Pedersen Reef - 300 Gallon Peninsula Build

Ben Pedersen

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My first memory of the ocean was when I was 3 years old living in southern California. As you got closer to the ocean you could smell the saltwater and I loved it. I remember collecting sand flees and star fish and bringing them home in buckets. When I was 9 years old I started my first reef tank. My first coral was a branching sinularia. It wasn't pretty but I was so excited to have it. Over the years I have had 3 additional reefs. One almost killed me (Green and Brown Palys from Hawaii - Palytoxin), one was killed by my neighbor while I was on vacation, and my most current tank I have had for over 10 years. I do not have any photos of my 1st or 2nd reef but have photos of my 3rd and 4th (below).

A common issue I have had over my 37 years of reefing is not having enough room. Corals grow and after a few years there is not space for anything new. So, I am planning a 300 gallon reef. I have been collecting equipment for over a year and finally have most of the gear needed for the new tank. Starting in October, God willing, I plan to renovate the room where the new tank will be, build a stand, and start the tank.

Reef 3 Photos:
BB1524A6-0ABD-484C-91EF-1C834A19A8EC.jpeg


DDAB5561-E109-4558-B6C6-357B5F0BA501.jpeg


CBA5586B-4BC8-4C0F-86F2-6470555D10C5.jpeg


Reef 4 Photos:
8235CE2C-F49C-48CE-9718-46D41128FB10.jpeg


Video is a couple of years old.
 
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Ben Pedersen

Ben Pedersen

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Well, I would be interested in hearing your keys to success then
After much thought...

Reefing doesn't have to be complicated. Make it as simple as possible to achieve your goals.

Do not chase parameters. Allow your tank to mature into it's parameters. This can take a long time or not depending on your approach. Be patient and enjoy the journey!

Don't buy equipment until you need it. If your system is not broken, don't try to fix it.

The keys to success are:
  • Light
  • Water movement
  • Water temperature
  • Water chemistry
  • Biological components (fish, coral, bacteria, micro organisms, etc.).
As long as these are met within reason, you will be successful.

By far, light, water movement, and water temperature are the easiest to manage. Water chemistry and biological components are more complicated. However, with regular water changes and the absence of "helpful" equipment to chase parameters, even water chemistry is not that difficult to manage within acceptable limits.

As an aquarium matures, water chemistry becomes easier to manage. With a mature tank, I have gone more than 8 months without a water change, with only the addition of fresh water top off with Calcium Hydroxide to manage Alk and PH and magnesium salts to replenish magnesium. I hate doing water changes!

Almost all trace elements can be imported directly as fish food or the by product of fish eating it. As a tank has more coral in proportion to the volume of water, other strategies may be required to maintain Alk, PH, and Magnesium.

There is not a healthy coral reef in the world without fish.. a lot of fish. The amino acids that fish produce as a byproduct of eating directly provide food and trace nutrients to coral. Many reef tanks do not thrive because the water is too clean. At the same time too many fish and not enough coral and other organisms to balance the equation can cause a reef to fail. Biodiversity is very important. Bacterium, sponge, micro fauna are all part of that balanced equation.

Be careful, what you put in your tank. Fish, bacteria, and other organisms. Once added, negative biological components are very difficult and sometime impossible to remove.

My personal tanks have all been the same. A medium amount of full spectrum light, lots of water flow, and a water temperature between 73 in the winter and 79 in the summer.

For water chemistry, I do minimal water changes based on need (visual appearance of flora), and use Calcium Hydroxide (saturated lime water) with top off water. I add vinegar to the Calcium Hydroxide to boost my Alk and Calcium. This is required due to the high density of calcifying corals in my aquarium. With this strategy my Alk is managed between 7 - 8, Calcium between 405 - 435, an my PH between 7.99 and 8.5.

I have a properly sized protein skimmer for excess nutrient export and aeration.

I have a refugium with dragon's breath algae also for excess nutrient export and for culturing pods.

I have many fish. The majority of fish are utility fish, to clean the sand, remove algae, and or to remove pests from other fish and coral. I also have invertebrates to scavenge and remove algae.

About 3 years ago I purchased a cheap frag from a frag swap and introduced a bactirium that killed almost all of my mature colonies of coral. I now use a UV sterilizer to keep this under control.. but sadly, the bacterium is still present. It seems to only affect specific SPS varieties.
 
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montethemoster

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Thanks for the detailed response. I'll have to think about it for a bit. Is there a reason other than looks that you chose dragon's breath algae for your refugium rather than chaeto?
 

ShepherdReefer

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My first memory of the ocean was when I was 3 years old living in southern California. As you got closer to the ocean you could smell the saltwater and I loved it. I remember collecting sand flees and star fish and bringing them home in buckets. When I was 9 years old I started my first reef tank. My first coral was a branching sinularia. It wasn't pretty but I was so excited to have it. Over the years I have had 3 additional reefs. One almost killed me (Green and Brown Palys from Hawaii - Palytoxin), one was killed by my neighbor while I was on vacation, and my most current tank I have had for over 10 years. I do not have any photos of my 1st or 2nd reef but have photos of my 3rd and 4th (below).

A common issue I have had over my 37 years of reefing is not having enough room. Corals grow and after a few years there is not space for anything new. So, I am planning a 300 gallon reef. I have been collecting equipment for over a year and finally have most of the gear needed for the new tank. Starting in October, God willing, I plan to renovate the room where the new tank will be, build a stand, and start the tank.

Reef 3 Photos:
BB1524A6-0ABD-484C-91EF-1C834A19A8EC.jpeg


DDAB5561-E109-4558-B6C6-357B5F0BA501.jpeg


CBA5586B-4BC8-4C0F-86F2-6470555D10C5.jpeg


Reef 4 Photos:
8235CE2C-F49C-48CE-9718-46D41128FB10.jpeg


Video is a couple of years old.

Looks great
 
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Ben Pedersen

Ben Pedersen

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Thanks for the detailed response. I'll have to think about it for a bit. Is there a reason other than looks that you chose dragon's breath algae for your refugium rather than chaeto?
I do like the look of the Dragons Breath.. I also like that it is more open / less dense then Chaeto.
 
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Ben Pedersen

Ben Pedersen

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Getting closer to setting the 300 up.. I have almost everything I need and am finishing up the room the tank will go in.. figured I would post a photo of my current tank.. With current Alk and Ca measurements for the Hanna giveaway :)

Sadly, my alk has fallen to 6 and Ca has increased to 450. This is because I decreased the amount of vinegar I have been adding to my Kalk mix. I decreased as a precaution because my UV sterilizer died.. I don't like using a lot of vinegar without the UV sterilizer working. I just got it working again so will start increasing the vinegar and bring the Alk back up.

ECF46EB2-DF55-4982-82E5-D0E6C83AC93D.png
 
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Ben Pedersen

Ben Pedersen

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Slowly bringing the Alk back up.. It bottomed out at 5.5. As of now it is 6.2. I will continue to raise it to 8 and will hold it there.
 
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Emmajayne861

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My first memory of the ocean was when I was 3 years old living in southern California. As you got closer to the ocean you could smell the saltwater and I loved it. I remember collecting sand flees and star fish and bringing them home in buckets. When I was 9 years old I started my first reef tank. My first coral was a branching sinularia. It wasn't pretty but I was so excited to have it. Over the years I have had 3 additional reefs. One almost killed me (Green and Brown Palys from Hawaii - Palytoxin), one was killed by my neighbor while I was on vacation, and my most current tank I have had for over 10 years. I do not have any photos of my 1st or 2nd reef but have photos of my 3rd and 4th (below).

A common issue I have had over my 37 years of reefing is not having enough room. Corals grow and after a few years there is not space for anything new. So, I am planning a 300 gallon reef. I have been collecting equipment for over a year and finally have most of the gear needed for the new tank. Starting in October, God willing, I plan to renovate the room where the new tank will be, build a stand, and start the tank.

Reef 3 Photos:
BB1524A6-0ABD-484C-91EF-1C834A19A8EC.jpeg


DDAB5561-E109-4558-B6C6-357B5F0BA501.jpeg


CBA5586B-4BC8-4C0F-86F2-6470555D10C5.jpeg


Reef 4 Photos:
8235CE2C-F49C-48CE-9718-46D41128FB10.jpeg


Video is a couple of years old.
Beautiful
 

kruler

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About 3 years ago I purchased a cheap frag from a frag swap and introduced a bactirium that killed almost all of my mature colonies of coral. I now use a UV sterilizer to keep this under control.. but sadly, the bacterium is still present. It seems to only affect specific SPS varieties.

I am curious about the bacterium you mention. What were the symptoms and how did you diagnose it?
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

What have you found to be the best things/methods to beat hair algae? (choose all that apply)

  • Hydrogen peroxide

    Votes: 6 17.1%
  • Lawn Mower Blenny (or other fish)

    Votes: 11 31.4%
  • Manual Removal

    Votes: 18 51.4%
  • Rock Scrubbing

    Votes: 7 20.0%
  • Lowered Phosphates

    Votes: 7 20.0%
  • Tank Blackouts

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • Urchins

    Votes: 10 28.6%
  • Fluconazole

    Votes: 2 5.7%
  • Granular Ferric Oxide (GFO)

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • UV Sterilizer

    Votes: 6 17.1%
  • Refugium

    Votes: 9 25.7%
  • Algae Scrubber

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • Clean Up Crew

    Votes: 18 51.4%
  • Lighting Change

    Votes: 4 11.4%
  • Sea Hare

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Vibrant

    Votes: 4 11.4%
  • Other (please explain in thread)

    Votes: 3 8.6%

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