View Full Version : Joseph's First Reef - 56gal Column

08/14/2017, 12:44 PM
This post is just a placeholder to be able to start the thread. My first actual post is coming later today.

08/14/2017, 01:46 PM
I like the enthusiasm :)

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08/14/2017, 06:06 PM
Here we go! I don't really feel like giving a whole lot of background, so I'll just say that this isn't my first rodeo. The thread for the FOWLR I kept over the last three years can be found here: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2477581. On top of that, I've been slowly planning this tank (actually, I started planning this tank before I set up the other one, because the other one was supposed to be this one, except that there were still too many design flaws, so I decided to set up something simple while I continued to plan what I really wanted to do. All this talk of planning might give the illusion that this tank is gonna be something major - that's not the case; I'm just a super control freak and I like to think of every possible outcome before I start something :spin1:

I've never kept any corals before, but I've been running an experiment over the last six months to see whether corals can be kept with only CFL bulbs; the thread on that is here: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2628120. As of writing this, there's only one post, but the thread is due for an update. Also over the last three years I've been researching a lot about reef aquaria keeping coral, so, although I don't have any first-hand experience, I've built up quite a bit of knowledge. Hopefully that will allow me to get the reef rolling relatively smoothly.

The main feature of this system is that filtration is going to be entirely by macroalgae. I know the possibility of filtering a reef only with macroalgae is kind of in vogue right now, what with everything that BRS is doing on the subject, but my LFS owner has been running his very fully stocked 600gal reef for three years without a single water change, and his only filtration is racks upon racks of tanks of caulerpa. I ordered a Kessil H380 grow light, and I expect that that should do a fantastic job.

As in the title, the tank itself is a Perfecto 56gal column, as it's called, which has dimensions 30"x18"x24" (LxDxH). I really like the dimensions of this tank, and it's a breath of fresh air coming from a 37gal (30"x12"x22"). I'm either going to use a 20gal or 29gal DIY sump. I didn't want to drill the tank because if I were to change the stand at some point in the future (I might tell the stand story in a future post because it's a doozy), I would also want to change the plumbing, including where the holes are drilled, so instead I opted for an Eshopps HOB overflow. I conducted a whole bunch of my own tests on it prior to deciding to dive in and set up the tank, and it passed all of them to my satisfaction - it seems unlikely that it will fail if certain reasonable precautions are taken.

The sump itself is actually not set up yet; I'm still deciding on how to divide it up. Once that's all done, I'll cover the plumbing and filtration in another post. For now, since there are only the fish from my previous setup in the tank, I just set up my Aquaclear, powerheads, and heater like I had them on that tank.

I haven't decided on what I'm going to use to light the tank either (I think I have about 10 different posts here on RC about the lighting options I've considered at different times for this tank lol), but most likely it's going to be a dimmable ATI Sunpower, because I like the even blanket of light provided by T5's.

I only did the tank switch yesterday, so the water's still a little cloudy and everything else is a mess, but pics will come once everything clears up. Wish me luck!

04/13/2018, 04:28 PM
Okay! 8 months later and I'm finally comin' atcha with an update! :lmao:

Since the last update, everything has been finalized. The Eshopps HOB overflow is working nicely, and I decided on a sump layout and DIY'ed the baffles. For lighting, I got two Radion XR15W Pro's with the new diffusers. The only thing holding me back from getting radions originally was that I can't stand the disco ball effect, and I don't even like "good" shimmer, but the diffuser take care of that excellently.

The original filtration plan is working great! It's been 8 months with no water change; nitrate and phosphate are undetectable. I did run into some issues as a result of oversights in my plan, which is addressed in the last paragraph below.

In the last few days I've started making final preparations to finally bring in some corals. My dreams that began eight years ago are finally coming true! I bought a Red Sea Foundations Pro test kit, as well as calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium supplements, and am slowly bringing my water up to appropriate parameters. I expect the whole ecosystem to go through a few changes now that the parameters are changing, and I think I'm gonna hold out on adding coral until everything stabilizes again. In the meantime, though, I'm gonna start getting my hands on some coral next week, and it'll sit in quarantine for an appropriate length of time and until I feel like the main tank has settled down.

One strange thing is that almost all of my coralline algae is bleached and/or dead within the last few months. (This started before I switched from mhy previous lighting to the Radions). As I mentioned above, the tank has gone 8 months without a water change. However, until this week I was not doing any form of supplementation. I didn't think about the fact that coralline algae, fan worms, spirorbid worms, etc. were using calcium, magnesium, alkalinity, and trace elements. When I tested alkalinity for the first time, it was dreadfully low. I don't know about trace elements because I haven't gotten a test kit for them yet, but I assume they're probably completely used up. I'm still not settled on whether I'm going with triton's supplements or red sea's, but as soon as i decide I'll start dealing with my trace element levels.