The Journey - Reboot of the 120

Discussion in 'General SPS Discussion' started by pdiehm, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. pdiehm

    pdiehm Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Having asked what seems like millions of questions, sometimes multiple times, I started down the saltwater journey 2 years ago after seeing someone's SPS tank. Fell in love with it. The colors, the shapes...the fish. Even my wife said it was tremendously relaxing to watch.

    I got myself a Perfecto 120 XL, 60x26x18. Drilled it because I couldn't justify another $250 for the RR version.

    Since I had my tank, I needed a stand, and built my own stand. As I would find out, the stand build was the smoothest part of my journey.

    The day came to bring it into the house. Tank, rock, sand, stand, sump, water...about 1500-1700 lbs. Problem was my floor joists ran horizontal with the tank. This wasn't going to work. Down to the basement it would go.

    Got the tank and stand set up, and started to fill. Eventually got it full, and started to cycle. That was another smooth process until the end when I had over 100ppm nitrates. I did 30g water changes daily while dropping in ammonia. Eventually got it under 30ppm. Added a pair of clowns that I got from a tank which was being torn down.
     
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  2. pdiehm

    pdiehm Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    So far everything was going great. Tank was cycled and kept waiting for diatoms and green algae...the ugly phase my friends would call it. Never happened. At least not when I expected it.

    Over the course of a few months I was being coached in my steps. He was like, get some sps frags (we were 3 months in). The anemone was doing great and my tests were consistently showing 0 no3 and po4.

    The first week all the corals did great, looked great and then started losing flesh. My friend goes, try a zeovit system. I started and looked like the corals were coming back. This is great, I thought.

    Problem was zeovit is expensive. And I stopped after 6 months. This is where all hell broke loose.

    I got Dino's. bad. Blackouts, dino-x, no water changes, water changes. It didn't matter. One day cyano appeared. And some hair algae. Dino's started to die!

    Lots of water changes and got those algaes under control. But then the Dino's appeared and it kept going on like this.
     
  3. pdiehm

    pdiehm Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Now while I am new to aquariums, I never learned the art of vacuuming sand. Knowing what I know now, this is where my failure began. Or as I like to say, my education started finally. In order to make water changes easier, I got a flo-Tec pump from lowes or Home Depot. Used this since I basically set up the tank. One day, my gyre was crooked and I stuck my hand in to straighten it out and got a zap. Holy hell!!! My pump is putting electrical current into my tank. More education. A small sticker on the cord says: not for marine application. Oh well.

    Just as this was happening, the hair algae was just out of control. I took out some sand and it was just filthy water.

    After sleeping on it, I made the choice to remove the sand bed completely and start from scratch. Bare bottom. Clean rocks which went through bleach and muriatic acid (not as complicated as I thought).

    This time I documented the journey with pics which I will upload on a better signal.
     
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  4. pdiehm

    pdiehm Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I want that SPS tank I saw. It's why I got into this hobby. I thought about softie and lps but that's not what I wanted. My gyres connected to my apex were bought with sps in mind. My light (which I may be changing) was bought with sps in mind.

    I don't know if I will be successful, but I am hoping, optimistic that if I go slower this time, it will work. Also with the help of you sps experts.

    I have a dosing pump for 2 part when I need it some day down the road.

    But this is the equipment list that I have accumulated.

    Tank: 60x26x18 120 gallon.
    Stand: homemade by me
    Light: Photon 48 (maybe buying 6x80w T5)
    Sump: 40 gallon breeder, 2 compartments, slimmer and return
    Skimmer: aquamaxx em-200
    Return: Sicce 5.0
    Flow: 2 maxspect gyre 150's with icecap controller
    Controller: Neptune Apex with pH and Temp
    Rock: 70 lb of Pukani estimated
    Test kits: Hanna dKh, PO4, Red Sea Pro NO3, CA, MG, Potassium (hate that test)

    Hopefully I get this tank scaped this week, filled with saltwater and start to cycle with Dr. Tims and the ammonium Chloride. If all goes well, maybe this time I will have coralline algae (not a speck prior to tear down) and around Christmas, assuming water stuff is consistent each week, adding first sps frags. WWC recommended a millepora, stylophora, digitata...anything fuzzy to start.

    Pics to come!
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  5. ngoodermuth

    ngoodermuth Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor

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    Millepora can be touchy, but stylophora, pocillipora, and montipora digitata and capricornis are good starter SPS.

    I like having a birdsnest in my tank as they are a good water-chemistry alarm. If something starts going wonky in the water quality they will lose PE and you will know something is up.
     
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  6. Jeremy Luke

    Jeremy Luke Well-Known Member

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    Following along. I started my new build about 4 months ago. Just as a thought though, coralline algae doesn't just happen in our reef tanks without some being put in it. Spores must be introduced somehow be it a frag plug or a snail shell.
     
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  7. siggy

    siggy Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    paddling the same noob creek
     
  8. pdiehm

    pdiehm Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Yeah, that's essentially what the dude said at WWC. His direct words were, anything fuzzy is a good starter SPS. No fuzz, think of it as a fever and something isn't right.

    PS: Unrelated to my tank, dated a girl who went to York College, spent many weekends down there. Born in Lancaster, crazy central PA ties!

    I had snails with it all over them, frag plugs, I even put in a rock from my biocube that was covered in it...scraped some off to get in water column, and never had a single speck growing on the wall, rock, a pump...nothing. everyone I talked to said that can't be right, but tis true!
     
  9. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    High lighting will inhibit most types of coralline growth, esp the beloved purples.
    Cant wait for pics!
     
  10. ngoodermuth

    ngoodermuth Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor

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    Nice! Small ! I'm born and raised, but I feel like it's a decent area to be in.
     
  11. pdiehm

    pdiehm Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    there are worse places to be other than Central PA. The funny part is, people come from all over the country to go see Strasburg, and the natives wish they would leave! My daughter is fascinated by horse-n-buggies. I told her, yeah their great until you have to go to the bathroom.
     
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  12. Jeremy Luke

    Jeremy Luke Well-Known Member

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    My last tank had no signs of coralline for a long time. I was only keeping LPS and just doing water changes weekly. Then I started putting SPS frags in it. It is at that point I started caring about Alk, Ca and nutrients. As soon as I started dosing and keeping those items in check, the coralline burst across the tank.
     
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  13. pdiehm

    pdiehm Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Here are the pics from the tear down. Apologies if seen before:

    Draining!

    [​IMG]

    Silly anemone won't move off this rock!

    [​IMG]

    Possible rockscape?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    This is a sample of the water while removing sand...can you say nutrients?

    [​IMG]

    She is cleaned. She is bare. She is ready for the adventure to start. All people need to do is yell at me to stay patient and go slow!

    [​IMG]
     
  14. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    STAY PATIENT AND GO SLOW.

    your welcome.;)
     
  15. Scurvy

    Scurvy Pirate Reefer R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Glad you're giving it another go! Low nutrient systems like Zeovit and Aquaforest seem to require a good amount of experience to pull off successfully. I'm about a year in and when I've seen success it's when keeping it simple. I've killed my share of frags but also brought some back from the dead.

    And Oh yeah, SLOW DOWN and test!!
     
  16. pdiehm

    pdiehm Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    First rocks are in, and this is without a doubt the hardest part of the setup. I have zero creativity when it comes to aquascape.
     
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  17. pdiehm

    pdiehm Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    [​IMG]
     
  18. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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  19. pdiehm

    pdiehm Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Going to sleep on this. I can't aquascape to save my ***

    [​IMG]
     
  20. pdiehm

    pdiehm Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Think I like this one.

    [​IMG]
     
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