MT's Reef "Investments"

Mikeltee

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In case my wife asks, you guys sold me this stuff for about $700... okay?

Let's get started... I began my journey into Saltwater in October 2010. I still run my original MP40s dated Aug 2010. After 9 years of working 80 hour weeks, I finally decided to let my tank maintenance guy go and handle it myself. How hard could it be right? Aaron spent 45 minutes twice a month and we never once had an issue. At that point I found this forum and decided that I needed all the latest gear and that is when the trouble started. Within 6 months, I killed over 20 fish from an un-QT powder blue tang within 24 hours. Most of us learn the hard way and now I have a strict qt protocol, and that will be in full display in this thread. I fully intend to share what I have learned over the past decade and utilize this thread as a log book of one of my many passions.

------------- THE TANKS ------------

Aquavim 130g seamless bowfront
Start Pic
12/20/23
20231222_122435.jpg


Current Pic
1/28/24
20240128_135326.jpg


Aqueon 40g Breeder
Start Pic
12/29/2023
20231226_061201.jpg


Current Pic
1/28/24
20240128_135754.jpg


I caught a case of Coolia Dinos in 2020 and they never went away. I tried everything. Luckily, my tank sprung a leak which gave me a chance to start over. I only had 3 fish left at this point so I got the 40g and put it in my office. I get the opportunity to work from home usually so I figure now that the main is back up, I may as well keep it.

I never want to experience dinos again so I sterilized the rock and sand. 10 days 6:1 bleach 3 days 1:1 vinegar and a couple hours in a citric acid bath. This was still not enough to get the rock white, but that is what I had so I threw it in a tub for a month with Tim's One and Only. Once in the display I dosed a bottle of Microbacter7, Microbacter Clean, and I am still dosing AF Life Source until the bag is gone. I do not intend to introduce any form of live rock or live sand other than what comes with the animals that I will stock.

----------- ANIMALS ------------

- Fish
White-Tail Bristletooth Tang
Bangaii Cardinal
Midas Blenny
Coral Beauty
File Fish
Electric Maroon Clown
Foxface
Six-Line Wrasse
2x Picasso Clown (40g)
Mandarin (40g)

- Inverts
Mexican Turbos
Blue-legged Hermits
Astrea Snails

12/26/23
Orange Crush Acan Enchinata
Tequila Sunrise Mushroom

1/7/24
Cotton Candy Torch
Dragon Soul Torch
Dragon Soul Favia
Purple Blasto Merleti
Red/Green Blasto Welsi
Red Hornet Zoas
Rastas Zoas
Todd's Torch
Purple/Green Frogspawn
PC Rainbow
PC Superman
Orange Zoa

- - 1/18/24 additions--
Glitter Bomb Goni
Pink Goni

-- 2/1/24 additions --
Orange Ricodia
Magic Carpet Mushroom

-- 2/21/24 additions --
Duncans
Looney tunes stylo
UWW Rainbow Sunburst Monti
Tyree Tricolor
ORA Pearlberry
Orange passion
Oregon Tort
Aquamarine Jewel
Highlighter
Red Shortcake
Rainbow Stylo
Miyagi Tort
Northern Lights Granulosa

- 2/25/24 additions -
Space Invader Pectina
AOI
Godzilla Mushroom

- 3/5/24 additions -
Rainbow Fungia
Blue Raven Blastos
JKR Rainbow Blastos
CB Holy Grail
TSA Optimus Prime
RRC Pink Cadillac


----------- COMPONENTS ------------

- Tanks
AquaVim 130g Bowfront recently sealed with Momentive RTV. 48x24x30 (90g total with rock
Eshoops Sump 30x12x16
Aqueon 40g Breeder

- Filtration
Bubble Magus BM100 SE w/ DSP2000 pump (replaced)
Reef Octopus 150 EXT w/ Jaebo 2000 feed
Santa Monica Scrubbers Surf 2xx w/ Whisper 300
Santa Monica Scrubbers HOG 2x w/ Whisper 300
Aquamaxx Bullet 3 HOB skimmer (40g)
Fluval FX4 canister with Matrix (40g)

- Water Movement
Apex COR-20 return pump maxed out at 380gph
Apex COR-15 return pump (spare)
Eotech 2x MP-40 w/ battery backup
Nero 5 2x (40g)

- Lighting
AI Hydra 2x 52 (Main)
AI Hydra 2x 26 (40g)

- Support Systems
Eheim Jager heaters (OG is 14 years old)
Geo CR612 Calcium Reactor (currently idle)
Aquamaxx FR-SE Carbon Reactor 0.69c/4wk and HC GFO 0.5c/4wk
Ecotech Versa
Kameor X1 Doser
Reef Breeders CoralBox x4 Doser
Geo KR624 Kalkwasser Reactor 1/2c w/minijet 600
AirWaterIce Typhoon III 5-stage RODI
Aqua Ultraviolet 57w UV(Main display ran inline with return)
Lifeguard QL-40 UV (40g inline w/ FX4 canister)
Aqua Ultraviolet 15w Advantage+ UV(mixing station for phyto)
Swift 350T Microscope w/1.3mp cam

- Quarantine
2x 20g QT
2x 10g QT
2x Tidal 55 w/ Seachem Matrix & Purigen

- Automation
Apex Classic x2
EB8 x3
FMMx2
WXM
PM1
AFS
1Link
ATK top off kit

- Dosing
All For Reef (40g)
ESV B-ionic 2 Parr (40g)
ESV Mg (40g)
Kalk in ATO@ 5grams/gal (40g)

- Pods & Phyto
Posideon Reef Systems 3.5l culture stations
Amazon Storage Cubes
Mercer f2
CoralHubUS 2-part
Isocrysis
Tetraselmis
Apocyclops
Tisbe
Tigger

- Testing
Nitrate HI782 Hanna Checker
Phoshate HI774 Hanna Checker
Alk HI772 Hanna Checker
Calcium HI758 Hanna Checker
Copper HI702 Hanna Checker
Silicates HI705 Hanna Checker
Magnesium Salifert

- Power Supplies
1Link power supply 24v 5a
COR-20 power supply 24v
FMM power supply 24v 36watt
Hydra 52 power supply 36v 3.33a
Hydra 26 power supply 36v 90 watt
MP40 power supply 24v 3a
MP40 Backup Battery PS 14.5DC 1.6a

----------- APEX PROGRAMMING ------------

-- VortecLeft --
Fallback ReefCrest
tdata 04:00:00,0,0,60,3,20,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
tdata 08:00:00,0,0,70,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
tdata 12:00:00,0,0,60,7,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
tdata 20:00:00,0,0,60,2,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
tdata 22:00:00,0,0,60,8,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
If FeedA 003 Then Constant 5
If FeedB 060 Then Constant 5
If FeedC 060 Then OFF

-- VortecRight --
Fallback ReefCrest
tdata 00:00:00,0,0,100,11,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0

-- AlarmNotify --
Set OFF
If pH < 7.50 Then ON
If pH > 8.20 Then ON
If pHx7 < 6.50 Then ON
If Tmp > 80.0 Then ON
If Tmp < 76.0 Then ON
If ATO-Re OPEN Then ON
If Error Return Then ON

-- ATO --
Fallback OFF
Set OFF
OSC 050:00/004:00/006:00 Then ON
If ATO-Re OPEN Then OFF
If pHCarx > 8.40 Then OFF
If ATO-Hi CLOSED Then OFF
If Output ReturnCOR20 = OFF Then OFF
If Output ReturnCOR20 Percent < 90 Then OFF
When On > 005:00 Then OFF

--Kalk Stir--
Fallback OFF
OSC 000:00/001:00/359:00 Then ON
If pH > 8.30 Then OFF

-- UV --
Fallback OFF
Set ON
If Output ReturnCOR20 = OFF Then OFF
If Output ReturnCOR20 Percent < 90 Then OFF
If FeedA 003 Then OFF
If FeedB 060 Then OFF
If FeedC 060 Then OFF
If FeedD 120 Then OFF
If Power Apex Off 999 Then OFF

-- Return --
Fallback ON
Set ON
If FeedA 004 Then 1
If FeedB 060 Then 1
If FeedC 060 Then OFF
If FeedD 060 Then OFF

-- HydraLED --
Fallback ON
Set ON
If Tmp > 80.5 Then OFF
Min Time 030:00 Then ON

- FeedA: Feed 3min
- FeedB: Dose Phyto 60min
- FeedC: Water Change 60min
- FeedD: Dose Pods & Life Source 60min


----------- HARDWARE RELATED ------------

-- Hydra Reset --
Black:
-Hold button until red
-release when flashing red


Hydra Light Codes
https://support.aquaillumination.co...18707-LED-Indicator-Descriptions-AI-Fi-Lights

-- Reset MP40 --
Mode + Set 123 - Red White Blue
Mode 1 - Purple Red
Set 2 - Green (restart)
Mode + Set 12 - Red White Blue
Set 2 Tap - Blue Yellow


----------- MISCELLANEOUS ------------

-- Parameter Goal --
Alkalinity 8-10
Calcium 420-450
Magnesium 1320-1380
Phosphate .02-.05 .08max
Nitrate 2-5 but 10max 20240107_152228.jpg 20240107_151938.jpg
 
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Mikeltee

Mikeltee

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----------- QUARANTINE PROTOCOL ------------

After killing thousands of dollars of fish, I will never place a fish in my tank that is not quarantined. I think it's irresponsible to not quarantine fish. I had my powder blue in my tank for 8 weeks before there were any signs of Velvet. Within 24 hours, over 20 fish were dead. With that said, observing fish as a quarantine protocol is insufficient! If you don't want to stress your fish, leave them in the ocean! Yea... I said it.

I have been quaranting ever since that tragic day in 2018 or so. During this period, I have killed 3 wrasse. I was unaware that they were copper sensitive. I now research the animal that I purchase and determine if it is copper sensitive. If it is, they get the Hybrid TTM method. This method is a pain in the butt because you pretty much have to do the change at precisely 72 hours. Thats hard if you work for a living. I successfully QT my first wrasse 3 days ago and I now have a mandarin in TTM as of today. I also bought 2 Clowns so they are joining her. Pics of my process coming soon.

-- Copper Power --
As far as adding copper power to the tank, I do so over a 24 hour period. I have never had any trouble doing this aside from the 3 wrasse mentioned earlier. i do not do water changes. I monitor ammonia and feed light. I don't overcrowd my tanks. If they look dirty, ill do a 25% water change making sure that my replacement water is 2.5ppm. If you fall under 2.0ppm, you need to start over. My qt tanks are small. I want to get them into the display as soon as possible. That is why I don't observe for a week before and after or spend 4 days bringing up my copper. Once the second dose of prazi is done, they are off to the display.

-- Hybrid TTM --
You don't see TTM method discussed here much. I am not sure what happened to Humblefish, but I am thankful for his method! I can now successfully qt wrasse and mandarins thanks to his research. If you want to attempt this method, reference the fish compatibility list for the H2O2 bath. His method does not address flukes so you will need to add that on afterwards. I'm not sure if you can run prazi while swapping tanks every 3 days. I don't see why you couldn't as long as the tanks are oxygenated. I run 2 weeks of prazi after the Hybrid TTM. H2O2 is only good for a certain amount of time after opened. That is why you check it with strips from Amazon. They only measure to 100ppm. If you dose for 150ppm and get a 100ppm reading, your H2O2 is still good. Do your H2O2 bath in a 2g food safe bucket and put an airline in it. No need for a diffuser/airstone. Crank it up. No need for a heater. Make sure the temp and salinity match. I use freshly mixed saltwater, but some people just add H2O2 to the tank that the fish are getting ready to be transferred from. I keep a heater in my mixing station and run it 2 degeees over my display. By the time I get it in my tank during a water change, its the perfect temperature. I run 8g of water in 10g tanks. You need two tanks for this guys. Don't follow the BRS method of placong the fish in a tiny bucket while you clean your one tank. Its added stress to the fish and theres a good chance that you are not going to get the tank sterile. Spend the $20 and get another 10g tank. Bleach your tank out and let it dry upside down with a fan on it over night to sterilize it. Don't take any chances...

-- Prazipro --
I do two doses over the course of two weeks. I do a 25% water change between doses. I use a fresh tank after the copper or Hybrid TTM method.

NEW: I dose during HTTM but don't recommend it!!!

Here is humblefish's method:
-- Hybrid TTM --
NEVER 72 HOURS BETWEEN TRANSFERS
20ml/g 3ppm H2O2 150ppm check with strip
Day 1 Sterile Tank
Day 4 H2O2 bath 150ppm 30min to Sterile Tank
Day 7 Sterlile Tank w/ normal dose Prazi
Day 10 H2O2 Bath 150ppm 30min to Sterlile Tank
Day 13 Done (Triple dose Prazi for 6 hours before release)

Sample Copper Power
-- QT 11/23/23 - 12/7/23 --
Copper Power:
- 11/22 10ml + 10ml
- 11/23 9ml 2.5ppm
Prazipro:
- 12/7/23 6.25ml
- 12/14/23 6.25ml
Fish List:
- Bangaii Cardinals 3x
- White Tail Tang

Sample Hybrid TTM
12/20 14:00
12/23 20ml H2O2
12/26 Prazi
12/29 20ml H2O2
1/2 Prazi triple dose 6 hours before release
Mandarin and Picasso Clowns

My office/fish room
20231221_155145.jpg

I always have a 20g with cycled with Matrix ready to go for spontaneous purchases or God forbid a hospital tank. I perfer this route with copper to quarantine. I keep my 10g separated so disease can't reach the other from splashing. I'll break this 20g down for the same reason. Once the fish are done with Hybrid TTM, they will move to the 20g for prazi treatments.

20231221_155910.jpg



I lost one of my clowns last night so I transfered them over to start again after I picked up the replacement. You cant start over in an old tank. It must be 72 hours on the dot in a sterile tank.
20231221_155135.jpg


Break them down immediatly, and let them dry under a fan completely or else you are wasting your time.

20231221_160741.jpg
 
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Mikeltee

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----------- PODS & PHYTO ------------

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20231020_184551.jpg


20231221_165946.jpg


This stuff is a blast! I invest 30min/ week. I originally started this project as a means to attack the dinos. I wasn't even a week into it before my tank sprung a leak. I stockpiled several gallons and couldn't even give it away while I waited for my silicone to cure. Now that I have the means and knowledge, I plan to get two mandarins and several wrasse for my Office display. I have the first mandarin in QT now.

Here's my current process:

--- Phyto --
Iso- 1l innoculation/3.5l culture with 2ml part A and 2ml part B
Tetra- 1.5l/3.5l culture innoculation with 4ml Mercer's f2

Isocrysis is the hardest culture. It requires sterilized water. I just so happen to have a spare 40w UV that I run several hours in my mixed Saltwater. I then strain it through a 25m sieve. I harvest once a week. I save 500ml in case of a crash. I then add the previous week's 500ml to a gallon jug as well as the rest of the harvest. I currently dose my tanks 1ml/g daily. I intend to work up to 2.5ml/g daily.

-- Pods --
I culture Apocyclops, Tisbe, and Tiggers. I add a about 10ml of my cultured phyto daily to the roughly 1.5g cultures as well as Reef Nutrition's Phyto Feast. Dependant upon how dense my culture is, I'll add anywhere from .25 to .75ml 3 times daily. This stuff is ultra concentrated and will crash a system fast. If I see any buildup in the medium, I will harvest. When harvesting, I put half back into the culture. I have not needed to throw out any mulm yet. My oldest culture is 2 months old and the mulm is thick. They replenish fast after a harvest. I did my first tigger harvest today. I think from now on, I will put all the adults into the tank and all the juveniles will go back to the culture. The reason being that there was about 10% dead ones that were returned back to the culture. Ill keep this thread updated with my latest technique. Here is my array of sieves for harvesting. Mercer of Montana has a good deal on 4". I also have a 25 micron one, but it didn't do any good for the pods I culture. I use it to strain my Saltwater. I got it and my tetra strain from Florida Reef Labs. They are amazing! You can count on their tetra to be pure as well. I'll stick with Nate from coralhubus going forward though when I need to refresh my strains.

--Tigger--
250 Adults
120 Juveniles
53 Waste

--Tisbe--
250 Waste
120 Adults
53 Juveniles

Here's a link to my culture jars:


Heres's a link that got me started:

I highly recommend coralhubus for all of your cultures. I've done a lot of research and Nate has the best in the business! Avoid podyourreef.com as they are disingenuous.

Here's a pic of my mixing station and beastly UV:
20231125_124925.jpg
 
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Mikeltee

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I recently decided to get an algae scrubber for the main. There isn't enough room in the sump so I ordered this external skimmer. After talking with Santa Monica, it appears that I am no longer going to need a skimmer so was a little bummed out that I just dropped $500 on the Reef Octopus. It just arrived broken today. 2 weeks ago I received my Aquamaxx Bullet 3 and it too was broken. BRS next dayed me the part and I am happy. I could have probably got another skimmer next dayed but after considering it for a few minutes, I am going to get my $500 back and depend on the ATS. If its not enough, I will get another Surf 2xx for the same price as this skimmer. With my current skimmer, I can run the Surf with it, but I won't be able to run a filter sock which really isn't a big deal since my tank is 6 weeks old. Once the Surf starts pulling algae to where I need to harvest weekly, I'll take the old skimmer off line.

20231221_172606.jpg
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Just finished the structure for the office. It's roughly 50#. I'll be pushing the skip cycle to its limits with less than 10:1 live rock to dry rock. It's new Marco from BRS so I am hoping that it's not full of phospates. I have $300 in Coral ordered and my clowns and mandarin finish qt in a couple of weeks. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to spinkle dust on the mortar and make it all match. I used about 6oz of BRS thick super glue, two bottles of activator, and a half a bag of Marco mortar. I also used 2x tubes of epoxy. I wish I would have just stuck to mortar though. That stuff us amazing. This thing is rock solid! Its about 22x14x12 at its peak. Its a little high for the tank. If i had to do it again, it would be a few inches shorter and would slope down more. I also have another structure that attaches to it. Building scapes is fun and simple. I have about 8 hours in it. It will take a couple more to glue and sprinkle powder on the purple and trim off any exposed glue.
20231224_150538.jpg




Finished structure with side piece leaning to the left and the seed rock in front. There's way too much sand in there. I plan to transfer 10# to the main once it gets good and seeded and I verify that there are no pests. 6 month ETA
20231226_061201.jpg
 
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Mikeltee

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I love those frag stands. I'm gonna have to get a few once I figure out what I am going to do with all these corals.

I am such a dummy. I grabbed a glitterbomb goni and a pink goni after work. I also bought some frozen Rods food. It's been a long day so I threw them all in the same bag and drove home for 30min. I took them out of the bag to float and they look like this. I'm not sure if they are gonna make it. $200! I think my LFS charges me more for some reason.

He has this big butt orange acan Colony that I want. It's $200 though!
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Mikeltee

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!!!!! PSA !!!!!
!!!!!TIGGER PODS ARE A WASTE OF TIME!!!!

That's right... I said it. When people buy those shot glasses of Pods for $20 at the LFS it's loaded with Tigger Pods. Why? Well because they are easily seen with the naked eye. They are the most resilient pod, and in terms of contamination, Tiggers are probably going to win the battle. Will mandarins even eat these bad boys? Maybe if it's all there is to eat. Tiggers don't even eat ditritus. I've been culturing Tigger, Tisbes and Apocyclops since October. I can harvest 50% of my Tisbe and Apex every week and they will be replenished within 7-10 days. Tiggers take 2-3 months to replenish. I just added a 5gal culture to my 40gal tank a couple of days ago in hopes of clearing up some algae. I just looked in my tank with a flashlight and didn't see one Tigger in there. I dont even have a sump in the tank! I bet I put $250 retail value worth of Pods in there. Within 5 minutes, 2 panes of glass were completely covered in red bugs. I don't have Wrasse or Mandarins in that tank.They are a waste of time and a waste of precious phyto!



If you are going to culture pods, just stick with Tisbe. Feed them twice a day with homegrown phyto with a little dash of RN Phyto Feast. Sprinkle a little Reef Roids in there twice a week to make them happy. All you need is a $10 air pump and a 50 micron sieve for an endless supply of pods that will work for your tank. No light... no heat... no need to clean the culture out for months. Tisbe don't care...
 
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