View Full Version : 90 gallon reef rehab

09/16/2017, 04:40 PM
I acquired a beat up 90 gallon pretty much reef ready system for a steal. The previous owner had a light fixture set right on top of the tank and I guess it caught fire and scorched the aquarium frame and overflow as well as the stand.

I've been working on removing the frame, cleaned up the silicone and have stripped, sanded and stained the stand.

I still need to change out the hinges in the stand as they were all rusty and old. I also have yet to plumb it together. It's an old school sump with a sort of built in skimmer. I probably need a powered with an attachment for an airline.

I still need to decide on sand.. was thinking about doing a silica pool sand, as I loved the look I've used it in freshwater tanks with no issues, and it stays so very white and clean. I know most people use reef grade crushed coral and stuff, if a tank can go bare bottom we must be able to use whichever sand we please for aesthetic purposes right? I have heard about silica sand causing diatom issues in the aquarium. I've used this sand for fresh tanks without any sort of algae bloom and in fact because it is so fine, all particles larger than the sand grains will sit on top of the sand and be swept away by the water movement. Sounds like a win win to keep a clean sandbed.

Stock list / wish list
Orange spotted goby
3 red firefish
Pair Of Wyoming white clowns
Yellow head jaw fish
Blue eyed kole tang
Maybe another tang... suggestions? (Tang police)
Yellow coris wrasse
Neon dotty back

Coral wise probably mostly softies and some easy to keep lps and spa.

I plan on having everything automated for the most part so my husband/friends can take care of it while I'm gone.

Equipment so far
90 gallon pre drilled aquarium
20 gallon sump
Built in skimmer?
2 media reactors
Polar bear chiller
2x 165w LED pannels.

Will be adding
2 heaters
2 powerheads/WaveMaker
Ato system
Innovative marines new ato resi.

Will also be creating some sort of quarantine station and salt mix station in the back of the house.

Anyway, enough blah blah blah. Here are the pics so far.






So now just a few questions....
Thoughts on silica sand, fine grain quartz sand is what I plan on using
Thoughts on stock list?
Thoughts on how to make a salt tank hubby proof?

09/16/2017, 07:26 PM
Wow, that thing looks like it burned pretty good. From your text description I expected just a little melty spot or something.

Silica sand - you'll find people on both sides of that one. Personally, I don't know if it's worth the potential issues, given that there are about a billion aragonite sand products out there in different grades and colors, so you can probably find a specific color and particle size if you're looking for it. If you stick with your suggested stock list, the jawfish will want a very deep sandbed with at least some larger particles (crushed coral) mixed in, to help it build tunnels. It's hard for a fish like that to get comfortable in ONLY superfine sand.

Speaking of the fineness of sand, it's typically the case that a reef tank will have much higher flow than a FW tank. I mention this because you described how garbage would sit on top of the fine sand in your FW tank until the flow swept it away. In a reed tank, you may find it becomes very hard to get superfine sand to stay put, since the flow is strong enough that it just constantly shifts and blows around in the current.

Instead of making a salt tank hubby proof, why not make the hubby salt tank proof? I don't think you can engineer out disasters but you can probably teach him what he needs to know. Getting the ATO really dialed in will be important, then he just needs to know how much to feed and possibly things like how to empty the skimmer if you're going to be gone for a long time.

Speaking of the skimmer, can you show us this built in skimmer you're describing?

09/17/2017, 10:51 AM
Silica sand is very sharp compared to aragonite. In addition to the issues with diatoms that some have reported I would steer away from it for that reason with burrowing / sand sleeping fish on your wishlist

I would recommend against the yellow eye kole as the dominant fish. Dig deep enough and you will see many stories similar to mine where the Kole tang is the biggest fish in a similar sized tank (55, 75, 90...) and has a habit of killing most anything else added to the tank.

09/17/2017, 01:28 PM
many recommend dry caribsea special grade seaflor sand... fine enough to have tons of surface area but after it gets populated with bacteria it won't blow away..

I too would avoid silica sand.. The potential issues are not worth the little savings..

and yeah.. quite a project you've got there.. good luck

09/17/2017, 07:27 PM
You've described my tank quite well. Agree with no silica sand. Aragonite good quality. Neat aquascape. Just go real slow. I cycled with a couple clowns and fifty pound live rock. Real stable chemistries before anything. RODI water. You're sump sounds smallish. Unlikely to need a chiller. Good luck. Great forum for ideas and equipment.

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