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IDOC's First Reef Tank Build - 75g

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Idoc

Idoc

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Solid qt strategy!!!

I had to remove clowns from my tank due to the bigger one being aggressive. So much so the bigger clown fish would start in on any new fish. Once that started the smaller clown would follow along and they would both kill any new additions.

I hated trading them in since they’d been with me for many years. But it had to be done!
Im going to setup a 10g quarantine tank and have ready for the aggressive clown just in case i need to pull her quickly... when i release the leopard. Or, i guess i could do drop her in the sump as a time-out. So far I've seen no aggression toward the leopard while in the acclimation box... and the leopard doesn't seem phased by the other fish swimming around the box. The first part is that she doesn't have any sand in the acclimation box and that's throwing off her sleep schedule...she typically wakes up around 8am and goes back in the sand around 3-4pm!

But, I'm thinking the clown is going to go anyhow. She's beautiful, but I'm tired of being bitten constantly while working in the tank!
 
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Nice stand!
Did you ever put doors or left it open?
I have the doors, but ended up leaving it open. I like being able to glance at the sump everytime I walk by to make sure things look right.
 
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Released the leopard wrasse into the main tank last night after 2 days in the acclimation box. She initially swam all over the tank showing no fear of the other fish, including the nasty clown! She seemed to struggle a bit with the flow in the tank. I've installed 2 Tunze Nanostream 6095 powerheads recently... turned them down a little more to assist with her acclimating to stronger flow than the quarantine tank she was used to. Eventually, she buried into the sand for the night.

She wasn't out of the sand this morning before I left for work. But, she was out tonight swimming freely and showing no signs of stress or intimidation. She easily entered the water column to accept frozen brine and mysis with the other fish. So far, so good!

20190612_183719.jpg
 

Barnabie Mejia

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Just read this whole thread! and WOW! you lead me to your thread to look at your sump build but I got sucked in, haha. I have learned and my boys and I are motivated! and we have made the decision to build our stand instead of hunting for on e on craigslist or offerup! might borrow your design! thank you!
 
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Just read this whole thread! and WOW! you lead me to your thread to look at your sump build but I got sucked in, haha. I have learned and my boys and I are motivated! and we have made the decision to build our stand instead of hunting for on e on craigslist or offerup! might borrow your design! thank you!
Thanks! Im glad the build thread has been useful for you. Let me know if you have any questions. I think the buildout with the DIY stuff is the majority of the fun in the hobby! It will be a great experience your kids will remember doing with you.
 
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Update on the Leopard Wrasse...

Success!! She has been in the main tank for almost a month and there's been no aggression towards her. She swims freely with the nasty clown as if they are longtime friends!

I've adjusted the feeding schedule of the tank to better accommodate the leopard since they really should have more than one feeding per day. I still only feed one cube of frozen per day, but I split it up with half in the morning and the other half when I get home from work. I've been watching her closely and she doesn't appear to be getting skinny with this regimen.

I still want another leopard. I may attempt another quarantine process again if my LFS gets a new supply! Maybe a Blue-Star or Ornate Leopard for the next time!
 
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Stray Voltage!

Recently I have had 2 occurrences of being zapped by electricity when putting my hand in my tank! This is not a good feeling... and definitely raises the pucker factor 10 fold. Both instances ended up being old Koralia powerheads! Im wondering if this voltage was what killed my Duncan coral that was doing wonderfully and then died quickly just before i noticed the stray voltage...and the duncan was the closest to the bad powerhead!

Anyhow, I highly recommend everyone to put a grounding probe on their aquariums! This will ground any stray voltage that gets into the water column. The downside to it is that you won't be given a "jolt" to tell you a piece of equipment has gone bad, but that's a small price to pay for safety! I would recommend maybe removing the probe occasionally and using a multimeter to just check the water for faulty equipment. If you don't have a multimeter, the "finger in the water" test works but isn't advised!

Testing is simple... turn your multimeter to read Voltage...set the dial to a 200V limit (a little higher if in Europe and running 220v electrical systems)... insert the black ground probe against grounded metal or inside the grounded part of an outlet while letting the red probe touch the water. It's pretty normal to have around 2-3 volts of stray current present. When i had a bad powerhead, it was reading around 70 volts! After installing the grounding probe, I have zero volts in the tank.

The grounding probe can be purchased on Amazon for only around $12-$15! Installation is simple....plug one end into a wall outlet... the other small titanium probe is placed in the tank and attached to the back glass with a suction cup.

20190707_171451.jpg


Pic of stray voltage in tank before grounding probe:
20190707_171712.jpg


Pic of voltage in aquarium after installing the grounding probe:
20190707_171801.jpg
 
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Coral / Invert QT -- Round 2

The first coral/invert quarantine tank cannot be labeled a success...lost all but one coral due to an extreme dino outbreak! After close to a year of battling dinos in my main tank as well, I have finally gotten them under control. It is now time to start quarantining some new corals for the main tank!

Coral/Invert QT Specs:
- 20g long
- 16" Basic SB Reeflights
- Aquaclear 50 HOB Filter
- Heater
- Small Koralia Powerhead

20190818_154626.jpg


The major problem with the first Coral QT was the complete lack of nutrients in the system...which made a perfect environment for dinos to take hold and proliferate. This environment also caused any LPS I attempted to quarantine to slowly melt away! In order to increase my chances of success with this new Coral QT, I started on day one dosing Nitrates (Sodium Nitrate from Loudwolf) to around 5ppm and Phosphates (Seachem Flourish Phosphorous) to 0.067ppm. I also seeded the tank with Bio-Spira to build a nitrifying bacterial colony.

I also ended up placing a couple pieces of dry rock in the tank to give the nitrifying bacteria a good place to colonize besides the HOB filter sponge. This may be a mistake since dinos do seem to take hold in dry rock systems! Hopefully keeping the NO3/PO4 elevated from the start will allow other algaes to take hold first and outcompete any dino infestations. Once the algae starts to grow, I'll add a CUC for control. I've turned down the white/blues on the lights to minimal in order to help acclimate the new corals. Eventually, I'll dig out the PAR meter and get a better reading of the light intensities.
 
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Here are 3 new corals added to my coral/invert quarantine tank...

Duncan (2 heads) - I'm not giving up on these until I can be successful raising them! The previous 2 duncan attempts ended tragically... one died due to no nutrients and dinos in the tank, another one died from stray voltage in the DT...or at least that's what I have convinced myself and wrote on their death certificates:
20190823_195537.jpg


Rainbow Acan -- first attempt at trying an Acan coral. I've been feeding them BRS Reef Chili every few days in the mornings when their tentacles are extended:
20190823_195701.jpg



Green Rodactis Mushroom -- I mounted this one to a piece of rubble to make it easier to eventually mount in the DT. I've killed one previous mushroom... again, no nutrients suspected to be the nail in the coffin of that precious attempt:
20190823_195708.jpg
 
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I'm about to give up completely on the coral/invert QT concept. Round 2 and over loaded with Dinos again!!!! I've microscopically identified them again as small cell amphidinium dinos. I was hoping this time would keep them out since i started out dosing nitrates/phosphates from day one!

I'm amazed how quickly they took hold this time. Some of the same equipment was used from the previous coral QT outbreak, but it was all throughly cleaned and soaked in a vinegar/ water solution, rinsed, and left to dry for months before being used again.

I think it was the totally sterile environment... empty tank, pieces of dry rock, etc... I was hopeful that I would get some algae growth since i had a frag that had some gha on it... but that just wasn't meant to spread, i guess!

Game plan:
I stirred then up by scraping them off the walls and bottom of the tank.. which created a tank full of dino globs that didn't want to settle to the bottom to be siphoned out! I took a pic cuz it looked so terrible, lol. So, I'm trying the 3 day blackout while dosing 2mL peroxide twice a day to kill them off.

Still at a loss what I'm going to do after the blackout. I'm assuming they will just come back again since nothing is changing in the tank. The nitrates were 10ppm and the phospates around 0.03ppm last week... after the siphoning, the nitrates were at 20ppm. I didn't test the phosphate since the water was such a mess that i didn't think I'd get a good reading with my Hanna checker.

20190922_170110.jpg


20190922_170104.jpg


Starting blackout
20190923_195041.jpg
 
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Qt is not something I can get behind so Coral qt even less so.

Dino's come from lack of nutrients.
Exactly... low nutrients! But this tank wasn't low nutrients from the start since i was dosing to attempt to maintain around 5-10ppm NO3 and .03-.05 Po4. If it dropped lower than that, then it would only have been for a few days before dosing again. So, i think something else is triggering these dinos besides just low nutrients. I'm thinking that even with nutrients present, dinos can take ahold in a "new" tank that doesn't have an established bio-filter...I dosed BioSpira early on to create the bio-filter, but maybe it wasn't strong enough to hold control.

Tagging @taricha to see if any experience with dinos hitting under these circumstances!
 

taricha

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I'm thinking that even with nutrients present, dinos can take ahold in a "new" tank that doesn't have an established bio-filter...I dosed BioSpira early on to create the bio-filter, but maybe it wasn't strong enough to hold control.
I think it was the totally sterile environment... empty tank, pieces of dry rock, etc... I was hopeful that I would get some algae growth since i had a frag that had some gha on it... but that just wasn't meant to spread, i guess!
Important context is higher nutrients in a reef system can allow dinos to be suppressed if there are lots of competing organisms. You basically have a nearly clean culture vessel where you introduced only a little algae and dinos and provided nutrients and LOOOTS of space.
Which can multiply faster to fill the space / consume the nutrients? GHA or dinos? Dinos can swim to find the best light and yummiest snacks and can double their population with every cell division. That's a pretty lopsided fight!
 
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Dinos can swim to find the best light and yummiest snacks and can double their population with every cell division. That's a pretty lopsided fight!
Yes, definitely the scenario i created. Those buggers multiplied so fast, it was crazy! Any ideas to keep them suppressed after the 3 day blackout and H2O2 treatments, though?
 

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Yes, definitely the scenario i created. Those buggers multiplied so fast, it was crazy! Any ideas to keep them suppressed after the 3 day blackout and H2O2 treatments, though?
Only hairbrained ideas.
When I had that type, there was a paper I read about a small cell amphidinium type doing a programmed cell death after ~8 days of darkness. I replicated it with a beaker and after 9 days - no small cell amphidinium cells.

Edit: the shrimp idea isn't crazy. Above about 1ppm ammonia, dinos really suffer. You could go to high ammonia levels for cycling. You'd also build up a big bacterial population - get a rock like suggested. (Grown in tank may be more effective than a bottle).
These are just guesses and ideas :)
 
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You could do that and add a bit of live rock to capture and house the bacteria
I think a piece of live rock would be a good idea in order to have an already established bio-system in place to help out-compete a dino return! I have a piece of dry rock in there now. I don't have any excess live rock currently... I'll have to see if a LFS has a piece that is well established.
 
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Edit: the shrimp idea isn't crazy. Above about 1ppm ammonia, dinos really suffer. You could go to high ammonia levels for cycling.
My only problem...i have several live corals in the quarantine tank that i don't want to kill. I don't think they would take well to me raising the ammonia for a length of time! I definitely don't want to add them to my DT since they could transfer the dinos to that tank. I already battled small cell amphidinium in the DT for almost the last year and just now have them suppressed in there!

So, do you recommend i run an 8-9 day blackout period rather than a 3-4 day blackout??
 
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