My First Softy Tank... which has turned into a mixed reef

danieyella

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In true me fashion, I've gone overboard with corals. I have two favias that melted, and I wanted to replace them. I was looking at my usual coral places, and they were so expensive, as most corals are. Sometimes I get lucky on eBay, though. Typically, I put a low bid on all the corals I want, $15-$20, and then see if I get lucky. Usually, I don't get any, and sometimes I may get one or two. So I did the same thing this time. I put a bid of $20 on all the favias, thinking I may get one... I won 11.
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Sometimes I do that, then immediately go into "oh no what did I do" mode, but it always works out lol. Nice wins!
 
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New&no clue

New&no clue

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I've been using the gravity fed ATO on my RSR 425 for almost 4 years. It will clog about every 4-5 mos, so I remove it every 3 and clean it. I usually use an air compressor to blow it out and it's fine. I don't like to add another electrical device if I don't have to..
Yep, there are other issues with pumps as well. Everything is bound to stop working at some point, and typically when you are on vacation.
 
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This such a big change, it's worth starting a new build thread. It's going to be awesome.
I've been debating starting a new one, but then I lose all the history and my reef keeping journey. However, it would be nice to have a thread with just that specific tank... I'll probably continue to go back and forth on it for a while, and in the end, start a new thread.
 
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Sometimes I do that, then immediately go into "oh no what did I do" mode, but it always works out lol. Nice wins!

One time I meant to put $20.00 and instead but $2000. I went into full panic mode with that one. Luckily it only went to $35.
panic.gif
 
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On one of the local boards, I found someone getting out of the hobby and selling his mixing station, bags of live sand, and some dry macro rock. The mixing station was not exactly how I wanted it, but getting a couple of water storage containers, two small pumps, and some plumbing fixtures for cheap is still exciting. I'll have to buy some new PVC pipe and a couple more fitting to get it how I want it. Once I get the water station set up, then I can try to find some sort of workbench/ table to put in the room for the sump.

As I carry all this into the house, my husband asked if we are still on budget. I said yes, under budget because I bought this stuff from another reefer. He asked if the corals I just bought were part of the new tank budget. I said no, those don't count. And then he said... "Well, that makes sense as corals don't cost that much."

sneaky smile.gif
 

amazongb

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On one of the local boards, I found someone getting out of the hobby and selling his mixing station, bags of live sand, and some dry macro rock. The mixing station was not exactly how I wanted it, but getting a couple of water storage containers, two small pumps, and some plumbing fixtures for cheap is still exciting. I'll have to buy some new PVC pipe and a couple more fitting to get it how I want it. Once I get the water station set up, then I can try to find some sort of workbench/ table to put in the room for the sump.

As I carry all this into the house, my husband asked if we are still on budget. I said yes, under budget because I bought this stuff from another reefer. He asked if the corals I just bought were part of the new tank budget. I said no, those don't count. And then he said... "Well, that makes sense as corals don't cost that much."

sneaky smile.gif

Haha!
 
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The water storage/mixing station is finally all set up. I had to redo it several times as I kept changing my mind on how I wanted it to work. I'm still not totally sold on the design, but I was getting frustrated and impatient, so I just picked something and went with it. I looked up a lot of other people's set up to get some ideas. One reoccurring theme seemed to be adding lots of unions. I did put in a bunch, and I'm sure they will make cleaning and maintenance more manageable, but man, do they make it easier to lines up the pipe. If your elbow is a little cocked to the side, simply fix it with the union.

E61BC26B-486D-4D7B-9FCA-2C0EAF67DF1E.jpeg


Now that I have that setup, I started to look for a table or workbench to put in there. I'm finding it very difficult to find something that is the right size. The problem I'm having is the room this narrow, and most workbenches are 24-25". That is a bit too wide for that room. I would prefer something around 20". I have looked at Home Depot, and Lowe's with no luck. Amazon didn't seem to have anything either. I have found a couple of stainless steel ones made for kitchen work. However, their maximum weight allowance is pushing it with a sump. Plus, metal and salt water doesn't seem like the best mix.
 

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The water storage/mixing station is finally all set up. I had to redo it several times as I kept changing my mind on how I wanted it to work. I'm still not totally sold on the design, but I was getting frustrated and impatient, so I just picked something and went with it. I looked up a lot of other people's set up to get some ideas. One reoccurring theme seemed to be adding lots of unions. I did put in a bunch, and I'm sure they will make cleaning and maintenance more manageable, but man, do they make it easier to lines up the pipe. If your elbow is a little cocked to the side, simply fix it with the union.

E61BC26B-486D-4D7B-9FCA-2C0EAF67DF1E.jpeg


Now that I have that setup, I started to look for a table or workbench to put in there. I'm finding it very difficult to find something that is the right size. The problem I'm having is the room this narrow, and most workbenches are 24-25". That is a bit too wide for that room. I would prefer something around 20". I have looked at Home Depot, and Lowe's with no luck. Amazon didn't seem to have anything either. I have found a couple of stainless steel ones made for kitchen work. However, their maximum weight allowance is pushing it with a sump. Plus, metal and salt water doesn't seem like the best mix.
Sounds like a good excuse to make a custom table.
 
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I started to fill my FW barrel last night, and got it about a third full. I then turned on the pump to makes sure everything was working. I started by making the water circulate out, up, and back in. All worked fine. I turned off the pump, open and closed new valves to test it going from FW to SW. I turn the pump back on... and nothing, dead pump. :mad:

I guess that’s a risk when you buy used. I’m mostly thankful I didn’t wait to test it until it was all the way full. I already had to hang from my waist down inside to reach it and unscrew it. If the barrel had been full I would have needed a snorkel.
 

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I started to fill my FW barrel last night, and got it about a third full. I then turned on the pump to makes sure everything was working. I started by making the water circulate out, up, and back in. All worked fine. I turned off the pump, open and closed new valves to test it going from FW to SW. I turn the pump back on... and nothing, dead pump. :mad:

I guess that’s a risk when you buy used. I’m mostly thankful I didn’t wait to test it until it was all the way full. I already had to hang from my waist down inside to reach it and unscrew it. If the barrel had been full I would have needed a snorkel.
I'm sorry, I chuckled picturing this. Luckily, this won't be too expensive of a pump.
 
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AquaSD, one of my favorite online sites had their live sale today. Unfortunately for my wallet I went a little crazy, but I just kept thinking I've got a new tank to fill up. They had some amazing Hammers and Torches, but I didn't buy any of those. I just don't know if I can trust my tank yet. Did get a couple awesome Elegance corals that I'm excited about.
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Good news, bad news on the mixing station. The good news is I got the pump to work. YAY! I happened to be cleaning all my powerheads and decided what the heck. I pulled the pump apart and let it soak in a bucket of hot water and citric acid with all the others. Then I got my brush and scrubbed all the pieces. Nothing looked terrible on it. It seemed relatively clean. I put it back together, and it turned right on. I've had no issue with it since. I will have to add to my maintenance schedule to clean mixing station pumps.

Now that my pump is working, I turned on my RODI and let it fill the rest of the way. Then I pumped all the water from my freshwater barrel into the saltwater barrel... and can you guess what happened next?

leak.gif


The bulkhead was leaking (not that dramatically). I pumped all the water back into the FW tank and took the SW barrel out, which all I can say to that is thank god for all the unions. I unscrewed the bulkhead to make sure the seal was good, then screwed it on again. I tried to fill it again, but still leaking. I took it back apart and bought some silicone to put along the edge and hopefully seal it. It says to let dry 24 hours, so I'll check again, and if it is still leaking, I'll have to take out the bulkhead, cut the pipe, and redo that section.

I wouldn't mind so much, except I took apart my old mixing station, which means I can't do a water change until this is fixed. Luckily I have plenty of fresh water for the ATO, but still, I already missed my usually scheduled one of Sunday, so hopefully, this can be up and running before the weekend.
 
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On one of the local boards, I found someone getting out of the hobby and selling his mixing station, bags of live sand, and some dry macro rock. The mixing station was not exactly how I wanted it, but getting a couple of water storage containers, two small pumps, and some plumbing fixtures for cheap is still exciting. I'll have to buy some new PVC pipe and a couple more fitting to get it how I want it. Once I get the water station set up, then I can try to find some sort of workbench/ table to put in the room for the sump.

As I carry all this into the house, my husband asked if we are still on budget. I said yes, under budget because I bought this stuff from another reefer. He asked if the corals I just bought were part of the new tank budget. I said no, those don't count. And then he said... "Well, that makes sense as corals don't cost that much."

sneaky smile.gif
That’s hilarious! Love that’s show! Your new tank looks like it will be amazing! I have always loved in wall tanks, especially viewable from two rooms. I’m jealous about the downstairs fish/sump/water station room. I would love to do that someday.
 
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That’s hilarious! Love that’s show! Your new tank looks like it will be amazing! I have always loved in wall tanks, especially viewable from two rooms. I’m jealous about the downstairs fish/sump/water station room. I would love to do that someday.
It was always a goal of mine when I started down this path. I am not handy when it comes to construction, plumbing, or electrical so the whole thing was really overwhelming. Thankfully I found a local company who can help and set it up right.
 
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Started a new build thread for the new tank

 
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I've started to question the whole T5 light debacle. At the start of the year, I put new T5 lights in. Afterward, I had my one and only SPS die and a couple other LPS. At the same time, I put a new Hammer into the tank. It had BJD and took out all my euphyllias. I thought these two things weren't related. However, I am still having issues with my other LPS. My Galaxea, which has been doing great, has started to retract and even have polyp bailout. I would have thought that if it was related to the lights, it would have happened already. At the time, I thought the new lights were giving a high PAR and causing my SPS and LPS to die. However, I find it odd that none of my softy corals were affected by this. I would think if my lights were too intense, they would have been the first to go. I also noticed one of my Acans is starting to retract from the skeleton. I'm wondering if that Hammer brought in some bacteria that is affecting all my stony corals. I was reading an article about dosing a reef tank with low levels of Cipro. I'm questioning whether I should try it or not. I would hate to wipe out all the good bacteria in my tank, but I'd also hate to transfer harmful bacteria to the new tank.

I'm still waiting to get results back from my ICP test but my other parameters seems good to me. They have been at these levels for the past several months

Nitrate 5-10
Phosphate 10-20
Alk 8.8-9
Calcium 420-450
Mag 1430-1450
Ph 8.2
Salinity 1.026
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