Geezer's (Mostly) SPS Reef

ReefGeezer

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As usual I'm late to the party. I started this tank if February of 2017. It initially looked like this.
Tank - Rocks 11-2-17.jpg


It is a 90 Gallon DFW Reef Ready Tank on a Black Oak Stand with a matching 12" Canopy. As soon as I started putting rocks in it, I regretted the big center overflow partition, but it was too late. The remaining equipment was taken from a recently torn down 75 gallon that had suffered through much of my learning curve. It included:
1. A 16.5" X 30" DIY two-bay sump;
2. An oldie but goodie Reef Octopus NWS 150 Recirculating Skimmer with a 500 gph DC Feed Pump ;
3. Two well used Jebao RW4 wave making pumps; and
4. A DIY gravity fed, level switch/solenoid controlled ATO, with a 30 Gallon Brute Reservoir.

I really didn't want to create or maintain a bunch of systems to manage nutrients. No refugiums, reactors, scrubbers, or etc. were include in the build. I intended to make a basic old school Berlin Method system work. The plan was to muscle through nutrient control in the ugly stages until the organisms in the tank could do it on their own.

I added two Rapid LED Onyx light fixtures totaling 96 Watts, a used Ecotec MP40, and a new 700 gph Sicce Return Pump to get the thing started.

My goal was to create a system that I could afford to operate that would eventually support SPS corals. The system also had to be able to maintain itself for at least 10 days at a time as I am required to be away from time to time.

The rock is a mixture of rock from the old 75 and some new dry Fiji rock I purchased for the new start-up. It total there is about 70 lbs. All the rocks were acid bathed, then cured in a vat and treated wit Lanthanum Chloride until it no longer leached phosphates.

The tank was cycled with ammonium chloride and patience. The first fish were a couple of Percula Clowns for the Grand Kids. I'm looking for more pictures from the last two years. I'll post them as I find them.
 
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Peace River

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Nice start! This thread will be a great place to have your pictures all in one place. I look forward to seeing more pictures!
 
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ReefGeezer

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While I'm looking for pictures, here's the tank today...
20200121_182011_resized.jpg

It's still basically a Berlin Method system. Phosphates stay between 0 to .06 ppm. Nitrates are barely detectable via a Salifert kit. There are a lot of sponges and stuff on the undersides on the rocks and they and the corals are starting to recycle a lot of nutrients. Yea, there are some Vermited Snails too. I feed a lot, Rod's food, Mysis, Nori, Gut loaded Brine, and whatever looks good at Whole Foods.

The tank has gone through Fuzzy Cyano, then hair algae then Red Cyano going on. I used a few things to keep those pests under control. I ran GFO and carbon dosed for a while, used Chemiclean once, and am still using Vibrant at a maintenance dose. I have a little Cyano and hair algae now, but am not currently doing anything to control it.

I added a dosing pump to dose Kalk. That kept up with alk for a while. I got tired of mixing it though as the tank was going through 5 gallons a week just to maintain alk. I switched to Randy's two part. That was ok for a while but eventually became a pain. The corals are using nearly 2 dKh a day now, and it's time to start adding more. I,mdialing in a calcium reactor now.
 
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ReefGeezer

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Looking great! That monti is amazing!

Thanks. I found a January 2018 picture of the same Monti when I first got it. I've fragged it a bunch of times.
It's like a weed. There are even a couple small colonies in the tank that sprouted from accidental frags I didn't bother picking up. Man, I forgot how new the tank was then. Neither of the Chromis pictured are in the tank now. The Blue Chromis went carpet surfing and I removed the Tuxedo Chromis when it got big & ugly.

20180127_153141_resized (002).jpg
 
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ReefGeezer

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Finally got the calcium reactor system installed. Dialing it is has been a breeze. It took a while to get this project done. Just buying the components on a budget was a challenge.

I bought a "Vertex RXC-6D" reactor and an AirGas Dual Zone Regulator with a custom solenoid and needle valve used, a new Milwaukee pH controller, a new 5lb CO2 tank new, and a new Kamoer Dosing Pump (via China). I had to replace the impeller on the reactors recirculation pump, but otherwise everything worked when I got it. With the Reborn and Zeomag media, I set the entire system up for a little over $800. I'm hoping the system will be stable without the need for adjustments for very long periods.

Set-up was a little challenging due to limited space, but I got it done in the a.m.. Dial-in has been pretty simple. I have it maintaining a pH of 6.0 with 15ml/min flow. That's keeping the alk @ 7.3-7.4 per my Hanna Checker. I got there by adjusting the bubble count to keep the pH at 6.9 while I adjusted the flow to keep the tank at the alk I want. I'm sure I'll have some minor tweaks to make in the next week of so, but for now I'm pretty satisfied. Here a picture of the system. Pretty ugly, but it's working. Yea!
cr.jpg
 
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ReefGeezer

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Calcium Reactor update... I very happy with the calcium reactor system so far. It was really easy to dial in per Jda's method. The alk varied less than 1 dKh through the whole process.

It's pretty obvious that the system is way over-sized for the demand I have right now. The sweet spot is about 20 bubbles/minute @ 30 PSI with 18ml/minute of flow. Yea, not much. However, the pH in the reactor is staying dead on 6.8 and the alk in the DT has been unchanged for 2 days at 7.2 dKh.

Oh yea... the Kamoer pump's Wifi App is kind of lame. Let's you adjust speed and count hours on the tubing, but not much else.
 
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ReefGeezer

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Thought I might document the livestock in the tank before I forget... again.

As far as fish go, I have a Yellow Tang, Kole Tang, Flame Hawk, Unknown Fairy Wrasse, Two tank raised Percula Clowns, Blue Damsel, and what I think is a Lyretail Anthias.

Corals are a little varied but are mostly SPS. I don't mind plugging in an LPS or softie where conditions warrant. Right now I have:
Crayola Plana Acro Colony;
Orange Monti Cap Colony.. and a couple smaller ones;
Rainbow Monti that has purple polyps on a red-orange body;
Sunset Monti that has bright green polyps on a bright orange body;
Orange Turgscens Montipora
Orange, green, and purple Digita colonies;
Tyree Mine Field and Brick Red Cyphastrea;
Mummy Eye Chalice; and
A rescue Finger Leather.

I just added tiny slivers of an Oregon Tort and a Red Planet. Some day they might even get big enough to be called frags!
 
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ReefGeezer

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Testing and observations today before weekly water change...

P = .058 ppm via Hanna ULR
N undetectable via Salifert
Alk 7.9 via Hanna (I bumped the alk up a little )
Calcium 1440 via Salifert
Magnesium 1320 via Salifert
Salinity 35 PPT
Temp... 80 F

Small spots of Cyano are disappearing. The corals all look good. Growth is excellent and color for the most part is great. The Crayola Plana is growing like a weed, but it's pale. I did see what looked like a little STN at the base of my Green Digita. I'm still watching it.

I'm thinking more fish are needed.

I think the single Anthias I have is a "tweener" It has the spots on its fins and a small flag on it dorsal like a male Lyretail, but it is still mostly orange. Does anyone know if it would continue its change if I put some female Lyretails in the tank?
 
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Decided to dose some nitrate to see if I can improve the color of the few Acros in the tank. Hopefully, that'll work while I get the bioload up. I made a stock solution per Randy's recipe. 40 ml dripped into the sump raised the N from undetectable to somewhere between .2 and something less than 1 ppm. I can't really tell with my Salifert kit. I'm not knocking the kit. I just have a hard time with seeing slight variations in colors.
 
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ReefGeezer

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Today's testing before water change:
Alk: 7.1 dKh
Ca: 425
Mg: 1475
Nitrate: Undetectable
Phosphate: .001 ppm

I don't have anything in the system to limit N & P. The skimmer is even running dry. There's a little algae and Cyano here & there but I wouldn't think it was enough to limit N & P so much. I'm gonna have to add fish.
 
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ReefGeezer

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So I haven't posted in a long time. I've attached a short test video just to see how it looks. Not much has changed. I've added some fish (Anthias), a couple LPS corals, and some Zoas but nothing special. The system is very stable, N & P are near still on the low side, but I still fight a little hair algae & Cyano. I added a Cheato Fuge just to see if it would limit the hair algae in the display tank. So far nada. It grows great and I remove a huge clump weekly, but I haven't seen and reduction in the hair algae.

All the Montipora and Birdsnests are going nuts in the tank. So much so that I've started fragging them to create mini colonies to sell and support my habit or trade for cooler stuff. Here's a pic of the frag rack. Pardon the "Ham". You can't take a picture without him being in it!
Frag Rack.jpg
 

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ReefGeezer

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Lesson for the day: Don't let a buddy bring over his PAR Meter unless you're ready to spend some money!

I've always had some SPS color issues on most and growth issues on a few others. I'd assumed light was ok as I was running two RAPID LED Onyx Fixtures totaling about 96 watts. I'd done everything else to increase color and get the few slow growers to kick into gear to no avail. A friend suggested that "Bright" didn't mean high PAR. I disagreed (stupid me!) but allowed him to deploy his Apogee Par Meter around the tank. To my surprise, the PAR was really low @ 75 near the bottom at the glass and still only around 250 just a few inches under the water dead under the center of the fixtures. The PAR was also spotty at best. In places, it varied buy over 100 in just a few inches.

Tomorrow I am replacing the LEDs with an ATI 8X 54W Dimmable fixture. It is a little overkill, but I'm not messing around with lights anymore. I know the 6X would probably be fine. The 8X allows me to keep the fixture pretty close to the water level and just dim them to get acceptable PAR. .. and I got a sweet deal in the R2R Sale Forum for a gently used unit.
 
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ReefGeezer

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Got the ATI Sunpower installed. I didn't want to hang the fixture though and I knew that mounting it into a traditional canopy wasn't recommended. So, I created a hybrid. I turned the old canopy top into a 3 sided surround that has an open top and back. I then mounted brackets for the Sunpower to sit on in the canopy's old Chassis. This resulted in the fixture being mounted about 8" above the water with open space at the ends and on top. The surround pivots up and down for access. The fixture runs about 45 degrees C @ 50%. HEre's a couple pics.
ATI Install 1.jpg
ATI Install 2.jpg
 

ReefGrammie

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Hi Geezer from Grammie! ;Happy We have a similar setup. I have my LED mounted inside the canopy on my 90. I have about a 3-inch open strip across the top of my canopy, plus it's partially open on the back.My fixture doesn't get hot and there is aeration above the fans with the open strip across the top. Nice setup you have, and your photobombing hawk is great!
 
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ReefGeezer

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Update. The Sunpower T5 fixture continues to impress. Channel 2 (5X ATI Blue Plus and 1 ATI Coral Plus) has a 11 hour program that ramps up to about 80% with a two hour hold and then back down to off. Channel 1 (1 ATI Coral Plus & 1 ATI Purple Plus) comes on a half hour earlier and ramps to 80% and immediately starts to ramp down until it goes off a half hour later than Channel 2. I'm still playing with bulbs and ramp times. The fixture came with

Most of the corals are responding well. I did bleach a small Red Planet Frag that was struggling to begin with, and my small Purple Monti Cap frag that was doing ok has some bleach spots on it now also. That's why the max setting is at 80% now. I really need to check the PAR readings. At the risk of offending the reefing gods... The biggest difference is the way my algae problem has responded. While, I believe there is more PAR now than under my old LEDs, the hair algae is noticeably receding. Even the small areas of Cyano are less prevalent. I suppose a change in spectrum explains the difference... more violet & blue photons and less green & red.

Also an update on the mounting configuration. The fixture is running cooler than I reported earlier. I checked yesterday when all the bulbs were at 80%. The room temperature was 75F. The unit's temp was reporting 37 C (99 F). There was a little heat between the fixture and the water surface though. I'm going to install a fan that blows across the water when the lights are on.
 
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ReefGeezer

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On the other hand, all is not well. I have a terrible Aiptasia outbreak. I can't get to most of them without breaking corals. I tried a Klien's Butterfly but it decided SPS polyps tasted better than Aiptasia. He went back to the LFS. I feel very lucky that he was stupid enough to fall for my DIY fish trap. I thought about trying a Copperband, but am afraid it'll do the same thing as the Klien's. I zapped some with a laser. I think that only made more. Nudi's are just too expensive and I'm afraid they'll just be expensive snacks for the fish. I just don't know how to proceed. Does anyone have any suggestions?
 
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What is your most favorite type of shrimp for your reef tank?

  • Peppermint Shrimp

    Votes: 24 4.6%
  • Banded Coral Shrimp

    Votes: 48 9.2%
  • Snapping or Pistol Shrimp

    Votes: 50 9.5%
  • Harlequin Shrimp

    Votes: 47 9.0%
  • Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp

    Votes: 158 30.2%
  • Blood Red Fire Shrimp

    Votes: 113 21.6%
  • Sexy Anemone Shrimp

    Votes: 33 6.3%
  • Camel Shrimp

    Votes: 1 0.2%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 12 2.3%
  • NO shrimp in my tank

    Votes: 38 7.3%
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