My Journey - from starting over to moving up...

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blstravler

blstravler

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Really nice corals and growth. Just curious as to what the reason was for going to Radion's? Also, if you decide to sell the ATI/Reefbrite combo I'm most definitely interested :) Anyways, awesome reef!
The reason I changed - I did want to try something different but mostly it was seeing the success a lot of people had with coral color using the - but to be honest a big reason was that they really are set and forget and that’s what I like about T5’s. I watched A LOT of review videos on line and it was easy to see that you really only have to select the start/end period for the lights and then select the AB+ profile and you’re done. My LFS in NJ (Reef Co) has a great owner and he really took the time to walk me through the difference between the Blue and the Pro so that was also a big help in making my final decision. He also lent me his PAR meter so I could set the intensity properly.

When I first got back into the hobby I tried using Hydra 52’s and I was constantly playing with the spectrum and it drove me nuts lol. So with these I simply set the on and off time and added in an acclimation period of a few days. So easy and it’s done - nothing to fiddle with.
 

KellyCorals

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I’m not one really to share to much so this is a change for me. I’ll try my best to update this as often as possible.

Here’s my story...

I started in salt water to many years ago to remember. I think my first tank was in 7th grade. I’ve had about 8 tanks with the last half being reefs. My last tank was a 180 which I took down around 2008. Took some time to get married, build a house and have a kid. I always wanted to get back into the hobby but I was never in a rush.

This is one of the last pictures of my 180..

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As my son turned 5 last year we happen to be picking up some dog toys in PetSmart and he saw the goldfish and asked if we could have one. We escaped PetSmart without goldfish. Until a week later he asked again so we picked up a 10gal and we brought home Goldie and Steven. My son was so excited. It was fun to see him get as excited as I once was.

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A few weeks later my wife said the words “I miss the tank” about 2 months later we agreed on a place to put a new reef tank and I started to shop for a new tank....


Here is my current tank about a week after set up in May of 2019 with just a pair of Clown fish.

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As if right now the Tank is a Red Sea 425xl and this is most of my current equipment
  • Apex EL
  • COR 15
  • 2 MP40’s
  • LifeReef Skimmer
  • 48in ATI SunPower 6 bulb with 2 LumiLight Pro’s
  • BRS media reactors (Carbon & GFO)
  • 5 stage BRS RODI
  • 2 Apex Versa for AWC (1 gallon a day)
  • Aquamaxx Calcium reactor, 2 stage regulator, Kamoer FX-STP - 10lbs CO2 tank.
  • UV Sterilizer - can’t remember which one.
I use Reef Crystals for salt and aside from the CalRx I don’t really dose anything. I add in Magnesium media (Neo Mag from Brightwell) to the reactor and use Caribsea coarse media. I keep the effluent ALK at about 18. I test Alk regularly as well as Po4. Pretty much use Salifert test kits but I do use Hana for Po4. Originally I had all the Hana units but Salifert is just way easier. My Po4 is usually around .04 and Alk is typically 8.5. I measure Nitrates every month or so it’s usually around .5 or 1 - sometimes higher but as long as I have some and everything is happy I leave it be.

As far as equipment goes I’ve changed a lot over the past 18 months - gave LED’s a try (Hydra 52’s in the picture above) but I like the simplicity of T5’s - started with Nero 5’s went to Gyre’s and went to MP 40’s - easy to clean.

My main principle is to keep things easy. T5’s turn on and off - easy. Calcium Reactor is set and forget - easy. I can monitor every from the Apex - easy.

Here is the tank today - just about 18 months. Everything started from frags...

6906AEAA-62A9-4A35-89B1-B690F86CD547.jpeg



My current fish are -

4 Lyertail 1m3f
9 Ignitus Anthias
7 Green Chromis
1 Chevron Tang
1 Midas Blenny
1 Black Leopard Wrasse
1 Yellow Wrasse
1 Mandarin



So what’s next? Well I’m running out of space so there’s an obvious answer to that question and that will be my next post...

Thanks for reading
Seriously nice tank! I really like the Red Sea tanks. Also impressed with your Coral growth and how clean everything looks! Nice job!
 

Bpb

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Outstanding tank! I’m bad about keeping up with build threads. This one didn’t disappoint. I’m impressed with how healthy you kept your sps despite the frequent moves. Gives me confidence on my current build. Where did you source all your anthias from?
 
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blstravler

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Outstanding tank! I’m bad about keeping up with build threads. This one didn’t disappoint. I’m impressed with how healthy you kept your sps despite the frequent moves. Gives me confidence on my current build. Where did you source all your anthias from?
Thanks @Bpb - many a nice SPS from you - in fact I’ve never lost one of yours! Most of my Anthias came from 2 of my LFS. Most have been in for a while. When are you moving your tank - weren’t you building a new house?
 

Bpb

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Thanks @Bpb - many a nice SPS from you - in fact I’ve never lost one of yours! Most of my Anthias came from 2 of my LFS. Most have been in for a while. When are you moving your tank - weren’t you building a new house?

Yes sir. House is built. Moved in March 16. New tank is churning. Started a build thread but it’s in need of updating. On my agenda for tomorrow
 
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blstravler

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Also. I love the green chromis. Plain and cheap but look good and I love their activity. I know they’re super susceptible to uronemia. Did you quarantine/Medicate yours or just get lucky?
My LFS does a ‘decent’ job dipping and treating. It’s the best I have available and I don’t run a separate QT tank (gasp!). So I waited for them to come in and they’ve done well. Started out as 7 and I think I lost 1 at some point. They have a dominance structure to them and lay eggs about once a month or so. But I agree cheap - look good and it’s fun to seem sleep in the corals at night.
 
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Time for some updates made a bunch of changes to the tank. So let’s start with this -

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No longer using a Calcium Reactor and have moved to ESV 2 part using a DOS and just installed a Trident yesterday.
 
Zoanthids
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blstravler

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I know most would think I’m crazy moving away from a CalRx but with life starting to return to normal and travel/vacations starting again I needed an easier way of monitoring and control it things. I always struggled to have someone ‘care’ for the tank while I’m gone. Feeding is one thing but asking someone the adjust your effluent is another.

So far I’m really happy - the impact to my PH has been so positive. I always struggled to keep my PH at 8.1 now it is always 8.2 - 8.3. Seems like the corals are also enjoying the change. I actually removed the external air line to my skimmer.
 

Janci

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Hi, I was going through the thread again and remembered that you started KZ dosing. Did you find any positive change during the last months?
And I have the same question about the T5-to-Radion change.

It seems that the corals have been doing very well.
Can we see an update on the tank?

It is always good to see an update on this thread!!
 
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blstravler

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Hi, I was going through the thread again and remembered that you started KZ dosing. Did you find any positive change during the last months?
And I have the same question about the T5-to-Radion change.

It seems that the corals have been doing very well.
Can we see an update on the tank?

It is always good to see an update on this thread!!
You know I’m not sure about the KZ products. The only thing I noticed was when I frag things they tend to heal much quicker. I’m not 100% sure that’s from KZ or things are just getting better in the tank. I’m going to continue to dose for now and we’ll see how it goes. But I’m happy - I think - just hard to measure the success or improvement.

Around the time I changed to all T5’s to the XR15 and hybrid T5 I also changed from using a Calcium Reactor to dosing ESV 2 part. My coral colors have REALLY improved - I’m not sure if it’s the new lights or the dosing but things look really good. All though with the change to dosing my PH is much more stable and higher so that could also be part of the answer.

I will say changing the lights and moving to dosing have had a very positive effect and I’m really happy I made the change. For those that might wonder I’m currently dosing 130ml of both ESV parts.
 
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blstravler

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It’s been a while so about time for an update on the tank!

First the good… I’ve been really happy with the decision to go to back dosing and change up the lights. From the move back to dosing my PH is in such a better place and I no longer have any struggle with it. New lights have also done well and I’m happy with them. Corals seem to enjoy it as their growth has never slowed and believe they are growing faster then ever.

So with the good comes the bad… first issue was I had started to develop some bubble algae and I really didn’t take action quick enough and it got out of control very quickly. I was really busy with work and enjoying the summer with the family. Honestly as long as the Trident was giving me good numbers I was just leaving things to grow. So the I decided to do something dumb and use Vibrant to kill the bubble algae off. That only killed off my chaeto in my refugium. So in went a bunch emerald crabs and they had some effect but not enough. So I got a set of dental tools off of Amazon and turned off all my pumps and went to town. 2 hours later I vacuumed it all up and it’s been gone since.

However the loss of my chaeto had more of an impact to my PO4. Which I had more of an issue with then the stupid bubble algae. I gave it some time before putting chaeto back in - I’m not sure what is in the Vibrant but I wanted to give it some time. As of last week I have some growing well again and with the help of some RowaPhos I’ve been able to keep my PO4 to around .08 - would like it a little lower but it’s okay for now.

As with the bubble algae I also had some Aptasia show up and waited like I did with the bubble algae and gave it a chance to spread. I’ve used Nudi’s in the past but they don’t seem to always get all of them so I used F Aptasia and got about 99% of them. I just looked in my overflow tonight (forgot to check) and there are a few in there so that’s tomorrow’s quick project.

Oh I also changed Salts to Tropic Marin and I also put there A and K elements on an additional Dos. So far I like the results and I really like how cleanly it mixes up.

Did some slight re-scaping and traded away a few of my larger colonies and I’ve been adding a lot of new frags that have all been doing really well. Will post some pics soon. For now here’s an update FTS -

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blstravler

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How in the world did you get them out of the weir. It looks too tight to even see in there, let alone with with accuracy? Tank looks great. Aiptasia are such a pain

It wasn't too bad to get them out. I tuned off the return pump then drained the weir. I then removed all of the pipes in the weir as I had never glued them in place. They where covered in Aptasia so they got a nice bath in citric acid. Side note - my wife was not happy with the smell that created in the house lol. Next I plugged the drain holes in the weir so nothing would go down into my sump. Lastly I took a scraper and scrapped the entire thing out then used a cheap shop vacc I have and sucked everything I scrapped out. Then I gave it a small rinse in RO water and sucked that out. Once the pipes were 100% clean I put them back in and turned on the return. All in it took about 90 mins. Would have been shorter if I didn't have to soak the pies in Citric Acid but that was a really good decision.
 

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