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McPuff
10/21/2016, 08:35 AM
HI everyone! I'm finally making a post for the tank transfer I've been mentioning for the past 3 months +. Well, it has finally happened. I have had a 120 in-wall for the past 3.5 years and it was doing quite well. Had it pretty well packed with SPS colonies but had the opportunity to move into a 300DD which is quite literally the biggest tank I could possibly fit down my basement stairs.

The whole preparation took about 3 months from start to finish and here's what had to be done:

-Sold off the majority of my SPS colonies to help finance the new build
-5 hour round trip drive to pick up the tank and equipment
-2 weeks out of country for work almost right after this... slowed the whole process!
-Had to clean and prep all the equipment
-Hired a moving company to help me get the 520# tank into the basement... that was not an easy move on a hot day!
-Re-built the stand as it had to be cut in half upon purchase... no way to get it out of the existing house... and no other way to get it into my basement.
-Bleach and acid bath old live rock
-Build new rock scape with aforementioned rock using e-Marco 400... Had to envision how to incorporate my existing live rock into the structure at the same time. This was not an easy task!
-Cleaned the tank, painted the background
-leveled the stand, shimmed the tank
-fill test with tap water
-fill tank with RO/DI water; took 3 days ( ~200 gal) and added 1 box of RC salt
-Made a sand rinsing tool, rinsed 120# of special grade sand; added to the tank using a special "sand-addition tool" (i.e., PVC pipe with a funnel) to minimize the dust storm... still happened but I know it was not as bad as it could have been.
-Turned on circulation pumps (PP-20 x 2), added titanium 800W heater and linked to Apex (tank NOT yet connected to sump)
-siphoned a few gallons of nasty water and a few # of sand from the 120 and dumped into the 300 to establish the bacterial community. Added a couple small live rocks with mushrooms. Also took the marine pure block (8x8x4) out of existing sump and placed into 300 gal. Left the tank like this for a week.
-plumbed the tank through a wall to utilize the existing sump and equipment already in use for the 120; used 1.5" for the twin drains, running as Herbie. Built a 1.5" manifold (4 ports) and have 1" return line going back through wall to the far side of the tank.

At this point I created a video to explain what needed to be done and where I was in that progress... I also used it as an Intro to my new YouTube channel, "McPuff's Laboratory." :0)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFtxKUgLg4k

The actual tank transfer:
-Tested the water in each tank (salinity, alk, ca, mg) to ensure the parameters were equal (or close enough) the day before transfer. Didn't actually have to tweak any parameters!
-pumped about 70 gal of water from the 120 directly into the 300 to fill it remaining amount
-Moved live rock out of 120 and into 300, trying to remember where I had envisioned them. A bit nerve-racking but kind of fun. Brought out the scape I had in my mind which was nice to actually see in reality. Corals were placed wherever they could go and not yet mounted (unless they were already attached to rocks).
-Captured the fish as I was unable... of course, the solar wrasse hitch-hiked in a rock and ended up flopping around on a rubbermaid lid a bit before I could throw it into the 300. It is totally fine!
-Captured and transferred the remaining fish with very little stress. All fish made the transition very well. I gave them lights-out for about 36 hours and they were all out and about before I even added the daylights again... I did, however, have moon lights ON for day 2.

In this video I explain more about the transfer process and how it went... also show you how the new system looks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwB2HKd-nvg

The aftermath of the livestock transfer:
The transfer of livestock was the easy part in this whole process. At this point I'm only about 2 hours in and everybody is settling in to their new home. Now I needed to do the following:
-completely empty the 120 of water and sand
-Remove the bulkheads and plumbing... yes, this was a total pain!
-Get a buddy to help me remove the 120 from the stand and out of the fish/utility room
-Complete the plumbing for the return line (drains were pretty much done already) and manifold; this took a lot longer than I had anticipated!
-hang the Onyx fixtures in the canopy frame on the 300
-Remove macro-algae from the sump and place into remove fuge, which now sits where the 120 sat (40 gal "Tuff Stuff" tub)
-Plumb the new fuge and hang the grow light
-Plumb the calcium reactor (DIY - repurposed a GFO reactor and a Knop C reactor)
-plumb the GFO reactor (not shown in video)
-FIX THE HOLE IN THE DRYWALL... I mention this in the video... it is NOW complete but not shown as such. This was an adventure that I am not totally happy with... I'll have to do some touch-ups.
-re-mount a few corals and rocks... Not yet posted to video but I will do another update when I feel it is "complete." Will be soon.

This final video shows the support system for the 300 and provides a bit of explanation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVVa8jyn5Y8

So that's my big update for now. I'll try to post regular updates on the system progress. One of my biggest motivators for going with a larger tank is that I can now get some tangs and angels which I have missed for a few years. My current fish stock list came entirely from the 120 and is as follows:

-foxface lo
-scopas tang
-pink spot watchman goby (about 10-12 years old)
-pink spot Caribbean hawkfish
-pajama cardinal x2
-solarensis wrasse
-rudy head wrasse (aka blue-side wrasse)
-female Carpenter wrasse
-chromis (just 1!)
-Talbott's damsel
-melanurus wrasse

That's a pretty light fish list for a 300 though they do all seem quite happy to have the added space! :0) That said, I plan to add the following fish:

-small school of silver mollies (great for algae control and provide a live food source, which the wrasses and hawkfish will love)
-Achilles tang
-chocolate/mimic tang (A. pyroferus)
-blonde naso tang
-Lieutenant tang -----The tangs (~3" each) will be quarantined together and added at the same time. Hoping I don't have to use acclimation box to minimize any aggression I would see from the scopas (it is not very big)...

After a few months I would also like to add:

-Blueface angel
-Annularis angel
-fireball or flameback angel ----- the angels will be small juveniles, allowing them to grow into their habitat and I'll just hope for the best with respect to the corals. As you can see in the videos, my goal is to have few colonies that get huge. They should therefore be able to handle some picking here and there.

Eventually I may also add a humu trigger (R. aculeatus) as this is probably my all-time favorite fish. It will live in the fuge at first and will likely be the final addition to the display.

Ok, that is officially the longest post I have ever made... and probably ever will. If you got through it all, congratulations!! :0)

CrayolaViolence
10/21/2016, 08:46 AM
Congrats sounds wonderful. I've seen people talk about adding angels to their tanks with coral. i thought angels were a no-no that they picked on corals. I figured mushrooms and leathers were probably safe, is that all you have? Would love to know if there was ever any chance of my emperor going into my main display. It's a mixed tank and really full of colonies, he'd be the only fish aside from 2 mandarins.

McPuff
10/21/2016, 09:06 AM
Congrats sounds wonderful. I've seen people talk about adding angels to their tanks with coral. i thought angels were a no-no that they picked on corals. I figured mushrooms and leathers were probably safe, is that all you have? Would love to know if there was ever any chance of my emperor going into my main display. It's a mixed tank and really full of colonies, he'd be the only fish aside from 2 mandarins.

There are a number of people on this site with multiple large angels in their SPS reefs. Mine is a mixed reef with about an even LPS/SPS split at this point... maybe skewed a bit more towards SPS. I'll probably also add a softy or two, an anemone, and gorgonian.

this is me
10/21/2016, 09:50 AM
Very nice tank and great move process. In a few weeks, I'll be doing the same. Getting a moving company to move a 360gallon down the basement. Run it. I have new rocks for it and new equipment for it and wait for it to cycle. Transfer the stock and break down the 200gallon.

McPuff
10/21/2016, 10:28 AM
Very nice tank and great move process. In a few weeks, I'll be doing the same. Getting a moving company to move a 360gallon down the basement. Run it. I have new rocks for it and new equipment for it and wait for it to cycle. Transfer the stock and break down the 200gallon.

Awesome! For my transfer, it took about 9-10 hours of pretty solid work. That was last Saturday. I have been working on it each day since for about an hour or so. There is still a bit to go but I'm finally getting to the point where I can relax and just stare at the tank. My point is to be ready for a lot of stress... but it will be worth it!!

Psirex
10/21/2016, 10:33 AM
Reason for the moonlighting being on so long?

posted using alternating currents.....

CrayolaViolence
10/21/2016, 06:27 PM
There are a number of people on this site with multiple large angels in their SPS reefs. Mine is a mixed reef with about an even LPS/SPS split at this point... maybe skewed a bit more towards SPS. I'll probably also add a softy or two, an anemone, and gorgonian.

So is there a chance that my emperor would do okay in a mixed reef display tank? This would be great if it were possible.

lionfish300
10/23/2016, 07:00 PM
So is there a chance that my emperor would do okay in a mixed reef display tank? This would be great if it were possible.MY Emperor Angel is fine in a mixed reef except for zoa. I have him since a juvy

lionfish300
10/23/2016, 07:06 PM
Awesome! For my transfer, it took about 9-10 hours of pretty solid work. That was last Saturday. I have been working on it each day since for about an hour or so. There is still a bit to go but I'm finally getting to the point where I can relax and just stare at the tank. My point is to be ready for a lot of stress... but it will be worth it!! I feel you, early this year I have to brake down the 180 and set it back up in a temporary place while I tiled our floor and then set up the 375 and transfer. A lot of work but now I can sit back and look at the tank

Psirex
10/23/2016, 07:07 PM
Angels - keep them well feed and all is good from what I have heard....

posted using alternating currents.....

McPuff
10/24/2016, 08:08 AM
Reason for the moonlighting being on so long?

posted using alternating currents.....

Mostly I just like to be able to see into the tank in the morning. And I figure it can't really hurt anything as it's just 4 x 350mA diodes creating minimal light. At night, it gives the fish an opportunity find a nice place for the night.

Michael Hoaster
10/25/2016, 06:27 PM
Love it! Awesome tank! Great videos too. Can you post some stills? Also I salute your bravery in freely showing your unmanaged wires! Mine are a mess too. But hey if its hidden in the cabinet, who cares! Of course there are some beautifully wired setups out there too.

locito277
10/25/2016, 06:34 PM
HI everyone! I'm finally making a post for the tank transfer I've been mentioning for the past 3 months +. Well, it has finally happened. I have had a 120 in-wall for the past 3.5 years and it was doing quite well. Had it pretty well packed with SPS colonies but had the opportunity to move into a 300DD which is quite literally the biggest tank I could possibly fit down my basement stairs.

The whole preparation took about 3 months from start to finish and here's what had to be done:

-Sold off the majority of my SPS colonies to help finance the new build
-5 hour round trip drive to pick up the tank and equipment
-2 weeks out of country for work almost right after this... slowed the whole process!
-Had to clean and prep all the equipment
-Hired a moving company to help me get the 520# tank into the basement... that was not an easy move on a hot day!
-Re-built the stand as it had to be cut in half upon purchase... no way to get it out of the existing house... and no other way to get it into my basement.
-Bleach and acid bath old live rock
-Build new rock scape with aforementioned rock using e-Marco 400... Had to envision how to incorporate my existing live rock into the structure at the same time. This was not an easy task!
-Cleaned the tank, painted the background
-leveled the stand, shimmed the tank
-fill test with tap water
-fill tank with RO/DI water; took 3 days ( ~200 gal) and added 1 box of RC salt
-Made a sand rinsing tool, rinsed 120# of special grade sand; added to the tank using a special "sand-addition tool" (i.e., PVC pipe with a funnel) to minimize the dust storm... still happened but I know it was not as bad as it could have been.
-Turned on circulation pumps (PP-20 x 2), added titanium 800W heater and linked to Apex (tank NOT yet connected to sump)
-siphoned a few gallons of nasty water and a few # of sand from the 120 and dumped into the 300 to establish the bacterial community. Added a couple small live rocks with mushrooms. Also took the marine pure block (8x8x4) out of existing sump and placed into 300 gal. Left the tank like this for a week.
-plumbed the tank through a wall to utilize the existing sump and equipment already in use for the 120; used 1.5" for the twin drains, running as Herbie. Built a 1.5" manifold (4 ports) and have 1" return line going back through wall to the far side of the tank.

At this point I created a video to explain what needed to be done and where I was in that progress... I also used it as an Intro to my new YouTube channel, "McPuff's Laboratory." :0)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFtxKUgLg4k

The actual tank transfer:
-Tested the water in each tank (salinity, alk, ca, mg) to ensure the parameters were equal (or close enough) the day before transfer. Didn't actually have to tweak any parameters!
-pumped about 70 gal of water from the 120 directly into the 300 to fill it remaining amount
-Moved live rock out of 120 and into 300, trying to remember where I had envisioned them. A bit nerve-racking but kind of fun. Brought out the scape I had in my mind which was nice to actually see in reality. Corals were placed wherever they could go and not yet mounted (unless they were already attached to rocks).
-Captured the fish as I was unable... of course, the solar wrasse hitch-hiked in a rock and ended up flopping around on a rubbermaid lid a bit before I could throw it into the 300. It is totally fine!
-Captured and transferred the remaining fish with very little stress. All fish made the transition very well. I gave them lights-out for about 36 hours and they were all out and about before I even added the daylights again... I did, however, have moon lights ON for day 2.

In this video I explain more about the transfer process and how it went... also show you how the new system looks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwB2HKd-nvg

The aftermath of the livestock transfer:
The transfer of livestock was the easy part in this whole process. At this point I'm only about 2 hours in and everybody is settling in to their new home. Now I needed to do the following:
-completely empty the 120 of water and sand
-Remove the bulkheads and plumbing... yes, this was a total pain!
-Get a buddy to help me remove the 120 from the stand and out of the fish/utility room
-Complete the plumbing for the return line (drains were pretty much done already) and manifold; this took a lot longer than I had anticipated!
-hang the Onyx fixtures in the canopy frame on the 300
-Remove macro-algae from the sump and place into remove fuge, which now sits where the 120 sat (40 gal "Tuff Stuff" tub)
-Plumb the new fuge and hang the grow light
-Plumb the calcium reactor (DIY - repurposed a GFO reactor and a Knop C reactor)
-plumb the GFO reactor (not shown in video)
-FIX THE HOLE IN THE DRYWALL... I mention this in the video... it is NOW complete but not shown as such. This was an adventure that I am not totally happy with... I'll have to do some touch-ups.
-re-mount a few corals and rocks... Not yet posted to video but I will do another update when I feel it is "complete." Will be soon.

This final video shows the support system for the 300 and provides a bit of explanation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVVa8jyn5Y8

So that's my big update for now. I'll try to post regular updates on the system progress. One of my biggest motivators for going with a larger tank is that I can now get some tangs and angels which I have missed for a few years. My current fish stock list came entirely from the 120 and is as follows:

-foxface lo
-scopas tang
-pink spot watchman goby (about 10-12 years old)
-pink spot Caribbean hawkfish
-pajama cardinal x2
-solarensis wrasse
-rudy head wrasse (aka blue-side wrasse)
-female Carpenter wrasse
-chromis (just 1!)
-Talbott's damsel
-melanurus wrasse

That's a pretty light fish list for a 300 though they do all seem quite happy to have the added space! :0) That said, I plan to add the following fish:

-small school of silver mollies (great for algae control and provide a live food source, which the wrasses and hawkfish will love)
-Achilles tang
-chocolate/mimic tang (A. pyroferus)
-blonde naso tang
-Lieutenant tang -----The tangs (~3" each) will be quarantined together and added at the same time. Hoping I don't have to use acclimation box to minimize any aggression I would see from the scopas (it is not very big)...

After a few months I would also like to add:

-Blueface angel
-Annularis angel
-fireball or flameback angel ----- the angels will be small juveniles, allowing them to grow into their habitat and I'll just hope for the best with respect to the corals. As you can see in the videos, my goal is to have few colonies that get huge. They should therefore be able to handle some picking here and there.

Eventually I may also add a humu trigger (R. aculeatus) as this is probably my all-time favorite fish. It will live in the fuge at first and will likely be the final addition to the display.

Ok, that is officially the longest post I have ever made... and probably ever will. If you got through it all, congratulations!! :0)



Congrats on the upgrade!!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

jraker
10/25/2016, 07:12 PM
Looking good. I like the manifold.

McPuff
10/26/2016, 07:13 AM
Love it! Awesome tank! Great videos too. Can you post some stills? Also I salute your bravery in freely showing your unmanaged wires! Mine are a mess too. But hey if its hidden in the cabinet, who cares! Of course there are some beautifully wired setups out there too.

Oh the wires! Just glad that most of that mess is contained behind a wall. I bought some slotted wire channels and now I'm waiting for a chance to install those and clean up as much of that wire mess as possible. There's still a lot of minor clean up to do such as hiding the drain and return pipes that go through the wall. The hole from the 120 is now patched and painted though I do want to touch it up a bit more and improve it. The last step will be creating a cabinet skin for the stand and canopy... that is a winter project for sure.

McPuff
10/27/2016, 09:39 AM
I'll try to post some pics soon... but I really don't want to create an account just so I can post photos. I wish it were easier to simply add photos in RC...

DamonG
10/27/2016, 11:50 AM
Tapatalk dude.. It has it's pains, but for adding photos on rc, it's great...

From note 5.. rip note 7

Michael Hoaster
10/27/2016, 05:36 PM
Just click on the "My RC" button at the top of the page.

Then click on albums and photos, then click on upload photos. Upload your pics. (RC prefers pics 600 pixels wide @ 72 dpi, but I often go 800 wide)

Open a new window and get to the last page of your thread and start a new reply.

In the other window click on the pic you want to place in your thread. It will enlarge and you will see two lines of code below it. Copy the bottom code, then paste it into your reply on your thread.

That's it. No external account needed.

McPuff
11/09/2016, 11:19 AM
Hi all. Made an update to highlight a few changes that I finally got the time to make. Not shown is the slotted wire channel I used to hide a bunch of cables behind the wall. Really cleans things up a lot. Anyway, check it out. I'll try to start posting some pics as well but I think the video is a nice medium as I can explain as I go. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bbio2nZBSJU

Michael Hoaster
11/09/2016, 11:51 AM
Very cool scape!

rygar
11/09/2016, 02:48 PM
Now THATS awesome...your fish look so content. Nice job man. Gonna do some reading on your thread tonight. You're obviously doing it right.

McPuff
11/10/2016, 08:01 AM
Now THATS awesome...your fish look so content. Nice job man. Gonna do some reading on your thread tonight. You're obviously doing it right.

Thanks! I appreciate it. Still a bit more tweaking to do on the scape but then I think I'll be pretty happy with it for the time. I'll almost certainly add another coral or two in the coming months. And I've got some fish on the way which I'm really excited to get. They won't see the tank for a few weeks of course. I'll provide more updates as those changes come to fruition.

mushkind
11/29/2016, 04:23 AM
Thanks! I appreciate it. Still a bit more tweaking to do on the scape but then I think I'll be pretty happy with it for the time. I'll almost certainly add another coral or two in the coming months. And I've got some fish on the way which I'm really excited to get. They won't see the tank for a few weeks of course. I'll provide more updates as those changes come to fruition.
what a cool setup, i like your scape! what kind of fishies are on the way to the tank??

cheers

Joel

McPuff
11/30/2016, 09:47 AM
what a cool setup, i like your scape! what kind of fishies are on the way to the tank??

cheers

Joel

Thanks! I've made a few more changes to the scape and I'll document them when I have also made the "final" movements of corals.

As for fish, I am currently QT-ing a blonde naso and a lieutenant tang. Both are doing very well and putting on weight. Waiting for the pyroferus tang to arrive. Eventually, I'd like to add the Achilles tang. And in several months I'll also go with annularis and blueface angels (small juveniles), an arothron puffer of some variety, and a humu trigger. Still not sure if the last two will ever see the display or just the refugium pond.

McPuff
01/11/2017, 08:52 AM
It's been a while since my last update. Everything has been going along pretty well...

I have just added the naso and lieutenant tang to the display but they are acclimating to the other fish for a week. I simply built a wall out of egg crate (light diffuser) and blocked off the right side of the tank (the "bommie" section). The two seem very happy already and do not leave each other's side! I don't anticipate any problems once I remove the divider, thankfully.

Discovered a leak in my CO2 regulator (for ca reactor) and there was no way to fix it (at the needle valve). So I ordered one from CO2art.com. It is supposed to arrive today. Has terrific reviews and the price is very nice, even with express shipping. Have been manually dosing for over a month so I'm eager to get the ca reactor back online. Still need to get the feed dialed in though. I didn't put a valve after the manifold so it's a bit harder to create adequate pressure for the ca rx... I may try to use a valve which is closer to the return pump, hoping that the pressure will be greater. Makes sense to me anyway.

I moved the ca reactor into my sump to create more space next to the pond/tub. At some point I may use that area for a QT/TTM tank which would make things easier. It could even give me an opportunity to add a small tank that is hooked into the main system (for tiny critters).

Ordered a bunch of mangroves at the beginning of Dec when it was still warm here in SE Michigan... they were delayed and didn't arrive until Saturday. By then the weather had turned and they all arrived frozen. It appears that they are all dead as the ends are getting squishy. Oh well. Maybe I'll try again in the spring.

The pond (tub) is a blast to have. It has been highly useful as a refugium for chaeto and dragon's breath. It also catches a lot of sediment which is then easily removed. Fish acclimation becomes super easy and the fish get used to having a human look down at them. I really like having fish in there and need to get some more now that those tangs are in the display. Still planning for a pyroferus tang but also have plans for the following:

-cherub angel (have always wanted one!) --- is a trio best??
-blue spot toby puffer
-humu trigger (R. aculeatus), almost certain to remain in pond
-dogface puffer (not sure which morph just yet - maybe even a mappa), also likely to remain in pond
-juv annularis angel
-juv blueface angel
-small fish: blennies, maybe another hawk?,

Planning to add some more corals such as:

-war coral; I think the red will look great and really stand out. Thinking of putting this on a separate rock. Over time it will cover the whole thing, like a brain.
-pink stylo - super bright
-maybe a forest fire digi??
-any suggestions?
As I've stated before, I don't want many colonies, just "a few" that will get big and look nice, bright, and provide new colors. Some of my current corals will take another year or two to get there but I have patience (I think) and have a vision for the "steady state."

Other than the above, I'm considering another small change to a couple of rocks. I'll get another few videos posted soon to go over some changes and experience. I also want to review the CO2art regulator.

Thanks everyone!

McPuff
03/03/2017, 08:37 AM
Gosh, I'm really bad at posting updates. I've made the "final" changes to my rock scape and I'm very happy with how it looks (so far...). :0) Since setting up the 300 I have only removed rock (none added). Having the extra open space has resulted in the fish being more active, swimming throughout the entire tank more, and generally looking happier.

368748
Oblique angle, with blue filter

368749
no filter, the left side is actually different now and has fewer rocks near the overflow. I'll have to get another pic to show more detail.

I've mounted and remounted corals that previously were in a limbo-type situation. I had a few "coral smears" that began to branch so those are being placed and are growing nicely. It's like getting a free coral! I have about 3 more species I'd like to add and then I'll be done adding corals... but I'm in no rush to get them. I'm more excited about the fish at this point.

Speaking of fish, the Lt and naso tangs are doing very well. Getting bigger and fatter.
368747

AND, I picked up a gorgeous pyroferus tang last week from the LFS (no pic yet). I've wanted one for a long time so it's exciting to have one. He's about 4" and already developing points on the caudal fin. He's on tank 3/4 in the TTM process so it'll be about a month before he gets to the DT. He'll be a bit large than the other tangs so I'm not too worried about aggression coming his way. I'll test it out but I have a feeling the pyroferus will be the most aggressive of the tangs (though the Lt may "win" out). I'm amazed at how this fish goes for food. It's quite encouraging.

Still want to add a few more fish, but have decided to "X" a few of those listed above (e.g., spotted toby). I think the pyroferus will be the last tang, at least for a while. In a few months I'll likely get the juvenile blue face and annularis angels. I first want to ensure that all coral colonies are large enough to withstand a little nipping here and there as it's bound to happen. Then I'll look for a trigger and puffer for the pond/tub. They'll be my little dogs. :0)

Otherwise, not a ton has changed. The calcium reactor is fully operational and I'm VERY happy with the regulator from CO2art in the UK. I did get a coral banded shrimp but it never comes out. It has molted 3-4 times so it's much bigger. Maybe it'll be more social when full size. I also added an emerald crab and it's so fun to see that guy out and about. I have always like those.

I'm strongly considering upgrading my Apex Jr to a full apex. Just don't think the Jr has sufficient memory to handle much actual control. Mine has been quirky and a friend had similar issues. I don't ask it to do much but it seems to be near capacity with 2x VDM, PM1, EB8, pH probe, 2 temp probes. That doesn't seem like much at all, especially when I see what others are doing with a FULL APEX system. The full seems MUCH more robust so the change is almost certainly coming. I'd love to hear any thoughts on this. Anyone see this with their Jr past or present?

Michael Hoaster
03/03/2017, 09:50 AM
Nice rockscape! You've got some nice, big corals too. Looks like it's all coming together for you. Congrats!

McPuff
03/03/2017, 02:03 PM
Nice rockscape! You've got some nice, big corals too. Looks like it's all coming together for you. Congrats!

Oh, you noticed those? :0) Yes, my goal is fewer, but larger coral colonies. I don't think I'll even have 15 species of SPS in the system but if I can achieve my vision it should look pretty cool. That purple stag colony is getting huge... the pictures are already a couple months old. I'll have to do some serious pruning in a couple months. It's very thick so I'm glad I've got some strong tools for the job. Good problem to have I suppose. :0) Like I said, I have to take some new pictures showing the more-or-less complete rock scape at this point. I'll try to do that this evening or weekend. I should also do another video. Thanks Michael!

Michael Hoaster
03/03/2017, 06:19 PM
Oh yeah I'm very into rockscaping! The combination of emulating nature and artistic expression, and functionality is where things get interesting!

I'm also totally with you on the fewer, bigger coral thing. It's much more interesting and natural looking.

Yes please, more pics!

McPuff
03/07/2017, 06:52 AM
Thanks Michael! I think the rock work looks a bit better now... let me know if you can see a difference in the new pics.

The left side:

369021

A full tank shot:

369022

And the right side, which hasn't really changed much... other than the stag growing even more. :0)

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There are very few changes I want to make to the display at this point... probably just mounting a few additional corals and that's it. Otherwise, I just want to build a new canopy and some type of shell for the cabinet.

I tried to get a good pic of the pyroferus tang in TTM but he wouldn't display for me. So it may have to wait until he goes into the display next month. He's got one more day of TTM and then he'll be in QT for about 4 weeks. I'm very hopeful for this fish. It's beautiful, it eats a ton, and it looks very healthy. Just have to follow procedure. :0)

Michael Hoaster
03/07/2017, 08:16 AM
I looked back and forth at your full tank shots. It looks like you broke up the left hand bommie with a bit of an alley. Really nice! Very natural. Yeah, you're done!

Good luck with all the other stuff!

McPuff
03/08/2017, 07:26 AM
I looked back and forth at your full tank shots. It looks like you broke up the left hand bommie with a bit of an alley. Really nice! Very natural. Yeah, you're done!

Good luck with all the other stuff!

Exactly! I like what I'm left with now... mostly very large rocks forming the structure. Just want to add more fish at this point.

-pyroferus tang (about a month away - graduates TTM today)
-small blennies (3-4)
-yellow head jawfish (1-2)
-annularis angel juv.
-blueface angel juv.
-peppermint basslet (hopefully)
-tilefish

Michael Hoaster
03/08/2017, 02:18 PM
Small blennies and jawfish may have trouble competing at feeding time, especially with big, agro fish. Tilefish can be iffy too. All your small/timid choices should go in before the big guys.

I thought you were more of a Rambo fish guy. Are you going kinder and gentler now? If not, consider small fish that can hang with the big boys, like pseudochromis, damsels and pygmy angels.

That's my 2 cents. Good luck with everything!

McPuff
03/09/2017, 08:15 AM
Small blennies and jawfish may have trouble competing at feeding time, especially with big, agro fish. Tilefish can be iffy too. All your small/timid choices should go in before the big guys.

I thought you were more of a Rambo fish guy. Are you going kinder and gentler now? If not, consider small fish that can hang with the big boys, like pseudochromis, damsels and pygmy angels.

That's my 2 cents. Good luck with everything!

I'm not toooooo worried about the blennies. I'll have them in an acclimation box. Would be the same with the jawfish. I'm still not positive on those because of what you've written above. Have found a few people that have a similar assemblage and it works for them so I'm hopeful.

The tilefish... I have read more about them and they seem hit or miss. Really don't want to deal with that... I like to know the fish will survive when I'm doing all I can to acclimate them. So the tilefish will be a wait and see if I can find a healthy specimen that is eating, etc. May not ever happen but they are a cool fish and not very common to reefers (I'd say).

Rambo fish?! Ha! I have had a lot of fish for sure and I used to have more of the angels, triggers, puffers. Since I got into reefing it's transitioned more to the little sweethearts I suppose. Now I'm getting back towards some of the semi-aggressive fish (tangs, angels). I miss triggers a lot so I'll be getting one for the tub for sure, along with a dogface puffer of some type. They are just TOO cool and enjoyable to not have now that I've got the space.

Michael Hoaster
03/09/2017, 08:58 AM
Yeah, if you can find a tilefish that's eating it could work. It'd have plenty of swimming room! If you are successful with them, you'll have to share your secrets, because I want one too! I love those fish.

An acclimation box? Is that like an aquarium within an aquarium? Wouldn't that spoil your beautiful reef scape? Why add an artificial construct to your beautiful scape to keep fish that can't hang? Especially with so many other good choices.

It may help to list all the fish you are considering. Then prioritize them, and delete the ones that don't work with your most important ones.

That's so cool you have a tub you can put your bigger, more agro fish in. You've certainly got room for lots of choices. Jealous!

McPuff
03/09/2017, 02:16 PM
Yeah, if you can find a tilefish that's eating it could work. It'd have plenty of swimming room! If you are successful with them, you'll have to share your secrets, because I want one too! I love those fish.

An acclimation box? Is that like an aquarium within an aquarium? Wouldn't that spoil your beautiful reef scape? Why add an artificial construct to your beautiful scape to keep fish that can't hang? Especially with so many other good choices.

It may help to list all the fish you are considering. Then prioritize them, and delete the ones that don't work with your most important ones.

That's so cool you have a tub you can put your bigger, more agro fish in. You've certainly got room for lots of choices. Jealous!

The acclimation box would only be temporary to ensure that all resident fish can adjust to the little guys and vice versa. It would only be in for a week or so. Otherwise, I would totally agree with you!

I do have a priority list for the yet-to-be-purchased fish... it's just in my head. The angels are next on the priority list and I'll get them at the same time. I will probably wait a few months but the timing is undecided. I've got a lot of work travel from May to Nov so I wouldn't be able to QT and acclimate new fish during that timeframe. So it may not happen until next winter!! :0( The good news is that will give my corals a lot of extra grow time.

McPuff
03/20/2017, 09:43 AM
Small update for today. I have made some changes to my utility room/fish room that have been really nice thus far. My wife is in commercial real estate so I was able to get some 30x24" cabinets for free (sweet!). This has provided a bit more work and storage space.

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The Brute has been my trusty RO reservoir for some years now. I'm hoping to upgrade to an Ace Roto mold (AR) 55 gallon and that will go in the corner on the 2x4 stand. Then I'll probably use a smaller 35 gallon AR for saltwater mixing and set it where the Brute currently resides. Then I can simply use gravity to flow new saltwater into the system sump.

I also just purchased a couple cute little Darwin misbar clowns from a local breeder. They look terrific and are so fun to watch. They are just marinating in QT for a while... they need to grow a bunch too as they are only about 1.5". Seems far too small to go into the main tank. But I may actually try to plumb a small acrylic tank into my system, get an anemone and just keep them in that.

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Any thoughts on the clowns? If they go into the 300 they will probably never have an anemone but they do have several large LPS in which they could host.

The pyroferus tang is doing amazing in the pond/tub. It eats nori out of my hand already. Very personable fish! I'm planning to put it in display this coming weekend. If I don't find the time, no worries on waiting the extra week. Regardless, excited to make that switch and don't anticipate any issues with aggression other than [maybe] the lieutenant. I'll use an acclimation box to see what happens over the first few hours and release him at night.

McPuff
04/12/2017, 08:07 AM
Making a little more headway towards becoming more efficient. I recently purchased a Norwesco 65 gallon vertical (RO) and 30 gallon PCO tank (saltwater). Had to take a while to think through the entire setup and how everything would connect and work. I have finally figured it out!! Started to set it up last night. Have a few more "baseline" activities to perform tonight most likely. Then I can begin to fill the 65 with RO. This will also supply a constant source of water for the ATO container. I'll use a Mag 9.5 to push water from the RO to the saltwater mixing container. Saltwater will be gravity fed into the Sump.

I actually don't anticipate doing many water changes as I've had such great success with my minimal approach. Probably about once per 2-3 months I'll do about 10% and that will mostly be to remove Sump and fuge/pond detritus. But for now, the GFO, chaeto, and marine pure blocks are doing a killer job of reducing/removing nutrients. Since I set up the system in October, I've only done 2 10% water changes. My bioload is growing every day and I see no ill effects of feeding pellets, frozen, and Nori. To me it seems like a lot of food but I think those little pigs could eat even more... food certainly doesn't last even 1 minute before it's gone. That said, I may increase the amount. Here's my updated fish list and the stocking plans (timing TBD):

1 chromis
1 foxface lo
1 Talbott's damsel
1 naso tang (too little to sex, has tendency for dark coloration, thinking male)
1 pyroferus tang (chocolate mimic)
1 lieutenant tang
1 scopas tang (very dark, almost black)
1 ruby head wrasse
1 solar wrasse
1 melanurus wrasse
1 pink spot watchman goby (over 12 years old)
1 caribbean spotted hawkfish
2 pajama cardinals
2 Darwin misbar clowns (still in QT -- tiny!)

Wow, didn't realize I had so many fish in there. :0) Still hoping to add the following at some point:

blueface angel (going to be fall before this happens)
annularis angel (same as above)
humu trigger (Rhinecanthus aculeatus or similar) to stay in pond
dogface puffer (Arothron spp. TBD) to stay in pond
starry or sailfin blenny
purple or blue chin tilefish (maybe)

That is probably about it. I'll update with some pics of the new water system once it's up and running.

McPuff
04/21/2017, 07:37 AM
Small update - I cemented the necessary parts to attach the RO reservoir to the saltwater mixing container. I decided not to affix the tubing permanently as I won't be making saltwater every day or even every week. But it's going to be a very easy solution that simply requires putting a pump under the RO reservoir and hooking up some clear tubing to barb fittings. Plug in the pump and we're golden! Tonight I'll fill t he saltwater tank for the first time... I wanted to give a day for the cement to cure and get the fumes out of the tank/fittings/etc.

I'll take some pics and a video as well.

On a sad note (for me), I noticed a few small spots on my pyroferus tang just a couple days ago. Not sure what it is but I'm not too happy about it. As you are aware I've been really careful when adding my new fish (TTM, QT). So it's possible that there was already a pathogen in the tank... or it's possible I'm just a bit unlucky. Yesterday it didn't seem that the fish were any worse off... no spreading. I fed a LOT of Nori w/garlic and will continue to do so on a daily basis. I'll also minimize the meats. Also feeding spectrum pellets regularly. Otherwise, all the fish are acting normally and eating a ton. So I'm hoping that it's just a minor "event" and everything will clear up very soon. Unfortunately, I go on a two week work trip next Saturday... so I really need to hope for the best between now and then. Anyway... ugh.

McPuff
04/25/2017, 10:22 AM
Ok, finally have some pics to share for the water "station."

Here you can see the whole room, including both of the new containers and their connection with a mag 9.5.

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It's been nice to have a larger reservoir, especially with all my travel coming up. No need to worry there for a few weeks if I'm only using ATO.

Here you can see the 30 gal PCO tank that I use to hold/mix saltwater. I drilled a single hole for the RO water input. Super easy to fill. Nice opening in the top as well for pouring in salt. And I can reach into the bottom of the tank to install the pump, etc. I'm glad I went with a horizontal tank for the saltwater!

Adding saltwater to the Sump is easy as well. I just place a length of 1" flex PVC into the 1" ball valve, open the valve and let it flow for about a minute. Since Sump is lower than the mixing container this works very well. Fills super fast! I did my first water change last night using this system and it took about 10 minutes... but that was because I siphoned out a bunch detritus. I'm guessing it'll take me less than 5 minutes to do a 20-30 gallon water change on most occasions. Not bad!

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And finally, this picture shows how the RO tank is plumbed to the ATO (small 1/4 pex valve), the saltwater mixing tank (large ball valve)... and I also included a gate valve so I can get small amounts of RO water on demand. Definitely recommend having this type of addition to your system if you're planning one!!!

I decided NOT to leave the pump attached and constantly plumbed because I won't be making saltwater very often. This will allow me to empty the lines and not get stale water sitting around. So I just store the pump and lines in the cabinet in between uses. I'm quite happy with the decision and it's super easy to install the pump and lines.

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One issue I had is a small leak at the pump. Need to figure out why this is happening but the interim solution is to simply place the pump in a bucket lid or other shallow container.

Otherwise, the system works very well. Let me know if you have any questions about anything.

McPuff
08/03/2017, 05:20 AM
Fortunately and unfortunately, I don't have anything of note to report at this time. I've been abroad for nearly two weeks (again) and the system has been steady throughout. My wife takes care of the tank while I'm away and does a great job. She's very details oriented, thankfully. :0) That's the fortunate part. The unfortunate part is that I can't do anything on the tank while I'm away. No new fish, corals, water changes, etc. I have a long list of things I want to do... mostly adding fish, but it'll all have to wait until November.

I DO need to upload a current FTS as the corals and fish are all getting bigger. Actually, I need to massively prune the sour apple birdsnest. I'll give away frags to anyone locally that is interested (48170). I assume some will be fairly large. This is a beautiful coral and I am quite surprised how much I like it.

OH, silly me. I do have a cool update. The Darwin misbar clownfish have a new home. I built a 12" acrylic cube and connected it directly to the system via manifold. Last summer I constructed a very cool piece of liverock using e-marco 400 and about 4 small pieces of rock. It's been in the system the whole time and now looks very cool. It fits perfectly in the small tank and I have to say that it's almost like I planned that piece for this exact purpose (it was luck actually). Anyway, I only put the clowns in this tank a couple of days before leaving so I'm excited to see how they have settled in. At this point there is no light on the tank (just ambient from the refugium) and it just has a small maxi mini 404. I'd like to put in a tiny pulsing pump (let me know if you have any suggestions!). I am going to add a DIY light that is already built. The goal will be to add an anemone for the clowns and I may also put some zoas in there along with a softy and/or some LPS. Or maybe they'll just host in a hammer and I won't do an anemone at all. Easier!! I'll post some pics of this once I'm back. I did take videos of the build process so I'll edit those together and post on my youtube channel and link back here. It was a VERY easy process and I'm happy enough with the look of the whole thing. Is it perfect? No, but it's functional!

Now I'm considering making an acrylic sump to replace what I currently have (60 gal). That will be a bit costly, but a heck of a lot less than buying a custom sump. But before I [maybe] do that, I'm going to build a new "sump box" for my filter socks. This is another thing I will need to document and post as I think it's a terrific way to modify an existing sump.

Well, this has turned into more of a "teaser" post than anything. I hope to provide some more visuals in the next week or so!

vikinglord13
08/04/2017, 10:24 PM
Glad the tank hasn't gone south while you have been away.

I'm anxious to see the new clone tank with the manifold

McPuff
08/08/2017, 04:43 PM
Well, I got back and everything was alive and looked fine.... but the tank was kind of a mess. Lots of additional algae. I think the fish got a bit overfed. It took a while to clean it all up, do a water change, change the GFO, clean just about everything I could. Even moved a couple corals that were starting to get crowded. The clowns are looking really happy in their new home and I have to say that I'm really happy with that little tank so far!

See the happy little guys? :0)
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Trying to show the rock shape.
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A view from the top.
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McPuff
08/15/2017, 01:01 AM
Just in case anyone is interested, here is a video I made to document the DIY build.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Btfj6kKCE

McPuff
09/11/2017, 06:32 AM
Well, it appears that my work travels have finally taken their toll on my system. It was a weird situation and a unique one for me. I believe it started with my pumps getting all funked up and not being cleaned often enough. This LED to the tank getting less flow and allowing more detritus to settle on rocks. I came home to a dirty tank that had Cyano on the sand and on the rocks. What I didn't know, however, was that it was calothrix and not the standard BG slime that we all know and love. Well, I decided to treat with Chemiclean as it's always been VERY useful and I've never had an issue with it.

Day one: A day after dosing, I noticed there was NO effect on the Cyano. This is when I did a bit more searching and found the culprit was likely calothrix, a different type of Cyano that is apparently not affected by chemiclean. I kept the skimmer running but took off the collection cup. I did not submerge the airline, which I have done in the past. Should have done this to reduce microbubbles, but it was not a big deal overall.

Day two: Start to notice the red planet and pink efflo are looking bleached. polyp extension is good and it doesn't look like any tissue loss. Still, it's time to do a water change to begin removing the chemiclean. Done and done.

Day three: Water is getting very cloudy. Red plant and pink efflo are experiencing RTN. Green slimer and giant purple stag are looking bleached. I'm getting worried. Do a second water change and replace skimmer collection cup.

Day four: Water is even cloudier. Apparently I've got a bacterial bloom. At this point, I can tell the green slimer, red plant, and pink efflo are dead. Hard to tell with the purple stag... still has polyps out. I begin microbacter7 treatment and amino acids.

Day five: Water is cleared up quite a bit. Continue to dose microbacter7 and amino acids. Purple stag is definitely on its way out as I can see flesh falling off. Milka stylo is also shedding toward the base and a few tips. Other small SPS have died by this point. Hammer coral is showing tissue recession and I can't tell if the caulastrea is retracted or receding.

Day six: water is mostly clear. Still dosing. Did another water change to remove calothrix from sand and rocks. Big purple stag totally dead at this point. Removed all the dead Corals, including the hammer. Not sure if any of the hammer frags on the tub will survive. We'll see. The Frogspawn still looks alive. Caulastrea seems alive. Neon green caulastrea is also alive but both are retracted, not puffy.

Here is how the tank looked before last night's water change and skeleton removal:

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And here is the giant stag after removing it. I was actually quite surprised by the sheer size of this thing! It came out in two pieces which is good because it wouldn't have fit out of the tank in one piece. Shown on top of a 5 gallon bucket. I'll piece it back together after it's sun bleached and use it as a decoration. Actually looks pretty cool.

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Today: I'm actually amazed at how much larger the tank looks now without the huge stag. I had considered chopping it down quite a bit but that decision is no longer required. I'm still not sure if the Milka stylo will survive but this morning it's looking a bit worse so I doubt it will survive. Another desktop decoration most likely. Looks like the hammer frags in the tub are all dying. The Frogspawn also looks to be on its way out. The green caulastrea will probably be a desktop decoration as it looks like only a few heads have survived so far (out of 60 or so). The neon green caulastrea looks like it will survive. Water looks to be quite clear but I will continue to dose microbacter7 and aminos for a few more days to ensure stability.

Believe it or not, I'm not that bummed out about the Corals. It does suck, but I'm really glad that the fish were not at all affected. That would have really upset me. They seem to be totally fine and are eating and swimming and happy. I will probably not replace the SPS for a while if at all. I still have two more work trips of two weeks each so for now I'm going to let the system stabilize again. My plan is to add some softies (sinularia, gorgonians, etc.). The brains, stylos, and LPS will likely survive so I'll plan to keep them for now.

Here is a video explaining the whole ordeal in case you are interested. I'll post some pics of the aftermath once the tank settles down and clears up fully. Actually looking forward to moving on and planning the next steps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KH3uA9DmF5U

MrsReefK
09/11/2017, 08:26 AM
Hey buddy, I know you are not heartbroken over the loss of your corals/bacteria bloom, but always sucks to experience. Kudos to you for keeping your head up.

I forgot you are located in SE Michigan. If you're ever up near Grand Rapids, holler. You can stop over and see our setup (525 gallons total), our SPS frags are open to you at any time without charge if you decide to get back into them ever! We don't have any rare or amazing ones, but open doors.

Your scaping is gorgeous!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

McPuff
09/12/2017, 07:36 AM
Hey buddy, I know you are not heartbroken over the loss of your corals/bacteria bloom, but always sucks to experience. Kudos to you for keeping your head up.

I forgot you are located in SE Michigan. If you're ever up near Grand Rapids, holler. You can stop over and see our setup (525 gallons total), our SPS frags are open to you at any time without charge if you decide to get back into them ever! We don't have any rare or amazing ones, but open doors.

Your scaping is gorgeous!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Wow, I really appreciate the generosity!! I did end up losing the milka stylo just yesterday. It's really amazing how much different the scape looks now. The fish have a ton more room to move around and they actually seem to like it. I may try to replace a couple of the sps like the green slimer and perhaps the milka. Those are two that I have always liked quite a bit, they grow well, and they are [generally] quite hardy. I'm hoping that there are no more losses but still uncertain about the frogspawn and hammer... and the yellow porites. The former 2 seem to be holding on a thread. The latter is probably a goner but we'll see. The clarity is back to very good... and thankfully too because I have to go out of country for two weeks starting Saturday evening. I'll continue to dose microbacter7 for a few days. At least glad that I could stabilize everything well in advance of leaving. Here is an updated pic (not great quality) of the tank from last night. I want to do a bit of rescaping on the right "island" so this incident also provides that opportunity.

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MrsReefK
09/12/2017, 10:19 AM
Absolutely, anytime. I do like the new look! Looking great!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Chasmodes
09/13/2017, 12:25 PM
Wow, I love your tank McPuff. Sorry about the coral losses. Good luck!

McPuff
09/14/2017, 07:36 AM
Wow, I love your tank McPuff. Sorry about the coral losses. Good luck!

Thanks! I'm upbeat about it. Although it is not ideal to lose nearly all of my sps, I am looking at this as an opportunity to make some changes and head in a new and exciting direction... one that I've always wanted to do in fact!

vikinglord13
09/14/2017, 11:44 PM
Now it's time for a better tank to rise from the ashes!

McPuff
09/15/2017, 07:20 AM
Now it's time for a better tank to rise from the ashes!

Exactly! Though "better" will be a relative term. If you love SPS, then you may not agree that my next ecosystem will be better. It will, however, be different and still quite colorful. But there are a few things I've wanted to do for a long time but never had the space. Originally, I had planned to make those changes a year ago when I started the 300 project. BUT, I got a little sentimental with certain corals, didn't give them up, and ended up just making a bigger version of my 120. I DID add some tangs so I got part way to my vision. Now, I have mostly free reign to complete the project as I had planned. This is something I would have done in another year (more or less) anyway. But it would have been nice to sell some frags/colonies to help pay for that change. Instead, I'll just have to foot the bill without much coral subsidy. :0)

For me, the fish have always been the biggest draw for any aquarium. I've been sidetracked by planted freshwater aquariums and reefs (obviously). I've really enjoyed reefing and won't ever truly give it up. I will certainly keep some sps in the tank, probably add a couple more LPS, and likely a softy or two. But I already know that the fish I'm planning to keep will not be "reef safe" and may create some issues here and there. Not a big worry, and will be worth whatever challenges I face. I still have about two months before I can really start this "new direction" in earnest. That will give me plenty of time to plan out the hows and whens, place some orders, and that is a highly enjoyable process as I'm sure many would agree!

Chasmodes
09/15/2017, 10:46 AM
Thanks! I'm upbeat about it. Although it is not ideal to lose nearly all of my sps, I am looking at this as an opportunity to make some changes and head in a new and exciting direction... one that I've always wanted to do in fact!

Looking forward to seeing your progress!!!

vikinglord13
09/16/2017, 04:40 PM
I like the thought thatbwe either habe a reef tank with fish in it or a fish tank with corals in it. I'm definitely part of the latter as I care more about the fish. Though, I see the coral as living decoration, or living art.

I've personally a fan of a good mixed reef that is heavy with softies and LPS, that difficult to do with fish that aren't reef safe. I'm anxious to see the growth of your "new" tank.

McPuff
10/09/2017, 09:08 AM
I like the thought thatbwe either habe a reef tank with fish in it or a fish tank with corals in it. I'm definitely part of the latter as I care more about the fish. Though, I see the coral as living decoration, or living art.

I've personally a fan of a good mixed reef that is heavy with softies and LPS, that difficult to do with fish that aren't reef safe. I'm anxious to see the growth of your "new" tank.

Holy long delay on my part! Thanks for the comment. I have been thinking a bit more about my direction and I haven't really changed my mind... well, just slightly. I am not sure how many softies I'll get at this point. Maybe just a sinularia and then we'll see what comes available. The gorgonians are still on the "to-get" list. I do think that/those will look good.

I am now considering adding a couple of birdsnest (pink, ponepei) because I see how well the sour apple is doing. I have to hack that thing about once every few months. It looks great, has long polyps, and grows well. It might be cool to simply have a few very large colonies placed at the highest points of the tank. Also considering adding a few encrusting montis to some of the large bare rock areas just to add a bit more color in certain areas. Gotta see what's available though first.

Still having some issues with the calothrix (I believe this is correct ID) but I do think I'm turning the corner. Seems to have been a long chain of events that led to its stronghold. First was my absence over much of the last 5 months. The pumps got a bit gunked up and flow was reduced. This led to more sedimentation on the rocks, then the calothrix was able to take hold. I have scrubbed the rocks a couple of times and it seems to work pretty well... but it'll take a few months of battling I'm sure. The t5s have been off for several weeks which has been helping I'm sure. The LEDs are fairly blue and I only have the white/color at 15%. I may even turn that down to see if all blue will reduce the growth rate even further. The corals are fine without the t5.

My CUC needs to be built up. I probably only have a couple dozen trochus snails, and a few Mexican turbo snails. Going to add some cerith and more trochus as long as I can find them. The 2 sand sifting stars are doing all they can... but it's not enough. Planning to add 2-3 tiger tail cucumbers to see if they can help keep the sand cleaner. From what I've read, it seems they will do a good job, add some diversity to my crew, and I think the kids will like seeing them too... and I don't really want to have 5-6 sand sifting stars.

Have also been doing more water changes and that has certainly helped. Typically, I'm doing 25 gallons at a time which is less than 10% but it's been about once weekly or bi-monthly so not too bad actually. And the water I'm removing has been pretty darn nastly. I scrubbed the tub/refugium on Friday and it was not a pretty sight. I've got to do another water change this week and I'll likely scrub it again. There was so much bubble algae and hair algae... a decent amount of bryopsis as well. This has not spread into the display tank at all and I do think the tangs eat it. I've placed several small rocks containing hair/turf algae/bryopsis into the display and they always come out clean. That said, I decided to leave only a few small-ish live rocks in the refugium to grow some turg algae (for feeding) but I removed the container of rubble and put it directly into the sump. This will still allow the pods to flourish but reduce the amount of bubble algae and attachment points for hair algae/bryopsis. Just easier for me to maintain.

LAST NIGHT - I went to remove the food barrel on the auto feeder and [of course!] the cap came off and a few tablespoons of pellets were released into the display tank. Argh!! This was just after I had fed the fish LRS herbivor frenzy. They ate a bunch of the pellets but I spend about 20 minutes trying to scoop out what I could with a net. I got a decent amount but was so annoyed at dumping a huge amount of nutrients into the system. Hopefully the fish will continue to scavenge them off the sand throughout the day today. I think it will probably be fine, but always fearful of the worst. Someone talk me back... :0)

Anyway, long update and not much for changes. Still working towards stabilizing the system WITHOUT nuisance algae. If anyone else has dealt with calothrix I'm eager to hear what you did to get rid of it. As I said, I DO think I'm heading towards success but always welcome some pointers.

Michael Hoaster
10/09/2017, 09:52 AM
What is calothrix? Some kind of algae? I haven't heard of that one. I can see how being out of town a lot can be a challenge. A good crew definitely helps.

Just to clarify, your new direction is to move away from sensitive SPS and towards sturdier corals, with a new emphasis on bigger, non-reefsafe fish, correct? That sounds like a fun tank, with lots to enjoy!

It sounds like you're in algae town right now. Has anyone ever avoided it? I now believe it is just a beneficial part of the maturation process. Of course the trick is to get it down to manageable levels. Have you considered adding a fast growing macro algae to compete for nutrients?

I look forward to seeing your new vision take shape! Pics?

McPuff
10/10/2017, 08:15 AM
Hi Michael. Calothrix is another type of cyanobacteria, but it looks kind of like brown hair algae. My fish definitely do NOT eat it, unfortunately. I do have chaeto growing in the refugium, but I'd also like to add some ulva and see how that goes. I also have some dragon's breath that grows quite well in the refugium.

You are correct about the corals. Less sensitive.... though I didn't really have many sensitive species before. So it'll be similar. I was just given 8 frags last night by a local reefer so we'll give those a shot too. Mostly montis and stylos which I like.

As for fish, the assemblage won't change really, but I do want to add a few more "with caution" fishes like angels. I'll certainly get a trigger and a puffer at some point but they may not leave the refugium for quite some time. I do have inverts in the display and I'm not ready to bid them adieu just yet. :0)

I'll post some more pictures soon. Gotta at least get a "before" pic showing how empty the tank looks now. Have to attach the new corals likely tonight so they can get going.

Otherwise, just need to really focus on keeping quality flow at all times (upgrading the jebao pp20 to a Tunze stream 3 will help!), managing nutrients more consistently (i.e., staying home!), and keeping the tank cleaner in general. Like I said, no problem as long as I'm home! :0)

Michael Hoaster
10/10/2017, 10:15 AM
Thanks McPuff. I have some stuff growing on my fake roots, in dim light. It is very etherial, almost like smoke. Does that sound like it?

I'm glad to hear you're having success with macros in your 'fuge. I think you'd like ulva. It grows fast and everything that eats plants loves it, so you can throw prunings into your display and it will be devoured.

I look forward to more pics. Your rockscape is awesome!

McPuff
10/11/2017, 07:41 AM
Thanks McPuff. I have some stuff growing on my fake roots, in dim light. It is very etherial, almost like smoke. Does that sound like it?

I'm glad to hear you're having success with macros in your 'fuge. I think you'd like ulva. It grows fast and everything that eats plants loves it, so you can throw prunings into your display and it will be devoured.

I look forward to more pics. Your rockscape is awesome!

It's not so wispy... much more substantial. I do know what you are talking about that.

The ulva seems like a good option... and I hear it tastes good for humans too. :0)

About the rock work... Thanks!! I've been making little changes here and there over the past year. I think another rock or two needs to be tweaked and then I'll be happy.

Techhnyne
10/23/2017, 04:35 AM
Is it hard to do an upgrade? I have a 125 i would like to do a 180 or 220

Techhnyne
10/23/2017, 04:36 AM
Everytime i try to post it keeps saying duplicate post and deletes it

Techhnyne
10/23/2017, 04:36 AM
Maybe not anymore hahaa

McPuff
10/24/2017, 04:21 AM
Is it hard to do an upgrade? I have a 125 i would like to do a 180 or 220

It is difficult if you need to put the new tank in the same spot as the old tank.

Otherwise, it's quite easy. If you use the live rock you've already got (maybe with a few more pieces of new, dry rock) then you'll have the bacterial community ready to rock. It would be helpful to add more biomedia to your existing tank a few weeks ahead of time so you can seed the new tank prior to the transfer. Once you move everything over, it's basically like doing a water change. Main thing is to take your time, think it through completely, and take every opportunity to IMPROVE the system you're upgrading. The planning it the hardest part. The doing is the easy part honestly.

McPuff
11/13/2017, 08:26 AM
Quick update: I added a few small frags from a local reefer (very generous!) and they are doing great. The milka stylo (originally from my tank) has grown quite a bit, encrusted fully, and is already splitting off new heads. The spongodes is also growing nicely. Several others also looking great!

The calothryx has almost entirely subsided. There are a couple little puff-balls that are hard to reach though it's hard to tell if they are turf algae or calothryx. Either way, no harm at this point. I did end up scooping out a bunch of sand so I could clean it off. That pretty much took care of the bloom I had in the sand. It's looking nice and white again. The rocks are back to purple and not brown and covered in sh*t. :0)

Finally had the chance to clean my skimmer pump and the return pump. Amazing how much difference a simple 10 minute cleaning will make. I had to turn down the return pump actually!

Tub/refugium - decided to make this into a lagoon instead of a refugium. Removed the MarsAqua grow light as I was just getting a ton of nuisance algae growing in there. Did a massive cleaning (again) in there, and then added a DIY LED light (using what I had available). I'll want to get something with better control because right now it's all constant current and VERY blue. Also made another live rock structure with the help of e-marco 400. I'll have to get some pics of this to post soon. It looks pretty cool to me so far! And it'll give me a good place to acclimate new fish and [eventually] put a trigger or two and puffer. Really looking forward to that!! It can also be used for frags (incoming or outgoing).

Finished 2 acrylic TTM tanks of 12x12" (~7.5 gal). This size is just about perfect for this purpose. Now I just need to get some fish into these things! I'll probably use a simple 20 gal for the QT after the TTM has completed. Then I can observe for external parasites and treat for internal parasites with medicated foods.

Last thing - the fish. Holy cow are they getting fat! I've been feeding a LOT more nori lately in hopes they could graze more often. They love it but the grazing is still mostly a gorging. The pyroferus tang is still a bit skinny so I decided to feed some frozen food soaked in metronidazole just in case it had/has something in its gut. It has been putting on weight, just slowly. The drugs won't hurt so I figured it was worth the effort. The tiny naso tang is finally starting to put on some size as well. Have had it more than a year now but it's reached the "turning point" in my opinion, where it is very wide and will probably start to shoot up in size quickly. Its colors are also coming in very nicely.

McPuff
11/21/2017, 11:12 AM
Just placed an order yesterday for my first large angel in ages!

As Steve Irwin would say, "What a little beauty!"

382944

Just a tiny one at 1 3/8" long. Looking forward to its arrival tomorrow. Then into TTM for 12 days, QT for a couple weeks, then the lagoon will be his/her home for several months.

Working on getting a tiny blueface angel as well. I'm hoping they can share the lagoon and grow up together. I'll also be able to assess their coral nipping behavior in the lagoon as that is where I'll be placing frags going forward. Speaking of, I need to post some pics of the lagoon now that it's no longer a "refugium" so to speak. I imagine the angels will need to be around 3-4" before I even consider putting them into the DT. Will certainly use an acclimation box for that as well. Another project! :0)

Michael Hoaster
11/21/2017, 11:19 AM
Congrats on the new Angel fish. Such beautiful fish!

A pic update on your tank and tub would be great!

locito277
11/21/2017, 11:02 PM
Angel looks awesome!


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rlhanks
11/22/2017, 03:59 AM
TRAGIC!! To be able to master the chemistry that takes a small piece of living calcium glued to a ceramic disk to something the size of a five gallon bucket. And, not only one piece but several pieces. That sucks. The big hurdle I would have to jump is not if I wanted to start over but how would the wife react to this event. I'm sure she wouldn't say no but there certainly would be that roll your eyes and shake your head look.

I'm sure it will all work out in the end. Good Luck

McPuff
11/29/2017, 07:51 AM
Just put the tiny annularis in TTM #3 last night. I have to say this fish is looking really good so far. Actually quite thick for such a small fish. It eats Nori and pellets very well. Not sure how much it's eating frozen meaty foods but I assume so. It has been so long since I last bought an angel and I had forgotten how tough they are and how much they like to eat. A bit different than bringing in a tiny tang. The angels always seem to be a bit more social and aggressive feeders, but that is likely not a surprise to anyone. Very happy with the purchase.

Eating some Nori:

383441

The PVC is 4" for reference and the tank is a 12" cube I made out of acrylic. I made two of them and they are absolutely PERFECT for TTM.

383442

One more TTM switch on Friday. Then Monday it will go into the 20 gal QT tank.

Michael Hoaster
11/29/2017, 08:40 AM
Awesome! It's great you're demonstrating your quarantine method for the rest of us qt slackers. Nice work on your ttm tanks too! Lucky fish, getting the 'McPuff Treatment'.

McPuff
11/30/2017, 07:14 AM
Awesome! It's great you're demonstrating your quarantine method for the rest of us qt slackers. Nice work on your ttm tanks too! Lucky fish, getting the 'McPuff Treatment'.

Ha! Thanks Michael. My last several fish have also been quite healthy upon arrival so that has been helpful for sure! Just gotta hope the next 6-10 arrivals are just as healthy, peppy, and hungry!

My wife is starting to think there's a lot going on in the "utility" room... as if I'm taking up too much room for fish stuff. I'm not sure why she is complaining. I have provided at least 20% of the space for season decoration and food storage! What does she expect, 30%?? :0)

Michael Hoaster
11/30/2017, 08:45 AM
It's a delicate balance with the wives isn't it? What do they want, a nice home? We have important scientific work to be done!

McPuff
12/06/2017, 07:22 AM
The annularis has completed the TTM protocol with no issues whatsoever, not that I would have expected anything from a captive bred fish. I moved him over to a 20 gal QT tank just on Monday night. I noticed a very slight cloudiness on one eye so watching that closely. It could have happened during the transfer but I used my hand so who knows. Doesn't seem overly comfortable in the QT yet and doesn't even use the structure I've provided. I have seen him eat pellets and he's been tearing apart nori as well. Still a chubby guy and does seem to be gaining a little confidence. It's possible that he has never been in a tank with live rock before so maybe that is a little foreign to him so far. Hoping to keep him in this tank for a couple weeks and then switch into the lagoon. Fish really seem to thrive in there.

As I noted previously, I fed food medicated with metronidazole for a couple weeks in the display. This was simply to ensure the pyroferus tang didn't have any internal parasites. It didn't seem to be putting on weight as fast as I might have expected. Anyway, since completing this treatment I have noticed the fish is certainly getting thicker. This could be coincidental though as I have also increased the amount of food in the past month, most notably nori. I am now feeding an entire sheet every day. It is amazing how FAT the tangs and foxface have become. The small naso (started as 3") is finally starting to grow noticeably... it will not be long until it catches and surpasses the other fish. This is definitely the best "luck" I've ever had with a small juvenile naso tang so I'm very excited by it.

Still working on getting a tiny blueface angel from the LFS. I know that DD has them but it's not captive bred (none are) so I may as well just get one locally.

McPuff
12/06/2017, 07:25 AM
Here is a little update video describing a little more about the system overall and the annularis.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/2WLn1M-Znf8/hqdefault.jpg?sqp=-oaymwEZCNACELwBSFXyq4qpAwsIARUAAIZCGAFwAQ==&rs=AOn4CLDeS0hw8Cm4ckT4FL6mh6cNvXZXqg

Michael Hoaster
12/06/2017, 09:13 AM
You are getting some great fish going! Jealous! Thanks again for schooling us on proper QT. Best of luck with your new baby! I couldn't open the link.

McPuff
12/07/2017, 07:25 AM
You are getting some great fish going! Jealous! Thanks again for schooling us on proper QT. Best of luck with your new baby! I couldn't open the link.

Thanks Michael, it's nice to see how doing things the right way actually pans out! Imagine that!! :0)

The little annularis is looking happier today. It's eating the nori and all the pellets I can throw in. It is also beginning to actually venture into the structure I have provided. I think putting paper underneath the tank helped to make it feel more secure. May be crazy but I feel like it has grown appreciably in the two weeks I've had it. Definitely a fan of the Bali Aquarich captive bred fish! It is very easy to see the difference between cb and wild caught.

Michael Hoaster
12/07/2017, 09:28 AM
Captive bred is the way forward. Props to you for reducing collection pressure on our oceans. I'm sure you paid a significant up charge to do so.

I haven't heard of Bali Aquarich. Do they sell directly or through your LFS?

McPuff
12/08/2017, 08:41 AM
Captive bred is the way forward. Props to you for reducing collection pressure on our oceans. I'm sure you paid a significant up charge to do so.

I haven't heard of Bali Aquarich. Do they sell directly or through your LFS?

Actually they do a number of angels. Another one to check out is Poma Labs. Mind you, the former does more "regular" angels and the latter breeds more of the high end species like conspicuous, bandits, masked, etc. They can fetch prices over $5k for a small juvenile.

I bought mine from Divers Den. Price wasn't too bad... not sure if I'm allowed to say the price but it was $130 which also meant free shipping. So actually it wasn't much more than a wild caught had I bought it from my LFS.

Speaking of LFS, they just got in my tiny juvenile Blueface Angel yesterday!! Last night I set up TTM #1 and I'm going to pick it up today!!! It's a bit bigger than the annularis (maybe 1/4") and also looks fairly thick. While I have put these species together in the past, I'm going to be careful when introducing them together. I'll probably split the QT tank in half for a week or so to let them get acquainted. Exciting day though!!

McPuff
12/11/2017, 12:47 PM
Picked up the blueface on Friday and ended up buying a starry blenny as well. I have always been fond of those. Bad news - the blueface made it less than 1.5 days. I probably should have left it at the store for a few days. Argh, live and learn. The blenny seems to be ok so far though. May even have started to eat. It 'll be transferred into TTM #2 tonight.

The Annularis appears to have signs that would indicate flukes... so that is a bit of a surprise considering it's captive bred. But I don't know where/how they are bred (lagoon, tanks, etc.). So I'm going to treat with prazi-pro tonight. Otherwise, it seems healthy and is still eating. But it's become a bit more secretive and is twitching a bit here and there. Again, argh!

I made a short video on youtube to chronicle some of this stuff. Feel free to post any comments, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IskfLZjoeWI

Michael Hoaster
12/11/2017, 01:13 PM
Bummer! But thanks for honestly sharing your experience. Great vid too. I have to admit, I was getting impatient waiting to see your tank behind you, and when you finally did show it, it was only for a second! Tease! Please post another vid featuring your tank. Your rock work is some of the best I've EVER seen! Plus you have a lot of cool fish in there.

Here are some suggestions I'll throw out there:

Why wait on the prazipro? I'd start it RIGHT NOW, even if you have to use the old stuff. I know nothing about flukes, but consider lowering salinity, not necessarily for flukes, but to reduce the fish's work to osmoregulate. It should help. Consider Formula's Angelfish/Butterfly food. The number one ingredient is sponge-a key food for most angels.

Good luck McPuff!

locito277
12/11/2017, 02:31 PM
Bummer about the blue face man but the collection is taking shape!!


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McPuff
12/13/2017, 08:19 AM
Bummer! But thanks for honestly sharing your experience. Great vid too. I have to admit, I was getting impatient waiting to see your tank behind you, and when you finally did show it, it was only for a second! Tease! Please post another vid featuring your tank. Your rock work is some of the best I've EVER seen! Plus you have a lot of cool fish in there.

Here are some suggestions I'll throw out there:

Why wait on the prazipro? I'd start it RIGHT NOW, even if you have to use the old stuff. I know nothing about flukes, but consider lowering salinity, not necessarily for flukes, but to reduce the fish's work to osmoregulate. It should help. Consider Formula's Angelfish/Butterfly food. The number one ingredient is sponge-a key food for most angels.

Good luck McPuff!

Thanks Michael. Sorry to tease with the display. I made another "walk through" video last night to show some detail on the display itself. Hopefully this does a better job of highlighting some of the things that I really like about the system. While there are a few minor changes I'd make to the rock work, this is my favorite 'scape of all time (that I've created).

As for the medication, I didn't want to chance using the very old Prazi pro. So that is the only reason I waited... it was a difficult choice. But now the annularis seems to be back to normal with its behavior. The eye is nearly back to fully clear (it's actually hard to tell there is anything off with it). The little one is still eating really well. I will also feed it some medicated foods in case of internal parasites. It doesn't yet seem to eat meaty foods readily, but will eat pellets. For the sake of medication, this is probably a good thing as pellets easily soak up medication. Will start that today.

Without further dudes, here is the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YvWLaKIJiI

Michael Hoaster
12/13/2017, 08:36 AM
Awesome! I'm so glad to hear your new angel is doing better. Great vid! Your reefscape is the best in the world. Don't change a thing! One of the keys to making great art, is to know when to stop. You're there!

McPuff
12/14/2017, 07:51 AM
Awesome! I'm so glad to hear your new angel is doing better. Great vid! Your reefscape is the best in the world. Don't change a thing! One of the keys to making great art, is to know when to stop. You're there!

Wow, thanks for that! I don't agree that it's best in the world but I am happy with it. :spin1: I really appreciate the compliment!

The fact that the little angel is doing better makes me feel so much more relaxed. I honestly was having trouble falling asleep the first couple nights because of the little bit of anxiety. Had to force myself to think of exotic sports cars instead. :0)

The eye looks like it is all cleared up now. This morning is day 3 of the prazipro treatment and I do not think I'll need to dose again. I did witness the little one eating meaty foods last night and that also makes me feel better about his overall condition. Mind you, it is very chubby still and still appears to be growing rapidly. I'm going to keep it in the QT for another couple of weeks. Once the starry blenny has completed TTM (today is transfer into tank #3), it'll go in the QT as well. I realize the clock starts over at this point and I'm ok with that. I want to keep a close eye on both fish for a couple weeks and this will be the easiest way. Once they are in the lagoon it's not so easy to see them with the larger rock work and top-down view. But I'm sure they'll love it in there. That said, I'll have to get a better video of the lagoon as well... probably once it has fish!