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Tank looks nice! Also looks great in the living room.. and the view over the deck looks sweet too hahaha.. 

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On 8/5/2018 at 6:03 PM, KMitch said:

Sump and tank prep work continued today... I tackled a variety of little tasks including:

 

1) Building an acrylic lid for the top of my ATO tank

2) Removed the built in float valve holder so I can move it into the ATO tank (it will hold a float valve that will tell my Neptune controller whenever my fresh water is low

3) Removed the black backing from the main tank

4) Hung the brackets for the lights

5) Built some switches to control the main return pump, skimmer, lights, and a button to trigger a feed mode. This will all be wired into the Neptune's break out box

 

Now all that is fine and good, but it's even better with pictures!

 

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I used some scrap wood to build a switch holder that I will mount inside the tank stand

 

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This black glass triangle had come with the tank inside the sump. It was there to hold the float valve that supported the included ATO; however, I have different ATO plans. Rather than throw it away, I'm going to re-purpose this in the ATO tank where it can hold a float valve that will connect to the Neptune Apex EL and will alert me when the fresh water level is low.

 

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Removing the backing from the tank. I used a level to cut the backing down the back of the overflow. If the backing was removed from the overflow, you'd be able to see the pipes in the overflow, which I don't want! It was actually very easy to remove the backing. At the end, I used a piece of black electrical tape to make sure the line along the back of the overflow backing was nice and crisp.

 

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The end result. Lights hung and backing removed

 

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It's a nice looking tank! The cardboard tube you see on the far side of the tank holds the mesh lid that I will put on the tank

 

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The switches that still need to be mounted inside the stand, but this is how they will look once they are all wired up. I haven't decided if I want to wait and wire them and then mount it or mount and then wire. It'll be a pain in the butt either way!

 

I have to travel for work this week, so it'll be a few days before there are any more substantive updates, but stay tuned!

Is the white button a doorbell?

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Yep. Triggers a feed button mode that I haven’t programmed yet. 

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Well it's been officially 10 days since the tank got wet and the cycle began.  My report thus far: boring!

 

I have spent hours staring at the rocks and glass, waiting for the first signs of algae. I finally caught a glimpse of an algae fog that required a quick pass of the glass cleaning magnet.... Clearly this is not the glamorous part of reefkeeping!

 

I have been testing my water routinely so I can know where the tank is with regards to the cycle. Today's readings:

 

PH:                  8.01

Temp:             78.9*F

Salinity:          1.024

Alk:                 10.57

Ammonia:      0.2

Calcium:         500

Nitrate:           2

Nitrite:            0.1

Phosphate:    0

 

Honestly, I expected many of these levels to be higher and more indicative of where I am in the cycle.... these numbers aren't showing me much at all. I am very pleased that the phosphate has remained steadily at 0, which tells me the reef saver rock from @BulkReefSupply isn't leeching phosphates.  

 

I've been dosing my ZeoVit products (ZeoStart, ZeoBak and ZeoFood) religiously. I am approaching the point where, according to the ZeoVit communities, I should start seeing some algae blooms in the tank. Looking forward to it! 

 

If all goes well, in another two weeks I'll look to add my first fish..... that's right...two more weeks of staring at an empty tank!

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I am finally seeing good signs of cycle as my ammonia, nitrites and nitrates have climbed. Otherwise the tank looks the same as before!

 

i have also used this time to finish dialing in the Apex controller for things like the auto top off, ALK and CAL dosing system, and the email alarms for problem notification. 

 

Based on the water chemistry I am seeing today, I am optimistic I will be able to add my first fish in a week. fingerscrossed

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Did my first water change today. Parameters are stable and indicate a good cycle. A few more days until the first inhabitants join!

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I really love your set up and your patience will reward you in the future. Top notch equipment and amazing rock work...

 

Your Ca and ALK levels seem a bit high to me.

 

What fish are you planning on adding first? 

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On 9/4/2018 at 5:18 AM, bbetta said:

Your Ca and ALK levels seem a bit high to me.

 

What fish are you planning on adding first? 

Agree both are a tad high — likely Because there isn’t anything in the tank consuming calcium yet. The alk has slowly been dropping, so all is good. 

 

‘Meanwhile, the cycle is near complete. All my levels are back near zero and I have done another 10 gallon water change. Things are progressing nicely. Tomorrow I am hoping to add my first fish - a pair of clowns. 

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This weekend I added two ORA Half Naked Clowns and a few mushroom frags. Everything has acclimated nicely and the fish are eating well. 

 

Now my attention has turned to Hurricane Florence and making sure I have everything setup to support the possibility of being without power for a few days. I have the battery backup for the MP40, but am also making some fresh water in case I need to do water changes to keep the tank alive. 

 

Hope everyone one in the path of the storm is preparing....

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Hello world! Time for a much overdue update on the tank.....

 

After careful consideration, I decided to stock this tank with several types of wrasses and to make this a "wrasse box" -- My main reasons for focusing on wrasses are:

  • Easy to feed. While they prefer to have frozen foods, they can just as happily accept pellets. If I am traveling, that makes it easier to leave the tank unattended for a few days and still make sure everyone has a snack. 
  • Very active. Wrasses are high energy swimmers, and are always darting around the tank. They are just plain fun as hell to watch as they zip around in search of food. 
  • Colorful.  We all want great colors, and wrasses offer that! There are so many types of wrasses that it's very easy to build a colony of fish who are bright colored and add to the overall vibrance of the tank.

The biggest concern with wrasses is that they can be jumpers, and, if not paired together well, can be aggressive toward each other.


I resolve the jumping problem with a lid.  To minimize the chance of fighting, I have purchased the youngest specimens of these wrasses I can find, and am introducing them in close proximity to each other. That helps to prevent them from forming too much dominance and they will "grow up" as a group.  So far, it's working -- by introducing various species and not mixing several of the same types of wrasse, I have managed to play wrasse matchmaker and (so far) have three wrasses that get along swimmingly (har har har).

 

The wrasses currently stocked are:

  • Juvenile Yellow Coris Wrasse
  • Juvenile Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse
  • Red Headed Fairy Wrasse

This brings the current livestock in the tank to:

  • Pair of ORA Half Naked Clowns
  • Juvenile Yellow Coris Wrasse
  • Juvenile Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse
  • Red Headed Fairy Wrasse
  • Starry Blenny
  • Diamond Spot Goby
  • Cleaner Shrimp
  • Pulsing Xenia
  • Neon green hairy mushroom
  • Green striped mushrooms
  • Super Shocker Orange mushrooms
  • Black sun coral
  • Pink Birdsnest coral
  • Neon green torch coral
  • Red Acan colony
  • Leather toadstood
  • Mystery green LPS
  • Mystery green zoanthids
  • Mystery blue SPS
  • Red monti plate

I also did a bit of a remake on the aquascape. I wasn't happy with how the water moved in the older design; there were a number of dead spots in the tank and not enough depth to the rock work. Everything was too far back against the rear glass, and there needed to be more balance with the foreground. The new scape is much better at accomplishing the aesthetic goals, and also keeps the water from having dead zones. So far, the coral and fish are really responding well to the new design, and I'm seeing happy critters.

 

The Zeovit method continues to yield success. I have had very stable parameters, although I did experience a slight diatom bloom and a bit of cloudy water that I attribute to a bacterial bloom. From what I've read, this isn't uncommon since I'm still honing in on the best dosing schedule for the Zeovit additives, and it took only a few days of non-dosing to clear up.

 

The only real struggle I had so far is with my Xenia. I noticed recently there were a number of flatworms on the Xenia -- despite my dipping of all coral going into the tank, a few slipped through. Since I was redoing the aquascape, I used this as a chance to re-dip all the corals and make sure I solved the problem. Only the Xenia had flatworms come off in the dip, so I think it was pretty isolated. However, the Xenia is still PI$$ED following it's treatment and is pretty shriveled up. I'm hoping in a few more days it'll come around to the shock... 

 

Updated pics! I need to work on getting some better photos, but here's what I have for now.

 

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