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Mr. Microscope's Roughneck Frag Tub


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#1
Mr. Microscope

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Hello All,

So, I've been sans aquarium for a while since I moved from NYC to Evanston, IL. I used to run a 3 gallon pico at my office in my previous job, but decided to do a complete take down and sell off rather than worry about moving the tank across the country. I've been going nuts reading all of your threads and drooling over your beautiful tanks and new corals. I'm going to be getting a real tank soon, but to get me started I began this frag tank. Most of it has been thrown together from bits and pieces I had left over from my pico. The rest was purchased from local reefers and a couple items online.

The focus for this tank will be on high end zoas. I'll be growing out my favorites in anticipation of the real tank (25 or 37 gallon cube), and selling some. I'm also going to take the opportunity to experiment with a couple other corals that I don't have experience with. I'd like to try my hand at acans. Finally, my wife has taken an interest in helping me propagate the corals and maintaining the tank. So, I hope she can have fun with it as well.

FTS 2011.09.04

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Here's a breakdown on what's going on here:

  • Rubbermade Roughneck 16 gallon tub
  • K2 (600gph)
  • Rio 600 (200gph)
  • 4x24inch T5 Current USA Nova Extreme
  • LEDs from my old pico (4RB, 1CB, 2NW XR-E Crees)
  • AC70 fuge modification with filter floss and chaeto
  • About 20 lbs. live rock (BRS Pukani Rubble and Premium Aquatics Premium Rubble) curing for six months plus. It's sitting on some small egg crate tables that lifts if up approximately a half inch to allow flow.
  • Egg Crate array for frags put together with zip ties
  • BlackrockReef MR3.S frag rack (cause there's room for it)
  • 100 Watt Aqueon Pro Heater
  • Kent Reef Salt (gotta 200 gallon bucket!)
  • BRS 5 stage RO/DI water filtration system water
  • Kitchen Cart
Here's the cart I'm using for this thing. I picked it up on amazon a few years ago. We didn't need it after moving and it was just sitting around. So, my wife suggested I use it for the frag tank.
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To make it simple, I just have the lights sitting on the top shelf. The spacing I have here gives me a lot of room work work in the tank. Plus, I'll be able to get lots of nice top down shots of all the pretty things that are going to grow in here.
In the left image you'll see the rack I made. I've since modified it slightly by cutting out a few squares on the right side to allow me to stick my hand though if necessary or put an additional K-Nano if I feel I want more flow.
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As for flow, I understand I'm kinda overkilling it a bit. I've got about 15 gallons of water in this thing. Between the K2, the Rio600, and the AC70, I possibly have more than 60x turn over, but it really doesn't seem like that much in there. Honestly, the Rio seems more powerful than the K2. Also, I have the AC on a medium to low setting since I'm using it as a fuge. I have the K2 pointing directly into my rubble pile, and the Rio600 has it's nozzle positioned under the egg crate tables that I made to set the live rock on. So, there's tons of flow directly underneath all the rock. I don't have any coral in there yet. So, i guess I'll see if they're getting blown to bits once I get something in there. I can always take out a pump or replace it with a weaker one. On reserve are my K-Nano and my Pico Evo. Feel free to add any thoughts on flow for me.
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So, for live rock, I got some fantastic stuff this weekend. It's really beautiful. A local reefer hooked me up with some BRS Pukani rubble, BRS shelf rock, and Premium Aquatics Premium rubble. He'd been curing/cooking them for about six months and they're pest and algae free. Honestly, this is some of the coolest rock I've seen and I think it would look great in a show tank, but I'm glad to have it in my tub. I'm not expecting to see much of a cycle, so I think I'll be contacting ReefCleaners in a few days to get a CUC. Probably about 10 dwarf ceriths, and 10 mixed hermits.

Also, on the list of livestock will be a pair of small clowns that I'll eventually move to my bigger tank when it's built (which will be my next thread). Though, I'd like to have one or two fish in there when I move the clowns out. The logic being that fish poo is good for corals and helps boost the nutrient level of the water. I'm open to suggestions on fish if anyone wants to chime in. I'd like to stay away from damsels though.

Edited by Mr. Microscope, 09 February 2012 - 07:28 PM.

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#2
Mr. Microscope

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Update 2011.09.09

I got my first clowns yesterday along with a few crabs. They're a couple of percs. I'm really happy with the clowns I found! They almost look like a Grade B Picasso. The one with a little additional black is slightly bigger. So, I'm guessing it'll become the female, but who knows at this point. They both took to food right away during acclimation and found a territory after being released into the frag tank. It's really fun to watch them. They came from a tank full of clowns, but seemed to have instantly paired up. They swim together all the time. Years ago when I had a FW tank, the fish that lasted the longest were named by my wife. So, now it's always up to her to name fish. She chose Gramma for the one that we think will become the female and Bobo for the other.

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Here's a fun little movie. Music by Chateau Flight.

Clowns20110908-1.mp4 video by Mr_Microscope - Photobucket


The crabs I got were 3 blue leg, 3 zebra, and 3 left handed. I'm expecting the rest of my CUC delivered early next week from ReefCleaners and will consist of 20 dwarf ceriths, 2 nassarius vibex, and Pods+.
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#3
paratiddies

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Glad to see you back in the game, I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the new tank. I learned a lot from your pico thread when I started lurking here last year, there's lot of great info in there

#4
Mr. Microscope

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Glad to see you back in the game, I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the new tank. I learned a lot from your pico thread when I started lurking here last year, there's lot of great info in there

Thanks paratiddies! I can't wait to get this thing loaded up with frags.
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#5
Mr. Microscope

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It begins!........
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#6
Ezsharkman

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Not that is what i call a custom build

#7
Amo2011

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welcome to IL. I am in chicago so we are neighbors. I look forward to your high end zoas..... Check out midwest coral in highland park north of you. Heading up there this weekend.
RSM 130D with a GREAT 24 LED retro from www.LEDREEF.com

#8
JNA_DESIGN

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I always wanted to make a kiddy pool frag tank >.<
Dont think it work out all to great being on the 3rd floor and all.

#9
Mr. Microscope

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welcome to IL. I am in chicago so we are neighbors. I look forward to your high end zoas..... Check out midwest coral in highland park north of you. Heading up there this weekend.

Thanks Amo! I haven't been there yet, but have heard good things. I signed up for their email and saw that they are having a sale this week. Good hunting to'ya!

I always wanted to make a kiddy pool frag tank >.<
Dont think it work out all to great being on the 3rd floor and all.

LOL! Uber lagoon style! Seems like something I'd fall into.
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#10
Mr. Microscope

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Update 2011.09.17
Acclimation complete!

I made a photo box out of acryilc to get some images of my new frags. I used a soldering iron to weld it all together.

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Here are the spoils. I ordered a combination of Softies, LPS, and SPS. to start the collection. Here's the LPS. I don't know much about identifying them other than being favia, acan, etc. Please chime in if you know what their trade names are.
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I also got this small chalice frag. I think it's a Mummy Eye. The image on the right are Happy Samheim Zoas. I can't believe how tiny they are. Really a unique breed. They get a nice glow under actinics.
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I got some Lunar Eclipse zoas and thought I'd try my hand at Ricordea. I like that it has three tones. These also have a really amazing glow!
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Finally, the SPS! I got some ORA Hawkins Blue Enchinata, ORA Red Planet, ORA Joe the Coral, Tyree Satosa, what I think is a Strawberry Millipora, a Garf Bonsia, and some purple Acropora.
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In the next few weeks the collection will expand. I've got some frags that a friend in NJ has been propagating from my old picotope. I'm not sure what he's going to send, but I'm pretty sure there's going to be a bunch of zoas. I'm also planning to go to the frag swap in Milwaukee on October 1st. I can't wait to see what I find there. Hopefully, they have a raffle like the Manhattan Frag Swap always did.

Edited by Mr. Microscope, 17 September 2011 - 06:14 PM.

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#11
Mr. Microscope

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Well. That was fast. My new ricordea attached itself to the rock already. It photographs much nicer on the rock than under a potato bag mesh.
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Also, I got my 10 watt halogen fuge light from InTank today. I can now have the chaeto growing at night without flooding the apartment with light.
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Edited by Mr. Microscope, 18 September 2011 - 04:50 PM.

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#12
Mr. Microscope

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Update 2011.09.28

A local reefer friend took me to the nicest LFS I've ever seen this past weekend. Midwest Coral Farm. It's a good thing he took me there because I would have never found it. LOL! They had a beautiful SPS tank and they cut me a frag right off on of the main colonies. I got something that looks like a candlelight acro (left). In an SPS frag tank, I found this yellow thing (right). I have no idea what it is, but It glows like crazy under RB's! Finally, I got this beautiful pearlberry from my friend (middle). My old iPhone really doesn't do these corals any justice.
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I also picked up these awesome green/blue and pink ricordea as well as and a couple zoa frags.
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One of the zoa frags looks like a bunch of Fruit Loops (left) and the others (right) look like yellow LA Lakers, but the colors are a bit more intense and the LFS guy recommended I keep them in lower light. I think they're some sort of deep water variety.
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I made one change to the setup. The SPS that I started with started loosing a little color. So, I brought my LEDs down and set them up on some egg crate. I've noticed an improvement already.
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Also, I've noticed a bit of briopsys algae growth. I added some chemipure and have backed off on feeding this week. I'll be doing a 15-20% water change and might add an emerald crab. The funny thing is that my rocks look really clean. All the algae is on the egg crate and the frag plugs. I guess the CUC is having a hard time getting up there. D'oh! :wacko:

I'm going to the frag swap in the Discovery World along the lake shore of Milwaukee. This scientific educational facility cultures their own corals and will be selling them at the swap as well. I can't wait to see what this swap has in store. There should be lots of vendors and I've haven't seen this place since they moved into this new building. They used to be located downtown with the city library.

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Edited by Mr. Microscope, 28 September 2011 - 07:34 PM.

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#13
jdl

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wow man that is pretty sweet! cant wait to see the new tank

#14
_Mitch_

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This is ... pretty ghetto! But I like it! Very utilitarian.

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Check out my YouTube Channel


I use an MP10 just to mix new water...

ಠ_ಠ


#15
howie1son

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I'm also going to that swap meet! First time going also! Can't wait to see what is all there! Hopeing to pick up some zoas!! Fingers crossed! Oh did you have all that equipment laying around and wondered what you could do with it? If so, Well Done Sir!

#16
Mr. Microscope

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wow man that is pretty sweet! cant wait to see the new tank

Thanks jdl! It's in the works! I was discussing the stand with my father-in-law today. He's going to help me build it.

This is ... pretty ghetto! But I like it! Very utilitarian.

Thanks Mitch!
I'll agree. It's extremely ghetto! But, this little tub is scratching my reefing itch until I get the DT going. It's going to be a very clean build. Quite a contest to this fun little monstrosity.
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#17
Mr. Microscope

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I'm also going to that swap meet! First time going also! Can't wait to see what is all there! Hopeing to pick up some zoas!! Fingers crossed! Oh did you have all that equipment laying around and wondered what you could do with it? If so, Well Done Sir!

Awesome! Feel free to look for me. I'll be the nerd with a beard like in my avatar pic. :lol:
How will I find you?
Some of the equipment was left over from my pico build. Some of it like the lighting and pumps were recent purchases from local reefers. One update I forgot to mention is that I rigged up my old Koralia Nano in the back corner of the tub opposite the K2 pointing at the surface. I have it connected with the timer that controls the white lights. So, it come on during the, "daylight hours" of my lighting cycle.
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#18
Meximazing

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Digging it man. Looking forward to watching these corals grow. I'm interested in doing a small frag tank identical to this.

#19
xxbrianxx

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following, I love these kinds of builds haha. lookin good.

#20
Mr. Microscope

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Update 2011.10.10

Okay, so the swap was two weekends ago, but I finally got around to grabbing some pics. I've had some casualties which has kinda bummed me out. I bought some candy apple reds. I've been wanting those for a couple years now. Unfortunately, they melted on me. I also got this awesome yellow and orange monti:

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Unfortunately, this one succumbed to RTN over the weekend. It's a shame because it was an amazing specimen. I'm just glad I got a good pic before losing it.

On the plus side, my LPS and SPS is really starting to take off. I've been adding B-Ionic part two (Calcium) on a daily basis. I don't think I need part one because my Alk is always high (like 10 or 11). I think the added calcium has been making a difference. I've noticed coraline starting to form and the some encrusting from the SPS.

I'm still fighting algae, but I think the situation is starting to improve. It's still only on my frag rack, frag plugs, and sides of the tub. I've been keeping up with water changes which has been helping. I also started a new strategy of moving around my blank frag plugs. I put them on top of the algae which blocks the light and stops it from growing. I pick them up and find no algae beneath them. Then, move them to another area of the rack where the algae is picking up. I've also noticed that the crabs have been finding their way up to the top more often. Finally, I picked up a small emerald crab at the swap hoping that it'll help out.

I got a couple more zoas at the swap. Starting on the left are some BamBams. These are a classic favorite of mine. The last ones I had eventually got neon pink centers which really contrasted nicely with the orange skirts. I'm hoping to achieve the same success with these. In the middle is a small colony of Hawaiian Ding Dang People Eaters. These are pretty funky. I thought they were pretty cool to find considering alohacorals has been down for so long. The final pic is of my old Happy Samheims. They're getting bigger and bigger which is saying a lot for these tiny guys.

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The frag swap was really nice and clean. The Milwaukee Discovery Center is really a beautiful place. The tanks were cleaner than the public displays at the Shed Aquarium. As I said in my previous post, the center itself cultivates corals and were selling them. I picked up an ORA Derasa clam from them for a steal of a price. I wasn't planning to get a clam, but it's the first thing in this hobby that I've seen my wife get excited about. So, it's made the hobby a lot more fun to share it with her. This pic was taken shortly after acclimation, but it keeps looking happier everyday. I love the rainbow contrast between the orange center and the blue/green tips.

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Finally, my favorite find at the swap are these beautiful yumas. This is probably the most, "red" coral I've ever seen. It has an amazing glow under actinics, and under daylights is just as breathtaking. The base of the yuma is an intense purple/blue and the mouth is neon green/yellow. The color representation is pretty close in this pic if not more subdued than reality. They've been spreading already. So, I'm hoping to see some new ones soon. At the swap, I came across this specimen in a vendors tank while several people were picking about. I took one look, poked my head in between the other hobbyists, and without hesitation looked at the vendor and told him I'd take the yumas. Probably the fastest purchase I've ever made. These will go in the DT when I get it going (which is coming along BTW).

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That's it for now. Mr. M out.

Edited by Mr. Microscope, 10 October 2011 - 05:58 PM.

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#21
iball1804

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Georgeous!

Get a real tank soon, I loved your pico!

#22
.Newman.

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WTF, thats my clam!

Well almost, When viewed from above the only differences are that that mine has a border that looks more blue-green than that ( like the intake syphon bordering on your clam) and is a more even pink-orange. Don't you agree that our clams' color is very unique and is among the most amazing in any clam?
:lol:
How large is yours?
And how much did you pay for him, $40?

Edited by .Newman., 13 October 2011 - 05:25 PM.

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#23
JBM

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i was at your old job a few days ago. Almost called you.

:-)
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im just opinionated, dont like it? Keep it moving

#24
Mr. Microscope

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WTF, thats my clam!

Well almost, When viewed from above the only differences are that that mine has a border that looks more blue-green than that ( like the intake syphon bordering on your clam) and is a more even pink-orange. Don't you agree that our clams' color is very unique and is among the most amazing in any clam?
:lol:
How large is yours?
And how much did you pay for him, $40?

Hey Newman. You should see it now. It looks ten times happier. Yes, I really like these clams. There were some others there that weren't as striped, but we really liked this one (my wife and I). I like the blue/green combo with the orange. Looks rainbowy. I paid $30 for it. I think it was a steal. Sold to me as a 2.5 inch, but it's more like 2.5 inches in width. The length has to be at 4 or 5.

i was at your old job a few days ago. Almost called you.

:-)

Hey JBM! Yup. No longer in NY. Thanks for thinking about me.

Edited by Mr. Microscope, 20 October 2011 - 06:09 PM.

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#25
.Newman.

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Did you see my clam in my picotope? it looks very similar! mine is also 4-5" in size, but i got it for $40. still i'm amazed how cheap these are compared to crocea and maximas lol. they even look better than most of those clams!
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