Squatch's Continuing Adventure with a 40g breeder

Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member
I like your rockscape a lot.
Thanks. It is ONLY possible because of agrocrete. impossible shapes help create lots of caves, and I was able to isolate the anemones to the same cove....I built lots of agrocrete back when DSB was a thing, so I have lots of pieces that make nice saddles across. Big pieces shaped like delta wings. Piece on right is shaped like an elephant head, and is huge. I have no idea how I got the left side to sit so tall and be 100% stable. Every piece observes the 3 points of contact rule, and is a tower independent from the right side. I love the left side, and can't put that yellow pocci there because it will be out of the water.

The more I use this 40, the more I love this size & dimensions. I may look into a custom glass to build one for myself. LIG front & sides/Black glass back & bottom. I may as well make custom rock work at that point as well......However, I still have never owned a 30 long....it seems like a

If the wrasse doesn't get it, I will just have to cave in, and make something more serious....Like dump a pile of crushed coral and sand in the corner, and block it using LPS frags as binders.

I have one pp 15 running the pulse mode on lowest setting and it seems quite nice. The nems & other softies are shielded pretty much from the direct blast of the wavemaker, and are looking well.

I need carbon. Ill figure something out.....


The fish seems to have found the bed. It is all mussed up, and I don't see the fish...there is substrate strewn about.
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Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member

Yesterday night I moved all the corals around, and everything that was in the lower tank up to the DT. I had to add a skimmer, and since my 90g was shut down I stole its. It has made a great amount of mess already and it was totally cleaned. It may be a junk skimmer, but It makes a mess.

There is WAY more coral then needs to be. I am thinking that 10 gallon/week water changes are necessary until further notice. I am expecting my frogskin to die. They seem to hate being out of the water, even for fragging. Lots of bleaching, and what looks like dead skin. Everything else is perking up/coloring up just fine.

I do like how in the previous uses, the urchin chewed the paint off the overflows. Now you can see through it like nothing to the other side of the tank. BONUS! Clear view.

Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member
Wow, big move! Looking good!
Thanks. I had better planning for this one. Every time it gets easier. I think it is wise to understand that you always have to "uninstall" a fish tank and it takes much much longer. It has been a week, and my 90 gallon "donor" sump still has water. The top is nearly dry. I am thinking about a cleaning & sale as is/where is....that is another issue.

But, I got the "sump divider" I made for my skimmer, and it fits the 20g sump like a charm. I had some time to fiddle with my 2012 camera-phone, and found some way to get better pictures.

The living things look good. I was going to go skimmerless, but got scared because I saw some algae lol. I robbed the leftovers from the 90. I was going to go skimmerless, but got scared because I saw some algae lol. I douse modified vinegar, and don't dare go without.

Full tank. I gave up trying to keep neat separated colonies. They go where they fit, and if they get into warfare, they get trimmed/fragged. I am running a 6x36" t5ho fixture. I want clams in the future.

This is leftovers from the "boneyard". These are things that broke and survived the move. I have been depositing them into the rocks in similar groups at random.

Right side of tank random image. I wanted to leave lots of room for the softies to shield them from the wavemakers. It seems to work really well. The scroll coral is perked up.

Center-ish shot. This is an alcove that holds 3 of my anemones. The clowns coincidentally live here. They are shielded from most of the wavemakers. They still sway, which they seem to like.

I have way too many corals to list, and don't care to list them. This is a screenshot of every easy to care for "hard" coral. Watch with me as they live or die based on the whim of Neptune!

This is where the wrasse sleeps. It can't make its own bed, but really has taken to it.

Front and top view of sump. Showing simple dump into the sump divider. Ill get filter media in it tomorrow. I am out of steam today.

This is the sump that was in my 90, and I literally just perfected it for detritus removal. It should work excellent when I get the filters installed tomorrow.



I was going to go bare bottom, but as a total noob I have a big giant hand print that was never washed from the bottom glass. it is impossible now. I am thinking about black sand/crushed rock.....I do like the look when it is done right.
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Well-Known Member
Great detailed pics!

I think I kinda would have preferred if I had gone with black sand/crushed rock. That’s what I do in my freshwater and I like the look a lot better.

Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member
black sand/crushed rock.
The local store had some in stock...some of the stuff that is no-rinse "already cured" & wet. I know how much crushed coral I took out, and could use a whole lot less. Since my back wall is black, It seems almost necessary. I read some comments about it being magnetic or sticking to the scraper....we will see. I will check it before it leaves the store. It does not buffer, which actually is a huge turn off for me. Half of my rock is DIY. The other half is inland mined. I am torn between function and visual pleasure....leaning toward the free crushed coral that I have 10 gallon of....just less.

This is going to be tricky, and I may go back to my standard crushed coral. I have a LOT of nutrient depleting corals that were living in twice the water a few weeks back, and doing well. I laugh because most of them are encrusted to rocks enough that they simply stayed.

At my previous residence, I was apparently spoiled. ROTTEN. I forgot how warm the top layer of water gets, because my sumps were on a cold concrete floor....I had to elevate the lights off the top of the tank to correct a temp issue....It felt warm. and 2 thermometers checked at 80-81....Only the top few inches. I hung the lights from the 9 foot ceiling. I was going to eventually, but after Christmas. While I was at it, I re-added my 5-gallon Gto. My goal with it is 5-7 days auto-pilot. This is a potential semi-official removable shelf.

Also, made the left overflow durso hole smaller. It reduced gurgling to silence. Bubbles in the sump gone. I also have a "durso" in the sump to reduce bubbles. I capped it and put a hole in it, and it has been dead quiet.

Don't judge my mess. The foam container is my wet things work bench. It is full of all sorts of fun things that leave your hands wet. Glues, frag plugs, small heaters etc. Just FYI, they work great for this and many other things in the hobby, and are cheap.

Hoping this fixes the heating issue. Also, not enjoying the evaporation at 3 quarts/day. I removed the custom fitted egg-crate lid with the 2 pieces of glass that came with the tank. I removed the hinge and back plastic, and they both fit PERFECT. There is a 1/8" gap in between the pieces on both sides and they don't fog up at all.

I re-arranged some things. Moved the acros toward the dead-wood pile. Changed out a day-light bulb for actinic. 3 out of 5 are actinic. One of the wires is failed, and so I only use 5 bulbs. Eventually Ill get it fixed. I may go 4 actinic/2 daylight. at that point. Id like to color up some of my pieces. I may need more fish and more advice on coral coloration
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Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member
A lot of work, but it pays off!
It has paid off. I am chuffed. I had a plan over the course of a few days. Everything made it aside from the acros, but I figured if something died, it would be them.

Waiting to move the filters killed me. Without them, algae started it....the instant I added the skimmer back, it vanished. I have been treating the water with vinegar, so it is imperative that I continue to use a skimmer.

I cleaned the skimmer today while on the subject. Wow. It was bad enough I could vomit, and almost did. Seems to be working great! I may yet remove the venturi and add a bubble stone....I just like the quantity of bubbles from the wood blocks better.

Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member
I got lazy, and need to get more fish. I am out of clown fish. They keep dying. I have 50 crabs and snails coming in this week. I think I counted 1 member of the CUC. One hermit crab.

My lps seem to love whatever I am doing, and are growing faster then I think I have seen ever. the acan is spreading rapidly. I have a scroll coral in the back that is doing the same. It looks like the zoas have been maintaining and shrinking. The rest of the livestock is growing about the same.

Tank is still alive and well. The colors suck. Everyone keeps saying to add fish, and I never do. I think it is something with my water. I never had great color, but good growth.

Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member
LPS are really my favorite.
They are growing on me. The lps side of my tank gets pretty random flow, and they are interesting. I didn't intend to have them either but something called a "Lord Howensis" sounds like something I certainly wanted. The scroll coral was $5 because the store had no idea what it was (neither did I). The frogspawn just popped up one day.

I am using well water at this point, and not even filtering. I didn't even bother to test it. 3 months in and I am impressed. After moving the tank, I can't find any of my test kits. I never used them anyway.

I wish the hard corals grew as fast, because WE are sick people. I know I think it is exciting to watch corals grow. Most people think I am insane for the excitement I get from feeding new coral heads.

We had a great power surge the other week because of a tree falling. We actually cooked a few different electronics...Boiler control PCB COOKED. Circulating pump on boiler COOKED. Phone charger of wifes COOKED. Jaebo pp15 COOKED. It took a few days for all these things to fail, and it was only last week. I expect more in the coming weeks. When it happened, I knew something bad went down. I was upstairs, and I seen lights flicker and there was an awful crunching noise from somewhere below me. It could have been the tank, or any thing else I haven't found yet. I ordered a pp8 the other day to replace it. I don't need another 15. I don't know how Jaebo is with returns but I would love to get it repaired/replaced.

Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member
I missed some monthly updates. Tank is doing well. I am in the process of waiting for some "fixes" to my lights. I have a Hamilton Fiji Sun lighting system I picked up 2nd hand (6x t5ho). It is getting to a point it needs work. One out of 2 fans died long ago....I let it go. The second fan seems to be on the decline in RPMs. The heat from this killed a ballast, so I am down to 2 out of 3 banks of lights. I replaced this ballast once before, and I don't know what the problem is.

I ordered 2 new fans, 2 new ballasts and a new set of Gieseman bulbs. I have been using them for a few years, and really enjoy them...but I have NEVER used true actinics, and had a medly of bulbs...half daylight, and half color enhancer. This time, I am going with straight 50/50% actinic and 10k.....However, I still have a new "Tropic" 6500k I may use as the center "daylight" bulb. Lighting schedule will start in the back set of 2 bulbs, then to the front set and finally to the center set. I don't plan on keeping all 3 sets on long, but as they go out in sequence, the center set would be the last on, and may provide a different viewing experience.

Growth of my corals has been phenomenal. Nearly to the point that I am now looking at having to get a pair of pruning shears. EVERYTHING except my zoas is doing great, which is good....I hate them things. Colors suck. I don't judge my tank based totally on colors however....but I am thinking that lack of true actinics has caused this. I won't know for a few months.

Pictures will follow soon. I promise. I have been so busy the last 2 months.


I am noticing that my previous photos are gone. Seems that postimg is less about photos and more about kicking the bucket. That is a shame, but thankfully I have all of them saved and somewhat organized. I may edit and upload them back where they belong for posterity's sake. I had a catastrophic backup hard drive crash the other month and nearly lost EVERYTHING. I was elated to find out that I had a backup backup of my past photos....Years worth of items however are gone...some irreplaceable.
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Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member
Today was "Fix-it" day for my hood. I got all the supplies...and even ordered extra. I replaced one fan, one ballast and 6 bulbs.

I may have made a mental error on bulbs....I thought I ordered, and wanted to order 10k bulbs + true actinic...but I ordered 6k + true actinic. Oh well....better luck next year. I am sure it will be fine. I wanted 10k for my enjoyment, but I do know that 6-7k has worked well for me & others. It may be placebo, but the tank looks more clear. Perhaps because it is less blue then before?

I had electrical questions, and I know @PaulB is a sparky. Perhaps others understand. I am just a plumber, so wires are foreign to me.

Here is how the ballast is configured inside the hood. Red wires on the top right side of the ballast go to the one side of Each of the bulbs (2 wires/2 bulbs), while the SINGLE yellow goes to the other side of the bulbs, and is jumpered between them (1 wire/2 bulbs). So 2 red wires IN and 1 yellow wire OUT. This is how it was from factory, and I have ripped this unit apart before. Black and white are 120v +/-.
My question:

What are the 2 red wires on the bottom right of the ballast that are cut off? Why are they cut off? What purpose would they have? I am using an identical replacement ballast and have it configured identically. I am sure that it is done right by Hamilton, but I like to question everything.

*Edited for clarity*
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Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member
Picked up a few new Acans at the local frag swap. I un-plugged them and glued them to some custom made grow-out rocks (super glue and rubble w/flat bottom). My established acan was doing so well, I simply could not pass these colors up. I hope they do as well as the other one. I would LOVE to have a side of my tank covered in these things. The one I have eats so much, and is entertaining to watch when it is feeding time. I never thought I would enjoy them, but after a bit they grew on me.

I also picked up 2 dumb clown fish....$5 a piece is a fair price for a dumb fish. I needed fish, and since the seller had hundreds of them, I figured I would help.

Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member
Colors have been improving the last few weeks. I have been doing heavy feedings + heavy cleaning and it seems to be working. I may yet add some "diverse" crabs/shrimp if the wrasse doesn't eat it.

Random Pocci + purple stylo (left) + Blue ridge (center)

a frag of "rainbow" pocci on left, and pink on the right. The rainbow is the only piece that survived an algae infestation a year ago. It seems to be coloring up nice. Id love to have it fill out like the others.
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Squatch XXL

Well-Known Member
A few days back I got a frag rack in the mail.
yesterday I got some better timers for my lights.

2 bulbs

4 bulbs

Timer settings:

6.5 hours each set = 19.5 hours/day with 6 bulbs on for .5 hour

09:30am on / 04:00pm off Rear pair t5
12:30pm on / 07:00pm off Middle pair t5
03:30pm on / 10:00pm off Front pair t5

last week
8 Hours for 2 sets, and 7.5 hours for 1 set = 23.5 hours/day with full set for 4 hours. I feel like this is too much.

10:30am on / 06:30pm off Rear pair t5
02:30pm on / 10:00pm off Middle pair t5
10:30am on / 06:30pm off Front pair t5

Previous to repairing hood

it was just front and rear sets of lights doing 8 hours each set = 16 hours with 4 hours of overlap and various colors of bulbs except actinic.

10:30am on / 06:30pm off Rear pair t5
02:30pm on / 10:00pm off Front pair t5

Id love to find some sort of DIY 120v timer w/ground that could control 3-4 outlets. I could run one plug to the hood, and have all the electronics hanging with it.

I haven't really screwed around with the tank since the first week after it was setup from the transfer. Everything has recovered. Yesterday I moved some rocks, and found some things I figured had died....somehow lived.

I have a whole lot of mess going on down the back corner of the tank...Lots of green pocci & psammocora just gone wild.

It was where I have been tossing neglected corals and some of them are spreading. There is some purple stylo and a few random pieces of monti.

This is way over in the back corner of the otherside.

I found 2 extra encrusting monti and a cyphestra living, and starting to look good. The cyphestra is growing on a big travertine tile. In a few weeks I can pop the rocks off and frag it out.

The tank is officially out of control. I have no room for anything on top, because it will be covered in a year if I keep up with it. I honestly think having a bare bottom and heavy filters keeps it so clean.

I have a few rocks to move yet on the right side, and I am going to try to get the big yellow/green pocci to tie into 2 other pieces of it so I don't have to worry about gluing it down again. It is getting heavy. There is a rock with a small bta on it. When I move that down (or out to a new home), I will attach the big yellow pocci one more time. I had to move it last time because the tips were getting dry. I also moved the blue ridge to the side. It seems content no matter where I put it. Its a really neat coral.

Acans starting to get really nice colors.

Random yuma that has survived years like this.
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