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Cultivated Reef

Craig’s Office Reefer 170 *Retired*


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Hi everyone!

I’ve been lurking here for a while and learning a lot, now I finally have the green light to start setting up my first reef!


A bit of history:

I got interested in fish keeping about 10 years ago and was immediately drawn to reef tanks but didn’t have resources until now. 

I have had a few planted tanks over this time and am looking forward to this next adventure.

More on my past setups in a future post.



Besides cutting my teeth in saltwater and learning a bunch with regards to this...

This is an office setup, it’s gotta be sexy, clean, and quiet.

KISS (keepitsimplestupid)... be thoughtful about equipment, additive, and livestock choices so that upkeep is streamlined.

Less is more.

This will allow me to focus on good husbandry first.



I have some basic equipment and am just starting the process of purchasing as I breakdown my current tank.

For this build:

Aquarium: Red Sea Reefer 170

Lighting: Aqamai LRM + Tank Mount

Flow: 2x Aqamai KPS

Temp: 2x 150w Cobalt Aquatics Neotherm

ATO: Built in Trigger Systems 5g + Tunze Osmolator

Skimmer: Somatic 60s None

Filtration: Miracle Mud Refugium + Kessil H80 (24/7)

Return pump: Sicce Silence 2.0

RODI: BRS 4 stage 75gpd (already setup) + 15g cylindrical holding tank

Quarantine: Std 10g, lid, heater, and power filter



Salt: TLF AccuraSea1 50g box

Two Part: TBD (planning TM AllForReef when dosing becomes a need)

Po-No Control: Fuge

Cycle: Dr. Tim’s One and Only & Ammonium Chloride



Rock: Carribsea dry rock

Sand: Carribsea special grade




  -Buddy the Tailspot Blenny 2/17/2019

  -Carl the Bangaii Cardinal 3/17/2019

  -Peggy the Coris Wrasse 3/30/2019



Corals: TBD


More to come later, thanks for reading!



Edited by FSTanks
Retired tank
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As promised, a brief photographic history of my family's pets.
Sorry if some of the pics aren't the best.


Charlie 2002-2013:



Gus (middle) 2003-2014:



Our first fish tank (your prototypical 10g SpongeBob FW tank) 2008-2012:

SpongeBob goes Planted 2012-2014 (right after planting, couldn't find any other pic):

RedFish 2.5g planted Betta 2015-2017:

Cooper 2015-Current:

The Office Planted Tank 2016-2018 (this is retiring to be replaced by the Reefer 170):

Lumpy 2017-Current:



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Still working through breaking my current office tank down (see my "history" post above).


My other trouble is finding an LFS that carries products that I have in mind for this build... I was hoping to pick one or two local shops to support for the bulk of my purchases but I am thinking of flipping my approach and doing online for equipment and dry goods and local for livestock.



Please share your favorite Chicago area shops.



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Placed an order for replacement RODI filters plus a few other things with @BulkReefSupply




Goodbye planted tank, I really enjoyed you.


Tank broken down and will be out of house tomorrow.

Time to clean up and prepare the space for the 170.




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Big order placed (tank, light, heaters, power heads, etc) and should be here Friday.

A few changes to my hardware list too, changed the light to a LRM in hopes to simplify control, plus I really like the look of light on the tank mount they offer.


Pretty excited, but trying to stay focused, slow, and methodical for now.


Will be working to get the QT setup in the meantime... and there's a tent sale at Beyond the Reef in Schaumburg this weekend that I will go checkout to see if anything I need is there.


Thanks for checking in.


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Busy week at work this week, plus lots of hockey for one of my boys... but lots of progress on the reef today...


Earlier this week discovered threaded fitting that attaches bubble plate to skimmer pump was cracked... waiting replacement part from @BulkReefSupply


1) Went to tent sale, not much there but they also had 20% off most in store items... got rocks, salt, sand, a basic test kit for the cycle, and a few other bits


2) Also, received and inspected tank and sump. Other items in that shipment included light, pumps, heaters, QT items


3) Replaced all filters, resin, and membrane on RODI system


4) Started cabinet assembly 


Tommorrow, test an flush RODI, finish cabinet, start prepping office space, maybe quick leak tests and start plumbing if time permits.


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Quick update... My living room is a mess, gear everywhere... cabinet is assembled but working on getting it level has me stalled out a bit... gonna stay patient and get it right... also took a while to get the RODI system flushed out but that otherwise went well and is good to go.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another quick update... work and travel for kid hockey have kept me away from my project... finally got the leveling completed tonight... I ended up pulling the plastic feet out with pliers... then I shimmed, trimmed, and used an air nailer to attach the composite shims to the bottom of the cabinet. I did this as I didn’t want any shifting of shims during setup and glues don’t work well on composite. I put shims in 12 locations vs the 10 feet from Red Sea just to spread the load a bit more.


I have a lot of work work and kid activities late this week but hoping to get plumbing done and maybe some wiring.



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Every free minute was dedicated to electrical this week.

What you see here represents 3 evenings of work.


Two power strips w/ switches, power packs for light and wave makers.

The strip on the right is on battery backup and will run one wave maker and one heater in the display.

The left strip will run everything else.


Not visible, under cabinet light to illuminate the sump area which is a huge help.


Plumbing, rock work, sand, and water this week. Hoping to spend Black Friday completing last details and get the system wet!


My idea of Christmas decorating! Haha.





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Tank, plumbing, electrical all done.

Plumbing test and Aquascaping is in progress, still hoping to have the system wet and cycling by tomorrow night.





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Tank is wet and running.

Working out a few things still, including tuning the plumbing, learning how to use refractometer, and getting salinity dialed in.

Also have a tiny leak in my return plumbing and troubleshooting that.


First FTS:







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Cycle started with Dr. Tim’s:

SG: 1.026

Temp: 76

Ammonia: 2.0


The small leak in the return is still there, picked up thread sealant last night, will repair tonight.

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So, l have a few fish stocking ideas for 4-5 fish max, nothing too mind bending, but would like to hear your experiences if any on my ideas...


Core fishies (and order of introduction to tank):

  1. Bangaii Cardinal
  2. Coris Wrasse
  3. Tailspot Blenny


4th fish options:

  1. Bangaii Cardinal - This would be dependent on me finding a mated pair I think, and may be difficult. Would obviously introduce with the other.
  2. Possum Wrasse - These are cool, not sure on compatibility with the Coris?
  3. Neon Blue Goby - Maybe even a mated pair, these are interesting and might fill the lower areas of the tank.  Not sure if compatibility issues with blenny.


Thoughts or other interesting suggestions?





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Cycle params the same. 

Going to wait until Sunday remeasure Ammonia as the API test kit is hard to get an accurate number. 

Going to see if the color lightens up before dosing any more Dr Tims.


SG: 1.026

Temp: 76

Ammonia: 2.0


Any thoughts on my fish options above are also appreciated.


Happy weekend!


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5 minutes ago, alpinestar said:

So clean in the cabinet! Nice install!

Thanks... it took a lot of time to plan... and still made some compromises.

I have some more ideas cooking too for when 2 part becomes a need.

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SG: 1.026

Temp: 76

Ammonia: 0.25

Nitrite: 3-5


Dosing more Dr. Tim's.


Family got me an early Birthday Gift for labeling all reef related (and other) things!




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2 hours ago, Zerobytes said:

Hey.  What model Power Strips are those?



Tripp Lite 7 Outlet (6 Individually Controlled) Surge Protector Power Strip, 6ft Cord, Black, Lifetime Limited Warranty & $25K Insurance (TLP76MSGB) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075NZLYB7/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_GA-cCbZBF1A6P


It says not for aquarium use on the back... but what power strip wouldn’t put that there? I’m on a GCFI outlet so hopefully good.



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  • FSTanks changed the title to Craig’s Office Reefer 170 *Retired*

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