View Full Version : dcmartinpc's system resurrection

05/12/2017, 08:11 AM
It has been a while since I have posted anything about my setup. It is largely because I have been beyond frustrated with my system and it is all my fault! :(

Very very long story short, my QT procedures were non-existent and I am overrun with aiptasia, vermatid snails, and a nasty gaggle of coral eating asterina starfish. I have reached my wits end and I have decided the best course of action is burn it to the ground and let it rise again from the ashes!

A little background on the system. I currently have a Marineland 150DD in my main level living room and a 225g 5x3x2 miracles built in to the wall in my basement. They are both plumbed in to a common sump in the basement. The 150DD will not be part of the new system but will play a crucial role in the rebirth.

The new system will consist of the 225 in wall and adding 60 cube in the wall next to it which will serve as home to a harem of clownfish and likely a nice centerpiece carpet anemone. I will also be adding a 36x18x13 frag tank as I believe I will be growing coral this time! The 150DD will serve as temporary holding space and will be severed from the new system and run on an isolated sump and skimmer. All fish from the 225 will be placed in the 150 temporarily while everything is being prepared for the new setup. Once the current main system is empty and the 150 is isolated. I will be circulating a bleach and fresh water solution through the 225 and sump to kill any critters hiding in the pipes and areas I can't get to.

But this is only part of the story. I know to be successful this time around, my QT has to be well planned and executed. I am adding to separate tanks for QT. One for coral and one for fish. The coral QT is a 20 long (30x12x12). It will have a Tunze 9004 skimmer for filtration and be lit by 2x24w T5 (ATI BLue+ and ATI Coral+). The fish QT will be 48x15x17 and will have a Tunze 9004 DC skimmer and will be lit by a Reefbrite Lumilite Duo just to keep the fish in their rhythm. I am still working out all of my QT procedures, but will likely mostly be copying a good friend who has had great success in keeping most pests out of his system. He helps keep me in check and has been great moral support through all of this ;Happy

The last piece of the puzzle was rock and sand. I don't necessarily dislike the rock I have, but, it is currently covered in plenty of pests, and I didn't want to tear everything down and not have any bio filtration left for my livestock. I decided to make the switch to Pukani and Tropic Eden Reef Flakes.
I made the trip down to our sponsor Premium Aquatics @Premiumaq to hand pick the 200 pounds of rock and pickup sand and other necessities. They were awesome and made sure the bins were fully stocked with fresh rock for our arrival! I can't say enough good things about Premium Aquatics and their staff! Thanks Luke, Brandon, Michelle, and the rest of Premium Aquatics staff! You all went above and beyond and made my trip phenomenal!

So, enough back story, on to the good stuff!

I made some purchases at my local hardware store to get things started!

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-CH9fGxJ/0/fd12380f/XL/IMG_6199-XL.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-CH9fGxJ/A)

(On a side note, I am pretty sure I am on some sort of list now!)

As you have probably figured out, I putting the rock through bleach and an acid bath.

I decided to do 2 bleach baths to get out as much of the organic material as possible as I have heard and seen just how much bio material is on these rocks!

I loaded up all the rock in a 150 gallon rubbermaid and threw in a couple heaters, a cheap propeller pump, and dumped in the bleach!

Here is a quick video of what my friend referred to as "Witches Brew"

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-bwGR9kk/0/dd1baa89/M/IMG_6200-M.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-bwGR9kk/A)

This is the crud in the container after the first bleach bath.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-HkbBnC3/0/a19f393c/XL/IMG_6212-XL.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-HkbBnC3/A)

And the rock set out to dry after I sprayed it off while I cleaned out the tub and got everything ready for the second bleach bath.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-N84FXPS/0/01075b5c/XL/IMG_6209-XL.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-N84FXPS/A)

And now back in the tub ready for its second bath in bleach!

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-c2rwjxh/0/81e86941/X3/IMG_6211-X3.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-c2rwjxh/A)

I got tired of waiting for it to gravity drain and decided to hook up an Iwaki 100 I had lying around to get the job moving!

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-Bnf7rgZ/0/f3713389/M/IMG_6215-M.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-Bnf7rgZ/A)

Much less crud this time!

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-7GbFcCN/0/7122715d/X3/IMG_6217-X3.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-7GbFcCN/A)

And another rinse..

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-5ScDRzp/0/dde016fb/XL/IMG_6214-XL.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-5ScDRzp/A)

All nestled in for its first soak in a 5x Prime.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-vFKBdTK/0/08adaa5f/XL/IMG_6218-XL.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-vFKBdTK/A)

Well that is it for now! I will be draining it again tonight and letting it soak for 24 hours again in Prime. Then Saturday I have some help coming over and we will be doing the acid bath and then moving the tub and rock inside for the curing process.

More pics to come and I welcome any advice anyone has!

Thanks for reading!


05/13/2017, 10:58 AM
I recently went through this with my own tank. I only did the bleach bath and no acid. Whats the rational for using the heaters? Good luck with your resurrection.

05/13/2017, 05:16 PM
My understanding was organics break down easier at higher temps and since it was still getting down in to the 50s here I decided it wouldn't hurt throwing them in.


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05/14/2017, 07:01 AM
How long was each bleach bath?

What is prime?

Please share your process for the acid bath when you get a chance.

I'd like to do the same on 200 lbs of rock I recently purchased.


05/14/2017, 04:59 PM
A friend came over and we did the acid bath on the rock. The total rock cleaning process I went through was as follows.

~24 Hour soak in bleach at approximately 1:10 (1 gallon of bleach to 10 gallons of water)

Drain tub and pull out all rock and rinse tub and rock well

Second ~24 soak in bleach at approximately 1:10

Drain tub and pull out all rock and rinse tub and rock well

~24 hour soak in tap water and Seachem Prime 10x dose (Detoxifier and Dechlorinator)

Drain tub and leave all rock in tub

Second ~24 hour soak in tap water and Seachem Prime 10x dose

Muriatic acid bath in approximately 1:20 (1 gallon of muriatic acid to 20 gallons of water) for approximately 20 minutes. We pulled rock at multiple times throughout the bath to check progress.

*****Make sure to use rubber glove when working with muriatic acid and always add acid to water, not the other way around!*****

Neutralized acid with baking soda

Drain tub and pull out all rock and rinse tub and rock well

I thought if 1 bleach bath was good, 2 would be better! There was still a significant amount of organics that came out in the second bleach bath. I also ran Prime twice just as extra insurance.

Now that the cleaning process is complete, moving on to curing and cycling the rock. We moved the tub inside to the basement and filled with fresh saltwater. I threw in an old SWC MSX 200 skimmer running a bubble blaster 3000 pump to help continue to pull out organics. I dosed with Microbe-Lift Special blend yesterday and dosed Fritzzyme 9 today to help get bacteria rolling. I know bacteria will populate over time, but I wanted to give the process a jumpstart. It will still likely take a month or 2, but I am hoping with the help of the skimmer and bacteria, it won't be 6 months!

I am ordering Seaklear Commercial (Lanthanum Chloride) and 5 micron filter socks to help remove phosphates.

Here are some pictures and video of the acid bath.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-bcL9hPb/0/de347968/M/IMG_6281-M.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-bcL9hPb/A)

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-gVzPD2K/0/cbd33893/M/IMG_6278-M.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-gVzPD2K/A)

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-xPZGFK8/0/a984c3e1/XL/IMG_6280-XL.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-xPZGFK8/A)

And finally a pic of everything all setup in the basement!

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-NJvHqLK/0/1676447b/XL/IMG_6282-XL.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-NJvHqLK/A)


05/15/2017, 08:10 PM
Got the 60 cube all cleaned up tonight and got it in place tonight. I had this tank custom made by glass cages about 8 years ago and had them drill it for a closed loop and glass holes overflow. I ordered material for the background. Since I will be putting new a new background on my 225, Coral QT, Fish QT, Frag Tank, and 60 cube, I was looking for a bulk solution. What I found specifically marketed to the aquarium trade was all VERY expensive. I thought about paint, but I had a vinyl background on the 60 cube originally and I loved the material. The only problem was that it was blue, and all the tanks I see that I really like are black. So I went hunting. I found adhesive vinyl material made by Oracal. It is the Oracal 951 material in gloss black. It was just over $70 shipped for a roll that is 30" wide x 30 feet long. I could not come anywhere close to that buying from reefing stores. If this works well I am going to turn Bulk Reef Supply on to this stuff in hopes that they might start carrying it for the more DIY reefers. It will be here tomorrow and I plan to get it installed on the cube so we will see how it looks!

Pics of the 60 cube in the wall for now and along side the 225. Please ignore the sad state of the 225... I am just trying to keep the fish healthy at this point.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-GwVzk5p/0/b3ea79a8/XL/IMG_6294-XL.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-GwVzk5p/A)

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-bTqxDpn/0/338f37be/XL/IMG_6295-XL.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-bTqxDpn/A)

Thanks for looking!


05/15/2017, 10:03 PM
Thanks for sharing. Very thorough!

05/18/2017, 06:35 AM
Following! Fun to give those rocks an acid bath isn't it?! :0)

05/18/2017, 07:44 PM
Following! Fun to give those rocks an acid bath isn't it?! :0)

It certainly was! I am still seeing phosphates (measured at .78 yesterday) even after all the bleaching and acid wash. Looks like I am going to need to run lanthanum chloride... I was hoping to avoid it.


05/24/2017, 12:56 PM
Looks like a very thorough process. We all learn, at least over time, and sometimes the hard way, that anything wet should be QTd. I know I have and have both a coral and a fish QT. Looks like a good setup for both. I also used LaCl3 to get rid of PO4 and it worked great.

08/25/2017, 11:35 AM
It has been a while... But LOTS of progress! The cleaning of the tank with Bleach and HCl went better than expected! It literally dissolved everything and the tank was spotless when it was done. I did a couple tap water rinses with Prime and then filled with RODI and added salt.

The pukani rock from Premium Aquatics has all been cured and the rock and Tropic Eden Reef Flakes are in the tank. I am building bacteria load by dosing ammonium chloride to be ready to add all the fish when the time comes.

The fish and coral QT systems are also all up and running!

I have moved all fish in to 2 separate quarantine systems last weekend. The larger fish are here in my 48x16x18 tank and a local friend has most of the smaller fish in his QT system. I am running them through Cupramine followed by PraziPro to eradicate ich and other parasites. They will be in QT likely for another 2 months. I also have a couple test corals in my coral QT to see what happens...

I will be shutting down the 150DD that was still running housing the fish this weekend. But other than that, lots of hurry up and wait at this point....

Here are some updated pictures.

Main Display
https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-dv5kcM8/0/8adeed3b/L/IMG_6583-L.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-dv5kcM8/A)

Corals in QT
https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-8jN8RtJ/0/96a93ba7/L/IMG_6578-L.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-8jN8RtJ/A)

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-wHWq2Db/0/b5e0a943/L/IMG_6575-L.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-wHWq2Db/A)

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-8JZw5N8/0/5c3ecdd1/L/IMG_6573-L.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-8JZw5N8/A)

Video: Fish in QT
https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-xCBhWX5/0/a8e07ce1/X3/IMG_6566-X3.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-xCBhWX5/A)

09/22/2017, 08:54 PM
OK, time for an update. So QT has been rough, but necessary. I have lost my gorgeous desjardini sailfin, flame hawkfish, and today my orchid dottyback. The Sailfin somehow jumped, the flame hawkfish I believe succumbed to medication, and the dottyback I believe was taken out by high nitrites. Today was 30 days in cupramine at therapeutic levels and day 6 of Prazipro. I started prazi at the 3 week mark of cupramine. I had not checked my parameters in a couple days. This was my result today for nitrites... I checked after I lost the dottyback.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-SxhLV3v/0/c2f53267/XL/IMG_6720-XL.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-SxhLV3v/A)

I decided since I was on day 30 of copper and day 6 of my first round of prazipro, I would do as close to a %100 water change as I could with water from the display tank (It is fully cycled and is processing 4ppm ammonia in 24 hours) and start carbon. I have been running Seachem Matrix in a small canister filter and passively in a media bag. I decided to clean up an old biopellet reactor I had and re-purpose it as a media reactor for the matrix so I could increase the amount I am using. I have roughly 1750ml of matrix in the QT system now. I filled the marineland canister filter with BRS Rox .8 carbon to get the remaining cupramine and prazipro out of the water.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-JLqg3N2/0/f7b93300/XL/IMG_6719-XL.jpg (https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/System-Resurrection/i-JLqg3N2/A)

The yellow belly blue tang is looking a little rough still, but the levels of nitrites in the system were definitely not helping. While this is painful and very tough to go through, it is necessary to minimize the risks I have in the future. I hate that I have lost these fish, but it is better than having disease in the tank. I will be putting everything through 1 more 1 week long round of prazipro after a 1 week break. Then at least 1 week of observation before everything gets moved in to the display!!!

I will be updating more next weekend!

Thanks for following everyone and as always, I welcome all feedback.


09/23/2017, 10:21 PM
Did you have nitrites in the absence of ammonia?

10/02/2017, 11:49 AM
Did you have nitrites in the absence of ammonia?

I did. Ammonia was zero, very odd.

I just did another huge water change yesterday and I had nitrites, no ammonia. I was out of town for a week so that was the soonest I could since the change I did right before I left.

Everything was looking reasonable, so after I did the large water change I dosed Prazipro again. I also dosed Prime and Stability again. Hopefully the bacteria will finally colonize the matrix media. It has been in the tank for over a month and it should be doing something by now.

I am keeping a close eye on everything this week, then another week of observation and then hopefully move in day in about 2 weeks.


10/03/2017, 06:10 AM
Have you dosed Microbacter7 as well? Or anything similar? Apologies if I missed that.

10/03/2017, 06:12 AM
When starting the QT system I dosed Prodibio BioDigest and MicrobeLift Special Blend. I am going to be watching QT very closely this week and start with bacteria dosing if things get out of whack and then water changes if that doesn’t help.

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06/19/2018, 02:08 PM
Just a quick update, life has been insanely busy, and I went through a massive fish loss in Fish QT, which some of you may have seen my thread on. It was beyond depressing, and I almost threw in the towel, but for the first time in a long time, my coral was all doing crazy well, so it kept me in! Here are some updated pics from today. Stay tuned for some new fish additions coming in the next couple weeks ;) Please excuse the coralline algae overgrowth, summer time!

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-SBn789p/0/091eda58/L/IMG_4562-L.jpg ('https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-SBn789p/A')

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-X7Gwgvw/0/dd9e27b6/L/IMG_4563-L.jpg ('https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-X7Gwgvw/A')

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-ptmWvv8/0/7fa2877f/L/IMG_4564-L.jpg ('https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-ptmWvv8/A')

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-J5shjj4/0/cb2ac1e3/L/IMG_4565-L.jpg ('https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-J5shjj4/A')

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-fXKFDFc/0/af6b9c24/L/IMG_4566-L.jpg ('https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-fXKFDFc/A')

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-J98672r/0/18fb4aa9/L/IMG_4567-L.jpg ('https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-J98672r/A')

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-J6SHnT5/0/f8b7ce6d/L/IMG_4568-L.jpg ('https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-J6SHnT5/A')

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-3bSTqTV/0/852434cc/L/IMG_4569-L.jpg ('https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-3bSTqTV/A')

https://photos.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-2GQ9NmN/0/1f6954fa/L/IMG_4570-L.jpg ('https://the-martins.smugmug.com/Aquariums/225-Display/225-Display-06-19-2018/i-2GQ9NmN/A')

06/19/2018, 09:08 PM
amazing how far that rock has come. kudos to you