Paul's return to the hobby

littlebeard

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WELCOME TO MY AQUARIUM BUILD!
Hi!
After a cross country move and some time getting settled in, I'm getting back into the hobby. Meaning more than my old quarantine tank that currently hosts my 6 yr old clown.
I've learned some lessons and have some goals that will be guiding me through this process. My previous tank was a hand-me down 150 gallon custom tank that was a beast. It was heavy and it was too tall. I couldn't reach the bottom. Not a great tank for corals. I tried and had some success. My new tank, I want it short enough that I don't need a step stool to work on to reach the bottom of the tank. A clean tank is a healthy tank, and anything that makes it easier (tank height) is a win for me.

My new tank I hope to have the following (this is a goal, I know this will take time)
Corals: acro's, monti's, and hammers. Likely have others, but those are my focus (for now).
Fish: Tang(either yellow or bristletooth), clownfish, Mandarin, Midas Blenny. Those are my must have's probably try others that fit that as well.



The Tank:
Based on wanting a short height and a tang, I've decided to go with a 125 gallon ~(72"x18"x23").
20200705_174548.jpg



The Stand:
I will be building a custom stand to fit my refugium. Again, will focus on ease of access yet still try to hide those components. This is the currently in process. Below is my design for the frame. Haven't worked out the trim on it yet, but it will be simple.
20200705_174433.jpg
20200705_174437.jpg
20200705_174425.jpg


Below the tank:
  • Refugium: Using my old one (don't recall brand)
  • Refugium Light: Still researching
  • Protein Skimmer: Currently have super reef octopus (RO-PS-2000Int)
  • Return pump: Still researching
  • Heaters: Likely get a hygger 500w heater (open to suggestions)
  • ATO: Currently have JBJ ATO.
  • Reef Controller: Still researching.
  • Dosing pumps for acros: Still researching.

The rocks: Have some dry marco reef saver rock that I will be using to aquascape.
The powerheads: Still researching.
The lights: Still researching (having a tough time with this, if you have success with acro's let me know ones that work!)
Test kits: Got a bunch, need to sort through which are expired and which are good.


Please!

Let me know if you have any constructive criticism, if you see anything that you think I've missed. Also any gear that you think should be swapped out or suggestions for lighting.
 
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littlebeard

littlebeard

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Sad Christmas news. Went out of town right before Christmas. I had one of my older nephews assigned to watch it however, it seems that it was re-assigned to a younger nephew without my knowledge who has no business taking care of a reef tank. Somehow the power got shut off for about 16 hours. Lost all my fish(yellow tang, clown fish, midas blenny) including a clown fish I've had for 6 years.

My hammer corals survived the ordeal. My guess is that the dissolved oxygen dropped quickly with the falling temp.


After a few days pouting over my misfortune I'm coming back at it. I got a rasberry pi up and running. I've edited the source code for reef-pi so that it will send out a health check every 3 minutes to my server. If my server does not get a message within 6 minutes it will trigger a pagerduty alert and call me.

This should at least handle the scenario's where the power goes out on my tank. I ordered another rasberry-pi so that I can work on setting up a temperature monitor.


Here's my tank right now.

20210103_132141.jpg


Right now the only thing in there is 2 hammer corals. I am seeing an abundance of rather large amphipods. Their population is out of control right now and I may need to buy a fish to deal with them.


Also have 2 new tiny Amphiprion ocellaris in qt.
 

Billldg

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Sorry to hear about your loss, but, the adventure is building up. :) ;)

Something else to think about is having a powerhead on a battery back up that will cause turbulence in the water surface.
 
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littlebeard

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When it rains it pours..... Heater is acting up. Says 83 for a few minutes then says 78. Glass thermometer is reading 78. I have a replacement on the way. This will teach me from buying cheap hygger stuff on amazon.
 
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littlebeard

littlebeard

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Figure I would update this since I haven't in awhile.

Major Cyno battle going on in my tank. About a month ago I had gotten a few coral frags. As soon as I added them they were getting attacked by my large population of amphipods. They were covering nearly every inch of the tank. These amphipods were huge. So big in fact, they would swim out into the water column and catch a piece of mysis floating by. To combat this, I bought a Red-Lined Wrasse. Like a pro he took the population down to undetectable levels within a week. Unfortunately it appears that those amphipods were also keeping my cyno in check and soon it began to grow. The blue-green cyno is now expansive throughout the tank.


20210304_133159.jpg


I've tried vacuuming it up, blowing it off. The cyno doesn't stop expanding.... Like an unstoppable slimy web enveloping every rock and grain of sand that isn't getting blasted by the powerheads. I added 2 more powerheads, the only thing that did was to move the sand to another area for the cyno to appear.

I've done a bit of research and it appears cyno often happens on new tanks when the nitrates and phosphates are very low. I checked mine and low and behold undetectable nitrates and phosphates using decent tests. For the past week and a half I have been feeding more and more, however that hasn't budged the Nitrates or Phosphates.

I have decided to begin dosing as it's just not budging. Yesterday was the first day of dosing and I hope it will change the tide on this battle. I have avoided using chemi-clean as I have read many horror stories about people killing the cyno only to be replaced by harder to kill dinos. Those seem to also explode when nitrates and phosphates are low. I will reserve that weapon until my nitrates and phosphates are in an acceptable level.


I also am working on a raspberry pi monitor/controller. I was trying to use reef-pi but it wasn't quite working properly for me so I decided to forge my own path. I got the ph/temp monitors from atlas-scientific then created a python script to capture the parameters. I then output those parameters to a cloud server I have set up with influx db. I then have grafana chart those out with pager duty to call me if it's out of range or not logging.

Upon inspection of my ph I see that it has been dropping, and generally not in the range that I would like(shooting for 8.3).
ph.PNG

After doing some research it appears I may have too much CO2 in my reef room. Interestingly enough, near the coldest day I had higher pH. This kind of proves that I have too much CO2 in my room. (those days the furnace is circulating house air more) I'm now playing with hooking my skimmer up to an airline and placing that near a cracked window. We'll see how overall that affects my ph, initial readings show an upward movement on the ph graph.

And so the Journey continues...
 
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littlebeard

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Still fighting the fight against Cyno. I have started dosing nitrate and phosphate. Interestingly it does seem to have some affect on the cyno. On the sand it appears that it is more difficult for it to spread and the sheets of cyno in some spots seem to be lifting off the sand. Still having a tough time reading the salifert nitrate test, so I bought a nyos one we'll see how that does. I love my Hanna Phosphorous test and that seems to be in range. My current parameters read


Salinity: 1.026 (Tested with Milwaukee digital refractometer)
Ca: 455 (Tested with Salifert Ca test kit)
Alk: 8.9 (Tested with Salifert Alk test kit)
Mag: 1350 (Tested with Salifert Magnesium test kit)
Phosphate: 0.034 (Tested with Hanna Phosphorous ULR)
Nitrate: > 0 and < 2 ppm (Tested with Salifert Nitrate test, will confirm tonight with Nyos test kit)
 
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littlebeard

littlebeard

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Tested again tonight with my new Nyos test kit. I must say I rather like this test kit much better than the salifert test kit. The test kit read, I kid you not... 1 ppm which is exactly what I had tested with the Salifert test kit. I also ran another phosphate test since my wife was interested in my different test kits. Phosphate down to 0.012. My tank just chews through nitrates and phosphates so I'll need to up the dosing.... I've never had this problem with my last tank so I have no idea what is going on. Is tdo chroma boost and frozen food too clean a food? Do I need to just buy the cheap stuff and throw it in the sump? At my current rate, I'm going to have to start buying NeoNitrate by the gallon or find something else to dose with.
 
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littlebeard

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So I finally confirmed it is cyno. My wife teaches at a highschool and I was able to borrow one of their microscopes.

After covering most of the tank it seems that increasing nitrates and phosphates has stalled the cyno growth. A day or two after starting the dosing I noticed that it was darking/dying in spots. The long mat also became more easy to lift off in places and began peeling off itself. The daily envelopment for the most part has stopped.

I decided since it has slowed down so much that it was actually worth blowing off some of the cyno. I spent about 5 minutes the previous night blowing off some rocks and now after about 15 minutes more my tank doesn't look like a bunch of rocks covered in a slimy booger. Cleaning isn't complete but I'm hopeful now!


20210312_132319.jpg
 
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littlebeard

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Nuked the cyno. I couldn't handle it any more. Blew it off and it would creep back. The mat would start thin, cover the rocks then when it was finally thick enough I could blow it off. I got tired of this process and I figured if I could give anything else a chance with my increased nutrients something else would be able to gain a foothold. I decided to nuke the blue-green cyno with chemiclean. While chemiclean says for red cyno, I hoped it would work for my blue-green stuff.

20210324_163138.jpg


Without a doubt it did. The green stuff turned brown/black within 24 hrs and in 48 it was nearly all gone. I did loose 1 frag and another is on the fence. The upside is, some of my other frags look the best since I got them.

I'm starting to see some coralline near the overflow which I haven't seen yet, so I'm hopeful it will start to cover my rocks.
 
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littlebeard

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Short update: Looks like my nitrates are climbing a bit faster than I want without the cyno. I will be dialing back my nitrate dosing. Phosphate seems to be in lock for the time being with 2.5 ml a day and holding steady.

Finally starting to see some film algae on the tank, as well as an abundance of copepods. All good signs.

The rocks seem to have a bit of a yellowish-green tint to it. Will continue to monitor closely. Hoping it is not the return of the blue-green cyno.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

Would you consider your tank to be balanced or lopsided when it comes to coral?

  • Balanced Mixed Reef

    Votes: 42 33.1%
  • Lopsided SPS

    Votes: 28 22.0%
  • Lopsided LPS

    Votes: 24 18.9%
  • Lopsided Zoanthids

    Votes: 10 7.9%
  • Lopdsided Soft Corals

    Votes: 15 11.8%
  • Lopsided NPS

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 8 6.3%
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