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Old 11-16-2012, 08:07 PM   #1
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55 Patience is a Virtue Seawater Build

I have run a 55 gallon freshwater for 7 years and I have finally decided to make the jump into saltwater. My plan is to build slow and enjoy the process.

My tank is all tempered glass, so I won't drill it to run a sump. I cleaned the outside with windex, I will clean the inside with vinegar. I painted the back emerald green today, so I don't have to look at cords through the tank. I picked green because I like it and I figured it would be a calming organic color.

Plan is to get it cleaned up and back on the stand, because the room looks funny without it there.

Next is to get crushed puka shells and crushed corals to make DIY live rock. I already have 94 pounds of White Portland Cement and water softener salt for that part. I will have DIY live rock left over that I may use to barter for other things I'll want for the tank.

I gave my freshwater fish to my son's science teacher to go into the classroom 125 gallon tank. He in turn gave me 15 pounds of Instant Ocean salt to get me started.

Gotta make my rock, and recharge my purigen before start the cycle and put in fish.

Just read this week Saltwater Aquariums for dummies. Thanks for all the advice.

I will run a Cascade 1000 canister and purigen and I haven't decided yet and will get a hang on skimmer.

Thanks for reading and joining me on this process.

SRC <><
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:20 PM   #2
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There is the White Portland Cement. I have watched about ten YouTube videos and read an article in Reef and Coral and am very excited to make it and soak it until it is ph safe to put in the tank. I'll post photos of the rock getting made.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:39 AM   #3
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I like the green background. That will look nice when it's set up! Keep us posted!
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:21 PM   #4
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Admin. . . Oops, I meant it to say Saltwater, not seawater. I am not sure what a seawater build would even mean. Can someone change the title for me.

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Old 11-20-2012, 03:06 PM   #5
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Tank back in its place. I like the green glow through the green back of the tank. Can hardly wait till it is full of life.

SRC <><
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Raphael Catfish
Tank back in its place. I like the green glow through the green back of the tank. Can hardly wait till it is full of life.

SRC <><
Yeah, that's a nice shade of green. Good choice.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:45 AM   #7
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Thanks!

Got crushed coral yesterday. Will get crushed puka shells Friday. Saturday afternoon I will start making my DIY live rock. API test kit and Seachem prime are in transit.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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Old 11-25-2012, 08:19 PM   #8
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Made my first batch of live rock today. 2 cups crushed coral, 2 cups crushed puka shells, 1 cup white Portland cement, mixed with water and the added 1 cup of rock salt. Poured into mold, prepped the mold with extra rock salt to help it release. Will have photos in a couple days, when it dries.

What is funny and I am tempted to try, DIY rock needs lots of water changes to leach out the alkalinity before it can be put in with livestock. I was reading on another forum about people putting them in the toilet tank, because every flush is a water change. Ha, I have three toilets in the house.

I'm going to check how this batch goes, before I ramp up production.

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Old 11-25-2012, 08:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Raphael Catfish
Made my first batch of live rock today. 2 cups crushed coral, 2 cups crushed puka shells, 1 cup white Portland cement, mixed with water and the added 1 cup of rock salt. Poured into mold, prepped the mold with extra rock salt to help it release. Will have photos in a couple days, when it dries.

What is funny and I am tempted to try, DIY rock needs lots of water changes to leach out the alkalinity before it can be put in with livestock. I was reading on another forum about people putting them in the toilet tank, because every flush is a water change. Ha, I have three toilets in the house.

I'm going to check how this batch goes, before I ramp up production.

SRC <><
The toilet thing is hilarious. Can't believe someone thought of that!! Haha
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:23 AM   #10
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First piece. Not really pretty. Very porous. I am going to tweak the recipe a little and make more tonight. I have a long way to go to make 55 or so pounds. I thought what might be semi-cool was to get some kid sand molds, I have seen some that are shell or starfish shape.

It is gonna make great home for beneficial bacteria and tiny invert. And some day being all purple.

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Old 11-27-2012, 12:08 AM   #11
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I give you a lot of credit for making your own rock. Very ambitious especially for your first time setting up a salt tank. You're gonna end up being the guy that makes a lot of progress really fast and has one of those mind numbing reef tanks in under a year.

I can appreciate flat pieces of rock, but maybe try a mold to make more rounded shapes with nooks and holes in it. I'm not sure how to do that, but maybe someone will chime in.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:49 AM   #12
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Thanks Mr. Crabs.

Updates,

1. Toilet tank curing of DIY live rock is a no go. The pieces of rock are too big.

2. Made 2 batches today, did them up in starfish shapes, just for fun. Will have photos tomorrow. Better and more exciting shapes. Still getting used to the DIY mix. Used 1.5 parts white Portland cement instead of 1 part.

I have seen where people make great molds out of sand, the problem is the silicate in sand that I don't want in the tank.

I am not sure if coral sand will hold shape when damp like play sand. Does anyone know?

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Old 11-27-2012, 09:00 AM   #13
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Looks good src. I can't answer your question about the sand but I do know even if you use silicate sand it will eventually get used up .so you might have longer diatom stage but in the end it will be non existent.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:30 PM   #14
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Yesterday's starfish shaped DIY live rock. I dunked one this morning in the curing tote and then quickly pulled it out when I remember that it did not have 24 hours to set up yet. I like the organic shape.

One cool thing I learned is they don't stick to the cardboard that I made them on. I was worried that the cardboard would have to be soaked to come off.

I'm gonna look at some live rock photos and see of there is any shape I can emulate. I need to rule an experiment with mix and plastic wrap. To see if they don't stick. I might be able to make more cylindrical shapes and branches with wrap maybe.

SRC <><
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:58 PM   #15
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Made up two more batches. I have a couple ideas. I don't like the flat, non 3d part of the rock. My current plan, make rocks with similar detail as the starfish on day one. Day two, turn them over and add bulk to the flat side. Day three add a base and stand them on end. Photos to follow tomorrow.

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Old 11-28-2012, 11:39 AM   #16
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Oops, wasn't as patience as I should have been. Broke a new piece before the cement was fully hardened. Not a problem though. Going to cement it again when I do the backside this afternoon.

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Old 11-29-2012, 08:21 PM   #17
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New photos!! It lives! Well, at least it stands. Three days in the making so far. The water bottle to make the cave will be pulled out when cement dries. There will be a cave or tunnel on the taller piece as well. Changed the water in the curing tote. When I get all the pieces in there, I put a HOB filter on it just to stir up the water. I am running out of puka shells and crushed coral. May need to get more. Doesn't seem like near enough rock for a 55.

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Thanks to all those that are following the process.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:13 PM   #18
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About 42 pounds of DIY liverock curing. Had a HOB filter moving water. Watching it and saw the cord hissing and burning. Needless to say, not using that any more. Switched to back up HOB filter.

Cure baby cure.

Got API test set so I can tell when the rock has leached out enough to be safe.

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Old 12-05-2012, 08:48 PM   #19
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In my sculpture class I used an empty milk type carton ( I used an extra big goldfish cracker carton) and raw clay around the corners to make organic shapes for poured plaster.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:28 PM   #20
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Help. What sand or coral substrate do I need? I plan to have blennies, and maybe a goby. I don't want too small and have a constant sand storm, or too large that creatures and fish can't dig.

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