Getting back into reefing and getting a crash course on quarantine!


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Sep 13, 2018
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Hey all, My name's Mike and I finally signed up to see what all this R2R fuss is all about. I've been a member on reefcentral for a dozen years and in the hobby for ~14 years. I've always had at least one or two mediocre reefs running but I've taken a good 7-8 year hiatus from having a proper setup with all the bells and whistles. My last nice reef was a 125 with 400w halides, 100g fuge with a 400w halide, diy calcium reactor, clams and lots of sps. Back in January I ran across a BRS video on the kessil 360 and was pretty well convinced I needed one for my 92 corner tank. Power compacts were going the way of the dodo and between bulb replacement and excess electricity use it was a no brainer. The BRS videos have been very helpful getting back up to snuff on current technology of the day and I love the fact that they post here. It's been all downhill from there. My LFS made it nearly impossible to pass up buying a new predrilled Marineland 90 gallon for only $260. I decided to light it with a couple kessil 360's and retrofitted 4 54w T5's from an old fixture I gutted. Ryan at BRS recommends this combo and I couldn't be happier with it. I built a sump using a 55 gallon aquarium. I have made several changes over time and it's nearly perfect now. Easy to maintain, consistent water level for the skimmer, ZERO micro bubbles, and a refugium/retirement home for my 14 year old clownfish. I started out with an apex junior because I thought I only needed simple heater control. WRONG! next came a VDM for my kessils, then a PM1, an EB8 and finally convinced myself to get the $800 wifi apex... I found out the $300 cheaper EL model was released the same day my new one arrived . doh!

Getting back into the hobby has come with many setbacks stemming from my desire for a proper, pest free aquarium with a long term successful reef in mind. I took way too many shortcuts trying to fast track a mature, budding reef only to have it come back to bite me each and every time. I am getting ready to start this tank for the third and final time in less than 9 months. I started the tank with beautiful coralline covered rock from my previous systems. The rock had some aiptasia and an asterina starfish infestation. I bleached the few rocks with the majority of the aiptasia, scraped the rest off and played seek n destroy on asterinas and the few aiptasia I missed for the next 30 days in a rock "QT" tank. I started the reef with "disease resistant" or tank raised fish thinking I could skip the QT process. Three months in and just as the reef starts doing good, a few baby aiptasia showed their faces, a minor ich outbreak and come to find the vermetid snails I had are a major pest! In May I decided to start over and "do it right". I put the fish in qt and treated with hyposalinity. again I tried using shortcuts by using some liverock(habitat/bacteria) and not following through with frequent water changes and siphoning the bottom glass. I bleached the rock and sand for one week, sun dried it for a week and ran it in freshwater for a week before starting back up. Corals and inverts went to qt. I inspected every shell for vermetid snails and I moved over an absolute minimum amount of dead coral skeleton/base. Fast forward 3 months to today and my fish still have ich and three pests I never knew I had showed their faces. PLANARIA- fish keep them at bay in the display but they are in the fuge. two 1.5x strength doses of flatworm exit didn't do much aside from kill a dozen snails. HYDROIDS- Two months back there was a bloom of thin clear/white colonial hydroids which seem to stick to shaded areas. Over time they have been declining as populations of feather dusters, spiroids and pineapple sponges increase. BRYOPSIS- I noticed a handful of strands growing in areas the hermits couldn't reach however it slowly dwindled and I no longer see any.

The tank is progressing nicely, the ich isn't a huge issue- just a periodic cyst on a bar goby and the pests I do have seem relatively harmless, easy to keep at bay and are dwindling as the tank matures and other organisms fill their niche. However I feel the system is already compromised and not the direction I want to take with a long term successful sps/clam reef as the final goal. I planned on setting up my 92 corner this winter but I see an opportunity to once and for all get it right with my 90 while not losing the progress I've made. As I learned from my mistakes, I know pests will be a constant issue without a 2-4 month quarantine routine for everything I put in the tank. I'll lose all interest/motivation if I have to shut down for 4 more months. Instead, I will move the rock, coral and sand to my 92 gallon asap. The 92 has some scratches, a bit beat up and the curved glass distorts your view a bit so this will be perfect to use as a "dirty" softie/LPS tank where I take calculated risks regarding QT. I will start "cooking" the nicer pieces of rock without the coral from the 90 along with the rock I used to hypo the fish. This rock will go back in the 90 in 2-3 months hopefully pest free. I will use the TTM method to treat the fish for ich and they will eventually go in the 92. I do plan on quarantining all fish for this tank but not necessarily every single snail, crab or coral. Most of the sps will eventually make their way back into the 90 gallon but only once it has properly matured and I have a solid Qt procedure in place

I feel this is a much better option than completely shutting down everything now or my initial plan of keeping my 90 as is and setting up the 92 in winter starting out sterile with reefsaver rock and bacteria in a bottle. I'm hoping that "cooking" rock in complete darkness for 2-3 months will eliminate the pests that ended up in my reef and the other rock. The "other rock" is dense, ugly base rock that was never initially bleached but was taken to hypo for 8 weeks with the fish, back up to salinity and held in qt. No visible anemones. This will also give me an opportunity to polish out a careless front-n-center scratch, silicon in a few minor tweaks to perfect my sump and I'm toying with a few ideas to get rid of the bulky overflow. Sorry for the long post but now you're up to snuff and I'm sure I will have plenty more posts here seeking the wisdom of more experienced reefers on my quest for a easy to maintain, healthy, thriving reef tank.

mike werner

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Jan 2, 2018
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Welcome to r2r!!Sounds like ya gotta a plan in place and a direction you want to head in.Best of luck in your journey into reefing.Great pics as well.
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It Takes Less Energy to be Nice
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Mar 13, 2014
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SW Florida
Welcome to R2R and your new reefing community. Very nice looking tank...thanks for sharing it with us.

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