My 75 Gallon Mixed Reef - a long distance project

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Fishfreak2009

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So my wife and I couldn't stay away from the hobby. I used to have a few different tanks, a 380 gallon FOWLR, a 180 gallon FOWLR, a 187 gallon FOWLR, a 75 gallon FOWLR, 13.5 gallon macro tank and a 110 gallon reef. After moving and having some various issues (stand broke on the 110 gallon reef and we had to tear it down to save the fish and corals) we got out of the saltwater hobby for a bit. 5 months ago we decided to jump back in with a Fluval Evo 13.5, and the corals have grown so well plus we've completely become addicted, and now we are setting up another tank!

We decided to convert our 75 gallon freshwater tank to a reef, so are giving all the current inhabitants (mainly angelfish and rainbowfish) to a family member and completely gutting the tank. My wife is actually doing most of the initial setup, as I am currently living in St Kitts for veterinary school and only able to come home a few times per year. However, I will be doing most of the livestock and equipment purchasing.

The tank currently
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Since I am in school and we are paying for my apartment here and our house in the states, this will be a budget build. Equipment will be as follows:

1. HOB protein skimmer (do not remember brand, bought it a few years ago, rated for a 150 gallon tank)
2. 2x VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Dimmable 165W LED lights
3. CURRENT Dual eFlux Aquarium Wave Pumps, 1,050gph with wireless control
4. Jebao DCP-4000 Sine Wave Water Return Pump
5. Eheim Jager Heater 300 W
6. Sump - 20g Long DIY using Fiji Cube Sump Kit - will have a refugium and run purigen and Chemipure Blue - seems to work wonderfully for our Evo currently with regular small water changes.
7. Eshopps PF-1000 HOB overflow
8. Sand will be 70 lbs of CaribSea ACS00050 Aragonite Reef Sand
9. We are hoping to acquire dry rock from a local reefer as I like the pukani rock and style of other older live rock (like real tonga branch). I really don't like the look of most of the purple man made rock or the bare white marco rock.

This will be a true mixed reef, with a lot of SPS, zoas, acans, favias, torches, a few gorgonians, a couple giant clams, a pair of blood shrimp, a pistol shrimp, and all smaller reef fish (fairy wrasses, anthias, leopard wrasse, clowns, damsels, gobies, cardinals).
 
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Fishfreak2009

Fishfreak2009

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Moved all the fish over to my parent's house last night for their 125 gallon. Also managed to find 100 lbs of dry rock, exactly the type I was looking for, for only $1/lb from a local hobbyist. Next step is putting the sump together, then setting up the tank.

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Fishfreak2009

Fishfreak2009

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So a quick update. Put most of the sump together, but didn't glue the middle panel. Decided not to use our old HOB skimmer in the garage, it was a Prizm HOB and won't be big enough, so trying to find a used bigger skimmer for either sump (needs to fit in 20g long) or HOB for the tank. I'd prefer HOB just so I can do a larger refugium, but either will work.

Pic of sump in progress. Please ignore the nylabone fake stick thing in the background. My coonies leave their toys everywhere.

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Fishfreak2009

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After talking with the wife, we decided to spend a little extra and get a new skimmer. We ordered an Aquamaxx ConeS Q-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer from BRS. It should come some time next week! Very excited!
 
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Fishfreak2009

Fishfreak2009

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Quick pic of some of the acros we are growing out for this tank. They're really taking off growth wise in the evo. Coloring up nicely now that we got the phosphates a little higher as well.
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Update! Tank is filled with water! Hung the lights, hooked up the wavemakers, and got it all running. Going to stock as many inverts and corals as possible, while we quarantine all the fish from the EVO before they are moved over. We haven't seen any signs of ich, but plan on quarantining all the fish while the corals and inverts from the evo go 76 days with no fish in the 75 gallon.

We will be using the EVO wit the AI Prime as a coral and invert quarantine, and have another evo that will be used as a fish quarantine.

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Update: moved over fish and corals from the EVO and from quarantines. Unfortunately we lost the acros after losing power for 2 days a few weeks back. Michigan winters without power don't bode well for a reef. Luckily we now have a generator big enough to run the tank.

Non-coral inhabitants include:
1 royal gramma
2 smithi damsels
1 yellow watchman goby
2 aurora goby
1 red headed goby
1 green clown goby
2 clark's clownfish
1 Radiant Wrasse
1 Firefish
1 Pencil Urchin
10 Nassarius Snails
1 Cleaner Shrimp
20 red leg hermits
1 scarlet reef hermit
1 halloween hermit
2 mexican turbo snails
10 astraea snails
3 Ox Tongue Nerite Snails
1 candy cane pistol shrimp
1 red japanese pistol shrimp

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Updates! I picked up a gorgeous RBTA from a local reefer and added it to the tank since the female clarkii clown was being so rough on the torch. She's moved into the nem, which doesn't seem to mind, and the torch is much happier. Also moved over the last fish I had in quarantine to the display, a pintail fairy wrasse, and added a coral beauty angel and a pair of banggai cardinalfish to one of the quarantines.

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Fishfreak2009

Fishfreak2009

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Added 3 green chromis into the quarantine today to act as dithers for the coral beauty and banggai cardinals. I've had my eye on a small school that's been at one of my LFS for the past 3 weeks, and have done quite well (no uronema losses).

They are performing the task quite well, and now the angel and cardinals are spending much more time out of the PVC. Also started the cupramine and praziquantel treatments in the quarantine as a prophylactic.
 
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Coral beauty didn't make it. Developed mouth rot and passed within 72 hrs of going in the tank. One of the chromis was also randomly dead? No idea why. Other 2 chromis and both banggai cardinals look great and are doing fine, eating well.
 
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And for more bad news. We have had bad issues with a slow leak from one of the bulkheads on the HOB overflow. Turns out, I actually cracked the overflow from overtightening one of the bulkheads trying to stop the leak. So I've ordered a new overflow which should be here Tuesday. Slowly but surely getting it all fixed up.

In better news, we placed a massive reefcleaners.com order, a large algaebarn.com order, a large order with gulf coast ecosystems, and a massive order with AquaSD (won a bunch of Ebay Auctions). Looking forward to more biodiversity and getting some of the diatoms under control. All the corals and fish in the display are doing well, even the Acropora we threw in there is opening polyps to feed.

Diatoms will continue to be an issue until we get the macroalgae growing in the sump. We are running this tank using our well water. All our values seem to be right where they should be, but we have high silicates. In our previous reef, a combo of dragons breath macro, caulerpa, and live sponges handled those just fine.
 
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Fishfreak2009

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Sneak peak at some of the corals coming from @AquaSD ! Plus we have a bunch of inverts, macroalgae, and gorgonians coming from some other places!

Also going to throw in a couple pics from the 125 gallon at my parent's house where all the freshwater fish that were previously in here now live. It's looking great!
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Added a couple new acros today as well as a new chalice. Acros started opening within a few minutes. Threw a quick pic of one of the aurora gobies as well. This one paired with the candy pistol shrimp.

Reefcleaners.com order arrived as well. Added a few varieties of Caulerpa to the sump, and some mermaid fan, shaving brush, and puffball macros to the display. Also added a couple fighting conchs, 3 fuzzy chitons, 5 limpets, 40 dwarf ceriths, and 1 electric blue hermit. All of it arrived great and on time, healthy and already moving around. Large portions of caulerpa, and extra cerith snails (more like 50 in the bag).

The big AquaSD order, the Gulf Coast Ecosystems order, and the algaebarn order should all arrive tomorrow! Overflow is also being repaired tomorrow!

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New overflow came in and is working wonderfully! Also received all the rest of the corals, inverts, and macroalgaes today and am more than impressed. I had orders arrive today from AquaSD, Gulf Coast Ecosystems, AlgaeBarn, and yesterday from ReefCleaners.com. Everything from every order came in wonderfully. AquaSD even threw in a free Acro frag and a free Favia frag! The Acro is so big it is almost a small colony!

Mounted almost all the corals, just need to figure out a spot for 1 Platygyra, and where I'm mounting all the gorgonians.
 
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Still working on placement for some of the corals, including all the gorgonians and will probably move the macroalgae around as well. But overall, they all are opening up and look good!

For some reason, the rose bubbletip decided to crawl down into the cave last night and has not crawled back out today. Not sure what's going on there. Will keep an eye on it the next couple days and see what happens.
 
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Bubbletip is coming back out of the cave. Corals are all opening up well and look great! And the gorgonians even came with some neon orange micro brittlestars!

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