Too Much Live Rock - Red Sea Reefer 250

AquaCave

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Too Much Live Rock! - Or, Watch an Idiot Slowly Learn What They're Doing

‌‎‏Welcome to my build thread :) Since my tank has been up for a while, I'm going to post a timeline of the history of my tank up until the present using various pictures that I've taken over the years.

I first started my saltwater journey by converting my freshwater standard 55 gallon to saltwater. I had no idea what I was doing, and it showed - I bought a Fluval canister filter, cheap lights, and HOB skimmer, and made a lot of poor stocking choices. I'll detail these choices and the issues I ran into below. Currently, I have a Red Sea Reefer 250 and I've learned a lot since I first started exploring the world of saltwater.

October 3rd, 2019

This is the earliest picture I have of my tank, immediately after my cycle finished, and I bought some clean-up crew, zoas, and GSP. I started the tank with about 75% live rock, and 25% Stax flat rocks, which I thought would be very convenient for placing frags on. The CUC at this point only consisted of a strawberry top snail (tectus conus) and a pencil urchin. Spoiler alert: none of these corals survived.​

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November 14, 2019

The live rock that I purchased had green coralline algae on it, so naturally, that was the first type of coralline that took over. It looks absolutely horrendous and even to this day I still have some green coralline where purple/pink hasn't grown yet. New additions include: x2 black ocellaris, a tiled starfish, a rainbow bubble tip, a feather duster, and some Halloween hermits.

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December 2nd, 2019

When I worked at my LFS, my boss asked me several times if I was "sure" that I wanted to purchase the Australian sea apple he just had ordered in. I told him emphatically "yes". Despite how new my tank was, I was confident with the access to resources and information I had that I would be able to care for it. A friend at the time lovingly named it "Mr. Squonch".

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March 13th, 2020

A new fish store had opened up near me, and the guy had way more connections than my boss at the LFS had, and was able to get in more obscure specimens. This is when I started burning money, as nothing that I purchased ended up living very long. I had heard about this thing called a "refugium" that people filled with something called "chaeto", and while I didn't have a refugium, I could purchase a HOB breeder box! Seen on the left with some limp, dead, sad-looking chaeto.

One thing about the new LFS that opened up was that the boss knew I was young and stupid and couldn't keep anything that he sold me alive. I feel bad for all of the fish and inverts that were lost due to my ignorance, and I should have known better than to trust the guy that was always trying to sell me something.​

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The killer arrow crab that decided to make many fish and inverts a delicious snack. Pictured here eating what's left of my coral banded shrimp.

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My first go at keeping black storm clowns. They were cute and adorable and reminded me of little cows. They were very new at the time, but I really, really wanted them. I gave away my pair of black ocellaris and bought them from the shop I worked at - the first died within a day, rapidly breathing at the bottom. This one went similarly after a few weeks or a month. It might have had something to do with their gill deformities, or it could have been my parameters because I didn't test often at the time.

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Jumping forward in time a bit here, this is when I started to get coralline algae for real, and my tank was starting to look better. My GSP was growing well and I started to get a sense of what I was doing


I bought the Reefer 250 off someone who was selling it in September 2020, and a few fish came with it as well, including a black ocellaris and green wrasse. This black ocellaris has started to turn orange, but she's even bigger than she was before. This was the first day after the move, hence why the lights are off and the water is cloudy
 
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Dang!! What beautiful specimens you selected!

@rmorris_14 Check out these sweet inverts! The starfish and arrow head crab!
I know right?! I was a teenager working at a fish store at the time, I just had to get all the cool stuff! Here's a few more for ya!
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GIANT sea hare!

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My beautiful australian sea apple, which everyone told me not to get. He was with me up until about a month ago actually, after I moved he never really fully recovered from it

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This really cool strawberry crab

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A gorgeous decorator crab covered in zoas and sponges
 

Miami Reef

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I know right?! I was a teenager working at a fish store at the time, I just had to get all the cool stuff! Here's a few more for ya!
1652672728719.png

GIANT sea hare!

1652672853839.png

My beautiful australian sea apple, which everyone told me not to get. He was with me up until about a month ago actually, after I moved he never really fully recovered from it

1652672977101.png

This really cool strawberry crab

1652673028147.png

A gorgeous decorator crab covered in zoas and sponges
You have TASTE!
 
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Filling up the Reefer 250 after the move! I combined my sand with the original owner's, as well as the rocks - hence why there's so much dang rock in my tank, lol

I believe the light on the tank is a Kelo A100, it's a knockoff Kessil A80. The blues went out on this light a few months ago so I bought two of the Kessils to replace it
 
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My black ocellaris had beautiful colouring when I first got her from the previous owner, but now her head and inner fins are beginning to turn orange. I read that happens sometimes if the fish is mated with an orange ocellaris, so that could be what happened, as she was alone before introduced to my orange ocellaris.
 

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I know right?! I was a teenager working at a fish store at the time, I just had to get all the cool stuff! Here's a few more for ya!
1652672728719.png

GIANT sea hare!

1652672853839.png

My beautiful australian sea apple, which everyone told me not to get. He was with me up until about a month ago actually, after I moved he never really fully recovered from it

1652672977101.png

This really cool strawberry crab

1652673028147.png

A gorgeous decorator crab covered in zoas and sponges
I love the sea apple! What was reason that everyone told you not to get it?
 
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I love the sea apple! What was reason that everyone told you not to get it?
"it's like a nuke waiting to explode in your tank" is the reason everyone gave. i think as long as you cover your intakes and powerheads, you shouldn't have to worry about toxins. my sea apple was surprisingly hardy, but a nitrate spike after moving was what finally did him in. even then, he just gradually shrunk away into nothingness, and didn't poison the tank at all. an issue i ran into was that there wasn't (and i don't think there is still) enough information on sea apple care, so it's a lot of trial and error, pristine water and feeding phyto

all in all i'd say i'd do it again if i was looking to set up a specialised invert tank
 
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There was about 10 months where I was super discouraged with my tank, it wasn't really looking the way I wanted to and I wasn't happy with it at all, but I didn't have any energy to do anything about it. I really only did ATO top-ups and cleaned the glass when it had so much coralline that I couldn't even see into it. The anemones completely took over and stung all my zoas to death, and the blues burnt out in the light that I had been using. Not a great time, and I didn't take many pictures. This was the last picture I took of it when it was in this state, and what made me realise that I needed to make some serious changes.

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My black ocellaris started dropping weight around mid-March. This photo was taken March 23rd. I had initially thought that I was simply underfeeding, so I increased the amount of feeding. She put a lot of weight back on, but her spine line was always visible.

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Her slime coat started to get more and more thick (no spots, so I'm not 100% if it was ich or brook or velvet, it might have just been deterioration from being underweight). And she eventually passed away 3 days ago. This is the last video I have of her before she passed, I was really hoping she'd be able to pull through.

 
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Here's my tank as of today - I'm going to have to keep taking these down-looking angled photos from now on because the glare from the windows is really bad. The kenya tree is doing amazing, and dropped at least 4 branches around the tank that are currently growing. The nem in the back-left is just forming a second mouth, so I'm going to have to catch it when it splits so that it doesn't get out of control. The pinwheel colony on the right is doing amazing, and I have a tiny rasta frag that I really hope will do well even though it's been shrinking since I put it in my tank. I moved it to less light a few days ago and seems to be opening more. Still fighting cyano, but it's contained mostly to the sand now.

Running 2 Kessil Tuna Blue A80s on a spectral controller, and 1 (sometimes 2!) Fluval CP4 wavemakers. I used to like these things because they were nem and sea-apple friendly, but the suction cups are very weak and the pumps frequently go in reverse. I don't really recommend them at all.

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Here's my tank as of today - I'm going to have to keep taking these down-looking angled photos from now on because the glare from the windows is really bad. The kenya tree is doing amazing, and dropped at least 4 branches around the tank that are currently growing. The nem in the back-left is just forming a second mouth, so I'm going to have to catch it when it splits so that it doesn't get out of control. The pinwheel colony on the right is doing amazing, and I have a tiny rasta frag that I really hope will do well even though it's been shrinking since I put it in my tank. I moved it to less light a few days ago and seems to be opening more. Still fighting cyano, but it's contained mostly to the sand now.

Running 2 Kessil Tuna Blue A80s on a spectral controller, and 1 (sometimes 2!) Fluval CP4 wavemakers. I used to like these things because they were nem and sea-apple friendly, but the suction cups are very weak and the pumps frequently go in reverse. I don't really recommend them at all.

1653085027761.png
Nice looking tank
 

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Started out converting my freshwater 55 gallon to saltwater. I had no idea what I was doing - fluval canister filter, HOB skimmer, poor stocking choices :) I've moved to a reefer 250 now and I've learned a lot since I first started my saltwater journey.

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First tank pic - live sand, half live rock, half dry rock, frags and CUC.

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Green and purple coralline algae starting to grow at this stage

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My first experience with cyano :(

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This is when things start to get a little ~crazy~, I bought every weird thing my LFS had in stock - scallops, sea squirts, full-sized sea hares. It was all too much, and I should have done more research on the things I was buying because none of it lasted very long

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The killer arrow crab that decided to make many fish and inverts a delicious snack

1652671711976.png

My first go at keeping black storm clowns - the first died within a day, rapid breathing at the bottom. This one went similarly after a few weeks or a month. It might have had something to do with their gill deformities, or it could have been my parameters because I didn't test often at the time

More to come when I dig through my photo album!
I love my Arrow Crab! Yes, decevingly aggressive.
 
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Do you still have your strawberry crab? Mine drags a bunch of coral frags, shells and whatever he can get a hold of into his barnacle burrow whenever he molts.
Mine didn't survive my first crash, unfortunately. My LFS sold me a bad nem that died while I was at work, and I didn't have a skimmer at the time, so everything except my urchins and snails were dead when I got home
 
AquaCave

How many different food items do you feed your fish?

  • Only one food

    Votes: 6 5.8%
  • 2 Foods

    Votes: 13 12.5%
  • 3 Foods

    Votes: 23 22.1%
  • 4 Foods

    Votes: 15 14.4%
  • 5+ Different Foods

    Votes: 29 27.9%
  • 10+ Different Foods

    Votes: 18 17.3%
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