My first tank: Red Sea Reefer 170!

Adriaen

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
113
Reaction score
241
Location
The Netherlands
Hello reefers!
I joined R2R yesterday, and I'm very excited about the warm welcome I got!
People told me already about the tank threads, so let's give it a shot. This might become a little bit of a long story, but we'll see how it goes.

As long as I can remember, I've been passionated about animals. When I was little I was watching National Geographic and Animal Planet all the time. Why watch disney movies, when you can get educated about animals am I right? ;)
So when I was 6 years old I got my first pet: a rabbit. It was very exciting at the time, but it wasn't really for me. They just don't do very much... I took care of him the best I could, but he sadly passed away due to cancer at 8 years of age. In the meanwhile I always wanted a dog really bad. I could imagine all the adventures we could have together. My parents never allowed me another pet since we already had a rabbit. Since the bunny passed away, I saw some opportunities for a dog. 1,5 year after my rabbit passed away (in 2015), I got a dog! Very exciting and still the best thing that happened to me. The only thing I was missing, was a pet on my room. I spend a lot of time in my room due to studying. So I looked further for some awesome pets I could get on my room. I researched every possibility from parrots to chameleons. There was just one awesome idea that got stuck in my head: a reef tank! I know it took a little while, but we're finally on subject! :D

At first I was a little intimidated to be honest. There's a lot of info you need to know, and it costs a lot of money. The first thing meant it would cost a lot of time. That would be fine but the second was a bit harder since being in college doesn't really mean you have a whole lot to spend. I figured the best thing to do was to save some money first and get my knowledge up. During this time, the idea of having mandarin dragonet really kept me going. After about 3 years it was finally time and I started my tank. This was in march 2019.

Tank setup & equipment when I started:
- Red Sea Reefer 170
- AI Hydra 26 HD light
- Deltec 600IX skimmer
- Jecod DCS3000 return pump
- Jebao SOW4 wavemaker
- Real Reef Rock 17 kg (I think that's about 37.5 lbs)
- 3mm nautic marine coral sand 9 kg (I think that's about 20 lbs)
- Nautic Marine Osmose Reverse 190
- Red Sea coral pro salt
- Red Sea DIY tank screen

This is what it looked like:
IMG_9243.jpg


After about 2 months of cycling I got my first livestock. I was very excited about this and I carefully planned it. All parameters were stable and I got my CUC: cleaner shrimp, scarlet reef hermit crab and a couple of trochus snails. A few weeks later I was ready for my first fish. I had thought this pretty well through in my head and got a firefish. I know they can be a little shy, so I thought if would add him first, he would get established better in the tank. At the beginning he did very well. He was a little shy but ate very well. After 2 weeks he just disappeared. I looked everywhere but couldn't find him.
IMG_9510.jpg


At least I learned my first lessen: nothing goes as plan in this hobby.
In the few weeks after that I got 2 more fish. A yellow wrasse and a royal gramma. I was really stoked about both, since they are way more active than the firefish. Unfortunately I discovered my royal gramma had ich... Since I didn't have a QT, I saw him die and I couldn't really do anything about it. Since 2 out of 3 fish died, I wasn't very excited about the store I got my fish from.
Second lesson learned: buy your fish from a reliable store.
IMG_9653.jpg
IMG_0634.JPG


From now on I only went to the store I got all my equipment from. It's an hour drive to get there, but it's worth it.
The next fish I got there were my 2 black ice clown fish. As you can see in the picture below, I started buying more corals as well.
IMG_0925.JPG


My tank was very stable but I did have a lot of hair algae. I turned my lights down and got a LMB. I figured this would solve my problem. My LMB was a beast! He cleaned the tank very well and I got rid of al the algae. The only problem was he just wouldn't eat prepared foods. I tried every single food you could think of, but nothing worked. After 2 months he died, which was pretty upsetting to watch. RIP little fellow!
1843402D-A629-4808-A4D0-F11334F852F8.JPG

A few months after that my yellow wrasse died as well. He suddenly stopped eating, and again I tried everything but nothing worked. He died very soon after, and I felt really bad about it. He was the star of my tank and we won all the battles in the aquarium together. He survived ich, cyano, dinoflagellates, hair algae and the somewhat unstable parameters a new tank has (I know some of those aren't life threatening to fish ;)). He even helped keeping my trochus snail population in check. I didn't knew I could get this attached to a fish. For a few months a didn't put much effort in the tank. I just fed my fish and that was it.

After all this it was time to move on, so I decided to get some new fish to get myself excited again. I got a blue/green chromis and a bicolor blenny. I also did a huge rescape and got some more corals. A few big waterchanges later, this is how the tank looked like:
IMG_2015.jpg


We are getting pretty close to the present time now. I wanted to boost my filtration by setting up a refugium. This had a few reasons. I love mandarin dragonets (like I mentioned before), and I've heard that having an established aquarium and a refugium really boosts your chances of keeping one. Besides that, I hoped to get away with fewer waterchanges if got a refugium. So I bought the horizon zetlight E200s and got some chaeto.
I also really wanted a wrasse again, since I really enjoyed my yellow wrasse. So about a month ago, I got an Ornate Leopard Wrasse. Some of you might be worried now, since it's considered an expert only fish according to some people. I know what i'm doing and I also hatch baby brine shrimp for a more enriched diet. The OLW hid for the first 6 days, but got out a little after that. He still would be gone for some days after being out for a bit. I'm happy to say that he's doing very well, and I also got him to eat flake food. He only hides at night now, and is very comfortable around me :D
This is the tank now (did another rescape) with the refugium setup in the picture next to it.
IMG_2163.jpg
IMG_2127.jpg

I hope you all enjoyed reading my reefing journey to this point, and will keep following it from now on!:D:D:D
~Adriaen
 
Last edited:
Top Shelf Aquatics
OP
Adriaen

Adriaen

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
113
Reaction score
241
Location
The Netherlands
Nice tank ..and aquascape ...sounds like you've been through it all already ...dinos ...cynos ...
Thanks a lot! Yeah unfortunately I've had all of those. Luckily I had it all pretty quick under control. But what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger ;)

A few days ago I also had an exploded heater. My heater came out of water due to a failing ATO... Luckily I was in the room when it happened so I got the heater out in time. I'm never making the mistake again to put a heater in a sump compartiment where the water level drops. Could have gone a lot worse!
 
Lazys Coral House
OP
Adriaen

Adriaen

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
113
Reaction score
241
Location
The Netherlands
So I'm still thinking about getting more fish. As y'all might have noticed, I'm a little more into fish than coral. Don't get me wrong, I still love coral and think they're very interesting. Fish are just more my thing :D

I currently have the following fish:
- 2 black ice clownfish
- blue/green chromis
- bicolor blenny
- Ornate leopard wrasse

The first fish on my list is obviously a mandarin dragonet. My tank is pretty well established, and I got a refugium as save haven for pods. My only concern could be the mandarin competing for food with the OLP. The OLP is eating flake food tho, so maybe that isn't really a problem?

Next on the list would be another wrasse. I'm a lot into wrasses so I would love to add another one. I've heard wrasses can be aggressive against each other, what do you guys think about that?

The next idea I have going through my head would be a small tang. Before the tang police get's all mad, hear me out. I've seen multiple RSR 170 tanks on instagram, and even on R2R, with a small tang in it. Apparently it can be done. I'm not the kind of guy who buys a fish, just because I want it. I need to be sure that all the fish I buy, will thrive in my tank. That's why I started in this hobby for a mandarin fish, even tho I haven't got one yet. I want to be sure it will do well in my tank. So coming back on the tang subject. If I could have one in my tank for 2 years without stressing it out, or stressing other fish in my tank, that would be great. I do want to upgrade in the future, but you'll never know what the future holds. So if I would get a small tang, I need to take into account I would sell it or trade it back in at my LFS. I'm not doing anything if I'm not sure it would do well in my tank. So please take it easy on me. Let a man have a dream :)

Lastly I would love to have a dwarf angelfish. This would also be a great alternative to a tang, since they give me the same kinda vibe, but they won't outgrow my tank. Obviously my concern is it eating my corals. I've read that coral beauty's are the safest bet, but even they could start nipping at corals. As you guys can see, I have mainly LPS coral. I don't want it destroying my tank so how risky would that be? I could live with just the occasional nipping, but destroying corals is not something I can handle.

I'd love to hear y'all opinion about this!
 

jk_s124

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 29, 2017
Messages
1,318
Reaction score
5,443
Location
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
60 cm might be a bit short for a even a small tang. A dwarf angel might work. I personally love the Flameback angels. A mandarin might be difficult too. Might work if you can hatch and feed baby brine shrimp. Paul B has instructions on how to make a feader and hatchery. Even with a brine shrimp feader you may need to resupply your copepod population regularly. Getting multiple pod hotels in your sump and then weekly taking one out and putting it in your display. Breading copepods and replenishing you’re refugium and display frequently might work as well. You can probably do it, just might take some extra work and some creativity.
 

jk_s124

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 29, 2017
Messages
1,318
Reaction score
5,443
Location
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Here is a link to Paul’s feeder. I remember you said that you hatch baby brine already so I apologize if this something you already know. This is a good design to target feed the mandarin with the newly hatched baby brine.
 
Last edited:
OP
Adriaen

Adriaen

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
113
Reaction score
241
Location
The Netherlands
Here is a link to Paul crap feeder. I remember you said that you hatch baby brine already so I apologize if this something you already know. This is a good design to target feed the mandarin with the newly hatched baby brine.
Thanks for your response!
I do hatch baby brine shrimp already indeed, so I got a little experience on that subject. That target feeder looks interesting! Will definitely look into it. Won't it be hard to train a mandarin to use the target feeder?

The Flameback angel looks really cool! Are they not too bad at eating/destroying corals? Could definitely be a good option as a next addition to the tank.
 
Corals.com

jk_s124

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 29, 2017
Messages
1,318
Reaction score
5,443
Location
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
I have read many times that dwarf angels are a risk with corals. People seem to think it’s the luck of the draw. I have also read many times that if you feed enough it seems to lessen the chances. Also, it seems that dwarf angles like to nip at the mucous coating and algae around the coral. So you might see them nipping, but if you don’t over react you may find that the nipping not causing much if any damage. Unfortunately I can’t say from personal experience though. As for the feeder, my research suggests that’s it is very easy to get the mandarin to use the feeder. I have looked into how to keep a mandarin in smaller tank for a long time. I do think it’s possible if you understand that they rely on copepods almost entirely all day long, and that you need to have a plan to address that’s. It’s said that if you have under 100 pounds of live rock, you will need some kind of supplement to their diet, or manual resupplying of the copepods population in your system.
 
OP
Adriaen

Adriaen

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
113
Reaction score
241
Location
The Netherlands
I have read many times that dwarf angels are a risk with corals. People seem to think it’s the luck of the draw. I have also read many times that if you feed enough it seems to lessen the chances. Also, it seems that dwarf angles like to nip at the mucous coating and algae around the coral. So you might see them nipping, but if you don’t over react you may find that the nipping not causing much if any damage. Unfortunately I can’t say from personal experience though. As for the feeder, my research suggests that’s it is very easy to get the mandarin to use the feeder. I have looked into how to keep a mandarin in smaller tank for a long time. I do think it’s possible if you understand that they rely on copepods almost entirely all day long, and that you need to have a plan to address that’s. It’s said that if you have under 100 pounds of live rock, you will need some kind of supplement to their diet, or manual resupplying of the copepods population in your system.
I will definitely consider the dwarf angel, I really like the idea of having one. Probably gonna need to do some more research first obviously, and try to get some information from people who have experience with keeping them in a reef tank.

For the mandarin, I will need to make sure my LFS sells copepods so I can resupply them regularly. For now my tanks is swarming in pods, but I obviously need to keep it that way.

Updates on the fish will definitely follow soon...
 
OP
Adriaen

Adriaen

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
113
Reaction score
241
Location
The Netherlands
Now on to the next update on my tank.
Like I mentioned in a previous post, my heater exploded a few days ago :oops:
Luckily I was in the room so I could get it out of the tank in time. I turned off my return pump immediately and managed to get all the gunk that came of the heater out of the tank in time. I still had a spare heater laying around, so I could prevent a further disaster. I ordered 2 Eheim 75W heaters, which came in the mail today. Both are now running with one on a little higher temperature than the other. So if one would fail, I can see it on the thermometer.

IMG_2193.jpg
IMG_2195.jpg
 
OP
Adriaen

Adriaen

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
113
Reaction score
241
Location
The Netherlands
I went to my LFS for some new additions for the tank today... Since it has been a little while since I got some corals, it was time for a little treat. First of all, I got a red starfish (Fromia Milleporella) and a pulsing xenia.
IMG_2209.jpg
IMG_2217.jpg


I also wanted to get another SPS frag, so I got what I believe is called a Montipora Digitata (correct me if I'm wrong).
IMG_2214.jpg


Last but not least: a sun coral (tubastrea orange).
IMG_2216.jpg
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
OP
Adriaen

Adriaen

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
113
Reaction score
241
Location
The Netherlands
So I tested my water today, and I was pretty surprised to say the least. I'm pretty strict in my waterchanges, and because of that I don't test my water very often. I've never had any weird swings, until now...

The last time I tested was april 26th:
KH 11
Ca 440 mg/l
Mg 1440 mg/l
PO4 0 mg/l
NO2 0 mg/l
NO3 0 mg/l
NH3 0 mg/l
*my test doesn't detect nitrates and phosphates, but that doesn't mean they are 0 of course.

Today may 17th:
KH 8.6
Ca 420 mg/l
Mg 1200 mg/l
PO4 0 mg/l
NO2 0 mg/l
NO3 0 mg/l
NH3 0 mg/l

My last waterchange (20%) was last Wednesday (may 13th), and I use Red Sea coral pro salt. That's the only waterchange I did in between the testing. Since my salt mix has elevated waterparameters, I'm pretty surprised my KH is so much lower now and my Mg is fairly lower as well. Do I need to worry/start dosing? Or should I just do a big waterchange and it's fine again? I guess it might be so much lower since I did just one waterchange in between, but I haven't changed anything the past months so I don't really understand why I never had this issue.
 

jk_s124

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 29, 2017
Messages
1,318
Reaction score
5,443
Location
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Just keep doing what you are doing and maybe do a few more tests to see if the levels continue to decrease. Don’t do anything drastic. The lower parameters are still fine. Continue and keep close track. It might be time to start thinking about how you want to eventually deal with dosing if there is ever a need.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

How do you feel about showing off your tank to "non-reefing" guests?

  • I really enjoy it

    Votes: 131 32.1%
  • I like it if they are interested

    Votes: 207 50.7%
  • I really don't care either way

    Votes: 38 9.3%
  • I don't like showing my tank to people who don't understand it

    Votes: 19 4.7%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 13 3.2%

Online statistics

Members online
669
Guests online
2,766
Total visitors
3,435
Geo's Reef
Top