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TOPIC: Taken the Plunge, and Now I'm in the Deep End

Taken the Plunge, and Now I'm in the Deep End 2 years 11 months ago #57778

  • monarchzman
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To say that I have gotten a bit obsessive about reefing would be a bit of an understatement. So a little backstory for those who haven't followed. For a couple years, I've kept a 29 gallon tank and have had a decent amount of success, although I have had issue with hair algae. Then around this time last year, I decided to set up a 5 gallon which has been doing pretty well. And for the past couple years, I have been maintaining a 350 gallon tank on campus (as well as a 350 gallon cichlid tank). I spent much of the last year convincing the department to invest in the tank so that they can run with minimal maintenance and look great.

Well, unfortunately, at the beginning of June, we had some architects come through our department and decide that the combined 700 gallons were working to collapse the building (I'm skeptical since the tanks have been there for 10-15 years). As a result, orders came from higher up to get rid of the tanks as quickly as possible (i.e., 2 weeks or so). I was given leave to take any livestock or equipment I wanted and clear out the rest. So I basically had free reign to set up a new tank.

We had a 75 gallon that was used as a sump that I grabbed and cleaned up, to be used for my new tank. I already had an Apex system for my 29, so I ended up grabbing modules I wanted including a couple AFS, AXM, and break-out boxes. I also grabbed 2 AI FiftyTwo Hydras and a dosing pump from the tank. And that was essentially the beginning of my new tank. Oh, and here's the one caveat. After all was said in done, I had a little more than a week to set up the tank before I left for Australia for 10 weeks. So I made a stand and a hood, set up the 75, and transferred all of my corals and most of my fish from my 29 to the 75 (I didn't want the person caring for my tanks having to worry about 2 tanks - and with all of the stuff I salvaged, I could pretty well automate the tank so that maintenance would be minimal. It was a bit of a risk putting everything, especially my big pieces, in, but it ended up working out. Then about 2-3 days of having it set up, I left.



Long story short, no major catastrophes. Over the summer, my adviser really got into the reef hobby and would constantly update me to his purchases. I don't know how much he spent this summer, but I don't think I would be off in saying several grand. Anyway, we're pretty bad for one another in that we encourage all sorts of bad decisions with regard to getting stuff for the tanks. And it wasn't even a week in being back before I purchased a bunch of stuff for my tank (I even purchased some corals before I saw my tank when I returned - only because my adviser stopped to pick up some corals, and I decided to grab a couple as well).

As it stands, here is the livestock list for the tank:

Fish
Yellow Tang
Chevron Tang (new)
2 Blue Damselfish
Falco Hawkfish
Radiant Wrasse (new)

Invertebrates
Blue Linckia Starfish
Red Fromia Starfish
Coral Banded Shrimp
2 Cleaner Shrimp
Fighting Conch
Snails
Hermits
Brittle Star
Purple Lobster (I think, haven't seen it lately)
Royal Urchin

Corals
Pocillopora (new)
Acropora (new)
Bubble Coral (new)
Pachyseris (new)
Torch Coral (new)
Chalice (new)
Montipora digitata (new)
Micromussa (new)
Hairy Mushrooms
Discosoma Mushrooms
Lobophyllia
Kryptonite Candy Canes
Chili Pepper Montipora
JF Mr. Alien Chalice
Acans
Hammer Coral
Toadstool Coral
Hollywood Stunner Chalice
Duncan Coral
Zoas (variety)

I have been placing things somewhat haphazardly (as well as determining light levels), but did I say my adviser went a little crazy this summer? He got a PAR meter which I borrowed, so I can better place corals and set light levels, so I can make something like this to determine the ideal like levels for coral placement:



By and large, I'm pretty good with my placement, although I'll move a few corals around. Now without further ado, photos!

Blue Damsel


Chevron Tang


Falco Hawkfish


Yellow Tang (how you see him if you get too close to the tank)


Blasto


Micromussa


Pachyseris


Utter Chaos Zoanthid


Pocillopora


Hammer Coral


Acropora


Kryptonite Candy Cane


Chalice


Montipora digitata


Bubble Coral


JF Mr. Alien Chalice


Acan


Duncan


Full Tank Shot without PAR Readings - you can see the Radiant Wrasse in the top right
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Taken the Plunge, and Now I'm in the Deep End 2 years 11 months ago #57780

  • kmuda
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MM.... stunning photography as always. Tank is stunning as well, absent the photography.

This thread perfectly defines both the reason why I wold love to go reef and why I dont. I know my limitations. I would become ubber obsessed and go bankrupt.

What happened to the pair of 350s? The university sale them off?

With your stocking, how often are you needing to perform water changes? Salt mixes are not cheap.
120g - Tiger Oscar, Parrot Cichlid, SDs | 55g - 24 Year Old Kissing Gourami
55g - Angelfish/Bolivan Rams | 40g GBRs - 20g Apistos
65g Blackwater Planted Discus Tank
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 Rat Terrier, 1 wife, 1 old lady, 1 sub-adult, 1 rug rat.
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Taken the Plunge, and Now I'm in the Deep End 2 years 11 months ago #57782

  • popss
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freaking beautiful!!! I am going to do the rare banana dance. nice dang tank and job. :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
The name Oscar is a Norse baby name. In Norse the meaning of the name Oscar is: Divine spear.
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Taken the Plunge, and Now I'm in the Deep End 2 years 11 months ago #57783

  • toom
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Aswome work, i would love to have the time and resources for an reef tank but i am also way to clamsy for all the extra work with RO water and all the measurings. What i did not get was do you really refused two free 350 Gallon tanks? :huh:
We need to stop talking about the people as if they were the crown of creation.
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Taken the Plunge, and Now I'm in the Deep End 2 years 11 months ago #57785

  • monarchzman
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kmuda wrote:
MM.... stunning photography as always. Tank is stunning as well, absent the photography.

This thread perfectly defines both the reason why I wold love to go reef and why I dont. I know my limitations. I would become ubber obsessed and go bankrupt.

It is expensive, for sure, but I think the expense is all in the front, really. Once you get it up and going, there's not nearly as much to it.
What happened to the pair of 350s? The university sale them off?

They sent them to the field station where is sounds like they will gather dust, unfortunately. I'm a bit upset about it because I had worked 2 years to get them looking good, and perhaps I'd be more upset with it if they were glass aquariums, but they're acrylic and incredibly scratched. Hopefully they find some use for them. There was some chatter about setting one up as a native tank for the field station, but I doubt that will happen (need someone to take care of them).
With your stocking, how often are you needing to perform water changes? Salt mixes are not cheap.

I might do a 5-10 gallon change once a month, but to be quite honest, I am a bit undecided about doing water changes. I've got a protein skimmer that will suck out most of the solid waste and filter the water. The issue I have with water changes is that the corals are very particular about nutrients, and every time I do a water change, it messes with those. Although, I haven't set it up just yet, I will likely set up biopellets and/or a GFO reactor on the tank to remove the nitrates and phosphates that build up in the tank. I've read accounts of people doing weekly water changes and those never doing water changes. This tank has not had a water change in nearly 3 months and the corals are all doing well. I noticed quite a bit of growth from what I put in and since I got back. I'd hate to mess with that. Particularly because my adviser recently started doing monthly water changes after 6+ months of no water changes, and only after starting water changes is he seeing some issues with his corals.

Toom, I *loathe* acrylic, which is part of the reason why I didn't get them. The other being that I'm still living in a rental house and will have to move at some point. Moving a 75 reef tank is going to be a big enough PITA to deal with. I have no idea how I would move 350s. That said, whenever I get a place of my own, I will likely want something like a 200+ gallon reef tank.
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Taken the Plunge, and Now I'm in the Deep End 2 years 11 months ago #57795

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Is the live rock really that effective that it manages nitrates to a point where you can go that long without water changes?

I convinced a compadre of mine to use biopellets on his reef tank. Worked wonders, dropping phosphate and nitrate to zero. Turns out corals need trace amounts of both. Caused him major problems. He ended up removing the biopellets.

Unlike the freshwater world, there is always a new gadget or gimmick to toy with in the reefer world. It never ends. I know my limits. I would have to experiment with them all.
120g - Tiger Oscar, Parrot Cichlid, SDs | 55g - 24 Year Old Kissing Gourami
55g - Angelfish/Bolivan Rams | 40g GBRs - 20g Apistos
65g Blackwater Planted Discus Tank
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 Rat Terrier, 1 wife, 1 old lady, 1 sub-adult, 1 rug rat.
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Taken the Plunge, and Now I'm in the Deep End 2 years 11 months ago #57807

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I've heard mixed reviews about biopellets. I used them on my 29 without problems. Most people seem to caution it, but seem to run carbon and GFO to control nitrates and phosphates. I think, in general, water changes aren't done super frequently on larger tanks. I think that between GFO/carbon, a protein skimmer, and live rock, you can manage nutrients well. And with the higher end lights, you can control individual color spectra so help limit algal growth. I had awful hair algae problems on my 29 even though nutrients read as near 0. All of the nutrients were essentially stuck in the detritus stuck in the algae. With these Hydras, I can limit the spectra that promotes algal growth (and having the tangs helps, too).
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Taken the Plunge, and Now I'm in the Deep End 2 years 11 months ago #57827

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Incredible pics MM. Your disease has reached full progression I see! How are you liking your AI Hydras? Comparison between these and the Reefkoi you were running before?
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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Taken the Plunge, and Now I'm in the Deep End 2 years 11 months ago #57837

  • nzmary
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Inspirational tank for sure.. Fantastic pics..
Building a fish room in my garage doing a major tank/stock rearrange ATM.
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Taken the Plunge, and Now I'm in the Deep End 2 years 11 months ago #57841

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Gorgeous MM :mrgreen:
210g,1-lutino tiger O, 1- red long fin lutino O, 1 red O,7 SD
120g,3 Discus various dither fish
60g reef,1 sand sifting gobie,1black&white wrasse, various cleanup crew and lots of corals:)
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