My 90-gal. SPS Dominant Reef

cshouston

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My tank has already been set up and running for a few months, but I’m creating this thread in order to track its progress as corals are added and hopefully thrive.

I started with a Marineland 90 gallon reef ready tank with a ProClear RedFlex 200 sump. The tank had been running as a freshwater grow-out tank for a group of wild-caught blue umbee cichlids, but the urge to go saltwater again firmly took hold of me.

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The sump as of September 30th, 2020.

In the sump, I’m running a Red Sea Sk-300 skimmer, a 500-watt titanium heater, and an Aquatop return pump which I plan to upgrade soon to a DC return (probably a Reef Octopus Varios). I have CO2 concerns in the house which pushed my pH to 7.8, so I added a CO2 scrubber which is connected to the skimmer’s intake. The refugium compartment has about a half-gallon’s worth of coral rubble, and the ATO is a Tunze running off of a Trigger Systems Ruby 5 gallon reservoir.

I started with about 60 pounds of dry rock and used Dr. Tim’s with Fritz ammonium chloride powder to feed the cycle, and then added MicroBacter7 over time to diversify the bacterial populations.

2788F94C-741A-4FE8-B442-BF8310F6F498.jpeg

The first revision of my aquascape, after adding some additional CaribSea LifeRock.

I started off with a pair of AquaIllumination Prime 16HD for lighting, a pair of AI Nero 5 powerheads, and a Red Sea ReefWave 25 gyre. I soon found that the circulation patterns and overall flow just wasn’t where I wanted it. I decided to sell the gyre, relocated the Neros, and added an EcoTech VorTech MP40.

I also realized that two Prime HD16 were NOT going to cut it, despite what they told me at the LFS. I initially wanted to go with a mixed reef, but decided to go all-in on sticks, so I upgraded those to a hybrid fixture with four T5 bulbs and two Radion G5 XR15 Pros. I’m running them on a 12 hour overall schedule with the Radions ramping up/down for 2 hours and 8 at peak. The T5 bulbs kick in for six hours; one hour after the Radions peak, and shutting off an hour before they start to dim.

I wanted to ensure biodiversity of life and bacterial colonies, so I chose to add an extra 10lbs of live rock from KP Aquatics. It really helped to flesh out my aquascape and also brought along quite a few bristle starfish, a tiny mithrax crab, and some pistol shrimp.

8610B205-BCA5-48D8-B03F-F71FF930A4D3.jpeg

Aquascape v2.0 (September 30th, 2020)

As for livestock, the tank has a cleanup crew consisting of cerith snails, astraea snails, and blue legged hermit crabs. I initially added an orchid dottyback about a month after the tank was set-up and cycled, followed by a juvenile melanurus wrasse shortly thereafter. A few weeks later, I added a white tail bristletooth tang to the crew. The latest addition was a Bella goby, and I should have a regal angelfish out of quarantine and ready to go in a couple of weeks.
 
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cshouston

cshouston

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Four months in and I’m seeing coralline growth, my SPS are doing well and some are showing apparent growth already, but I’m also having a bloom of green cyano with some small spots of red cyano. It really took off after I had to pull all the fish out. They’re in QT after some ich made its way in, probably on the Bella goby from Diver’s Den. I’m having to run fallow until December. ;Drowning

This downtime is causing me to second guess certain choices I made initially, such as adding a shallow sand bed. I’m going back and forth on whether to siphon it all out or just let it be. We’ll see what happens over the next few weeks.
 
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cshouston

cshouston

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I decided to siphon out all the Fiji Pink sand I had used during the initial setup. It just never stopped releasing tiny particles into the water column under high flow. I also finally epoxied my coral frags into place.

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Only a few weeks left to the fallow period, and I’ll be able to start reintroducing my fish as well. I’m sure they’ll be happy to be out of QT and I’ll definitely be glad to have fewer tanks to think about!:p
 

ShepherdReefer

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My tank has already been set up and running for a few months, but I’m creating this thread in order to track its progress as corals are added and hopefully thrive.

I started with a Marineland 90 gallon reef ready tank with a ProClear RedFlex 200 sump. The tank had been running as a freshwater grow-out tank for a group of wild-caught blue umbee cichlids, but the urge to go saltwater again firmly took hold of me.

D8886741-0E0D-439C-A3DB-E8E5C0E0EFAD.jpeg

The sump as of September 30th, 2020.

In the sump, I’m running a Red Sea Sk-300 skimmer, a 500-watt titanium heater, and an Aquatop return pump which I plan to upgrade soon to a DC return (probably a Reef Octopus Varios). I have CO2 concerns in the house which pushed my pH to 7.8, so I added a CO2 scrubber which is connected to the skimmer’s intake. The refugium compartment has about a half-gallon’s worth of coral rubble, and the ATO is a Tunze running off of a Trigger Systems Ruby 5 gallon reservoir.

I started with about 60 pounds of dry rock and used Dr. Tim’s with Fritz ammonium chloride powder to feed the cycle, and then added MicroBacter7 over time to diversify the bacterial populations.

2788F94C-741A-4FE8-B442-BF8310F6F498.jpeg

The first revision of my aquascape, after adding some additional CaribSea LifeRock.

I started off with a pair of AquaIllumination Prime 16HD for lighting, a pair of AI Nero 5 powerheads, and a Red Sea ReefWave 25 gyre. I soon found that the circulation patterns and overall flow just wasn’t where I wanted it. I decided to sell the gyre, relocated the Neros, and added an EcoTech VorTech MP40.

I also realized that two Prime HD16 were NOT going to cut it, despite what they told me at the LFS. I initially wanted to go with a mixed reef, but decided to go all-in on sticks, so I upgraded those to a hybrid fixture with four T5 bulbs and two Radion G5 XR15 Pros. I’m running them on a 12 hour overall schedule with the Radions ramping up/down for 2 hours and 8 at peak. The T5 bulbs kick in for six hours; one hour after the Radions peak, and shutting off an hour before they start to dim.

I wanted to ensure biodiversity of life and bacterial colonies, so I chose to add an extra 10lbs of live rock from KP Aquatics. It really helped to flesh out my aquascape and also brought along quite a few bristle starfish, a tiny mithrax crab, and some pistol shrimp.

8610B205-BCA5-48D8-B03F-F71FF930A4D3.jpeg

Aquascape v2.0 (September 30th, 2020)

As for livestock, the tank has a cleanup crew consisting of cerith snails, astraea snails, and blue legged hermit crabs. I initially added an orchid dottyback about a month after the tank was set-up and cycled, followed by a juvenile melanurus wrasse shortly thereafter. A few weeks later, I added a white tail bristletooth tang to the crew. The latest addition was a Bella goby, and I should have a regal angelfish out of quarantine and ready to go in a couple of weeks.

Looks like you have a great start on the tank, looks great.
 

Which do you think is better for your reef?

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