Pau Hana Reefer's 1 Year Old 90 Gallon

Pau Hana Reefer

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NEW UPDATE - 5/18/2020:
Participated in my first WWC Livesale over the weekend. Check out my results in my latest post here.
wwclivesalewinnings.PNG
_____________________

Welcome to my thread on my 90 gallon mixed reef tank started in January 2019. Follow along and feel free to chime in with comments, suggestions, questions, or just to say hi.

The first page of this thread is pretty lengthy and details how I built my DIY stand and canopy back in 2018. Jump ahead to https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/pau-hana-reefers-90-gallon-mixed-reef.631578/post-6900182 to skip to January 2020.

IMG_0896_cropped.jpg


Tank Set-up as of 2/4/2020
Display Tank: 90 Gallons Aqueon Reef-Ready Aquarium with MegaFlow Overflow
Stand: DIY stand and canopy
Lighting: VIPARSPECTRA 165W LEDs (2)
Wave Pumps: Reef Octopus Octo Pulse 2 (2)
Sump: Trigger Systems Sapphire Sump 34
Skimmer: Bubble Magus Curve 5
Return Pump: Jebao DCP-6500 (was using Eheim 1260 until end of June 2019)
Heaters: 250W Eheim JAGER (2)
Temperature Controller: WILLHI WH1436A
ATO: Trigger Systems 5 Gallon ATO tank with Tunze Osmolator Universal 3155
UV Sterilizer: Green Killing Machine
RODI - SpectraPure Maxcap 90 Manual Flush
Doser - Bubble Magus BM-T11 (not set up yet)


Livestock as of May 23, 2020:
Fish: 2 Captive-Bred Fancy Ocellaris Clownfish (Bonded Pair), Helfrechi Firefish, Yellow Coris Wrasse, One Spot Foxface

Corals: Mix of softies, LPS, and SPS

CUC: Cleaner Shrimp, Peppermint Shrimp, Scarlet Reef Hermit Crabs, Mexican Cerith Snails, Dward Cerith Snails, Nassarius Snails, Astrea Snails


Table of Contents For This Build Thread:
Yes, I can be pretty wordy. I've been told that I'm a storyteller. So the following are some key points in this thread if you want to jump ahead:
 
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A Little About Me and My Path To My First Saltwater Tank
I’m from the burbs of Philadelphia, PA. I’m married to an amazing woman who loves our tank, but would argue that I’m addicted and obsessed. We have a 2 year old who rarely notices the tank and a dog that becomes jealous whenever we’re paying attention to the tank. I’ve been into fishkeeping since my childhood years. My first tank was a 10 gallon goldfish tank which, in hindsight, was too way too small of a tank for the type and number of goldfish. At some point, that tank was turned into a tropical community tank, featuring guppies and neon tetras purchased from Woolworth… queue blank looks from everyone born after the 80s. My hobby eventually went on hiatus when college and my 20s happened. I got back into fishkeeping in 2011 and set up a beautiful 29 gallon planted freshwater community tank with my then girlfriend (now wife), which we had for a few years until we moved to our current home.

Our new home had a furnished basement and my wife agreed to let me have it as my man cave. Then it flooded three days after we closed on the house. We eventually learned that the previous owner finished the basement weeks before she put the house on the market and did not properly fix existing water issues. After every significant rainstorm, we would have a stream running through our basement… and what was supposed to be my man cave became a museum for mold, mildew, and bugs I’ve never seen before. We spent the next 4 years saving money, fully gutting, properly waterproofing, and completely re-finishing the space.

In 2017, our basement project was half-way complete and I talked my wife into the idea of having a saltwater tank in the new space. I spent the next year-and-a-half doing a lot of research and planning, and took advantage of big sales to start gathering equipment and supplies. Our basement was finally completed in September 2018 and a month later, my first saltwater tank journey officially started.
 
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DIY Stand & Canopy Planning: June through October 2018
I’m not going to go into all the details on how I built my stand. There are a lot of articles, videos, and message board threads out there to walk through the details of building a stand. But I’ll summarize my experience, provide insight into some of my biggest lessons learned while building my stand, and share pictures.

I decided to build my own stand for a few primary reasons:
  1. My wife and I had a particular style and look in mind
  2. Save money
  3. I enjoy woodworking and have the tools to do it
I gathered ideas by spending a lot of time Googling what others have done to ensure my stand was properly built to hold a 90 gallon tank. Last thing we wanted was more water issues in our newly finished basement. We also looked at a lot of other fish tanks that are already out there to get ideas on the styling and finishing.

The most important takeaway in all my research is that above anything else, the tank stand must be level, flat, square, and plumb. Most DIYers seem more concerned about what size wood to use for the frame and whether their stand would be strong enough to hold their tank, and rightfully so. Water is extremely heavy. A gallon of water weighs 8.34 lbs at 62 °F (17 °C), and a stocked 90 gallon tank (including the tank, water, sand, rocks, etc) weighs over 1050 lbs!

From what I read and understand, it doesn’t take much to build a stand that is strong enough to hold the weight of the tank, just tthink about all those prebuilt stands that use MDF or particle board. However, the more difficult challenge seemed to be in the importance of building a stand with a perfectly flat surface, including four corners that are level, flush, and the same height. If the surface of the stand that the tank sits on is not perfectly flat and level, stress points could transfer to the tank itself and compromise the structural integrity of the tank over time. I read and heard about a lot of tank leaking/breaking stories and the most common theme seemed to be that they all occurred with DIY stands. So I needed to be confident enough that I could build a stand where all four corners of the frame are perfectly flat and level for my tank to sit on.

All wood and materials used for building my stand were purchased from Home Depot and Lowe’s, with the exception of the stain and top-coat. They were purchased from Amazon, due to availability and pricing.. Here’s the list of materials and costs:

Item & Cost (including tax):
Framing wood - $29.76
Finish wood for facade - $157.03
Hardware (screws, nails, wood glue) - $16.49
Hooks for hanging lights from canopy - $3.69
Painting Supplies - $30.07
General Finishes Stain- $33.07
General Finishes Top-coat - $44.52
Kilz Primer, mineral oil, and finishing supplies - $23.25
Appliance epoxy for painting inside of canopy - $15.87
Flex Seal for painting sump area inside the stand - $33.90

Total Cost - $388.46


Building My Stand & Canopy - October 2018
It took me about 1.5 months to build my stand and canopy since I was pretty much limited to working on the project on weekends and when my wife was able to watch our kid. Once I had all the materials, my project was broken down into four phases:
  1. Constructing the frame
  2. Attaching facade
  3. Building canopy
  4. Finishing (sanding, staining, and painting)

Phase 1: Constructing the Stand Frame - End of October 2018
The most important part of this stage is to ensure that my horizontal pieces were level, my vertical pieces were plumb, and all joints were square. A common woodworking phrase you’ll hear is “measure twice, cut once.” I was frequently measuring and remeasuring before I cut and secured any pieces of the frame. The most important tools during this stage were my circular and miter saws, measuring tapes, squares, and levels. I used the combination of screws and wood glue to secure all pieces of the frame.


I used the frame of the tank as a guide to help with the construction of the frame’s horizontal pieces. I built two of these frames, one for the top of the stand and another for the bottom.



Frame of the stand completed and about to start working on the facade. I put the fish tank on top of it to ensure the stand frame provided a level and flush surface for the fish tank stand to rest on.


Phase 2: Attaching Facade - End of October 2018
I knew I wanted to stain our tank stand, so I used higher quality wood for our outside surfaces. These pieces were secured to the frame using wood glue and nails. During this phase, my miter and table saws along with a finishing saw blade allowed for clean, straight cuts. Wood glue and clamps were key in providing a clean finish without a lot of holes to fill in. This phase was primarily focused on aesthetics, though functionality also came into play.


Patience is key (like everything else with reef tanks) to give the wood glue enough time to dry.


Having plenty of clamps allows for securing multiple pieces of wood at the same time.


The finished base outside for some sanding.
 
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Phase 3: Building the Canopy - Early November 2018
The same wood used for the stand facade was used to build my canopy to ensure that all surfaces stained to the same color. Despite being significantly smaller than the stand, I found the canopy to be more difficult to build due to several key reasons:
  1. How do I construct it so that it can rest on top of the tank?
  2. How do I hang the LED lights?
  3. How do I want the hood to open and how do I get the widest opening so that I can easily maintain my tank?
Though the finished canopy works both functionally and aesthetically, I’m not as pleased with the design and wouldn’t necessarily recommend my particular design to anyone else. Because of this, I don’t have a lot of pictures to share.


The front removable hood on the right. Various other pieces to the canopy scattered around it as I take some final measurements before assembly.


Testing the assembled canopy on the fish tank. One of my LFS ordered my 90 gallon reef ready tank.


Phase 4: Finishing - Mid November 2018

The last phase was one of the most time-consuming phases as it required many steps. Since the exterior of the stand and canopy would be stained, I had to sand everything down with a medium grit sandpaper, followed by fine grit. Once sanded, all exterior surfaces were stained 2-3 times using General Finishes Gel stain, allowing for 2-3 days dry time in between each coat, and light sanding between every coat. We used the oil-based Java stain in satin to achieve a dark brown with light gloss finish. After staining, we then finished off with General Finishes water based topcoat in satin as our clearcoat. Like the stain, we applied 2-3 coats on all surfaces and allowed for 2-3 days in between coats to dry, and lightly sanded after each coat.

The interior base of the stand was sealed up with caulk and then painted with white Flex Seal paint (not spray paint) in order to create a waterproof area for the sump. Following what many others do, I painted the interior of the canopy with white appliance epoxy.


Two coats into staining.


Top coat ready to go on!


Sealing the interior of the stand with caulk before painting with Flex Seal paint, in order to provide a waterproof area for the sump and ATO tank.


The stand and canopy all stained and painted, ready to be assembled!
 
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The Finished Stand and Canopy - End of November 2018
After six weeks, my stand and canopy were finally ready. The project took several weeks longer than originally planned, but I ultimately saved myself a good amount of money by building this myself. There are a few things that I wish I had done differently, but I am really happy with how it turned out.





Mounting Lights to Canopy - Early December 2018

I purchased two VIPARSPECTRA 165W LEDs for my tank. The wires that came with the lights were far too long to hang in the canopy, and there is no easy way to shorten the wires. I ended up buying some picture-hanging D-ring hangers from Home Depot and attached them using the screws that help hold the LED casing together. These were then hung to a light-hanging wooden frame that I built to sit in my canopy. This hack has worked out nicely.


On the left is one LED light without the D-ring hanger and on the right, the with the D-ring hanger attached.


Lights hung up in the canopy.

Here's a short video clip on what the tank packaging looks like and included contents.
 
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Plumbing the Sump - Early December 2018
After reading a lot of reviews and other people’s experiences, I went with a Trigger Systems Sapphire 34 for my sump. I originally had planned on building my own, but after how long it took me to build the stand and canopy, I was honestly a little over DIY. Plus it helped that I was able to save some money with the 2018 Black Friday sales. I purchased my sump from Bulk Reef Supply for $370, along with some blue PVC pipe to match the sump. I also took advantage of Black Friday sales to purchase some gate valves from Marine Depot. All PVC joints were purchased from Home Depot and Lowes.

Note: One of my goals with my build was to save money, and I found that no single store had the cheapest prices across the board. Instead, I saved a good amount of money by purchasing my materials and supplies from a number of different stores.

Why did I go with gate valves over ball valves? From my research, gate valves were recommended for overflow plumbing due to the ability to fine-tune the amount of flow draining through the pipes, ultimately allowing for fine-tuning the height of the water in the overflow box and minimizing the amount of noise.

My 90 Gallon Aqueon Megaflow tank came pre-drilled with two holes, both the same size. I plumbed my overflow using Herbie Method, so I used one of the holes for the main drain standpipe and the other for the emergency drain standpipe. I won’t go into all the details about the plumbing since there are a lot of great resources out there. I highly recommend checking out gmacreef.com, which was my primary go-to source.

For my return pump, I used an Eheim 1260 (was recently replaced a few weeks ago with Jebao DCP-6500) and plumbed the return line to hang over the lip of the tank. I also designed the return line so that I could add a manifold in the future, if needed.


My brand new Trigger Systems Sapphire 34 sump.


One of my many 2018 Black Friday orders. This one is from Marine Depot, including my gate valves used for the overflow drain and return pump.


Plumbing the main and emergency drain lines. PVC cutter is extremely helpful in providing clean, straight cuts.


Herbie Method overflow drain pipes plumbing finished!
 
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WOOOOO - It’s Time to Start Cycling the Tank!!! - Mid December 2018
At this point, I’m already nearly two months into my first saltwater tank journey and it’s been nearly 1.5 years since I bought my first tank equipment/supplies… and I STILL DON’T HAVE WATER IN MY TANK! Well that’s about to change because it’s time to start cycling my tank! With Christmas right around the corner, my goal was to start the cycling process before family came into town so that by New Year’s, I’ll be at least a week into the cycling process.

It was finally time to open up and set up my RODI system that I had purchased back in October. After narrowing down my choices to the BRS 5 Stage and the SpectraPure Maxcap 90, I ultimately ended up going with the SpectraPure based on the reviews I read. Yes, the SpectraPure cost a bit more than the BRS system, but I don’t recall a single person who had anything bad to say about SpectraPure. The BRS system also had great reviews overall, but I did come across some complaints and negative reviews. I picked up my SpectraPure from aquacave.com on sale for $309 (note that the sale price of the SpectraPure Maxcap 90 has come down since).

For salt, I initially used Instant Ocean Sea Salt. I knew my tank would be a FOWLR tank for a while before I would add any corals in order to give my tank time to become more stable. So I figured I would start off with IO Sea Salt rather than Reef Crystals to save a little money.

I was ready to start the show! “Let’s do this!”

Yeah… except like everything else that came before it, filling the tank was not exactly a fast process. Making RODI water is a slow process and watching the RODI bucket fill up is as exciting as watching snails slowly trailing across the bottom of your tank. Not like my good ol’ freshwater days where I could fill a bucket up with tap water, add some water dechlorinator, and pour the water right into the tank. Nope, instead, it takes me about 2 hours to make 5 gallons of RODI water, not including time to mix the salt.

I filled my tank with saltwater over a period of 5 days. While pouring water into my tank, my sand kicked up and clouded the water and wouldn’t settle for days. I ended up using CaribSea BioMagnet Clarifier Pro and my tank cleared up within 24 hours.

I started to officially start the cycling process on December 20, 2018 when I added some pure unscented ammonia which I still had from cycling my freshwater planted tank 5 years earlier.


First 5 gallons of water in the tank! I used the blue tape to track evaporation so that I knew how much water was in the tank.


The water remained clouded for days without improvement. This is before I added CaribSea BioMagnet Clarifier Pro.


Less than 24 hours after adding CaribSea BioMagnet Clarifier Pro and the tank was completely clear. Pretty awesome!
 
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Setting Up the Sump - End of December 2018
Once I had my DT filled and cycling, it was time to get my sump fully set up. Sumps were a foreign concept to me since I never encountered them during my freshwater days. There wasn’t much involved with setting up my sump other than adding the Bubble Magus Curve 5 protein skimmer and setting up my Eheim 1260 return pump.

Turning on the return pump and adding the sump into the equation was an incredibly cool experience. My Herbie Overflow Method setup worked out flawlessly and the gate valve was extremely helpful in allowing me to fine tune and dial-in the flow to allow for the right amount of water in the overflow box. My wife and I couldn’t believe how quiet everything sounded. There was no water draining noises like those coming from draining bathtubs and sinks, and there was no water trickling noise that we had grown accustomed to with freshwater HOB filters.


My daughter “helping” with setting up the protein skimmer.


Sump fully set up and ready to go!
 
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17 Days of Cycling - December 2018 through January 2019
My tank cycled incredibly quickly and I attribute some of this to the live sand and some to Dr. Tim’s One and Only. I was dosing ammonia every 2-5 days during this period in order to maintain an ammonia level of 5 ppm. By January 2, 2019, I had seen my nitrite and nitrate levels spike, and my ammonia levels were at 0 ppm.

I honestly couldn’t believe how fast my tank cycled, and I knew my tank was still brand new and the parameters could be volatile for some time. So over the next several weeks, I continued to dose unscented ammonia every 5-7 days to keep the healthy bacteria alive and growing. Each time I added ammonia, I ran an ammonia test the following day to ensure that my tank was able to bring the tank from 5 ppm to 0 ppm within 24 hours.


API test kit results from January 12 after cycling complete, showing ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm and nitrates at around 10-20 ppm. I also ran the tests with a Red Sea kit.
 
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Subfreezing Delivery Adventures of Our First Livestock - January 22, 2019
After a couple weeks of dosing ammonia and seeing that it was broken down within 24 hours later, I was confident enough to add my first livestock. My wife and I found a bonded pair of Fancy Ocellaris Clownfish on LiveAquaria’s Diver’s Den that we really liked. We also ordered our first cerith snails and a scarlet reef hermit crab. They arrived on January 22… on a day when the temperature never got above freezing.

When I received the UPS email notifying me that my order had shipped, I clicked on the option that allowed me to change my delivery option. I opted to have the package delivered to a pick-up location since I knew I wouldn’t be at home at the time of delivery and didn’t want the box to sit out in the cold all day.

On the morning of the expected delivery, I kept an eye out for the delivery confirmation email from UPS. It was supposed to be delivered before Noon, and by lunch time, I still hadn’t received a delivery confirmation. So I called UPS who informed me that by changing my delivery option, I had delayed my delivery by a day.

Lesson Learned - DO NO CHANGE YOUR UPS DELIVERY OPTION WHEN YOU RECEIVE THE SHIPMENT EMAIL NOTIFICATION IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO DELAY THE DATE OF THE DELIVERY!

They ended up connecting me to my local UPS unit at our airport, and after some time on the phone explaining the situation, the person I spoke to was able to track down the package so that I could pick it up after work. Later that day when I went to pick up my order, the person at the front counter could not find the package. I referenced my earlier conversation and the name of the woman who helped track down the package, and the woman at the front counter looked at me with big eyes and asked, “You said the package has live fish in it?”

“Ummm…. Yes… whyyyy?” I knew what she was going to say even before she said it…

“Because I think it’s still outside.” She left to go look for the package and about 5 minutes later, came back with my packages. We decided to open the packages to see if the fish were still alive since they had sat outside in the subfreezing weather for 10-12 hours. She was going to let me refuse the delivery if we found that the fish were dead.

We were both amazed, everything was alive and LiveAquaria’s shipping technique clearly was what kept them alive! They pack everything up in styrofoam boxes along with some heat packs which were still warm. The bags of water still felt cooler than what they probably should have been, so I rushed everything home to start the acclimation process. Few hours later, the fish were in the QT, and my cerith snails and hermit crab were in my DT.

This experience still blows my mind and because of it, I’ve made a number of other purchases from LiveAquaria since.

About a week later, my clown fish were thriving and showed no signs of diseases. I admittedly grew impatient and ended up cutting the quarantine short, and moved the clown fish into the DT.

Here's a short video of the package with the two clown fish.

And here's the clown fish in the QT the day after they came.
 
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Added Pods, Peppermint Shrimp, and Nassarius Snails from AlgaeBarn - Early February 2019
Knowing that my wife and I wanted at least a couple wrasse in our tank, I decided to look for pods to add to our tank. I ended up purchasing my pods from AlgaeBarn based on all the great reviews. They had a promo in early February where I could get an extra jar of pods by ordering two jars. I did some math and figured out that I really didn’t need 3 jars of pods, so I asked AlgaeBarn if I could replace the free pods with two peppermint shrimp instead, since the shrimp cost less than the pods. They responded within a day that they could. SWEEEEEET!

A few days later, I received my shipment and it was clear there was a shipment mix-up. Along with the pods, my shipment included two bottles of their OceanMagik Phyto (pod food). I reached out to AlgaeBarn to ask about the mix up and they told me to keep the OceanMagic! SCOOOOOORE!

I ended up with four shipments from AlgaeBarn over the next couple of weeks since they had to ship everything out as they came in stock. After the first shipment with the pods, I got my peppermint shrimp in the next, followed by the chaeto a week later, and finally the nassarius snails. Everything was packaged really well and everything came in plastic jars.

Their customer service was great and quick to respond. I would definitely order from them again in the future.
 
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First Dead Livestock - End of February 2019
February 12th, I visited a LFS with great reviews and came home with a pair of scarlett skunk cleaner shrimp. These guys are really entertaining to watch, especially when feeding the fish. Totally remind me of Jacques from Finding Nemo. Yes, I have a 2 year old… and also a Disney fan.

On February 13th, I was visiting another LFS who had some new McCosker’s Flasher Wrasse in a few tanks. After learning a bit about them from the owner, I decided to purchase my second fish.

I brought the guy home, acclimated him, and added him to my QT. After I moved the clown fish from the QT to the DT a few weeks earlier, the QT was properly cleaned, disinfected, and re-filled with DT water. The flasher wrasse immediately went into a corner and hid there for the rest of the night. The next day, I fed it some pellet food and it came right out to eat. I noticed some white spots appearing on his fin and tail. It looked like ich to me, based on my freshwater tank experience. So I went back to the LFS to talk to the owner the next day.

The owner wasn’t there and I ended up speaking to his employee who I had met previously. As with past interactions with this gentleman, he immediately made assumptions and pointed fingers at me. I purchased some ich treatment medication and that was my last time visiting that particular store.

Over the next week, the fish initially appeared to be responding to the ich treatment. However, by the next week, the ich got much worse and Ich-X didn’t appear to be working at all anymore and within a day or two after noticing the worsening conditions, I found him dead in my QT.

After learning much more about fish diseases, I now wonder if the wrasse had velvet and not ich. Regardless, I think that fish was extremely stressed when I brought him home and never quite recovered after the initial stress.


Here's the best picture I have of him. This was taken right after I saw some spots.
 
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The Lull and White Hair Algae - Early March Through End of April 2019
I was dealing with a family emergency in March and my tank went into maintenance mode for about 6 weeks starting in early March. During this time, I was pretty much just feeding my clown fish, performing water changes every other week and making sure that my parameters were okay.

Sometime around mid-April, my tank started seeing some white fuzzy stuff growing on the glass, overflow box, and rock work. I spent an extensive amount of time looking into what it was and how to treat it. Most readings seem to point to some form of bacterial bloom, while others suggest that it might be some form of algae or fungus. Dr. Tim’s Refresh and Waste Away seemed to initially work the first few weeks. But once I finished the treatment, it returned and hasn’t responded as well to Dr Tim’s since. I believe this stuff is photosynthetic since it only appears on surfaces with direct lighting.


White hair algae (I think?) covering my rockwork. It’s difficult to see in this picture, but these are each individual strings of hair, much like green hair algae.
 
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Tank Starting to Come to Life - End of May to Current
Since the end of May, our tank has really started coming to life. We’ve added more fish and our first corals.

Fish:
Red Head Solon Fairy Wrasse - added to QT on 5/22, moved to DT on 6/10
Royal Flasher Wrasse - added to QT on 6/19, moved to DT on 7/12
Helfrichi Firefish - added to QT on 6/25, will move to DT on 7/15

All fish were purchased from Diver’s Den on liveaquaria.com. The fish have only been treated with PraziPro in the QT. All fish were in the QT for 1 week for observation and to ensure they were eating. After a week, they were all treated with the first dose of PraziPro. Both the Royal Flasher Wrasse and Helfichi Firefish were also treated with a second dose of PraziPro.

Corals:
Ultra Green Toadstool Leather Coral - added on 5/22
Purple Gorgonian (Hicksomella SP) - added on 5/22
Zoas - added 6/16
Pink Toadstool Leather Coral - added 6/19
Purple Frogspawn - added 6/28
Finger Leather Singularia - added 6/28
Chalice - added 7/12
Orange Ricordea Mushroom - added 7/12

Most of my corals were also purchased from Diver’s Den on LiveAquaria. The Zoas, Chalice, and Ricordea were purchased from two different LFS. I drip acclimated all coral and dipped them in Coral RX before placing them in my DT. Coral RX worked well in removing pests.. I’ve seen various worms fall off of about half of the coral, it’s pretty amazing. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I really like the smell of Coral RX. Not sure if there is anything toxic in it, but I have been guilty of sniffing it like a kid sniffing Sharpies.

We also had a red tuxedo pincushion sea urchin for a few weeks, but it suddenly passed away last week. I wasn’t able to figure out the exact cause of death. My water parameters seemed fine so I am wondering if the poor thing may have starved to death. It was there one day moving all over the tank, and the next day, I found it lying upside down with all its spines laying all around it. My wife and I were pretty bummed out by it since we both hate knowing that something died in our care. Not to mention, the lil guy was really entertaining to watch.


Our tank on June 13.


Close-up of the Red Head Solon Fairy Wrasse, along with the two clownfish below him. The corals are the Purple Gorgonian and Ultra Green Toadstool Leather.


Our first coral ever... the Ultra Green Toadstool Leather.
 
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It's been an exciting four days for our tank. On Friday, visited a LFS and came home with a chalice and a ricordea mushroom. The owner gave me a lot of ideas and suggestions for my tank.

On Friday, our Royal Flasher Wrasse was moved from the 20 gallon QT to the DT. And yesterday, moved our Helfrichi Firefish from the 10 gallon QT to the DT. Both fish were in the QT for about 3 weeks. Our Red Head Solon Fairy Wrasse ended up chasing around the Royal Flasher Wrasse for the first couple of days. Things have calmed down these last couple of days and they are now getting along.

I also made some small changes to my rock scaping and moved my corals around.

Below are some pics. I'm still learning how to take good pictures under various lighting. I might have to dig my old DSLR out of the closet and see what I can do. I'm open to suggestions for good iPhone apps that might help me easily and quickly take pictures.


My new Orange Ricordea Mushroom taken with just blue lights on.


New chalice coral taken with both white and blue lights on. LFS owner didn't have a name for this coral, but mentioned he and some other local reefers have been discussing giving this coral its own name.


Royal Flasher Wrasse in the QT before I moved him to the DT.


Helfrichi Firefish in its 10 gallon QT right before moving into the DT.


Tank before I moved some rocks and corals around.


Tank after moving some rocks, adding a couple new rocks, and moving some of the corals around.
 
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Pau Hana Reefer

Pau Hana Reefer

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A lot has happened over the last few weeks... fish are doing great, added a few new corals, saved my frogspawn, and continuing to battle white fuzzies but I think I figured out what it is. Let's get into some more details:

Since my last post, all fish are doing great. The Red Head Solon will charge at the Royal Flasher Wrasse and Helfrichi Firefish here and there, but they get along well for the most part.

We purchased a few new corals from Diver's Den: ORA Micronesian Purple and Green Yuma Ricordea Mushroom, ORA Micronesian Hammer Coral, and USA Cultured Neon Green Tip Grape Coral. The hammer coral died within a week-and-a-half and I could not figure out why and LiveAquaria honored the 14-day guarantee.

This past week, I lost the Yuma Ricordea (pretty much disintegrated... I'm bummed) and the polyps on my frogspawn were not fully extending. None of my parameters were out of whack and I could not figure out what was going on. I performed 15 gallon water changes every other day from this past Friday through Tuesday and while it responded slightly, it was still clearly unhappy. On Wednesday, I realized that the one thing that did change before the yuma ricordea died and the problem with the frogspawn was an increase in water flow. I had turned up my wave pump last week. So I turned it back down and since, my frogspawn has started to bounce back.

And lastly, the white fuzzies on my rocks, glass, and overflow box continue to be an issue. I think it is correlated with the 0 readings for my NO3 and PO4. This past week, I started reading about chrysophytes and I think it might be what I've been battling. Up until this past week, I thought it was bacterial. I'm doing more research and reading about chrysophytes to understand the best approaches for getting rid of this.

Anyone else who has successfully fought off chrysophytes, feel free to chime in on what worked for you.
 
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Pau Hana Reefer

Pau Hana Reefer

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Aaaaaaand I'm back! I had to put my tank on maintenance mode these last several months to focus on several things with my 3 year old daughter.

Some updates:
  • NEW TOYS - I got new toys during Black Friday sales! I picked up another Reef Octopus Octo Pulse 2 Wave pump, along with a Bubble Magus BM-T11 Dosing pump. I haven't installed them yet.
  • RODI SYSTEM PROBLEM - I had a problem with my Spectrapure Maxcap 90 over the past 2 months... my water production went from approximately 2.25 gallons per hour to less than 1 gallon per hour. After replacing all the filters, production continued to remain low. I just fixed it this morning! It turned out to be a crimped tube.
  • CHRYSOPHYTES - My chrysophytes problem has improved significantly. I did a lot of reading and it seemed to be commonly associated with newer tanks or tanks that are too clean. So I basically let my tank get dirty... think Finding Nemo. And it worked! I'm now dealing with other algae that are much more manageable
  • LIVESTOCK - my two clownfish, red head solon, and helfrichi firefish are doing awesome and continue to grow! So are my two skunk cleaner shrimp! My corals are the same and I added two more last week - a blastomussa and a nightmare zoa.
I just placed a big order from LiveAquaria this morning... I'll have an update tomorrow!
 
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Pau Hana Reefer

Pau Hana Reefer

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This is crazy... after 4+ months of thinking I lost a peppermint shrimp, both just emerged as I was giving the tank a frozen treat. My wife and I scanned the tank for 1-2 months and after not spotting the second one, we just assumed it died.

I've read plenty of posts about others saying that fish/critters emerged after weeks of not being seen. But this is a first for me.
 
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