View Full Version : Frogmans 90 gallon no sump mixed reef

11/02/2009, 11:38 PM
Well, I'm not a mixed reef yet. I want to get a handle on the chemistry before adding LPS and if I have good success hopefully some SPS. I've had a fish only salt for 17 years and been keeping african cichlids for 35 years

Here is what I have so far. I set this tank up October 3 after tearing down my old scratched up 75. So some of the sand was old and tank decorations and the fluval canister has been running since 1992.


In the left corner is a tunze nano reef pack which is a nano doc skimmer and an in tank filter. The in tank filter is 240 gph and is loaded with 5 oz high capacity GFO and 5 oz ROX carbon from bulkreefsupply. The right corner is another nano doc skimmer. Under the skimmer on the right is a Koralia 3 powerhead. You see its a tight fit behind the light for the skimmers or anything else. I barely have room to drop a power cord.


The Fluval 403 canister is configured a bit different. The bottom is loaded with 5 inches of sand, the center section is cut out to divert the flow around some live rocks which are full of bristle worms. The top is floss, chemipure and half a sponge. I may move carbon to the canister and double up the GFO in the intank filter.


The water return comes through these jets which are piped under the sand. There are 4 in this picture


The light is Aquactinics TX5 with two ATI blueplus, UVL actinic white, GE 6500 and ATI aquablue HO T5 bulbs. Here is a shot a few weeks ago that shows the setting of the tank.


I have xenia, kenya tree, cabbage and finger leathers, zoas and one candy cane.


For fish I have 4 clowns that I understand may not be compatible long term. So far its 2 months. The bangaii cardinals are a breeding pair. The scissortail goby replaced a purple firefish that mysteriously died. The hector's goby is pretty cool. He feasts on hair algae which I have a bit of and pods. I must have a thousand amphipods crawling all over the tank.


I also have a blood shrimp, lots of red leg hermits, 1 ruby and one emerald crab, nassarius, astrea, stomatella and collinista snails.

The water is doing pretty well. With the GFO in for a week now my phosphates are near zero but I need a better low level test. Nitrates are also low, hard to say but less than 5 for sure. Calcium is 380, Mag 1300, alk very high for some reason at 12 kH. pH is 8.2

I think I am ready for more lps, looking at duncans, frogs or hammers, or some acans. I really would like to get some color in there, especially some reds or blues.

I could add a couple more fish. I was thinking of some blue reef chromis but saw they can get pretty good size. Maybe just one or do they need a small group of 3. I'm more inclined to just go with one.

I also have coming in some biopellets. I am toying with the idea of stuffing them in the skimmers. Flow is low, I think they would stay in there. I could compare the skimmate in one vs the other to see what difference they make. If your not familiar with biopellets, they replace carbon dosing with liquids and there is a good thread if you do a search. i could also load them in the canister but before i put them anywhere. I'd like to get some better baseline numbers on my nitrate and phosphate before I put them in. I would be curious to see if they could maintain a low phosphate number without GFO in the system.

That's my tank, any comments would be appreciated.

Here's a shot of my 150 gallon african tank


11/02/2009, 11:44 PM
Impressive tank Frogman ! I'm running canister too ! ;) Recently I had a Frogspawn did a bailout of its branch. Now the heads are walking around my aquarium. 3 of them died but 1 is hanging on. How deep is your Sand Bed ?

11/02/2009, 11:51 PM
The sand bed is 3 to 4 inches deep. Its shallower in the rear of the tank since I won't be able to vacuum that. I don't regularly vacuum the sand, but I may want to do a bit every few months.

11/03/2009, 12:13 AM
Looks great! Off to a good start. You can expect a cyno outbreak followed by hair algae, but it's normal for a new setup. Good luck!

11/03/2009, 12:22 AM
If you take a good look at the first pic, you'll see I'm well into the hair algae and whatever that brown stuff is on the back glass.

11/03/2009, 05:00 AM
I'm guessing your a woodworker by how well your stands and entertainment center match! Nice work, your tanks look great!

11/03/2009, 08:07 AM
If you take a good look at the first pic, you'll see I'm well into the hair algae and whatever that brown stuff is on the back glass.

You're right! Didn't see that. I've found that the mexican turbo snails work wonders on algae.

11/13/2009, 09:31 PM
Some new stuff, a scissortail goby, an open brain coral and an orange finger sponge.




I hooked up the second tunze nano skimmer, you also see the R2 Solutions Extreme moonlights


And drilled the collection cups


To drain into something a bit larger


Next up I'm waiting for my biopellets to show up. I'll put most in the canister but I may try a few in one of the skimmers to see what it does. The canister then shouldn't be collecting much detritus and consume nitrates instead of make them. Not sure what effect the DSB in the canister has, but my nitrates are less than 5 ppm. I need a better nitrate test for low levels.

Water is good, calcium 400, dkH 9, mag a bit low 1200 so I'm dosing Tech M, phosphate 0.01. pH 8.3

Frogspawn, hammer, or duncan corals are next on the list.

SC Trojan
11/13/2009, 10:03 PM
looks like your off to a great start on your mixed reef tank not to mention the woodwork on your cichlid tank looks outstanding. i may be wrong but in your closeup of your candy cane it looks like you might have flatworms. they dont necessarily harm your coral(i dont think) but they can be irritating to them and grow to plague like proportions in a tank if left unchecked, but then again they could be something else.

12/10/2009, 09:57 PM
Latest update.


Finally got my frogspawn


The tank just came off a 3 day dark, first time I've tried that. It helped take down some clear fuzzy algae I saw break out.

I took a frag with some xenia on it to my lfs. He'll give me half what he sells it for. There were a few bubble algae on it. I have seen a little bubble algae show up here and there but it disappears. I hope thats the emerald crabs at work.

The fish are doing fine. The clowns are doing the rock cleaning thing but I can't tell who is going to pair up. So far so good with the 4 clowns after 5 months they all get along.

The cardinals spawned but the male ate or dropped the eggs. Just as well, I think it was still a bit soon for him to be holding them again.

I put the sponge in the back left corner to take it out of the light. We'll see how it does. That was probably not the smartest purchase from what I'm reading.

The candy cane is responding well to extra feeding of pellets and shrimp. Looks like some heads are ready to split.

Below is my water test results. GFO has really done a job on the phosphate but I still have algae issues. At the moment they are tolerable and I actually want a little algae for the pods, hermits, snails and hector's goby. I have the two Tunze skimmers steady at 3 cups skimmate per week total. Not sure how to evaluate the biopellets, but water conditions are good. I'm swapping out 5oz GFO and 5 oz carbon every month which is the high quality BRS stuff.

Last water test Salinity 1.025 refractometer, Nitrate 0 Salifert, Phosphate 0 Elos, Ca 380 API, Mg 1305 Salifert, kH 8 API, pH 8.3 Red Sea.

12/11/2009, 09:12 PM
Comimg along nicely.One of my first corals was a very small frodspawn.It was so small I thought I bought a dead frag for awhile.Now it's one of my favorite corals.

12/21/2009, 09:50 PM
The technique you described for getting rid of flatworms really intrigues me. They've developed on a couple of my 'shrooms which have otherwise been extremely healthy. I've been following all of the threads regarding methods of getting rid of flatworms and am close to trying a 6-line wrasse but I'm concerned that it might damage the mushrooms/ricordea. The other flatworm control methods described on RC seem mighty extreme to me. Did your "straw technique" work for extracting FW from soft corals? Or, would you only recommend trying it on worms that are in the open on live rock? My 125 gal. does not have a substrate so getting rid of worms from sand is not a problem.

I visited your web site and your new tank is shaping up beautifully! I really envy you the live rock formations you have. My rocks are just rocks. (Might as well be bricks.) Sure wish I knew something about aqua-scaping!

Happy Holidays!

Tom Werlinich

[email protected]

12/22/2009, 02:44 AM
Is that an emergency blanket as the bacdrop? Were you going for something reflective or why did you put that on the back?

12/22/2009, 08:43 AM
Its heavy duty aluminum foil so I was going for something reflective. I have been looking for a dark blue foil wrapping paper to replace it.

With all the algae growing, which is becoming more and more coraline, I don't think its going to matter what I have on the back.

Regarding the flatworms and sucking them up with straw (actually a long piece of hard air line tubing). I was pretty diligent looking for those red spots on the glass and in the tank and I could suck them off the corals pretty easy with the straw. You can also reduce the suction by dipping the straw into some depth of water before putting your finger on the end. Use the tip of the straw to dislodge the worm, release your finger from the end, and the worm is in the straw. Put your finger back on the straw, pull it out of the water and release into a cup. Repeat as necessary.

I don't know what happened to the flatworms in my tank. I haven't seen any in a month. I'm not sure if the hector's goby is eating them, he's the only pod hunter in the tank.

Thanks for the comments on the rocks. I don't have a lot of rocks, just some big ones. It hurts a bit to spend $100 for a single rock, but I looked for large rocks that were interesting even as bare rock. So I have about $350 in just four rocks. Its the three bottom rocks starting from the left and the one in the center with all the xenia. The other stuff is mostly coral skeletons from my old set up.

12/25/2009, 09:56 PM
I finally found some dark blue foil and swapped out the foil. It made the algae look even worse so I had to clean the back off. Wow, what a difference. I'm going to have to keep algae, even the coraline off the back.


01/13/2010, 11:23 PM
The latest update after my visit to Fintastic, the best fish store in the Charlotte area if not the entire southeast. Also, I got a new camera, its a Panasonic DMC ZS3 point and shoot.

I picked up a crocea clam


A montipora


and a green montipora, they had some frags half price.


Here's a shot full tank shot


The brain is doing really well


Its a pellet feast for the crabs and snails.


I just love this bangaii cardinal. He's a pretty picky eater but has developed a real appetite for red cherry shrimp out of my planted tank.


Water parameters are all good Ca 420, Mg 1340, alk 7 pH 8.3, nitrates 0, phosphates 0.01. The GFO has been in since Dec 1, waiting to see how long I can go before a phosphate rise.

Almost got the sun coral today, they had a nice one and I have a spot in mind. That big rock left center with the big hole in the middle would be great.

Still looking for a starry blenny, almost went with the midas blenny, they had several to pick from. Its starting to look like a reef tank. I have high hopes for that red monti cap looking real good in that spot as it fills out.

02/07/2010, 08:26 AM
Feb update, not much new except for some green mushrooms.


Unfortunately my monti has a little white spot. I don't know whats up with that.


The candy cane has about 40 heads now.


It all looks pretty good.


I did squirt 3 aiptasia yesterday with Aiptasia X. I hope I can keep them under control. I have been harvesting the xenia. My lfs is giving me frag rocks and he's selling the xenia for $20 and giving me $10 in store credit. He's sold 5 so far. And has 6 of my xenia for sale. A pretty good deal I think. I have an endless supply of xenia, they really love my tank.

My bangaii cardinal has been holding for almost 3 weeks. I have a 10 gallon set up if I can catch the babies.


02/07/2010, 08:55 AM
Looks good. I had a 36g bow without a sump and ran that for a couple of years.

02/12/2010, 10:18 PM
I couldn't catch the bangaii and he released the fry in the tank. I caught one yesterday and put it in my 10 gallon refuge tank. I thought the rest were gone until I found 3 in the frogspawn this evening. Hope they make it. I'm curious to see how long they can make it in the tank. I've been squirting fresh hatched baby brine shrimp into the frogspawn.


03/17/2010, 10:14 PM
March update.
I lost my baby bangaii in the 10 gallon tank to a heater malfunction. The ones in the tank were never seen again. I guess the frogspawn wasn't all that secure or they wandered out.

Here is the tank view. If you look at the monti, I broke off the receded part and did a Revive dip. It is healed up nicely and is growing where I broke it off.


The candy cane is the best


The four clowns are still doing very well together, now at 7 months. I know, it may not last, but I think they could have done worse than end up in my tank.


I got a little acan frag


I got something I didn't research, but it was cheap and interesting. A glowlight polyp?


The big thing is the yelow fiji. Unhappy at the moment, but it had its polyps out earlier in the evening.


Water chemistry is good except for alk tends to be low. I'm adding bicarb to move it from 6 to 7. I took the GFO out and the phosphates are still less than 0.01 on Elos test. Nitrates zero.

There's just a little hair algae, but its slowly receding. Aiptasia is the main weed being controlled. My rule is, if I see, I squirt it, right then. Aiptasia X does a good job. They seldom come back if I can get a good squirt on them. Of course Xenia needs control too. My LFS now has a tank full from me. I may just have to start disposing of them.

Still thinking about adding a fish or two. A healthy mandarin might work, I have lots of pods. Some sort of blenny, starry or midas is possible. I haven't lost any fish, 3 emeralds are doing well, and the blood shrimp is great. An occasional snail or hermit are my only losses so far since the purple firefish died several months ago. I saw some neon green candy canes I might pick up. The ones I have have grown fast.

06/29/2010, 11:04 PM
So here is a long overdue update. All the fish are doing great even my 4 clowns. For those who say you can't have more than two, I think that may apply to wild caught, tank raised are definitely different. I got a mandarin a few weeks ago. It's still pretty shy but seems to be doing ok. I still have hundreds of bugs crawling on the glass. Cheatomorpha is growing out of the filter intake on the left.


The ricordia and green mushrooms have really grown and so has the acan and clam.


I'm not sure what to do about the macro algae. I'll need to control it, but I think it looks good.

I got medieval on the xenia and pulled the center rock out. I just about pulled it all off. One little piece left. I'm hoping I can contain it on the black coral stump.


The kenya tree has not been invasive at al and now seems to be in a bit of a funk.


Not sure if something is going on with the frogspawn as well. It seems a bit more withdrawn lately.


The montis are doing well, growing nicely.


The candy cane continues to do well and I picked up some smaller ones which you can see in the center tank shots.


You can see the ball anemone and the sponge are still around.


Todays water test, salinity 1.025, pH 8.2, calcium 400, mag 1275, kH 6 which I know is low, I added some baking soda. Nitrate 0, phosphate 0.01

11/01/2010, 10:22 PM
I thought I would update the log. I had some issues this summer with steady high tank temps 85 to 86. Everything seemed fine except the frogspawn which started shedding, shrinking, and one of the heads turned white. You'll notice I was just starting to notice this in the post above. I have a glass top and I removed the front panes in late July. That helped temps right away and the tank seldom went above 80. The frogspawn responded well and you can't see any issues with it today.

That little sprig of xenia I missed ended up being 4 huge stalks and I took the rock out again. I think I have it pretty will confined to the black coral root which is easy to pull them from.

I got a new mandarin, really nice looking. Not sure what happened to the other one, it only lasted a couple weeks and disappeared. I have had this one only a week.

The hector's goby died. It looked like it just stopped eating. It was doing so well for a year, not sure what happened.

Everything else has done well, the cardinals breed every two months. I had a baby make it 3 months in the 10 gallon tank, but it never did adjust to frozen food much. I think it was just eating pods.

A summer of not changing the water regularly has left calcium low at 340, mag 1200, nitrates non detect, phosphate .01, pH 8.3, kH 7, SG 10.25



11/02/2010, 06:12 PM
Looking good, what is the fish at the top right of the first pic?

11/02/2010, 06:16 PM
Very nice tank. I love it when I see a great tank without a sump....

I may have missed it - I just skimmed and looked at most the pics, but what kind of powerheads do you have? I remember reading about 1 koralia 3, but what else?


11/02/2010, 09:25 PM
Can you provide the details on your skimmers and what overflow boxes they are in? Looks great BTW.

11/03/2010, 12:44 AM
Muttley, if you're looking at the first pic i the thread, its a bangaii cardinal, in the pic I just posted its the scissortail dartfish.

Todd, I have a koralia 3 at about 800gpm, the flow coming out the jets piped under the sand from the fluval canister about 240 gpm, and the tunze in tank filter also about 240gpm. I have a lot of softies so not sure I want a lot more flow. I have a koralia 1 I may stick in if I get any more sps.

Mymonkey, I have two tunze nano 9002 skimmers. Some will say they aren't worth crap in a 90 but its the best I can do, you see my space constraints. I get about 4 cups a week of dark skimmate off them and they produce a very reliable foam. I am quite happy with them, the only maintenance is cleaning the collonista snails out of the impeller every few months. They come with a round collection cup that I switched out for some cups made for the tunze nano by inTank. http://shop.mediabaskets.com/Small-Tunze-Cup-Skinny-Body-Size-JBJCUP.htm Its the only way I could fit the light fixture on the tank. I did drill a hole as you see in some of the pics to drain them to half gallon jugs under the tank.

01/11/2011, 11:58 PM
About time for another update. I took some photos of my modified canister during a cleaning and posted them in this thread http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1959429 if anyone's interested.

The full tank shot to start it out.


I picked up some different red algaes. These are doing the best.


The yellow watchman is doing pretty well


And the tailspot blenny is fun to watch.


Had a problem with the bangaiis. The female jumped all over the male and took his tail off before I could get her out. He had just let a mouthful of babies go. The female is now in the 10 gallon QT tank. I hope this tail will grow back. Its been about 2 weeks. They have been together over a year, I didn't see this coming. You can also see some of the other red algae I added.


Then there is the xenia. So far I have it pretty well confined. The glass is the best place to push it as its very easy to remove from the glass.


The open brain just gets bigger.


My four clowns still get along great, together for about 18 months. They are all hosting in the caulerpa prolifica.


So the macro algae is doing pretty well. I did have this happen several weeks ago.


I found out what going sexual looked like and pulled it out. I haven't seen any more of that going on. I'm definitely keeping an eye out.

The mandarin isn't pictured, but its doing fine. I haven't had any fish losses in a year and a half other than one purple firefish.

That's about it. Water parameters are ok. I had to get on some tech m to get the calcium and magnesium back to reasonable numbers, currently 380 on the calcium and 1290 on the mag. I'd like to get to 420 and 1350. I had a couple spots of hair algae but when I boosted the mag, they went away.

01/13/2011, 06:20 PM
Love your tank!!!

01/13/2011, 07:05 PM
Your tank is gorgeous!!! I had a 75 I ran VERY similar to yours! I had no sump, no fuge! I had just a skimmer and penguin filter I used for carbon!! If you click on my name and click on my homepage, you'll see just how similar our tanks are/were.

T Diddy
01/13/2011, 09:46 PM
Hey Frogman,

Just looked at your thread for the first time. I love the old school with a twist. The macro looks great in there. Am I correct in assuming the 270 watts is (5) 54 watt T5s? If so, watt bulb combo are you running? Also what is the height of the tank?

01/14/2011, 09:34 AM
Hey Frogman,

Just looked at your thread for the first time. I love the old school with a twist. The macro looks great in there. Am I correct in assuming the 270 watts is (5) 54 watt T5s? If so, watt bulb combo are you running? Also what is the height of the tank?

I'm running an Aquactinics Tx5 with

ATI Blue+
ATI Aquablue
Fiji Purple
ATI Aquablue
ATI Blue +

Positions 1,3,5 run 10 hours, the Aquablues run 6 hours. The last set of pics was with the aquablues off. The tank is a standard 90, 24 inches tall. I'm thinking of swapping an aquablue for another blue +. I tried 3 blue + bulbs in the 135 slots and all the reds looked washed out. I really needed that purple with the blue +. for the dusk dawn settings.

I will trim the chaeto back but generally let it grow into a softball size before pulling some out.

Thanks for the comments.

01/15/2011, 04:25 PM
Awesome Tank. How much water flow do you have running

01/16/2011, 09:44 PM
I have a Koralia 3 running behind the barnacles with the big candy cane. The intank filter, where the chaeto is, is about 250 gph and the fluval is about the same. The return for the fluval goes through the undersand jets that I show in the first set of pics I posted. Overall then about 1300 gph which is not a lot, but I have the sps in pretty direct flow and the softies don't really like too much. I have an extra koralia nano I could through in, but I don't see anywhere I need it.

01/18/2011, 12:46 PM
Tank looks great Frogman, i have a 75 set up about the same way. i use a fluval 405 and a octo skimmer.it's pretty simple set up. i have been wanting to try some pellets but don't want to hang a reactor off the tank, how effective do you think the pellets are in the canister and do you have the return pointed in the direction of your skimmer?

01/18/2011, 06:38 PM
Tank looks great Frogman, i have a 75 set up about the same way. i use a fluval 405 and a octo skimmer.it's pretty simple set up. i have been wanting to try some pellets but don't want to hang a reactor off the tank, how effective do you think the pellets are in the canister and do you have the return pointed in the direction of your skimmer?

Its really hard to say how effective the biopellets are. I have never had a nitrate issue and I started the biopellets at the same time as GFO for phosphate. I no longer run the GFO and phosphates are still non detect on an Elos test.

I don't have the discharge to a protein skimmer. I figure though I'm better off with the bacteria that can be food for my corals and some must get skimmed. The big difference between a canister and reactor is the canister gets filled with snails and bristleworms that work to keep a bacterial gunk from building up.

I tried the biopellets in my freshwater tank and they just made a nasty mess in the filter and the pellets were just coated with slime. That doesn't happen in the salt canister. Above the last set of pics I posted a link to a thread I did on my filter, did you look at that?

I've been running the pellets for over a year, my tank is in good shape. It certainly won't hurt to run them. What else are you going to put in the canister?

01/18/2011, 07:38 PM
I have a 46 bow mixed reef with no sump but got rid of my canister filter after a year of using it. The system runs much better without it. I use Aqua C Hang on skimmer, little powerfilter for gfo and carbon. I have an intank refugium that I use for cheatemorpha. I have 3 Koralia 1, and a MP-40 ES

01/23/2011, 07:18 PM
for what its worth or if at all worth it the blue foil back looks great with everything in there

02/05/2011, 11:39 PM
A little quick for the update, but I was really happy with the way the tank is looking and wanted to take some pics.


If you look carefully at the light fixture you can see I used some black tape to block the light since the light is raised a couple inches above the tank. On the other side of the tape I stuck aluminum foil to act as a reflector.


My male bangaii is looking better every day. Hopefully the tail will be good as new in a few months. I just put the female back in the tank yesterday. So far so good.


This red algae is really doing well. Growing almost as fast as the xenia.


So what is this growing on this rock. It looks like an SPS of some type. Very odd since I've had this rock for 20 years so it didn't come from this rock.


Another whats this. There is some kind of tube worm on the bottom plate sticking up. I also have one in my green monti. The monti is encasing it, but the worm is using the casing. I see long threads coming out. Since both my montis have one, I assume its fairly common.


The mandarin is doing well I suppose. It won't eat any food I put in the tank, but its been in there since the beginning of October.


I added some more scarlet hermits. Hair algae that was cropping up in a few places has completely receded. Not sure if its the hermits or all the macro algae. All the fish are doing well. I haven't lost anything since my hectors goby last summer.

08/22/2011, 04:49 PM
So now its two years since I started this tank and a good while since I updated.

Here's the tank. I still have the 4 clowns, I lost the male bangaii. He never really recovered from the beat down he got from the female after holding the eggs 3 weeks. The mandarin looks great, he doesn't eat anything I put in the tank, ever, and I've had him now about 9 months. The coco worm was a bust. Died after about 8 months. the yellow watchman and royal gramma are good additions. Still have the blood shrimp and brittle star. The crocea clam is good. The frogspawn seems a little contracted, but not as bad as it was a month ago when my alkalinity got low.



The big difference is the red algae that has taken off. I love this stuff. Grows like mad and doesn't anchor to anything or break off bits that get all over the tank. I think I'm going to get all the chaeto out of the tank. This stuff is so much cleaner.


I added this guy. He single handed cleaned up the aiptasia, didn't eat all my feather dusters, and seems a model citizen. I guess I got lucky. The algae he's on is a bit odd. Very fuzzy, attaches a bit but not too aggressive. Pods love to crawl thought it.


More red algea


I've been able to keep the xenia under control. Now limited to the back glass and a couple small rocks I'm going to pull out and get some store credit. For all the hassle, its still an amazing softy. Click on it to see it in motion.

http://i996.photobucket.com/albums/af89/frogmanx82/th_xenia.jpg (http://s996.photobucket.com/albums/af89/frogmanx82/?action=view&current=xenia.mp4)

Good growth on the montis


Zoas are spreading


What is that green stalk poking out to the right of the acan?


Well thanks for looking. Appreciate any comments.

08/22/2011, 05:08 PM
Looks great!!! Keep up the hard work!

02/07/2012, 01:28 AM
Bump, from a fellow Chrlottean!

03/12/2014, 11:06 PM

So it has been a couple years since I last posted. Hair algea has been a problem though most people still think the tank looks cool. I just replaced my T5s with 2 Maxspect Razor 120s, 16K. I'll take another photo to give you the full tank look when I get back in town.

The Montipora have become huge, macro algae is a big feature and the clowns, (yes I still have the same 4 clowns) really treat it like a big anemone. I still have the female bangaii cardinal, some of the same nassarius snails, and most all the corals. I had a mandarin for over a year but the last two I tried just didn't last long at all. My yellow goby died and I've been through a couple royal grammas. I've had a cleaner shrimp and purple brittle star for a couple years. I go through lots of hermit crabs. It seems a few just go and go, but most die in less than 6 months. Emerald crabs don't last more than a few months. I had some peppermint shrimp for almost a year. They did successfully rid the tank of aptasia, the only thing that worked.

Just before I put on the LED lights I had a serious dieback of some candy canes and it looks like my open brain is in real trouble. Glad it happened before I switched the light or I would have blamed it on the LEDs. You see the frogspawn under the orange monti doesn't look good either. I lost the crocea clam. I blame the shrimp that just wouldn't leave it alone.

I'm hoping the LEDs put the hair algae in remission.

03/13/2014, 08:05 PM
Really like the macro, thanks for the update.

07/23/2017, 07:22 PM
This is the end of the no sump tank. My wife called while I was out of town 2 weeks ago saying the tank was leaking. After talking her through disconnecting the pump, it was still leaking. I called a fish tank service company and they came out right away, thanks Fintastic, and got my livestock into rubbermaid containers. The tank was leaking from the bottom seal and probably lost about 10 gallons of water before all was transferred out.

I took this opportunity to put in a sump. I went with a Eshopps R100, Octo 110 skimmer and a Jebao DC 4000 pump.

Here's where I'm at. I'm missing the other half of my LED lights until Tuesday with a repair.




My tank had fallen into a hair algae situation that had me ignoring the tank for a while. I had a halimedia bloom that took up about a quarter of the tank. It needed a good cleanout so starting almost from scratch except a few fish, some softies and candy cane. The rocks were still swarming with pods so I have that going for me. Interested to see how it breaks in with a mix of old and all new sand and tank.

07/23/2017, 07:26 PM
This is the end of the no sump tank. My wife called while I was out of town 2 weeks ago saying the tank was leaking. After talking her through disconnecting the pump, it was still leaking. I called a fish tank service company and they came out right away, thanks Fintastic, and got my livestock into rubbermaid containers. The tank was leaking from the bottom seal and probably lost about 10 gallons of water before all was transferred out.

I took this opportunity to put in a sump. I went with a Eshopps R100, Octo 110 skimmer and a Jebao DC 4000 pump.

Here's where I'm at. I'm missing the other half of my LED lights until Tuesday with a repair.




My tank had fallen into a hair algae situation that had me ignoring the tank for a while. I had a halimedia bloom that took up about a quarter of the tank. It needed a good cleanout so starting almost from scratch except a few fish, some softies and candy cane. The rocks were still swarming with pods so I have that going for me. Interested to see how it breaks in with a mix of old and all new sand and tank.

07/23/2017, 07:51 PM
This is awesome! I love seeing this tanks progress over time! I think you will really love the sump.


08/19/2017, 12:05 AM
So I wasn't sure whether to start a new thread or not since I'm not a no sump system but I like having it all together and people see the sumpless history. I'm not sure what caused my algae issues. I wasn't testing as much, or using gfo, the skimmers weren't maintained, years of build up in the sand, anyway, I got a clean start and I'm committed to making stay nice.

I still have the algae issue and I went the fluconazole route. I've looked at NOPOx and Vibrant as other options. I have some BRS GFO coming so hoping those tools work.

Here is the set up.




The hair algae had already started to take off as you see below


08/19/2017, 10:44 AM
Love the new change of scenery and reading about the previous setup! Looking forward to following this. Everything looks great so far!

08/19/2017, 07:24 PM
I added an auto top off unit from Avast. I went with the perastaltic pump which was an upgrade and got a boxy little 7 gallon plastic container for storing the makeup water. I'm using RODI water and then add a tablespoon of bicarbonate per gallon figuring that can't hurt. Also my tank has a glass top and I have the sump partially covered too so the make up is minimal, maybe one or two gallons per week.

ATO-KIT Auto Top Off 1
MAGNET-2SLOT ATO Magnet Mount - 2-slot Multi-Purpose Magnet Mount 1
ATO-PERI-PUMP Peristaltic Pump for Auto Top-Off - 110v 1
SWITCHBOX-STD ATO Switch Type - Standard AC Outlet 1



In the pic below you see I added a vent tube. The Eshopps design has an air tight space for the filter sock and once air gets trapped in there it can't get out. You can see the level start to drop vs the level where the skimmer is which had me really puzzled at first.

I'm thinking about putting the GFO in a bag and hang it from the side where you have the upflow from the water intake to the sump. I could just wrap the draw string around that vent tube.


And found (and remmoved) what I understand is a harmless flatworm in my fuge.


This is day 5 after Fluconazole treatment. You can see the algae getting white.


08/21/2017, 10:04 PM
So it is day 7 of the fluconazole treatment and the hair algae is in remission. I used tablets not the capsules so I had to bust them with a hammer in a plastic bag then mixed with rodi and dumped in the filter sock. You can see the algae is much whiter.



And the red and green macros look fine.



I need to check my nitrates and phosphates which I'm guessing are elevated. I have some GFO coming and I'm hoping the skimmer is working on the nitrates. Hopefully I get all that under control shortly and can start back up with some corals.

08/21/2017, 10:27 PM
Awesome. I too went from a sumpless tank to getting one. I am glad I made that switch.

My bet is adding the new sand/digging up the old one is what sparked off that hair algae

08/28/2017, 11:19 PM
Now at 2 weeks after Fluconazole and been running my skimmer for all but the first 3 days. There is still some hanging on but probably 90% of it is gone. Turns white and disappears.

Nitrates and Phosphates aren't showing up on my test kits but I just ordered a new Hanna low level kit for phosphate so we'll see what happens.

You can see below the algae is in remission.


I picked up a flame angel


And a frogspawn


This rock has great color and I just discovered a couple ball anemone


This is the full view


This is my african cichlid tank. I haven't put a fish in the tank since 2007.


I have three more fish on my list, a pair of banggai cardinals and a foxface.

09/07/2017, 01:12 AM
So 4 weeks after fluconazole my tank is almost bad algae free. Macros are doing fine including the Dragons Tongue which has grown quite a bit. Halimeda is popping up all over.


The worst places of algae are clear. Even the refugium which had been a disaster. In the pic below you see some corals on top of the barnacle tree. I though they were all separate but now that the algae is gone I see they all grow from a purple vine that connects them all. Any idea what that is?


The fighting conch is cool. Never had one before


I put some GFO in a bag and it hangs in the upflow from the drain into the sump. Phosphates originally measured 0.13 and are now at 0.0 on a Hanna Low Phosphate test with 5 oz of GFO running for a few days.

Got a clean up crew from reefcleaners. 10 very small ceriths, 4 good size nerites, and 10 hermits. They go along with 4 trochus and 7 astreas. I put 3 astreas and all the ceriths in the refugium.

The flame angel is eating flakes and small pellets now in addition to frozen. Next addition still thinking about a pair of banggai cardinals and a foxface. Actually some more corals are probably next up.

10/01/2017, 10:30 PM
Oct 1, 2017 update. Got a foxface rabbitfish. Was very happy to see the kole tang had no issues and in fact the kole, foxface and flame hang out together a lot of the time.


Also picked up some zoas.


The dragons tongue just didn't do well in the refugium with a 36 watt grow light. Even tried a24 watt blue light and that didn't work either. Was pretty bleached out when I moved it but has a bit more color now after just a few hours in the main tank.


I am tired of the felt sock and going to try a mesh sock with filter floss in the sump.


I am using kalkwasser for make up at a tbs/gallon with 45 ml vinegar per gallon. I notice now there is some white film on the surface of the make up tank. I'm still having to add calcium chloride once a week to keep Ca at 360 which is still a bit low. The halimeda is a calcium sponge.

I notice worms starting to take over the overflow box. Dwarf ceriths are breeding like crazy in the refugium and there are two stomatella snails in there too from somewhere. The chaeto still hasn't really taken off in there. I do like all these small brittle stars that crawl all over the chaeto that is there.

I bought 4 bangaii cardinals and the lfs is holding them in a QT tank for me for an extra $5 per fish and if any die before I pick them up I get a store credit. Seemed like a good deal to me. I travel a lot and a QT tank takes some TLC.

10/01/2017, 10:48 PM
Also wanted to float this idea. To cut down on the film formation in the kalk storage, cut some bubble wrap and float a sheet of it on the surface. Anyone do something like that?

10/28/2017, 12:40 AM
The tank is looking good. There isn't a thread of hair algae to be found. Been running carbon for a couple months so don't think I have much fluconazole left. I think my fish list is complete with 4 clowns, 4 bangaii cardinals, yellow eye kole tang, foxface rabbitfish, flame angel, bicolor blenny and a cleaner shrimp plus CUC of course. I'm considering a second cleaner shrimp so I can have them producing eggs which will just be food for the tank. Also considering an Azure or Starks damsel. I think I'd be better off with one of those than a cherub angel for my blue fish. The foxface has just discovered it can eat the dragons breath so I'm not sure how long it will last. All the green macro algae is gone and I'm guessing its the foxface responsible for that.

Here's the full tank shot.


Slimer is doing well with noticable advancement.


Christmas favia, and setana look good, and candy canes coming back.


Not so sure about the Smurf Blue Cyphastrea. Anyone have suggestions on whether it should be moved?


Been doing about 5 tsp of Calcium chloride, soda ash and magnesium weekly plus the kalk/vinegar in the ATO. Tank takes about a half gallon a day of top off water.

I got 4 bangaii cardinals which may be an issue but for now they are doing well. Trying to get them converted to freeze dried plankton. They'll eat it if I soak in selcon but still they prefer frozen. My problem is I'm leaving for 7 days and will rely on good automation for feeding.

Its getting cold and noticed the heater wasn't keeping up so added a second one in the overflow box.

So floss is more of a pain in the butt than filter socks but they both get plugged up in less than a week which is a problem with my trip coming up and I have a 10 day trip coming up shortly after. I think I'm just going to use a mesh sock while I'm gone. The Eshopps fuge overflows the water into the fuge section well enough but I don't want to starve the skimmer which seems possible if the sock gets totally plugged up. Also added a delay switch to the skimmer. If power goes out, I have a generator that kicks in after 30 seconds, but the skimmer would overflow before the pump lowers the sump level so this solves that problem.

I did get 10 filter socks so I'm planning on using the washing machine when I have 8 dirty ones and I'll just throw in my aquarium towel with them so I can just run a separate load. Any idea how they do in the dryer? Seems like the tumbling would help knock out more dirt.

11/29/2017, 09:53 PM
So another month, thought I'd update. Eventful day today. Last night when I set my Jebao pump to feed mode it had an error code on the restart indicating a stuck impeller. I had to pull it apart and vinegar soak. The calcium carbonate buildup was pretty gritty. So after the soak all was clean and thought I was in good shape. Came down this morning to find the ATO stuck on and 2 gallons of kalk water added over night. Nothing overflowed and pH was only 8.7 and all seems fine. Turns out I had hit the pressure sensor line to the ATO control. Next time I mess around back there and the ATO comes on I need to check to be sure it will turn off.

I had back to back trips that had me away from home for 7 days and a few days later for 8 days. The auto feeder worked great. I used the mesh filter sock and it lasted without backing up too bad. Everything came through just fine. I guess its only when you're messing with stuff that things go wrong.

Other than that, no new items and all the new fish and corals are settling in. The clowns are tending their eggs again and the kole tang just won't learn to stay away. I think the 4 bangaii's are paired off into two pairs. One I'm sure had eggs holding for a few days but they didn't go to term.

No sign of hair algae, I took out GFO and the cheato really took off. The dragons tongue was a tasty snack for the foxface, all gone except some in the fuge. Phosphates testing 0 to 0.02 on a Hanna.

So, I'm wondering how close to capacity I am with the stocking list. 4 clowns, 4 bangaii, kole tang, foxface, flame, and cleaner shrimp. Also snails, hermits, a brittle star and fighting conch. I'd like to get another cleaner shrimp and how they interact. Also considering either a Azure, or Stark damsel or a cherub angel to get a blue fish in the mix. I did lose my bicolor blenny. I think the kole tang just made life too miserable for him. Not sure if it was his colors or his shape that the kole didn't like. He doesn't chase any other fish.

The full tank shot


Clowns guarding their eggs and zoas moving onto a rock.


The green slimer growing


Favia, moon rock and setana doing well


Frogspawn in a happy place.


12/14/2017, 11:14 PM
For a change up I thought I'd post a bit about the Eshopps R 100 sump I went with. Gotta say after years of being sumpless, the sump offers a lot more options.


I like the channel design of this sump that allows water to take two paths through the sump. One path, about 90% of the flow, goes through the filter sock and then on to the skimmer before hitting the return pump. The other path avoids the sock and goes right to the refugium which overflows directly to the return pump and avoids the skimmer.

What I also like is that the water goes into the sump and then upflows to the filter sock. This is a good spot to put GFO if needed.

For the filter sock, after messing around with floss and various socks I find it best with a mesh sock with the top cut back as much as possible to fit inside the felt sock and I weigh the mesh sock down with a piece of rubble rock.

Also for this filter I found that air can get trapped in the space the filter sock is in so I put a small breathing tube in the top.


Over the refugium I have a 36 watt led grow light. It has 3 blue and 9 red leds, 3w each. You see I have a nice ball of cheato and the way the water enters the refugium it generates a nice rotation to the cheato ball. When it stops spinning I know its time to thin it out.


In the skimmer area I went with an Octo 110 which fits pretty well. I control the ATO with a level control in this area. Also float a bag of carbon and put a bag of biobeads in a bag rubber banded to the skimmer outflow.


The return pump is a Jebao DCT 4000 which at 4ft head is probably 600 to 800 gph.

I really recommend this sump. Stays pretty clean as these pictures show after about 5 months of running and phosphates are below 0.02 and nitrates non detect.

When the filter socks start to back up the water overflows into the refugium so flow there can increase a bit. I haven't seen any issue even with a badly plugged sock where the water had any issue getting through the refugium so it seems a pretty good failsafe. There is some very coarse sponge between the refugium and return as well as from the skimmer to the return.

02/26/2018, 09:32 PM
I have some new items and a oddity I have a question on.

I scraped this stuff off a rock. It is very slow spreading and I assume some sort of algae but I've never run across this before. It spreads slowly and is hard to see on the rock here but it is a very thick film. You can see a piece I peeled off and have on my finger.


off this rock right in the middle of the pic


I also picked up a really cool rock flower anemone


And this neon green Kenya tree


Here is the whole tank pic


So I lost a bangaii cardinal and the third one isn't doing well. If I can catch him I'll return him to the LFS. The pair that had the eggs just ended up dominating the other two. I was able to catch a baby and put it in the refugium but a day later it was gone so I guess I'd need a better filter on the out flow next time.

Otherwise all is good. Still no algae other than that weird film stuff which is growing very very slowly. The foxface is a pig and getting big. The corals are all expanding. That kenya tree is amazing for a softy. The tips look like led bulbs glowing green.

I have been running the filter socks with a 100 micron mesh sock inserted in a felt sock and that seems to work well enough for the felt to last a week with a couple washes of the mesh sock every 2 or 3 days. If I'm gone for a week I just go with a 200 micron mesh sock.

I had to replace the rubber tubing for the ATO peristaltic pump after the tip where the water drips in sealed shut from calcium carbonate buildup. That needs to be checked once a month or so apparently.

Any thoughts on the algae

04/06/2018, 11:02 PM
So I think the tank is pretty set. Have all the fish I'm wanting at the moment and curious to see how things grow out. Picked up an Azure Damsel. I took one of the bangaii cardinals back to the LFS. He was a little banged up from the other two. I also snipped a branch off the green kenya tree and hope to see a couple new ones taking hold. I also boiled the barnacle tree to get rid of the stuff that was spreading all over. You can see the purple trails left.


I have the sump running pretty smooth. I remove a quart size ziplock filled with cheato and get a $5 credit at the LFS every two weeks. I was having issues with lots of scale build up where the kalk was coming into the skimmer section. Thats a good place to do the level control but not a good place to add kalk as the flow is too low. The Avast set up has a connector for the drip feed right next to the level control which is really just a bad idea. Now I add my top off water in front of the filter sock. I'm settled now on the 200 mesh nylon inside the felt sock and get about 5 days before the felt sock starts backing up flow and needs replacing. I save them up in a sealed bucket then run a load in the washing machine with half a cup of Oxyclean (sodium percarbonate) The bag of biopellets gets turned over pretty well with the outflow from the skimmer. The black mesh under the filter sock got dislodged when I was changing a sock but it had some small pieces of Polyfilter left over from cutting a ring out for my cichlid tank.


07/03/2018, 04:33 PM
So nearly a year since the tank leak and replacement with a sump system. I have it stocked like I want and don't really have a next up. I'd say its the grow out phase now. Below is a current pic.

I have some creeping corals and the mushrooms I wish I never got. The halimedia in the back center of the tank is huge.


I have a steady addition of half a gallon a day of kalk makeup water that I mix 2.5 tsp per gallon lime and 45ml per gallon vinegar. I also add 6 tsp a week of calcium chloride and 6 tsp a week of soda ash.

I only water change 5 gallons once per month.

No signs of hair algae after the original treatment of fluconazole last August.

The only fish loss has been a bangaii cardinal and I returned one to the LFS that wasn't holding his own. The pair are breeding pretty regular but I haven't messed with trying to catch the babies. The clowns of course breed every month as well and they have really taken to the bubble tip.

The rock flower anemone is great and really growing. A good substitute for the open brain that the flame angel bothered so much I had to return it.

Very happy with the tunze 1073.05. Its a DC pump and I haven't had any issues with it. After 6 months I opened it up to clean and there wasn't much to do. I didn't even have to soak it. Perhaps moving the kalk addition to the filter sock intake helped but the impeller was just as clean as new. It also is a slick surface so I think better than the Jebao at staying clean.

08/29/2018, 05:02 PM
Got some new stuff from a friend of my wifes. He has a tank full of torch corals. Also some hammers and some polyps that I hope I can control. Here are some pics.





So I thought my tank was pretty full before but these additions really look good. Pretty happy with everything at the moment. Fish are all good. Parameters are steady. If only I had a weapon to use on all those mushrooms. Oh well.

I did replace the koralia 3 that I had with a new one. It was starting to rattle and I just couldn't fix it. I got 10 years out of it so no complaints.

Appreciate any comments.