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Old 01-02-2011, 10:49 AM   #1
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Patrick's 55-Gal Reef Build

I had my tank set up in my living room so I could get a feel of the positioning before I started the tank, and while I saved money. With my birthday money I decided to just shop around at some LFS, but with no intentions of purchasing anything on a whim. Anyway, long story short, I left with 50lb-bag of salt, hydrometer, ~27lbs of Fiji LR, 40lbs of Caribbean LS, and 20lbs Aragonite sand... all of this without a drop of water in my tank .

Immediately I rushed home, hooked up my Python and started the fill.
(Nov 30, 2010)



Meanwhile, I rinsed the dry sand and added the salt so the Python could mix it all together.
(Nov 30, 2010)




Finally, after checking the salinity, I put the LR into the tank, before anything had a chance to settle (this was about 2 hours after the LR was taken from the LFS tank). Pictures with lights off/on.
(Nov 30, 2010)





After almost 2 weeks, the parameters checked out and I started noticing hitchikers (so fascinating when seeing life appear!)
(Dec 11, 2010)



Here are some pictures of the Fiji LR (~15; 7 pounds respectively... ~5lb rock not shown because of picture limit and not as appealing)
(Dec 11, 2010)

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Old 01-02-2011, 11:32 AM   #2
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What are you plans for this tank?
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:35 AM   #3
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I'm going to start with a fish or two after the parameters settle while I save up for a 6 Lamp Current Nova Extreme. Then I'll add a few inverts and LPS corals over several months.

In the end I'd like to have a full reef setup with SPS corals and stronger current up top, and have LPS corals deeper in the tank, all of this with a CUC, 2 clowns, 1 goby, and possibly 1 more fish.
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:32 AM   #4
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So far so good. Keep it up. And more pics!
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:28 AM   #5
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Here's a tip:

Anyone who plans on using sand/crushed coral as their substrate... put in the eggcrate first! I'm learning the hard way.


(Dec 29, 2010)



Also, the LR on the left side of the tank I bought off craigslist for $35! Way cheaper than my LFS... and look at the size!

(Dec 29, 2010)
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:45 AM   #6
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I had been looking at LR on LiveAquaria.com for a while and decided to get a 30lb box of Vanuatu and a 30lb box of Fancy Fused. I ordered the shipment at about 5:30am on Dec 28 and paid for FedEx 2-Day Air so I could spend my "Saturday" (Dec 29) prepping my tanks for the LR arrival.

So I'm tracking my shipment and it shows that it's on the truck for delivery at 7:47am on the 29th... a whole day earlier than expected! Considering this was my Christmas present to myself, I felt that THIS was Christmas morning.

Sure enough, at about 11:45am, I hear the truck and get both boxes of LR!

(Dec 29, 2010)
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:45 AM   #7
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Fancy Fused on the left and Vanuatu on the right (I'll take better pictures after the rocks are cured)

(Dec 29, 2010)


This dead oyster smelled horrendous! Nice piece of rock though.



Here's a really cool piece of brain coral, it's about the size of my hand.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:49 AM   #8
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patrick, you didn't need to put eggcrate under your sand bed. i don't know why people make suggestions like that. the sand itself will stop a falling rock from breaking the glass.
i would take a coarse brush and try to get as much of that debris off of that rock before putting it in the tank, or at the end of the cycle, all of that stuff is going to be all over your sand bed, not to mention, the cycle is going to be long.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:18 PM   #9
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Well the only reason I want the eggcrate is because when I was moving the rocks around to scrub them they kept hitting the bottom, and I felt any contact would be disaster. I'm going to add another 40lbs of LS for my own piece of mind. How deep of a bed would I need to keep the eggcrate obsolete?

I keep forgetting to pick up a good pot-scrubber brush, but when I do, I will give them a good rubdown a few times to make sure all those algae hairs are gone.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:45 PM   #10
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Fancy fused??? The names they have. Looks like tonga branch to me.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:52 PM   #11
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I use a 5 gallon bucket, old style powerhead, and an air pump to clean my rocks. I put the pump on the bottom, fill with rock, fill with salt water, and turn it all on. I get a nice foamy head to scrape off. My first rocks I cleaned at the beach, lol.

Since your 55 is drilled on the side, I would leave some "beach" open on the right. 55s don't have much room front to back, you will want a 70 soon.

Congrats and enjoy
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinsdad View Post
Fancy fused??? The names they have. Looks like tonga branch to me.
Me too.....LOL

"Here's a tip:

Anyone who plans on using sand/crushed coral as their substrate... put in the eggcrate first! I'm learning the hard way."

Why the statement about eggcrate???
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Old 01-04-2011, 04:54 AM   #13
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Why the statement about eggcrate???
Well now I have to push it to the bottom through the sand, which will be a much bigger pain. Doug was saying that it may not be necessary, but the whole eggcrate idea I had was from reading this forum during my FW setup. Is it not a good idea anymore?


Apparently the Tonga LR collection closed down a couple years ago but LiveAquaria may still be sneaking it out of there with an alias.

Live Rock for Marine Reef Aquariums: Fancy Fused Live Rock
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabezon View Post
I use a 5 gallon bucket, old style powerhead, and an air pump to clean my rocks. I put the pump on the bottom, fill with rock, fill with salt water, and turn it all on. I get a nice foamy head to scrape off. My first rocks I cleaned at the beach, lol.
I love that idea, kinda makes me wish I was back in Charleston.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cabezon View Post
Since your 55 is drilled on the side, I would leave some "beach" open on the right. 55s don't have much room front to back, you will want a 70 soon.
I'm already wishing I had gotten the 75 gallon instead of the 55 drilled... next time I'll go bigger!
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:15 AM   #15
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I didn't want to put all of the LR in the tank so thankfully I had kept my 10 gallon that I used for my fry. The tank was one of those starter kits from Petsmart for like $60 and came with heater, filter, cover, light, net, etc. I used all of my leftover salt in the 10gallon so I wedged as much as I could in there.

(Dec 29, 2011)




The rest went into the wet/dry filter



At first, I figured that the stock HOB filter (without the filter media) would be enough water movement, but later that night I knew I needed more movement, especially with how jammed the rocks were. It was after Petsmart hours so I got a Whisper air pump and airstones at Wal*Mart.

(Dec 29, 2011)
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:04 AM   #16
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When I went to the garage to make sure the heater was keeping up with the 30-something°F weather, it was at 68°F, and dropping (was set to 80). This made me hurry my trip to Petsmart to spend my gift card. I picked up a barrel of salt and a 10g-20g rated heater.


(Dec 30, 2010)



The main reason I got the bucket is so I could give the crammed LR some more space. Also, the small heater and 1 airstone line was moved to the bucket... this will make it much easier when doing water changes.

(Dec 30, 2010)




A towel was placed over the bucket and tank for extra insulation from the cold.



The first thing I did the next morning was check the water temp...

(Dec 31, 2010)


Perfect!
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:21 AM   #17
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that water is nasty!
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:57 AM   #18
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that water is nasty!

It doesn't smell any better. Hopefully it will clear up after a couple more full water changes and some good ole' fashion elbow grease.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:06 AM   #19
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I was hoping you were going to wrap it. Shoot on cold nights I throw blankets on the DT.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:49 AM   #20
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Here's the LR after a good scrub-down (excuse the waterspots, Vegas has really hard water).

(Jan 4, 2011)

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