Newbie help!

bearlytame

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Hey everybody!

I'm a high school teacher in DFW who recently had someone offer to donate their mixed coral tank setup to my classroom! I'm really excited about this, but I desperately need some help figuring out what I have and what I need to do in the immediate future.

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The setup is a 90 gallon with a side overflow and sump with a reservoir and ATO under the cabinet. I haven't gotten the tank moved from the donor's house into the school yet, so I'm trying to plan ahead for that. The current owner has had the tank in his home for 20 years, so it's well established. Unfortunately, he always paid someone to care for it, so he has no idea exactly what he has, or what condition the equipment is in. Or even what equipment he has.

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I'm not sure what the two rusty boxes mounted in the cabinet are, but they're attached to the electrical cords running to one of the reservoir compartments. I'm assuming it's a heater of some sort? Speaking of heater, the owner doesn't have a thermometer and doesn't monitor the temperature for changes.

The protein skimmer doesn't look like it's pulling much stuff out. I'm guessing the rag looking things are the filter socks (in need of a good clean). I didn't get any photos of the ATO.

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Now for the questions:

The tank's dimensions are a bit unusual, and it was sitting on a built-in cabinet in the home, so I'll need to get a stand made. Any suggestions for what to build/how to set it up? I'll hopefully be working with the shop teacher at my school to get something built.

Can anyone help identify the equipment I have in the photos? I'd really like to be able to figure out what I'm working with.

When it comes to moving the aquarium, I know the super basics (move as much water as possible, keep temperature as consistent as possible for liverock/corals/fish, make a diagram of the rock setup to make your life easier when reassembling, have saltwater already mixed up at the new location). I'm still hoping to find someone in a local club with some experience to come help out, but so far I haven't had luck finding anyone, so there's a good chance I'll be the most experienced person in the room during the move (god that's terrifying). Any advice there would be greatly appreciated.

Overall, this aquarium has a ton of potential, and is gonna be amazing once I give it some tlc. I'm expecting I'll come up with way more questions in the near future.

Thank you so much for the help! I'm really excited to be here :)

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mike werner

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Welcome!!So lets see if someone local chimes in and offers up some help.Your best bet is to find a local reefer that can come and look at this set up n person like you mentioned.Best of luck and thanks for teaching our youth about this hobby.
 
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SPR1968

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The tank itself looks great but some of the equipment looks like it might need either replacing or a very good clean down and some tlc as you say.

It’s not clear exactly to me what some of the items are but this article will give you ideas in what you need to maintain the system going forward if your unsure of what’s what.

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/the-supreme-guide-to-setting-up-a-saltwater-reef-aquarium.138750/

As Mike says, it may be worth asking a local reefer to maybe help you out as well.

And welcome to R2R as well it’s great to have you with us!
 
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MrsBugmaster

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Welcome to R2R! It defiantly needs some TLC. Thanks for being a teacher and taking on this responsibility of caring for a reef tank. What a great learning experience for your students and school. I would read all you can on the forums here and like others have said, find a local reefer that may offer you help. Where are you located?
 

Katrina71

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Just a thought. Could you contact the folks that had been maintaining the tank and get the 411? I would think they could give you a wealth of information.
 

Captain Quint

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Welcome to R2R @bearlytame!

You have a gem in the rough but it would be an awesome time to breathe life into this beauty. This would truly be a fun renewal.

Some good old fashioned elbow grease, a good cleaning of the tank and equipment before setting the system back up will also be a good learning experience and some of the gear such as the skimmer (possible ASM...just hard to tell from the pics) could help the function to optimal ability.

I hope a local group can assist with this. Even things like tips on removal of the bubble algae shown...every little bit helps. :)

Please keep us posted.
 

KrisReef

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Hey Teach, Welcome to Reef2Reef!

I see a lot of folks have offered some good advice, that is what we do here. I think you are going the right direction, but I must ad some caution, ( I do emergency response for my day job, I'm in Paradise Ca for the next month.)

A 20 year old tank can be a delicate thing. The silicone seams do seem to be holding up, but if those seams fail that water will create an administrative nightmare in your classroom. I pray that you are on the first floor, and that your floor has a drain in it?

Not to dampen your enthusiasm, but to encourage you to get experienced help, (even professional help) moving this aquarium from the home to your classroom. It needs to be drained (obviously) and all the rock, livestock, sand, ect. removed from out of the tank before it comes carefully off that stand.

The new stand needs to be leveled before you put the tank on top and fill it, but transporting the tank needs to be done with care to ensure that none of the edges get bumped or chipped. In fact, if there are chips in that tank the act of transporting it could easily cause the tank to break.

I am stopping now, because no one likes this much negativity in a post. I'm way over the limit, and I do apologize for this tone if it does not seem encouraging. I am not trying to discourage you at all. Move it carefully and it can give you many more years of service. Besides, you may already know some of this? So consider this post a "just in case" because I see a lot of disaster posts on here after these moves.

I would plan on upgrading a lot of the equipment. I bet there are folks on here who can help you with this. Good luck and again, Welcome to Reef2Reef!

If I were closer to you I might offer to help. I get Sundays off. :)
 

Rjukan

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Welcome to Reef2Reef! The country needs more teachers like you, bravo for trying to broaden your students minds with a reef tank setup.

There is a reef club called DFWMAS, maybe @Opus can help find some members that would be willing to donate some time to a good cause.
 

jsker

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Welcome to R2R.

Another suggestion is to get anything that has rust on it out of there. Replace the power strips and hinges. Make sure that the system is plugged into GFI plug outlets in the class room for safety. Check the cabinet for water damage and such;) If the cabinet is in good shape, I would suggest add some type of vent to the cabinet, since there is so much moisture trapped in the cabinet that is causing all the rust
 
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