquatics and he helped me Design a baffle for the 525 sump to accommodate a better refugium. The new baffle has been great since the day I put it in, however I still struggled with growing the Cheato, until one day the Mars Hydra Grow shorted out. I decided to upgrade to a Kessil H380, and let me tell you it has made a massive difference in the Cheato. It is now about the size of 2 footballs, and I pull out about half of that every few weeks.

Here are some photos some time not long after I put it in:
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Flux Capacitor

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Soon after the upgrade of the refugium the tank had been up and running a few months, so time to try some new corals. Here is where the struggle really started. I put in some test corals, did a drip acclimation, dipped them, and then placed the corals in a frag rack. Everything was fine for about 1 week, polyp extension was great, colors were great, then the STN started. It started at the bases of each coral over the next few days. I didn’t take any drastic measures, I wanted to give everything a fighting chance. So I started with water parameters. Everything seemed in order Alk 7.5, Cal 420-440, Mag 1350-1370, No3 .50 ppm, Po4 .03-.06, salt 35 ppt. I was checking everything about every 2 days to see if any parameter changed drastically. Nope everything was fine. After about a month, everything had completely STN, I couldn’t explain what was happening, I did try to save a few corals by cutting them well above the dead tissue, but they didn’t work either.

I read on the forums here that people were having problems with dry rock, and getting corals to survive. Everyone seemed to think maturity was part of the issue. The tank I had before was started from rock that was years old, and I had great success. So I figured it sounds good that has to be my issue. So what to do from here. I decided well maybe I need more bacteria, or more life. I got a few packs of prodibio, and ordered some pods from algaebarn, added them to the tank, and waited. My tank actually went through another diatom stage while using the prodibio, so everything seemed to make sense that I just needed more time.

Fast forward to July of 2019, coraline has really started to take off in the tank, I saw a lot more sponges, the pod population was looking stellar, time for another go. I added some stylos, digis, and a green slimmer. Again things started off great, everything looked happy, and then around 2 weeks later STN was back. I checked all parameters, and everything again was back in order. Numbers almost identical to before. Maybe it was trying to use ATI essentials, and no water changes. Maybe I just needed more time? Well that’s what I did, more time. I was still dosing prodibio, I decided to change, maybe add some different strains of bacteria, so I got some microbactor 7. I also ditched the ATI essentials, and went with BRS 2-part.

I gave it another few months, and tried again. Guess what? Same results. STN after a few weeks, and then all dead. I started to think about tearing it down, and starting over. Maybe it was a screw that got dropped in the sand? Although the ATI ICP results didn’t show anything metals or anything. Maybe it was my test kits? I decided to purchase a trident for the big 3 testing. I was using Hanna before, and I still do for PO4 with their ULR tester, but I ordered new reagent. I also got a Red Sea No3 test kit. Well guess what? I got different results with the trident, and new kits. To start with the Trident results, I was getting Alk 9.9, Cal 360-370, and Mag 1150-1170. I corrected everything back to what I was shooting for, and it has held about as rock solid as you can get since then.

Then I tested Po4, and No3 with the new kits. Both were bottomed out at 0, so I adjusted my fuge light, and gave it some time. I also switched to feeding the fish pellets, and a mix of frozen foods, to try to bring up my nutrients. This got me thinking about why I was having trouble with the corals before, so I started doing some digging. I read a lot about having low nutrients , and higher Alk being an issue. I decided to go back to the tried and true water changes. I set up an automatic system with the DOS, and it changes 1.5 gallons a day. I have it set to remove the 1.5 first then add back the 1.5 all happening in the middle of the night, instead of a constant change. Back to giving the tank more time, I stopped dosing bacteria, and just let the tank be.

Present day, I do have a little hair algae, but it seems to be getting better, and I see my tangs gobbling it up throughout the day, so I think it will be gone in a short time. Now the good news, so far, I added some new test corals a little over month ago, and this time success! I hope this post doesn’t jinx it, but everything is looking great, and it is incrusting over the super glue holding them in place. This has been quite the battle, compared to my last tank that would grow literally anything I put in it.
 
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Flux Capacitor

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Things have settled in nicely for my tank. Everything is encrusting, the little hair algae outbreak I had us receding. So with everything going great, of course that means more tinkering. Maybe one day I’ll learn to just leave well enough alone. However, I think this will be a good change. After doing a lot of research over the last few weeks I have settled on in on 4 Radion XR-15 Pros for the job. Hopefully I don’t get a set back, I’m gonna take things slow with acclimation in hopes my corals react positively. I was able to find 2 XR15s from a local shop. I’m going to be adding 2 more as soon as I can get my hands on them.

Here’s a photo of the 2 hanging for now:

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Flux Capacitor

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Well a little bit of bad news, followed by a little bit of exciting news.

So for the bad news:

My tank needs to be replaced, a few days ago I noticed an air bubble in the silicone on the back right corner of the tank. At first I wasn't sure that the bubble was an issue, since it is in the middle of the seal. I decided to contact Red Sea about a warranty issue, and after a few days of sending them some information and some photos and videos, they have decided to replace the tank. I have to say dealing with them has been such an easy process, and they have exceeded my expectations!

I will still keep my sump, and piping so not much will change there. Since the tank is on the second level of my house, obviously leaks are a major consideration and that means this tank will be torn down and rebuilt. Sad thing is I feel like my tank was just kind of starting to show so maturity, however I haven't been too happy with my rock scape, and I have a ton of vermid snails all over.

So the little bit of exciting news:

With all that said above, my wife has given me the ok to do a new aquascape, along with new sand. I haven't fully decided what I want to do, just today I watched the BRS video about how to make a NSA scape, and it has me very interested. I am also considering Tampa Bay live rock, I just don't know if that is the right call with all the pests that are possible. I have had some tanks in the past that have been major disasters with pests, and I'd really like to avoid that if possible, but I also have had the troubles with using dry rock. I have a few weeks to figure this out while they ship my new tank, so that's a little comforting.

Any suggestions for a reboot? What rock would you use?
 

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