My 40 gallon recife build

kingranch2003

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Hello everyone I'm John from South Mississippi and I'm finally making the jump into this wonderful hobby. I'm only new to reefing and corals, as I've had numerous successful freshwater and fowlr tanks in the past. This spring I purchased a 40 gallon recife cube AIO. (It remains to be seen whether or not that was a great idea). I was going to use it as a planted freshwater aquarium, but I've always wanted to keep corals, so here I go. My lfs basically told me to scrap the filtration media and the skimmer that it came with and now I'm unsure if this was my best option. Also, the water levels involving evaporation and adding water is a bit puzzling. But I'm going to keep it positive and keep asking questions. I will begin my build thread immediately. I already have my live rock, sand, and one pajama cardinal in the tank. I'm ready to move to the next step but I have a little more research left to do. Thanks for hanging in there with me and I can't wait to hear from everyone!

Here are a few pics. This is the default aquatop skyaqua light that came with the tank. It was fun to find out that it may not be the best light ever for LPS corals lol. At least the glass seems to be sufficient for holding water :)

Let me tell you all a little bit about my goals/plans for this build. I will try my hand at a few of the "lower risk" corals and work my way into LPS. Blastos, favites, leptastrea, euphyllia, trumpet, and a few others intrigue me the most. I plan to take it slow and respect the wildlife. I don't want anything to die because I failed to be a good steward of the hobby. That's what led me here. I'll humbly ask for your advice and suggestions while still being diligent on my end, continuing to learn and grow.

Equipment
40 gallon recife aio cube
Aquatop nano skimmer
The media containers filled with various filter media
Aquatop skyaqua led light
Powerhead that came with aquarium
Live rock about 30 to 35 lbs
40lbs fiji pink live sand
The aio area contains 4 vertical chambers behind a wall. Chamber one contained a long black sponge that ran a significant portion of the length of the chamber it was in. It is very long. LFS said to trash it and use filter floss to catch solids. Chamber two is for the protein skimmer. Told not to use it because it was no good. Lol.
Chamber three held 3 stacked plastic boxes filled with various media (nitrate and phosphate removing sponges, ceramic rings, and carbon infused sponges. (Also told to scrap it)
If I'm getting rid of all this, I wonder how I'll keep my tank stable. I'll definitely have to stay right on top of it
I plan on getting a new light and a filter media basket with filter floss to replace the large black sponge that came with the system.

20240513_141351.jpg 20240513_141338.jpg 20240513_141320.jpg 20240513_141258.jpg
 

WalkerLovesTheOcean

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What a great tank you have, John!

I agree with your LFS that you should scrap the sponge and replace it with a filter floss (or another option would be a filter sock), but I am a bit confused as to why they told you to scrap the protein skimmer. If you haven't already thrown it away, keep it.

As for corals, after two or three weeks have passed since the official end of your cycle, you could try a few easy soft corals. Most soft corals grow super fast, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. Just keep thatin mind as you don't want them to take over your tank. You could try leathers, mushrooms, zoas, green star polyps (gsp), xenia, and Clove polyps. Any of those I'm my experience do well in new tanks.

This is an awesome build and I can't wait to see what you turn your tank into! :)
 
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kingranch2003

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Thanks so much for the kind reply. I was a little self conscious about my scape because I kept trying to design it as a fowlr tank
I will DEFINITELY add the skimmer. I felt the same way you did. Heck, why not?
You named a lot of the corals I'm interested in. I'm glad you brought that up. I set the tank up about three weeks ago with live rock and some healthy borrowed seed material. I added one cardinal last week. I'm really surprised how much evaporation occurs within a 24 hour period. That threw my salt off a tad but I'm close to having it stabilized again. Your mushroom (ricordea?) and clove polyps are fantastic. These are two of the first corals I wanted to add.
 

luis angel

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I appreciate this very much.

Your cube is amazing. That's what I'm after with mine. Thanks for following
Thank you, but surely you can have it better, just a lot of dedication, consistency and patience. here at R2R you will find many people with a lot of knowledge who can help you in the process so do not hesitate to ask ( @WalkerLoves_TheOcean for example with the recommendation of the first corals and the skimmer )
 
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Thank you, but surely you can have it better, just a lot of dedication, consistency and patience. here at R2R you will find many people with a lot of knowledge who can help you in the process so do not hesitate to ask ( @WalkerLoves_TheOcean for example with the recommendation of the first corals and the skimmer )
Yes you are all so eager to help, it's amazing. I am looking at an ato right now actually. I was really surprised it evaporated as much as it did. All of the "chambers" in the back of the tank have different water levels so I just made a mark on one side and use it as a reference for a manual top off.
 

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luis angel

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Yes you are all so eager to help, it's amazing. I am looking at an ato right now actually. I was really surprised it evaporated as much as it did. All of the "chambers" in the back of the tank have different water levels so I just made a mark on one side and use it as a reference for a manual top off.
Good idea on the mark, My tank also has different levels in the back and my ATO works I think every 5 or 10 minutes, just a little bit I've never counted them but it's near there.
 

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Thanks so much for the kind reply. I was a little self conscious about my scape because I kept trying to design it as a fowlr tank
I will DEFINITELY add the skimmer. I felt the same way you did. Heck, why not?
You named a lot of the corals I'm interested in. I'm glad you brought that up. I set the tank up about three weeks ago with live rock and some healthy borrowed seed material. I added one cardinal last week. I'm really surprised how much evaporation occurs within a 24 hour period. That threw my salt off a tad but I'm close to having it stabilized again. Your mushroom (ricordea?) and clove polyps are fantastic. These are two of the first corals I wanted to add.
The first two corals I added were the ricordea mushroom and Clove polyps. They worked great and are super hardy and IMO are some of the better looking begginer corals.
 
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kingranch2003

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The first two corals I added were the ricordea mushroom and Clove polyps. They worked great and are super hardy and IMO are some of the better looking begginer corals.
I absolutely agree. Do the clove polyps grow fairly quickly in your experience? In my research it seems they grow a little slower than standard cloves, keeping them from consuming the tank. Ricordea mushrooms are so unique, I wouldn't mind a tank full of them.
 
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kingranch2003

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Good idea on the mark, My tank also has different levels in the back and my ATO works I think every 5 or 10 minutes, just a little bit I've never counted them but it's near there.
Oh that's great to hear. Ok, then it sounds like that's one of my major problems solved. I'm so glad to get a direct answer to that question.
 
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What lights do you all prefer? The stock light I have seems really nice but I was told it wasn't so great. I definitely have some more research to do there. LFS recommend the AI prime blade for this 40 gallon cube. I'll be growing a few soft corals and LPS. No sps at this point in my experience. Thoughts?
 

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I absolutely agree. Do the clove polyps grow fairly quickly in your experience? In my research it seems they grow a little slower than standard cloves, keeping them from consuming the tank. Ricordea mushrooms are so unique, I wouldn't mind a tank full of them.
Clove polyps grow pretty fast. Mine haven't grown fast because aiptasia is containing it, but I assume it will take off once my aiptasia is gone.

I agree, there are some stunning ricordeas.
 

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What lights do you all prefer? The stock light I have seems really nice but I was told it wasn't so great. I definitely have some more research to do there. LFS recommend the AI prime blade for this 40 gallon cube. I'll be growing a few soft corals and LPS. No sps at this point in my experience. Thoughts?
Well there I can't help you much, I have only had AI prime 16 which is the one that came with my tank but for the corals that I have it has worked out quite well. I'll show you a photo so you can more or less see what I have.
1000089405.jpg
 

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What lights do you all prefer? The stock light I have seems really nice but I was told it wasn't so great. I definitely have some more research to do there. LFS recommend the AI prime blade for this 40 gallon cube. I'll be growing a few soft corals and LPS. No sps at this point in my experience. Thoughts?
I have a AI prime 16hd, me and my corals love it. AquaIllumination is a great brand.
 
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kingranch2003

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Well there I can't help you much, I have only had AI prime 16 which is the one that came with my tank but for the corals that I have it has worked out quite well. I'll show you a photo so you can more or less see what I have.
1000089405.jpg
That is actually a ton of help Luis, because the corals you have are the ones that I want as well. And you are growing them successfully and your tank looks great under that light! The price is in my range as well.
 
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kingranch2003

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I have a AI prime 16hd, me and my corals love it. AquaIllumination is a great brand

I have a AI prime 16hd, me and my corals love it. AquaIllumination is a great brand.
Well that seems to be the consensus between a couple of you with really great corals. Your stock list is almost identical to what I want. Obviously this would be a great choice for me. Good luck with the aiptasia. That sounds like a nightmare
 

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Well that seems to be the consensus between a couple of you with really great corals. Your stock list is almost identical to what I want. Obviously this would be a great choice for me. Good luck with the aiptasia. That sounds like a nightmare
Yeah, it is. Lol. My tip to you is if you see one, destroy it. Immediately. I procrastinated removing a rock that had aiptasia, and now I am where I am.
 

HAVE YOU EVER SUCCESSFULLY KEPT SPS? (DROP YOUR TIPS AND TRICKS IN THE COMMENTS!)

  • Yes, I'm a reefing wizard.

    Votes: 36 26.1%
  • Yes, but it was a battle.

    Votes: 25 18.1%
  • I'm working on it!

    Votes: 39 28.3%
  • Nope...

    Votes: 9 6.5%
  • I've never tried, but I will eventually.

    Votes: 16 11.6%
  • I value my peace of mind, so I'll stick to LPS.

    Votes: 8 5.8%
  • Other (Please explain!)

    Votes: 5 3.6%
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