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Dad's Teaching Tank

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I would like to start out by saying thanks to Christopher Marks and the Great members of Nano-Reef.com for helping make my Aquaria experience a reality. :D





- AquaPod 24 with Stock CF Lighting

- Maxi-Jet 900 w/1200 impeller

- Koralia Nano

- Home Made Media Rack in Chamber 1 with all of the wiers closed except the top one

- Small piece of clear plastic covering the bottom half of the to wier to increase surface tension

- ChemPure Elite hanging on back of media rack between chamber 1 and 2

- VisiTherm Stealth - 75watt

- RO Water purchased from a LFS

- Red Sea Max Coral Pro Salt

- API Salt Water and Reef Master Test Kits

- C-Balance 2 part Alk and Ca addative

- Various other essential tools and testers ( I have the list, but is is scary to see how much I have spent on this in the first 6 months of it's life) B)


- 20 lbs of Dry rock from Reefcleaners.org

- 15 lbs Live Rock from Premium Aquatics ( Do Not order Live Rock in January if you live in Michigan - There will be Significant Die Off - Almost Complete Die Off ) :angry:

- 30 lbs mixed Sand - Arag Alive and Argonite ( I will explain later)



History and Background:


I first read about "live rock" about 20 years ago when I had a small fresh water tank, but I couldn't afford the upgrade at the time. I kept that tank for 8 years until I cracked it in a move and never set it back up. I built a 500 gallon Koi pond 6 years ago and have had great success with fish in my water garden.

Last summer we took our first Family vacation ( we have a 5 year old girl ) to Chicago and visited the Shedd Aquarium where my daughter got hooked. :rolleyes:


Hint: If you have few or no morals, use your children to convince your wife that you Need a new or Larger tank.


Between August and October I read and researched a lot. Particularlly helpful were Nano-Reef.com threads by Icenine and SteelHealr. They had great mod suggetions and spelled out exactly how they started their tanks ( I hope I have half of their patience ).


In the meantime I started collecting equipment and supplies under the extreme fiscal supervision of my wife, until trajedy struck. Again if you have no morals, like me, you can use emotions and opportuity to get something for yourself (or your kid). ;) Our cat had to go to the emergency vet on a friday night and the bill was over $900. The next morning, my wife was relieved (and suprised) that I paid that much to save the cat's life ( I like cats, just not that cat). The same day I just happened to mention that I ordered the aquarium and a few supplies ($400) and we should recieve them in a few days. She never knew what hit her!!!


I do use the Tank to teach my daughter about the ocean and the emvironment, which she runs upstairs and tells it right back to mommy, who doesn't care. But it is still fun to teach her things that remembers and tells to everyone she sees for the next 3 days " The Crabs are naughty, My Daddy yells at them."


I waited this long to start a thread so that I had enough pictures to show progress without it looking bare for three months.


Updates to follow -- Thanks for tagging along.



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" The Crabs are naughty, My Daddy yells at them."


lmao, do you really talk to the crabs? You've deff gone off the Marianas Trench

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I yell at them all the time, but so far they haven't talked back. If that ever happens it will be time to start a new carreer counting the dots on the ceiling while the nice men in the white coats prepare my medicine. :wacko:


Here are a few pics of my start up. I bought 3 small cured live rocks from a LFS and added them to the dry rock I got from Reef Cleaners and let that cook in a rubbermaid tub with a grow light on it 2 hours a day and a heater to keep it nice and toasty for 3 weeks.


Tip: This is great rock, very porous and interesting to look at, but clean it very good with a baster and a high pressure flow from a power head. I didn't, and it took 3 weeks and half a bag of filter floss to clean it after the tank was running.




After three weeks, I added them to my tank. I was supposed to get live sand from an established system, but he got flat worms, so I improvised with a mix of arag-alive small grain sand and medium grain aragonite. I think I kind of over did it, but I have a 3.5 inch bed interlaced with live rock rubble and lots of small shells.






The tank ran this way with a 6 hour photo period and no water changes, with 0 ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and phosphates for 2 weeks.


My father in law builds raised dog dishes (www.Trendypet.com) out of CelTech, a strong waterproof composite material. He built my stand after I had the outside dimesions for the tank. I think it would hold the weight of a 75 gallon tank, but I wish it had doors, but he built it and I didn't want to modify it and make him mad.


I knew that I wanted a Jawfish, so my plan was to aquascape bare bottom and add the sand afterwards -- Aquascaping is hard!!!!!!!!!!! :wacko:


Here is the rock I bought from Premium aquatics:




After I added all of the rock and sand, I left it alone (except for water testing) for 4 weeks, until I could't stand the algea growth and added a large clean-up crew and a ball of Cheato from Reef Cleaners.




Here is the clean-up crew just before the biggest feast of their lives.


Tip: Quarantine large cerith snails until they start to move (1-3 days) or else the "naughty" crabs will suck them right out of their shells. :(




I let the crew do it's work for 3 weeks before I started adding coral, but I will save that for the next update.


Thanks for stopping by.



Edited by ReefEscape

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Looks great so far - I'll be tagging along with this one as I have a VERY similar setup (including the small kids!)

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Looks great. I have 5 year old twins and they have a 12 gallon NC in their room. This tank has bene up since August 2004. I upgraded to a 37 and then a 60. I guess I never really upgraded as I kept the 12 but that is how I presented it to the wife. LOL. They turn on the water for the RO and feed under supervision and actually go to frag swaps with me. One of them actually started to cry last Firday because she thought I wasn't getting any frags. She atcually has ID'd fish at the LFS for customers. That is scary. I think you will find that your daughter will be more of an influence on your hobby than you expect. My kids have wanted me to get away from softies and into SPS. Weird. Be prepared though; they had a pseudochromis for three years and I was working in the tank and it later jumped in the back chamber and died. They tell everyone I killed it. Being twins, they buried it twice. They now have a Citron Goby.

Edited by Diatome

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Sorry for not responding and for not adding to my thread lately (as if anyone really cares ;) ), but although I consider myself a better than average techie, I am not much of a blogger. I acutally managed to lose my own thread for a while then I found it and then lost it again. This time I will try to keep better tabs on it.


To take up the story where I left off; The CUC took care of most of the GHA, but I had to scrub some of the rocks with a toothbrush to get the most stubborn algea off. I started looking around Grand Rapids for some coral, but all of the lfs seem to stock mostly Green Bubble Algea, Aptasia and Brown dead looking polyps. So I went online and placed my first order with Coral Fanatics (site sponser at the time). I did order twice from them with good results. The second order had a freebie thrown in but one of the zoa frags melted so it was a wash.







Hitchhiker Stomatella Snail from Coral Fanatics, I also got a micro brittle star.




This Favia didn't travel well, you can see it's skeleton in several places, and some Cyno attached to a bare spot and made it look like it was bleeding. I blasted it with a turkey baster a couple times a day and it went away and eventually the flesh all grew back in. (now it is taking over the rock that I sat it on)




After a couple more weeks of telling my daughter that we will get a fish "soon", we went pick up a clown fish. One of the better lfs had a new shipment of true perc clowns in and I let my daughter pick out the one she wanted. In a rare moment of interest, my wife thought a pink tip Condilactis Anemone really looked nice. I didn't want to risk it in such a small tank, but others have done it, so after goimg home and looking up requirements and listening to why can't we try it, I went back to the store and took it home.




It lasted a month before I took it back, because it didn't like anywhere in the tank except on top of the other coral.

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Did I miss a part of the read? All those snail shells... they are empty right?


Everything is looking fantastic though!! :)

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Most of the larger cerith shells are empty, the crabs ate the snails out of their shells before they emerged, but all of the smaller cerith shells are live snails. I think I ordered 15 and John sent about 40. I didn't think that it would hurt, so I dumped them all in the tank. Some of them have grown quite a bit and are now large. The nerite snails that all started out smaller than a dime are bigger than a quarter and have had babies also. I will probably have to thin them out sooner or later.

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I can't believe that I haven't updated this thread in 14 months. Here is a current FST and some individual shots.










I would say that I will try to keep up with this thread, but I have a baby due in a week and it will be all that I can due to keep up with the tank, let alone take pics and post them, but I will try...

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Thanks Clavius. I have some UVL bulbs on order with NanoTuners. I hope they will be a little bluer and help with more growth.

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Holy crap! Wow that tank has become an inspiration... Congrats on the upcoming pride and joy. I am truly envious. One day I hope to have my own family to utilize my children as pawns to get my wife to fold in to my obsessions. Tank looks awesome!


Don't worry I yell at the "naughty crabs" as well....

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Thanks Coastie. The timing has to be perfect so that they think that it was either their idea or that it wasn't premeditated on your part.


The crabs go into "crab jail" for a time out now. Yelling at them didn't work, although my daughter still likes to scold them occasionally.

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I had to banish my favorite hermit to my 15 that I don't have anything in other than CUC and live rock. :/ he's rather large and likes to trample my corals.

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Great looking tank! It is always awesome to see before and afters like this. That favia has doubled in size!

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Thanks Curry02 and ScubaJ!!! I have tried to fill in with small frags and trades with other reefers and I am really running out of room to add. I will have to move a few things out if I see a really cool piece that I can't pass up. The flip side to my situation is one of my friends who has 1800 gal of salt water in his house and he and his wife are adding another pool (the last tank add was 500 gal) for stingrays. It is a sweet set-up, but neither one will say no to the other, because they both love it - I can't even imagine that.

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Sweet tank dad....nature in a box...these things are quite marvelous aren't they.

Makes my BP go down every time I look at it...hahaha




btw...GO WINGS!!!! :happydance:omgomgomgfingerscrossed:haha::owned:

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