My 55g standard - first tank in ~15 years

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OrchidMiss

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Hi Everybody & welcome to my journey back into saltwater!
In July 2020, after about 15 years out of the hobby, I jumped back in!
I know many others have found their way back, especially with little or nothing to do during the beginning of the pandemic.
As a nurse, working 2 jobs, even during the pandemic, I was not one of those with little or nothing to do.
I was overworked, underpaid, and overwhelmed with anxiety and depression.

SO! I found this on FB Marketplace for $200 and said, let's go!
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I started doing all kinds of reading again, joined FB groups and starting asking tons of questions and couldn't believe how much equipment had changed since getting out of the hobby. So I went ahead and "splurged" on the Tunze 9012 skimmer, a couple powerheads, a heater, and Fluval Marine 3.0 lights.
Ladies & Gentleman, I have since learned the importance of patience and saving up for proper equipment.
But! This is a learning journey for me and it took my mind off the dark cloud that had been hovering over my head.
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This was July 12, 2020!
And seeing me come so alive with my new project, my then boyfriend who was supporting me mentally, emotionally, decided to propose as I dried my hands after adjusting my rockscape!
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Peace River

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Great story! Thank you for all that you do to keep people safe and healthy (or a little less sick)! Congratulations on the aquarium adventure and on the life adventure!
 
OP
OrchidMiss

OrchidMiss

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So, Jump to September - October 2020:
As I learned more & more about what would actually survive, how to stock my tank, etc., all the corals that aren't as hard to keep as I had always thought...
I changed from the Fluval lights to some black boxes I found on Amazon, as they were all the rage in so many forums and groups.

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I also added a 1g HOB refugium, upgraded flow to a gyre wavemaker, and added some tenants!
Majority of these are named after musicians - kudos to you if you know what bands they're from! ;)
Pair of clowns and RBTA (Bonnie & Clyde)
Niger trigger (Jello)
Blue spot watchman goby & curly cue snapping shrimp (Dave & Mr. Snippy Snappy)
Coral beauty (Tarjia)
Sixline wrasse (Bob Marley)
Spotted hawk fish (The Dude)
Several types of hermits and snails (many of which have since become snacks for Mr. Snippy Snappy and their shells are littered around his cave)

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Tank water seemed to be really cloudy, so I added an in-tank UV sterilizer
Still learning all types of things and putting money away for some other upgrades I have planned
 
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OrchidMiss

OrchidMiss

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I let the tank be for several months. Keeping an eye on the parameters, looking at growth of corals (or lack thereof) and decided that it was time to upgrade my lights, finally!
April 2021 I joined the R2R community and you guys have been so helpful!

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Lights went from black boxes to a pair of AI 32 Hydros!
This was a game changer for my corals! So was adding AquaForest additives and learning more about feeding my reef, rather than feeding my fish. Also soaking my homemade frozen food in RedSea AB+.
My stylos, birds nests, galaxia, hammer, frogspawn, torch and anemones were thriving!

Latest update!!! October 2021
I got tired of having to add a gallon or new water just about every day, and knowing how unstable this was making my water, and I finally put in a Tunze ATO! Under the stand I have an empty salt bucket with 5 gallons of RODI water keeping things level.
Over the last couple months, I've noticed my BTAs (2 rainbows and 1 rose) had more or less disappeared... I noticed that my tank kept creeping up from my desired 78 degrees to 82 degrees. Also, some of my zoas/palys weren't opening as much as they had before. I tried adjusting the heater, adding frozen water bottles... It was a very hot summer, so I didn't even think about it possibly be equipment failure.
Until I hopped on here and found a BRS video on changing heaters roughly once a year unless the warranty is for longer. SO! out went the monstrosity of the Eheim heater, and in went a new Hygger 300w digital. Within a week, my temp slowly dropped down to 78 and things are looking much happier. The last RBTA has started to open back up and let me feed it!

And here's my tank now!
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I'm still thinking about adding a little more rockwork, I haven't yet mastered "aquascaping" or aquarium photography, but I'm slowly getting there.
I've since LITERALLY lost my six-line. No sight or sign of him anywhere! He was such a model citizen compared to most I've read on here. I do have egg crate snugly covering the top, so he hasn't jumped. No clue. ;Bored

Next steps include:
updating CUC since Mr. Snip-Snap has left quite a graveyard of empty shells
definitely want a conch or 2 and maybe a sand sifting fish of some sort? Maybe... The Dude and Jello aren't very welcoming to new tenants. jerks.
 
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MaxTremors

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Tank looks great! The Niger Trigger (Biafra, lol), might be where your wrasse went. Even though Nigers aren’t the most aggressive trigger, they’re definitely not reef safe and they will kill other fish and inverts (it’ll eventually catch the shrimp slipping and that’ll be that). If you want to keep inverts and/or more peaceful/smaller fish, you’ll probably need to rehome him (plus he’ll outgrow the 55 pretty quickly, they get pretty massive).
 
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OrchidMiss

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Tank looks great! The Niger Trigger (Biafra, lol), might be where your wrasse went. Even though Nigers aren’t the most aggressive trigger, they’re definitely not reef safe and they will kill other fish and inverts (it’ll eventually catch the shrimp slipping and that’ll be that). If you want to keep inverts and/or more peaceful/smaller fish, you’ll probably need to rehome him (plus he’ll outgrow the 55 pretty quickly, they get pretty massive).
Nicely done with Biafra!!
Yeah, I know he'll eventually outgrow the 55. Right now he's still pretty awesome in there.
The spotted hawk is actually more of a pain in the butt and more aggressive right now.
I made the mistake in the past of adding 2 peppermint shrimp, and he gobbled them both up in literally 33 seconds..
Jello will eventually end up in my 110 one day. However, I do have a female bluethroat in there already.
 

aws2266

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I also added a 1g HOB refugium, upgraded flow to a gyre wavemaker, and added some tenants!
Majority of these are named after musicians - kudos to you if you know what bands they're from! ;)

That's great! I'm also naming my pred tank fish after musicians. My Humu Trigger is named David Bowie. I wanna add a clown trigger and name it Iggy Pop. Oh, and congrats on getting engaged.

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OrchidMiss

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That's great! I'm also naming my pred tank fish after musicians. My Humu Trigger is named David Bowie. I wanna add a clown trigger and name it Iggy Pop. Oh, and congrats on getting engaged.

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Thanks! That was last July. We got married in January
 
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aws2266

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Thanks! That was last July. We got married in January

Congrats on getting married then. lol Sounds like you've got a great partner. My wife has been super supportive of my hobby, especially seeing the change it made in me. I've had issues with anxiety and depression too and either having a hobby or this hobby in particular has made a difference in my life.
 
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OrchidMiss

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Today's update: Going to see if I can get some nice closeup shots tomorrow!
Added the corals I got from @TopShelfAquatics last live sale, delivered today.
bubblegum digi
Japanese toadstool leather
pink frogspawn
mystery rock flower anemone
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Subsea

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[ decided to propose as I dried my hands after adjusting my rockscape! ]

@OrchidMiss
Thank you on the double pun on ROCKscape after just getting engaged. Kudoes to your reefing journey.

I have been addicted for 50 yrs.

Glad to follow along.

PS. I just read your signature list of all the different animals you keep and tanks you have. You might be addicted.
 
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OrchidMiss

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Working on my tank photography.
Here's some updated photos! One of these days I'll get around to breaking out my Canon 5D Mark IV and get some real ones to share. Until then...

Morning blues with a little natural light coming in the back windows
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Sleeping Giant

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Working on my tank photography.
Here's some updated photos! One of these days I'll get around to breaking out my Canon 5D Mark IV and get some real ones to share. Until then...

Morning blues with a little natural light coming in the back windows
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20211118_083922-01.jpeg
20211118_083757-02.jpeg
20211118_083750-01.jpeg
20211118_083854-01.jpeg
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Looks amazing, great job
 
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