SteveC847

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Amazing result in such a short time! I have been out of the hobby for a long time and my last tank start (and all before) was live rock. However, this time dry rock and aquascaping.

Given you started with essentially dry rock, I would be interrested in seeing a recap of steps (and timing) you think have given you the biodiversity/success. Certainly some of this came from your previous tank, but any insight would be helpful. For example, your fairly early entry with corals probably helped as well right?
 
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sdreef

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Amazing result in such a short time! I have been out of the hobby for a long time and my last tank start (and all before) was live rock. However, this time dry rock and aquascaping.

Given you started with essentially dry rock, I would be interrested in seeing a recap of steps (and timing) you think have given you the biodiversity/success. Certainly some of this came from your previous tank, but any insight would be helpful. For example, your fairly early entry with corals probably helped as well right?


Thank you. I'll recap the timing and share some of the things I've found helpful. I never transferred any actual rock from the old tank, but certainly some of the corals and plugs from the other system have helped seed some biodiversity.

June 2020 tank ordered
June - August 2020 collected rock, dried, and built rock structures. I think that using actual live rock, although dried, may have benefit due to porosity and other factors that may be difficult to measure

August - November 2020 cycled rocks in water. Ocean water from Scripps Institute, San Diego. May have added some pelagic microbial fauna. Added some microfauna and used live mud from florida keys to help seed some microbiologic diversity

November 16 tank delivered, initial water and live sand in system
C095AD84-4559-4147-A7E5-80AFF2317AA4_1_105_c.jpeg


November 20 water moving through sump

November 27 First fish, pair of 1-2 " purple tangs. They got along at first, now I have one in each of my tanks after an unsuccessful attempt to reintroduce the second purple tang
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December 2020 (Month 1) Added tangs, school of cardinal fish, then anthias. Of the dozen purple queen anthias that survived my initial 24 hours, ten have remained alive and healthy to date. I wanted to add my shy fish earlier prior to adding more active swimmers like wrasse that I was concerned may produce stress for the anthias.
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Added primarily LPS during this time.
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January 2021 (Month 2) noted pH was 7.8-8 on apex probe and decided to use a CO2 scrubber to bump up pH. Since then pH has been 8-8.2. In my opinion, this helped a lot. Perhaps not the most effective or efficient way to boost pH, but has helped speed the rate of calciferous algae and calcification the acros in the system. I suspect low pH is an under appreciated contributor to why tanks are slow to mature and corals may not do well in tanks early in many instances.

January 2021 started continous water change in the midst of my ugly stage. Progressively bumped up clean up crew. Sand conchs, turbo snails, trochus snails, ceriths, nassarius, margaritas, ninja star astreas, hermit crabs, amphipods. The continuous water change has been very helpful in maintaining consistency for the system, and made maintenance fairly hassle free.
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Early February 2021 (Month 3)
Started adding acropora

2/07/21
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April 25, 2021
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Regarding acropora success early in the tank's life, in addition to pH I have maintained the alkalinity consistently around 7.8. For me, the trident has been very helpful. I have never tested my alkalinity this consistently for my prior system, and I've found it helpful to have this information consistently available to me.

I added a doser to maintain the chemistry. I do have a calcium reactor but have not brought it on line yet mainly because I don't want to drop the pH in the system and start chasing it with other methods. Once I have enough coral in the system, the amount of photosynthesis should increase the CO2 consumption and drive up pH. At that point, I'll feel more comfortable bringing it on line. So far all of the sps frags and lps have survived being in the new system and appear to be growing.

The flow in the system is high. I think an important factor for flow is the rock structure. Aquascaping plays an important role in the free movement of water around corals. Building the rock structures in advance gave me some additional options for the form of the aquascape and I had flow in mind when building the structures off of the sand bed. Despite high flow, no issues with the sand bed that helps with the microbiome and I enjoy aesthetically. I was curious and used a turkey baster on the rocks the other day, and was happy to find no accumulation of detritus.

March 2021 (Month 4)
Cyano was winning and I hit reboot with chemiclean and other minor changes. Youth of the tank played a large role in the cyano I believe.

February/ March 2021 added live sponges, gorgonians, sea whips so far these are all alive and doing well. I feed the tank small amounts 6-9 times / day and I was simply thinking the frequent feeding may support filter feeding organisms and these organisms may also benefit the system by cleaning the water column.

I'm not confident about long term success with the blueberry gorgonian and sea whips, and I'm aware how difficult long term survival can be, but they still look good currently. I had a pair of flame scallops that did not survive much beyond a month. So far the sponges all seem to be doing well, and the yellow ball sponge seems to have grown.

Regarding microbiologic diversity, corals certainly add some diversity. Live mud for cycling the rocks helped. The live mud and sand I recently added from indopacific sea farms has helped as well. The porosity of the rock and the live sand have helped.

I sent a sample to Aquabiomics on 2/22/2021 to test the success of my cycling method and get some objective data on the microbiome. This was prior to adding the live sand / mud from IPSF. The results are all relative to mature systems, and it would be helpful if I could normalize the data for a younger system to have a better sense of what it means.

Here were my results:
Microbiome was low in diversity
aqubiomics diversity.png


Balance score was low, demonstrating an atypical microbiome relative to most established reefs
balance.png


Community composition also demonstrated atypical community composition and low balance. My tank is the bar on the left versus typical reef tank on the right. Interestingly, they were able to determine I was running a UV due to the low numbers of pelagibacteraceae. The significance for the health of the reef isn't known. No known coral or fish pathogens were identified.
community composition.png



I don't think it's surprising that a young tank has an imbalanced microbiome or different composition than a mature reef and I intend to recheck after a year, but it's helpful to have some baseline data to put the progress or lack of progress in context.

Thanks for your question.
 
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SteveC847

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Excellent recap. Thanks!!

I see in some threads people talk about using multiple bottle products during start-up. Just wondering about impact of Fritz and the Algae barn stuff you mentioned at start? Any other specific brand stuff you used?
 
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Excellent recap. Thanks!!

I see in some threads people talk about using multiple bottle products during start-up. Just wondering about impact of Fritz and the Algae barn stuff you mentioned at start? Any other specific brand stuff you used?

During the start up cycling phase in the bins, I used the fritz turbo start and algae barn nitrocycle. I did add some KZ Zeobak sporadically as well.

Since no one knows what strains of bacteria are present in the various bottled products, it's understandable that adding multiple bottles may give you more diversity. I'm not sure how many strains are carried in the various bottled products, and so I decided a potentially better strategy to achieve diversity would be using live mud since wild live rock isn't readily accessible. I determined to use the mud based on some data that was presented by aquabiomics.

The live mud I used was from Florida Pets.
https://floridapets.com/epages/047c...ategories/Live_Products/Live_MudSand/Live_Mud

I'm currently using KZ cyanoclean. The cyanoclean is supposed to carry a bacterial strain to specifically compete with cyanobacteria. I didn't do this during the start up though, and added this later once I started having issues.

Here is where I sourced the live sand/ mud more recently as a boost to the system, but not during the early start up phase
https://ipsf.com/livesand.html
 
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@yman182

Update regarding my automatic filter rollers. I just replaced first filter roll again. It lasted about 12 weeks again without being on a timer. I also replaced the second filter roll for the first time last week after about 6 months. The second filter roll was offline for a few weeks while I waited for a replacement part, so some of the times aren't precise. The take away for me is that the second filter roll doesn't advance as often for my set up and flow pattern. Inverting the float switch in the first chamber was not effective for me and resulted in the roller not being triggered.

Currently both filter rolls are new. I'm going to try running the second filter roll with the float sensor only and not timer. I'm going to run the first chamber on a timer to see if I can balance out the rate of these advancing. I think it would be fine to run off the float sensor only to simplify, but I'd like to see if I can prolong the life of the rolls a little by balancing out the rate of advancement between the rolls.
 

TX_Punisher

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How do you like the modular marine overflow? I’ve heard some mixed reviews So I’m curious as to what you think of the quality And functionality.

thanks.
 
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sdreef

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How do you like the modular marine overflow? I’ve heard some mixed reviews So I’m curious as to what you think of the quality And functionality.

thanks.
I haven't had any issues with it. It's silent and I like the slim profile in the tank. I have the 30" internal overflow box and am running about 900 gallons per hour through the sump.

When I initially set up the tank and water first went through the overflow box, one of the bulkheads was loose leading to a small leak. This was resolved by tightening the bulkhead by turning the down pipe. I have unions that are accessible from below the tank that I was able to loosen allowing me to turn the down pipe. I wouldn't necessarily say this is an issue with the box or its design, but the plumbing design helped me during initial setup. Otherwise the overflow box has worked as expected for me.

plumbing overflow.jpeg
 
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sdreef

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Tank has been going for 6 months now and progressing well. I just finished quarantine for a group of 12 more acros that I was able to get from a friend. These were fresh cuts mounted on new bases, but I quarantined in my smaller system for a month and performed weekly dips. I haven't identified any pests during any of the dips so the new frags are acclimating to the halides on the sand bed in the new tank.

Some progression shots of the full tank.

11/25/2020
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December 2020
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January 2021
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February 2021

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March 2021
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April 2021
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May 15, 2021
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sdreef

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Amazing thread!! Do you still run your rollers on a timer? I can’t get mine to last more than 5 weeks.
Thanks! Currently, I am running the first filter roller on a timer and it is off most of the day. It ultimately overflows into the second filter chamber and I turn it on for one hour a day. The second filter roller is operating off the float sensor with no timer.

I found that while running both rollers without a timer, the first roll would be triggered much more frequently, and at times the alarm for the second roller would get triggered because the float wasn't being activated. I've only replaced the second roller once in 6 months and I've replaced the first roller twice. I'm running about 900 gph through the sump.
 
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Acrolandia is probably my favorite acro in the system right now. It's nice to see things developing the different colors as they grow. Currently I have the halides on for 3.5 hours / day. These photos are under actinics.

acrolandia.jpg

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1ocean

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I am getting ready to aquascape a 400 gallon so took alot of inspiration from yours thread. Another thing is the plumbing is top notch - Mines planned for simple as possible!
I am in the middle of doing a 300 been taking me a little while, life got in the way How is your build comming. How is Jersey? I lived in the Bronx till i mover to AZ. I do not miss the huge snow storms...
 
MotorCityCorals

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Not sure how I missed this build thread. Well done! Love that fish list and that colony that's plating out for you. I'm considering doing sand on my next system, are you using a specific CUC geared towards that or manually stirring it up?
 
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Not sure how I missed this build thread. Well done! Love that fish list and that colony that's plating out for you. I'm considering doing sand on my next system, are you using a specific CUC geared towards that or manually stirring it up?
Thank you!

I have no regrets about adding sand to the system. My current clean up crew for the sand bed consists of sand conchs, nassarius snails, a tiger tail sea cucumber, hermit crabs primarily. Bumble bee snails, cerith snails, and stomatellas may help some too. I did have a sand sifting star at some point, but it didn't survive long for me. I vacuumed the sand bed (and the sump) around the 6 month time point, but otherwise have not been manually stirring the sand. I did have some cyano issues early on, but that is resolved.
 

JoshB94

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Great build thread! I'm upgrading my 150 to a 265 this week and am trying to make myself do the slow full rebuild because this last tank I've had issues with keeping any hard corals. Just sent in the same biome analysis yesterday on that and my 180 but my goal is to not use any of the same rock I currently have or water. Also gonna do my first nicely structured aquascapw hopefully like yours for an SPS dominant system while my 180 goes mixed/ euphyllia dominant. Will be following for updates!
 
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Great build thread! I'm upgrading my 150 to a 265 this week and am trying to make myself do the slow full rebuild because this last tank I've had issues with keeping any hard corals. Just sent in the same biome analysis yesterday on that and my 180 but my goal is to not use any of the same rock I currently have or water. Also gonna do my first nicely structured aquascapw hopefully like yours for an SPS dominant system while my 180 goes mixed/ euphyllia dominant. Will be following for updates!

Thank you!

Building the aquascape in advance helped a lot with this build, and I would do it again in the future if I could. It took a bucket of cement and several tries to start figuring out how to build individual rock structures that I liked, but it was worth it. The aquascape has functioned well for me so far, the water moves more freely, and the rocks and cement seams are all covered with coralline at this point.

3E7D7E3C-B2E0-43D8-A1F5-5B57D883C827_1_105_c.jpeg
.
 

Cjeippert

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A few LPS additions to the tank. These pictures are from right after everything went in the tank so things still need to open up. Still no acros in my acro-dominated reef, but hopefully can start adding some over the next couple months. I have a couple tester frags healing up on my rack.


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What kind of trap do you use? I have been trying to remove a mean dottyback from a mixed reef tank that bites several others. It has been months. He is smart and very fast
 
AS

What temperature do you think it too high for your reef tank?

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