IDOC's First Reef Tank Build - 75g

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Idoc

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The quarantine tank is finally in use!!! Exciting...the tanks first fish were finally purchased...a couple of clowns! I was looking for the color pattern of Black Onyx Picasso Clowns... basically found the color pattern I was looking for at a LFS. Felt a little concern when I started talking Clowns with the LFS employee and he was telling me all wrong info about Clowns that I had already extensively researched. I corrected him a couple of times... and he insisted I was wrong. Now doubting myself, I went home and researched more....and I was right. So, this noob felt pretty good that I was learning and retaining info about this hobby!

The wife disliked the names I had chosen for my new Clowns...Bozo and Crusty! She said I had to come up with something else. So, I put my foot down in this relationship and said I'd call my clowns whatever I wanted to call my clowns! So, it ends up that I'm now thinking up new names for my Clowns...(she has a way of making me think her decision was really my idea).
20170821_202623.jpg

They weren't a bonded pair, so I had some concern that they might both be females and could fight it out (both were previously bonded with another Clown that the LFS had sold separately...so cruel). Some initial picking started, but they ended up really getting along very well within the first day!
 

cdfjr1975

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Love the build thread. Thanks for the stand advice you gave me a couple months ago. I was already to start the process tonight when I found problems with the wood. I purchased the Varios 6 as well after extensive research so seeing you use it, and the positive review earlier in this post, I'm feeling very confident for when I get everything up and running.

Keep up the good work I'll be following along.
 
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Love the build thread. Thanks for the stand advice you gave me a couple months ago. I was already to start the process tonight when I found problems with the wood. I purchased the Varios 6 as well after extensive research so seeing you use it, and the positive review earlier in this post, I'm feeling very confident for when I get everything up and running.

Keep up the good work I'll be following along.
Thanks for following! I'm really glad it is giving you some useful information! I really like the Varios6 so far...it is so quiet, and it is hard plumbed into my return line, no silicone or vinyl tube to help eliminate vibration noise. What problems did you find in the wood?
 
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One of the long sides was warped so the bottom frame isn't flat.

The top frame 2x6s are 5 1/8 and 5 3/8. Never thought to check the width. Trying to decide if I should just cut off the 1/4 difference from the 2 uprights or to just buy a new 2x6.



 
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One of the long sides was warped so the bottom frame isn't flat.

The top frame 2x6s are 5 1/8 and 5 3/8. Never thought to check the width. Trying to decide if I should just cut off the 1/4 difference from the 2 uprights or to just buy a new 2x6.
I've never noticed a difference in the widths before. Maybe just get new ones and both from the same shipment for uniformity.
 
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How tall is the stand? I was thinking 36" for mine.
My stand is around 40-41" tall. I think 36-40" is a good height if you are mainly going to be viewing the tank while standing.
 
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Thanks for your service & your help with my tank! I'm looking to see this progress.
Anytime! Hopefully the thread helps some for you. I really need to update it... I'll make an effort to update this week!
 

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No way is this your first reef tank build. No one get's it as perfect as this the first time around, you are a pro...! Seriously awesome job on all of it so far, and I really appreciate the thorough documentations, diagrams and photos. Very helpful. (I'm waiting patiently for an update!)
 
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No way is this your first reef tank build. No one get's it as perfect as this the first time around, you are a pro...! Seriously awesome job on all of it so far, and I really appreciate the thorough documentations, diagrams and photos. Very helpful. (I'm waiting patiently for an update!)
Thanks! This is my first... just taking it very slowly. I think the process is as much fun as upkeep of the final product! Sorry that I've been so lazy on the updates. I have a lot to update since my last. I need to just sit down and start writing... you've inspired me to get it done, lol.
 

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Thanks! This is my first... just taking it very slowly. I think the process is as much fun as upkeep of the final product! Sorry that I've been so lazy on the updates. I have a lot to update since my last. I need to just sit down and start writing... you've inspired me to get it done, lol.
I'd like to add my vote here, really pro job and well done
More than that your detailed documentation for the implementation is very appreciated.
Keep it coming.
 
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Quarantine Tank

I setup 2 different quarantine tanks...a 20g long for inverts/corals and a 10g for fish. I plan on only quarantining 1-2 small fish at a time, so the 10g should be sufficient...and no plans for any tangs to be added to the tank at this time. Since most tangs, triggers, etc... really require a tank with a length of 5-6 feet, my 48" DT length will limit what I can responsibly keep.

Equipment in the Quarantine Tanks:

10g QT:
Aquaclear 50 HOB filter
Heater
Seachem ammonia alert badge
Thermometer
Air pump, hose, ayirstone
Egg-crate cover
PVC elbows (3" and 4")

20g QT:
Aquaclear 50 HOB filter
Heater
Seachem ammonia alert badge
Thermometer
20lb Caribsea Live Sand
Dry-rock (Pukani)
Small Hydor Koralia powerhead

Quarantine Procedure for the 2 Clowns:

The Clowns were awesome and great fish for a beginner like me to quarantine! I initially monitored them for 4-5 days in quarantine just watching their behavioral dispositions. Initially I was concerned since I purchased these 2 clowns out of separate tanks at the LFS. But, they bonded almost immediately with no fighting. It helped that I purchased one that was clearly larger than the other! No problems getting them to feed...they attacked the frozen food on day one and never really showed any initial signs of being picky eaters. I fed small morsels (had to break up the food quite a bit for their small mouths) until each one would start ignoring what I was putting in the tank, or until they started taking the food into their mouths and then spitting it back out. Then, I would take a turkey baster and suck out any pieces of food that didn't get eaten in an attempt to limit excess nutrients into the system. My QT was not initially cycled, but rather I just soaked an AquaClear sponge in water laced with Bio-Spira bacteria. Then daily for the first week, I would add additional Bio-Spira to the QT to further assist the bacterial population. This worked very well...never registered any ammonia on the alert badge.

Treatments Performed (started after 4-5 days observation):

1. Metroplex, 125mg (1 scoop) every other day for 10 days -- added this treatment due to Clowns being so susceptible to Brooklynella. I started this treatment while ramping up the Copper to the therapeutic dosage.
2. Copper-Safe -- Slowly ramped up the copper to therapeutic levels over a 6 day period. I calculated 3mL per day for 6 days (18mL/10g total) to give me 1.7ppm copper. Well, the API Copper test kit is very difficult to read above 1.5ppm...basically the color on the card seems to have more "tan" color mixed with orange than what the solution really looks like in reality! The above amounts basically seemed to give me 2.0ppm! But, after thinking about it, I really didn't have a full 10g water in the tank...left it about an inch from the top! When performing water changes, I would treat the new water to 2.0ppm copper prior to putting the water into the tank. This ensured I always kept a therapeutic copper range above 1.5ppm! After the Metroplex 10 days was complete, I ran carbon in the HOB filter for 24hrs to help remove any additional Metro-Plex that could still be in the water...this did not lower the Copper levels. The 30 days required in Copper didn't start until after the 6 day copper ramp up period! I did notice that the clowns lost a lot of their "black" coloration...turned gray or dingy orange! I assumed this was due to the stress of the copper treatment. After the 30 days, I performed about a 75% water change to remove as much copper as possible...and ran carbon again for 48hours.
3. PraziPro -- After removing the carbon from the HOB filter, I added the first dose of PraziPro to the water. 6 days later, I added the second dose! 5-6 days after the second dose, I ran carbon again to to help remove the medication from the water column. I didn't see any external flukes on the clowns, but went ahead with this treatment just in case there were any hidden in the fish's gills.

After completing all treatments, I monitored the fish in the QT for another 2-3 weeks...probably a bit excessive, but I was still cycling the DT. The tank seemed cycled, but I didn't want to add anything until the system was able to completely clear out 2ppm ammonia within 24hrs. Then, the day came for the Clowns to be moved to the DT...exciting day in the household...well, at least for me! I did "force" my other family members to watch the big event, though!

20170818_210641.jpg

The quarantine tanks are on the opposite side of the room from the DT. This pic shows them side by side, but I actually only put the 20g on this older stand and put the 10g on a small corner table to the right of the picture. They weren't separated by 10 feet...but, I am willing to accept some risk, lol.

20170827_190154.jpg

Well, this picture proves I lied...lol. I forgot that I did start the tanks side by side (although there wasn't anything in the 20g tank for quite a long time). I moved the 10g over to the other table after I performed a large water change...and when I was finally ready to setup the 20g invert QT. I labeled everything I used in the "copper" tank so it wouldn't be used in the Invert tank.
 
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Invert/Coral QT

I initially setup the 20g long tank as a quarantine for inverts and corals. I had full plans to quarantine the inverts for 76 days, but that isn't feasible at the beginning of cycling a tank! Unless you plan ahead and start this invert QT almost 2 months before starting your DT cycle, there isn't really a way to stick to that 76 day plan! I did watch the inverts in the tank for about 3 weeks before putting some of them in the DT in the hopes of heading off the early algae blooms following the cycle.

I tried to research which inverts would be best for the types of algae that are more prevalent during the early stages of a post-cycled DT. I ordered the following inverts from ReefCleaners.org:

- 10 Nerite Snails (wanted Pacific variety, but it seems Reefcleaners only carries the Caribbean variety)
- 10 Florida Cerith Snails
- 45 Dwarf Cerith Snails (figured they would do better getting down into the crevices in the Pukani rock)

Well, I didn't count the snails...I think I received quite a few "dead" snails and empty shells, though. I now have a pile of "shells" in the middle of the QT to see which ones move...It really isn't easy to tell if a snail is alive...or even if there is a snail in a shell (on those tiny dwarf snails, anyhow)!

20171012_193700.jpg

This is a pic of the 20g long Invert QT with all the snails. Initially the Nerite snails crawled around on the rocks. But, I quickly learned that the Nerite snails really have no plans to do much of anything in the tank! Lazy buggers seem to sit at the top of the tanks at the water line all day long! They also love to work their way into the DT overflow (now that I have them in the DT)! I was concerned the QT didn't have anything for them to eat, so I purchased some seaweed that I attach to a small piece of rock with a rubber band...place that in the middle of the tank every 3 days or so and they come running to that stuff...well, as fast as a snail can run anyhow!

20171119_201738.jpg


I don't have any corals yet...but the plan is to make an egg-crate stand in the middle of this QT to place them for observation. I will plan to monitor them for 76 days, though.
 
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Finally, the day came to move the Clowns to their new home! Amazing how small 2 clowns look all alone in a 75g tank! Also amazing that they have the entire tank to themselves and seem to have picked out one little spot to spend their entire existence! They don't seem to be fitting in with my family...we are huge travel-lovers...these Clowns obviously don't like to venture out of their comfort zones very much! Their darker colors are coming back nicely since they have been moved to the DT. They have been named: Bozo and Crusty!

20171028_134401.jpg
 

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Be prepared to save all of those Nerites after they escape. I had four. Can’t tell you how many times I found them outside the tank drying up and nearly dead. Surprisingly they all survived at least a few months. None lived longer than a year though, and they all died because they escaped.

I would never buy another. And honestly I don’t understand why they are so readily available and so popular.
 

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Finally, the day came to move the Clowns to their new home! Amazing how small 2 clowns look all alone in a 75g tank! Also amazing that they have the entire tank to themselves and seem to have picked out one little spot to spend their entire existence! They don't seem to be fitting in with my family...we are huge travel-lovers...these Clowns obviously don't like to venture out of their comfort zones very much! Their darker colors are coming back nicely since they have been moved to the DT. They have been named: Bozo and Crusty!

20171028_134401.jpg
- well, as fast as a snail can run anyhow!

Too funny!

Really enjoy your thread and the updates. Getting closer on my stand build so I will need to do some updates soon as well. Have pieces for the added few inches for the sump glued and clamped as we speak. Ran out of 2x4 for the additional uprights, but since I have the odd shaped 2x6 pieces I will make due with those.
 
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