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Spencer7

Reefer 170 SPS Bonsai (Est. August, 2020)

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Spencer7

Tank:  RS Reefer 170 (~43g total) - Started 8/23/20                                                                                      

Lighting:  GHL Mitras in 24" AL Hybrid Fixture

Dosing:  GHL Doser 2.1

Skimmer:  Coral Box D300+ from Reefbreeders

Circulation:  2x RS-M from Reefbreeders

Return:  Platinum DC Blue 800

Heater:  150w Jager w/Cobalt controller

 

Supplements:  BRS Two-Part + KZ Trace Elements

Salt:  RS Blue Bucket

Rock:  Tropic Eden Supreme Tonga Branches (10-12lbs) with AquaMaxx Reef Welder (Purple)

Sand:  CaribSea Fiji Pink (20lbs)

 

Supporters (go check them out!):  Reefbreeders + GHL USA

Not on the forums much or just want pictures? Follow the tank on Instagram here!

 

Water Change Counter: 0   

Status: Ten frags in the tank (8 from BC). Starting to see some tiny growth (10/8).

 

Premium Aquatics really hooked me up with nice tonga branches. I think the Tropic Eden rock is well worth the money and likely an underrated product!

 

Inspiring tanks...

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Spencer7

AquaMaxx Reef Welder (Purple) will be the main epoxy I plan to use but I have a couple backup options. I made sure to get extra interesting/gnarled branches for the bonsai scape.

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mitten_reef

intrigued by the all-branch concept. will be following along...also gave a follow on insta

 

did you move to pittsburgh already?  just remembered you were looking for local reefers a short while back.

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Spencer7
Just now, mitten_reef said:

intrigued by the all-branch concept. will be following along...also gave a follow on insta

 

did you move to pittsburgh already?  just remembered you were looking for local reefers a short while back.

Hey thanks! Yea, I've been cautious about using branch rock (especially given how unnatural it looks when mixed with typical e.g. pukani) but I'm a big fan of minimalistic scapes and I'll need as much growth area for SPS as possible (without dead spots of flow). Just added some inspiration/reference photos to the first post 😁

 

Moving to Pittsburgh in three months! Will feel like an eternity, however.

 

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Spencer7

"Pics or it didn't happen"

 

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I'm officially in Pittsburgh and shit's happening!

 

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dpoltsdsu

Looking forward to this one!

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Reefkid88

#spencergotthesauce

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Spencer7

~~~~~ UPDATE TIME ~~~~~

I was up till 3am last night making the aquascape, filling the tank, turning the pump on and cleaning up! (about five hours total)

Feel free to ask questions. Here's my review (along with pics!)...

 

"Premium Aquatics really hooked me up with nice tonga branches. I think the Tropic Eden rock is well worth the money and likely an underrated product!" 

^^^ Three months after buying the rock and starting to cycle it, this is still true! This was my first time doing a fully branch-based scape and it turned out really well. Of course, it takes some patience and skill to fit things together but selecting these rocks ahead of time for their gnarled look made my life a lot easier for designing a cool scape. The biggest caveat to this rock is that it definitely lacks surface area. For this reason, I will maintain a shallow sand bed along with the cycled bio-brick and rubble in the sump. 

 

I used AquaMaxx Reef Welder (Purple) and I think I'm a fan! I supplemented with glue but I used welder for all major joints (ten separate pieces make up the scape). It matches the color of the rock perfectly and it held stuff together pretty darn well. When a joint or 'smush' of welder didn't secure, it was obvious and I could just piece off and try again. When the plastic didn't secure, it was generally because the area was too wet or the plastic needed to be re-heated with water (lot of trips to the microwave). 

 

This product is very similar to the polymorph material you can find on Amazon BUT you really don't need a liter of the generic stuff for $15 imo. Get 250 or 500mL of the aquarium-branded product for the same price and have a little extra security/credibility. I used only about ~150mL of the 'plastic epoxy glue'. I will definitely use it again in the future. 

 

Return pump, skimmer, hybrid fixture have arrived. Circulators got delayed. Talking to GHL about the other stuff. Bulbs ordered. 

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dpoltsdsu

Liking that scape. Should be perfect for SPS

 

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Spencer7

All four T5 bulbs are pumping along with both Reefbreeders RP-M's!

 

Also, I ordered some Miracle Mud and have my GHL Doser and Mitras LX7204 on the way!

 

Follow the tank on Instagram here!

 

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Elizabeth94

Looks great! Im becoming more interested in these branch scapes. Once you start getting mini colonies growing they usually look really nice. 

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Spencer7
2 minutes ago, Elizabeth94 said:

Looks great! Im becoming more interested in these branch scapes. Once you start getting mini colonies growing they usually look really nice. 

Agreed and thank you very much! This scape already looks nice as is (purple, interesting shapes, clean, etc.) and it will look awesome once I can showcase some jaw-dropping acro's! 

 

I really look forward to filling it out with great pieces. 

 

The main compromise in this case is using dead/artificial rock. Much longer to cycle, far less surface area, no sponges, etc. I have rubble in the sump along with my piece of seed rock and a bio-brick (and soon, a cup of mud). Hopefully these things are enough to keep the tank stable with critters and bacteria.

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Reefkid88

#spencerhastheSAUCE

 

 LOOKIN' GOOD BRUDDA. 

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Spencer7

Some livestock added! In addition to the peppermint shrimp and six zebra turbo's, I added 3x Banghai cards, a Neon Goby, and a Tailspot Blenny.

 

I lowered the flow to gradually build up the cards' swimming muscles. I think there's a 60% chance the larger two pair off and muscle the runt...we'll see. 

 

Everyone is happy and eating and hopefully moving the cycle along!

 

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Spencer7

Fuel for my future SPS! 

 

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Reefkid88

Hell right !!!! You never see anyone use miracle mud anymore,that is awesome. 

 

 I want to try the Brigtwell Aquatics KoraLagoon substrate on one of my future builds. 

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Amphrites
1 hour ago, Reefkid88 said:

Hell right !!!! You never see anyone use miracle mud anymore,that is awesome. 

 

 I want to try the Brigtwell Aquatics KoraLagoon substrate on one of my future builds. 

I kind of want to just fill my skimmer chamber with either one, wish they came in smaller bags lol.

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Reefkid88
1 hour ago, Amphrites said:

I kind of want to just fill my skimmer chamber with either one, wish they came in smaller bags lol.

The Brightwell stuff comes in a smaller bag I want to say,like 2lb or 3lb bags. 

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Spencer7
3 hours ago, Reefkid88 said:

Hell right !!!! You never see anyone use miracle mud anymore,that is awesome. 

 

 I want to try the Brigtwell Aquatics KoraLagoon substrate on one of my future builds. 

1 hour ago, Amphrites said:

I kind of want to just fill my skimmer chamber with either one, wish they came in smaller bags lol.

So simple to just put a cup of it (~1lb) in a piece of tupperware and let it sit. With this tank, I'm trying to preemptively take extra care in having a healthy/stable bacteria population (given dead rock, minimal scape and tank size) so why not. I also consider it like automatic/natural trace element dosing (so useful if I'm away from tank for two months). 

 

I bought a 2lb bag from Amazon for ~$25 🙂

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Spencer7

Diatoms are here for the cycle! 

 

Exactly two weeks in...

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People have any interesting tricks for siphoning detritus from the bottom of the sump? Where you don't really have the height difference for a normal siphon...

 

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Amphrites

A Cheap powerhead on tubing

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Spencer7

Update as we approach 3 weeks!

 

1. We had a diatom bloom for ~3 days (days 14-17)

2. I cleaned glass and stirred up sand

3. Had a bacteria bloom in response, skimmer started cooking!  

3b. Got my Mitras and Doser 2.1 (go GHL!), tank is being lit by just the Mitras for now (less light for diatoms) 

4. Now, the tank still has a little bit of cloudiness and very light diatoms on sand but mostly chilling

 

TL;DR  -- Without testing, I can safely say this was a big week in terms of my tank cycling and going through the nitrogen cycle

 

My lighting is going to be nuts with the hybrid setup! I think I'll get a junky test frag and some test kits tomorrow 

 

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Spencer7

Added some inverts and two cheap test frags to the tank today! Also added more surface area to the sump...giving bacteria as many different surface options as possible. 

 

Three weeks old and looking clean!

 

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Reefkid88

Dude,its like sooooo inappropriate to add living organism this early bro.. lol. 

 

 I'm kidding,but what is it a Acro and a Monti or a Lepto ? 

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Spencer7
3 hours ago, Reefkid88 said:

Dude,its like sooooo inappropriate to add living organism this early bro.. lol. 

 

 I'm kidding,but what is it a Acro and a Monti or a Lepto ? 

My disappoint is immeasurable. 

 

A misc. acro and misc. favia (I think, it's a little tough to tell rn).

 

The acro def didn't like my liberal use of Revive lol but I'd rather kill it than start my tank off with pests. If I see polyp extension in a few days, I'll be satisfied. 

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