OlderManSea's 65 gallon softie/LPS Tank

OlderManSea

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65G FTS 20210105.jpg


Obligate boring background about life with aquariums

I have kept aquariums since the age of 5, my first one a 5 gallon tank given to me by my parents in 1960. I have had as many as 30 tanks set up at one time (crazy back then), as many as 10 of them salt water – I lived in Florida so we collected our own specimens and placed them in tanks of natural seawater. The largest tank I have owned was 350 gallons (freshwater). I raised killifishes and discus for many years. Discus were another time and energy killer but labor of love, with 90% water changes every day for fry and growing youngsters to one year old and breeders, and twice each week for adults. My favorite size tank for discus pairs was 65G 36” tanks and for raising youngsters, 150G 72” tanks. I have had as many as six 75G 48” tanks going at one time for raising younger discus fry and blue gularis. Back in the mid-1970s I spawned and raised ocellaris clowns for a couple of years. If the energy strikes I would like to raise green banded gobies as I have several in a Nuvo 10 where they spawn constantly. I am surprised that they are not bred commercially since there are many reports of successful rearing and the wild ones are only available sporadically and are generally quite expensive.

When we moved from Connecticut to the Seattle area in late 2016, I only brought two pairs of elderly discus (one pair red and one pair cobalt) that I had had for close to 10 years. I brought a 65G for each of them and no other tanks. I didn’t keep saltwater for a number of years, but set up a Red Sea Reefer 170 as a “nemo tank” for my grandson in early 2017. It has red BTAs and a pair of ocellaris, along with a few LPS and other fish. I have a Nuvo 10 with ricordeas, acans, zoas and similar that has been going since 2019. I have a nearly-new Red Sea Reefer 425 in the garage that I bought after it was set up two weeks prior when the person who bought it from the LFS decided it was a bit two small for the space it was in and wanted a Reefer 525. I bought the entire setup for $500 and will set it up – eventually. This current tank was set up as a small softie tank after its long-time discus inhabitants died, as I always enjoy looking at softy tanks but have never owned any soft corals except for zoas if you consider them soft corals, but I usually think of zoas as colonial anemones. I really need a 250G as a proper softie tank but I don’t have the energy to keep up with a tank that size any more – too many other hobbies and then there is work….

Equipment

Tank: 6 year old Aqueon 65 gallon 36x18x22 inches, a left over from my discus breeding days
Stand: Imagitarium Brooklyn steel stand for 40 gal tank (the filled 65G plus 100 pounds of weights on top and there is zero wobble)
Lighting: 2 Red Sea Reef LED, 90 watt set for 18K.
Overflow: Eschopps Eclipse M
Sump: 20L with no baffles; single 4 inch felt filter sock (I have found that I hate the 2oL sump; I will build something about 3 inches taller)
Skimmer: Bubble Magus Curve 5 (still in the box at this early date). I use one in the Reefer and it has been great.
Media Reactor: modified Aquatop for carbon (cut and glued but not yet in the tank at this early date)
Return pumps: 2 Sicce 1.0, may increase size at some point
Controller: Apex 2016 (controls 3 tanks)
Doser: Apex DOS (still in box at this early date)
Heater: 150 watt; will change to 2 100 watt for redundancy. (While in 60 years of aquariums I have never had a leak and have several largish tanks still in operation for 30 years or so, I have had countless heaters fail. I have used controllers to mitigate disaster for 20 years or so, first some nice DIY devices that I took off a discus site but available elsewhere as well, then Digital Aquatics, and more recently Apex 2016).
ATO: JBJ Dual Sensor Nano (far and away the most reliable small ATO system in my sad experiences with multiple failures of others)
RO/DI: BRS 4 stage, well water, fairly soft to start with
Flow: Red Sea Reefwave 45, will add a small powerhead along bottom at other end of tank and smaller yet at the back facing front between the rock pillars
Rock: Marco Rock dry rock, 30 pounds, as three separate islands, each reaching halfway to surface
Ground probe: Aquatop NO-VOLT

I drilled the tank and set it up with water the second week in December 2020 to check for leaks, then set it in place, filled it 50% new water and 50% water from an old 20G tank that I have had set up as a quarantine tank which contained a few softies that I have accumulated as well. I took the 10 pounds of live rock from it and put it into the sump of this tank, and added the corals. Since the tank was still rather “raw” I added 10 ml Microbacter 7 per day for a couple of weeks. There was mild cloudiness for 3 or 4 days, after which the tank became crystal clear.

Inhabitants


December 30, 2021
Cleanup crew
4 Peppermint shrimp ordered from Biota about 6 months ago; they completely cleared a tank of several hundred aiptasia in 3 weeks. They are now part of the surveillance team in this tank.
12 Astrea and turbo snails
6 small hermit crabs

Soft corals
Weeping willow toadstool
Green polyp toadstool (frag from friend, identity unknown)
Green nepthea
Brown nepthea
Bluish/green finger Sinularia
Gorgonion (frag from friend, identity unknown)

LPS

Space invader pectinia; have had it about a year, was size of a small pencil eraser when purchased – mean as a snake with 7 inch sweepers now
Acanthophyllia; came into LFS from Indonesia in late November 2020
Blastomussa, unknown species, single large polyp; from Indonesia in same November 2020 shipment
Trachyphyllia (2), one from Indonesia in first post shutdown shipment in early 2020, the other in the above shipment
 
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OlderManSea

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Here is an image of the tank on February 21, 2021.

65G FTS 20210221.jpg


The tank has settled down nicely with very clear water. There was some large, feathery bryopsis for a couple of weeks. It was very fragile and broke readily, ending up in the filter sock, which I changed every three days or so. I remove algae from the glass about twice a week. Not a lot accumulates so I have been pleased so far. I have been changing 5 gallons of water every other week and 10 gallons every other week, offset by a week to the 5 gallon change.

I purchased a banggai cardinal and a small kole tang. I have always been fond of tangs and if I ever did a 400 gallon tank to enable an emperor angel and clown trigger, it would have a number of tangs. The tang was quite shy, coming out only to eat for the first few days. I added a couple of small maroon clowns – that more or less get along – which are out all the time, which instantly resulted in the kole being out all the time. I also picked up a striped blenny (Meiacanthus grammistes) which was out and about for the first day, then disappeared for a week. I couldn’t find it anywhere but assumed it had died, then one evening just before lights were out, it was swimming about quite happily. Since then I have found that it comes out about an hour before the lights are out. I had not thought of them as nocturnal. Since then I have been feeding at about the time it comes out and then going 10 minutes earlier every couple of days. The blenny is now coming out a bit earlier as well. We will see if it gets trained before I tire of training it.

Here are a few of the corals. I took more shots but I hadn’t turned off the pumps so the pix of the corals with waving tentacles were blurry. I will shoot them with the pumps off.

Acanthophyllia. I feed a chunk or shrimp or clam or squid two or three times each week.
Acanthophyllia 20210221.jpg


Here are two Trachyphyllia. I have had the red one since early 2020. The green one I got a few weeks ago. The LFS received it in November.
Red Rainbow Trachy 20210221.jpg

Rainbow Trachy 20210221.jpg


I picked up this lettuce coral a few months ago. I think it is very nice although the image is somewhat more blue than it should be. The coral itself is close to natural for the green. The polyps are not as blue as the image suggests.
Lettuce Coral 20210110 65G.jpg


Space invader pectinia, the bad boy of the tank. This piece had only a single yellow "eye" in early 2020.
Space Invader  Pectinia 20210110 65G.jpg
 
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OlderManSea

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I tried an aquarium video for the first time. This is the Acanthophyllia eating. The camera stopped at 20 minutes, I need to do another for 30 minutes since the coral was not quite back to "resting phase." The video is speeded up 10x so it comes to just under 2 minutes.

Hope I attach it properly.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiBoxRbAO7M
 
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KingTideCorals

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What an awesome thread! Great photos and tank is looking really good! Going to be awesome when those soft corals get to be larger and fill in the spaces of the tank!

Very awesome! Good luck with the tank, and keep the thread updated!
 
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OlderManSea

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What an awesome thread! Great photos and tank is looking really good! Going to be awesome when those soft corals get to be larger and fill in the spaces of the tank!

Very awesome! Good luck with the tank, and keep the thread updated!
Thank you! I took some pictures yesterday and will get some up today or tomorrow. I am excited to do a softie reef as in all of my years of marine aquaria this is the first time.
 
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OlderManSea

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Here is a FTS from a couple of days ago. I have added a finger leather above the weeping willow. The weeping willow
65G20210412a.jpg


will go to the bottom in the place where the pectinia is now. The pectinia is moving back to its original tank. The green Caulastrea will also soon go back to its tank. Several of the corals have grown quite a lot over the past two months. Once they double again it should be visible in a FTS! I plan to slowly move things around, removing more of the LPS from this tank. In my other tank I have a colony of Palythoa grandis that has reached about 40 polyps and which is quite striking. I will move as much of the colony to this tank as possible but that probably means 4 or 5 polyps to establish a new colony here. I have a red photosynthetic sponge that has been with me for nearly 4 years. I think I will move it to this tank.

The fish population is currently a kole tang, a lightning maroon clown (half of a pair but they are not getting along so the smaller one is currently in the sump), a bangaii cardinal, a striped blenny, and a midas blenny. The two blennies are reasonably good at posing but I dont yet have adequate photos.

Here a few shots of some other corals.
Green toadstool 20210321.jpg

finger leather 20210416.jpg

Red Trachy 20210415.jpg
Blue Trachyphylia 20210415.jpg

nepthea 20210412.jpg

Sinularia 20210321.jpg
 
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UK softy bloke

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Here is a FTS from a couple of days ago. I have added a finger leather above the weeping willow. The weeping willow
65G20210412a.jpg


will go to the bottom in the place where the pectinia is now. The pectinia is moving back to its original tank. The green Caulastrea will also soon go back to its tank. Several of the corals have grown quite a lot over the past two months. Once they double again it should be visible in a FTS! I plan to slowly move things around, removing more of the LPS from this tank. In my other tank I have a colony of Palythoa grandis that has reached about 40 polyps and which is quite striking. I will move as much of the colony to this tank as possible but that probably means 4 or 5 polyps to establish a new colony here. I have a red photosynthetic sponge that has been with me for nearly 4 years. I think I will move it to this tank.

The fish population is currently a kole tang, a lightning maroon clown (half of a pair but they are not getting along so the smaller one is currently in the sump), a bangaii cardinal, a striped blenny, and a midas blenny. The two blennies are reasonably good at posing but I dont yet have adequate photos.

Here a few shots of some other corals.
Green toadstool 20210321.jpg

finger leather 20210416.jpg

Red Trachy 20210415.jpg
Blue Trachyphylia 20210415.jpg

nepthea 20210412.jpg

Sinularia 20210321.jpg
You have some lovely corals there, those lps are gorgeous. Don't see to many soft coral tanks these days.
 

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