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The 55 that was forced upon me


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#1
JTumbleweed

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I have had a tank thread for my pride and joy, what was my 40br, now my 58 Oceanic, for a long time now, but I thought it was time to show off the 55 gallon tank that was thrust upon me last year. My story begins with a horrible decision to purchase two Green Spotted Puffers because my wife thought they were cute...

I started a reef tank 2.5 years ago, and that was my first ever aquarium, I never had with a freshwater system before that I was able to learn with. So after about six months I was given a 15 gallon planted tank from a friend who was moving. I thought hey great, took it home and set it up. There were no fish in it so my wife and I decided to head down to the local shop where I bought all my saltwater stuff from. Of course when we got there, I let my wife pick out a fish, and she chose this guy:

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A Green Spotted Puffer, henceforth to be known as a GSP. She even named him Marcel. I don't name fish, but as soon as someone does, I start to worry more about them. So I started to do some reading on GSPs. Uhoh, they are supposed to be in brackish water. Okay I thought, easy enough, I have saltwater around already, I'll just siphon out 5 gallons of fresh and replace it with salt, done. Uhoh, I crashed the bio filter, obviously. I had no clue how to take care of a freshwater tank, after five months of salt water I barely had a grasp on that. So I found out what to do, and started a 29 planted tank, with intentions of raising the salinity slowly this time.

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That's Marcel acclimating in the pitcher, and the new puffer, named Ham Ham by my wife, acclimating in the bag. Things went well for a while, both puffers were doing fine, I kept them well fed, as you can see.

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I quickly found out that puffers need more hiding places so I had changed the theme of the tank from planted to, well, rocky I guess. It kept the puffers happier and gave them something to do rather than glass surf all day.

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When we moved into a new home I took the opportunity to upgrade Marcel's tank to a 55, in anticipation of his growth. He was about 3.5 inches at this point, and reach about 6" eventually. I had been raising the salinity slowly for almost a year, not really religiously, I was taking my time. GSPs can live just fine in full 1.024 water, and it was my goal to get him there so I could use a skimmer for waste removal, and to make it easier on myself for maintenance and water make up, etc. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the 55 as it was set up, I guess because of the move and what not.

Well, as this story closes, I had just gotten the water at about 1.024, added a skimmer, and thought I was in the clear from here on out. Then Ham Ham jumped to his death between the plastic and the back of the tank. I kept the tank well covered to avoid this, but he seemed determined to find any little hole he could and get out. Then a few months later, Marcel found his way out too. It was sad, he was like a family pet at this point, my wife fed him by hand every other day, she would let him bite a thawed shrimp and she could pull him out of the water slightly and he didn't even mind.

I was despondent. Looking at the empty tank made me sad, I figured i would just scrap it and store it, i didn't want to think about it. But, the tank stayed where it was, and a friend convinced me to keep it since it was basically a saltwater tank, albeit with lava rock instead of live rock (and aragonite sand).

Part II continued below.

#2
JTumbleweed

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Part II
  • Standard 55 gallon tank
  • Odyssea 4x54 T5 fixture
  • 2x Seio pumps
  • Reef octopus BH-100 skimmer
  • CPR Aquafuge PS II refugium
  • 150 watt heater
So I decided to replace the lava rock with live rock and start a tank with all the corals I can't keep in my SPS tank, like softies and anemones. I picked up some live rock and got started. First day:

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First few soft corals added. It was crazy, after I added the new live rock I had almost no cycle at all, and was able to start adding corals right away. I waited on fish because I was in no hurry to have two tanks to feed again.

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Addition of some more live rock, with Halimeda growing on it... Added a huge pink chalice out of my other tank. Still no fish yet.

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First fish added, a fairy wrasse which I have forgotten the name of now. It was a really cool color and an awesome fish, but twice when I walked by the tank he jumped out and slid under the chiller, and I had to scoop him back in. After that I cut egg crate and added it to the tank.

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Well it didn't last long in there, even with egg crate on the tank, which I hated. He found out how to get out within a few months.

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I had always wanted an anemone and clownfish, I loved that relationship they had, so when a local reefer had a fire sale I scooped this up along with a few other corals.

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After the anemone I added a black misbar Ocellaris which began hosting right away, which I was thrilled with. I also added my pair of PJ Cardinals from my other tank.

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A friend gave me a breeding pair of Bangaii Cardinals.

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One day I came home and my landlord had torn out the carpet in the room where the tank was and informed me he would be putting in pergo. We had discussed this before, but I didn't know he was going to come up and do it TODAY. He said, "Do you think you can move that tank tonight so I can finish tomorrow?" Yeah, sure, no problem...

All livestock and rock in temporary holding in my old 40br for two days two nights.

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After this I decided to not reuse the old sand, so I put the 55 back together barebottom for now. It has only been a few months, but I haven't seen any problems with the tank being barebottom so far. This is a fairly recent shot of the tank after I moved it back where it goes. Everything is pretty pissed, I will get a better shot soon.

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And just last weekend I added a Rusty Angel, pygmy angelfish.

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Alright, now on to regular updating! Thanks to anyone who read my whole story...

#3
got2envy

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Wow! looks great I love puffers :)

Are u using the stock t-5 bulbs on the odyssea fixture and how do you like it so far?

I was thinking of sucking the sand outta my 125g and going BB

#4
violinist

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That's a good back-story, looking forward to seeing it continue.

#5
jeremai

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those puffers were adorable! I like the way you scaped the rocks and the branch in their tank.

pretty sure jer was referring to the length

 
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#6
JTumbleweed

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Thanks guys!

I am using the stock bulbs in the odyssea fixture and I don't care form them at all. I don't think my corals are responding to them either. When I decided to buy the fixture I didn't care about the tank at all, and just got the cheapest thing I could. Now that I actually like the tank I want to upgrade the bulbs. I need to anyway, they are 6-8 months old.

Those puffers were so cute, I really miss the big one.

As far as bare bottom, I'm kind of just going to poor mans route right now and not wanting to pay for new sand. It was supposed to be temporary and I was just going to dump a bag of new sand in sometime, but I haven't done it yet. The problem I think will be that the bare bottom theory clashes with the softie theory of the tank, meaning I don't have high enough flow for a bare bottom to work because I keep it low flow for the soft corals. We will see how it goes in the future.

those puffers were adorable! I like the way you scaped the rocks and the branch in their tank.

Thanks! I really liked that tank right before I took it down, it was pretty cool.

#7
octoman

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I'm so sorry! My puffer does the same thing like what your wife did with him. They sure are little characters those ones.
racist

#8
JTumbleweed

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I'm so sorry! My puffer does the same thing like what your wife did with him. They sure are little characters those ones.

Thanks, that's funny yours does the same thing. He was a funny little guy.

#9
acropora1981

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First fish added, a fairy wrasse which I have forgotten the name of now. It was a really cool color and an awesome fish, but twice when I walked by the tank he jumped out and slid under the chiller, and I had to scoop him back in. After that I cut egg crate and added it to the tank.

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I realize that this fish has jumped to its death, but just in case you ever want another one, its a Lubbocks (Cirrhilabrus lubbocki)
"She will be mine, oh yes, she will be mine...."


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#10
JTumbleweed

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I realize that this fish has jumped to its death, but just in case you ever want another one, its a Lubbocks (Cirrhilabrus lubbocki)

Oh, thanks, sorry I missed this like 5 months ago. Now that you mention it I remember it was sold to me as a Lubbocks I think.

A few weeks ago I sold this whole system, minus a few pieces of coral sold to other people, the few I kept, and one large rock I added to my only other existing reef tank. Having one tank rules, I totally don't miss it.