85 Gallon.....3 Foot Pile of rocks.

Discussion in 'Reef Chronicles' started by Squatch XXL, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    I am starting a chronicle here for an 85 gallon 3' tank. The tank was bought used, and over 8-9 months was repaired to the best of my ability. Personally, I am skeptical, but optimistic. It is located in our downstairs family room, which no one uses, and is finished. I may have to implement a tv in addition to a fish tank to have people migrate here.

    The diy history is here: http://www.reefsanctuary.com/forum/...al-of-plastic-frame.95624/page-3#post-1324608

    Filled with water last week over approx 150# LR, and a few gallons of sterilized sea shells. Rock was 2 pieces of large agrocrete which is the back 2 grey rocks. Rest of rock is florida inland. Rocks were dense, and very boring shaped. Was cooked since 10-2016 in a dark room.

    Rocks stack in a way that none wobble. I intentionally made it look like a pile of rocks. I was not attempting to make dramatic overhangs, or caves. I wanted the most stable and simple rock pile. Technically, there is a small one out front, so there is 2 simple piles.

    Tank is peninsula, and I am seriously thinking about doing sand on one side, and CC on the other. I know eventually it will mix, but am a-ok with this.

    I only plan to keep this tank setup for a max of 5 years.

    Lighting is TBD. Bright enough for at least a few SPS on the highest point. Currently have a generic 30" quad t5.

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    Tank is filled 75% of the way because I do not have the sump setup at all, and because I want to slowly fill the tank to observe the glass work. Because this was DIY, I will be very observant.

    I believe I am getting diatoms, or red algae. Nothing else exciting.
     
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  2. Oxylebius

    Oxylebius Well-Known Member

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    Looking forward watching this one progress
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  3. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    Sump was implemented in the cheapest way possible. After trying every fish tank I own, and a small square trashcan.....I went with a $13 dollar heavy duty plastic tote. Tote is pp5, and is food safe.

    Plumbing was setup as the bare minimum dual durso with 1" pipe. Return pump is some brick and mortar store brand reef pump @ 500 gph. I will be altering it in the future to a Herbie, and will use a much better pump.

    I will be adding a partition to the sump to keep a skimmer in a section with constant water level....will use a 10 gallon tank, and incorporate mechanical filters using the cut-to-shape filter that I get at every aquarium store.

    Also planning to make a large carbon reactor out of 3-6" pvc....

    For the time being, I am content......And waiting a few weeks before putting any more effort into this. I still am optimistic that the tank will not explode or leak.





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    (Apparently my free image host is not working...Ill fix that later on)
     
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  4. Pat24601

    Pat24601 Well-Known Member

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    Your DIY skills simply amaze me!
     
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  5. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    It is a problem I have. I am as cheap as possible, and slightly insulated to what really constitutes a disaster caused by an ego or ignorance.

    I am dealing with just under than 20,000 cubic inches of water. I really think that the worst case scenario is manageable.....which is why I only plan to keep this one up for 5 years or less.
     
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  6. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    20# crushed coral added. It makes a nice look with the sea-shells....and if it doesn't, the shells will go away. Half-arsed rinsed, and I expect clearing tomorrow some time. In 2-3 weeks I'll do a full water change....and in the meantime, I need to find something that holds that much water....possibly all the empty fish tanks I have here.
     
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  7. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    The sump is working well. I wanted to keep it short as possible.

    It is this:
    http://www.lowes.com/pd/Centrex-Plastics-LLC-Commander-27-Gallon-Tote-with-Standard-Snap-Lid/3551290


    Im using a 10g tank as baffles. Ill post photos of the build for that when I find them

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    This is currently how my herbie overflow is being tested. I can only faintly hear the trickle in the backup line. It is nearly silent.

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    Currently using a super generic $30 ebay skimmer rated to 150 gallon tank. It can't flood my floor in the sump, and it seem to be very efficient. I altered a bit of the plumbing to make it be more predictable on water chamber height & changed the stock venturi valve.

    I am due for the first 100% water change. There was a brief algae outbreak that lasted 2 weeks. Pre-curing rocks is the only way to go.
     
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  8. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    Currently I have the entire tank supported by 2 large foam pads that take up the entire area that the frame does not.

    The edges of the tank sit 7/16" above the plywood frame.

    I read that this is not best, and am going to be fixing it. Need to remove the water and rock than just pull the foam out. I am not the biggest fan of the rocks, and I am doing a 50% wc. its the perfect time.
     
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  9. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    Project complete.

    As it stands:

    I removed the egg-crate back-wall. It was ugly. It does have its place, but not here. I used my 2 large agrocrete pieces to keep the rocks from touching the back wall anywhere.

    I still have to smooth out the 20# crushed coral and sea-shells.

    Rock still has some ugly cyano and some green algae. Lights are provided by a 4x 24" t5 fixture. 50/50 actinic/10k.

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    The supply from the sump is not permanent. The pump is getting changed, and that whole line is going away lol.

    I like the scape better now than before. I made more room from the glass wall to the foot of the pile. The right side is steeper than the left side. The center look has a nice deep feel. The rear wall paint job looks superb.

    I have not decided on final powerhead options, but I am looking for something that is possibly programmable.....or at least works great with a dollar store timer.
     
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  10. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    Outfitting tank with a pair of generic quad t5ho. I have had luck in the past with them, and if I need more power, I will retro-fit reflectors into a custom hood....but that is a deal for later down the road. I expect lights on tank by Tuesday. I think that should be enough light for most corals, and too much for some.

    I have stomatella that have apparently been very "busy" and I have them everywhere. Cyano spots are few, and are starting to lift away from the rocks. Tommorrow I am changing at least 50% of the water.
     
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  11. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    20 gallons of water changed.

    15 new and fresh, 5 from the other tank's water change. Cyano was sucked out and came off easily and with little effort. I rearranged the crushed coral to cover more of the light diffuser. 20lb of crushed coral is very close to not enough to cover the bottom. I don't know if I like that idea or not, but I don't plan on burrowing fish or inverts.

    I have a nice compartment in my sump that exactly half of a can of activated carbon fits in. 100% of the water is being sponge and charcoal filtered. I figure by tomorrow at this time I can get a very clear photo. I love carbon cleaned water.
     
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  12. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    https://reefcorner.com/reef-database-index/hitchhiker-index/stomatella/

    These things are EVERYWHERE. I would not call it a nuisance at all. It is great to see that they are certainly living and multiplying. They eat algae & they are prolific. My wrasse in my 40 loves em. smashes them all over the place. Still hasn't made a dent in that population either.

    The light colors are certainly more "cool" in this tank than the 40, and I love the look of the 40, I also love the cold look that this has. It feels like it should be that color because of its size.

    I am expecting the other lights by Friday night, and will begin to move some frags of monti and cyphestra to see how they respond.


    Here is where I get lost.
    Is is appropriate to move all livestock in a short time? Is there stocking guidelines for this sort of thing? Every time I have moved this much livestock, it was in an emergency....in that situation, there are always casualties. Its hard to duplicate conditions when you mixed the water 8 minutes ago though.

    any experience in this sort of thing, let me know.
     
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  13. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    Lights came in. Another standard generic t5 hood w/single reflector. This will do for a few months. I do love LEDs, and can see that they are the real deal....and in most ways superior to other forms....I simply cannot afford lights that will give me the ability to dictate color. I am more concerned about having limited options than the actual options.

    IF I do not go led as an upgrade path, I can see a retro-fit led/t5 combo for a mix of both....I think that would be my only real choice.

    Lights are now identical sets of "Generic" ebay quad t5. Since they are 30", and the tank is 36" I am temporarily holding them over the tank with the 2 pieces from the glass hood of a 24" tank. Seems to be working.

    I need to increase flow on the left side. It should help with the algae. Im running a 225gph on the other side, and I think the same would be perfect. The goal is to get a flow that pushes matter up, and back toward the surface skimmer.

    I moved over some canary-in-a-cage corals today. 2 cyphestra, and 1 small zoa colony. The zoas have been pissed at me for months, and this is not the best they have looked ever lol. I am convinced that the cyphestra will live and thrive. If you have ever read the Steven King comic "Creepshow", I am convinced that is the stuff that covered everything in the one episode.

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  14. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    Tank looks pretty much the same vs the last photo.


    There was an issue with one of the light's LED system. The store just sent me another unit for free. Throw it out or fix it were options given with the replacement.

    I took it apart and since I technically own 3 identical units it was very informative.....Loose wire found/issue was resolved.

    At this point, I currently have 12x 24"/24w bulbs. Realistically, this could be a huge cost over time. I am looking at various ways to "step" the lights on and off to prolong bulb life AND support corals. More than likely I will stagger purchases over the year or during sales. (The last sale I found I bought Geissman 36" bulbs for $10-$12 each....Had I known that sales were not frequent, Id have spent lots lots more).

    So to say it honestly, the tank is bright. I have no doubt of supporting various SPS species as it stands. The free bulbs are not really up to par, but the "actinics" will be the first set to get replaced.

    I moved some zoas and cyphestra over from my other tank to test the waters, and so far no deaths have been reported.

    I still have great success with breeding stomatella snails. I have not gotten any CUC yet, but am going for various crustys with research. There is lots of neat small crabs, so it should be a good time getting a good mix.

    Eventually, I would like conditions to be suitable for anemones. Next year I will be looking at lighting changes/upgrades to accommodate this. For now I am happy with the current look.
     
    #14
  15. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    "Tank" has been maintained for the last few months using 10g bi-weekly water changes. Rocks have been swapped in and out for my other tank. pretty much nothing but basic coraline spots starting to show. Stomatella snails are doing well.

    A few months back I relocated all of the corals to be returned to the DT. Life side tracked me and I never got bulbs for the lights.

    Finally got something to play with for lighting. I ordered 2 of the black box 165w leds. Ill see if/how I like the color, than Ill add to that with 4x t5s and some quality bulbs.


    Eventually I am going to consolidate my tanks together. I found certain corals that are wonderful, I simply don't want them. Some will stay back in the 40g "????" tank. Ill be bringing over my pocci, monti, blue ridge, acro and a milep.

    I like the blue ridge coral a bunch. It looks awesome, but it also looks like it could be a nuisance, and will be monitored.

    Rocks will be moved around again. I don't like it still, and there is no coral. I may want some epic overhangs or crazy caves. I have 3 dimensions to work with.
     
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  16. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    I finally made some headway with this tank. I got lights, and today finally moved corals over from my DT to this, my new DT....She is slightly older, and wider but she is better.



    I got a pair of black box 55x3w led systems. The name brand is irrelevant because the sticker fell off of both during unboxing. Some of my pictures are with the blue lights off. One of my cameras does not like the blue spectrum.
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    Here is the lights hung @ 14" above the surface of the water. I won't mess with it, and it seems perfect. very little spill out the "front".

    I moved all my hard corals over. I moved rocks back to my other tank, which is not officially retired.....it will be used for fragging and growouts.

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    After coral:

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    Someone told me that these "wave-making" devices will be the new future of reef keeping. I looked into it for a year, and finally found one that does everything I need:

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    Works great with a powerhead. fire and forget. Cutting edge mid 90s technology.

    So the tank looks great. The corals have responded well to moving tanks and lights. I will keep an eye out for the signs of too much light damage. Water change of 20 gallons is on Sunday.

    I need to get a clean-up crew?

    I currently have a large amount of stomatella snails. do I need to invest in a CUC?

    Fish: I am going to be shopping for a pair of gold striped maroon clowns. Eventually some sort of anemone.


    I have no plans to tussle too much with coral locations. I have one to move/swap with another....I have a "blue ridge" that is getting too much water motion:

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    I have a few other "small pieces" to move over to this, than I am done. I haven't bought any coral since last spring. I may need to fire up a q-tank....

    The next time I reach my hands into the water, I have a few rocks that need to get moved off the substrate. I was just done and tired. I got lots done for the day.
     
    #16
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
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  17. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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    Looking good ! :clownfish:

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    #17
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  18. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    Finally got it "cleaned" up so that it does not look so messy. LED lights are pretty slick. They are not my personal first choice in lighting, but they certainly seem to have the power to keep coral happy. The shadows are nice....the shimmer effect from 110 diodes is terrible, but I am getting used to it. I found that I can stop it with some light diffuser...sure it blocks some of the light, but I doubt Ill ever need to run these at half strength.

    The blue channel makes most of my coral pop quite nicely.

    I did place a rock with zoas and paly in the tank because of the glowing. My green zoa that grow too fast glow orange. My green paly...they glow radioactive green. They are separated from the remaining rocks and will never touch. My thoughts on that space is that it is a space that I can remove this rock and put a clam, anemone or some other piece. I would not mind having one anemone in the future, but I don't dare place one now.....I guarantee some sort of "incident" after moving every coral into it....It may just be a simple and small algae thing, or it could be worse. Either way, the donor tank is still up and running.

    This tank feels like it needs fish. At the moment, I am thinking about 2 average sized young clowns and 3-5 cardinals.

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    #18
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  19. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    15 gallon WC today. At this point, I can drain 20 gallon and not yet have a coral out of water. I do like the loads of "void" space in the water column. This is my first tank over 18" deep, and the arm-pits are so so close in this one.
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    I am still moving around things as they need to be. I moved the frog spawn back to purgatory tank because this one simply has too much water motion. 1200+ gpm currently with 2 powerheads, one "wavemaker" and 1 return from the sump.

    Sump needed a light. I had a brand new never used LED shop light...I've had it for years unused.. I just attached with a screw, and my sump has been upgraded to ultra-luxury.
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    DIY frag rocks that have been in there since october...shortly they will go to the purgatory tank also.

    My Amish style sump uses 2 baffles with 2 pieces of diy cut filter. One is carbon infused, the other is some part for a fluval canister. They fit between the 2 baffles, and do a good job of getting particles hung up. Under them and also in between the baffles is a HUGE bag of activated carbon. Short of a carbon reactor, I can't force much more.

    My skimmer is a no-name generic. It does a good job, but required weeks of constant changes to get it to work perfectly. It is very very fickle about the depth of the water the body is sitting in. Most of the valves and junk that came with it got tossed out. So when I made this sump, the level of the sump was intended for this skimmer. There is no open/close valve to control water level...there is no need. It does what I need, but is terrible in the aspect that I had to drill out the venturi, and totally remove the outlet plumbing (neither worked from factory). It is the first piece of equipment to be replaced.

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    #19
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  20. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    Nothing new, good or bad.....So in reef keeping terms, everything is great.

    My local reef club is using my house as a meeting place tommorrow, so it should be good to get some feedback on my ghetto DIY setup.

    Here are some photos of my tank. I cleaned it earlier this week, and I am starting to get green coraline on the glass.....I may have to invest in a good scraper or DIY one.

    I can say that I am not sure about the color of these lights. I have some zoas that are fading out, and I don't think it is light strength, but color.....However, all of the hard corals are doing exceptional. My acan is doing well. The scroll coral has grown more in the past few months than ever before....This is a hard coral tank, so I am happy with the way things are going.


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    #20
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