IDOC's First Reef Tank Build - 75g

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Idoc

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Update on DT

Yesterday was a stressful day. I noticed my Diamond Goby wasn't moving around the tank as usual. When he turned around, I saw that he was terribly injured...he was missing an eye! I really think he must have snagged it on a piece of live rock. All tank inhabitants are extremely peaceful with each other, so not suspecting foul play.

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He eventually worked his way under his rock into his usual burrow... but didn't close up the entrance as is his nightly routine. This morning... no sign of him and his burrow entrance hadn't been changed. Early this evening, I tested the water for ammonia to see if the worse may have occurred under his rock... plus, my nassarious snails weren't out at feeding time! I was afraid they might have found an easier meal. Then to my surprise, I look into the tank and see him out of the burrow swimming around with more energy. I quickly re-fed the tank and he was very energetic chasing food... he ate very well.

One problem is very evident already... the poor guy has no depth perception now! It was sad watching him strike at his food and repeatedly miss slightly to one side. But here didn't give up and eventually snagged each piece after several attempts! He'll get the hang of it...

Well, since I now have a one-eyed fish, his previous "Jumper" name isn't as fitting. My son is a huge Naruto comics fan and has decided that a fighter had to be named after another amazing fighter. His new name is Kakashi Sensei. As you can see, there is definitely a similar resemblance:

Kakashi_Hatake.png
 

taricha

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So, do you recommend i run an 8-9 day blackout period rather than a 3-4 day blackout??
For this one kind, if you had no corals, then sure.
 
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Coral QT Dino Blackout Update

Completed a 5 1/2 day blackout period while dosing 2mL H2O2 in the AM and PM. Removed the cardboard and the tank was clean with a little haze to the water. I find it hard to believe that I had a bacterial bloom in the total darkness without feeding anything or dosing anything but peroxide.

20190928_072518.jpg


The corals looked a little angry...I swear the leather finger coral actually gave me the finger once I took off the cardboard! I put some GAC in the HOB filter just in case there are toxins from the dino die off.

20190928_072529.jpg


It wasn't long before the Duncans opened slightly. I fed the duncans and acan some mysis and the rest some Reef Chili.

I'm going to daily dose some Bio-Spira into the tank. I'm tempted to put a few drops of ammonia into the tank to get the nitrifying bacteria boosted, but not sure if that small of an amount of NH4 would be dangerous to the corals?? I've been reading about carbon dosing as well... maybe a little vodka would be better?

I stopped by my LFS today to see about getting a piece of live rock from one of their tanks to add some bio-diversity...I couldn't bring myself to do it. Their tanks have worse issues than mine... their frag tanks are loaded with dinos and most of their fish tanks were going through a blackout period while the rest were covered in cyano!
 
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5 1/2 day total blackout on my coral QT...3 days later, and filling with small cell amphidinium dinos again already!!!! I'm seriously ready to give up on this coral/invert quarantining thing!!!

Now, I'm thinking the haze to my water after the blackout was actually dinos in the water column! I was even dosing H2O2 during the whole blackout.
20190930_182636.jpg


Noticed a fine dusting of brown on the tank bottom least night... checked with microscope tonight hoping it was diatoms since i was dosing some silicate into the system to push a bloom... and whammo, freakin' dinos in my scope!

After the blackout, I had 25ppm NO3 and dosed up my PO4 to 0.1ppm in the hopes to get some algae growth. Plus put in a whole 4oz bottle of BioSpira and ghost fed the tank with some mysis to give the new bacteria something to grow on. Uggg...
 
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5 1/2 day total blackout on my coral QT...3 days later, and filling with small cell amphidinium dinos again already!!!! I'm seriously ready to give up on this coral/invert quarantining thing!!!

Now, I'm thinking the haze to my water after the blackout was actually dinos in the water column! I was even dosing H2O2 during the whole blackout.
20190930_182636.jpg


Noticed a fine dusting of brown on the tank bottom least night... checked with microscope tonight hoping it was diatoms since i was dosing some silicate into the system to push a bloom... and whammo, freakin' dinos in my scope!

After the blackout, I head 25ppm NO3 and dosed up my PO4 to 0.1ppm in the hopes to get done algae growth. Plus put in a while 4oz bottle of BioSpira and ghost fed the tank with some mysis to give the new bacteria something to grow on. Uggg...
Yikes! That's frustrating
 
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Yikes! That's frustrating
Yes, dinos are a terrible curse! Sadly, I have a few corals in that quarantine tank that I don't know what to do with now. I don't want to transfer them to my DT. I've been fighting dinos in my DT as well and finally gotten them under control over the past year. Sadly, they are also making a slight comeback in the DT as well. Im going to attempt the Elegant Corals Dino/Cyano Cure on the DT... just received the items for that in the mail yesterday! It requires the use of a skimmer, so that won't work as a treatment in the coral quarantine tank.
 
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The corals in the quarantine tank actually seem very healthy even with the amphidinium dino infestation. I've been dosing 1mL H2O2 per 10gal (2mL fir the 20g tank) morning and night with no noticeable decrease in dinos... actually noticed they were increasing! These dinos like to stick to the bottom so I would stir them up into the water column before dosing the H2O2. I then upped the dosage to 3-4mL H2O2 twice a day and actually noticed an improvement slightly... and the corals don't look stressed.

So played around today killing some dinos...

I put one "blob" of active dinos in one drop of water on a microscope slide and added the following to see the reaction:

1 drop H2O2 added -- immediate kill (or at least stopped all movement) of the dinos.

1 drop RODI Freshwater -- not much of an impact... still swimming and moving regularly even after a couple minutes.

2 drops RODI Freshwater-- many dead, some still moving... added another drop and ceased all movement of the dinos.

The reason for this little experiment is that I want to attempt to save these corals that are in the quarantine tank and move them to my DT. I know I already have amphidinium dinos in my DT, but somewhat under control... except for the recent resurgence, but that will be another frustration post! So, I'm going to perform an RODI Freshwater Dip and a H2O2 Dip as well to kill off the dinos on the frags prior to the transfer. I want to do this soon since I have procured everything I need to try the Elegant Corals Dino/Cyano Recipe Cure... again, another post soon!

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4th Attempt at a Coral/Invert Quarantine Tank!!!

So frustrating! Three previous coral/invert quarantine attempts...three failures due to eventual dino outbreaks!

So, I decided a couple months ago to give it another try following the following plan of attack to keep dinos from taking over again:

1. Fully cycle tank prior to addition of any corals/inverts for quarantine -- previously setup the tanks and immediately put some frags in there. This time, I used bottled bacteria (ATM Colony)
2. Use "live" sand to help give immediate biodiversity...only about 1/2-3/4" thickness
3. Dose nitrates and phosphates at the start to 5-10ppm/0.05ppm, respectively, in the hopes of giving some algae a headstart for upcoming snail additions.
4. Add a piece of live rock for some additional biodiversity (purchased from a LFS)

07 December 2019 -- Added some frags!

Blastomussa:
Blastomussa.png

Trumpet Coral (Candy Cane):
Trumpet Coral.png

ORA Red Hot Setosa:
Red Hot Setosa.png

Green Monti:
Green Monti.png

Red Monti:
Red Monti.png


All was going well...then I decided to make a large snail purchase from Reef Cleaners -- Trochus, Nerites, Mexican Turbo, Florida Ceriths, Dward Ceriths, Astraeas, Nassarious, and a smaller conch. When they arrived, the box smelt bad upon opening, but I couldn't tell if all the snails were putrid or just some of them due to them all being packaged together! I went against my better judgement and still put the snails into the coral/invert quarantine tank since Reef Cleaners wants you to monitor them for 72hrs to ensure they are truly dead. BAD MOVE!!!! Out of all those snails, only a few nerite, mexican turbo, a few nassarious, and several dwarf ceriths survived...all the others were dead! To make things worse, the "death" destroyed my quarantine tank! I had to make several 50-75% water changes in order to clean up the tank, reduced the ammonia, and remove the putrid smelling water. Lesson learned...if they smell bad, don't put them in the tank!!!

Snails floating to acclimate to temp prior to release:
Snails - Floating.png


I also had a cleaner shrimp quarantining as well in the tank...dead almost immediately from the ammonia released by the dead snails! Amazingly, the corals showed no signs of damage.

Well, after all those water changes, I had to dose the nitrates and phosphates back up. Also continued to feed the LPS Blasto and Trumpet every 3 days with mysis.

A couple of weeks later, I start to notice the brown algae on the sand bed worsening and clumping....ugghhh...it wasn't looking like diatoms! Pulled a sample and bam....Ostreopsis dinos everywhere! Where did these come from this time? I can only assume they came in with the snails since all was good prior to this and any brown algae was confirmed with a scope as diatoms!

1/4/2020 -- Instilled a 9w Green Killing Machine UV sterilizer into the tank today! I'm hoping this will be enough to kill off the ostreopsis dinos! I really don't want to break down this tank again!

Day 0 - Green Killing Machine UV installed in back of tank...note the dinos on the sand, within the GHA patches...
QT4 - Dinos 0.jpg

Day 0 - UV - Dinos within corals and GHA:
QT4 - Dinos 1.jpg

Day 0 - UV - Dinos in sandbed and live rock:
QT4 - Dinos 3.jpg

Day 0 - UV - Dinos within sandbed:
QT4 - Dinos 2.jpg


After installing the small UV, I blasted the sand and all surfaces with a turkey baster to force the dinos into the water column...

Well, let's see how this works!!!!
 
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Added some Pods to my Display Tank:

Pods.png

Adding some of this weekly...
Phyto.png


I don't have chaeto in my refugium...just haven't been very successful maintaining it in my system yet. So I made a little pod hotel out of some plastic Loofa shower scrubbers:
Pod Sponge House.png
 
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New tanks are just a pain!
Definitely! I have been wanting to upgrade to a 180g tank from my current 75g, but really don't want to go through what I have had to battle the last couple of years with my 75g tank!
 

Flippers4pups

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Upgrading has it's pluses. More room for everything you wanted to keep, more water volume. More stable.

It's the "hump" that's always a pain till it's matured enough. I'd upgrade to a larger tank, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.
 
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Installing UV Sterilizer on Display Tank


The black Friday sales plan was to purchase a UV sterilizer for the tank this year. I was looking at 25-40w models on BRS and MarineDepot hoping one would have a sale this year. Well, the sale came early...someone local posted to sell a 57w Aqua UV Sterilizer for a fraction of the price of a new one...and it was running beautifully at the time of sale!

So, it took a little bit to get this plumbed into my system due to tubing sizes, etc... I ended up having to purchase some parts from BRS in order to make this happen more easily. I attached the UV to a board that I can hide behind my DT. It is being fed from the DT using a MJ1200 pump pushing around 400gph with the small head pressure. I plumbed it to return back to the DT as well.

UV Installed.png


UV pump installed.png


After battling the small cell amphidinium dinos using the Elegant Corals dino/cyano treatment method, the small cell dinos were actually eradicated...or at least controlled to where I was not observing them in any microscope samples. But following that treatment, Ostreopsis dinos (which were very minimal before treatment and only in one small area of the tank) ended up proliferating and spreading throughout the tank and sand...this was confirmed with microscope samples! As is viewed in the pics...I have had terrible green cyano outbreaks that constantly return a few days after removal (siphoning and cleaning the sand).

Before UV treatment:
Pic before UV 1.png

Pic before UV 2.png


The dinos in the sand bed were much worse than the pictures show....the dinos seemed to proliferate underneath the cyano mats on the sand.

Within 3-5 days of UV running 24hrs/day -- beautiful clean sand!!! Dinos are hard to even see showing up anywhere in the tank now. The green cyano is still present, but improving with increased water changes (something I was not performing before due to trying to starve out dinos of new trace elements)! Finally, the tank is back to where I wanted it...I love a clean sand looking tank!

Post-UV Sterilizer:
20200104_200955.jpg


Now to clear out that cyano once and for all...starting with a different flow...but that's another story!
 
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Changing Flow in DT

Initially I had 2 Koralia Hydor powerheads that were used when I started the tank. Both were replaced due to voltage leaking into the system. I replaced both with 2 Tunze Turbelle Nanostream 6095 powerheads. These have been wonderful powerheads and the ability to adjust the flow strength and timing have really helped the tank compared to the fixed flow of the original Koralia powerheads.

One of my problem areas within the tank is my original aquascape. I have the rocks quite tightly put together which kind of creates "walls" where flow has a difficult time moving around the tank. This is an upcoming project to break these walls up a bit to create "flow pathways" between rocks to help with tank flow.

Today, my Christmas present finally arrived...evidently the new models weren't delivered to MarineDepot when they were supposed to be in stock! Oh well, gives me a project for tomorrow!

20200104_195259.jpg


Now comes the decision...mount horizontally or vertically! I may still use at least one of the Tunze 6095 pumps to create more random flow...but not sure where to do that yet in the tank!
 

ReeferPat

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AQUASCAPE

Well, did the whole "draw out the tank and aquascape on cardboard" thing. Had several "awesome" aquascapes...but kept changing it. The settled on one...attempted to transfer to the tank...just didn't look right once the tank walls were coming into play! So, rearranged on the fly and decided with the following aquascape:
20170812_122204.jpg


20170812_122230.jpg

Tried to incorporate some places to put different light level corals...some overhangs...a couple of cave type swim throughs for the fish.

The big piece of Pukani on the right was a big, solid ball when it arrived. It was awesome...until I started thinking, what a waste of good space. So I did some chiseling, some cementing, some sawing...I think the fish will appreciate the work invested on their behalf!

Here's how it started out:
20161125_115253.jpg

I used a hacksaw to make the bottom a little "flat" to allow it to stand on its own. The chiseled a tunnel through the rock giving an overhang as well. I then cemented a small piece on the front to give it a little more stability with the overhang and actually created another little cave to swim through in the process. Added another "shelf" piece on top and on the right side to break up the "ball" look and ended up with:
20170812_104953.jpg


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I used a little Hydraulic cement from Lowe's in order to hold a couple of the rocks together, but mostly letting gravity hold the rocks on the left side. "Spot welded" a little cement to hold the cross piece in place so it wouldn't eventually get knocked off. Here's what I used:
20170812_192916.jpg

Many people use the Marco e400 hydraulic cement and really like it, but kind of hard to pay $40 for a little pail of it when this can be purchased for under $10 at Lowe's. Several others are quoted in the forum as using this without any problems...so, I gave it a try. The only thing I didn't like about it...this stuff set's SOOOO fast!!! I would only make a small cup at a time (golf ball size)...by the time I would walk from the garage to the tank (25 feet), the stuff was already turning to hardened paste that wouldn't spread well. So, just spit in the cup and start mixing again, lol...get it smoother and then quickly apply to the joint I wanted to secure. They sell an agent that can be added to slow the cure time...might consider that the next time!

20170724_145242.jpg

I don't know why this picture is in here, lol. Maybe to show the big ball of Pukani in the right before reshaping it? Anyhow, this was an aquascape mockup that I didn't end up using.
Beautiful rock scape.
 
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Nice setup. I’m trying to transfer my 40-Gallon AIO to a larger setup with a separate sump. Intimidated by the plumbing. Good luck.:)
Don't let the plumbing intimidate you...it's really easy to do once you get started. I would recommend drawing out a map of the pipes, fittings, unions, valves, etc... and that makes the ordering of parts real easy!
 
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Beautiful rock scape.
Thanks! It looks a little different now, but generally the same shape. I didn't use egg-crate under my aquascape and sand. This has allowed the rocks on the left side to drift some. I need to actually go back into the scape and glue some of the rocks together. I only spot "welded" some points with the hydraulic cement...which has proven to easily decay and break apart. Some of the bonds I had used the hydraulic cement on are now already broken or becoming very loose. I think I'm going to fix some of them with epoxy.
 
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Install IceCap 4K Gyre

Finally found some time to install the gyre today! Immediately, I was able to see flow in previously dead spaces. Now I have to learn how to use it and come up with some flow programs, lol. Right now, using the default flow patterns with just a little tweeking.

I had to move my Duncan...he was not happy with the increased flow! That coral is such a whiny, little baby!

20200111_172311.jpg


For now, I removed both my Tunze Turbelle Nanostream 6095 powerheads. I may still add one later to maybe give a disruptive flow pattern. Both are running in a citric acid bath right now cleaning.
 
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Coral / Invert QT #4 Update:

Dino battle won...at least temporarily! I installed a 9w Green Killing Machine UV Sterilizer on the QT. I was not very impressed with this piece of equipment...the flow rate is so small with its built in pump. I believe I read that it has around 40gph through its UV light! So, the "suction" from this pump seemed like it had a minimal impact compared to the power of the HOB filter suction and the powerhead blowing in the tank. So, for the first week, I would routinely blow the dinos off the rock, sand, coral frag holder, walls, and pumps so that they were suspended to have a better chance of going through the UV...I did this many times per day. I actually did start to see a reduction in the ostreopsis dinos in the tank after a couple of weeks! But, I just couldn't get over the hurdle to completely eradicate them with this small UV sterilizer. So....

Step 2 -- went ahead and performed a 4 day blackout while dosing 2mL H2O2 twice a day (20g long tank). This did the trick...this morning, removed the blackout boxes and the tank was squeaky clean! Hopefully now, the small UV sterilizer will be able to maintain this progress made so far!

Pic after UV/Blackout:
20200123_194611.jpg


A before picture was attached to an earlier post for comparison!
 

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