You'll Never Reef Alone

YNRA

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Hello everyone,

My names Jake, currently located in Charlotte NC and I'm starting up my first saltwater tank. Creating this thread to share the positives and negatives that I face along my journey into the reefing hobby. As a massive Liverpool FC (soccer/football) supporter I chose the name You'll Never Reef Alone as a play on You'll Never Walk Alone ( Any football banter is welcome ). I've done my fair share of watching youtube videos and learning, but I'll most likely be asking for help / advice along the way! If you'd like to I'll also be posting on my Instagram page @YoullNeverReefAlone

Equipment:
Red Sea Reefer 250 ( purchased used from a local )
Lighting: Radion XR30s ( still looking for some mounts/arm ... so if you have any for sale LMK! )
Jebao DCP Return Pump
Reef Octopus Skimmer 150-SSS
Tunze ATO w. 5.5 Gallon Tank ( need to learn how to use this thing )
Jebao Dosing Pump w/ containers ( also need to learn how to use this )
Finnex Heater 150 Watt ( still coming in the mail )
Powerheads ( TBD but most likely purchasing 2X MP10s ~1 yr used )


Images below of the Red Sea Reefer 250

63960942677__2F4BE3C4-2851-40F7-976C-E0111EC43EA6.jpg

63960944234__45AD4E3D-606A-44C1-B724-58E2232073DE.jpg



To clean it I saw a video that Citric Acid is god's gift and the best way to do it so I ordered some from Amazon and filled the tank with regular water from the shower with buckets.

I had the tank running for a couple days with citric acid, results below.. ( dog tax )
IMG_4920.jpg




IMG_4935.jpg

IMG_4936.jpg


The citric acid did a great job, still think I'm going to get some water/vinegar solution and go through it a couple times just to get some of the spots that were missed.


As for the rocks / sand ... I ended up ordering caribsea dry aragonite ( 50 lbs ) and ordered STAX Rock ( 40 lbs ) from Marine Depot. I ordered these a couple days ago and they just came in today.

Here are the two boxes that came in ( I was expecting 1 big one but ended up finding the 2 boxes to be sufficient for my needs ) and had to do the cardboard trick that I see everyone else do for aquascaping.

IMG_4938.jpg


I took some pictures of how it was package and how much came in 1 box for reference if anyone else is interested.

Packaging has individual sheets between the rock layers which is really well done, with little rubble from my own experience !

IMG_4940.jpg


IMG_4941.jpg



Second box had far more small / medium pieces which I actually ended up liking more than the massive pieces

IMG_4943.jpg


Overall I'm pleased with what I received from STAX. The only thing I need to figure out now is what glue to potentially use once I figure out my final scape. I've read a lot that you can use regular superglue instead of the ones marketed by BRS and other sites. Also read cons that it eventually comes undone.... will need to read up a bit more on this.

During my lunch break, thankfully I work from home due to COVID, I was able to play around with the aquascaping that I initially envisioned.

Below are some images of my first pass at aquascaping, let me know your thoughts!

IMG_4947.jpg


IMG_4948.jpg


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IMG_4950.jpg


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( Ended up fixing the uneven rock below because it was bothering me )

IMG_4951.jpg


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My initial thoughts was it would be cool to spell out LFC ( Liverpool Football Club ) from the top. I've included a big arch with a couple smaller ones with a few over hangs as well. This is my first go at it and the only thing that I'm trying to rethink would be to go from low to high from front to back to give it the depth feel. Also perhaps I can go a little smaller with the lettering of it to give that 2 inch on the side for maintenance.

Open to any advice!

Thanks for reading and hope you following along!

Next inline is to get an electrician to come in and install a GFCI outlet so I can sleep easy at night!
 
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powers2001

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@YNRA Nice to see another Reefer 250 owner. Have one myself. Following. Thought you’d might like to see this. 3D printed mounting bracket for the Tunze 3155 ATO even though it says 5017 controller (same thing.) But maybe you have the Tunze ATO 3152? Use the promo code 3DPRINT10 for 10% off. Much better than the velcro mount option. I used the velcro, didn’t like the placement, had trouble removing it (very sticky), and it leaves behind adhesive that takes a lot of scrubbing to remove.
9EF3D70E-3FC9-4B1A-A4F9-264C3E4126A7.png
 
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YNRA

YNRA

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As a fellow Liveprool FC fan and official member I approve of your thread.
OIP (1).jpeg

Nice to see another LFC fan!

@YNRA Nice to see another Reefer 250 owner. Have one myself. Following. Thought you’d might like to see this. 3D printed mounting bracket for the Tunze 3155 ATO even though it says 5017 controller (same thing.) But maybe you have the Tunze ATO 3152? Use the promo code 3DPRINT10 for 10% off. Much better than the velcro mount option. I used the velcro, didn’t like the placement, had trouble removing it (very sticky), and it leaves behind adhesive that takes a lot of scrubbing to remove.
9EF3D70E-3FC9-4B1A-A4F9-264C3E4126A7.png

I'll definitely have to check these out.


Update of what I've been working on this last week

I've had a electrician come and install a GFCI outlet to help out with any potentially accidents that can occur.

Additionally I've cleaned out the sump to the best of my abilities and went through it with a razor and vinegar/water mix.

** One thing I need help with, does anyone have experience with the cleaning of the glass where the glass ATO sits on ? Is this part removal? I don't have the glass ATO and it really bothers me that there's algae and gunk underneath that glass that I can't reach.

IMG_4977.jpg


After cleaning out the sump I had some time so I ended up ordering an RODI splitter and attaching it to under the sink for my RODI unit.

RODI Splitter

IMG_4978.jpg


Additionally I've watched a bunch of videos and everyone swears by Pond Matrix so I decided to order some as well as some zip baggies to keep them in.

IMG_4979.jpg


I've additionally ordered a Noopysche controller as I do have a pair of these lights with mounts already, going to use these until I figure out how to mount my XR30s. I've done research on the XR30 Mounts/Arms and it seems that they stay at a slight angle and I'm not sure if that's going to trigger OCD in order to straighten them out or if I should just go with the slide horizontal mount but I'm not a fan of the look. ( Ceiling mount will not be an option as I don't want to mount anything into the walls )

Next steps :

  1. Finish design / decision on Aquascape
  2. Build / Find a controller cabinet
 
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YNRA

YNRA

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Hello everyone!

Update here... finally built a controller cabinet ( 90% completed ) and decided to change the aqua scape!

Here's the controller cabinet. I used 2 IKEA Cabinets w/ doors. The only thing that sucked was they were out of the shelves so currently I have the 2 controller boards on top of each other. The adjustment controls for the Pumps, Gyres, and Heater will be in the top most cabinet.

Without the lights on
IMG_4990.jpg


With lights on
FDB1D82A-3D76-4166-BBD2-EEC715EBBDD1.JPG



After this was completed I needed to make a decision on my powerheads, I was initially going to buy 2 used MP10 but I was debating about it and went with gyres and caught the @SaltwaterAquarium.com sale for their 10 year anniversary and ended up winning a Hanna checker! Additionally ordered some @FRITZ turbo start 900 for the cycle.

IMG_5025.jpg


Previous to this I added the @Carbisea Argonite sand to the aquarium ( without rinsing :mad::mad::mad::mad: which I think I'm paying the price for right now) and added the aquascape.

Latest Aquascape with the lights on
EEDD3E8B-6F09-40CB-96F2-F8CC00B77A94.JPG


Afterwards I ended up making a run to Home Depot to get a brute trash can for mixing the water. This was actually a lot more stressful than I thought it was going to be. I'm using a 44 gallon brute and another 20 gallon for mixing and had an old bucket of Reef Crystals that I was given after purchasing some equipment a couple months ago.

IMG_5027.jpg


After adding the water as gently as possible and checking salinity to be 1.025, here's what we have, unfortunately it seems my phone doesn't like the blues too much. Hoping I can score one of the phone filters as a give away.

IMG_5034.jpg


So it's been able 3-4 days since I've added the water to the tank. I was thinking that the "dust" would have settled down a lot but that does not seem to be the case. It seems my skimmer is indeed picking up particles from the sand as I've cleaned it out but it's still not getting better. Yesterday I purchased some filter floss to add into the filter sock/cup that I currently have ( but it doesn't seem to be getting caught in here , perhaps too small ? ). I've also went ahead and order a set of 200 Micron filter sockets to see if this will help even more. Today (5/5 Happy Cinco De Mayo) I did a 20 gallon water change to see if this would be the situation but it seems to have little affect. I've also turned off the gyres to just make sure they're the reason why the sand isn't being stirred.

This is driving me crazy, if anyone knows any tricks or anything I can try please let me know!

This is a side picture of the tank, from the front the water doesn't look too milky but from the side you can barely even see to the other side.

IMG_5035.jpg


Thanks for reading the update and appreciate you tuning in!

Up next would be

  1. GET THIS TANK CLEARED UP
  2. Lets get some fish and cycle it with Fritz Turbo Start
 

powers2001

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Hello everyone!

Update here... finally built a controller cabinet ( 90% completed ) and decided to change the aqua scape!

Here's the controller cabinet. I used 2 IKEA Cabinets w/ doors. The only thing that sucked was they were out of the shelves so currently I have the 2 controller boards on top of each other. The adjustment controls for the Pumps, Gyres, and Heater will be in the top most cabinet.

Without the lights on
IMG_4990.jpg


With lights on
FDB1D82A-3D76-4166-BBD2-EEC715EBBDD1.JPG



After this was completed I needed to make a decision on my powerheads, I was initially going to buy 2 used MP10 but I was debating about it and went with gyres and caught the @SaltwaterAquarium.com sale for their 10 year anniversary and ended up winning a Hanna checker! Additionally ordered some @FRITZ turbo start 900 for the cycle.

IMG_5025.jpg


Previous to this I added the @Carbisea Argonite sand to the aquarium ( without rinsing :mad::mad::mad::mad: which I think I'm paying the price for right now) and added the aquascape.

Latest Aquascape with the lights on
EEDD3E8B-6F09-40CB-96F2-F8CC00B77A94.JPG


Afterwards I ended up making a run to Home Depot to get a brute trash can for mixing the water. This was actually a lot more stressful than I thought it was going to be. I'm using a 44 gallon brute and another 20 gallon for mixing and had an old bucket of Reef Crystals that I was given after purchasing some equipment a couple months ago.

IMG_5027.jpg


After adding the water as gently as possible and checking salinity to be 1.025, here's what we have, unfortunately it seems my phone doesn't like the blues too much. Hoping I can score one of the phone filters as a give away.

IMG_5034.jpg


So it's been able 3-4 days since I've added the water to the tank. I was thinking that the "dust" would have settled down a lot but that does not seem to be the case. It seems my skimmer is indeed picking up particles from the sand as I've cleaned it out but it's still not getting better. Yesterday I purchased some filter floss to add into the filter sock/cup that I currently have ( but it doesn't seem to be getting caught in here , perhaps too small ? ). I've also went ahead and order a set of 200 Micron filter sockets to see if this will help even more. Today (5/5 Happy Cinco De Mayo) I did a 20 gallon water change to see if this would be the situation but it seems to have little affect. I've also turned off the gyres to just make sure they're the reason why the sand isn't being stirred.

This is driving me crazy, if anyone knows any tricks or anything I can try please let me know!

This is a side picture of the tank, from the front the water doesn't look too milky but from the side you can barely even see to the other side.

IMG_5035.jpg


Thanks for reading the update and appreciate you tuning in!

Up next would be

  1. GET THIS TANK CLEARED UP
  2. Lets get some fish and cycle it with Fritz Turbo Start
@YNRA wow what an update! That’s quite a bit of news. One thing about the cloudiness is the gyres might be keeping particles in suspension and you could turn them off to let them settle to the bottom of the display. And then again you might want to keep them in suspension to push them out the overflow to catch in the socks. Either way from my experience you will probably have a light film of the silt everywhere. PITA
 
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YNRA

YNRA

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@YNRA wow what an update! That’s quite a bit of news. One thing about the cloudiness is the gyres might be keeping particles in suspension and you could turn them off to let them settle to the bottom of the display. And then again you might want to keep them in suspension to push them out the overflow to catch in the socks. Either way from my experience you will probably have a light film of the silt everywhere. PITA

So I've actually had the gyres off for a day or two now to see if they were the problem but it seems to have no effect. I also turned off the skimmer yesterday to see if it possibly was micro bubbles but again no effect. The plan now is to turn both of them on and today I should be receiving the 200 Micron Filter socks as well as some polyester filter floss which I'm going to try to do the King DYI trick as well. If all else fails then I have nooooo idea but wish me luck!
 

Smirkish

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If you manually stir the sand are you seeing clouding when you do it? If there are fine particles in the bed still, every time it shifts you will release more. This is why people usually rinse. Also, you said you added floss- were you running socks over the last few days? You said the skimmer picked up sand but didn’t mention socks. If the socks aren’t clogging up from it, it’s too fine for them to pick up. Otherwise you probably would have had to change them by now. It looks like you have one sock and a floss cup atm.

Edit: If it was me, I’d cut the pumps except for the return and maybe one power head on low to circulate the water around the tank. Move the power head, if necessary. You want a “lift”, which should be easier to see with the clouding. Just enough to keep the silt in suspension like mentioned above.

I wouldn’t run the skimmer here, your new socks should catch everything. Just go over the entire bed, slowly, manually stirring it. You should see more clouding as you do this. Just keep doing it until you stop seeing it rise out of the bed when you stir. Let it cycle the water, and repeat as necessary. Turn socks inside out and rinse them thoroughly if they begin to clog.

Probably appears milkier from the side because you are looking “through” more particles across the longer depth. Just noticed you also said you added the sand and then the scape. Is your scape on top of the sand?
 
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Visited your thread because of the play on words there. Had to see if you were a fellow fan.. Have nothing to contribute though, as I don't know anything about running a tropical tank.. Tank looks promising though, and I'm looking forward to seeing your progress! :) Ynwa!
 
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Great news! Water is definitely clearing up!!! The filter socks came in but unfortunately they were way to large and something I didn't even consider so I did put it around the main drain valve to still have it catch in there. Then I took the existing filter socks that I had and stuffed them with the polyester filter fiber.

Here's 2 days ago when I was just using the Petco filter pads, can definitely tell it was catching some of that sand
IMG_5071.jpg



This is the Filter fiber that I purchased from amazon
IMG_5070.jpg


What the sump looks like at the moment, water levels rose a bit since water isn't gracefully flowing through the 200 micron filter sock. ( Turned off skimmer as the water levels were not as high )

IMG_5075.jpg



Then for added filtration I did the DIY King Filter floss/ water bottle trick and here are the latest results...

A LOT cleaner

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I know the blues are messing with it a bit , but it looks a LOT cleaner and can easily see from one side to the other. Thank the lord!

I'll be letting this run for a couple more hours today.

Next steps ...
  1. Figuring out how to get the ATO to work
  2. Getting a pair of clown fish & food ( any recommendations ) to start the cycle with Fritz!!


Thanks for tuning in!
 
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YNRA

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Hello everyone,

Happy Saturday!

Updates incoming... so I figured out how to get the ATO to work and turns out it was a lot easier than I thought!

Next went to LFS to pick up some clown and cycle with Fritz Turbo Start

Ended up picking out 2 small clowns, a regular & also a mocha clown ( Bought on 5/8)

ACCLIMATION

IMG_5081.jpg


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Kept lights off for the first few days and fed the fish.

IMG_5090.jpg


The below results worried me so I ended up doing a 5-10 gallon water change. Also turned on skimmer

IMG_5095.jpg



IMG_5100.jpg


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Woke up today ( 5/15 ) to the following test below

IMG_5117.jpg


Freaked out , mocha clown was not doing well. Immediately got 5 gallons started .. did 10 gallon water changed.

Took the mocha clown out and tried to save him but unfortunately he/she passed away.

IMG_5118.jpg


What it looked like after doing 10 gallons.

I ran out of salt so went to buy more this morning and I'm making more water at the moment. To try to get to 50%

The thing that worries me is where did this come from ? Is the tank not cycled or should I add more beneficial bacteria? I used fritz according to what was on the bottle and the day after the levels seemed to be normal. The Fritz did come 3 days later than it should have and now I'm wondering if that messed up anything. Anyone have any ideas on what I can possibly do ? ( PS: Please do not come in and start bashing Fritz and telling me I should not have done the cycle the way I did )
 

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YNRA

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Small update:

Saturday I ended up going to LFS and picked up some Fritz - and added it once more to the tank

Following screenshot is below Sunday, 1 day after adding

IMG_5120.jpg


Then this mornings results (05/17)

IMG_5121.jpg


IMG_5122.jpg


Ammonia is looking a lot more yellow in my opinion, what do you guys think ?

I've also turned off the skimmer ( do you guys leave your skimmers ? )

** Side note : ALLISONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN, what a header **
 

KellyCorals

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I think your tank is still cycling seeing that you started with base rock and no live rock. I think the base rock tanks take longer to cycle even with the quick start bacteria because the bacteria colonies need to establish. But given your test results it looks like your headed in the right direction! Also I think the skimmer stays off when you add the bacteria for a couple days because it will skim out the bacteria too...I could be wrong on this but it’s just my opinion.
 

ying yang

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Small update:

Saturday I ended up going to LFS and picked up some Fritz - and added it once more to the tank

Following screenshot is below Sunday, 1 day after adding

IMG_5120.jpg


Then this mornings results (05/17)

IMG_5121.jpg


IMG_5122.jpg


Ammonia is looking a lot more yellow in my opinion, what do you guys think ?

I've also turned off the skimmer ( do you guys leave your skimmers ? )

** Side note : ALLISONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN, what a header **

Looks like a 0ppm reading for api test to me.its a cloudy yellow ( from the salt mixture) rather than the lime green reading at 0.25.
Im new to saltwater and not used any other makers test just fyi.
Only api on freshwater for 9 years or so.
Api always gets a bashing for inconsistent results and ive been recommended to buy a seachem test for certain tests.but im on fence at moment whether to buy as it still a colour test and reading all hobby grade tests nowhere near as good as lab tests ovbiously but we shall see if i change to another hobby grade test kit or not.i not testing for other things other than amnonia/ nitrite/ nitrates/ ph at present.so we shall see what kits i buy when start testing the elements hey.
Tank/ rockscape looking great,keep up the good work.
Doctor tim suggests leaving skimmerrs/ uv off for first few days after using bacteria in a bottle as gives chance for them to attach to surfaces i believe he says

Edit : your nitrate test looks like yellow so 0ppm so bacteria not converting amnonia to nitrate unless you got some way of exporting the nitrate and it getting used up in other ways
 
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