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Old 01/07/2017, 10:46 AM   #1
Reefiez
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Talking Reefiez first saltwater Reefer 525 KISS build

Hi fellow reefers!

This will be my first saltwater tank ever! I've got experience in freshwater, and finally caught the salty bug. The reefer 525 seemed like a good place to start. As I have no experience, this will be a Keep it Simple Stupid build.

I'm in Hong Kong, and some equipment common in the US are a little difficult to find. I've had to source some of my stuff from e-bay, but I've still got a huge shopping list to go.

Prices here are also weird, some stuff are super cheap, some are super expensive (relative to the US). Anemones are super rare here, and after asking around, it seems it would go for $500 each. On the other hand, clownfishes are like $3, Blue tangs are $15, Gem tangs range from $500-1500.

Choosing livestock is also going to be pretty annoying if you don't do the research. Browsing some corals last week, I thought I saw a bounce mushroom. I asked the staff for the price, expecting it to be in the hundreds if not thousands. The price came at $80. I thought it was too good to be true, so after googling at home it was actually just bubble coral.

95% of the staff here are unhelpful and in my experience give really really bad advice to part you from your dollars. My advice for anyone starting the hobby in Hong Kong is to do the research and know what you need and why you need it, don't let the staff sell you something you haven't done research into. When I was shopping for a siphon that can clean the gravel for my freshwater planted tank, the staff told me "you don't ever need to clean your gravel, the waste is the fertilizer for your plants." Needless to say, I turned around, walked out the door, and have never been in that store again.

OK! Enough ranting, it's time to get on with the show!

Sad news, but the aquarium is still 2 weeks away from getting shipped here, BUT my rocks have arrived!

I'll be using dry Pukani, I have 120lbs of it and have been playing around with aquascaping it. I may use most of it in my tank, we shall see!

2 boxes of 30kg (132lbs), I weighed the rocks and they came up to 120lbs, but I guess with the box it gets to 132lbs.


It seems I'm not the only one excited about the rocks!


As I mentioned previously, even Pukani not readily available in HK. I spent weeks looking for US shipping to HK, but due to CITES permits, I didn't go through with it. I sent Walt in Fiji an e-mail explaining my situation, and he put me in touch with a HK dealer that receives regular shipments from Fiji. So I managed to piggyback my shipment of Pukani with his, and after waiting for 3 weeks, it finally arrived! It was air freight dry rock, lol!

120lbs of Pukani!


Aquascaping (got 2 weeks to play around before tank arrives)


Some pieces are huge, the largest piece was 20x14x10. I may have to resize them a bit in the future.

Anyways, that is it for now, more updates to come!


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Old 01/07/2017, 01:03 PM   #2
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Very nice. Glad you are able to move forward on the purchases and supplies.


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Old 01/08/2017, 08:48 PM   #3
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I'll be interested to hear about the unique challenges associated with a reef tank in Hong Kong. Import/export of livestock is often really tricky!


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Old 01/09/2017, 01:22 AM   #4
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Quick update! Just went shopping to get my miscellaneous shopping list out of the way, and I saw something awesome!

Gem Tangs! 12 of them in fact. They have just arrived at the fish store today, and are currently acclimating in an unlit tank. I apologize in advance for the crappy picture quality, but I'll be sure to get a prettier picture of them when they get moved to someplace lit.




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Old 01/09/2017, 06:25 AM   #5
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Nice. those should be what... 1/10 the price we would pay here in the states.


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Old 01/11/2017, 05:41 AM   #6
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But anemones here are 5-1000% the US price! The LFS explanation is that all the anemones go to the US, but I don't know if I believe that. It all evens out lol.

Update for my Quarantine setup!



Tank : 14x14x14 cube (should be 10g of water inside) with lid
Powerhead : Sicce Voyager 1
Heater : Eheim 50w
HOB Filter : Cheap Chinese made (not shown, replacement coming soon due to leakage)
Misc: 3" and 2" PVC bend, 1 bag of ceramic filter media, Red Sea Salt Mix, SeaChem Ammonia Alert.

This is my first attempt at any quarantine tank, and currently have 0 medication on hand.

My ceramic ring media had been sitting in my freshwater tank for the past 2 months, as I have no saltwater tank at this time. I use SeaChem stability, and based on some forums, it is suitable for salt/freshwater. My hope is that the bacteria could survive in both salt and freshwater and help me jumpstart my cycle.

I am cycling by phantom feeding, and will be letting the tank run fishless for a week or two. Will be testing daily to see how things are going.

I'd have to say, I was really surprised at how quiet the Sicce Voyager 1 is, based on the fact I asked for the cheapest powerhead the LFS sold. It's got this cap that could be attached in front of the head that rotates, generating random waterflow. Super low tech, but effective nonetheless.

The Reefer 525 should be arriving in the next 7 days, can't wait!


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Old 01/18/2017, 07:19 AM   #7
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Got a orange firefish and a purple (or exquisite) firefish in my quarantine tank, where they will staying for the next month or 2. The orange guy decided to do some acrobatics onto the floor when he got spooked by the water change hose, put him back in, seems normal but probably will keep a closer eye on him.



The reefer 525 finally arrived! Currently filled half the DT with 10ppt salinity using dechlorinated tapwater and put the pukani in for curing. I'm running 2 Gyre 250s at 20% constant on mode, and 2 300W heaters.




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Old 01/20/2017, 11:18 AM   #8
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Wow, if that's a 525 you have some really large pukani pieces!


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Old 01/22/2017, 01:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiraling View Post
Wow, if that's a 525 you have some really large pukani pieces!
The pieces are huge, the largest 8 pieces probably weigh 80-90lbs dry! I've already chiseled bits off the larger pieces, and probably will continue to slim them down before doing the final scape.


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Old 01/22/2017, 08:39 AM   #10
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Nice build man. Yeah those Pukanis look ginormous!


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Old 03/24/2017, 08:19 AM   #11
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Day 10 update

Somehow a little hesitant to post this, as I know my tank is going to come bite me in the *** (and my wallet).

The tank has been up and running for 10 days. I've placed a large frozen shrimp into the tank on day 1 to kick off the cycle, and monitored ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. It was reading 0, 0, with nitrates hovering from 1-3. It seems that the bacteria left over from the rock cure was able to keep the cycle going. I didn't really believe it, so I left the shrimp in there and never took it out (it has completely decomposed by day 7).

I felt quite confident to add some corals and livestock. My corals and fishes have been in separate QTs for 1-2 months by now, and I felt it was time to move them to a new home...

Coral QT

I lost all 4 of the donut corals probably due to my own stupid handling, and the dark green tabling acropora bleached completely overnight.

Current Tank

I had huge Pukani pieces, I believe there are currently 14 discrete pieces in the tank. The reddish area on the rocks are diatoms, it was really bad, but after adding 8 astreas, the rocks were 70% cleaned off.

Sump

Standard Red Sea sump, added a small refugium with rubble and chaeto (under a 12W LED). Can't see from the picture, but I've got 2x 4 inch marine pure blocks, and running a phosban 150 with carbon in the sump.

Current livestock:
1 Purple Firefish
1 Orange Firefish
1 Bicolor Blenny (aka Patrick)
8 Astreas
5 Sexy Anemone Shrimp
1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
1 Peppermint Shrimp
2 Red Hermits
8 Red Hermits (super tiny 1/2 inch shells)
1 Rose Bubbletip Anemone
1 Green Bubbletip Anemone
1 Green Pincushion Urchin

Latest parameters (using Red Sea test kits)
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0.6
Phosphate 0.06
Calcium 440
Alkalinity 9.3
Magnesium 1340
Salinity 35ppt
pH 8.2
Temp 27.7c (or 82f)

I think that's about it, I wonder how badly I'll be burnt by rushing...




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Old 03/24/2017, 10:02 AM   #12
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10 days? I haven't read your entire thread, but if you "cured" the Pukani I wouldn't trust it to have any denitrifying bacteria. Did you add anything to your system that was seeded? Like live rock or any media?


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Old 03/24/2017, 10:51 AM   #13
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The pukani was cured in my tank for 7 weeks in saltwater, skimmer + gyres at 83f. I watched it go through the nitrogen cycle in the first 3 weeks, with nitrites and nitrates maxing the test kit at 5 and 160ppm respectively.

I am using Red Sea's "live" sand, perhaps that is what it was. Also dosing BW microbacter 7 per instructions for new tank, and NoPox.

Perhaps my cure was incomplete, and dead stuff were still rotting in the rock, hence keeping the denitrifying bacteria fed, resulting in not having a fresh cycle.

This is definitely a super unstable tank, and I expect to get a huge algae bloom soon, which I will post about when it occurs lol!


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Old 03/29/2017, 09:30 PM   #14
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Yes I would be interested to see how that goes.


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Current Tank Info: Tank:300g Mixed Reef 300+lb LR|4" LS|5x MP40W|75g fuge|5x RadionPRO|RO DB250 skimmer|Apex
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Old 04/13/2017, 07:15 AM   #15
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Quick 1 month update:

I will try to do a better update in the weekend, hopefully with some better pictures and possibly toss a short video on youtube of feeding time.

Corals and rocks positions are still not set, corals sitting weirdly on rocks are for easier sand siphoning.



Major changes:

Chiller
Added a JBJ 1/3hp chiller 1 day ago as the daytime tank temperature peaked at 83.3f, room temperature is around 77f. Summer room temp could hit 90f. Chiller is set to kick in at 82.5f, will adjust if needed.

Livestock
+1 Banggai Cardinal
+1 One spot foxface
+2 Princess? Anthias

Diatoms
I've had a couple of diatom blooms, the latest one about a week ago, but somehow turned out much better today. I'm not going to worry too much about this, just keeping to basting the rocks and siphoning sand during water changes.

Chaeto
Chaeto are growing INSANELY well. The chaeto has probably more than doubled in size from 2 weeks ago (at least in my eyes), and have almost filled up my refugium.

Corals
Lost 2 acropora colonies, probably due to unstable tank. I'll definitely hold off adding any more SPS, unless they are the noob friendly species.

Latest parameters
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 1
Phosphate: 0.03
Alkalinity: 9dkh
Calcium: 415
Magnesium: 1340
Salinity: 35ppt
PH: 8.3
Temperature: 80.6f


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Old 04/13/2017, 03:51 PM   #16
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Looks great, keep the updates coming!


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Old 05/04/2017, 01:52 AM   #17
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Didn't manage to get the video edited in the end =(

I'll stick to picture updates for now.

Currently at day 55:



Major changes:

Added aa Artica 1/3hp chiller

Right after my previous post, the weather got pretty warm, and my tank was hitting 83-84f during the day. I decided a chiller was a necessity.

I managed to do some novice plumbing to get the ecotech M1 to pump to both my return and the chiller. I'm currently running it at 10/12 of the max setting.

Coral Losses

Symphyllia brain coral - During the 83-84f days, I noticed the flesh receding from the coral. And over the next 3 weeks, the coral has lost at least 90% of its flesh. There is a little bit remaining, and hasn't changed for the past week. Fingers crossed that it would make it, but I don't think I see a coral mouth in the remaining flesh.



Bleached Torch - A branching bleached torch also turned to jello. Had I managed to nurse it back to health, it would have had pale pink tips and light neon green tentacles.

Coral Additions

Acropora - Saw 4 acro colonies that were being sold for really cheap. Decided to add them to see how they do.

Blueberry Sea Fan - Recent addition, feeding with BW reef snow, and also dosing RS Reef Energy A and B.

Animal losses

Anemone - One anemone decided to move and stay in the shade, wasn't getting any light, and eventually removed it's foothold. I moved it to an area of high light, and it continued to shrivel up over a week and passed away.

Animal additions

+2 Bubble Tip Anemones
+1 Juvenile Blue Tang
+1 Fathead Sunburst Anthias
+1 Helfrichi firefish (in addition to existing orange and purple)
+1 Dracula Goby
+2 Carberryi Anthias




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Old 05/04/2017, 01:55 AM   #18
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I will also be levelling my tank this weekend using air shims to lift the tank. Will do an update on how that goes.

I have a 1/2 inch water level difference between the front left and the back right corner.


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Old 05/18/2017, 02:35 PM   #19
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Leveled the tank last weekend, I never want to go through this again!

I used 4 air-shims, which are inflatable air bags, to lift up the tank + cabinet. Each was rated for 300lbs max.

There are my approximate weight calculations:
700lbs - Cabinet + DT + Sump (e-mailed red sea to ask, it ships 770lbs with crate, crate weighs around 70lbs)
100lbs - Sand
400lbs - Misc weight of undrained water/wet sand/equipment (this number is overestimated on purpose, probably by 300lbs)

Total weight comes to about 1200lbs.

Initial force needed to lift one side should be half the total weight, so I needed to lift 600lbs with my 4x300lb shims.

The air shims slide right under, fits perfectly between the Reefer's rubber legs.


Air bags are slowly pumped up by hand, was super easy.


My tank was leaning forward + to the left. I used superglued coins as my shims, allowing me to gradually change the elevation from left to right and front to back. In the end, I managed to prop up my front left corner to be pretty much level with my back right corner. It used to have a very noticeable difference of 1/2 an inch.

The whole process of emptying, shimming and filling took about 3 hours to do. Luckily there wasn't any livestock losses, but I'm sure they were super stressed.

Like humpty dumpty, I couldn't put all the rocks back the way it was, so the rockscape changed a bit, which ended up pretty cool. Some corals came off, and I will be re-attaching them this coming weekend. Will do an update of the tank soon!


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Old 07/26/2017, 06:26 AM   #20
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A much neglected update

It's been more than 2 months!

There had been some minor re-scapes on the left side.

Acroporas have been doing really badly, I was running my temps up at 82. I've just brought it down to 78-79 in the last 3 days, hopefully the acros stop their bleaching.

Got Monti eating nudis, added a yellow coris wrasse about 3 weeks ago, haven't seen it pick on the nudis yet, or have I noticed any reduction of nudi population.

I added an Achilles Tang and a Purple Tang, bringing my Tang population up to 4. The Achilles had ich, spread to a couple of my other fishes and killed a couple off. Lost a Helfrichi firefish, a Royal Gramma, a Fathead Sunburst Anthias, and Patrick, the bicolor blenny that was the only named fish in the tank.

One of my torches had brown jelly disease, moved it to QT, where it proceeded to destroy all my acan frags in the QT before kicking the bucket. I was using iodine dip and revive everyday, but it was ineffective.

Nothing spectacular, as my primary goal right now is learning to keep things alive rather than focusing on aesthetics.





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Old 09/07/2017, 05:10 AM   #21
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just an update

things are going swimmingly, did a little rescape, and got an acropora garden starting on one of the large rocks.

also got one of the mini australian scolymia, and i must say the skeleton is tiny, but my gosh do they open up huge.

Things looking a bit brown due to a filter on the camera, or else it would all be blue, will try to do a better pic next time lol




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Old 11/27/2017, 04:21 AM   #22
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8 months of the reefer 525

it's been a while!



clownfish hosting in elegance


my new fav yuma





and this is another tank with a carpet anemone, and there seems to be a game of hide n seek going on



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Old 12/05/2017, 03:22 AM   #23
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left side of the tank!

with filters hmm




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Old 01/01/2018, 06:28 AM   #24
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a new year!

It has been a year since I placed the order for the 525, and about 9-10 months into the hobby. Having an absolute blast, though space seems to be a big limiting factor at the moment.






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Old 02/11/2018, 08:21 AM   #25
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A really bad quality 4 hour timelapse, including feed fish, corals, and dosing DIY coral snow.

https://youtu.be/ce9_7qJ5v4w


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