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  1. ValerieR

    66 SCA Predator Reef build

    I started out with a 13.5 Evo nano Mantis tank back in April, but Mr Pickles didn't make it through his first molt. I ended up with a White ribbon eel ("Slimy") that "wouldn't eat." He eat pellets now. Main issue is that he will quickly outgrow my 13.5, so I needed better long term planning for him. I settled on a 66 from SCA, because if I got rid of some clothes and got a smaller dresser, I could fit it in my room. This is sort of long, so I'll try to keep it brief and with pictures. I'm condensing 2 months of planning into one post. Found a used tank on Craistlist. Haggled, waited, he finally agreed. Sale didn't include the skimmer or light, but I paid WAY less than it was posted for. New tank/stand runs $1200 on Amazon. I got a skimmer (Bubble Magnus 5) for $70 on Craigslist in Reno when I was visiting a friend, and the guy had a Maxspect Razor 420 he let me have for $30 and a reactor for $20. Sent the light back to Coralvue for warranty repair of the burnt out LEDs and broken fans. Now, it's good as new. I like it, and think it's a good light for what I spent on it. I set up the tank, and started planning the plumbing. This is my first sumped tank. From my research, the old owner had set up the overflows all wrong, so I started over. I got Innovative Marine's tank mat for both the tank and the sump. The hinges were so rusted they were falling apart, so I swapped them out. I planned my plumbing on paper, bought parts, test fit it, and then glued it. It has a manifold for (3) 1/2" lines, a check valve, and several unions and gate valves. I went with a Herbie overflow. I did a write-up in the DIY section on mounting the power switch into the front board, so I'll spare you the details. Short version: hole, light up switch, behind it, outlet. Cords stay up away from water. Add a labelmaker, and I'm happy. My ATO is a $6 cereal container from Walmart, but I not sure it'll hold enough (1.5 gallons) so I may connect 2 together with little RO hose bulkheads. The sump is about 18 gallons, so it takes a bit to raise the water level. I needed to leak test, but had no good way to drain it if I used tap water. I ended up deciding to use straight RO, then when I'd fixed any leaks, I added salt. I left my live sand bags in the tank for volume's sake, and it took almost 3 days after work to fill with my little under sink RO system. But I made my money back on it right there. Once it was full, I starting adding salt. Estimate it to be about 80 gallons with the sump. Started low, and fine tuned. I've got it at 1.024 now. I'd prefer it to 25, but with the ATO not on, it'll get itself there before I put livestock in it. Sunday, I added the sand. I took a clean razor blade and split each bag. I tried to dump them gently, but no luck. The bubbles coming out and dumping action stirred everything up. I put my eel tubes in the sand, and covered them. I added filter floss and black foam stuff to the sump baffles to help catch sand. The skimmer, amazingly, picked up a TON of sludge. I should have my Current USA (Amazon) wave pumps when I get home, and I'll see how the sand is. If it settled, ill need to even the sand out still. After that, I'll pull my filter sock, turn off my skimmer, and add Dr Tim's. I'll probably hang some frozen silversides from a veggie clip for ammonia. They're starting to freezer burn anyway. I added chaeto yesterday, and I'll add more from the 13.5. Should give it a boost, and start adding pods. My last tank cycled in less than a week, so hoping for the same. More pics to follow once I get home. I'm working on the program/timer on the Maxspect, anyone have any advice? I'll be taking the live rock and almost all the coral out of the 13.5, when would it be safe to do that for the corals, since they're attached? Plan for the tank *so far* is Slimy the White Ribbon eel (about 16-18" now), 3+ Leaf fish, 3-4 McKoskers Wrasses, and a Scopas, Yellow, or Purple Tang. I'll need to trade them out as they outgrow the tank. One of my LFS have 2 Waspfish, so I'm very tempted to grab them and cut out the wrasses, although I'd like a few "swimmy fish". Here's Slimy, yawning.
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