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Thread: BPB's 90 gallon reef

  1. #1

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    BPB's 90 gallon reef

    I'm very happy to be part of this forum. I had mentioned in my welcome thread that I was an avid saltwater and freshwater aquarist. I thought I would share a bit about my 90 gallon reef tank as I'm getting my feet wet in the world of CP

    *

    I started in the hobby not long ago back in 2007 with a betta bowl. *Having never been interested in fish before, but being an avid forum junkie for other hobbies, I discovered there were teeming online communities of aquarists which ultimately introduced me to planted tanks. *Always wanting a reef tank, but being too intimidated at the cost and the science of it, I tried my hand for years at low tech planted tanks, with moderate success. * *Eventually I purchased a 55 gallon FOWLR tank in summer 2012*from a wife's photography client for very cheap which got my foot in the door

    *

    I had done much reading on the subject of reef keeping and thought I was in good shape to get my tank going, but I learned more in the first week of mistakes than I had in the previous year of reading. I started like most reefers wanting a softy tank with lots of movement but it didn't take long before I started hording reef gear, obsessively researching chemistry and marine biology, and basically just living reef tanks. *

    What i ended up with after about 2 years was a wonderful learning experience tank. It was filled with both pests and some very nice stuff. *I did ultimately get fairly overrun with halimeda macro algae, valonia*bubble algae, as well as aiptasia. * Alongside the garbage though I had what most would call a pretty respectable collection of very nice acropora, the largest of which were about volleyball sized. *The FOWLR had turned into a apex controlled, carbon dosed, sps dominant reef I was largely happy with. *Due to the narrow front to back nature of a 55 gallon, I lost all room to work or even run the mag float because acropora were touching all 4 panes of glass. *It was time for an upgrade. **

    imagejpg1_zps2fef5ad9.jpg

    this was the tank in its final state in April 2014 immediately before tear down. *Knowing how sensitive acropora are, and with an impending upgrade, I fragged and sold off all hard corals prior to switching over to my current tank.*

    *

    This brings us to my current tank. *I wish I had gone with a 120 gallon for even more front to back space, and no equipment upgrade needs, but space in the home is limited and my current tank pushes it as it is so I settled on a 90 gallon. *Keeping a mixed reef is truly a challenge. Most new hobbyists want a mixed reef because they like to have it all, but I would honestly not recommend it. *There are far too many varying requirements for different coral species to flourish and achieve best color, it's easier to specialize in certain types. *I'm hard headed though and have carried on with the mixed reef, but focus is heavy on the sps. **

    *

    Tank profile:

    Tank: 90 gallon standard Aqueon Reef Ready*

    Sump: PM RS 36 gallon acrylic

    Lighting: 2x250 watt Radium metal halide with m80 ballasts. *Lumenmax 2 reflectors

    additional lighting: *BuildmyLED super actinic reef spectrum*

    Skimmer: Bubble Magus Curve 5

    Return Pump: Eheim 1262

    Flow: Jaebo WP40, Ecotech Vortech MP40W

    Auto topoff: JBJ ATO

    Apex controller

    Eheim Jäger 300 watt heater

    Spectrapure RODI filter

    Water Parameters:

    The big three things I try to not ignore are water parameters, light, and flow. RODI is a must. *I know several people who do well with filtered water from the store, or even tap water, but I find it pivotal to have control of the water and know exactly what goes into the tank. It just makes it easier to nail down natural seawater parameters and diagnose problems if they arise. * My tests stay fairly stable and at the time of writing this,are the*following :

    Salinity: 1.026 (Veegee Refractometer)

    Alk: 8.4 dKH (Red Sea pro)

    Ca: 450 ppm (Red Sea pro)

    Mg: 1450 ppm (Red Sea pro)

    NO3: undetectable (Red Sea Pro)

    PO4: 0.03ppm (Hanna)

    Temp: 78-80 (apex)

    PH: 7.9-8.3 (apex)

    Alk stability has been my top priority for acropora happiness. Any time I find it fluctuating or getting above 9 dKH, bad things tend to happen. *That doesn't necessarily follow what should happen on paper, but it has been my observation for the past few years*

    *

    Husbandry:

    I keep this tank fairly simple without a lot of complex filtration and reactors currently. * I use the center chamber of the sump to harbor lots of invertebrates and macro algae, and have rock in all 3 chambers as well as a rock heavy scape. *I do have some red turf algae in the display but otherwise no real nuisance algae to speak of and my inorganic waste stays at a respectable level. **

    I try to test regularly and water change 5-10% weekly. **

    Feedings are are usually fairly heavy handed and consist of Red Sea Reef Energy part A & B, Reef Chili,*Cyclopeeze, PE mysis, and NLS pellets.*

    Lighting: **

    What a hotly debated topic. *People swearing LEDs don't work. People swearing MH is obsolete and should have been phased out yesterday, T5HO users quietly saying "excuse me while I change my bulbs every 5 minutes but have better color and growth than either of you." * I think all forms of light can work if other matters of husbandry are in order. *I chose to go with MH primarily,*as the Radium bulb on m80 ballasts in large reflectors is just flat out the gold standard. * No matter what, if you're having tank problems, and use this particular lighting setup, you can guarantee the problem ISNT the lights. *The track record goes on for over a decade of spectacular and unparalleled growth and color, I wanted that level of security, even if it is expensive. * I use the buildmyled primarily as a dawn dusk effect. *

    Flow:

    i could probably stand to go a bit heavier on flow, but I am mostly happy with where I am at. *My powerheads are whisper quiet and they do well. *My only complaint is the jaebo tends to get dirty and if not cleaned well every couple months, it all but loses flow entirely. * I run the jaebo on low with a 1" standing wave, and the vortech on about 30% peak power reef crest mode. *

    Dosing:

    i maintain calcium and alkalinity through bulk reef supply dosers and chemicals. *I also have an avast marine kalkwasser reactor I can and will use when necessary, but I am not quite at the point to where my 2 part dosing would equal fully saturated Kalk dosing. *Almost there. * I wish I had just set up a calcium reactor from the start, but I won't change such a major aspect of the tank this far into it, so I will keep that in mind for future builds. *

    Fish:

    Clarkii Clownfish

    Pajama cardinal

    Azure Damsel

    Ora Target Mandarin

    Royal Gramma Basslet

    Tomini Tang

    Foxface Rabbitfish

    *

    Inverts:*

    Tuxedo urchin*

    Peppermint shrimp

    Emerald crab

    Nerite snails

    Nassarius snails

    Stomatella snails*

    Collinista snails

    Cerith Snails

    Mini brittle stars

    Bristleworms

    Asterina stars

    Misc pods, sponges, feather dusters, ect. * *

    *

    Here are some progression shots through the tanks setup. *I'll provide detail pics in future posts but update the full tank shots every 6 months to track overall growth. *

    6/16/2014

    imagejpg1_zpsa99b1712.jpg

    1/1/2015 - lights changed briefly to XM10k bulbs

    imagejpg42_zps86d008f6.jpg

    6/17/2015 - 1 year old mark

    image_zpshl7g6g8k.jpg

    next updated FTS will come in a few weeks just to stay with the whole 6 month chronology. *I'll browse my other build threads and photobucket and add some of my better pics over the year

    Last edited by BPB; 08-04-2015 at 11:33 AM.

  2. #2

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    Some pics taken today. My previous tank was acropora dominant. That has been my primary interest in the hobby. In a perfect world I would have a tank comprised of 100% acropora corals top to bottom side to side. Sadly the world isn't perfect. Despite all of my measurable parameters, lighting, flow, and care being spot on and stable, acropora fail to survive in this tank. I have no earthly idea why. Every stone has been overturned hypothetically speaking. I've about given up on them overall though. Montipora seem to really flourish though. Enjoy



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  3. #3

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    Couple more





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  4. #4
    Hamata-Honzo's Avatar
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    your tank is beautiful! I feel your pain with the SPS. Such beautiful creatures, yet so hard to keep alive and well...
    "Be quiet! The plants will hear y... noooooo!" 'chomp - burp!'

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the kind words. I think the biggest challenge with Acropora isn't meeting their basic water/food/light/flow requirements. That's as simple as buying the appropriate gear. I think the most challenging part is acquiring healthy specimens free of pests. Red bugs, black bugs, and AEFW run rampant among basically every avenue for collecting acropora, be it the hobbyist market, retail, or even maricultures/wild collects. Dips are moderately successful against live pests, but largely ineffective against eggs. Strict quarantine and multiple medicated dips are usually the best bet for pests, but then you deal with the stress of life in a quarantine tank that can often simply trigger tissue necrosis in and of itself. Oh well.

    I recently sold off my metal halides. It was a tough pill to swallow, considering that I really was one of the locals around here leading the "metal halides are best" charge. I still do believe they are, but really you only see their true benefit when growing acropora, so I didn't really think I could justify their operating cost and maintenance any further. We will see how I like these LEDs. They look nice enough so far. If they last me 2-3 years I'll consider it money well spent.

  6. #6
    Hamata-Honzo's Avatar
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    I've always been too scared of the heat load of the halides. I currently am running two 600 Kessils over my 60 gallon, and those things are hella expensive. I too have given up on the acroporas If I could do it all over again, I would remove the sand from the bottom of my tank, and put a 3-inch or so layer in the sump. I just dont think my biological filtration was enough to sustain the number of fish I was trying to keep alongside the corals (which were far too many for an SPS reef). Too bad. My most favorite coral by far is Acropora 'Red Planet' ... sigh...
    "Be quiet! The plants will hear y... noooooo!" 'chomp - burp!'

  7. #7

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    Absolutely beautiful! The colors are so vivid and i always just want to touch everything lol great job look forward to more photos

  8. #8

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    Being as frugal as I am, I don't acquire new livestock all that often. Did get this lovely bubble tip anemone in trade for some stuff in the tank I had gotten tired of. It hid behind the rock work for 2 weeks in the dark but just a couple days ago finally came out in the open and found a comfortable spot.


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