View Full Version : BonesCJ 90 macro setup

05/03/2017, 10:29 PM
My 90 has been through alot, first it was a reef, then a cichlid tank, it sat in the garage dry for 6 months and finally its being setup once again as a macro tank. I've done many planted tanks over the years so i love the look of lots of greens and reds filling a system, and no dirty corals are gonna get their polyps anywhere near it!

Tanks been running now for about two months and has cycled well, here are the specs so far...

50 lbs marco rock
10 lbs LR
2 koralia 750/850's
Eheim 1250 return
Seafloor reef grade sand, about 2.5 inches deep
20 long sump
No skimmer
40i internal filter in sump for mechanical filtration

Lighting is currently a marineland advanced led 48 inch strip leftover from when it was a lowlight planted/cichlid tank, probably gonna get a Current marine Pro to replace it.

Here it is a month in

Here are some more current shots, i had to turn the light on so most of the fish are asleep


The rockpile


A piece of what i belive is c. Taxifola, growing even under my current pitiful light. My local fish store gave it to me for free when it came in with a seahorse shipment.


The overflow, the whole back of the tank used to be foamed over but like this current look better.


05/03/2017, 10:33 PM
Oh i forgot the critter list

Current occupants

Perc clown
2 red firefish
Royal gramma
Sw molly (f)

Small clean up crew

Planned additions include

Pj cardinals x3
Pearly jawfish
Wrasse or two
Several clown gobies
And after a long while a mandarin
Plus at least one cleaner shrimp

Michael Hoaster
05/04/2017, 12:55 PM
Looking good so far! Nice job on the overflow. The tall rock just left of it looks out of place to me. It almost looks like it's hiding something.

That reddish tint is cyano bacteria (I think), which can take over quickly, especially in low light, with no competition for nutrients. Get a light and plants asap!

Great pics! Good luck!

05/04/2017, 09:32 PM
That is a big ol piece of petrified wood, it belonged to my wifes dad and has been an aquarium piece for decades. Its curved behind and is a great hiding spot for fish.

Michael Hoaster
05/04/2017, 09:56 PM
D'oh, an aquarium, family heirloom! Sorry. That's cool! I'm sure it'll look great with the plants. And fish need hiding spots!

05/05/2017, 07:40 AM
Can anyone help me ID that algae piece I have in the pictures? I thought it was taxifolia but with as many restrictions as I am finding on shipping it I wonder if its mexicana?

05/16/2017, 08:48 AM
Got two Viparspectra 165's coming on the 17th, once I get those setup I'll be ordering the live sand pack from GCE.


05/16/2017, 11:30 AM
Nice looking light fixture!

Michael Hoaster
05/16/2017, 12:31 PM
Sweet! Can't wait to see it set up!

05/18/2017, 06:38 AM
Got my new lights yesterday and stayed up to the wee hours getting them installed (new toys cannot wait right!)

Decided to go with eyehooks to mount the lights, I pinched the opening so the cables cannot easily slip out and mounted them in opposite directions




I currently have the White's at 50% and the blues at 25%, trying for that more brightly lit lagoon look vs deeper water.

Here is my one current macro, its grown quite a bit under my old freshwater lights, interested to see how it does under proper ones now


Michael Hoaster
05/18/2017, 07:01 AM
Nice setup! Keep us posted!

05/24/2017, 06:36 AM
LFS got some more saltwater mollies in, bringing my total up to 4
decided to take some fish shots.





Michael Hoaster
05/24/2017, 06:59 AM
Cool fish, and good pics! What's next? Macros?

05/24/2017, 07:20 AM
Next is the critter/macro pack from GCE.com, just gotta wait a little. The one caulerpa I
have in there is growing nicely though.

05/24/2017, 07:44 AM
I also brought the Lights up to 70% White / 40% blue, I like the whiter look as it reminds me more of a shallow lagoon and the one macro has started growing much better.

Michael Hoaster
05/24/2017, 07:49 AM
Right on. It's combining along nicely. GCE's fuge pack is the shizle.

05/24/2017, 12:46 PM
I emailed them today to clarify that I don't need the chaeto and once I hear back I will probably place the order.

05/28/2017, 09:52 PM
Got a response from GCE, gonna swap out the chaeto for a variety pack of reds. As long as everything goes smoothly i'll get my fuge pack in two weeks. Also my one caulerpa is going gangbusters with the new lights! Growth is much darker, faster and more compact, leggy plants always means insufficient light as they "reach" for it.

Michael Hoaster
05/28/2017, 10:34 PM
Awesome news! Glad to hear the lights are working for you. I love their fuge pack. Their live sand is some of the best I've come across.

05/30/2017, 11:27 AM
Placed my order on Monday, not sure if it will ship this week or next. Question, I am used to using Superglue to mount coral frags, what is the best way to place macro's? For example my caulerpa I just held down with a rock till it started growing its holdfasts into the sand.

Michael Hoaster
05/30/2017, 01:35 PM
I've tried super glue. The plants just broke off. Holding down with a rock or sandwiching them between rocks works. With your fake wall section, you can push pin them into that. Rubber bands work too, but they aren't pretty. Let us know if you come up with anything better!

06/01/2017, 10:20 PM
I got my order from GCE and like other orders i've gotten and ones that I have seen others receive everything was packaged well and no leaks.

And now for the show.


The caulerpa Pack did not have much beyond feather caulerpa and I'm pretty happy with the piece I already have going in my system, it did however also contain a fuzzy green macro that I kept, the rest I discarded.

The multipack of reds on the other hand had LOTS of variety and plenty of them, they ALL went in :-).

Cannot wait to see what critters come from this.

Here are shots after I placed everything in the system, some I wedged in cracks, some I attached to LR pieces with thin black zipties and some I just left to float and figure out where it wants to go. Keep your eyes open and you may be able to find the Pearly Jawfish I got today as well.






All the fish seem REALLY happy with the new additions, they began immediately exploring and investigating the new decor.

Michael Hoaster
06/01/2017, 10:45 PM
Looks great! Did you add the live sand?

06/02/2017, 06:14 AM
Yep, after I took the pics since I knew it would cloud the water

06/02/2017, 09:28 AM
The caulerpa I have in several shots, does that look like a variety of grape caulerpa to anyone? When I brought it home from the store it only had two rows of fronds with rounded tips but since adding proper lighting the new growth is much denser. Almost looks like Caulerpa peltata.

06/07/2017, 09:23 AM
System is chugging along, lost a few fish and about half of the red algae's from the GCE pack. On the other hand several are holding fast and this cool macro I got from GCE (I think its Chlorodesmis) is growing very well. Going to sit back and see what happens over the next couple weeks, my wife is dying to toss some zoa's in there so I may let her pick some out.

06/22/2017, 09:48 AM
going through a bit of a set back right now, a massive diatom or Dino bloom is underway, I've lost all fish except for 2 remaining molly's. This brown scunge is growing on everything! Rocks, sand and plants, I am trying not to jump the gun as I have dealt with this kind of thing before in prior systems and have always been able to bring it back in check.

Here are the steps I'm working on now
1. Feeding the fish no more than a quarter cube of food every other day
2. cut lighting intensity back to 40% on both whites and blues
3. every other day I siphon out as much of the brown junk as I can, including the sandbed, the sand is then rinsed clean and added back in.
4. Added some Phosphate/Silicate remover, only enough for a 60 gallon tank, not enough to bring it down to 0 but enough to make a difference
5. My Macros are still growing, including the new caulerpa I added (Prolifora and sertulariodes) along with the racemosa I already had. Several varieties of red are still holding on.

I am hoping that by reducing feeding, manually removing as much of the brown sludge as possible and encouraging the macro's I can swing the tide in their favor.

One thing I have not been able to do is determine EXACTLY what I am dealing with, Its brown and blows off rocks pretty easily so i suspect Diatoms but am not sure. Hoping its not Dino's as those are reportedly much harder to get rid of.

Send some good thoughts my way cause I am going to get through this!

06/22/2017, 10:02 AM
Here is the tank yesterday after siphoning the sand, you can still see some brown patches.


My "Filth and Sand catcher", I built it using 3/4 PVC pipe, it sits over my 20 gallon trash can I use for saltwater and that's a sheet of micron filter I put in place. I suck out the stuff, it gets caught in the filter, I pump the clean water back into the tank then scrub the sand of all yuck and put it back in.


Michael Hoaster
06/22/2017, 05:17 PM
Hang in there and keep removing what you can. Make sure your macros aren't coated so they can compete with whatever it is. Got a nitrogen source like stump remover?

06/23/2017, 09:47 AM
My latest nitrate readings still showed good numbers so at this point I don't think I have enough Biomass to impact it. The area's i siphoned the other night definitely show reduced amounts of new growth so I think I am on the right track so far.

06/26/2017, 07:52 AM
Things are going well so far, regrowth of brown "Scunge", my term since I am still not sure what it is, is definitely decreasing.

Funny side story, I cut back feeding of my two mollies to a quarter cube every 3 days and was trying to figure out why they were so fat still?!? It hit me as they were pulling on my arm hairs while doing a siphoning that they have been scarfing all the micro algae in the system like they are supposed to! So fat happy fish and reduced algae? sounds like a winner to me.

06/26/2017, 04:06 PM
I was/am going through the same brown sludge algae nuesence. Mine are definitely Dino, I added a UV sterilizer and it helped cut back the outbreak. Dino's swim through the water column so it really helps to sterilize them. My macro started to take off once the Dino's receded, likely because nutrients were now available for growth.

06/27/2017, 07:54 AM
Yeah, I've decided to go the Hydrogen Peroxide route as well, day one was last night so gonna see how it goes.

07/18/2017, 10:12 AM

Very very good progress, I treated the tank with 7 days of hydrogen peroxide (10 ml's a day) for 7 days, the last three days the tank in complete blackout(wrapped in trash bags). A couple days after that I could see brown growing again on the bottom but no stringy snot bubbles, left for a week vacation and when I came back the sand was clean the macros where growing and all sorts of other growth was occurring! I have fuzz and coraline and even some GHA on one of my powerheads (where the mollies cannot get to it) funny to be excited to see GHA.

A question, has anyone kept lawnmower blennies in the macro tanks to help with micro algae control?

Michael Hoaster
07/19/2017, 12:27 PM
I haven't kept a lawnmower blenny in my tank, but I was considering its caribbean alternative, the red lip blenny. It should work fine.

07/21/2017, 01:34 PM
I got a pair of firefish and a starry blenny the other day, everyone is settling in nicely and the blenny is already helping himself to the gha growing. The funny part is the GHA is growing on the rocks and foam and not on any of my macro's, so as far as I am concerned its welcome to grow all it wants.

08/10/2017, 07:00 AM

The system seems to be settling in, All the new fish are alive and happy and the tank is starting to look less like a brand new system. The Red macro's are growing well and after starting to add Iron/Mag supplement their colors are better. My Caulerpa species have started to slow down and get some GHA growing on them, suspecting a nutrient deficiency I did some testing and found Nitrates at 0 and Phosphates at .25. This explains the GHA as it can grow on phosphates alone but the macro's need both to grow properly. Picked up some of the spectracide stump remover and made up a solution of 1 1/3 tablespoons powder to 12 oz RODI and have started dosing 12.5 ML's a day to see if I can bring my nitrate levels up.

I want to post pics but after Photobuckets policy change I have yet to settle on a new good way to post the pics.

Edit: Also got a free bag of what my LFS calls "Gumbo" its a mix of locally cultured pods of different kinds, been great to start seeding my pod population.

Michael Hoaster
08/10/2017, 07:51 AM
Click the "MY RC" button at the top of the page. On the left there is "Photos and Albums" link. Start an album and upload photos. Open another window on your thread. Copy the "BB code" for each pic you want to post, and paste them into your thread. Limit your pics to 600 pixels wide at 72dpi or they won't be viewable to most people. Hope this helps!

08/10/2017, 08:41 AM
Shutterfly or flikr too

08/11/2017, 07:15 AM
Playing around with pictures uploaded to RC, I figured if the pictures are for a RC thread then where better to store them!

Full Tank Shot

Shot down the length of the tank

All the live rock in my system is in this one mound

Left side of the tank

08/11/2017, 11:36 AM
Nice do you do a lot of trimming or just let it do its own thing?

08/11/2017, 12:50 PM
So far no trimming, I only got things to get a good foothold a couple weeks ago. Macro's were growing real fast then stopped and receded, figured out with recent testing that my Nitrate levels were 0 or at least undetectable so I started Potassium Nitrate dosing on the 9th. Got to wait a little to see how things turn out.

08/11/2017, 12:51 PM
However, I do plan to let the tank do its own thing, I will trim to keep things in balance, beyond that I let em grow where they want.

Michael Hoaster
08/11/2017, 02:23 PM
First off, great job with the pics! The tank looks great, especially the C. prolifera. The fact that your macros stripped your tank of nutrients means they are chugging along nicely. It won't be long before you figure out the dosing schedule to keep them happy. Just keep in mind that the bigger their biomass gets, the more they need. Then when you get to the point of needing to prune, and the biomass stabilizes, you can stabilize what you dose as well.

Nice work! It looks so cool!

08/15/2017, 08:21 AM
Thanks much for the compliments Michael!, its like Picasso telling a preschooler they are doing a good job painting :thumbsup:

Been dosing daily and yesterday I finally saw something other than 0 on my test kit, just using API Nitrate test so its not as accurate as a probe but the color was at least trending towards the 5 PPM color, gonna probably cut back now to 10 ml's a day and see if I can keep it there. The hair algae has definitely started to slow down and I am seeing more white tips on my Caulerpas.

A side question, the Gracilliia (Sp?) on the left hand side sometimes looks fuzzy, not GHA, the fuzz is all the same length. Has anyone ever seen that? Its growing nicely.

Michael Hoaster
08/15/2017, 01:24 PM
You're quite welcome! And deserving! I think it's a good idea for all of us to cheer each other's successes. Thank you for your compliment too, though I feel less like Picasso and more like some guy who couldn't hack it with a reef tank…

08/31/2017, 11:32 PM
Added a blue yellowtail damsel and a cleaner shrimp last week and they have settled in well, tank almost looks crawling with stuff and is looking very natural, quite the opposite of a neat and orderly SPS tank! I don't even scrape the back glass ��

Michael Hoaster
09/27/2017, 09:18 PM

10/05/2017, 12:43 PM
Sorry, been kinda running on autopilot, getting all sorts of strange things growing, been too lazy about dosing so some cyano has started growing. Hoping to do a big cleaning today. Did score a PJ cardinal the other day, its funny my red macro's are growing better than my caulerpa