Young Mad Lad's Biggest Tank (90 Gallons)


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Oct 29, 2019
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Backstory/Decision Making
I started reef keeping all the way back in 8th grade (fish in general ever since I can remember) and it has been one of the biggest prides and joys of my life. Throughout high school I've essentially one main reef. I started with a nuvo20 which at the time seemed like the most beginner-friendly tank of all time. Eventually, later down the road, I start to hate the tank It just felt so limiting and the shape THE SHAPE I just started to hate it more and more as I had it eventually leading me to change tanks to an aquamaxxx22. I still have this tank it is my main tank and it is the NICEST RIMLESS TANK IN MY OPINION... but anyways as I was just a newbie I was afraid to venture out into bigger tanks or tanks bigger than 20 gallons but as I have gained more experience by my Junior year I absolutely wanted to upgrade to a bigger tank however I had three complications that would go against it.

THREE BIGGEST PROBLEMS EVER (at least back then)

1. MY PARENTS - My dad has been keeping fish forever however he has kind of scarred my mom with the bigger tanks, however, I don't blame her. My dad loves fish, most of his offices have at least one tank of freshwater and or saltwater but yikes is my dad busy. Some tanks were definitely neglected some were but the few that were like just so bleh my mom has taken to dislike the idea of Big Tanks :D . Over my saltwater career my mom has seen the tanks I can produce and I would say thoroughly enjoy them however of course sometimes I go through those slumps but I am sure I have the green light now with experience.

2. EXTRACURRICULURS - This one is just more of a time thing. I didn't know if I could have the time to commit during high school. I was constantly going to SAT classes for like hours at a day and was a part of drumline and two sports teams which would literally lead me to leave for school at 8 AM to not coming back till 10 pm. I could just keep the lights on through the night and never sleep but that just didn't seem SUPER fun for me and it would definitely lead to neglecting the fish especially after being so tired.

3.COLLEGE DECISION - By the time I was comfortable getting a big tank I was reminded that I may just set up the tank to tear it down. I was applying to colleges or imagining that I may go to a different part of California and definitely such a big tank would not fit in most of the first-year dorms and I didn't wanna plague a roommate with a random fish tank. Now I know that I will be staying at home for college and have like 4 years before I move to a different location that will allow fish tanks. I would hate to start to see the reef tank finally turn around start kicking up then it's like well time to leave.

Now with all the problems gone, I'm gonna full send it. I saw a tank at my lfs just some stock one of 48x18x24 I think and I was thinking of just picking it up however after a talk with the lfs owner he had the idea of getting one custom made. So for the exact same measurements, I will be custom making a tank or at least getting a quote of one. Now you may ask why the heck I need one custom built. I'm not using a sump... its gonna be an all in one. I KNOW I KNOW SOME MAY BE LIKE WHAT ARE YOU DOING but as you can see in the title if you are some textbook reefer who like has a lot of rules or sth along those lines this thread is not for you. You are going to see me test some stupid stuff and see if it works out. DIYERS let me know about this. However, to those who are reading this thread one thing that has been a concern for this tank is the custom one being really expensive. I don't mind paying as long as it's reasonable but would you advise that I buy a custom one or I buy the stock one and like silicone in my own all in one. Keep in mind it would be my first time doing it(siliconing) so it may be ugly as heck.

I'm also very curious about cycling and some of that stuff. If I want to do what I did for my nano tank and slowly add fish and corals or try to cycle as much as possible then put in a bunch of fish and then do corals later something kinda how the brs/wwc method was I think LOL. I will be testing if the Dr Tims fishless cycle as I haven't seen much on it but Ima see if it will work well.

AQUASCAPING IDEAS- Yes I know that I don't even have the tank yet but I do have an idea of the aquascape and what combo of aquascape I will do. As I have experienced bare bottom is too hard with dry rock. Did it for another nano tank and wow that did not end well or just it did not just IDK wasn't like the other tank. I want sand most definitely, FIRM ON USING FIJI PINK. My lfs does have some live rock and I will look at it but I most likely will do dry rock just because it is cheaper I'm in between. These are just some early ideas and I know this first post on the thread is all just ideas but it's GOING TO HAPPEN IM EXCITED. I do want tall rockscapes or like 1/4th on the left side is kinda sloped and goes all the way up and then the other side just decent arches and caves. May be using a lot of branching rock.

MY FAVORITE LIVESTOCK.. FISH AND CORAL - The fish and coral will be the most exciting part as having a bigger tank does open up new possibilities. I have seen some crazy 90-125 gallon tanks that are overstocked and worked I know it will sound Insane but I will be aiming for that in the most responsible way possible if that's even tangible.

Corals won't be anything too crazy honestly. This kind of gives hints to the fish but I am a sucker for large colonies of soft corals. Before I lose you on it just like huge stalks of green sinularia and a bunch of it just seems so natural and just others such as toadstool, kenya trees .. etc just I want a like full reef. I would try sps but it definitely won't make it in this tank. I will be trying lps corals but I will have to have a few test pieces. I have kept all types of corals but acropora specifically. Bird nests is by far one of my favorites but I won't be having any in this tank.

I love fish that are "expert" and such unique or niche animals. The main fish of this tank will be( this is why I may not be able to keep lps and sps... if you were thinking its because I just suck at reefing I guess maybe that too LOL) A SCHOOL OF ORANGESPOTTED FILEFISH. I want to see how this fish interacts in more than just a pair. I have kept them before successfully until a tank crash I had ( heater went boom boom ;c). Orange spotted filefish are by far my favorite fish of all time. It was the first marine fish that got me interested in saltwater. Before I was only into freshwater fish such as flowerhorn and arowana and discus but watching the BRS team have a nuvo 20 with orange spotted filefish really inspired me. The way they swim, interact, and the color pattern just is mesmerizing so they HAVE TO BE THE "MAIN" ATTRACTION. Since this is just the rough idea I have also been thinking of adding a singular tang, a small one. After talks with so many different veteran aquarists and I will get hated on for this a small tang will do fine in there for a while. Many of them keep them in "smaller" tanks and if the fish is healthy it's healthy. I don't wanna get into oh but this tang should be kept in a tank xyz to replicate the ocean or blah blah blah I won't be keeping a foot long tang in a tank it can barely turn over that really is just inhumane. if the fish is showing signs of stress once it gets bigger then YES I WILL RELOCATE IT. A tang is just something I want and I will source a small one, as of right now. Achilles tang is in the lead for me. The colors are just striking the black and orange, the shape it just really is my favorite tank. (Hawaiian black longnose tang is pretty cool too but since Hawaii banned that will cost me a small fortune). Now for the final fish that I am thinking of is a goby pair. Not sure if I want a pair of Yasha gobies or I may try my hand at some sand sifter gobies specifically the Bella gobies. The maroon red-orange color combo is just so nice and I don't want fish that all live in the water column or all in the rocks you know what I'm saying. Maybe I'd add a couple of random tiny fishes but the Achilles tang would be the only "show" sized fish in the tank for my idea. Of course, if it really is that bad of an idea I will not be adding it but this is again just some rough ideas and a boy can dream.

First we will talk about clean up crew animals for the tank then I will get into ornamental. I personally only trust one species of hermit crabs. Scarlet hermits are just better for me. The blue-legged hermits can sometimes go on coral rampages and I did read that may happen depending on where you get it sourced from but after one destroying one of my prized weeping willows just never again on the blue legs. Scarlets are so pretty they can be costly but the mental comfort I have with them is just unmatched, Snail wise may just be some nassarius snails or the ones that are similar but have like a cool looking shell compared to them. I forget the name but those could be a maybe. Possibly just some turban snails. A tuxedo Urchin is pretty cool and seems safer than the spiky black ones which I have definitely thought about. Shrimp wise I may either get a skunk shrimp or the blood fire but I definitely prefer the skunk cleaner shrimp. NOW FOR A NICHE ANIMAL. This one is somewhat common but a pair of harlequin shrimp will definitely be making it into my tank. I will be feeding chocolate chip starfish and I know that I will have to commit to getting them starfish every couple of weeks. They just look so cool and when I want people to come into my room and see my tank I want them to see some of the most unique animals possible. An anemone has crossed my mind. I would only keep one but I have been thinking of either a rbta or a carpet nem or a ritteri anemone. This one isn't like something I am fully committed too but it's just a loose idea and I don't want clownfish so like anemone no clownfish just is a lil sad just a little. A clam is a must-have for this tank. Maxima or Deresa is going to be a tough choice but I will only be getting one.

I will be getting an auto top-off system of course for such a tank. Thinking of getting the TUNZE one for now however, will be talking to the owner of my lfs for recommendations on all the equipment. ALSO IF YOU HAVE OPINIONS AND ADVICE OR JUST KNOWLEDGE OVER EQUIPMENT PLEASE FEEL FREE TO MESSAGE ME AND LMK. Since the tank is all in one I would not be having an in sump protein skimmer however one has caught my eye. The hang on back reef octopus classic 2000. As what I have researched so far is a pretty good protein skimmer for the tank I want. The internal pump I have no idea yet any recommendations will be appreciated.

I for now am just going to leave it at that. Let me know what you think I will be updating as soon as there is something worthy but I hope to have the tank in at least one month maybe even sooner( i mean the tank just made). Thank you for reading my random rambling and feel free to message me your opinions and insight. Thank you and have a nice day!

Do you have ONE FISH that excels in all these attributes? Health, looks, temperament & activity.

  • YES (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 47 81.0%
  • NO

    Votes: 10 17.2%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 1 1.7%