iamacat

Higher than my pH
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Most recent FTS 1/5/21
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My name is Nick and I’ve been a lazy reefer for 10 years. Periodically I’ve been successful but most the time I’ve been focused on just keeping things alive due to life’s demands. This tank is a transition tank while I refine my reef keeping and get ready for my forever tank in 3 years. I have battled my previous system holding back my desires for a few years and now I am excited to get started. Please ask questions and I hope you enjoy my tank and story!


History: A quick run through

2010-2012

20G High started with a roommate which crashed during a power outage in 2011. Restarted and transferred it with me when i purchased my home in 2012.
  • At this time i had only super basic reef keeping knowledge
2012-2020
55g Petco with bulkhead for a 20L sump. lost 75% of corals due to copper first year of tank.
  • During this time i endured many failure in the first 3 years.
  • I began to learn about reef keeping, but wasn’t getting the information that is available today in the format its available.
  • Education didn’t always lead to execution and success.
  • I was in my 20s getting my degree and starting my career so reef husbandry was minimal and came in waves.
  • 3 times i was on the verge of tearing down due to frustrations with my ability to care for the animals.
Why a new tank?

i had to have new flooring installed in a pinch. I hated the previous tank set up and had been looking to upgrade for close to 4 years. Due to life i was holding off until my future was more clear. MY partner and i are planning to build on to and move to our other home in 3years so this tank is being started with a future tear down and transfer planned.

Planning:
3 weeks!!!!! We had to replace our flooring in a semi emergency timeline so i had 3 weeks to acquire my new tank. Over the years i have made notes and plans for what i would like to do with my future tank so i had a good start. Things changed when my partner dropped this one on me “Why don’t you just buy what you want instead of getting something else just cuz of price?”

Theories: what I think

Equipment:
This tank is constructed on the theory that i am a lazy reefer. I don’t like maintenance and after 10 years i am no longer interested in working harder than my equipment. That is why i have invested in automating my system as much as possible, to keep me out and to keep me informed more than ever.

Biodiversity and water:
Bacteria is king. This system is focused on growing the correct bacteria to maintain the tanks water quality outside of coral demands. The water parameters will be kept to encourage coral growth, encrustation, and color. Nutrients will be maintained with the fleece roller, skimmer, bacteria, and macro algae.

Less is More:
Decreasing the demand from me will in turn decrease failure due to my husbandry or lack there of.

Gear to follow...........

51F3BABE-482D-4515-8F0F-78975A25D462.jpeg 94452325-6DF5-46D2-8C74-3B70C7321735.jpeg
 
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iamacat

iamacat

Higher than my pH
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Innovative Marine INT75 with white APS stand and screen top

LIGHTS
AI hydra 32HD x 3 with 3Dreefing diffusers and HMS kit. I am running the David Saxby preset with higher peaks and the sunrise adjusted to my liking

FLOW
AI Nero 5 running at 40% high variance random
AI Nero 3 running at 85% child to the 5 with a 180degree phase
MAXspect Gyre XF330 x 2 OGC mode

Return pump Neptune COR20 plumbed at 1.25” for 12” and then to 3/4” dual flare returns running at 85%

Plumbing is bean animal drain with single gate valve. 2nd and 3rd drain are plumbed together.
75# of Marco reef rock

60# Caribsea Argalive special sand

Trigger Platinum 26 sump

Aquamaxx FC-80 skimmer with Avast Marine SkimlockerS and their micro Swabbie

AquaMaxx FR-S for periodic carbon/GFO/ whatever

Miracle Mud and 6 bio squares

Hygger 969 heater

Tunze MAR3181 running Chaeto reverse light cycle

GEOsreef Cryptic bioreactor custom sized to fit my space
-contians Lifeguard biomate balls
-run by a Sicce Syncra 1.0

Innovative marine 15g ATO with their pump and sensors

Neptune Apex

Neptune AFS containing their sample food, New Life Spectrum, and Reef Roids

Neptune Trident running the standard testing schedule

2 Neptune DOS
  • Auto water change
  • Dosing Tropic Marin All for Reef
  • other head is available for future dosing needs
PMUP for waste water

Apex Modules
  • FMM/LDK
  • 1Link
  • Breakout box
  • multiple optic sensors

3CAE8EC2-C3D1-40D3-9217-319E28C9D7E9.jpeg 866834F9-BD3E-47B7-BA1C-47574C95EEC9.jpeg E3C7438E-B41A-40BF-A86D-60516282507B.jpeg 30346B88-DE08-49B1-9DAF-BC828CACE06E.jpeg 0771C9F3-C1D5-4BBC-BF97-13A8D149091C.jpeg 22626ED1-2213-4D19-88DD-7A3024F6C937.jpeg 104AD373-B576-4F5E-9473-5A393507E864.jpeg 1EA7D78A-F7A3-49EB-89B1-F734181622DC.jpeg 4A315F6E-3AF1-4380-B019-F618DE61D699.jpeg
 
Last edited:
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iamacat

iamacat

Higher than my pH
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INSIDE THE TANK

Parameters

34ppt

78.5F

pH 8.10

ORP 240

ALK 9.21

Ca 421

Mg 1290



Salt RedSea Coral PRO but will be going to Tropic Marin Pro Reef once the RedSea is gone.



3 Phytotanks for phyto and pods

  • 1 Phyto
  • 2 Copepod


Inhabitants



FISH

1- Yellow Tang - 7years owned

1 Hippo Tang -8 month owned

1 Platinum Clown - 4 years owned

1 Premium Snowflake Clown - 4 years owned

1 Midnight Lightning Clown - 3 weeks owned

1 Naked Clown - 3 weeks owned

1 Blue spotted Watchman Goby - 5 years owned

1 ORA Orchid Dottyback


INVERTS

1 Banded Coral Shrimp - 8 months owned

5 Trocus snails - 3 years owned

2 Zebra Turbo snails - 7 years owned

3-6? Hermit crabs - 5 months owned

1 Rainbow RBTA - 3 weeks owned



CORAL

1 mottled green Frogspawn branching- 7years owned

1 Bubble coral - 5 years owned

Pulsing xenia- 7 years owned

Galaxia - 7 years owned

Purple green Favia - 7 years owned

Blue leptastrea- 4 years owned

Kryptonite green candy cane - 2 years owned

A bunch of orange Ricordea Yuma - 4 years owned

Multiple new frags of SPS, LPS, zoas, and shrooms

88A70F53-5156-4D9E-9272-481374BD4298.jpeg 6612E9B1-AE0A-4E67-A4E3-D2EDD0853BFB.jpeg
 
Last edited:
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iamacat

iamacat

Higher than my pH
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Joined
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Messages
445
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Location
Pinkynail part MI
INSIDE THE TANK

Parameters

34ppt

78.5F

pH 8.10

ORP 240

ALK 9.21

Ca 421

Mg 1290



Salt RedSea Coral PRO but will be going to Tropic Marin Pro Reef once the RedSea is gone.



3 Phytotanks for phyto and pods

  • 1 Phyto
  • 2 Copepod


Inhabitants



FISH

1- Yellow Tang - 7years owned

1 Hippo Tang -8 month owned

1 Platinum Clown - 4 years owned

1 Premium Snowflake Clown - 4 years owned

1 Midnight Lightning Clown - 3 weeks owned

1 Naked Clown - 3 weeks owned

1 Blue spotted Watchman Goby - 5 years owned



INVERTS

1 Banded Coral Shrimp - 8 months owned

5 Trocus snails - 3 years owned

2 Zebra Turbo snails - 7 years owned

3-6? Hermit crabs - 5 months owned

1 Rainbow RBTA - 3 weeks owned



CORAL

1 mottled green Frogspawn branching- 7years owned

1 Bubble coral - 5 years owned

Pulsing xenia- 7 years owned

Galaxia - 7 years owned

Purple green Favia - 7 years owned

Blue leptastrea- 4 years owned

Kryptonite green candy cane - 2 years owned

A bunch of orange Ricordea Yuma - 4 years owned

Multiple new frags of SPS, LPS, zoas, and shrooms
 

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Tommy's Phyto
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iamacat

iamacat

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Here is a FTS just a moment ago. I am very relieved to be at this stage. This whole process was a huge undertaking for me. All of this was done during my flooring being done through the whole house. Only demand was the basement floor was done first and that I had a week to move my tank before they started the rest of the house. With the exception of Abby my partner helping me carry the stand and aquarium into place, I did the entire project on my own. This lead to a couple mental breakdowns.

everything you see in the picture has been installed and reinstalled 2-3 times because I would find a different way I wanted a cord ran or because of poor planning and execution on my part. This was a large upgrade equipment wise for me, cord and space management was a battle.

THINGS I LEARNED
- educating yourself is the most valuable
- make a plan
- buy an excessive amount of plumbing because you will tinker.
- it’s really hard to find things when you don’t keep a tidy work area.
- take the time early to manage cords and outlets so that you have a clean area to work once all your equipment is installed and you need to do maintenance.
- you can and should only do one thing at a time. Slow down
- if you use the right bacteria and follow the right program you don’t have to look at an empty tank for months. 2 weeks f done correct.
 

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iamacat

iamacat

Higher than my pH
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WHATS NEXT?

I am waiting on a couple final pieces to come in so I can finish my automation.
Things I still need to install:
- 2 DOS
- LDK/FMM
- all optic sensors
- dosing containers with optics
- PMUP for waste water from Trident and auto water change

Live stock plans to stay the same for a little while. I want to see my current corals settle in and show good signs of growth and color before I add sticks.
I do plan on getting a mandarin so I have 3 cultures going to maintain pod demand and phyto. I am hoping that I have no culture crashes (2 phyto crashes already due to a light failure and who knows) and can have a full pod population sustained in my system within 2 months. I will continue to keep the cultures depending on demand and population.

I am also starting to run the KZ Coral system, so far one dose. I have had good results in the past with polyplab products but this system fits me best being lazy and the results are confirmed.
 
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iamacat

iamacat

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thanks for listing out how much sand you used, what's your sandbed height? I'm in the process of setting up this same tank and trying to decide between 45 and 60lbs
I used the marine depot calculator which includes how fine the sand is. I chose the special sand for its larger pieces to limit stirring. I also wanted a shallow sand bed, shooting for between 1-1.5”. I ordered 30# x2 and one bag of 10#. I didn’t use the 10# because I was happy with 60# in the display.
 
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iamacat

iamacat

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HOW I CYCLED MY SYSTEM


The Cycle:

D1 Oct 12 all rock goes into Brute with 250ml of the Microbacter StartXLM, Quick Cycle, heater set to 84, circulation pump running, and the salinity kept low at 29ppt. I used the rest of XLM and added quick cycle day 2. By day 7 my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate had all stabilized.

D10 Oct 22 the tank is put into place and plumbed

Oct 23 sand, new water, and rock all added to tank.

Oct 24 Algae barn refugium kit started in sump. Fritz turbo start added

Oct 26 all inhabitants transferred and old system tore down

D17 Nov 2 Diatoms appear. Microbacter Clean 250ml added

Nov 4 Diatoms gone

Nov 5-8 multiple different frags and 2 clowns added

Nov 16 Coralline algae starting to appear

D34 Nov 19 Very small amount of diatoms and some green algae on the sand in a low flow area. Gravel vac and 10g water change. Add final 250mL of Microbacter Clean

Nov 20 Started adding Dr Tims Refresh and Waste away on their schedule to manage algae.

At no point has ammonia been above 0. Nitrates vary but 0.4 was the highest tested at any point. I have done one water change at day 34. I have not removed any rock for algae removal. I have only cleaned the glass 2x a week with standard build up.

I have not lost one inhabitant from my previous system. I unfortunately had some damage to a couple new Euphyllia, this was due to one of my beefy snails knocking a powerhead off and blasting my torch and hammer. There was some tissue loss over a week but the corals are hanging in there. I dipped them in Tropic Marin Coral Pro once the shipment arrived and tissue loss has slowed or stopped.
 
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Top Shelf Aquatics
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iamacat

iamacat

Higher than my pH
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2010
21E1DB58-5836-4018-AD93-FDD4D033AE9A.jpeg

First tank. HOB Filter wheels x3 and tap water

First set of lights on next tank 2012-2018
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Jan 2020
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8 year old tank on auto pilot for about 2years. Minimal maintenance due to tank fatigue with this system. My bulkhead drain was a terrible install from the beginning and I should have found a better solution just never put time into it.

First sump
44B5B474-45A3-4DAA-9164-3C6CA3AB30B9.jpeg

first sump and I had no idea what to do. Local reefer “helped” me. Notice those three valves on the return? Yea those screwed me for a year. 4 months in and I couldn’t get my corals to open, copper from the valves. Inexperienced reefer lesson, don’t trust a guy you don’t know.

C6DFF675-4FAE-4382-BD93-491CB0A56744.jpeg

Had to get a new skimmer 2014. And yes that is a coat hanger holding a filter sock. This sump went from 2012-2016.
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2016 added eshopps ADV series. Was an upgrade but a terrible sump. Absolutely hated it after a year.

Nov 2020
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1E29AAF2-8DC7-4005-813D-A4C02A125D9D.jpeg
 
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Fritz
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iamacat

iamacat

Higher than my pH
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I had the return off for a little while as I let my Pink and Purple fusion marinade. Decided to share some top down shots and a couple residents. The yellow tang has been with me for 7 years now and is the most hospitable fish. Both tangs are very social and friendly with all new and old friends.
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I decided it was time to use the fusion bottles since my cycle has been so well managed and my algae management has done what I needed it to. Now I am having more significant coralline appearing on my rocks so I take that as a sign my tank is ready. My plan was to implement the fusion at a point when my cycle uglies were managed/controlled in order to out compete other algae for real estate on my rock work.

this is only 33 days after adding my inhabitants and 47 days total into my cycle. One water change. No manual algae removal. Just that little patch of cyano to manage.
 
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iamacat

iamacat

Higher than my pH
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Pink and Purple fusion is the real deal!!


D84B0083-13A7-42F8-814D-D2827400F96D.jpeg

that wasn’t there yesterday! The Coralline not the cyano. Don’t mind my little cyano field, he’s just hanging out for a couple more days.
BBA9A8C3-57D8-4FA1-B079-87785AA00B83.jpeg

cute, can’t wait till they grow up.
F75BBA49-254F-4AFA-82DF-16E642EDFEB3.jpeg

prettiest little cyano patch I’ve ever seen. I just let him chill
 
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iamacat

iamacat

Higher than my pH
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15BA312F-C76A-488E-A910-D81CA0B310DA.jpeg
Long day yesterday. Awesome to see everything doing well this morning. Acclimated and dipped last night about 30 frags from AquaSD. Lights were off until this AM and I’m running an acclimation period over a week (for now) starting at 30%. I will adjust depending on coral appearance.

dirty glass until I’m sure I won’t be putting my hands in today. Better pics once the glass is clean.
 
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