therootcause's Waterbox Reef Pro 180.5

therootcause

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Buckle up my children.

February 2023
I welcome your comments, excitement, criticism, and assistance!

I recently moved to Pennsylvania from Baltimore in summer 2022 which required breaking down my tanks and starting with no livestock in my new house.

I set up my frag system in the fall of 2022 along with the accompanying frameless cubes for clown pairs. Here’s what that system looks like.
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This build thread will be about my new fish room which includes the frag system, but more importantly the Reef 180.5 that I picked up from Trevor (WAMAS member) in February 2023.

Simply put, my new house is too nice for me to put a saltwater system in the upstairs living space. I know that I will ruin the flooring through some mistake at some point, so everything is staying in the basement.

With the help from Trevor and a few friends with borrowed suction cups we drove down to Maryland and picked up the system, which included:

Waterbox Reef 180.5
Stand
Plumbing and Sump
Apex A2
KH Guardian
MP40
2x Heaters with inkbird
Duetto ATO

Getting it into the truck required stand disassembly and creative thinking but we made it back, reassembled the stand, and set the tank in place. We also moved an even heavier Innovative Marine NUVO 170 EXT on the same day which I almost dropped. Luckily almost dropping it doesn’t count and all ended well.

Here’s the tank:
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Let’s build a wall.

I started by calling the township to figure out some rules for building rooms in my basement. No bedroom, no rules. So here goes!

Here is a simple 2x4 wall construction with a door to split the basement in half. I started by using construction adhesive to attached a 2x6 to the beam, then hung a plumb bob and snapped a few chalk lines. I need to get a laser level…

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Let’s add water!
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I was amazed that the glass seamlessly disappeared as the tank filled. See thumb. Ha.
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Did I mention that there is currently no plumbing assembled because Waterbox is Metric? In order to plumb the remote sump I purchased bulkheads to convert to standard plumbing. They are currently stuck in Memphis at FedEx for the last three days (Today is 2-28-2023).

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Let’s add heat, salt, rocks, live sand, and bacteria. Still no plumbing.

Don’t you love this Silent Hill…into the fog look? I do.d96b2fcfe8b1954847fb5910946aa3f3.jpg




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Just a reminder, water level is low due to lack of plumbing as parts are stuck with FedEx. I forgot to mention that this incredible scape also came from Trevor along with lots of other things. What do you think of it? Looks professional level to me. I stacked it on some Marco base rock that I had in my system.

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Let’s talk sump and filtration. Here it is! Ha.
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I am plumbing the sump outside of the cabinet for the health of the fish and my family, especially small children that stick their hands in everything and then in their mouth.

Extra bonus, limitless skimmer size!

Let’s talk electrical.

I am not an electrician and this is not advice.

I have a few spare 20 amp circuits on my panel so I ran some 12/2 in PVC conduit down the wall to a few boxes and installed a duplex outlet in a waterproof box INSIDE of the adaptive reef cabinet.

Here’s what that looks like in-progress. There is one outlet on the wall and one outlet in the cabinet.

Trevor also included an EB832 and EB8, so plenty of power that can plug into the outlet in the adaptive reef cabinet.
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But what about a GFCI you ask? Once again, this is not electrical advice. I learn from YouTube and online schematics.

I wired a GFCI outlet as outlet number one in a Line/Load configuration so that all outlets are protected from the GFCI. All outlets are wired in parallel, sourced from the load side of the 20 AMP GFCI. Thoughts?

Illumination! I bought a 2-bulb T5 from David (WAMAS member) and he threw in a 55 gallon drum and a calcium reactor! What a guy!

I love LED’s but I’m addicted to the even blanketing spread of T5…none of which is pictured here haha.

For this tank I have 2 x 300 Watt Viparspectra lights. In my opinion they are the best of the black boxes and will smoke your acros overnight if you aren’t careful. Yes, I know about the lens mods, no I don’t plan to crack them open. Pictured is a single fixture at 100% for both channels.09bafa470d98bea49c3cad1ea9a2e224.jpg

Same light with Orphek lens filter on my phone.
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And lastly, the T5 from David (pictured top left) that will also be over this tank but is currently nourishing a couple rose BTA’s in the clown cubes. (Orphek lens filter used).
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therootcause

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March 2023
Plumbing arrived yesterday. I was also hit with the dreaded stomach flu. It knocked me down so hard that I couldn’t care less about anything but being horizontal.

Today, much better.

I plumbed the drains and returns, filled the sump with water, and went to work. The PVC cement has a 2-hour cure but I’ve decided to give it a bit longer and will turn it on tonight.

The return is 1” and the drains are 1.25”. To switch from metric plumbing to standard I used 32mm to 1” and 40mm to 1.25” from Coralvue. So far so good and everything glued together with no extra tolerance. Not sure if that’s the correct verbiage, but tolerance it is.

The stand and sump are on PVC board. What are your thoughts on the diagonal return line? When looking at overhead photo, the skimmer chamber is in right center, refugium is in left center. The return plumbing will not interfere with skimmer placement or cup removal the way it is currently configured. The diagonal return configuration removed the need for additional elbows so I thought it best.

The lump of plumbing coming off of the COR20 Is due to the British Standard Pipe Threading that plagues Neptune pumps. Luckily Trevor Figured out how to switch that over to imperial before I bought the system.

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All systems go!

I turned on the COR20 pump last night and let the system run overnight. No drips or concerns. I made adjustments to the gate valve so that water only slightly trickled into the emergency overflow, but then I remember that I can tweak the COR20 to adjust water level as well. More on that near the end.

I shook out a few handfuls of macroalgae into the sump to jumpstart the micro fauna population and have begun adding reef roids and easy reefs easy booster nano. It’s a smelly gel of a few different types of phytoplankton and saves me the trouble of culturing live foods for the time being. The gorgonian in my QT seems to enjoy it.

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For anyone using a programmable neptune return pump along with an Apex, when I set the pump minimum and maximum, will the pump only operate within that range? For example if my pump minimum is set at 59% and my pump maximum at 60%, will this chart from 0-100% be operating entirely within that min and max value?


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I moved a few softies over from my other systems along with 20 marine pure block cubes and other media/rock.

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Added the following fish from my quarantine system.

Ocellaris clown
Neon Blue Goby
Dwarf Pygmy Angel
…and a bottle of bacteria for good measure.

The clown is exploring. The other two fish I’ll never see again.

Added a few pretty things from the frag tank.

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Here's what I am currently adding to the tank and how the tank is being run. It's a week old and I'm loading it up - hate me
:blast:
:bluefish:


I transferred 30 marine pure block and a few pieces of live rock over from the frag system.

Daily:
10mL of easyreefs easybooster phytoplankton (this stuff really smells something fierce)
flake for the fish

Weekly-ish:
1 gallon of strained copepods
frozen marine plankton

Tank temp is 77 degrees F. The chaeto and other macroalgae is floating in the sump and illuminated over night. The COR20 is running at 30-33% throughout the day. The two bulb T5's come on at 3pm and go off at 11. The Viparspectra LED's come on at 4pm go off at 10pm, 50% Channel 1, 5% Channel 2.

Still skimmer shopping, but moved my Curve 7 into the tank for now. It’s a mess. Overflowing. Talking back. I raised it up and it settled down.

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I started on the purple drywall. I’m going to use PVC/AZEK anywhere near the tank rim.
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Here’s how some of the drywall work went this weekend. The edges on the top and right side are 3/4” AZEK PVC that I ripped to be a flush fit with the tank/stand and edge of the drywall. This was required because no matter how hard I tried the walls and the tank are not perfectly square/aligned. Measure…rip it…flip it…stick it. On the left side you can see some 1/2” plywood because the drywall is 1/2” thick and the AZEK is 3/4” thick. It all gets mud anyway…
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Tragic news and set backs. If you have suggestions after reading or can offer help please DM, call, text, or fb message me. The tank is fine but we’re going through a really bad ich outbreak which is spreading like wildfire throughout the house.

Here’s the timeline so far…

March 7th I bought 5 pajama cardinals from Exotic Fish and Pets in Reading, PA. I didn’t inspect the fish adequately. Nothing wrong with this shop, everything that follows in this story is my fault.

I acclimated and tossed them in to the waterbox. An hour later, tank lights are on and I see ich on one of the fish. I yank all five, place them in to my hospital tank and medicate with API Super Ich Cure.

March 12th, Ich treatment ends, all fish look healthy in Hospital tank. Clowns in frag tank not looking good, symptoms that looked like brook. I wasn’t sure what to do. With the pajamas looking good and the clowns looking bad I water changed the hospital tank and swapped the fish. FW dip for the clowns, no flukes. Next day, clearly 3 of the four clowns have ich and all five of the pajamas that are in frag tank have ich. Now EVERYONE is in the hospital tank. Temp on both systems raised to 81 degrees.

Friday, 3/17, medicated hospital tank with prazipro just in case there are some other parasites.

Saturday 3/18, spots on the eyes of the big Sailfin tang in the frag tank. I’m not sure what to do. I yank all of the coral from the frag system, cut it off plugs, scrub, dip in revive, glue in to the waterbox just in case I have to medicate the frag tank. Ordered a bottle of Microbe-Lift Herbtana and a bottle of Microbe-Lift Artemiss from Petco along with the Green Killing Machine suited for 120g.

Sunday 3/19, lunch at JoJo’s pizza in Mechanicsburg, PA…shout out JoJo’s. Swing by Mechanicsburg Petco, pick up the supplies. Now…I have to decide what belongs where.

The waterbox had cloudy water from bacteria, but I know that will equalize as the tank is new. Glass covered in copepods, microfauna really taking off. I’m feeling good about this tank, but remember the pajamas were in the tank momentarily on 3/7. I decide to put the UV on this tank. It might not have any bearing on ich development.

With temperature increased in the hospital tank the ich life cycle can be observed throughout the day. In the morning fish are covered in parasites. By afternoon they have all fallen off. Heavy breathing, they are having a rough time. I have another 10g I can move fish to as the ich cycle progresses. I know there is advice online about swapping fish back and forth throughout ich lifecycle. I ran out of time yesterday and just couldn't get it set up.

Current state as of Monday 3/20:
Deaths so far: 2 of the new pajamas. There have been no treatments made to the frag tank. There have been several rounds of Super Ich Cure in the hospital tank along with Prazipro. I don’t have “copper” or a hanna checker for Cu and that is what I really need. :( The waterbox has no signs of ich and an undersized UV sterilizer (max 120g) on the tank that I added yesterday.

Sad photos below…
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Spots on the sail fins eyes.
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Equipment update for the COR-20. Added this 3D printed screen from “printedbydave” that I bought on Etsy for $20-$25.
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There have been heavy losses. Ich took the pair of naked clowns, pair of gladiator davinci clowns, and five pajama cardinals. The blue/yellow stripe damsel was unscathed.

It sucks. I tore down the hospital tank last night and binned up all of the equipment to bleach clean this weekend.

Despite the set backs in QT and hospital tank, the Waterbox is looking spectacular. The green killing machine (120g model, undersized for this tank) has clarified the water and the glass is still clean even after five days. I will likely install this on the frag system as well.

The Sailfin tang is loving her new home. One of my zombie clowns has paired with a larger ocellaris. All other fish look healthy. Softies are open and growing.

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Feeding time.
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Sailfin always photobombing
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therootcause

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April 2023
Hands on with the WAMAS PAR Meter! Readings to follow…
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But then I didn't actually save any readings so...forget this ever happened.
 
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therootcause

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June 2023
The tank is officially three months old!

Thank you to all of the vendors at That Fish Place this weekend for some sweet new corals at a great price, especially Reef Nerd Aquatics and Tyler Zink. I bought from several other vendors but screwed up in not remembering their names.

Picked up a few toadstools, branching nepthea, a BTA, some dragons breath macro, hairy mushroom, etc. for about $100.

First things first, a few tank shots. My project #1 for this week is to finish the drywall work.

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This week I relocated my skimmer hose outside and hooked up diy CO2 reactor, recalibrated pH probe and salinity probe, and started dosing All for Reef at 50mL per day on the 180 gallon system. Estimating 160 actual gallons after considering displacement by other objects.

The numbers are what they are…

Sampled on 6/5/2023

Alkalinity - 5.8
pH - 8.1-8.38
Salinity - 33.5ppt
Temp - 77.8
Phosphate - .129ppm (42 ppb phosphorous sampled)


Now let’s document some growth!


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A little cyano, no worries.

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had two containers of Nano size Chemi-Pure Elite/GFO that I had been holding on to for a while so I added them. Hopefully it will bring down phosphates to a level that the Kamoer AWC can manage.

I also pulled out 3 gallons of chaeto and left 3 gallons in the refugium. Neptune Gro light is no joke.

Chemi-Pure Elite
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I wonder if this Gorgonian is growing. Old photo on top, new photo on bottom. Looks to be similar.

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Added the following livestock from Reeftopia:
350 blue legs
100 astrea
1 yellow phase sea cucumber
1 harlequin serpent

And for fun, a red tree sponge and a feather duster.

Parameters….
pH: 8.26 on a 7-day average (Min: 8.12, Max: 8.39)
Alkalinity 7.7
Calcium: 470
Nitrates: 10
Phosphates: 0

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Waxy leather about to shed. It’s like a wrapped Christmas gift!
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SPS…
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therootcause

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July 2023

Added a few acros and a big birdsnest from local reefers. pH is stable between 8-8.2 and alkalinity is around 8. I’m dosing All for Reef and measuring Calcium then adding Fritz Alkalinity as it seems to be consumed faster than the calcium.

Hawkins enchinata
Green slimer
A few other acros that I forget the name of…

Really excited for the basement to be finished in August so we can enjoy this tank in a finished space.

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Added a new pajama cardinal and psychedelic mandarin from a Baltimore reefer. The mandarin found food to peck at within a few minutes and the cardinal schooled up with his tank mates.

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Along with the fish came corals that are in QT. Monti caps, frammer, hammer, cabbages, branching softies, and this OG bounce. Looking forward to everything opening up after a day or two in the new tank.

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August 2023
This week we welcomed several new friends. Baby shrimp and flatworms. Yayyyy!

Microscopic images at 100x. Flatworm length is about 1mm. Fast moving under microscope and responds to stimulus (prodding) on glass.
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On glass with phone and sally Sailfin photobomb for scale. Two trailing points on the “tail” end of the flatworm.
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It’s possible that these are two different types of flatworm. I have had the typical “rust” flatworms in the past as well as ghost flatworms. These are smaller. I don’t know how many are on rocks but I am going to remove a piece of rubble and dip it to get an idea as to how widespread the worms may be. I believe the worms are eating the copepods / copepod eggs as the population on the glass has dropped drastically. The refugium has an abundance of copepods and isopods still visible.

Shrimp from Vossen trap below. I believe this shrimp to be 36 hours old. The trap has been in the tank with no air or light driving the larvae to the trap for the past few days, but it somehow manages to collect 40-50 of them just through the tanks flow.

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Here is a larvae that is 5-12 days old. Unsure of the age as I have collected several times over the past two weeks. The eyes and legs are much more developed as well as the darkening of the exoskeleton.
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ere are the PAR meter readings as of 8/1/2023. I noticed fading and loss of flesh in the green slimer and fading in the montis, so I turned down lights and took readings.

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There are some typos but you get the gist. Ranked by highest par at current settings. Values for the top 10 corals were 25% higher before turning down the LED light to current settings. Yikes.

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This is also a “fish room” build thread so let’s have a look at that.

I got the old cabinets and countertop from a kitchen remodel at work.

The peg board I got from a building demo, and the rest of the wood was leftover from various projects.

The basement ceiling will stay open and accessible in this room, plus there was already plumbing so I installed this macerator pump to lift the sink water up to the drain. I have another one of these VEVOR pumps on the other side of the basement and haven’t had problems with it so I decided to use the same pump for the fish room.

I have white LED panels to install overhead but haven’t gotten to it yet. I also have to run the permanent electrical for the macerator pump. There is currently an extension cord taking it to an outlet.

I mounted a power strip and an air bank for bubbling pods, artemia, and baby peppermints. The coral QT tank has been running for several months, and I have cabinet storage underneath to keep chemicals away from the kids. On the far right I have the air pump, which will also need an outlet if I decide to keep it there.

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I was finally able to plumb water to both of the sinks in the fish room. Lots of pex ring crimping. Both drain into the same macerator pump.

Our contractor is working in the basement today so the tank has been given the serial killer bed sheet.


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Yesterday I welcomed two new pajamas, a starry blenny, and a second fighting conch. Acclimated everyone for 20 mins and dumped them in. I’ve learned nothing and have chosen to forego QT, again. Praise be to UV

The pajamas immediately fell into the school with the other five. They are really a delight to watch when gathered together. The blenny found the perfect cave within 30 seconds and I may only see his head for the next few days.

Blenny in cave…

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I’ve lost some acros. The lights were too hot (PAR) and so I raised them a few inches and turned them down. The softies have long stalks and are reaching up for the light now. I’ll have to find a balance. This week I’d like to mount a few pieces that I have on islands in the back and also cut the tips off of my burnt acros. I’ve also lost the birdsnest colony.

My gorgeous nem also split. It has the most exceptional bubbles. It’s bubbles even have bubbles. I couldn’t be happier with this $5 nem from the last frag swap at TFP.

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A few more updates on sponges and corals. The neptheas are pinching off lots of babies that are collecting in one area of the tank and even attaching to the back glass. It’s my favorite coral in the tank and is pictured as the last photo in this post so to have more is a win.

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September 2023

I’ve been driving pH higher with a homemade CO2 scrubber and Kalkwasser since last week. I moved the probe two nights ago and everything went haywire. I recalibrated with 7.01 & 10.1 solution and the results remain unchanged. I’ll need to test pH manually and compare. I also bought a new probe from BRS as the current probe is 5 years old. Alkalinity remains at 8.4 dKH.

The CO2 media looks good but I picked up a new reactor today from a friend.

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Yesterday I plumbed up the frag tank, adding about 40-45 gallons to the overall water volume.
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I’ve been dealing with this fish injury/illness the past couple of days. On Saturday afternoon I noticed a curvature in the mandarin’s spine and odd swimming behavior. A few hours later it was spiraling ipward into the water column.

Here is the R2R thread.

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/s...f-its-balance-buoyancy.1005777/#post-11716690
 

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September 2023

I’ve been driving pH higher with a homemade CO2 scrubber and Kalkwasser since last week. I moved the probe two nights ago and everything went haywire. I recalibrated with 7.01 & 10.1 solution and the results remain unchanged. I’ll need to test pH manually and compare. I also bought a new probe from BRS as the current probe is 5 years old. Alkalinity remains at 8.4 dKH.

The CO2 media looks good but I picked up a new reactor today from a friend.

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Yesterday I plumbed up the frag tank, adding about 40-45 gallons to the overall water volume.
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I’ve been dealing with this fish injury/illness the past couple of days. On Saturday afternoon I noticed a curvature in the mandarin’s spine and odd swimming behavior. A few hours later it was spiraling ipward into the water column.

Here is the R2R thread.

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/s...f-its-balance-buoyancy.1005777/#post-11716690


Awesome set up!
 
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therootcause

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A few growth photos as of 9/16/2023.

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Sprayed my lids off with a garden hose and they look brand new again.
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A few photos of the basement project with the built in tank. Emergency escape window, framing, and drywall are 95% complete. Next is the electrical and ceiling.

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Last week I was in Orlando and visited WWC and Top Shelf Aquatics.

I ended up getting several pieces from TSA shipped home.

Blue & Green Sympodium
TSA Grizzly Galaxea
No name acro
Finger leather
Turbinaria Heronensis (Hero Coral)
2 x D. deformis anemone hermit crabs
8 x blue/green chromis

I combined my selection with a friend and TSA shipped everything home at no cost after our trip. All items were expertly packaged and arrived exactly as they appeared in the shop.

10/10 would recommend TSA.

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

  • I am aware of every item that is added to my reef tank.

    Votes: 25 61.0%
  • I know most of the items that are added to my reef tank.

    Votes: 9 22.0%
  • I am somewhat aware of the items that are added to my reef tank.

    Votes: 2 4.9%
  • I follow the directions of others when adding items to my reef tank.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I randomly add items to my reef tank.

    Votes: 4 9.8%
  • Other.

    Votes: 1 2.4%
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