Reef Spotlight - April 2012 - "Soccerbag"

swannyson7

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REEF SPOTLIGHT - April 2012
The Reef Aquarium of:
Craig Bagby aka "Soccerbag"
You can also check out Craig’s tank build here on R2R:
https://www.reef2reef.com/forums/la...os-dream-miracles-build-powered-sfiligoi.html

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Introduction
I am VERY honored to be able to share my aquarium with the members of R2R this month. I have been a member here for a few years now and I am proud to call it home. Rev (David) has built a great atmosphere here and I really enjoy logging in everyday to see what is happening with all of my fellow reefers. I have been very fortunate to make some great friends in this hobby. And they have all contributed (either directly or indirectly) to my current setup. I, like many reefers, see everything that is wrong with my system. So anytime I am asked to feature my tank on a great forum like R2R, it puts things in perspective and allows me to concentrate on the good things (if only for a moment…lol).

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How it all started
I got into this crazy hobby in 1997. I was living in Columbia, SC and walked into a great saltwater store (Fishy Business) and was immediately hooked. One of the guys working there was looking to sell his 75g reef and before long, I was in the game. I had that tank for nearly 9 years. But I moved 6 times in 8 years and that took a major toll on the tank and its inhabitants. I eventually broke down the tank and sold everything. Moving that many times really makes you question whether a tank is worth it.
I was out of the hobby for a few years. In that time, I got married, bought a house, and got a decent job. Ultimately, it was my wife who really wanted me to get another tank. Yes, you read that right. My wife is a keeper! We drove over to Fish World (great LFS in Richmond, VA) and talked to Joe Genero (Owner) about a new system. There was a laundry list of things that I wanted (and didn’t want) in a new system and Joe helped me design a system that met all of my needs. I ended up with a 150g AGA, a 75g AGA sump (plumbed in the basement), water vats for fresh and salt water, a nice skimmer, 400W 14K halides, and other necessities for a reef tank. We are fortunate to have an unfinished basement in our home so we were able to plumb the tank and have all of the “guts” in the basement.
I am constantly “tweaking” my systems. I am the “King of Can’t Leave Well Enough Alone”! Case in point, I had that 150g for 3 years and here is a list of changes I made to the system:​

• Added 4 T5’s to add some extra “pop” to the corals.
• Started the Prodibio system – stopped after a few months.
• Took off the blue vinyl background and painted the (outside) back of tank black.
• Bought a chiller as the halides were heating up the water.
• Got a calcium reactor – got tired of manual dosing.
• Decided to switch from halides to all T5’s as my power bill was getting out of control.
• Removed canopy to hang T5 fixture - wanted more of an “open” look.
• Sold the chiller as I didn’t need it any longer.
• Bought a bigger skimmer.
• Started dosing vodka / Microbacter 7
• Took the refugium out of my sump – was a nitrate factory with the sandbed.
• Got rid of the calcium reactor – couldn’t keep it dialed in and Alk was all over the place.
• Switched to 2-part dosing with a Litermeter 3.
• Stopped dosing vodka as my corals were starving.
• Completely changed my aquascape….twice.
• Added frag tank to system

As embarrassing as all of those changes are, I feel it’s important to share them. Every time I saw a Reef of the Month that I loved, I wanted to apply some of that success to my system. Keep in mind, I was never careless with the changes. Lighting changes were made very slowly as to not shock the corals. Vodka dosing was done according to plan. Surprisingly, I didn’t lose any corals and all of my livestock thrived through all of the changes. My point is….it is VERY easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest thing. However, at the end of the day sometimes simplicity can produce the best results. And that is what I wanted to do with my new system. Let’s get to that one…

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“I think we need a bigger tank”
The 150g had been up and running for just over 3 years. My wife looked at me one day and said “I think we need a bigger tank”. Being the good husband I am, I had a plan and two tank quotes within 48 hours…lol. I have admired many of the tanks on the forums for years (Sonny, Mark Poletti, and Joe Peck to name a few). I wanted to take a little bit of those tanks and apply them to my new build. My good friend Andrew Harrow (aharrow on R2R) helped me design the tank and completely built the stand. While I helped hold a few pieces of wood in place, he did the rest. The stand is one of my favorite things about the system. Thanks again Andrew – still quite jealous of your mad carpentry skills.
My goal for this new system was an “open” aquascape. At first glance, it looks like there are just a bunch of rocks placed sporadically on the sand. But as you move around the tank, you notice that there are systematic “channels” between the rockwork. This allows plenty of flow between islands, a natural place for the fish to swim, room for the SPS to grow, and an aesthetically pleasing look to the tank.

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System Profile
Display tank:
Miracles Rimless ¾” 3-sided Starphire glass Peninsula style tank (72” x 33” x 24”) – 246 gallons
Internal (peninsula side) acrylic overflow (6” x 14” x 22”)
(1) 2” bulkhead (drain) and (1) 1.5” return
Bottom and side glass braced (2” x 1”)
Glass or Acrylic:
Glass
Frag Tank:
Custom Glass Cages ½” 3-side Starphire shallow tank (40” x 30” x 9”)
DIY acrylic overflow on end (6” x 9” x 7”)
1 ½” bulkhead (drain) and 1” return
Bottom braced with glass strips (2” x .5”)
Stand:
Custom DIY using 8 4x4”’s, WAY too many 2x6”’s, and ¾” plywood
3 access panels for storage / controller / ballasts
Skinned with Tahitian Pebble
Sump:
75g stock AGA
150g Rubbermaid stock tank with live rock (200lbs)
Protein Skimmer:
Royal Exclusiv Alpha Cone 300 (with AVAST Marine Swabbie)
Drains into Davy Jones Skimmate Locker (AVAST Marine)
Carbon/phosphate filtration:
Next Reef MR1 reactor with BRS Rox Carbon (changed monthly)
Next Reef MR1 reactor with PO4(x4) - 250mL changed monthly or as needed
Return Pump:
Reeflo Hammerhead Gold
Water circulation:
Display – 3 Vortech MP60ES (with 3 backup batteries)
Sump – Tunze 6201 (to keep detritus in the water column)
Rubbermaid vat – 2 Tunze 6045
Frag Tank – Vortech MP40 (with backup battery)
Lighting:
Sfiligoi XR6 (72”) – 3 x 250w 20K Radiums and 8 ATI Super Actinic T5’s
Sfiligoi ACLS ballasts (3) – 1 Master and 2 slaves
Frag Tank – ATI Powermodule 10 x 39W / Reefbrite LED Blue strip
Calcium/alkalinity/magnesium dosing:
Bulk Reef Supply 2-part (Recipe 1)
Dosed via Litermeter III
Auto top-off:
Tunze Osmolator
RO/DI Unit:
Bulk Reef Supply 300gpd TDS Spartan
Heating/cooling:
3 x 300W heaters with external thermostats and probes
Temperature is controlled / monitored via Apex
System control:
Neptune Systems Apex with 1 EB8, 2 DC8’s, Temp, and pH probe
IO Breakout Box – for Skimmate locker
WXM Module – to control 3 MP60’s
VDM Module – for dimming T5’s on Sfiligoi fixture

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Water Circulation and Flow Summary and Objectives
Closed loops have always made me nervous so I have never had one in any of my tanks. I feel like the less a tank has to be drilled the better. I, instead, try to simplify my water flow. I have 1 pump that feeds everything in my system. There is a manifold system that allows me to direct / control flow to everything. I have about 14’ of head pressure to get up to my display. The Hammerhead also feeds my carbon / GFO reactor, house drain for water changes, frag tank, and live rock vat. If the pump were to go down, my LFS carries the Hammerheads and I can buy another one. I feel like one pump helps me cut down on electrical costs as well. I have 3 MP 60’s in my display – enough said! They run on various patterns (via Apex WXM module) and never run higher than 70%. I tried running them on 100% when I got them and they shot water out of the tank…lol. Needless to say, flow is not an issue. I have Tunzes in my sump and live rock vat. They help to keep detritus suspended in the water column. This helps cut down on my maintenance. The skimmer takes out the trash and makes it easier in the long run.

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Water Parameters:
* Temp: 78.5F via Apex
* pH: 8.10-8.30 via Apex
* Specific gravity: 1.025 via Milwaukee Refractometer
* NO3: 1ppm via Salifert
* Ca: 450ppm via Salifert
* Alk: 8.0 dKH via hanna calorimeter
* Mg: 1380 via Salifert
* PO4: Undetectable via Hanna Calorimeter
* Ammonia and nitrites: Undetectable via Salifert

Lighting:
Since my tank is SPS dominant, lighting is a major factor. I ran a Sfiligoi Stealth on my old 150g and loved the fixture. The tank is a centerpiece of our den so I needed something that was functional and decorative. When I designed this tank, one of my first calls was to Tim at Aquatics Elite (sponsor here) and we discussed all options. I knew I wanted to go back to halides as I missed the “shimmer” with all T5’s. The XR6 was the best option. The fixture is a work of art and is just as functional as it is beautiful. I run 3 250W 20K Radiums. All eight T5 bulbs are Super Actinics as they are only utilized for sunrise / sunset simulation. I have 3 ACLS ballasts that are the “heart” of the Sfiligoi system. These ballasts allow me to dim the halides, simulate cloudy days and actual seasons, control the strength of each halide, and many other features (too many to list here). I have been VERY pleased with them - stable and easy to use. I run all T5’s on my frag tank. It houses mostly chalices / acans and I find that T5’s are the best lighting for these types of LPS.

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Photoperiod:

Display
10:00 AM-12:00 PM: T5’s ramp up 0-80%
11:45 AM-1:15 PM: Metal Halides ramp up from 0-100%
1:15 PM- 6:15 PM: Metal Halides ON full power
6:15 PM-7:45 PM: Metal Halides ramp down from 100-0%
7:30 PM-10:30PM: T5s ramp down 80-0%

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Frag Tank (Reverse Schedule)
9:30 PM: ReefBrite LEDs ON
10:30 PM: ReefBrite LEDs OFF
10:30 PM: 2 T5s (ATI Blue+) ON
11:30 PM: Remaining T5s (7 ATI Blue+ & 1 KZ Fiji Purple) ON
4:30 AM: Remaining T5s (7 ATI Blue+ & 1 KZ Fiji Purple) OFF
5:30 AM: 2 T5s (ATI Blue+) OFF

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Filtration and Water Quality Summary and Objectives:
Again, I have tried to simplify things as much as possible. I just have one skimmer for now (although I may add another skimmer in the Rubbermaid vat later this year). The tank just has one drain. I do not have a cleanup crew so the chance of a “clog” in my drain is very low. The water drains from my display tank directly into my 75g sump. In my sump, I have 2 heaters, a Tunze to keep things stirred up, and my skimmer - very clean and simple. The Hammerhead pumps water to the reactors, frag tank, and live rock vat. Water from the live rock vat drains (gravity) back into the sump. I keep the water clean by using BRS Rox Carbon and it runs 24/7. It is changed out once per month religiously. I started using PO4(x4) about 4 months ago and really like it. I run approximately 250mL of PO4(x4) in the reactor and it runs 24/7 as well.

My system is just over 400 gallons (total water volume). I perform 40g water changes every 2 weeks (using Tropic Marin Bio-actif salt). Water changes have also been simplified. The manifold also connects my sump to the main house drain. To change water, I simply turn off all of the valves and open the one to the house drain. I drain out 40 gallons and then refill the sump with water from the 100g saltwater vat I have in the basement. Carrying buckets of water from the LFS is a thing of the past for me – thank goodness.

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Tank Inhabitants—Fish:
In September of 2011, I introduced a Powder Blue Tang into my system. I did not QT and it was carrying Marine Velvet. It was a tough lesson to learn as it wiped out the vast majority of my livestock over the course of 60 days. I ended up losing 16 fish total including my 1’ Vlamingi Tang, 2 Block Anthias, 3 Bartlett’s Anthias, Chocolate Tang, Majestic Angelfish, Black Tang, Kole Tang, and a Mimic Tang. There were a few more but it pains me to think about it. I was not utilizing a QT tank last year and I paid a hefty price! It was completely irresponsible and I owe it to my tank inhabitants to ensure it never happens again. It took about 5 months to eradicate the Velvet out of my system and I have been able to rebuild my stock since then. If you are still reading this and take one thing away from this article, PLEASE QT ALL FISH!!! I bought a 20g tank from Petco, a cheap light, hang on filter, and a heater for $85. I now QT everything! Here is my current fish list:

Regal Angel – Pygoplites diacanthus
Yellow Tang – Zebrasoma flaviscens
Tongan Sailfin Tang – Zebrasoma desjardinii
Sohal Tang – Acanthurus sohal
(2) Pink Bar Goby - Cryptocentrus aurora
Wheeler’s Shrimp Goby - Amblyeleotris wheeleri
Kuiter’s Leopard Wrasse - Macropharyngodon kuiteri
Potter’s Leopard Wrasse - Macropharyngodon geoffroy
(2) Labouti Fairy Wrasse (male and female) - Cirrhilabrus laboutei
Psych Head Wrasse (female) - Anampses chrysocephalus

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Tank Inhabitants—Other Invertebrates:
(2) Blood Red Fire Shrimp - Lysmata debelius
Blue Linckia Starfish - Linckia laevigata
Tiger Snapping Shrimp - Alpheus bellulus
Derasa Clam - Tridacna derasa
(3) Maxima Clams - Tridacna maxima

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Tank Inhabitants— Corals:
Acropora granulosa
Acropora hoeksemai
Acropora hyacinthus
Acropora millipora
Acropora nasuta
Acropora prostrata
Acropora rosaria
Acropora sarmentosa
Acropora secale
Acropora tenuis
Acropora tortuosa
Montipora setosa
Montipora undata
Montipora sp.
(various encrusting)
Acanthastrea lordhowensis
Favia sp.
Echinophylia sp.
Lobophyllia sp.
Cynarina lacrymalis
(3) Scolymia australis
Porites sp.


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Fish and Coral Feeding:
The fish are fed 3-4 times per day. I feed a variety of frozen foods – mainly Rod’s Food and PE Mysis. Two to three sheets of Nori are provided every other day. I don’t feed corals directly anymore. I used to dose additives and amino acids for the corals but I found that the benefits did not justify the cost. There are times that I will add a bit of Oyster Feast to the frag tank and I’m sure that some makes its way upstairs to the display. I used to hand feed my chalices every day. However, that got old after a few months. I know that the chalices would benefit from daily feedings but my wife and I travel a lot and I just don’t have the energy to do it daily. I do dose 8 drops of Lugol's per day into the sump.

Progression Photos:

November 2010
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May 2011 (Taken from opposite side of the tank)
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March 2012
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Conclusion:
I really appreciate the opportunity to share my tank with everyone here at R2R. A big thanks to Scott (swannyson7) for assisting with pulling this together. If you guys only knew how hard he works to get these Feature Tank articles together….he deserves major props! Thanks to my wife Stacy who puts up with me and this crazy hobby and just rolls her eyes when she sees new things in the tank…lol. And all of my good friends and great sponsors here at R2R! I learn something new every day and there are not many hobbies that offer that intellectual piece. Without this hobby, I wouldn’t know nearly as much about carpentry, plumbing, electrical, decorating, aquaculture, sustainability, chemistry, or physics. And if I can find a hobby that makes me really happy and sound pretty smart at the same time, I’m all in. Cheers!

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KLR

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Congrats!

I am not sure if I missed it, but how do you keep your SB completely white and spotless?
 

revhtree

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Gorgeous awesome reef! Your corals are stunning!
 

soccerbag

Chalices did this to me!!
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Thanks guys.

Kelby, I have the same occasional bouts with cyano / diatoms that everyone else has. The difference is my OCD. I don't let it get out of control. At first site of anything annoying growing on the sandbed, I take action. That could be one of many things.

For diatoms / cyano, I will typically suction out that small section of sand, rinse it really well in fresh saltwater, and then put back into tank. I will typically follow this with a combo of Coral Snow (Zeo) and Microbacter 7 for 4-5 days (lights out overnight). This seems to get it under control for me. This will likely not work for those with tanks that are over-run with cyano or diatoms. However, as a "spot" treatment it can work very well. I keep my water very clean. I run Carbon and PO4x4 24/7. I never take it offline. I also have plenty of flow so that detritus does not settle on the sane. I have to be diligent about this as I do not have a clean up crew. Not 1 snail or hermit in my tanks. I have a Blue Linckia star but I can't say he is a clean up crew - he's lazy! lol

This is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give -don't let things get out of control. We have all been there - tank maintenance is building up, GFO and carbon need to be replaced, water change is needed, bulbs need replacing, etc. The longer one waits, the bigger the issue will be. It can take months to get rid of cyano or diatom blooms. Or you can stay on top of it. It's not easy but it's what it takes to keep the sandbed clean (and, more importantly, the water clean).

That beind said Kelby, my sandbed is not always spotless. I stir it quite often so that things don't really have a chance to settle in.
 

KLR

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Ok, thank you for the information. I having re-ocurring small algae spots on my SB and it is really annoying,hahah. I never thought about simply removing and washing. I have tried almost everything else though.
 

uall8up

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WOW! Congrats Craig! You have an amazing system that is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing!!!
 

soccerbag

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Ok, thank you for the information. I having re-ocurring small algae spots on my SB and it is really annoying,hahah. I never thought about simply removing and washing. I have tried almost everything else though.


No problem K. I just find if easier to put a 3/4" tube in the tank, gravity suction out the (affected) sand in 10 seconds, rinse it with saltwater, and then replace it. I can typically do this in around 20 minutes.
 

allabout

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Beautiful tank, congrats! Curious why you choose to have no clean up crew? Do you ever have issues since you feed 3 times a day or do your fish just gobble everything up (do you turn off the overflow when you feed)?
 

soccerbag

Chalices did this to me!!
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soccerbag

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Beautiful tank, congrats! Curious why you choose to have no clean up crew? Do you ever have issues since you feed 3 times a day or do your fish just gobble everything up (do you turn off the overflow when you feed)?

It's a fair question. I have had them in all other tanks in the past. While I don't have anything against them, I just found myself doing a lot more work when I had them. I would come home and one of the hermits would be stuck in an acro colony. 10 minutes later, one of my wrasses would turn over a snail (that couldn't flip back over on it's own). The hermits ate the snails, the wrasses ate the hermits, and then I would spend $200 on another cleanup crew. And all of that added to more times my hands had to be in the tank.

I just prefer the look of a clean sandbed without a lot of stuff cluttering it. That is just the look that I was going for with this tank. I don't think there is anything wrong with a cleanup crew at all - in fact, they can be beneficial to a reef tank. But they aren't a necessity. My fish and wrasses do a good job at keeping the sandbed stirred up. My Yellow Coris Wrasses "swipe" the sandbed with their fins and cause "dust storms" at least 5 times per day...lol. I do vacuum the sandbed a couple of times per year but I did that when I used to have a cleanup crew too.
 

nicks387

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Awesome tank and pics as usual. One of my favorite set ups. Well deserved Craig.
 

soccerbag

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Awesome tank and pics as usual. One of my favorite set ups. Well deserved Craig.

Thanks Nick! I thought that this picture would give you some ideas on your re-aquascape. It's really hard to tell when looking at the tank from the side, just how much room there is for the fish to swim and corals to grow. I thought this picture was a good one to show that. btw, I can't WAIT to see what you do with your tank. I'm not jealous of the work that will go into it, but I will be anxiously awaiting the pictures! : )

swannyson7-albums-craig-coral-picture26757-img-1992.jpg
 
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allabout

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It's a fair question. I have had them in all other tanks in the past. While I don't have anything against them, I just found myself doing a lot more work when I had them. I would come home and one of the hermits would be stuck in an acro colony. 10 minutes later, one of my wrasses would turn over a snail (that couldn't flip back over on it's own). The hermits ate the snails, the wrasses ate the hermits, and then I would spend $200 on another cleanup crew. And all of that added to more times my hands had to be in the tank.

I just prefer the look of a clean sandbed without a lot of stuff cluttering it. That is just the look that I was going for with this tank. I don't think there is anything wrong with a cleanup crew at all - in fact, they can be beneficial to a reef tank. But they aren't a necessity. My fish and wrasses do a good job at keeping the sandbed stirred up. My Yellow Coris Wrasses "swipe" the sandbed with their fins and cause "dust storms" at least 5 times per day...lol. I do vacuum the sandbed a couple of times per year but I did that when I used to have a cleanup crew too.

Ok cool, thanks. I'm still fairly new to this and love to hear other options and opinions that more experience reefers have. Makes a lot of sense to me! BTW I'm not too far from Richmond and I've heard really good things about Joe at Fish World. I hope to get there sometime and check it out. Again congrats, love the open look!
 

Resetting your reef: Have you ever had to unstack and restack the aquascape?

  • I have re-aquascaped the entire tank.

    Votes: 110 56.1%
  • I have re-aquascaped part of the tank.

    Votes: 60 30.6%
  • I have not ever re-aquascaped the tank.

    Votes: 41 20.9%
  • Other.

    Votes: 4 2.0%
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