Pirate Monkeys 200g SPS Journey


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Jan 29, 2020
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I thought I'd start my tank thread in here as my tank is a 200G SPS Dom system


Last week I reached the 6-month mark! WOOHOO! I think the tank is starting to reach the sweet spot in terms of its long-term cycle or cycling to maturity. I wanted to start this to document the journey mistakes and all! I'm not shy about my failures and see them as a way to mastery. Of course, research and hard work help prevent the majority there is more than likely going to be a few roadblocks! With that being said let's jump in!

200g Deep, Outer Dimensions 48x36x25,
Inner volume 46x34x24 170g
Sal – 35ppt
Alk 9.1
Calcium 430
Mag 1400
No3 – 5
P04 – 0.03


The system is Bare Bottom and started with the majority of dry rock from Marco. The Dry rock was cycled for 3 months before the start with some bottled bacteria (MB7) and a few pieces of mature live rock from the DT at the time. When the tank started, I also added pieces of 2 to 8-month-old rock from my 40-breeder system (that was short-lived haha!). The system was essentially fish only with the few frags that had been carried over from the former 40 breeder. I dosed Micro Bacter 7 for those first two months. I had an awful fight with Crysophites This was probably due to drilling the rock and not rinsing it well enough. More than likely there were a lot of silicates. Once I ran out of MB7 I had Cyano come in very lightly and I was really struggling to keep phosphates high enough. Wanting to nip it in the bud I picked up KZ Cyano Clean and Coral Snow, this combined with dosing Phosphates did the trick! Even better than that it helped with the Crysophites. The Bacterial film from the Cyano clean was so efficient it formed a layer between the rock and the Crysophites and I was able to blow them off with a turkey baster.


Around this point, with these pest bacteria issues mostly resolved I added some additional SPS Frags. A local store was going out of business and it seemed like a good time to get some additional testers! They all did well except for one that receded (Green Slimer) and another STNed on me (Blueish Mariculture). I was able to frag the Slimer and now they are happy little green Slimer frags! I also picked up a Kole Tang and a Naso Tang and the 3 Tang Gang was assembled! Not too long after this, I noticed the polyp extension wasn’t what it was at the store I picked them up.

Around the Three month mark, I had my first real hiccup with the system. The Vertex Skimmer overflowed around 4 gallons of water into the aquarium stand and I like a fool didn’t get all the power bars mounted. So as I'm getting ready for the day in the morning I smell burnt electronics... All of the Jebao (gyre and return), as well as the max spec pump power supplies, were fried, Thankfully the Radion power supplies are well-sealed and weren't damaged at all! I swapped out return pumps and I was back in business. The Apex did its job as well and shut a few things off when the return pump went down. Thankfully I was at home as well when it happened and even more thankfully there were no losses. It was also at this time while all the powerheads were out of commission that I noticed my acro's had much better PE! I had WAY TOO MUCH FLOW. I was literally blowing the flesh off them running them at 100 percent random. I figured with SPS I really needed to crank it but the gyres I got are probably a little oversized for the tank. I'm currently running them around 10%-20%. My Alk Consumption immediately increased. I felt terrible for essentially torturing the SPS due to my ignorance. Pumps have come a long way in the last 10 years, All I heard as well is flow, flow, flow. I've learned it's a bit of an abstract thing that takes a lot more fine-tuning than anything else but is absolutely vital for health.

Cabinet Built to house Power supplies

A really kind guy Telegraham helped me figure out the power supplies and I ordered some new ones for the pumps and within a week the pumps were back in action! Just at a much lower intensity! I also built a little stand for all the power supplies and reorganized the control center under the aquarium.​

Before the Cyano Clean got close to running out I picked up Micro Bacter Clean and have been doing that for a couple of months. I heard somewhere that most of the Micro Bacter products essentially a carbon source in them, so I started dosing Tropic Marin Bacto Balance to transition from the MB-Clean to straight Carbon dosing. So far so good but I'm only a couple of weeks into dosing it on its own. I'll probably continue with it long-term. Overall, I think the water changes are what did the trick with removing the silicates that help the Crysophites thrive.

At some point about a month ago I picked up a refill on my Hanna DKH Checker solution. Upon Checking, it appeared to be 3 full points lower! Going from 10.3 to 7.3, I've got no clue how it would have happened other than perhaps some kind of contamination in the old reagent. I Proceeded to use two other Alk tests (Salifert and Red Sea) and had a friend check on his Hanna checker All 3 were in the 7-7.5 range. It was incredibly hard not to have a knee-jerk reaction. Even after the result was fairly conclusive I steadily raised the DKH .2 a day for 2 weeks to get me back to the 9-9.5 range I prefer
As of right now though Ive got a BRS doser dripping kalk 24/7 and just a bit of soda ash and calcium every day. I recently added some more LED light bars for shadowing and it feels like everything is really starting to get growing!

Let's jump into the equipment and then livestock though!



Live Rock (Duh)
Skimz SM 203 Skimmer
DIY recirculating CO2 Scrubber
TM Bacto Balance Carbon

Picked up the larger Skimmer recently and WOW what a difference from the dinky Vertex Omega 120 My PH is up as well to 8.2 Average from a 7.9 Average


Jebao return pump. x3 tank turn over through sump
x2 Jebao gyres CP-150 (surface agitation)
Jebao SLW - 20 (Direct Flow from the back for acros)
Ecotech Vortech MP-40 (Direct Flow from the back for acros)
Maxspec 2k (Flow across the back. only using half the pump rubber parts wore out and hard to replace)

This is near too much Flow. The Jebao will be replaced over time and potentially even downsized to take advantage of various flow patterns. The MP-40 is a new addition for the right acro platform. They are really loving the more direct flow it's putting off and it's far more random than what the Jebao Gyre was putting off.

x4 Ecotech Radion XR-15 Pro Gen 5
x1 Ecotech Radion XR-15 Pro Gen 4
X4 Orphek OR3 Blue
x4 Popular Grow Custom Blue bars (450-470nm)

Overall I'm very happy with the XR-15. They do not have the punch that their bigger brothers do though! But they provide a great spectrum and coverage. I went with a custom 80/20 Light bracket to hold it all and it's a fantastic and flexible option that most lights will mount to with little effort. I highly recommend it! Early on I made the decision to add Orphek light bars for a little more PAR as well as increased distribution. They have done a fantastic job so far! Recently I came to the conclusion that If I didn’t add more bars I would end up with shadowing issues. I picked up 4 Popular Grow 470 NM LED Bars from Aliexpress. I modified them to have a 50/50 mix of 450 and 470 NM I'm definitely at the max of what I can add to the fixture other than maybe one more XR 15 or a Kessil. Sometimes I feel like I may have gone overboard but I'm getting 250- 300 par almost everywhere in the lower half of the tank and 300-500 in the upper half so I think this has been the right move. Only time will tell. This is also my first time going all LED. I may have been a little sold on the BRS “platinum standard” Overall I see T5/MH being regulated out of existence in the next 10-15 years and id rather hops on the LED train sooner than later. Coming from the T5 and MH Land of 2009 it's definitely new but I'm very happy so far! (for reference I'm 29)

x3 Kamoer X-1
X2 BRS 1.1ml
I've got Kalk and Soda Ash on the BRS Dosers, I like the slow drip they provide. Then Calcium, Nitrate, and Phosphate on the Kamoers.

Soda Ash
Calcium Chloride
TriSodium Phosphate
Sodium Nitrate
Tropic Marin NP Bacto Balance
Tropic Marin A&K Elements
DIY Coral Snow

X2 Snowflake clowns
3 Bengii Cardinals
Naso Tang
Yellow Tang
Kole Tang
Black Axil Chromis
Purple Dottyback
Lawnmower Blenny
Midas Blenny
Aptasia Eating File Fish

PC Rainbow
ASD Rainbow Milli
Tyree Pink Lemonaid
Purple Stylopora
Miyagi Tort
CC Bloody Mary
GARF Bonsai
JF Fox Flame
Hawkens Enchenata
Purple Staghorn
Green Staghorn
Blue-green aquacultured
RR The Vihn
ORA Red Planet
Reef Rack Green Table
Bubblegum Digi
Red Digi
Pink Digi
ORA Birdsnest

AGC Blue Rainbow.jpg
AGC Pink Digi.jpg
ASD Rainbow Milli.jpg
Birds Nest.jpg
Blue Stag.jpg
Buble Gum Digi.jpg
CC Bloody Mary.jpg
GARF Bonsai.jpg

Green Slimer.jpg
Hawkins Enchenata.jpg
JF Fox Flame.jpg
Miyagi Tort.jpg

ORA Red Planet.jpg
PC Rainbow.jpg
Tyree Pink Lemonaid.jpg

Tyree Sunset Monti
Jedi Mind Trick Monti
Purple Monti
Rainbow Monti
Red Monticap
Mystic Sunset Monti
Aquaman Monti

Monti Cap.jpg
Mystic Sunset Monti.jpg
Jedi Mind Trick.jpg
Tyree Sunset Monti.jpg
LPS & Soft
Hollywood Stunner Chalice
Blue Gorgonian
CC Mr. Freeze Lepto
Purple Torch
Utter Chaos
Red Hornet Zoas
Sunny D Zoas
Blue zoas
Rasta zoas
Blue and orange zoas
Rainbow Bowebankii

Hollywood Stunner and Mr Freez.jpg
Zoa Garden.jpg
Bower Banki.jpg

I've been having a problem with encrusting Montipora for some reason they just tend to fade and disappear Idk if it’s a Par issue or a flow issue but they just can't seem to be happy. The Tyree sunset and Jedi Mind trick to just fine but all the others are on the struggle bus. Open to any tips on Monti Care!


That’s all for now! Thanks for taking a look! Hopefully, with consistency and dedication, I can keep this thing going and have one of those awesome tanks I see here all the time! The community really inspires me. I'm glad I'm not the only one that loves the fuzzy sticks!

PS also working on the Photography skills should improve with time! 1619841469252.jpeg The Vihn.jpg


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Jun 8, 2017
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Didn’t skimp on the lighting. Looks like I need another g5 o_O

great dimensions. Is that the marineland tank?


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Jan 29, 2020
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Didn’t skimp on the lighting. Looks like I need another g5 o_O

great dimensions. Is that the marineland tank?
Haha no I did not! Keep in mind they’re Xr15 so not to crazy. Also the Aliexpress light bars are fantastic way cheaper then the reef bright as well and essentially the same build quality.

Something I didn’t anticipate was how deep the tank would really be and how hard it is to push light that deep.

Also yes I’m pretty sure it is the marine land. I cut out the corner overflows and drilled the back and gained about 10 gallons of space!


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So I plan out pretty much everything in Blender as it gives me a great starting point for physical projects. For 80/20 its invaluable as you need to plan every joining component. Blender is great for that because you can get literal counts of the needed components and the website has CAD files that can be imported so you have a good idea of how they fit and join together before receiving the parts.

My setup has an H-like Shape for stability and is mounted to the wall with a 2x4 behind in the closet to back brace it. You can do a sort of T shape structure for smaller tanks or additional structures if bigger. So let's say I go to a 300G DD in the future this can be used again. Let me know if any one has questions. I love this stuff.

light rack.png

Have you ever grown your own live aquarium food?

  • YES and it was a success (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 64 22.9%
  • YES but I couldn't sustain it long term

    Votes: 40 14.3%
  • NO, I tried but couldn't

    Votes: 9 3.2%
  • NO, I have never tried

    Votes: 163 58.4%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 3 1.1%