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xM3THODx

xM3THODx 20gal long, SPS dominated Mixed reef

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xM3THODx

Most Recent Update Pic Sept. 29th...

 

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IN THE BEGINNING.....

 

This particular system began in November 2017, so I'll start from there with Pics...

 

It all stemmed from this experimental 20gal long system that ran for about 3 yrs from 2015...

 

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many of these corals will go into the new system.....

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So after 3yrs of the experimental tank running I decided it was time to go for an all out reef with rock and sand. I bought a new 20gal from Petco's $1/gallon sale, a new steel stand from Dr. Foster's & Smith. I scored on the sump and skimmer at a thrift store for $50, a wave maker and return pump was included but I didn't use them being overpowered for the 20gallon.

 

A new Jecod DC return pump was purchased.

 

Here it is all together in the garage for water test.

 

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I decided to go with Real Reef Rock and here with a quick design. I don't put to much stock into rock scape but envision the overall design I want to have after the corals are grown out few years since I was planning for an SPS dominated tank and rock work typically gets covered up. So having a low profile rock work was aimed for.

***I wish I had gone even lower profile than what I started with as you'll see the reef in the present.

 

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So a bit fast forward, I broke down the experimental tank and placed the new display in its place. The final rock work and sand in place. 

 

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A little bit of info about the system when setup and my overall plan of method. At this point the rock, sand and marine pure block(in the middle section of sump) are both cured(rock) and have been cycled with Dr.Tims One and Only, fish-less technique using Dr. Tims ammonium chloride. 

 

On top of the Marine pure block is 2lbs of Ecosystems Miracle Mud, used for natural trace elements and for a home for pods and beneficial sand dwellers. Chaetomorpha  was planned for the refugium but later changed... you'll see why.

 

Also, going with Miracle Mud, a skimmer isn't necessary but I had one and planned to used it. The model is a Bubble Magus Curve 5, rated for 140gal. so being way over rated the method I went with is what Ecosystem called the Modified Paletta Technique, basically running the skimmer only 8hrs/day.

 

 

 

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xM3THODx

So what I remember is that within of breaking down the previous setup and setting up the new one, I had all those corals in a small bin along with the pair of clowns and blue damsel. I actually used most of the water from the previous tank so I knew the corals and fish would do well so I preceded to acclimate and introduce them them into the system.

 

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Cheato into the sump and grow light on....

 

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I'm gonna apologize in advance for the bad quality pics to come....

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 A closer look at the scattered SPS frags over the rock and some new LPS corals on the sand bed that was purchased from the holiday sales, photo time stamp is Dec.16, 2017

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All but the LPS are from the previous tank. Most were fresh cut from the mounts they were on, so the reason why they aren't on plugs and just laying on the rock.

 

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Fungia plates and button scoly bought during X-mas sale. Photo date stamp Dec.16, 2017

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xM3THODx

Let's move on....Jan 5, 2018

 

So after the Holidays it was time to start gluing frags down and finding final homes for others

 

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That's Pulsing Xenia on the left next to the orange Fungia plate.

 

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For this reef, I didn't want any zoanthids on the main rock work so I used the STAX rocks from Two Little fishies. It allowed each zoa to have it's own rock to grow out and gave me the ability to remove and frag when necessary.

 

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So these pics were taken on the same day, Jan.16,2018, after all corals were set in their place. Now time to give them a rest since they've been handle quite a bit.

 

You'll be able to refer back to these photos from the present and see which sps have grown out into colonies.

 

I do buy more sps frags in the first year to fill in some spots as you'll see.

 

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Lighting is a Chinese LED fixture called "Exotica" but had different names and supplemented with Reefbrite XHO. A DIY screen lid is used

 

An eShopps overflow is used for the system.

 

 

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Controller units organized. 2 old style Jebao wp-10 opposing  each other for flow

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Side shot of  corals in place

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This taken in Feb 17, '18. The chaeto was growing okay but hair algae also grabbed a hold. I was fine with it because it kept algae from the display. Not to much long after the hair algae completely over ran the chaeto and started to grown onto the Marine pure block and glass.

 

I soon started to plan for a diy chaeto reactor.

 

 

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3 months later, Photo date May 13, '18....The SPS are encrusting but this group of frags is ORA Scripps Acro. It's well known as a quick grower and just explodes in comparison to the others

 

The M.Lordhowensis( aka Acans) on the left and the Blstomussa in the middle are in their final place.

 

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debbeach13

Following. Seems your photo's and updates are up to around May 2018. 

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Photo taken May 13, '18,   SPS frag at this point are slowly encrusting and growing. Once glued that's it, I don't move them so there is a bit of planning before they get glued.

 

As far as the corals on the sand bed. I shuffle the zoos and lps around finding them a happy spot. Light intensity was a bit much for the zoas and will end up in the left corner in the future.

 

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In this pic of the right side of the tank....on the left on the sand bed is a Platygyra frag that was placed onto a oval shape base I made from sand and glue, same with the dome shaped rock on the right side corner with two favias placed onto, a dragon soul and a nice blue morph.  On the bottom is a frag of Red People Eater Paly. 

 

There is a frag on the very right edge of the the scape, a favia war coral....you really can't see it due to the blue light.

 

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So here is when I changed over to a chaeto reactor on May 18....It took some thought and planning with the change over.... 1. location of the reactor and  2nd, how to continue the utilization of both Miracle Mud and Marine Pure Block.  

 

 

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One issue I felt was major was flow around the block and mud. I have the return pump set for 3-4 times turnover, so flow was slow. Anyway, this is what I came up with. By using pieces of acryilc and egg crate, I positioned them to direct flow through each area. One piece of acrylic sits above the water line as a platform for the reactor.

 

I also cover the front of the sump with another black piece of acrylic essentially creating a cryptic zone. the ideal home for sponges. 

 

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Here it is before the change....

 

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FTS with better spectrum taken May 18...

 

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May 21, I buy a Acropora Millepora 7 frag pack from my Local coral shop, AquaSD.  I typically glue frags onto rubble and not plugs after dipping and set them on the sand bed as you see here. Once they start to encrust over the glue and seem settled, that is when I move them to their final home on the rock scape.

 

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Sancho

Following along 

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xM3THODx
2 minutes ago, Sancho said:

Following along 

Thanks Bro! I hope you enjoy the process.

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xM3THODx

So the tank has been running for about 6 months at this point.  Let me give some stocking, losses and maintenance details. 

 

Fish: 2 Clowns, I blue damsel (introduced from previous system), Royal Gramma, Six-Line Wrasse. 

         I had one loss of a Diamond watchman goby from jumping after forgetting to put back the screen cover for one night.

 

Inverts: 3 blue legged hermits.  Snails: 5 trochus, 3 astrea, 1 nassarius, 3 cerith, 3 nerite     

 

* A little note about adding cleanup crew. They were not all added at once but only as needed. So when I notice there is more algae growth that the current snails can't handle, I'll add 3 snails. Doing it this way doesn't disrupt the balance and allows the system to adjust with the added bioload.  I believe adding those clean up crew packages that come with 20 snail, 20 hermits, etc. is putting the system at risk for the reason why you added them in the first place, algae growth and that's algae the cleanup crew won't eat. If you have any questions please ask away.

 

Feeding: Twice a day for fish. Alterating with flake, frozen mysis, Reef nutrition TDO On Tues and Fri. night I spot feed LPS with coral frenzy .5mm reef pellets

 

Maintenance:   So after 30 min of feeding corals I start *micro bubble scrubbing. During the bubbling I turkey baste the rock and sand. I also scrape down the glass at this time then leave the bubble scrub run through until morning. 

 

Now morning, I do 1 gallon water change and change out the pink filter floss.

 

Testing: At this point, I was only testing for Salinity, Alk and Magnesium, aiming for 35ppt, 8.5dkh and 1320 for mag.

 

Dosing: set up on a Bubble Magus Doser was BRS ALK, Cal, Mag. Kalk was set up to do double duty as an ATO and to keep PH stable. 

 

*an explanation of my use of kalk and it's setup will be done later. 

 

Trace elements and Aminos: Acropower and AquaVitro fuel

 

Any questions? please ask away. 

 

 

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Taken Jun 16,  added a cover around the Chaeto reactor to block the light spill. It's just a black poster stock I rolled and works great.

 

Everything especially the SPS are doing well at this point but I notice the fungia plate looking quite pale and thin. This is where I have to pay close attention of what's might be the cause. Other LPS look great. So I consider the lighting to be the main factor and I move and observe. 

 

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Taken Jun 13,  ORA Scripps Acro goes on a growth tear yet the fungia plate isn't happy.

 

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Some shots of corals that I bought as 2-3polyp frags. These were taken on Jun 30, but the Acans and the bowebanki(middle) were in since the start of the tank and has grown polyps around exposed skeleton. The Christmas favia on the right was introduced in March '18

 

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Single polyp Blastomussa Wells and Convict Favia added in January '18

 

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I kept and introduced the pulsing Xenia from the previous system. It has always been the home for the paired clowns. 

 

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All or most corals are from AquaSD's eBay auction or local reefers. The ones crossed out in yellow were lost. One frag of zoos were given away, circled in red.

 

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When a good deal on collector coral comes up, I can't pass. so the most expensive is the JF beach bum at around $100. Everything else I got was at a decent price.

What do you think? Oh the Sleepy Hollow(echinata) first pic, second row was also lost.

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I decided the best place to have my zoa garden is at the trailing end of the scape on the left. Being a little dimmer was also a main reason because they weren't opening as much when place around the middle of the tank.  Photos taken July 20th.

 

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Most coral are now in their final spot. I tucked the Xenia in back left corner, separated from the rock work and visible when viewing from the left side. There's the GSP rock in the front, middle that I set the Christmas Favia on top. I never mentioned that I added a 2" Maxima clam from beginning, it's there sitting next to the Blastomussa. I fed the tank Reef Nutrition Phytofeast every night. Forgot to mention that earlier.

 

The 7 Millepora frags have been glued to the rock work.

 

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Photos taken July 30th, I'm pretty much done adding coral to the tank, still finding final homes for the few on the sand bed. The fungia is pretty much a goner here, but I hang on to it just in case it turns around or babies start growing out. 

 

Sps have great polyp extension and continue to grow, Monthly pics are now taken for visual progress. 

 

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     The tank is visible from two sides, left and front. The left is the first view when walking into the room, so it was important to make it look good. I also refer it as the lagoon or softy side with a little less current. You get the clowns up front and the depth of the tank.

 

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  Tangerine Juice Leptoseris and Acro added.  Acro browned out but will soon be a favorites along with the lepto. The orange coloration is hard to capture on camera but it's one of the brightest and adds great color.

 

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Got out the Nikon DSLR W/ 60MM Macro. the war coral starting to grow, Photo taken Aug 3rd.

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Taken with the Nikon on Aug 4. You can see the fungia on it's last leg and will eventually be lost. 

 

Check out the growth on the Scripps Acro! Happy with the growth but not so much the color and form. I begin to see it's too much for the reef and not the look I was going for. The flow of the across was suppose to follow the rock work, higher on the middle/right side and tapers down towards the left.

 

Plans for a reef aquascape begin here and ideas for lighting upgrade too but will only happen during the Black Friday in Nov., My choices were between 

Ecotech Radion XR30 or the unfamiliar illumagic.

 

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Photos taken Aug.31st.

 

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Phot0 taken Sept 5th

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