Maggie's Mixed Reef Build V2

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Mhamilton0911

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My first saltwater journey started almost exactly a year ago... I've learned so much in that time. A lot of trial and error, and finding out what works for me and what doesn't. My first salty tank was a 20g long, and I went through the hob filter, then on to a canister. Pros and cons for both, but what I really liked was the convenience of an all in one.

So that brings me to today. Right now it's filled with water and running and I plan on adding all my rock, corals and livestock.

So I started with a aqueon 29g tank. I ordered the 29g aio insert from fiji cube, and a tube of black silicone. My glue in job passed toddler inspection, lol.
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Next step was the background. The last tank was painted, but it scratches of easily and I didn't like that. But on my 75g freshwater tank I had my hubs window tint the back and it's awesome, so I had him help me on this tank as well. I absolutely recommend tint if you're doing a new tank. One layer of 5% tint and from the front is totally black. Super durable, doesn't scratch easily when adding pumps with magnets and waterproof. It's a skill application though, if you've never worked with auto window tint it's a bit difficult but youtube can help, or take your tank to a window tint shop and they can do it for you.

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So here's where it gets rough. My light I had hanging from shelf brackets and with this taller tank I had to raise the brackets. I'm also working with limited wall space because I have a TV right above the tank. So as I was mounting the second bracket my level fell off and broke a section of my AIO insert. Heartbreak. Profanity was used. Fortunately it only broke one of the baffles and I was able to silicone it back into place and everything still works as it should that was lucky.

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After the silicone was dry I trimmed the excess and it's hardly noticeable. Thankfully. I was pretty mad at myself for that. Totally my fault.

When I emptied the previous 20g, I set up a 10g on my kitchen counter so I had plenty of working time incase problems arose. Everybody seems happy enough although I'm on day 3 of no real light besides ambient and some morning sun. So today I'm getting everything out of that and into the new tank.
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So I got the the new tank filled with salt water, heater on and ready for rock and sand. I didn't do sand first because I could only mix 4 gallons at a time so I was dumping in water before it was totally clear, so I have a powerhead in there running all night to ensure the salt was mixed well for today's adventures. I plan on adding sand slowly with a cup. I've done this method before with a freshwater tank, it takes longer but it's possible.
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So on the agenda today is add rock and sand, corals and livestock and sit back and enjoy. :cool: Stay tuned.... 20220421_163147.jpg
 
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Mhamilton0911

Mhamilton0911

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Will I got sand in and it took a full day to clear up. Today I actually got in all existing rock, a few new base rocks and took my time getting all rocks stable and locked in without using glue or putty. I still need more so I'll be on the lookout at the lfs for good pieces. Scaping this time was harder. So I might adjust it still.

I took my time inspecting each rock and clipped any vermited snail tubes I saw.

Also identified a second polyclad flatworm in a rock. I had one I removed already last week so I was surprised to see a second one. About half the size of the first. This one didn't want to leave the rock, despite the freshwater dip, rather it wanted to die inside. So I tossed that rock, fortunately it was a small awkward one so I don't miss it.

Acclimated all 6 fish and all misc inverts, and all corals. So far things look fine, zoas and mushrooms opened up and rock flower anenomes looked angry at first but normal now.

Whew.

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Mhamilton0911

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My hubs needed to pick up a truck a ways away, actually a 5 hour drive one way (whole trip including loading truck and my lfs stop was about 12 hours), and asked me to come, I said only if we stop at a lfs I knew about in a city along the way. Muahahaha. So I found a green bubble tip anemone and it's mine!!! I picked it up on Wed, it's 4 days in the tank and still hasn't found its happy spot. But I love it. I tried a bta before but my filter ate it, so now that I have an all in one rather than a canister I wanted to try again.

I only have a few corals and most are on individual frag rubble rocks so can be easily moved incase the bta moves in right next to something. It's about a 4" bta when it's relaxed, haven't seen it bubble up yet but it looks like it might today, it's the puffiest I've seen the tentacles yet.

Loving it so far.
 

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Mhamilton0911

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How could you let me miss this?!
Lol, I dunno. I'm sneaky I guess :cool:

I'm loving it so far, way easier to clean. I'm not dragging my feet for maintenance anymore. Plus, the added height really gave me more room. The fish love the new caves and holes. Hate my light though. Due to mounting limitations it's so close. I'm giving the smatfarm light a go, it should be here Tuesday. So we'll see how the two compare.
 
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I made another towel for myself, I've recently started selling these and I have just ordered in a new brand of vinyl so I thought I'd give it a test. I like it, very cool neon colors!

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Reef Chasers Aquaculture
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Mhamilton0911

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Got the new light yesterday and am eager to get it installed.... but my dumb brain can't figure out the mounting part to the tank?! I can get it all tightened, but the weight of the light makes it fold forward? I'm just not understanding it. Now sitting down with a coffee and seeing if I can find mounting videos...
 
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So, new Smatfarm light..... it's OK. I like the color ok, seems easy enough to figure out if you're into pushing buttons. BUT, the mounting to the tank... wow. They updated the arm and tank mounting. What you currently see on their sale posting is not what you get in the box. I got round tubing and a solid looking tank mount, BUT they have the screws that you tighten against the tank on the wrong side. If you mount like they show on the directions, the extra tubing is in the water, but if you flip it around to where it should logically go, the more you tighten, the more it leans into the water and the weight of just the arm with no light makes it fall forward. I had the husband look it over with me just to confirm what I already know, the screws need to be moved to the other side. Thankfully hubs knows how to add threads to the new drilled hole and it took less than 5 minutes.

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This is the way it should be mounted, but the more you tighten the screws, the more it angles forward. Then the weight of the arm and light caused it to fall forward.

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So I rechecked the instructions and it showed the mount flipped, so I tried that...

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But then the excess of tubing was almost in the water, not right. However, with the screws on this side it was very sturdy and could support the weight of arm+light.

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This side needed the screws..

5 minutes later new holes drilled and tapped.
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Now it's capable of holding the weight.
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So maybe the original holes work for a rimmless tank? But for a rimmed tank you'll need the holes on the other side. Quick job if you know how. Thanks husband!!
 
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I added a skunk cleaner shrimp the other day, so far so good. I had one rock flower anemone spawn as well. That was interesting!
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And I decided to try my hand at phyto culturing. Day 1.
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Mhamilton0911

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I've been neglecting this thread....

Not too much has happened lately, just water changes basically. I did make it over to my first real reef store and got to see in person a lot of corals I've only seen in pictures so that was cool.

I picked up a green digitata, a pocilipora and a rhodactis mushroom. Oh and a bottle of 'pods that I started a culture with.

I still need to locate them to better spots, 2 were on flat bottom plugs so they are at risk of being moved by my urchin, and the digitata broke a lil peice off at the store so I glued that guy to its own fresh plug. I will be doing some maintenance today so hopefully I'll have time for gluing too.

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Never Wash Another Nasty Filter Sock Again!
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Things looking good. Still haven't glued things down, but either. Maybe today?

I took some pictures, most things are looking happy.

Getting my second smatfarm light delivered today, so hopefully I'll get rid of my shadowing issues.
 

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I bought some rigid airline tubing and bent it to hook on the side of my jar for copepods. Much better than an airstone loosely hanging in there and the silicone airline won't pinch at the bend anymore. Copepods have been in this jar for just over a week, and looking good. Getting some 200 micron nets today so I can harvest or be able to waterchange this jar.
Phyto is also looking good, and I'm thinking of sourcing a couple more strains to keep diversity. I definitely have room here to culture more.
 

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Mhamilton0911

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I visited ReefMissoula yesterday while in Montana, and I picked up a couple new things, my first hammer, Duncan and a no name sps. All those are doing good so far, it's a 4 hour drive from the store to home so I geta little worried about the stuff I buy, but so far everybody looks fine....EXCEPT MY CONCH. Apparently my Halloween hermit thought the conch's much larger shell looked mighty fine and decided to murder the conch and wear his fine new trophy. I really like this conch, he did a fantastic job at keeping the sand turned. I'm really surprised the snail was totally eaten overnight, no pieces left other than the shell.
 

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New coral pics now that the light is on.
Hammer looks happy, Duncan is still thinking about it and the acro is starting to show its polyps. Nice.
 

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I rented a par meter and got a lot of good data for my tank with 3 different light settings, I'll be making up a usable map for future reference later today. I did forget to grab readings for where I plan on having a frag rack so I'll do that before I box it back up. The highest setting where I got good numbers for sps were awfully white, so I will likely add a supplement blue strip in the future, but overall I'm still happy with my lights. Where I'm running it now was surprisingly low but all my corals, sps included, are growing. So my plan is just to gradually turn them up.

I plan on cleaning the back today, I've got an algea farm going on back there, and I've got a new return pump to install. The new one is controllable and I'm excited for feed mode, it was a pain to un plug and remember to plug it back in, yes I did forget several times.

Also have an ato on the way, it's time. I've been good at not letting salinity slip but I'm tired of doing it everyday so it's time.

And more corals. My biggest purchase yet. Super exited.
 
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