The Bluegrass Reef

BlakeStew

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**Updated on December 25th 2023**
So after 2-1/2 years of running a 20 gallon long with a HOB filter, I'm finally getting a full system :cool: This week I'll take delivery of a brand new Red Sea Reefer 350 G2. I got into the hobby when COVID started as something to do since I was back home from college with classes online. I've taken my time and have been very successful with minimal coral loss. I've been lazy with my maintenance a few times and paid the price. But my tank as remained disease free and I'm ready to share my journey with my new setup!

Equipment list-
RedSea Reefer 350 G2 (duh)
Complete Neptune Apex System (Trident & Dose)
2 AI Hydra 32hds
1 Nero 3 (from old tank)
1 Nero 5
Nyos Quantum 120s Skimmer
RedSea ReefMat 500
Sicce 2.0 Return Pump
50 lbs of LifeRock Dry Live Rock
Generator for power outages

Future Additions/Upgrades-
Additional power heads with more SPS in future

Fish Stock list and wish list-
2 Gladiator DaVinci Clowns
1 Blue Reef Chromis
1 Melanurus Wrasse
1 Solorensis Fairy Wrasse
1 Blue Sided Fairy Wrasse
1 Blue Eye Kole Tang
1 Desjardini Sail Fin Tang
1 Flame Angel
1 Swissguard Basslet
Various Clean Up Crew

Wish List --
1 Choati Wrasse
1 Male Hood Flame Fairy Wrasse
1 Yellowtail Wrasse or Naoko's Wrasse
1 Earmuff Wrasse
1 Yellow Tang
1 Angelfish (unsure of specific one at this time)

Existing Corals and wish list-
LPS -

2 Bicolor Hammer colonies (20+ heads each)
Teal Green Hammer colony (12+ heads)
TSA Blow Torch (5+ Mouths)
TSA Blue Tip Torch (5+ Mouths)
TCK Master Torch (2 heads)
QCC Soul Reaper Torch
QCC 24k Indo Gold Torch (3 heads)
QCC Black Light Torch
2 LRO Torch (don't remember name) 1 is Dragon Soul color & the other is gold with blue tips
1 LRO Chalice (orange with yellow and green spots)
Blue Tip Elegance
TSA Strawberry Limeade Goni
7 Micromussa/Acan Frags & Mini Colonies
CandyCane Colony (tennis ball size)

SPS-
RRC Rainbow Splice
TSA Nuclear Fusion Montipora
Stag horn mini colony

Softies-
Rainbow Incenerator Zoa
Dream Inceptor Zoa
Scrambled Eggs Zoa
TSA Rainbow Spectrum Zoa
TSA Golden Temple Zoa
ECC Eagle Eye Zoa
Bam Bam Zoa
Circus Freak Zoa
Rainbow Ricordea (X3)
Neon Green Finger Leather


Wish List-
Anything that is appealing to my eye and doesn't break the bank :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:
Just want to continue watching my current pieces grow and take space.
 
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BlakeStew

BlakeStew

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It sounds like a great tank, do you currently have the stag then? If so I’m sure we’d love to see photos!
Absolutely! This is what my current tank looked like at its peak before my heater went out and I didn't catch it until I lost 2 of my torches and that gold hammer on the right.

The stag on the left as doubled now. I can get a better picture today. The bicolor hammer is in the back left. I got it with one head from a LFS that got it from a tank tear down that had an electrical shock sent through it. Cost me $25 :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

I'm actually moving this tank to another area today so I can get the current spot ready for the new one. Hopefully all goes well
IMG_2135.jpeg


Heres the stag out of water when I was doing some rearranging.
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i cant think

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Absolutely! This is what my current tank looked like at its peak before my heater went out and I didn't catch it until I lost 2 of my torches and that gold hammer on the right.

The stag on the left as doubled now. I can get a better picture today. The bicolor hammer is in the back left. I got it with one head from a LFS that got it from a tank tear down that had an electrical shock sent through it. Cost me $25 :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

I'm actually moving this tank to another area today so I can get the current spot ready for the new one. Hopefully all goes well
IMG_2135.jpeg


Heres the stag out of water when I was doing some rearranging.
IMG_2532.jpeg
That’s a stunning piece!
If you want better growth then you can always “accidentally” snap a part of it (and get money back). This worked for me on all SPS colonies I had in the past when working in an LFS. In fact, if someone saw a nice colony and wanted a piece I would snap a small bit of it off, put it on a frag plug and reserve it for as long as it took for the frag to settle onto the plug. The colony grew back in a nice amount of time.

I’m planning on doing this similar technique on all SPS I get in the future when they’re large enough.
 
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BlakeStew

BlakeStew

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That’s a stunning piece!
If you want better growth then you can always “accidentally” snap a part of it (and get money back). This worked for me on all SPS colonies I had in the past when working in an LFS. In fact, if someone saw a nice colony and wanted a piece I would snap a small bit of it off, put it on a frag plug and reserve it for as long as it took for the frag to settle onto the plug. The colony grew back in a nice amount of time.

I’m planning on doing this similar technique on all SPS I get in the future when they’re large enough.
Yeah I've had a few pieces snap of (on accident or not I'll let you decide ;)) and gave them to a fellow reefer. I've noticed good growth when I do have pieces snapped off regardless of the size. I haven't branched to far into SPS but I'll definitely get more with this new setup.
 

i cant think

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Yeah I've had a few pieces snap of (on accident or not I'll let you decide ;)) and gave them to a fellow reefer. I've noticed good growth when I do have pieces snapped off regardless of the size. I haven't branched to far into SPS but I'll definitely get more with this new setup.
I look forward to seeing the new setup progress and seeing what SPS you go with!
 
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BlakeStew

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Time to do some scaping:
All of my equipment was ordered yesterday and I picked up my rock and sand. I ended up going with around 45lbs of dry rock just incase I needed more. (glad I did because I needed more) I've been browsing on R2R and Instagram looking at other rock scapes and wanted to go with 2 separate "islands" but when putting everything together I decided to go with a continuous piece. I plan on not gluing a lot of pieces and let gravity to its thing in the event I want to change the layout after everything is up and running.

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Today I started rock scaping and played around with 3 main ideas. I liked number 1 but didn't like how the left side just stopped with a sharp ending. Number 2 was better but I thought the left side was bunched up and cluttered. I played around and broke up some bigger pieces and really liked number 3. I'm going to keep looking at it and see if I can get any more inspiration but I think I'll end up not changing it.

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Sean Clark

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I like 3. I also think that two separate structures would be nice.
 
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BlakeStew

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Tank got delayed a week but all of my equipment is here! With the extra time I decided to spend some more time on my rock scape. After some tinkering and breaking apart of some rocks I think this is the structure(s) that I’m going to go with.
Skyline chili can not included :winking-face:

I’ll get more height overall for my Acros I’m wanting and more swimming space along with some caves. I might create another swim through on the right side somewhere. What are everyone’s thoughts?
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BlakeStew

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Looks nice maybe a rock out front of the 2 structures to create a coral focal point?
I was thinking about doing that but a I have a large elegance coral that will probably do there. I might do the rock in front and have the elegance off to the right of the structure on the right.
 
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BlakeStew

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I saw your equipment list, I was wondering that you should maybe get a bigger return pump rather than the siccer 2.0, seens a bit small for the reefer 350.
I was thinking that as well but I was wanting to keep my initial costs low. I'll have my Neros powered pretty high which will hopefully make up in that area.
 

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I was thinking that as well but I was wanting to keep my initial costs low. I'll have my Neros powered pretty high which will hopefully make up in that area.
Yeah sounds good, keep an eye out for sales on saltwateraquarium and brs cause I know all sicce pumps were 20% for customer appreciation earlier this month
 

Lavey29

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I was thinking about doing that but a I have a large elegance coral that will probably do there. I might do the rock in front and have the elegance off to the right of the structure on the right.
I have the XL300 tank so similar to yours with somewhat similar scape. I tried my big elegance coral out front as you described and he didn't respond well with direct light and flow. I had to move him back between the two rock structures partially shaded under the connector bridge rock and now he's bigger then a football there claiming all that territory down there.
 
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BlakeStew

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So I wasn't fully satisfied with the right side of my rock scape but lucky for me my LFS got some more rock in (after I bought most of it). After making some changes this is what I'm going to go with. The big swim through on the right is what I was looking for and it will also double as a a cave. I was also able to create a small cave on the left structure that will hopefully be a home for a basslet.

The tank should come in this week and it will be up and running next week! Big updates soon to come!!
IMG_7056.jpeg
 

i cant think

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So I wasn't fully satisfied with the right side of my rock scape but lucky for me my LFS got some more rock in (after I bought most of it). After making some changes this is what I'm going to go with. The big swim through on the right is what I was looking for and it will also double as a a cave. I was also able to create a small cave on the left structure that will hopefully be a home for a basslet.

The tank should come in this week and it will be up and running next week! Big updates soon to come!!
IMG_7056.jpeg
It still looks amazing, plus any areas where it looks barren or too open, the corals can fill in.
Looking forwards to watching what SPS go in there
 
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BlakeStew

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SOME BIG UPDATES!
So after realizing that our 2nd floor would not be able to hold the weight of the system the tank is going downstairs :grinning-face-with-sweat:. We have had a "bench/nook" in our main room that has not been regularly used at all since we moved in years ago. So we decided that would be the ideal location. (after some demo of course)
IMG_7087.jpeg

During the demolition, I got so caught up in ripping it out that I forgot to take a before picture.
So here's a little during and after section.
The bench/nook was just some FMD and plywood that was built by the previous homeowner before the floors and walls were finished. Lucky for us the tank will cover up the unfinished floors and non painted wall. Notice the outlet will be right behind the cabinet. Perfect placement!
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On the same day I was able to pick up the cabinet and begin assembling it. The actual glass tank will be delivered at a later date by my LFS. The cabinet was very easy to assemble and the instructions are image based (no words).
NOTE- If building the cabinet prior to getting the glass tank, know that the top piece of the cabinet will be under the glass tank (its shipped that way) and you can't easily proceed with the cabinet build until you have it.
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Assembling the cabinet is the perfect thing to do on a rainy day ;)

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The instructions and how the hardware is packaged. Each have their own letter on the bag which makes it super easy to get the exact parts you need.

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Half way point when I realized that I didn't have the top piece at 9:00 PM. The build resumed the next afternoon.

Total build time for the cabinet (not counting a trip to LFS to get the top piece) would be around 2 hours. Very simple to build, just time consuming with the amount of pieces and hardware.
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Having seen and helped build/move older RedSea tanks I can see a noticeable improvement in the cabinet quality. The sump will look a lot different once everything is plumbed and I get the ReefMat 500 ordered and installed. It will go where the media basket is in the front. One thing I especially like about the sump are the removable baffles if you want a refugium or just more space. The red pipes look amazing and come pre glued which is helpful if you are ok with the predetermined setup.

The next big update will be the glass tank being delivered/installed and finishing all of the plumbing. This should happen in the next 2 weeks as my LFS is booked up and I'm fairly busy myself with work. So far the journey has been a blast and I'm ready to get it up and running!
 

Mixing an (un)intentional concoction: Do you know what you are adding to your reef tank?

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