I received a box of rocks today.

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NY_Caveman

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EDIT: So, I am a moron. I have the Hanna HI713 Low Range Phosphate Checker, not the HI736 Phosphorus ULR. Bought it in an order with a bunch of other equipment and actually bought the wrong one. In the end it was fine for two reasons, (1) I had to test my rocks curing in fresh RO/DI and (2) my levels were high enough to need a tester with a range higher than the ULR. Eventually, I will get the ULR as well and probably look to get one used.
 
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TIME IN: 5 Months
TIME WET: 2.5 Months

Getting Close

Five months and I estimate by the middle of April the tank will be wet. The kitchen remodel is about two weeks away from completion. After that the wife wants to do a couple of minor house things, then the tank setup begins.

I say this assuming I finally get the replacement tank from JBJ. It has been a long wait. The aquarium was ordered the first week of November before switching vendors and then dealing with the cracked tank. The replacement was approved in late December. Ugh! Still remaining patient.

I knew when I started purchasing equipment in the late autumn it would not be put to use until the spring. It was worth it to get Black Friday deals though as I saved almost 30% overall. The issue is I have way to much time to think about the setup, so my solid plan tends to be evolving over time.

One update to mention, which is a bit of a downer, I did order some GARF Grunge that I was excited to incorporate into the bucket of rocks I am cycling. Well, due to weather issues, I ended up getting the package two days late. In total the package spent 90 hours unattended. The heat pack ran out and who knows where USPS stored it. Anyways, I still opened the bag to see if anything was alive/usable and the answer was a foul and rancid no. After years of different aquariums and pets in general, it was the foulest odor I ever experienced. Not sure I will try again. I may just order some specific micro critters from IPSF.com rather than take another chance on a random bag of stuff. I am in no way laying any blame on GARF as they did exactly what was asked. I also am not making any review of the product as what I received was altered by an act of nature.


Ending on a happier note, I checked out Manhattan Aquariums yesterday and it was a very enjoyable experience. The tanks, colonies, fish and frags looked great. Everyone was friendly and the prices were quite reasonable. I will definitely be returning once our aquarium is set up. I learned the owner is the same as UniqueCorals on the west coast. They let me take some pictures I will share here (pardon the iPhone quality):

DF35E504-3568-4C32-A8DF-31E32665EE92.jpeg

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I was just doing some rough calculations planning the timing of my tank setup and cycle. I wanted to check the plan against known family, home and work events. One thing the plan showed is we might be ready to add the first corals around the middle of June...

...and then it suddenly struck me, Reef-A-Palooza, NY is at the Meadowlands in the middle of June.

NICE!

Honestly, I know it would be a bit of a miracle if life could be planned out like this. I am just getting excited for the tank to get going. It does give me a bit of a goal to shoot for nonetheless.

Now, just because my build thread is a bit boring, here is a a turtle we swam with near Molokini in Hawaii years ago:

Sea Turtle 2.jpg
 
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I was changing the water in the bucket of rocks I am cycling and saw a stomatella snail on a piece of the shelf rock. Score! So not only is that a nice plus, but it also shows that the life on the live rock in there is spreading to the dry shelf rock I cured. Double Score!
 

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I was changing the water in the bucket of rocks I am cycling and saw a stomatella snail on a piece of the shelf rock. Score! So not only is that a nice plus, but it also shows that the life on the live rock in there is spreading to the dry shelf rock I cured. Double Score!
Dont get a cleaner shrimp if you want to keep those. Cleaner Shrimp 1 Stomatella 0. I learned that the hard way.
 
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Dont get a cleaner shrimp if you want to keep those. Cleaner Shrimp 1 Stomatella 0. I learned that the hard way.

Good to know, however, cleaner shrimp are probably my favorite marine creatures. They are a must have with their cool personalities. I may have to take my chances.
 

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Good to know, however, cleaner shrimp are probably my favorite marine creatures. They are a must have with their cool personalities. I may have to take my chances.
Cleaner shrimp are cool and way more personable than snails. He will love his treats while they last :)
 
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Thanks! Going well, but still waiting on the replacement tank for the cracked one. It is a good thing I did not need the tank right away. I will be ready to fill it in a few weeks so really hoping it comes soon.
 

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This is a terrific build thread. Your attention to detail is incredible. I'm signing up to follow along. With the time and effort you've invested, you will surely be yet another successful saltwater aquarium keeper. :)
 
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This is a terrific build thread. Your attention to detail is incredible. I'm signing up to follow along. With the time and effort you've invested, you will surely be yet another successful saltwater aquarium keeper. :)
Agreed!! It’s great seeing everything detailed so well. Definitely something I need to work on!
 

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This is a terrific build thread. Your attention to detail is incredible. I'm signing up to follow along. With the time and effort you've invested, you will surely be yet another successful saltwater aquarium keeper. :)
Agreed!! It’s great seeing everything detailed so well. Definitely something I need to work on!
That's because he's been following my build thread AKA what not to do thread! ;Hilarious

Kidding.;)

It is a great thread. ;Shamefullyembarrased
 
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This is a terrific build thread. Your attention to detail is incredible. I'm signing up to follow along. With the time and effort you've invested, you will surely be yet another successful saltwater aquarium keeper. :)
Well, I had success in the past, so I am hopeful. Not trying to jinx myself. Best thing about having a build thread is that I find myself referencing it all the time in the LFS, the hardware store, when answering others’ threads, etc.

Agreed!! It’s great seeing everything detailed so well. Definitely something I need to work on!
Thanks! I think the kitchen remodel we are doing has kept my setup slow and possibly caused me to be more detailed in my setup. Hopefully this will be beneficial in the long term. I am starting to think I like planning a tank more than running a tank. I am embarrassed to say how many spreadsheets I already have running (equipment, livestock, tank log, chemistry/parameters, etc.). Still, I feel this thread is a bit boring so far and I cannot wait to get more life into it.

That's because he's been following my build thread AKA what not to do thread! ;Hilarious

Kidding.;)

It is a great thread. ;Shamefullyembarrased
Ha! I will definitely revisit the early parts of your thread when the uglies appear. Best thing about this site is following those with the same aquarium to see what they do. You have certainly been helpful to me in some of my JBJ 30 specific questions. Thank you!
 
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TIME IN: 5.5 Months
TIME WET: 3 Months

Changed 75% of the water in the bucket of rocks today. It is definitely cycled and now, just letting them mature until the tank is set up. Weighed the rocks, they were 8.5 pounds, not the 10 I assumed. 3 pounds of it is live, the rest is the cured shelf and rubble rock that started dry.

Interesting, I got the Phosphate down to 0.1 ppm while curing. Then, when I switched to saltwater for cycling and added the live rock, it jumped to about 0.8 ppm. Tested today and after a month it is down to 0.4 ppm. Ammonia always reads 0 ppm and today the Nitrate level of the old water was 5 ppm. It usually runs to 3-5 ppm after each week. It is still being heated to 80* with MJ1200 heavy flow. The bucket is covered, but not sealed. I had it tight for a while, but have been leaving it opened a bit more lately. I was getting a weird smell, not of death, but a kind of bitter odor. I decided to ventilate it better and it smells like the ocean again.

EDIT: Hanna Phosphate Low Range Checker used, Red Sea for the other tests.
 
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Forgot the picture. Sure, it is a boring bucket of rocks, but you would not believe the pleasure I get from tending to them.

D0A55BFC-DF63-4DA4-B2F1-A94C5525295C.jpeg
 
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Had a few nice sightings today during the weekly water change. Seeing micro critters out in the open I infer that they are healthy and that life is spreading into the dry rock. Saw a few pods and one tiny bristle worm. The worm seemed to come up to let me know he hates water changes and then ducked quickly into the rocks.

 
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TIME IN: 6 Months
TIME WET: 3.5 Months

Where is my tank?
It was a roller coaster of a day on the aquarium front here at the Caveman household.

First, the kitchen remodel was completed today. That is huge for my family as our makeshift kitchenette in the basement was making us all thin (I lost almost 10 lbs. during the 5 week remodel). This also means I can now set up the aquarium!

Unfortunately, I do not have an aquarium. Those who follow will recall that I have been waiting on a replacement JBJ 30 Gallon Rimless tank for 3 months since the warranty claim was approved. Mine came with a small crack on the bottom pane. I had re-inquired with JBJ this week and they apologized that the tank was still on backorder.

After some friendly discussion (I am sticking with my attempt at patience through all aspects of this build) they offered me a resolution: a brand new JBJ 45 Gallon Rimless aquarium AND stand. I was stunned. I accepted immediately with great pleasure. Funny, I was considering inquiring about other options and they beat me to the punch. I must say despite the long wait, I have been nothing but impressed by JBJ’s service in this matter.

What does this mean?
I have every piece of equipment for the 30 gallon setup on hand and ready to go. However, I will now have a 50% larger aquarium. Reviewing my current equipment here are my thoughts:

  • The Starboard piece I bought is likely useless ($52). I will probably order a new one, but will see how this piece looks first.
  • The 75W heaters will need to be upgraded to 2x 100W or perhaps 2x 150W. Still thinking about this. At least the 75W can be sold easily.
  • The 16” SB Reef WiFi should still work, as will the IceCap 1K Gyre, but they are probably not the perfect fit.
  • Live rock is another concern. I want a minimalistic aquascape, but will need enough rock to support 50% more water volume. For some reason this worked out perfectly in the 30 gallon, but the trick in the 45 is that it is 3” taller. I was not planning on a tall aquascape, so back to the drawing board there.
In general, the rest of the equipment should be fine. The pros of a larger system are many including stability and livestock choices. This out weighs the cons of a few minor equipment changes. And most importantly, I should have the aquarium and stand in a week. SWEET!
 
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TIME IN: 6.5 Months
TIME WET: 4 Months

Tank Update
It has been a while so I wanted to post an update. I am still waiting on a replacement tank. I assumed a quicker shipping process in my last update, but nothing with this build has been quick. In some ways that has been fine. I want to be patient and slow in this process. However, four months waiting while I have everything ready to go has not been so fun. Really, I just find it hard to contain my excitement to get rolling. I can only plan so much before I need to do. I was informed the tank should ship this week.

The Rock
The positive in this is my rocks are ready to go. They have been maturing in saltwater for two months after the curing and cycling process ended. Life is spreading around from the live rock I added and I should be able to stock the tank in limited fashion fairly soon after filling. I was hoping to mature the rock in the tank, but the bucket is accomplishing the same outcome. The additional live rock I will add after filling should add some diversity as well. I am also adding some tiny critters to additionally seed the rock with more life starting with a copepod/phyto combo pack from algaebarn.com that comes tomorrow.

Once the tank is filled I will still wait a bit letting everything settle in and mature in the dark. Pretty quick I will add part of the CUC and soon after one fish and two cleaner shrimp. If all goes well the lights will slowly come up and we can start shopping for a couple of corals by the summer.


 
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I'm getting impatient with you! ;Hilarious I see you taking notes from success and failures so I'm very interested in how this build turns out! :)
Me too! Thanks.
 
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