• For a Limited Time the R2R Partner Membership is NOW OPEN! Get some cool swag and chances to win part of over $20,000 in prizes! Click here for more details

My Foray Into Reefing In The Mountains

Ippyroy

Geaux Braves! MVFREEMAN!!!!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
17,816
Location
West Yellowstone
This is my first time maintaining a reef tank. I live in West Yellowstone, Montana. From December thru March I am lucky to see temperatures above freezing. 40 below zero and colder are rather common so having something that reminds me of warmer places is great, hence a reef tank. I loved snorkeling and diving in Hawaii. The beautiful fish and corals were amazing. I loved all the vibrant colors underwater so I decided to bring some into my home. I started gathering the equipment in November to build a 120 gallon DT. I got a skimmer, T5/LED hybrid light, Vortech MP40, Neptune Apex Controller, RODI unit, Trigger 36" Elite sump, and various other items. In February I decided to change jobs, and then COVID happened. My hours at my new job were slashed. Due to this I had to downgrade my planned 120 down to a 32 gallon Fiji EXT cube. In early May I got the tank and began setting it up using the items I had originally planned to use on a much larger system. My sump is larger than my DT, but I got all worked out. I had about 90lbs of dry reefsaver and STAX dry rocks in a BRUTE can with a heater and small pump since late January. I had added Microbactor XLM and the cycling was on. Adding a few of the rocks along with dry sand to the new tank, more micrbacter xlm, amonia, and the cylcing was on. I had 0 ammonia and nitrites within a week and it was time to order my first fish. I got a bicolor blenny and a pygmy dwarf angel.

The owners of the hotel I work at are interested in setting up a reef tank in the lobby. I have almost convinced them into an Innovative Marine 150 EXT. If they agree I will use the items I have and combine by 32 gallon tank into the 150. I hope to either get the 150 up and running or go with my own 120 by October.

I work 14 - 16 hours a day 6 days week until then so maintenance on my tank is hard. I do a 10% water change once a week. Other than feeding my fish 3 times a day, I don't have much time for anything else.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

SteveG_inDC

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Messages
179
Reaction score
356
Location
Washington, DC
This is my first time maintaining a reef tank. I live in West Yellowstone, Montana. From December thru March I am lucky to see temperatures above freezing. 40 below zero and colder are rather common so having something that reminds me of warmer places is great, hence a reef tank. I loved snorkeling and diving in Hawaii. The beautiful fish and corals were amazing. I loved all the vibrant colors underwater so I decided to bring some into my home. I started gathering the equipment in November to build a 120 gallon DT. I got a skimmer, T5/LED hybrid light, Vortech MP40, Neptune Apex Controller, RODI unit, Trigger 36" Elite sump, and various other items. In February I decided to change jobs, and then COVID happened. My hours at my new job were slashed. Due to this I had to downgrade my planned 120 down to a 32 gallon Fiji EXT cube. In early May I got the tank and began setting it up using the items I had originally planned to use on a much larger system. My sump is larger than my DT, but I got all worked out. I had about 90lbs of dry reefsaver and STAX dry rocks in a BRUTE can with a heater and small pump since late January. I had added Microbactor XLM and the cycling was on. Adding a few of the rocks along with dry sand to the new tank, more micrbacter xlm, amonia, and the cylcing was on. I had 0 ammonia and nitrites within a week and it was time to order my first fish. I got a bicolor blenny and a pygmy dwarf angel.

The owners of the hotel I work at are interested in setting up a reef tank in the lobby. I have almost convinced them into an Innovative Marine 150 EXT. If they agree I will use the items I have and combine by 32 gallon tank into the 150. I hope to either get the 150 up and running or go with my own 120 by October.

I work 14 - 16 hours a day 6 days week until then so maintenance on my tank is hard. I do a 10% water change once a week. Other than feeding my fish 3 times a day, I don't have much time for anything else.
Good luck with this and keep posting updates with all that free time you have ;). Seriously. I think given your schedule your focus should be on automation. I'm in the planning stages of a tank and a big factor for me is if my "work from home" routine developed during quarantine will keep going. My normal work involves a lot of overseas travel, but while I'm working from home I can take fish feeding breaks, water change breaks, etc. I see you have an Apex, so you're off to a good start.
 

MERKEY

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
3,340
Reaction score
7,938
Location
Washington
Glad to see you got a tank up and running,

Thats got to feel good with all the hiccups along the way!!

Thats would be sweet if the hotel let you create their tank for them. Its like you get your big tank and your little one hahaha

Can't wait to see them full of corals!
 
OP
Ippyroy

Ippyroy

Geaux Braves! MVFREEMAN!!!!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
17,816
Location
West Yellowstone
Unfortunately my WiFi goes down every 24 hours so my APEX is still in the box. I am keeping it simple. I will be ordering my first corals today. I want simple, easy to maintain ones, so I think I should go with some zoas to begin with. I also found a gorgeous Favite that I like. I am hoping that regular water changes and feeding will be all I need.
 
OP
Ippyroy

Ippyroy

Geaux Braves! MVFREEMAN!!!!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
17,816
Location
West Yellowstone
How did you manage with your sump since the footprint is larger than the DT?
The sump is on a dunnage rack next to the tank and stand. I will take a picture and post it later today.
 
OP
Ippyroy

Ippyroy

Geaux Braves! MVFREEMAN!!!!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
17,816
Location
West Yellowstone
My PO3 measured at 33 on Hanna Checker today. Ordered Cheniclean Elite. It should arrive next week. My DKH is only 6.3. I use Tripic Marin Bio Activ salt since my tank is new. I will switch to their pro reef mix sometime next month when the bucket runs out. In the mean time I have ordered BRS 2-Part set and will begin dosing manually.

I ordered my corals and they should arrive on Wednesday. I got a couple of Zoas and a few LPS.
 
OP
Ippyroy

Ippyroy

Geaux Braves! MVFREEMAN!!!!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
17,816
Location
West Yellowstone
My WiFi has not gone down for 3 days in a row. Looks like I get to learn how to set an APEX just in time for my corals to show up. I feel so relieved right now.
My tank is also beginning to show some green algae this morning so I ordered a bunch of Cerith snails today that I should receive next week. Between them and the small CUC i already have I am hoping the algae won't get too bad. I also have some chaeto coming in and will be setting up an algae reactor. Hoping this will help with the high phosphates. My nitrates were somewhere around 20 on RedSea test kit this morning. I will be doing a large water change on Tuesday. I normally do a 10% on Wednesday, but with my corals arriving I think a larger one on Tuesday will be a good idea. I will do somewhere between 20 - 30%
 
OP
Ippyroy

Ippyroy

Geaux Braves! MVFREEMAN!!!!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
17,816
Location
West Yellowstone
Did a 20% water change last night in anticipation of my first corals arriving. I got a few zoas and some favias and a monti.
DKH 6.5
Calcium 475
Nitrates 5
Phosphates 10

Dosed BRS alkalinity now reads 7.8. Will retest tonight.
I will be hooking up the Apex on Tuesday next week. First time with two off.
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock
OP
Ippyroy

Ippyroy

Geaux Braves! MVFREEMAN!!!!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
17,816
Location
West Yellowstone
Changed plans again since I don't have time to do a little more plumbing and I don't feel like washing filter socks. My sump uses 7 inch socks so I pulled them out last night and dumped in the chaeto and used a cheap grow light that I had laying around. I ordered more chaeto to day from Algae barn along with a small Sicce Voyager Stream Pump 1000 and a CANGROW 200W LED for a little flow and as a better light.
I also get another 50 cerith snails today. I have 5 currently in my DT along with a tiger conch. My plan this weekend is to make a lid out of plexiglass I have to set on top of a 44 gallon Brute and restart the cycling of the almost 70 lbs of rock that I will use for my upgrade in October. I will use the cheap grow light I have and hang it over the plexiglass and move most of the snails into the brute. Maybe I can miss the ugly stage in the upgrade?
 
OP
Ippyroy

Ippyroy

Geaux Braves! MVFREEMAN!!!!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
17,816
Location
West Yellowstone
Added 50 little cerith snails to help with algae. Alk is still 8.0DKH, not going down. I have 24 corrals, 2 fish, and about 60 snails. Will test PH and Calcium tonight. Salt was a little high. Not sure if ATO is working. Will check it out tonight as well.
 
OP
Ippyroy

Ippyroy

Geaux Braves! MVFREEMAN!!!!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
17,816
Location
West Yellowstone
I am currently battling green algae all over my rocks and high PO4. I have started my refugium and have a new light for it and more chaeto coming in this week. I finally get two days off this week and I will be doing a water change and setting up my Apex. So hopefully I will soon be able to get my parameters in line.
 
OP
Ippyroy

Ippyroy

Geaux Braves! MVFREEMAN!!!!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
17,816
Location
West Yellowstone
Apex is up and limping. Doing a ton of reading trying to figure it out. Added a new CUC. Have a few crabs now and some Turbo snails. My conch was DOA as well as a turbo snail from Reefcleaners.org. All in all I am happy with the order.
 
OP
Ippyroy

Ippyroy

Geaux Braves! MVFREEMAN!!!!
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
17,816
Location
West Yellowstone
This will be a big week. I receive the last of my fish on Wednesday, a chromis, caramel clown, and a yellow watchman goby. I will do my weekly water change on Tuesday in order to be ready for the new fish on Wednesday. I have switched salts to HW Marinemix since Tropic Marin BioActiv Alk is only 7.The new CUC are doing good and my current fish are fat and healthy. My PO4 and NO3 are doing ok. My chaeto took off this week with the addition of a much better grow light.
 

How concerned are you about high phosphates in your tank?

  • VERY Concerned

    Votes: 101 21.5%
  • Somewhat Concerned

    Votes: 267 56.8%
  • NOT Concerned At All

    Votes: 97 20.6%
  • Other (please explain in thread)

    Votes: 5 1.1%

Online statistics

Members online
1,837
Guests online
4,204
Total visitors
6,041
Ultimate Corals
Top