My build 1 year latter - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 20 Old 04-03-2015, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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My build 1 year latter

hard to believe it's been a year since I started my first salt water build https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/b...74802/....This winter has been especially brutal here in the north east and My job and just staying even with mother nature has had me distracted.. tired and left with no time to post on my progress....it has provided me with time to let my tank mature...stabilize and grow...and keep my hands out of the tank...

Today... I am happy to report that IMHO.. it is thriving... my parameters are stabile and have been since Mid December and rarely move month to month.. and then if anything I may only need to boost the magnesium... I only do water changes once a month now @ a rate of about 30% of total volume ( tank and sump).. my Nitrates remain less than 10ppm most of the time.. I do vacuum, clean the glass( front and sides only) and clean debris from the rock work weekly.. the sock filter in the sump catches all "floaties" and is cleaned daily( floaties being mostly bits of Romain from the foxface).. ... My ATO mixed with Kalk has done a great job of helping hold my water stabile... the entire back of the tank is covered in coralline algae.. the blue back is only visible where there is no light... I use it as my "drain down to" mark during water changes... the rock work is no longer that sterile white... all have taken of a nice pink hue.. most of my corals have grown considerably...some have "taken over" and had to be "pushed back" as they encroached on other coral domain..my mushrooms have spread, some leaving their colonies to start their own.. most of the caves have mushrooms sprouting in them.. I did loose my fungia and my Hammer coral.. there simply was too little light @ 3 watts per gallon...I'm really not sure I want to invest in more expensive lighting... maybe when I put up the 125 gallon I'm thinking about I'll go "al in" ...all my fish are doing well... all 3 clownfish are still living in harmony.. it's been a year... as they were my first purchase..still no fights.. and 2 of them have doubled in size...,my foxface likes my wife better than me ... he takes romain from her hand but hides in a cave when I go near the tank...and the blue BULLY damsel ( really a yellow tail) still attacks my hands if I put them in the tank... the flame angel is the sheriff and puts BBD in it's place...the BBD shares a cave with my coral banded shrimp.. kind of an unlikely CRANKY duo..but it works... My mandarin still hunts the rocks continually.. he now takes enriched brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp and finely chopped table shrimp in addition to the newly hatched brine shrimp I feed him every few days...My Anemone which was the size of a quarter when I got it is the size of a soft ball when it is fully "sun basking".. and my sump... it's almost as fascinating to watch as the DT... lots of little critters and fan worms living amongst the mangrove roots and in the macro algae ( fern calpera and chaeto).. after seeing what A friend goes through with the same sized tank and no sump... I couldn't/wouldn't want to be with out one....I'll post some pictures this weekend..

this has been a great learning experience... I've still got a long way to go... every day is a journey. But at this stage. It's more fun and less work. My wife has taken a vested interest in the tanks as well... something she never seemed interested in when it was just the fresh water tanks...she's learning every day...

Tank #2( about 6 months into this one) 20 Gallon Bow front
.. the sea horse tank... they have grown as well... doubled in size...I had to move the bubble coral out of there...too much flow in the area I had to put it in... luckily I had a home for it the sea horses love surfing the current.. they move around the back where the water is still then move up into the flow and 'surf" to the front... they will do it multiple times.. I see it as a form of play... almost like they are showing off!... They eat ALOT have come to recognize that the turkey baster means ...breakfast....lunch ...or dinner.. one of the peppermint shrimp appears to have an abdomen loaded with eggs...I'm hoping to be a dad ... I had to also move the zoa colony back to the main tank..not enough light in the 20 gal bow.. they stopped opening up.. 2 days back in the 75 and it's like they never left!...the mushrooms and gorgonians are doing great and expanding their territories... I'm contemplating adding a chilli coral for color.. I'm already there with the turkey baster 3 times a day... if I add a little oyster feast or reef plankton I'll be in the game..... any inhabitants need to accept dim lighting..IMHO .. the chilli will be perfect..

Wise men speak when they have something to say...fools speak because they have to say something.
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post #2 of 20 Old 04-04-2015, 10:05 AM
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Outstanding progress! You u are very diligent in y o ur routines and that can make a
l the difference in the marine world. You should share a picture of those two miniature reefs. I like how you mention you do not clean the back of coraline, some people find the coraline on the glass a nuisance and scrape it off but I tend to let it grow on all but the front of my glass, in the end I feel it looks much more natural and you can attach corals to it. You mention a 125? That would be quite the upgrade, I have a 125 and a 210 and they take up alot of room, wiegh a ton, and soak up much power and time. B7t if you go that route let me know and I may have a few recomendations\pointers for you. Oh and great job by the way, you have had very few bumps in the road on yourr saltwater journey wich is not something most people can say, your patience and research have been paying off along with your level heaf and capable mind...keep it up.

...........
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post #3 of 20 Old 04-06-2015, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Outstanding progress! You u are very diligent in y o ur routines and that can make a
l the difference in the marine world. You should share a picture of those two miniature reefs. I like how you mention you do not clean the back of coraline, some people find the coraline on the glass a nuisance and scrape it off but I tend to let it grow on all but the front of my glass, in the end I feel it looks much more natural and you can attach corals to it. You mention a 125? That would be quite the upgrade, I have a 125 and a 210 and they take up alot of room, wiegh a ton, and soak up much power and time. B7t if you go that route let me know and I may have a few recomendations\pointers for you. Oh and great job by the way, you have had very few bumps in the road on yourr saltwater journey wich is not something most people can say, your patience and research have been paying off along with your level heaf and capable mind...keep it up.
Thank you very much... your advise has brought me a long way... it was always helpful and always has been encouraging yet has allowed me to learn on my own... I know there were things I posted that you knew were going to be a problem.. but you let me learn on my own... We had 20 people over the house this week end.. I didn't get to take pictures...I'll try tonight..

I mentioned the 125 more as a joke.. but it COULD happen some day.. I could see my tank needing an upgrade in another years time at the rate everything is growing... the only part of the back glass I clean is a narrow strip for the heater... the damn thing wont stick to coralline!.. I ordered a set of Orbit marine programmable LED's for the two tanks.. they will succeed the under powered single T8 lamp on the 20 gallon bow front and will supplement the 2 2 bulb t-5 fixtures on the 75...they come pre programmed with a coral acclimation program.. I bought a blue eye goni over the weekend for the sea horse tank. And a pair of coco worms. ( my ringed cowrie ate through the tubes on the feather dusters.. no way it can chew through those hard tubes).. the LFS recommended a dry mixture for the goni.. I think it is called Goni power...it gets mixed 2:1 with tank water to dry powder... it also says good for feather dusters and coco worms.. so I figure one less food type to administer!

I don't think I mentioned my Duncan's.. I bought them with 2 heads... I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the heads anymore.. the thing is massive... it and the mushroom are having a little turf war... when the "breeze" blows the toad stool over too close.. I can see the tentacles of the closest Duncan's head elongate and reach out for the toad stool. Then the polyps on the toadstool retract and it pulls away...amusing to watch.. I haven't seen a bristle worm in the tank since I got the coral banded shrimp.. but he is a mean little bugger!.. then again. Anything that hunts bristle worms has to be a bit on the rough side..

On a sad note... My ornamental pond froze to the bottom ( it still has 2' of ice in it).. all the snow caved in the winter house and set off the GFI... with 4' of snow on top of it, I had no Idea the heater and pump were off... good news..I'll make it bigger and better...

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post #4 of 20 Old 04-09-2015, 06:39 AM Thread Starter
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OK...FINALLY got a chance to take a few pictures... the fish were going bonkers because it was feeding time... once they see the turkey baster even the coral banded comes out looking for food..

the sea horses have grown... the tank is only 6 months old or so...and I have yet to clean the glass... the snails and ringed cowrie keep it spotless... I supplement dry nori sheets twice a week .. as evidence of the green "tumble weeds' along the bottom... that was all gone this morning.. compliments of my fighting conch
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tank 2 April 15.jpg (95.9 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Tank 3 April 15.jpg (83.7 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg Tank April 15.jpg (77.7 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg Sea horses 2 April 15.jpg (72.6 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg Sea horse April 15.jpg (79.0 KB, 37 views)

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post #5 of 20 Old 04-09-2015, 10:24 AM
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Wow, some of those corals are massive, you are going to have to slice a couple up and trade some to the Pet Store. Are the PJ cardinals a pair? And I do like the black clownfish, a nice color contrast for the reef. Oh and be careful as many of the soft corals will emit toxins to "fight" with their neighbors and this is what is probably happening to the duncan. It should grow out in the opposite direction on its own over time and if I recall you use carbon so that is all you can really do.

Sea horse tank looks great too, I do love the gorgonians and that there looks like a healthy specimen. I was going to say it might look nice to add a couple of the red macro algaes but I bet your clean up crew would really "clean up" on that.

...........
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post #6 of 20 Old 04-09-2015, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, some of those corals are massive, you are going to have to slice a couple up and trade some to the Pet Store. Are the PJ cardinals a pair? And I do like the black clownfish, a nice color contrast for the reef. Oh and be careful as many of the soft corals will emit toxins to "fight" with their neighbors and this is what is probably happening to the duncan. It should grow out in the opposite direction on its own over time and if I recall you use carbon so that is all you can really do.

Sea horse tank looks great too, I do love the gorgonians and that there looks like a healthy specimen. I was going to say it might look nice to add a couple of the red macro algaes but I bet your clean up crew would really "clean up" on that.
No doubt there are some turf wars going on.. the toad stool has the capability to move but it seems to want to fight sometimes...I can tell when there's been a battle ( like when I took the picture).. the toad stool will have retracted polyps and sometimes a yellow "wound'... it heals in a few days and the cycle sometimes repeats.. I guess they don't learn so quickly.. the Duncan WAS tiny when I got it...not so much anymore.. ... I run a carbon reactor and change it every 2 weeks just for that reason... dunno if those cardinals are a pair... bought them a long time ago ...Petco wanted to "get rid of them" when they were redoing some of their tanks I bought them for $2...that black clown is one of the original ones I bought almost a year ago .. ( the other went down the overflow).. it gets along nicely with the other 2.. they stil all sleep together each night....The gorgonian was another petco 'gimme".. @ $5 it looked like crap.. covered in cyano ... I cleaned it up and fed it marine snow twice a week and it seems to have recovered nicely... the Sea horses LOVE it.. It seems to like the Goni power as well.. when I SHUT OFF THE WATER FLOW TO FEED.. IT WILL EXTEND ANY POLYP NOT EXTENDED.. EVEN THE ONES UNDER THE SEA HORSES ( oops cap lock)... I'm waiting on the new lights tomorrow...cant wait to get rid of that T-8..

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post #7 of 20 Old 04-09-2015, 09:47 PM
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Sounds like some really nice scores for the tank, those prices can't be beat. I just ask about the cardinals as I have had males fight amongst themselves and I have had to break em up. The males have a very "grumpy" face as the mouth is down turned slightly more than the females.And maybe one day you could send me a frag of that gorgonian, not many types of that floating around here.

Yay! It is always fun to play with more lighting, I bet you can't wait. Bring on the 420\460 actinics.

...........
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post #8 of 20 Old 04-10-2015, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by badxgillen View Post
Sounds like some really nice scores for the tank, those prices can't be beat. I just ask about the cardinals as I have had males fight amongst themselves and I have had to break em up. The males have a very "grumpy" face as the mouth is down turned slightly more than the females.And maybe one day you could send me a frag of that gorgonian, not many types of that floating around here.

Yay! It is always fun to play with more lighting, I bet you can't wait. Bring on the 420\460 actinics.
the cardinals do like you see by day.. staking out a eddy behind their own leather or rock pliť. Once the lights dim.. they actively hunt together... I "sneak" them small pieces of shrimp when the other gluttons have gone to bed!

I'm going to have to learn how to frag sooner or latter...my leather is about another month away from being totally out of control.. that gorgonian will be out of the top of the tank soon... I'm at the point where I'm afraid to do anything to upset what's going on...

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post #9 of 20 Old 04-10-2015, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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This is what my tank looked like April 10 2014
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post #10 of 20 Old 04-11-2015, 12:44 AM
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When things are put into perspective with picturea such as this it is night and day, truly amazing what can be done. From rubble to reef in just a year, kudos my friend.

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