Soggy's 40 breeder build.

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SoggyNW

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Oh and I forgot to mention why the sump is in the garage. I built the stand shorter than normal so that the tank would be easy to view while sitting on the couch. Unfortunately that didn't leave enough vertical space to have easy access for a sump.
 
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Nope totally agree, the garage might pose a problem down the road. The garage is heated in the winter. Nothing crazy but I think the heater should be able to keep up fine. If not I might try bulding an insulated compartment for it. Summer, so far we have hit the high 90s a couple days and it hasn't affected the temperature that I have noticed. The garage doesn't heat up much more than 80. The room I keep the tank in is usually in the low 70s. The plan for the immediate future is to keep an eye on it during extreme heat days either use ice packs or kill the return pump if it starts going to high.

As for stuff getting into the sump. I hadn't given that much thought. The sump is on the ground level shelf of a Costco storage rack. The sump sits back a ways from edges for protection. Next level up is aquarium supplies. above that is food storage. Nothing the would be toxic to the tank. I suppose dust could get in but I do anything dusty dirty outside to avoid the cleanup.

Definitely things that I might need to revisit though. They were originally on my radar but with everything working correctly for the moment I put it out of my mind and moved on. Honestly the whole setup has to much shoe string and bubble gum. I think the next step might be to clean up a few of the more haphazard elements and try to bullet proof a bit better.

yeah just keep an eye on it. I am all about budget builds God know I have had a few over the years. IMHO there is a fine line between being frugal and risking a big mess. I have make a few in my days...heck I still do :D

if you need a HOB over flow try to find a life reef, they are tried and true HOB over flows.
sweet little tank enjoy it!
 

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Oh and I forgot to mention why the sump is in the garage. I built the stand shorter than normal so that the tank would be easy to view while sitting on the couch. Unfortunately that didn't leave enough vertical space to have easy access for a sump.

+ that skimmer is a best. I had one of there bigger models on a 240 did a good job.
 
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Finally got around to finishing my light hanging plan. I took lots of photos of the process but they are missing so I've only got the final product.
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Im usng uni-strut to hang the light from the bar. I had to open up the light and replace the hanger attachments with bolts. The hanger bar is 3/4" EMT. If I were to do it again I would use 1" EMT as the 3/4" is sagging a little under the weight.

I also got my cleanup crew from reef cleaners. I got the 20g crew and I think it's plenty big. Helps that instead of 18 dwarf ceriths he sent me close to 200.

We're off for vacation for the week and I'm going to try and pick up my first coral on the way back.
 
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Time for an update. It's been a while, the end of summer has been crazy busy so sit ting down to make a post has not been a priority.

So back in mid August I picked up my first set of zoas. Not sure what type they are, the top one is green with a blue mouth and skirt, the bottom one is orange with a yellow mouth and red skirt. Sorry for the bad photo, I'll try to get something better when I get home.

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I've been having a heck of a time keeping these guys happy. The one on the top lost the double ended looking polyp. It was attached to the other polyp by a thread and eventually shrank to nothing. The remaining polyp shrank a bit but is finally beginning to open more and show some life.

The frag on the bottom opened really good right away, but after the second day hasn't opened fully since. It seems like it's mildly irritated but the polyps have grown and I think I finally have a new one growing so I'm gonna wait and see what happens.

It's a little frustrating, these frags were my proof of concept. I was expecting them to either grow or die, not sit and mope and do nothing. I don't want to get anything else until I know I can keep it happy but these guys are really testing my patience.

Other than that I've just been trying to hold the tank steady with good maintenance to give these guy's the best chance and we'll see where we go.
 
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BIG UPDATE!!! Well for me at least. I got an order of corals! I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a round of 5 corals from seattlecorals.com.

Bubblegum mushroom
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Rainbow clove polyp
NO PIC. I'll update when it opens

Fire & ice zoa
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Ultra tip duncan
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Ultra shaded aussie torch.
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Everything came in super happy and healthy. A quick acclimation, dip, and into the tank and everyone (except the star polyps) opened up full within a half hour.

I'm super excited about the torch, it was the one I was most wanting. Because of cost I ordered the smallest size. It's supposed to be one small head, but the one I got is in the process of splitting!

Gonna let these guys settle in and see how we do. Next will probably be another fish and some more clean up crew...and then maybe another round of corals....
 

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So I've been meaning to get this posted for a while now but life has just been to busy. I've hardly been able to find the time to work on the actual build much less post a build thread. Unfortunately that means that some things I wanted to get everyone's opinion on are now set in stone. But there is still plenty to do so I'm going to get this thing off the ground and see where it goes.

A bit of back story. I've had a 12g cube master AIO set up for about 4 years, I started with that size because I was in an apartment and just forgot to go bigger when I bought my house. It's had it's ups and downs but been a pretty good little FOWLR tank. A few things recently have made me want to go bigger, 1) my 7month old son loves watching the one blue damsel (charlie) and I want to get a few more fish for him, 2)I want to try keeping some coral, I'm thinking softies and LPS. and 3) I was over at Petco for a bag of salt a few months ago and saw the 40b tanks on sale and away we go.

one other note. I'm in Wenatchee WA and all we have is a Petco. For anything saltwater that isn't petco I have to drive over 100 miles one way over a mountain range to get it in Western Washington. Also We have no local reef club and I haven't even found anyone in town who has a tank. I'm on my own.

This is what I'm upgrading from.

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It's a Cube Master 12g that I picked up at the thrift store for $10 the light is an ABI 12W tuna blue and I've got a tea jar siphon ATO on the apple box behind the plant. Inside I have about 10-15lb of live rock with a blue damsel fish and 2 hermit crabs.

I picked up the 40b from petco. and I have an old 20 gallon tall that I'm going to use as a sump. THe deal I made with my wife is that I would DIY everything I could to save money and she would get new floors in the house. I'm an electrician and have access to lots of scrap lumber so the first project was building a stand.

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the bead board on the front side of the stand is held on with magnets and comes completely off.

On a trip to Boise I stopped at a LFS and picked up a few things off their used shelf. a aquaC protein skimmer and an unnamed overflow/return combo that I've never seen before. 50$ for both which seemed like a no brainer.
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I added unistrut to the back of my stand for holding plumbing and mounting any future DIY lighting supports (eg EMT piping)

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Next I cut a single gang access through my wall into my garage where the sump will go. the sump will be sitting on the lowest level of a costco storage rack.
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I'm going to be temporarily using the 12w light in the beginning while I get the sump up and tuned, tank cycled, and all the other little doo dads that need to be finished.

Sand in and filling with RO water.

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I'm going to try something with the sump that I've never seen before so I'd like to here your opinions. I'm going to put he drain line/ filter sock and the return pump on the same side to save space. Because the AquaC is an external skimmer I can use the main chamber as a refugium while also a supply/return chamber for the skimmer.

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A funny side note. Check your water pressure before hooking your RO/DI up to the garden hose. I bought an RObuddi and it was working way faster than I thought it should filling my 5gal bucket in about an hour and a half. Then I noticed my hose was about to burst. Turns out the pressure reg on my house was installed after the front hose spigot and I as getting almost 130 PSI, well over the rating for my RObuddi. luckly I don't think It caused any damage and I now have a tune-able setup to hook it up to.

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This weekend I got everything moved over and re-homed in the 40. The live rock didn't go as far as I thought it would so I'll have to get more. I sprinkled a cup of the old sand into the new sand to get it seeded and there was a minor issue the sump that I need to sort before I add it into the loop but all in all I'm pretty happy with where it is.

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the upcoming to do list.

1) get the sump sumping
2) get protein skimmer skimming
3) monitor cycle (should be a quick mini cycle)
4) add live stock.

I've done all this work and I'm not really sure what I actually want to add for live stock. the wife wants a pair of clowns so that will happen. I've always wanted a dwarf angel which I'm told is probably a bad idea in this size tank. And other that that I'm thinking of getting mostly fish that will do a job. what fish do you guys think is most useful in this size tank? and where is the best place to get a cleanup crew?

and what light would you go with for up to LPS. I've been looking at the aquatic life edge wifi at 56watts but I'm not sure that would be enough juice.


I grew up in east Wenatchee
 
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Oh man, I've been pretty busy and neglected to keep this updated. A lot has happened since I last updated so I'll try to make a few posts to catch up.

About 3 weeks ago I made a BIG coral purchase. Let me explain. About a month ago I was browsing Craigslist looking at local deals when I spotted someone selling a few frags out of his tank for $15. The guy said he had a little bit of everything so I got in touch and set up a time to swing by take a look and grab a few pieces. I took $100, I was going to try and get maybe 4 for $40-50,but I didn't want to be caught unprepared. Dude has an amazing tank full of SPS that needs to be cut back and just starts trimming things off. I was like "dude I only brought $100" but he was cool with it and kept cutting.

In the end I got.

2 pieces of neon green stylophora

A piece of purple stylophora

2 pieces of purple staghorn

2 pieces of forest fire montipora digitata

1 piece of glow-worm acro plus 2 pieces of its encrusting base that fell off.

1 piece of last dragon acro

4 pieces of a purpleish acro

3 pieces of another unidentified bluish acro

3 huge pieces of a neon green chalace.

And a 30-40 head colony of zoas.

All for $100.

Now the hard part was I really hadn't been looking to get any SPS. And it's only a good deal if I can keep most of it alive. For now I've been focused on simply keeping all of my parameters as stable as possible. On paper I should be in the zone to keep everything alive.

I glued all the frags to bits of rubble rock and so far most of it looks pretty happy. I have a few pieces that have browned or bleached a bit and I think I might have lost the "last dragon" frag. But I also have several across that are open and appear happy. Also everything not an acro looks very happy.

And now for photos.

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Another update.

The situation with the sump in the garage is making it difficult to keep the temperature in the tank steady. I had oversized the heater a little with a 125watt but on cold nights my temp was dropping from 78 to 76.

The problem it turns out is two fold. 1 the heater just isn't big enough. And 2 I had the heater in the first chamber with the filter socks. The time that the water is dwelling in the sump was causing the return temp to fluctuate even when the heater was able to keep up initially. The solution was to add a 2nd heater to the return chamber to replace the heat that had been lost while the water passes through the sump.

REEFING PRO TIP. To dial in a new heater throw it into a pitcher of water with a pump. The smaller water volume allow you to dial in the exact temp very quickly before installing in the aquarium.
 
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Finally got my Hanna dkh checker. It is consistently .7 dkh lower than my salifert kit ( tested 3 different times over 3 days). Does this match other people's results? Also I'm not sure I've been using my salifert test correctly. My experience is that the salifert test can take 3 drops to fully change colors. I've been getting my reading off what it takes to fully change the color, but if I take the first drop to cause a change it is much closer to what the Hanna is showing.

Been so busy with the holidays that I haven't been able to do more than maintain the tank. Today I finally had a few free hours and got all my frags mounted to their final locations on the rocks. I used the super glue epoxy sandwich method and it worked great. Also having glued the frags to rubble instead of plugs made it way easier to glue them down pointing in the direction I wanted. Plus no ugly plugs to look at.

IMG_20191228_140358.jpg
 
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Been a while since I updated this thread so here goes.

So this chapter begins with replacing floors. The original deal was I get a fish tank and the wife gets new floors (she thought she was getting the better deal LOL). I made the mistake of setting up the tank before the floors got replaced but the wife was dragging her feet.

about a month ago my wife finally picked a floor and we scheduled the install. This is where things started getting interesting. the install was scheduled for 2 Wednesdays ago and was supposed to take 3 days. I bought a 40 gallon tote to house everyone in the garage while the install happened. The night before the tank was going to be taken down I went out into the garage to get about 20g of new water mixing up when I noticed the tank was looking a little cloudy, I didn't think much of it until 30 minutes later when I came back into the house and the tank looked like this.


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I scrambled getting everything tested and a help thread open. My parameters had crashed PH, ALK and calcium all dropped way down. Fortunately, although I use Kalk I also have Bionic solutions on hand for making more controlled adjustments. I was able to carefully adjust the water back up closer to where it should be.

The next day I finished getting the new water mixed and using about 50/50 old and new I got the tub filled and everyone moved out to the garage. The fish went to my old cube master tank sitting on the kitchen counter. THe tub is only running heat, a circulation pump, and carbon. The digital heater controller proved to be worth it's weight in gold for this, The tub needed bigger heaters than the tank and to be able to just turn them up and plug them in without having to worry about adjusting them to the correct temp is awesome

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Floors took 4 days instead of 3 and then it took another 2 days for me to do all the trim work. (still need to replace the doors.)

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SO I set aside an entire day for getting the tank back up and running the way I want when A major inconvenience struck. The return port on my AIO overflow/ return box broke. Honestly I didn't really like or trust the thing, it's made out of a brittle feeling plastic.

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I don't have a LFS that carries this sort of thing within 100 miles of me so I had to order something to replace it off Amazon. I have an Eclipse S overflow on the way but it' doesn't get here for a few more days "sigh". In the mean time though my corals are doing way better than I thought they would. some are actually looking happier than they were before this all began. My camera doisn't do well with looking top down through the water but everyone has made it this far and a few Acros that I were starting to worry me are looking better than they did in the tank!

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as soon as I get the new overflow in I'll document the process and try to get it posted. wish me luck, I've never drilled glass before.
 
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Man it is hard to find time to update this thread. Better late than never.

Cutting the hole for the Eclipse S went without a hitch. Where the problem occurred is their own official install video on YouTube tells you to install the gaskets incorrectly and I got a leak. After finding the instructions on how to correctly install it I had to drain the water below the hole and make the fix in place. In the end everything is running great with no more leaks.

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Another hardware update to note is I upgraded from a gravity fed float ATO to a hydor ATO system paired with an aqualifter pump. Love it, Love it, Love it! I did have an issue with the water level fluctuating in my return chamber but a small plumbing adjustment fixed that and it's been perfect ever since.

And lastly the best part is all my coral are way happier than before the whole ordeal. I'm not sure why. I could be that all the water hot changed multiple times, or that the sand got completely cleaned out, or maybe I'm just being more consistent.

Whatever the case almost all my corals are showing off and growing and it really makes me feel like I'm on the right track with this.

Now for the eye candy.

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I made a few trades this week. I had 2 extra, large pieces of chalace taking up space. Through a Facebook group I found 2 local reefers and swapped for some awesome hairy mushrooms, a good number of zoa's and a few blue pimpled mushrooms. And I made 2 new local contacts/ friends.

These hairy mushrooms are crazy. You can't tell buy looking at them where one ends and the next begins. They look more like a carpet anemone or toadstool.
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Update time. I'm not sure what I did if anything but I feel like this tank has finally hit it's stride. All of the nasty brown algae has melted away, Coraline algae is starting to grow on the glass, all of my corals are taking off, and my filter socks are suspiciously clean? Not sure what is up with that last one but I'll take it.

I also have made a few more trades. I got some neon green branching montipora, some nice blastos, and another small bunch of zoas. They have only been in the tank a few weeks, I haven't even had time to move them off the sand and they are already showing growth.

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Last thing, I had a big hermit knock my green Stylo off its rock. Before I glued him back in place I took the opportunity to orient it the same way it was in my first photo to see how much it had grown.

First photo is Nov 21, 2019

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And now July 19 2020

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Update time.

It's a mix of good and bad. The good, most everything is growing like weeds. Not sure what more a guy could ask for.

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Now the bad.

First I've spotted dinos in the tank. It's not to bad yet but I'm going to try and get ahead of it before it becomes a problem. I'm going to start with a diy chaeto reactor and we'll progress from there. I'm on the fence about getting a uv filter.

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And lastly while I was doing my monthly skimmer clean out I broke it. It's an old aqua c ev-120. I broke the cup and I can't find a replacement cup so I'm forced to upgrade. Looking for recommendations for a 40 gallon tank that also has a port on the cup to drain into a collection container.

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That's about it for today.
 
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