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Thread: At's 75g

  1. #1
    Curious Reefer
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    At's 75g

    Hello everyone it is good to find a community that is helpful and friendly to help me enjoy this great hobby. I have wanted to start this thread for some time but I keep putting it off, but today being an extremely slow day at work with hardly anyone around gives me a great chance to at least get it started.

    As you can see I am new to on-line reefing, but have found it a very nice addition to helping me expand my knowledge of the hobby and keeping my tank enjoyable. I wanted to start off this thread with a bit of history about my tank and me so please forgive me as it may get long and boring, but I feel it is a must to let you all know how I got started and where I am at in this adventure.

    The History:

    First off while I am new to on-line forums I have been in the hobby for some time off and on. I first got my 75g back in 2001 totally clueless about the hobby. I purchased a custome stand and canopy for my tank at the same time I bought the tank. The tank is came pre-drilled with intake and return in the back left corner. When I first set it up I used the cheapo sand you had to rinse for several hours before putting it into the tank (oh the joy comes back to me of rinsing). I started slowly not because i was told to but rather because I did not know anything or what to do.

    Sufice to say I got everything up and running and doing well. All the information I got back then were from a couple books and mostly the lfs owner (who we became good friends). Looking back he gave me some good advice but still there was some stuff he was trying to make a buck on, but overall he helped me out a great deal.

    I kept many fish, softies, and lps corals for years with just plain dumm luck. I ran only a 120g rated wet/dry with bio-balls and sponges. The only 2 things I tested for was ph and salinity, which I was told to keep at 1.023. I ran a small skimmer rated for a 75g tank, a heater (not sure the wattage), and maybe one cheapo walmart powerhead that I could never keep running or stuck to the glass. lol I almost forgot my tank is a standard rectangle 75g measuring 48" long 18"wide and 24" tall (at least I think is it will double check when I get home). My return is a Mag 5 with a 4 ' of head loss knocking it down to about 230ish gph (will double check this as well).

    The lighting I ran was 2 48" PC fixtures with 4 bulbs in each. I replaced these with a 4 VHO (2x Super Atinic and 2 Atinic white) running on a 660 ballast some time in 2002.

    I ran this system for close to 4 years with good success until the disaster struck. My wife and I took a 4 week trip late 2004 to backpack across France, Itally, and Switzerland leaving my friend housing sitting and watching the tank. About the 3rd week into our trip I get an email from our friend that the AC went out in the apartment and the temp shot up to about 95-100 F. He had been opening windows and placing ice in the tank to try and keep the temp down. The rental company sent out a repairman to fix the unit. Upon arriving home we found the guy had not fixed the problem and the unit was still not working correctly. I had lost alot of awesome corals to this heat wave. My friend did a great job keeping the temp down but the damage was done. I went into recovery mode doing water changes etc to try and save the tank. I had some mild success saving a couple of the fish and some of the corals, however my tank would never retrun to its former glory after this and had a string of problems there after.

    I fought has hard as I could and money allowed to get the tank back like I had it, but nothing seemed to work. So one day in 2006 when my last clown died I shut the timer off and just let the tank sit in the corner only keeping the water filter running and topping it off after evaporation had taken place. I never tried to sale it as I knew one day I would restart the tank as I truley enjoyed the hobby and the beauty of my tank. So letting it sit like this for about 3 years due to having a son, wife becoming ill, and a string of bad luck I never restarted the tank.

    Fast forward to December 2008:

    My son who is now 4 like my tank and said he remembered my fish (not sure if he does nor not) wanted me to start the tank up again. My wife who enjoyed the tank as much as I (since she did not have to do any work on it) also wanted me to restart the tank. So in December we were having the floors redone and I had to take the tank down and move it so they can do the floors. During this time I thought this is a great time to restart my tank! So that is what I have done.

    I took my 2 brutes loaded all the rock in them with some water from the tank and some freash SW. I cooked them for several weeks while the floor was being done and I worked on getting the tank ready for restart. With the tank empty except about .5" (if that) of water to keep the SSB covered I took a sponge and hot water an cleaned the inside glass. I took the wet/dry apart and cleaned the bio-balls and the we/dry chambers.

    Once the floor was done I replaced the tank, reinstalled the wet/dry (with bio-balls and sponges), filled with a freash batch of SW. The rock was not fully re-cured so I placed it in the tank and let it run to cycle the tank. It ran like this for a couple weeks with algea blooms and all.

    Once the cycle had completed I added 7 fish, which I made a huge mistake in doing. It is not that I added them early but rather I put too much in at once and the system was not ready. I lost 2 fish right off the bat., I was extremely disappointed! So after this I vowed to not make this mistake again. I have been slow going since. I did lose one more fish after this but that was due to bullying in the tank.

    List:
    2x yellow tail damsels
    2x Tank raised Percula
    1x firefish goby
    1x sand sifting star

    The mistake I made is I let my wife and son talk me into getting the damsels and starfish, which I did not want. I would soon remove the SSS and replace him with a Serpent Star. I am still working on catching the Damsels (the terrors of the tank) after they were found picking on the FF Gobi to which it died and seen picking on one of the clowns. So I am left with 4 fish now and I refuse to add any more until the damsels or out of the tank. I have slowly added snails to the tank to help with the clean up. They are doing great so far. I have only put about 20 in keeping a good mix between Cerith, Nassarious, Astrea, and Turbo. The live rock is doing well know and coming back in full color.

    So this is basically where I am at right now. I have made some changes to the tank but this is the general history of the tank to present. I am going to post some specifics like dates, equipment, etc when I get home (or get a chance to do so at home but this starter I believe is long enough for now lol. I hope I did not bore any of you.

    Here are a couple old pics I took and I believe they are dated to give you a time of reference on the restart.

    Thank you all for such a great community and wealth of knowledge an support!

    Atlantus/Clint


    Last edited by Atlantus; 03-27-2009 at 12:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Curious Reefer
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    Ok now that the history is out of the way I want to tell you what I have done in the last month to the tank or at least since I took the pics.

    I have slowly removed the bio-balls and sponges in the tank. I have added some new equipment.

    2x Hydor Koralia 3 (Opossite ends of tank facing each other)
    1x 250W submersible heater
    2x 175gph powerheads (one behind the rock work the other in the sump)
    Replaced stand pipe in tank over flow with a DIY Durso
    Replaced VHO bulbs
    2x Super Atinic
    2x AquaSun
    Purchased a full line of Tropic Marin test kits. (So far not liking the Ammonia and Phos test colors are hard to read)
    I also have a moon light but I had it from the beginning in 2001. I just repositioned it.

    Once I got the system off bio-balls and sponges I turned my wet/dry into a sump. In one chamber I have the intake from the tank and the old skimmer. In the other chamber I have some cheato with a 175gph powerhead to keep it tumbling. Cheato is lighted with a climp from lowes with a 6500k bulb from lowes as well.

    I also found a 20g tank my brother in-law had in storage and let me have for FREE . Here I put a couple baffles to section it off. In the first section I have a 5" DSB this flows into the return section. I did have more sections but took them out as I did not like the configuration. I am still wanted to make a couple changes to the configuration but I am holding off for now.

    So the gravity flow goes DT->in tank over flow-> sump chamber1-> sump chamber2->DSB->Return.

    I also changed what I feed my fish. Instead of just brine I mix up frozen Mysis shrimp and Formula 1 flake (They love it!) I am also dosing Kent 2 part A&B and Kent Mag to up my levels in prep for coral additions down the road.

    Current Live Stock:
    about 20 mixed Snails (Cerith, Nassarius, Astrea, Turbo)
    2 Tank raised Percula Clowns
    2 Yellow tail Damsels
    1 Serpant Star
    1 Zoa (Small mix frag of green and orange)

    I hope to either tanks some pics to post up or a short video here soon. This will allow you guys to offer advice on my system to make it a better system over all. I know there are some things I am thinking about but wife put me on a budget.

    More to come hopefully when I get home tonight.

  3. #3
    Grand Master Reefer PhotoJohn's Avatar
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    wow that is a history! Welcome to TR, the best reef forum on the internet!

    The tank looks great, sorry you ended up with damnhells(damsels). What is wrong with the SSS? They are considered to be a good thing, or i thought they were. I have always used sand sifting snails, but I know several reefers that use start.

    Why do you have egg crate on the tank? It doesnt sound like you have any classic jumpers, and it will cut alot of light.

    You may want to look into a refugium/sump. Bio ball wet dry systems are a thing of the past (or should be). A fuge with macros and a dsb does a much better job of filtering water and gives "pods" a place to live providing natural food sources

  4. #4
    Grand Master Reefer PhotoJohn's Avatar
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    ummm, wow you posted wile I was typing. Sounds like you are making great improvements!

  5. #5
    Grand Master Reefer PhotoJohn's Avatar
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    You may also want to look into selcon and garlic guard as fish food additives.

    I am curious what your sump looks like now

  6. #6
    Grand Master Reefer Pat's Avatar
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    welcome to tr!!
    great looking tank
    i agree with PhotoJohn lose the balls and sponges and add some live rock in the sump to replace them that will due a much better job of filtering especially for a reef tank
    in anticipation for my Miami trip this is my song of the week!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDp5IP76PeY

  7. #7
    Curious Reefer
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    Thanks for the replies and the welcome!

    I left it out of the the follow up post, but I have removed the eggcrate completely as I did not like it at all. It was only on there for about a week which is when I took the pics. I use it now to make stands and other stuff. Plus my son loves to cut it up and play with it making different things. It is funny you show them how to use a tool or do something and they take to it like white on rice.

    He is my buddy and loves helping with the tank doing water changes, feedings, and cleaning the glass.

    Well the Sand Sifting star is a destoier of sand beds eating all the useful bactieria and worms in the bed. If you do not have a well established sand bed with enough food it can have negative effects on your sand bed not to mention the starfish will starve to death. This alone was enough exchange him for a more interesting selection in the Serpant star.

  8. #8
    Grand Master Reefer PhotoJohn's Avatar
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    interesting, I thought they ate detritus but i just assumed.

  9. #9
    Assistant Moderator rayme07's Avatar
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    I'm sorry to hear about your tank but glad its starting up again. It looks great.
    Ray or Raymond
    There is no elevator to success in marine tanks. You have to take the stairs.


    Raymond's 30 gallon tank
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    Grand Master Reefer CarmieJo's Avatar
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    Hi Clint and to TR!

    Thanks for sharing your history. It sounds like you have really learned a lot along the way and are on the way to an even more beautiful tank. I love your stand and canopy.

    It is great hearing how your little buddy loves helping you with your tank and I'm betting everything else you do. Four is a fun age!
    Carmie


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  11. #11
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    Couple Vids

    So lastnight I was up way past my bed time, but I wanted to make a couple videos below tank system. I split them up so I can upload them for posting. If you have any trouble viewing them or have any comments about the system itself please feel free. I welcome all feedback to help make my system better.

    NOTE: I could not get the videos to embed in the post so I just put up a link to them. If someone knows how please let me know so I can get them fixed. Thank you

    Here is a short overview of the system:

    http://thekeepers.org/images/filter2.wmv

    This one is a run through of the flow process and what is in each chamber. It could be better quaility but making video for posting is all new to me.

    http://thekeepers.org/images/filter.wmv

    I plan on making another video of the display tank tonight with the lights on. I may also try and make a better filter video.

    One thing to note is I am not completely happy with the way I have the system set up atm. I am thinking about removing a couple baffles only leaving a 7" baffle to seperate the DSB and return, which would allow for more cushion room during evaporation reducing top offs to every couple days instead of every night. Also I am not real happy or sure about my RDSB. It is 5" deep but does not have a lot of life in it at the moment. I am worried about it functioning correctly or if it every will, so I would be most grateful with comments in reguards to it.

    I am also thinking about changing my cheato and skimmer compartments around. Here I would place the cheato in the chamber with the overflow from the DT and let the skimmer sit in a bigger and easier to reach chamber where the cheato is now. These are not hard to do so I may just go ahead and try it out this weekend.

    Thank you all in advance for any thoughts or advice you may offer.

    Clint

  12. #12
    Assistant Moderator rayme07's Avatar
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    Nice thanks for the vids.
    Ray or Raymond
    There is no elevator to success in marine tanks. You have to take the stairs.


    Raymond's 30 gallon tank
    Raymond's 60 gallon tank


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  13. #13
    Curious Reefer
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    Ok I had some time this afternoon two make to more videos of my tank. Please feel free to make any comments or suggestions as it will not hurt my feelings. I like as much feedback as possible so I can do what is best for my little buddies so they may have a happy and healthy home for years to come.

    I hope you all enjoy the videos and please forgive the boring tone as I was quit unsure of myself and did not want to sound over the top.

    http://thekeepers.org/images/tank.wmv

    http://thekeepers.org/images/tank2.wmv

    Thank you

  14. #14
    Curious Reefer
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    Oh man it seems the video got messed up in the encoding process. hmm I am going to see what I can do about making a better video.

    This sucks.

    Sorry everyone.

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    Assistant Moderator Skurvey Dog's Avatar
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    Hello Atlantus and to TR! Your posts have definately NOT been boring! It is good to hear about your past reefing experiences and your current preparations in getting geared back up again. How exciting. Are you sure you're not from South Caccalackey? (SC) Lol Your usage of "like white on rice" is a favorite in my neck of the woods. I love the cabinet with it's deep, rich colored stain. Very beautiful. Thank you for sharing the information on the sand sifting star.

    Kudos to you for encouraging your son's interest in a hobby that the 2 of you can share. I look forward to following along with your progress and plans.


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    Grand Master Reefer saltaddict's Avatar
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    Very nice build. The sump conversion is awesome!

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    Thank you!

    So over the weekend I tried to clean up the videos from my above posts and I hope that I got them right. They played well on my home pc but so did the others ones. I am at work now and going to check them out on this pc but I wanted to get the url's up before I forget them.

    There are 2 sets of videos one encoded for quicktime and one for multi platform. I hope these turn out better than the first batch I posted.

    Quicktime videos:

    http://thekeepers.org/images/filter1.mov
    http://thekeepers.org/images/filter2.mov
    http://thekeepers.org/images/tank1.mov
    http://thekeepers.org/images/tank2.mov

    Multi Platform:
    http://thekeepers.org/images/filter.asf
    http://thekeepers.org/images/filterb.asf
    http://thekeepers.org/images/tank.asf
    http://thekeepers.org/images/tankb.asf

    Ok so I guess we have something on our server that prevents us from viewing outside videos on work pc. Dang! Oh well I hope they workout so I will just keep them posted.

  18. #18
    Grand Master Reefer CarmieJo's Avatar
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    I can see the Quicktime ones just fine.
    Carmie


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  19. #19
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    So even though my sump is better now than it was with just the wet/dry I am still not happy with it. There are a couple issues I am thinking through and I am not sure which way I want to go with them.

    First off is my RDSB. When I put it in place it also housed my cheato, however there was not enough water movement to keep the cheato tumbling. This problem alone caused me to make a couple of changes. First I moved my skimmer to the intake chamber then placed my cheato with a powerhead in the old skimmer chamber. Now this leaves my RDSB well just a empty sand bed area.

    So what I am currently pondering is what function I want to get out of my RDSB now and will it be able to serve the initial purpose of nitrate control. Right now it is getting a decent copi population but I have yet to see any worm sign in the sand bed. I have noticed some detritous build up on top of the sand bed, which kind of bothers me a bit. So I am wondering what actions do I need to take to really get this sand bed working for my system and what function should I be expecting it to perform? I guess right now it is mostly a copi breading ground for my DT and the future addition of my Mandarin Dragonet, but should I really look at adding something else to it and make better use of this area? I know some folks say it takes a good 6 months for a RDSB to start working or properly work, but do I need to worry about the build up of detritus in there during this time? Also since I moved my cheato the RDSB only gets splash over light from the cheato section, do I need to add another light over the RDSB?

    I do have a SSB in the DT which was mostly done for looks pleasing some of the fish I so desire to have. How will having the SSB in the DT effect the DSB in the fuge? I guess after all the reading and research I have done I am still torn on the RDSB topic as it is so controversial depending on who you talk to or which site you visit. All this really just leaves me confused on the proper function and set up of a RDSB.

    I guess the next topic of I am interested in is my protein skimmer. I know it is a small one rated for a 75 gallon tank, but is this going to be enough to get me by? I guess I should take it out and post a pic so you guys can see what I am working with atm. If I go bigger should I DIY or should I buy? I do have an extra Mag 5 I could use to run a DIY if I could figure out how to best build a skimmer around this pump or mod out the pump to work as a skimmer.

    The last thought for today would be on running carbon. I do not care to buy a carbon reactor so that leaves me with the idea of a mesh bag with carbon floating some where in my system. First off should I even be running carbon in my system? If I should what type? I have read you do not want to use certain types that may leach phosphates into your tank . I thought most carbon was charcoal based but I have read you do not want to use this type.

    Any advice or thoughts are very welcome.

    Thank you

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