The Frankentank

Salty Rambler

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Following is my attempt to document the last year and change of working on the tank I call my Frankentank.

I've always been interested in getting a saltwater aquarium, but I move quite a lot, and tanks are not exactly the definition of portable or inexpensive. That said, on August 3, 2019, I was offered a free, abandoned, 38 gallon FOWLR and its surviving inhabitants, with bags of random unidentified, possibly tank related parts. I took this as a sign, so with no experience, everything was loaded into buckets and bags and I set off on a fabulous adventure.

After setting it back up at home, the real work began -- bringing the salinity and nitrate levels down to acceptable levels, and furiously searching R2R for tips.
20190804_201251.jpg


A week later, the tuxedo urchin was a casualty, but the salinity levels were down to 1.030 and nitrates were at the top of the chart. Still too high, but definitely better than before.

Two weeks in, and salinity was at 1.026 and nitrates at 160. Moving in the right direction, but much more work to go.

Week three, after much research I realized that within the bag of random items, there was most of a HOB protein skimmer. I ordered the appropriate missing O-rings and pump, and it was soon up and running.
20190829_220232.jpg


Within a week, and some vodka dosing, nitrates had dropped to 80. Two weeks later, in September of 2019, nitrates were at 20, still high, but better!
 
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Salty Rambler

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After getting nitrate levels under control, I was finally ready to add some new tank inhabitants in September 2019, starting with some red macro and a gorgonia, then gradually over a couple of weeks a blue-green chromis, a blue damselfish, a royal gramma, some hermit crabs, and snails. The royal gramma was one of the last to be added, and didn't survive long -- RIP little fishy.
20190916_202815.jpg
 
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What do you think killed him? Stress? Ïve just bought a royal gamma too little shy but has finally started eating mysis still hides most of the day. Loving the tank though

I suspect it may have had problems before I got it, or it had a close encounter with the long spined urchin when it was first going into the tank. It never ate -- it would swallow something and then spit it back out -- and one of its eyes became a bit distended. It did teach me how difficult it is to use a net in a saltwater tank versus a freshwater tank -- darn rocks -- and the next time I had to remove a fish I made a fish trap out of a plastic bottle, which is MUCH easier than a fish net.
 

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After getting nitrate levels under control, I was finally ready to add some new tank inhabitants in September 2019, starting with some red macro and a gorgonia, then gradually over a couple of weeks a blue-green chromis, a blue damselfish, a royal gramma, some hermit crabs, and snails. The royal gramma was one of the last to be added, and didn't survive long -- RIP little fishy.
20190916_202815.jpg

Looking good and sorry for the loss.
 
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