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bxz

JB's first 34 solana transformer

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bxz

Hi everyone, a total newbie for salt water fish/reef tank, we finally got most things ready to start our solana. I've never had any experience for fish, but I love watch discovery channel, deep blue sea, planet earth. Me and my wife spent our honeymoon in Great Barrier Reef in AU, we got diver certified on a 5 day live boat course, and that's when I thought I wanna keep a home aquarium. The reef was just unbelievably beautiful, we saw all kinds of fish, coral, turtle and even white tip shark.

 

After about a month of initial researching, I decided to go with CurrentUSA Solana 34, it looks clean and modern, I picked the black brown stock stand as it matches our furniture, and T5 light fixture. I bought the set online. There are two different SKUs on the store, both exactly same description and one is cheaper, and it comes even with the hanging arm kit. I called to ask the difference and they were not able to tell, so I went ahead and get the cheaper one.

 

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After reading a lot about DSB, BB, I decided to go BB, I know both have pros and cons. But I know I like the sand bed looking, it's more natural, so I made a faut SB using a HDPE, some epoxy and CaribSea sand.

 

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I bought some live rock from craigslist that weekend, I'm not sure what rock it is, but looks like fiji. Anyway, the guy who sold me the rock is selling everything in his tank, I picked about 30lb for $60. Since I was still waiting for my typhoon, I had to put the rock in a plastic tank with some water from him. 2 days later, my typhoon arrived.

 

Filling with DI water from Typhoon III, BTW, the typhoon is a lot bigger than I thought.

 

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It took me a whole night to fill the tank, I had to set an alarm at 5am to check the water level. Luckily, everything is fine, no leak, water TDS 0. Then I put in the sea salt and started the pump, the live rock I got was filled with hitchhikers, tons of bristle worms, duster worm, from what I read, it must have been overly fed. Some of the worms are like 6 inches, kinda creepy.

 

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Aquascaping is kinda fun but tricky, you never know what you really want from the beginning, just thought some awesome looking shape, but in reality it's really tough to come up with something you are totally satisfied. My wife and I tried several setting and finally we settled down on this one. Some picture with T5 lights on, front, left, right...

 

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I think I got some red slime? Somebody please let me know if they are.

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Are these duster worm? I found out today those are Aiptasia or Glass Anemone, need to be taken out!

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So I just started the cycling yesterday, today I tried turn the lights to check how hot it can get with the stock setup. It reached 81.5F, I'm not sure how hot it'll get in a hot summer day, that makes me wonder how to set up the day/night time for my tank, any suggestion? Today I tested the water, NO3 0, NO2 0, nitrate 5, PH 8.2, Salinity 1.026. I think the live rock I got from the guy's tank must have helped a lot. I'm not sure if I should turn the light off for the coming week or not, lots of thoughts for a newbie.

 

Stay tuned.

 

JB

Edited by bxz

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Kraylen

What kind of epoxy did you use?

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crazydante23

Looking good, I like your fixed sand bed. The rock looks very good too. GL.

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bxz
What kind of epoxy did you use?

 

Hi Kraylen, I used Envirotex lite pour on glossy epoxy, I got it from Michaels. Initially I just poured the epoxy on the HDPE board and sprinkled the sand, as it dries, I found the same can still be scratched off from time to time, so I poured another layer to make it smooth. I read from some forum people mixing the sand with the epoxy, then put it on the board, that will give you a thick layer, I didn't go that way because it seems not easy to know the sand epoxy mixing ratio, besides, I just need the look.

 

You can search "faux sand bed" to find more about it.

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Kraylen

Was just wondering if the epoxy was going to be safe for a reef.

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bxz
Looking good, I like your fixed sand bed. The rock looks very good too. GL.

 

Thx Crazydante23, I'll just do my best, hopefully it will look as beautiful as all of you guys'. :happy:

 

Was just wondering if the epoxy was going to be safe for a reef.

 

I decided to do this after reading those forums, I believe that are safe, lot of people asked that question.

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Kraylen

Awesome man... the faux sand bed is a cool idea...

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bxz

After several days' testing the water and getting consistently 0,0,5, we finally purchased a small CUC with 5 Astrea, 5 blue Leg hermit and 2 peppermint shrimp. I guess my tank might never really have gone thru the cycle since the live rock we got is directly from an established tank. Another reason we took the plunge is that we saw the aiptasia was growing, we hoped the peppermint would take care of them.

 

The blue leg hermit was very active, soon as I put them in the tank, they started running and never seems to stop for a rest, always eating, climbing.

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The 2 peppermint shrimps were very shy, always hiding under the rock, I was lucky enough to get some shots right after I put them in, now they rarely come out during the day. I bought 2 in order to take care of the Aiptasia, there are about 15 in my tank now, but somehow the shrimp never touches them, I read there is always a 50/50 chance. So I decide not to feed them for another few days, not sure if I have to go the chemical way or lemon juice way or boiling water hard way, anyway, maybe a copperband butterfly? haha, guess too quick.

 

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I also added 2 current USA lunar lights to my 20" T5, the 20" T5 doesn't come with a lunar, nor is there a place to put the lunar, I finally put the 2 lunar inside the T5, gave the T5 an upgrade.

 

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now I'm still hoping the peppermint shrimp will eat the aiptasia, but in case after another couple of days, they are still not, should I feed them something? or just leave them? What should I feed them? pellets, flakes?

 

thx for ur time reading :)

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atlweb

updates?

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Kraylen
updates?

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davidr2340

What he said!

 

Why did I never see this tank??? :huh:

I love the faux sandbed!!! Looks great bro! :bowdown:

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Kraylen

You've been sleeping D.

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davidr2340
You've been sleeping D.

Hell... I guess!!! :lol:

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bxz

Sorry Guys, the tank is being running for about 3 and half months now, I've been working hard to keep it in good condition. Just like every new tank, we went thru cyno,red slime, GHA, etc. So let me continue our story here.

 

It's always been painful not to pull the trigger every time we visited our LFS, especially when you just started to cycle the tank, so I finally bought a pair of "ocellaris clown" in the second week after Amon, NO2 went to 0, NO3 was at about 5 at that time. At that time, these 2 guys look almost the same size.

 

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Well, you see I also had a frogspawn then :P , so here's the FTS on 5/9.

 

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I was having some Aptasia problem at that time, though I had 3 peppermint shrimp, they didn't even touch the pest anemone. Then I found copperband butterfly might terminate them, although I also knew it's not easy to keep them since they are notoriously tough to feed. But when I saw one at the LFS, I couldn't help myself. Of course, I asked to see that it was eating before I took him home. My wife and I called him "Mr. Flat" since it looks flat. We also bought a Haitian Anemone since we hoped our clown would host it. Well, I think we pretty much broke all the rules here, anemone within 2 weeks! Copperband in a 34Gal.

 

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Now that we had couple of living critters in our tank, life is more colorful now. I made sure the water parameter was in control, we really enjoyed watching them as they are really beautiful. I wonder why people like to keep giant fresh water fish -_- .

 

This was 5/22, we also got a torch then, but it was a little bleached, on the picture it was over exposed, not that white. And you can also see on the bare bottom, some algae was accumulating. I was not sure if these were coralline as later on they turned dark red.

 

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I did water change every 2 weeks, feeding a cube of mysis once everyday, the clowns will also eat pellets, the butterfly only eats mysis, I enjoyed the way it took his bite, more like shooting something, very accurate.

 

Here's a picture a month later, 6/22, we had some more corals, a sebae anemone ( it was pretty white then), I have to admit we bought that with impulse, as we really wanted our clown to host it since I found clown will never host a haitian, I was also suspicious our "ocellris" looked more and more like a true perc, and true perc will possibly host the sebae. My wife was not happy about my bare bottom because it was filled with algae and it did look ugly as u can see.

 

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Well, although I kept my water parameter in control, Nitrate 0, PH4 0, I'm still getting GHA. I know it will be a tough fight, everytime before I change water, I'll manually scrub it off the rock and then siphon it out. I also siphon all visible debris on the bottom everyday as it is easy for a bare bottom. Changed feeding to every other day. Cutting light to 7 hours. It's getting better now, my snails has already cleaned much of the bare bottom, it's getting white again. Here's the current FTS.

 

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Here's my female clown, do you think it's a true perc? thick black around the white strip.

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The female clown is always bullying the tiny zebra damsel

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Here's the copperband

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Here's a small storage stand I got from Ikea for $15.

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I put all the power strip inside, much cleaner than hanging on the wall.

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Here's the haitian anemone, although it won't host a clown, it looks beautiful.

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I don't know what this zoa's name, but it's very brite.

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last but not least, closer FTS

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I'm planning to add some LEDs to the fixture, my zoas on the lower side both look like giraffe, I put a couple of SPS on the top, though they are doing ok for now, all tentacles are opening, they've been there for almost a month now.

Edited by bxz

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bxz

This morning, I noticed something's not right with my copperband butterfly. He's not moving too much, kinda drunk, not able to balance himself. I can't seem to find anything special, no spots, dots on body, he ate also well last feed which was yesterday evening. The only things I did last night after light out was a capful calcium and a capful reef plus dosing. All my corals and other fish look ok. I have a pair of clown, one sixline and one tiny zebra damsel.

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Lawnman

I am not a big fan of the copperband butterfly for a reef tank. They really like live food. What have you been feeding it? Try feeding it mysis. Some say they are reef safe some say they are not. I wouldn't put one in my 34 gal Solana.I read some where that they can be calm for months then flip out and start killing inverts.

Edited by Lawnman

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MGDMIRAGE

Those clowns almost have the color of percs, thick black bands, but their face is a bit round... hmmmm . Excellent scape btw and great fake sandbed! awesome equipment and awesome all around tank i say!

 

From a quick look i would say percs, i just noticed your one captions. Their banding has some pretty thick black edging and the black spanning from first and second stripe also says perc. If they are ocellaris they are excellent specimens! Almost Onyx'ish.

Edited by MGDMIRAGE

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d'Espresso

Did you glue down your faux sand bed and trapped stuff underneath?

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bxz

I feed him mysis shrimp, he eats pretty well, one thing I'm not sure is if I should still feed him every other day since I have a little GHA going on. Yes, I also feel guilty to put him in a 34g. So far he's behaving really nice, no picking on corals or other inverts, he wiped out my aptasia and keeps them clean. thx for the input Lawnman.

 

 

I am not a big fan of the copperband butterfly for a reef tank. They really like live food. What have you been feeding it? Try feeding it mysis. Some say they are reef safe some say they are not. I wouldn't put one in my 34 gal Solana.I read some where that they can be calm for months then flip out and start killing inverts.

 

 

Thx MGDMIRAGE. yes, the clown color is really stunning, my clown sleeps in the upper water column, I remember reading somewhere perc sleeping on top, ocellaris sleeping on bottom, or just opposite..

 

Those clowns almost have the color of percs, thick black bands, but their face is a bit round... hmmmm . Excellent scape btw and great fake sandbed! awesome equipment and awesome all around tank i say!

 

From a quick look i would say percs, i just noticed your one captions. Their banding has some pretty thick black edging and the black spanning from first and second stripe also says perc. If they are ocellaris they are excellent specimens! Almost Onyx'ish.

 

 

No, I didn't glue down, I'm not sure if I trapped any stuff underneath, but I suck most debris out everyday. I would guess not much underneath since the white board is very flat, should stick to the glass bottom pretty well.

 

Did you glue down your faux sand bed and trapped stuff underneath?

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pprwngs

How are your acro's doing? I too have a Solana and the T5 light(btw I like the moon lights) and at one point want a acro or 2.

 

Anywho nice looking tank and good luck with the cooperband(although they should be in a bigger tank)

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bxz

My 2 birdsnests seem doing ok, the monti is also growing after 2 months, I lost a blue tip acro though. but still I think the Nova pro pro is not strong enough for SPS. you can keep some easy SPS on top of the tank.

 

How are your acro's doing? I too have a Solana and the T5 light(btw I like the moon lights) and at one point want a acro or 2.

 

Anywho nice looking tank and good luck with the cooperband(although they should be in a bigger tank)

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JoeM

Lovely so far. Good luck with your Copperband, I've always read that they need more space, and can be a little overly aggressive in a reef.

 

The moment I saw your first photos of your clowns I thought they were true perculas.

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peewee1467

he zoas u dont know the names of are green bay packers

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bxz

Well, my copperband didn't make it, I was pretty sad, lesson learned. I buried him under a big tree nearby, May it RIP.

 

Lovely so far. Good luck with your Copperband, I've always read that they need more space, and can be a little overly aggressive in a reef.

 

The moment I saw your first photos of your clowns I thought they were true perculas.

 

 

thx peewee, I got this from the LFS for $15 (about 5 poly), not sure if it's a good deal

 

he zoas u dont know the names of are green bay packers

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ajmckay
Well, my copperband didn't make it, I was pretty sad, lesson learned. I buried him under a big tree nearby, May it RIP.

 

Sorry for your loss... Unfortunately though I'm not surprised that it died...

 

Anyways, your tank looks really good and I can tell that you put a lot of effort into it! With regard to another fish, I would say to choose any replacement carefully. Actually I would take this opportunity to just keep the 4 fish and see how they do (more importantly see how your tank does, as I think you'll find that the maintenance will be much easier).

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