My Grateful Journeys Tank

ESABOE

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Excited to present the beginning of my ocean habitat to the community. My build thread will be different from what you usually see on Reef2Reef; my focus will not be about the gear or how it was built. It will be about how it even came to be, who helped along the way; watching it grow, and new inhabitants that join the neighborhood. And, most importantly, share my failures and what was done to fix them, so other very new reefers won’t make the same mistakes or are willing to take a chance and go big!

This is a Red Sea Reefer 350 G2+(72 gallon display) with the following equipment:
- Return Pump - RS Reef Run 7000
- Aqua UV 15wt Sterilizer; with dedicated RS Reef Run 5500 Pump
- Both RS Pumps connected to RS Duel Controller
- 2 - RS LED-90 lights
- 2 -RS Reef Wave 25 Gyres
- RS Reef Mat 500
- RS Reef ATO, includes 3-in-1 Smart ATO, Temperature Monitor & Leak Detector
- BRS 300wt heater, and Inkbird Controller (was getting inconsistent heat/monitoring not sure which part was malfunctioning. Didn’t have time to assess, returned and got:
- Innovative Marine 400 Watt Helio PTC Smart Heater - dual for redundancy
- No skimmer or anything else.

-Carib-sea Ocean Direct Live Sand - 40lbs approximately
-Tampa Bay Saltwater Sand - 3lbs approximately; Scattered over top (mirrored BRS 52 Week LPS tankI).
-Tampa Bay Saltwater Rubble in sump - 3lbs. @LiverockRocks
-Marco Rock for scape; designed by Reef Rock Oasis (see below for details)
- Saltwater provided by LFS using Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt
- Distilled Water from Sparklets for ATO (unable to DIY RODI in current home)

I chose RedSea because I loved how they look, the quality, and that I could get 90% of the gear that was made to go together. And dangit, I wanted that reefmat roller in a sump that was made for it - silly? Probably. But I just didn’t want to do filter socks and didn’t want a refugium and other gear to supplement the biological clean-up. I needed good tech combined with simplicity as I’m not good at science. Lol.

My Origin Story:
10 years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. I have fought every day to not let it be the focus; even with yearly radiation and daily chemo. Why let you know this? Well, my personality is to take things head on, try new things and never concern myself that I’m a beginner. In 2019, I bought my first tank, an AIO 26 gallon. Had no idea what I was doing. Bought a bonded-pair of clowns, watchman goby/pistol shrimp, and a six-line wrasse from my LFS and a clean-up crew of various snails. Somehow came across World Wide corals website and bought way too many corals through numerous weekend-long live sales (had the best time of my life racing to get the coral I wanted). Got all the uglies and did all the hammer solutions and finally at 8 months it was starting to look like a little beauty. Unfortunately due to Covid I had to move and ended up giving everything to the LFS; cried quite a lot on that day.

Over the last 2 1/2 years I prepared for a new tank. I knew I wanted that “future” tank now, so I can enjoy it now while I still can. So I saved money and sought out the Thought Leaders in the industry, watched 100’s of hours of videos, went to the local @Reef A Palooza California events and asked those leaders and vendors lots of questions. Decided I wanted a Red Sea tank, not a nano, but as large as I could afford that would fit in my bedroom so I could watch it as I spend many hours resting from treatment. Again, not concerning myself that I was a newbie. I apply the mantra of the key thought leaders; “Find one good source that shows their success and failures, explains in detail the methodolgies and go hard on sticking to it and be patient”.

I call this tank my Grateful Journey Tank, because I am grateful for all the people I have met, and those I didn’t but feel like they are friends as I’ve watched their videos over and over. And, its been a journey in my life and continues as I focus my thoughts on something magical and something I am responsible for in keeping alive and thriving.

So, Who Made This Tank Possible? Well, here is just a small list of the key people:

1) Ryan Batchelor at @Bulk Reef Supply. A leader who isn’t afraid to shake the apple cart, who has a level of humility about not knowing everything and being brave enough to share the failures he’s had with his personal tanks. Someone willing to discuss products and not recommend them and not just be about sales. Who led his company to do numerous trials on products and methodologies and share to us at a level even a newbie could understand. His staff, like Randy, Thomas, and Matthew, whose passion and different focuses helped me as I grew in my knowledge base.

2) To Vic and Josh at @WWC who also spend numerous hours teaching us through videos, visiting competitors facilities and sharing what’s new, what’s changing, and that you can do this hobby without a ton of gear. Every coral I purchased looked great, was packaged with such care and their customer service staff on the phone - the best! I am always willing to pay more for a quality product. I met both of them at @Reef A Palooza California RAP this year, and both were extremely gracious. I actually attended the special dinner during the event and Vic made sure I got my beer tickets!!! Also, during that dinner I wandered around looking where to sit, feeling like I was in high school, not feeling confident enough to join the cool kids (vendors) tables until I came across an open seat next to a woman I want to thank next.

3) To Pooja ‘Kat’ Dhawan from Brightwell Aquatics who welcomed me to the RAP dinner table and made me feel like a friend coming to visit. Kat has been involved in the industry in various companies and also RAP. Her breadth of knowledge, enthusiasm, and advice was generously given to me and it solidified that I had found my people in this crazy world of reefing. She even shared an Uber on the way back to the hotel and told me what booths to visit the next day. Of course she went above and beyond and walked me over to UNS booth and made sure someone there walked me through their newest saltwater systems. Unfortunately, I forgot to get her contact info so couldn’t send her a proper thank you. If anyone knows her, please send this post her way.

4) To Michael Gomecua, owner of Reef Rock Oasis. I met Mike at RAP and fell in love with his use of Marco Rocks to create stunning rock scapes. He had a very modern NSA style and I asked if he was willing to modify it to incorporate a habitat scape as well, what is now called HNSA. He took on the challenge and created not only something beautiful to the eye, but incorporated nooks, crannies, swim-throughs, flow ability, and great foundation for corals. You can contact him directly on his Instagram account: @Reefrock_oasis.

5) To Bermuda Aquatics, my LFS here in Ventura, Ca. Dylan Driscoll and his partners have worked for various fish stores, but always felt like something was missing at the LFS’ they worked at (connecting to their customers, teaching and guiding them, being proponents of aquaculture vs just taking from the sea; and being huge proponents of proper QT AND Conditioning of fish before they sell them to you). So, they opened their own store and they are servicing my tank. Have already come to the house and walked me through everything, made adjustments, and weren’t in a rush. If you are in Southern California, check them out. They also host the 805 reefing club at their store and food and industry speakers are always on the menu. @VenturaBermudaAquatics @805fishkeepersclub

So if I have piqued your interest, join me in this journey of little oceans in our homes.

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ESABOE

ESABOE

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We love seeing a tank have a story and hearing that story as the build comes together. We here at BRS, as well as Ryan, are happy we've been able to make a positive impact on making this a possibility for you!
I’m following the Softie and LPS 52 weeks tank builds you guys are doing closely. What’s the saying, “The greatest form of flattery is imitation”!
 
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ESABOE

ESABOE

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Absolutely awesome, following along. As a cancer survivor I will keep you in my prayers.
Thank you Kev for the kind words and prayers. BTW, your Biocube looks awesome; I’m blown away on the success of that birdsnest! I love your dedicated section for the Zola garden too!
 
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ESABOE

ESABOE

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Quick Update: Tank is finishing cycling, added TBS rubble and sand (pics coming soon) and copepods being added in a few days.

If you don’t have a tank yet, don’t forget to enter the ESHOPPS giveaway for one of their new Mariner systems! @ESHOPPS.INC
 
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ESABOE

ESABOE

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Update: Very pleased with my @LiverockRocks sand and rubble. Everything arrived beautifully packaged in 2-3 layers of bags for each item. It is clear how much they care about their product.

My pictures don’t do it justice but the “sprinkling” of their sand over my caribsea ocean direct really gives that feeling of what I’ve seen while snorkeling in Hawaii (which that in itself is a core memory I cherish). I should have ordered a wee bit more, but am happy to even have it in my tank.

The sand & rubble rock came with wonderful diversity and I know this is helping tremulously in establishing my biome cycle. Rock fits perfectly in sump in the pond basket I purchased (added safety cause I get nervous I will knock the loose rubble and crack a glass baffle).

I‘m loving just staring at my tank with just the rockscape and magical sand bed; once I add my first fish you all will probably hear me giggling like a 10 yr old across the multiverse :smiling-face:

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ESABOE

ESABOE

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Update: Waited till I had some content.

Getting organized as I fall into the rhythm of tank maintenance and daily observation - which translates to “sitting on stool, staring through my Flipper magnifier like Sherlock Holmes”. Lost the magnet so I actually hold it to my nose - LOL. (See photo)

Lookin at my @FishOfHex Hanna Checker Caddy and feeling like Dexter’s Laboratory. It’s a great organizer and is very affordable. @Hanna Instruments (See Photo)

Absolutely love my IM 5-gallon ATO Reservoir. For someone who is now disabled, having the ability to pour a pitcher of RODI water into that drawer without bending or lifting has been a god-send! Thank you @Innovative Marine ! I used my old tank stand for storage and it fit perfectly. Please ignore my shoddy paint job; it was a black stand I painted to be similar to the Red Sea stand. (See Photo)

Shout-out to @AlgaeBarn who sent me out another batch of Galaxy copepods TWICE at no extra charge due to the shipping facility in Colorado that can’t get their act together and ship on time. (If you follow the route details you will consistently see the holdup is at the Commerce City facility, not Algae Barn or once it‘s left Colorado! These jars arrived ASAP and are full of live, swimming pods of all sizes! Ok, UGLIES, I’m ready for you! (See Photo)

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ESABOE

ESABOE

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With all these Black Friday Live Sales, I couldn’t help myself and bought a “few” corals. Last time I checked, a “Few” means a whole bunch, right?!? LOL.

Looking forward to posting once they have arrived, acclimated, and placed throughout the scape. I know I might be a bit early on corals, but as those who are following my Build Thead know, I can’t wait too long to see this “future” tank. It will be my version of a christmas tree with lots of ornaments - LOL.
 
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FishiesRus

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With all these Black Friday Live Sales, I couldn’t help myself and bought a “few” corals. Last time I checked, a “Few” means a whole bunch, right?!? LOL.

Looking forward to posting once they have arrived, acclimated, and placed throughout the scape. I know I might be a bit early on corals, but as those who are following my Build Thead know, I can’t wait too long to see this “future” tank. It will be my version of a christmas tree with lots of ornaments - LOL.
I think a few is at least 25 :smiling-face-with-sunglasses:
 

ChrisQ0904

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I believe we deserve a Christmas update! Really love the aquascape and makes me super envious. Makes me want to redo mine but I'd be too scared to start a new cycle at this point. Looking forward to the future updates.
 
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ESABOE

ESABOE

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I believe we deserve a Christmas update! Really love the aquascape and makes me super envious. Makes me want to redo mine but I'd be too scared to start a new cycle at this point. Looking forward to the future updates.
Hi Chris! Yes, I have quite a few updates, just need to figure out how to take DT photos that aren’t deep blue where you can’t see anything.

I guess you’ll need to start another tank and get Mike at ReefRock_Oasis to create a scape for you ;)
 
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