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mfield16

Fielder's IM40 Mixed Reef

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mfield16

It's been a while since I posted. Back in January 2020 I purchased a used 13.5 Evo, and 5 months later I upgraded to a IM20. In the middle of it all, my wife and I found out we are expecting. With that news and the new tank, and covid-19, and being crazy busy with work, there wasn't much time to update the journal. 

 

Fast-forward a few more months, and I may have sourced an IM40 from a somewhat local reefer here in Maryland. Well, 3 hours away from Baltimore, but still MD. 

 

So I plan on doing it right this time. Regular updates, not rushing the build, etc. My IM20 is running fine. Not great. Still young, still has algae issues, and I can't keep any new fish alive if my life depended on it. BUT the corals are looking quite nice. I have so many now that the sand bed has almost no free space. 

Plans:

 

Tank - IM 40 Used

 

Skimmer - TBD. Need to research having a skimmer in chamber 1. I have a Tunze 9001 on my 20 that I love, but it's in the return section and goes nuts if I stick my hand in the tank from the water level rising. Possibly a Tunze 9004, or the NuvoSkim DC in chamber 2.  Settled on the NuvoSkim DC, mainly because it's made for this tank and I don't have to worry about the water level at all. It's pulling a nice wet skim. Running it 14 hours a day for now, as I had a theory my chaeto was dying due to over-skimming. 

 

Filtration - Floss, chaeto right chamber 1. Floss, purigen, GFO as needed, carbon left chamber 1. 

 

Refugium - Honestly my current fuge (Chaetomax light and inTank fuge) isn't doing well. Chaeto doesn't really grow. Maybe a larger tank will help with that? UPDATE 10/2020 - Fuge is thriving. Nice work.

 

Return - Right now I run 2 - Tunze 1073.008's on the IM 20. It seems like most people are just running 1 return on the IM40. Will two not fit? Would love the redundancy of 2 return pumps. Any advice would be helpful. 

 

Light - Kessil AP9X. Beast mode.

 

Powerhead - Nero 5.

 

Controller - Apex Classic with all the goodies. DOS, DDR, all probes, leak detection, etc.

 

ATO - SmartATO Micro. Currently running. Have a Neptune ATK that I could use too. 2.5g reservoir. 

Heaters - Two Cobalt NeoTherm 100w, one as a backup. 

 

Sand - Yes! Love the look

 

Livestock - Royal Gramma (Grammy), 2x Wisconsin Snowflake Clowns (Brienne and Tormund), YWG (added 3 days ago, unnamed), Tiger Pistol, Cleaner shrimp. 7 RFA's (Bashful, Doc, Happy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey) These are all in the IM20 and will make their way to the cozy IM40. No plans for more at the moment. Tomini Tang added for now. Will rehome when too large. 

 

Corals - A lot. Too many to go in to much detail. Pics to come. Biggest are an elegance coral, a cynarina, and possibly my favorite, an acan garden with 8 varieties and counting. Some beginner SPS (cheap green acro, green and red monti cap, forest fire digitata, reverse superman monti, birdsnest, pavona, JF Barny), a few torch (nothing fancy), frogspawn, hammer, some fun blastos and mushrooms, etc.

 

Dosing - Tropic Marin All-For-Reef DIY. Easy.

 

Salt - Tropic Marin Pro-Reef

 

Am I forgetting anything in this plan? The hope is that I can slowly figure it all out and make the "in-place" upgrade go smoothly. Last time I did this it took 4 hours and the fish/corals did not love me. No losses, but I cannot imagine the stress I put everyone through. It would be easier if I was using a different stand, but the IM40 will be going on the same stand as the IM20 is currently sitting. Here we go!

 

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Clown79

The IM baskets are almost identical design to intank.

 

The old IM baskets were junk, clear plastic that was just poorly designed.

 

The new ones work great.

 

Heaters honestly shouldn't be kept in the return chamber, water level changes and hoses make it dangerous.

 

I can't comment on skimmer placement, i don't use them.

 

Chaeto issues- not the size of tank or light. If you don't have enough nutrients it won't grow. Ther has to be enough nutrients in a tank to support corals and chaeto. If not, its pretty useless to use chaeto because it will use up available nutrients and leave little to none for corals.

 

Light- i think nanobox is no longer in the business

 

I have been pretty fortunate with my tank transfers, takes a long time but its gone pretty smoothly.

 

Good luck

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mfield16
2 hours ago, Clown79 said:

The IM baskets are almost identical design to intank.

 

The old IM baskets were junk, clear plastic that was just poorly designed.

 

The new ones work great.

Very good to know. More money for corals. I was thinking it looked very similar to the inTank baskets I've had in every other tank. 

 

2 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Heaters honestly shouldn't be kept in the return chamber, water level changes and hoses make it dangerous.

This may force my hand regarding the use a fuge, or the skimmer placement. It's a valid point. Right now in the IM20 the heaters and probes are in the second chamber, and the skimmer with the return, so this never crossed my mind as a potential issue. Thank you.

 

2 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Ther has to be enough nutrients in a tank to support corals and chaeto. If not, its pretty useless to use chaeto because it will use up available nutrients and leave little to none for corals.

Nutrients abound in my current tank, and still no chaeto growth. NO3 read between 16-32 ppm last Sunday. PO4 was actually 0, but this was a day after adding a small amount of GFO to get it down from .1. Small amount of GHA could be the issue as well. I will have to seriously consider using a fuge on the new tank. 

3 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Light- i think nanobox is no longer in the business

WHAT?!!?! I looked at their site and they have in fact suspended all builds. What a bummer. I'm actually quite upset right now. This leaves me with a few options. 

 

1. Use the current NanoBox Duo I have. I love the light, but my fear is the increased height and depth of the IM40 will be too much for this light to overcome. 

2. Used Quad or wide quad. I don't see this happening, but you never know. 

3. Kessil 360x

4. Radion XR15 G5 Pro. BRS says the recommended spread is 18x18. Not ideal in a 24*18 tank. So, 2? $$$

5. Radion XR30 G5 Pro. Holy $$$💸🤢

6. 2 AI Prime 16 HD's. 

7. AI Hydra 32 @ 14" off water. 

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mfield16

Another light option is the Kessil AP9X. I've read some amazing reviews on it. BRS has a video out explaining how great it is on a mixed reef tank. 🤔

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mfield16

Here is the current IM20 and the stand the IM40 will use.

 

50245310553_c17ea247db_k.jpg

20200819_132750 by Mike Fielder, on Flickr

 

The stand sits just over 37" tall, which I think is a great viewing height. It's handmade and really well-built. Maybe too well. Not much room in the cabinet for goodies. Luckily right behind the tank is a half bath, with a partially unused linen cabinet. Most of the bigger Apex gear is hiding in there. 

 

This is what it looked like when I bought it from a local reefer. A few hours of sanding and about 98 coats of poly, and I think it turned out well. The tank is in our TV room and my wife wanted something that was furniture, not a "fish tank stand". She's happy too. 😇

 

50097791531_ae057f783f_b.jpg

20200305_101039 by Mike Fielder, on Flickr

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mfield16

The Fusion 40 has arrived! Decent deal. Came with about 30lbs of dry rock, Ghost Midsize Skimmer, IM Reactor Midsize, stock IM pump, CustomCaddy, and a few filter socks. Dirty as hell, and still had the coarse sand in it. 

 

For the rocks and sand, is it worth the risk trying to re-use them? 

 

50248803996_173ff1e44c_k.jpg

2020-08-20_02-16-05 by Mike Fielder, on Flickr

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debbeach13

I wouldn't reuse the sand but you can probably use the rock. Have you got a bucket or tote that you can soak the rock in? Are you transferring the rock and live stock from the 20 over to the 40?

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mfield16
23 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

I wouldn't reuse the sand but you can probably use the rock. Have you got a bucket or tote that you can soak the rock in? Are you transferring the rock and live stock from the 20 over to the 40?

I've got so many ceriths and nassarius, I'll probably use the sand from my 20, but it's not enough. My sand is Fiji pink, this "used" sand is much more coarse. I don't think mixing them will work. I assume over time the lighter sand will separate and be on top? 

 

Yes the old rock is sitting out in the sun right now, and I'll soak for a week or two in heated SW to see if anything leaches. I won't need much. Maybe 10lbs. And yes, everything from the 20 will transfer to the 40.

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mfield16

I filled the tank with water and vinegar to both clean and leak test. So far so good! 

 

I do have my first problem though. My stand is exactly 3/8th of an inch too short for the tank. I've come up with a few possible solutions, but I am no engineer, and have no idea if any will work. 

 

First, plate steel cut to the exact dimensions of the tank. In this scenario the tank will still hang off the back of the stand, but be supported by 1/4" thick steel. I have an online retailer claiming 58,000 psi. That seems good? 

 

Second, wood. I imagine I would have to go 1/2" or 3/4", and the tank would still hang off the back, and the wood would be very noticeable. 

 

Third, Get a new stand. 

 

Fourth, do nothing and hope for the best. 

 

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mfield16

I've done a ton of research on the overhang issue. Surprisingly it's not uncommon. Most people are recommending 3/4" plywood as it's cheaper than steel plate. I originally thought 1/4" steel plate would be fine, then I found a seller on eBay that can custom cut to my exact dimensions 3/8" for the same price I would have paid for 1/4"! In fact, the shop I was going to use is 3x the cost if I would've purchased 3/8" there. Should ship out on Friday, arrive by Monday. 

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mfield16

A few decisions have been made on the skimmer and lighting. I have a connection for discounted pricing at MarineDepot. I only use it on pricey items. Arriving next week: 

 

KESSIL AP9X!!! 🥳

 

I'm pretty pumped about it.

 

I also decided to give the NuvoSkim DC a shot in the second chamber. So media baskets in chamber 1, NuvoSkim and probes and heaters in chambers 2. If I keep the fuge that can just go in a media basket I think.

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mfield16

While I am patiently waiting for the gear to arrive I ordered a small frag tank. I have a giant frag rack in my current tank that is messy and ugly. Saw a marketplace post from @Micro-Reefs Aquariums for a 4.7 g AIO, with everything except a heater and light. Looks like great quality and the price was fantastic. This will allow me to keep the main display nice and clean. Just need to decide on a light for it. 🙄

 

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mfield16

Came back from a mini-vacation. We had a planned baby shower at the fiance's parents house. Mostly zoom, and some close family and friends in person. At the end we had a surprise wedding! We knew about it, but very few family did. A lot of fun! So, I am officially married! 🍾🥳

 

Current tank looks great. Had a little scare with the salinity meter. Looks like it was just crud or an air bubble. Dropped from 34.9 to 5 instantly. Those things are so finicky. 

 

Came home with no only an entire SUV full of baby gear, but a living room full of baby and fish gear. I think I have everything I will need for the upgrade, which I am planning to do Saturday. The 3/8" steel plate arrived too. It's a beast. 30lbs of solid steel, cut to the exact measurements of the tank. 

 

50294644751_03192b73d9_o.jpg

 

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Oh, and the Kessil AP9X arrived 😁

 

50294795017_bb727d3b54_o.jpg

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mitten_reef

Congrats on the surprise wedding, and baby-on-the-way.  

 

That steel plate looks like a serious piece of support!

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mfield16
28 minutes ago, mitten_reef said:

Congrats on the surprise wedding, and baby-on-the-way.  

 

That steel plate looks like a serious piece of support!

Thank you! My life will be completely different in less than 45 days. Hopefully the tank doesn't suffer. 

 

The steel plate is the only thing the house-sitter didn't bring inside. Too flat and too heavy. I feel pretty good not having that small overhang on the back. I plan on cleaning it, giving it a few coats of self-etching primer, and then some black paint followed by one or two coats of a sealant. This, and the self-leveling mat, and I should be safe.

 

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Clown79
3 hours ago, mfield16 said:

Came back from a mini-vacation. We had a planned baby shower at the fiance's parents house. Mostly zoom, and some close family and friends in person. At the end we had a surprise wedding! We knew about it, but very few family did. A lot of fun! So, I am officially married! 🍾🥳

 

Current tank looks great. Had a little scare with the salinity meter. Looks like it was just crud or an air bubble. Dropped from 34.9 to 5 instantly. Those things are so finicky. 

 

Came home with no only an entire SUV full of baby gear, but a living room full of baby and fish gear. I think I have everything I will need for the upgrade, which I am planning to do Saturday. The 3/8" steel plate arrived too. It's a beast. 30lbs of solid steel, cut to the exact measurements of the tank. 

 

50294644751_03192b73d9_o.jpg

 

50294644711_98fd9886eb_o.jpg

 

50294794832_fa1dcf4ccc_o.jpg

 

Oh, and the Kessil AP9X arrived 😁

 

50294795017_bb727d3b54_o.jpg

Congratulations on the wedding, baby, and tank

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mfield16
On 9/1/2020 at 3:51 PM, Clown79 said:

Congratulations on the wedding, baby, and tank

Thank you! This is definitely an insane year. 

 

I've had about 6lbs of dry rock in a bucket of saltwater for a week now. Just curing it to make sure I don't get any die-off in the new tank, IF I decide to add rock. Glad I did. I have a small amount of ammonia after the second water change. Nothing terrible though!. 

 

 

 

20200831_210604.jpg

20200902_203504.jpg

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Clown79
1 hour ago, mfield16 said:

Thank you! This is definitely an insane year. 

 

I've had about 6lbs of dry rock in a bucket of saltwater for a week now. Just curing it to make sure I don't get any die-off in the new tank, IF I decide to add rock. Glad I did. I have a small amount of ammonia after the second water change. Nothing terrible though!. 

 

 

 

20200831_210604.jpg

20200902_203504.jpg

Good call.

Anytime i have used dry rock i have seen an ammonia spike, except with caribsea liferock.

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Clown79
1 hour ago, mfield16 said:

Thank you! This is definitely an insane year. 

 

I've had about 6lbs of dry rock in a bucket of saltwater for a week now. Just curing it to make sure I don't get any die-off in the new tank, IF I decide to add rock. Glad I did. I have a small amount of ammonia after the second water change. Nothing terrible though!. 

 

 

 

20200831_210604.jpg

20200902_203504.jpg

Good call.

 

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mfield16
28 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Good call.

Anytime i have used dry rock i have seen an ammonia spike, except with caribsea liferock.

I was tempted to buy a few lbs of CaribSea life rock, but I had this on hand, and my LFS is $9/lb. The biggest piece I had is actually BRS base rock, which I'm sure is fine. It's likely the "old" dry rock that's having the die off. Hopefully this doesn't delay the planned upgrade date. 

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Clown79
1 hour ago, mfield16 said:

I was tempted to buy a few lbs of CaribSea life rock, but I had this on hand, and my LFS is $9/lb. The biggest piece I had is actually BRS base rock, which I'm sure is fine. It's likely the "old" dry rock that's having the die off. Hopefully this doesn't delay the planned upgrade date. 

Ya liferock here is $8.99/lb. Not cheap but i do really like it.

Do you have any biospira, that could speed up the process

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mfield16
23 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Do you have any biospira, that could speed up the process

Nope, but easily attainable. I use MicroBacter7 on the current tank. I can increase the dosage for a few weeks and keep an eye on things. I have enough water readily available for up to a 50% WC if ever needed. 

 

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mfield16

Getting the steel plate prepped. Self-etching primer for bare metal, black enamel 2nd coat, and multiple passes with matte clear enamel. This should hold up nicely to saltwater. 

 

20200904_145901.jpg

20200904_161237.jpg

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mfield16

It's done. Finally. I don't think I ever want to upgrade tanks again. Next time it will just be a new tank, new cycle, etc. Even though I had it planned out pretty well, the entire upgrade took almost 6 hours, not including a break to go show a house. My big issue was having to work in the morning, and not starting until 3pm. 😰 

 

Started by draining enough water to the tote so I could get the rocks out. My last upgrade I used rock putty and fused 3 rocks into my main structure. It worked out well, as all three came out together quite nicely, and went back in the same way. This made my life SO much easier! No need to remove every coral or hope to try and get it all back together again the same way. I then draining a little more water in my 5g bucket for the fish and a few more coral. Caught all the fish, got the pistol shrimp in a cup, then drained the rest of the water and a small amount of sand. 

 

50317788453_db000b9229_b.jpg

 

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Put the metal plate in place, added the auto-leveling mat, and put the IM NUVO Fusion 40 on top. 

 

50318635442_f11c976df7_b.jpg

 

The tank looks MASSIVE next to the old one. Hard to believe it's only 40 gallons. 

 

50317788128_9b6452b501_b.jpg

 

That's Charlie checking things out in the family room. He looks kinda chunky in that pic. 😬 He was a little upset he had nowhere to lay down. Here's a better shot of the big guy. 🥰

 

50318677112_4bfd1a5a47_b.jpg

 

And then the finished product. I used a few handfuls of old sand and a 15lb bag of fiji pink sand. Not the live stuff. Dead. There is a ton of negative space at the top, which I don't know if I like yet. I could see myself adding a piece of rock for just a tad more height. It does make the tank look gigantic though. Perception-wise. 

 

 I still need to Kessil AP9X installed. For now I still have the NanoBox Duo. I really love the color it puts off. Gonna be sad to see it go. Once I get the frag rack out, the new light up, and a few RFA's attached to rubble and not in my DIY shroom basket, I will get the first official FTS posted.

 

50318635107_2e9a918ee3_b.jpg

 

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mfield16

During the upgrade I did add a few things, and change plans on a few things as well. Added larger ATO reservoir. 5g, acrylic. Decided to go with a refugium, this time in the first overflow chamber. Chose the NuvoSkim DC, which is in the second chamber and after 2 days I have a nice tea colored wet skim. It's definitely louder than the Tunze 9001, but not terrible. 

 

This left plenty of space in the other second chamber for all my Apex probes and both heaters. I don't like the heaters in with the temp probes, so that may change down the line. 

 

Oh and I almost forgot, the yellow watchman goby didn't make it. Seemed great at 1am Sunday morning. By 8am he was gone. RIP. 😢

 

And as silly as it was, I met a local reefer to trade a rasta zoa frag and a forest fire digi for a beat up pink(red)/green war coral, an unnamed favia (white pale skin), and a big hunk of chaeto. Not the best day to do it, but I needed the chaeto. 

 

Here's the via. Hoping it colors up soon. I will get a pic of the war coral if it heals up. 

 

50318634807_8f0269bcb3_b.jpg

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