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saltfever

It's about tie

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I never took the chance to properly introduce myself. So it's about time I do that. 

I have been in and out of the hobby for the last 28yrs (1990ish). Started keeping reef tanks when I was 12yrs old. Boy how things have changed. Two of the biggest changes to the reefing hobby imo is the chemistry. Products have advanced to the point they have made reef keeping so much easier. Along with chemistry better understanding of marine life has almost eliminated tank wipeouts. An all to common occurance 20+yrs ago.

When I first started I was very lucky to have cobbled together methods from some of the leader in the industry at that time, that worked for me. I still use some of the same methods like lots of biological filtration, oversized skimmer, lots of water changes and fairly low fish bio load. 

When I decided to jump back in a couple years ago I had a plan. My plan was to start small, start with only frags and try to stay away from wild collected corals as much as possible. I would grow the frags out until an upgrade in tank was necessary due to lack of space. That way I would have nice sized colonies to transfer to a larger tank.  

I started out in a 30gal tank, 175w 20k metal halide, skimmer rated at 150gal and 2 canister filters (each rated at 100gal tank size) filled with bio media and carbon. I had been using MH lighting since the start. So I was very reluctant to change from that. Until I met a hobbies from this group that had tanks that blew me away. He had been running black box LED's for a few years and loved them. Not only did he love them his corals looked incredible. 

After a lot of convincing I made a order of one 165w black box. I figured if it didn't work out I would just hang the MH and chuck the black box. After a few months of running it, I knew I would never go back to MH lighting.  I actually ended up selling all my MH equipment shortly after. These LED's were good, not perfect but the corals loved them and I loved the low heat and low energy consumption. 

It didn't take long and I was in need of a larger tank. A buddy of mine mentioned he had a nice 60gal with stand for cheap $50. I knew I was sticking with the LED's and have always tried to keep the cost of my setups on the low end. So instead of just hanging a second 165w black box I decided on a single 3' 300w box. Knowing my next tank would be 6' long I figured i could just add a second identical fixture when I switched tanks. 

I ran the same two canisters filters I had on the 30gal and the same skimmer. It worked well and the corals kept growing at a nice pace. With the extra room i now had my addiction for buying new frags kicked in full force. I filled every bit of free space with pieces from frag swaps, wwc, Jason fox, cherry corals.... I was quickly reaching the point I would have to stop buying pieces and let what I had grow out.

The 60gal tank was only about 6 months in when my wife tagged me in a Facebook post for a very nice 125gal with stand for a great price. I took that as a (hey babe, why don't you go buy this)! Apparently from conversations after the fact that's not what she had in mind.

Regardless we now had a 6' long 125gal tank stuck in our livingroom. Having carried it in the house with my brother, I knew this tank was not going to sit idle. My bad back decided for us that it wasn't going to be moved to the basement then back up once I was ready to fill it. That day began the Amazon shopping spree for what I needed to fill it the following weekend. 

I ordered a second 300w black box, a second wavemaker, box of salt, additives, conditioner, new skimmer, sand, media reactor and made a 30gal DIY sump. The following weekend 4/21 the setup and transfer happened. 3months later and no livestock has been lost and everything is happy and growing. 

A month ago I decided to try and remedy the short comings of the factory black boxes. I had up to this point i hated the way the white channel made the tank look (far to yellow). So I had been using almost exclusively the blue channels. They worked well, I didn't see any issues in the corals doing this even on the previous tanks. But I knew even the more appealing blue channels left much to be desired as far as the corals useable light was concerned. So I ordered diodes to fill in the gaps in the spectrums the blue channels produced. My wife and I removed almost every diode on the white channels and replaced them. What I have now is cheap black boxes that not only produce visually appealing light but all the spectrums the corals need. 

The tank is setup into three distinct stacks of rock.

The left stack is almost 100% zoas and palys with a few lps mixed in. 

The middle stack is mostly a euphyllia garden. Torch, hammer and frogspawns of different color variations. As well as a goniopora garden with 4 variations. 

The right stack of rock is sps with a few chalices mixed in. This side is the least visually impacting....for now. In a year or so the pieces from names like Tyree, Jason Fox, WWC and fraghouse corals will change that. 

The fish in my system include.

1 sailfin tang

1 yellow tang 

1 blue tang

3 mocha clowns

3 green cronus

1 lawnmower blenny 

And a royal gramma

 

 

 

 

 

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They sure have Muttley000, it has become so much easier then the old days. I do miss some of the deals I used to get at the lfs! $10 yellow tangs, $25 flame angles, 12"+ elegance corals $25, 14" carpet anemones $20...... Can't imagine the insane corals I passed up on due to bad lighting alone at the lfs.

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So I started my first tank in the 80's and stayed fresh until this new tank (March 2018) being salty. Without the series of tubes called the internet, I could only imagine trying to pull off keeping a healthy salty tank. Much respect. Thanks for the great story and I look forward to the weekly update photo.

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Thanks flounder... Yes sir it was a real crap shoot without the internet. Read every book and magazine I could get my hands on. Marine fish monthly was a staple, very informative mag for the time. I spent a ton of time at tropicorium picking the brains of Dick and Ray Perkins and had very supportive parents. Even when in was flushing $ down the drain in some cases literally. 

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21 hours ago, saltfever said:

Thanks flounder... Yes sir it was a real crap shoot without the internet. Read every book and magazine I could get my hands on. Marine fish monthly was a staple, very informative mag for the time. I spent a ton of time at tropicorium picking the brains of Dick and Ray Perkins and had very supportive parents. Even when in was flushing $ down the drain in some cases literally. 

Tropicorium is awesome!!  hasn't changed in 30 years or more.  every tank with an undergravel filter !!!  just hope you don't get electrocuted(electricians nightmare). 

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Lol I messed with a UG filter for a very short time in a saltwater tank. Personally I knew almost immediately it wasn't a good idea or the route I wanted to go. That tank was switched over pretty quickly.

The prices there are going up very rapidly. An example would be the elegance frag I picked up was $35, not bad. The next time I went up a month or so later the same size and color frag was $80. Personally I don't think the place has been the same since their legal issues and the fire they had. I remember the days when their large vats were packed with corals that were actually for sale. Still a cool place to visit and most my fish have come from there. 

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It has a 96W power compact fixture with a 12k bulb in it. The fixture is a little to big for the sump, but hey it was free. Had the fixture and about a dozen brand new bulbs sitting in the basement collecting dust. 

 

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51 minutes ago, saltfever said:

It has a 96W power compact fixture with a 12k bulb in it. The fixture is a little to big for the sump, but hey it was free. Had the fixture and about a dozen brand new bulbs sitting in the basement collecting dust. 

 

I’d use it too. Love the shrooms in there with the cheato?

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Thanks. I've had the mushrooms since the day I decided to start a tank back up.  I have sold and traded a ton of them, but always kept the original rocks. The green hairy mushrooms are super bright when you throw some blues at them. They are also very aggressive and will kill just about anything they touch. Figured I would throw them in the sump and let them go nuts. 

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Thank you Joe. I'm looking forward to a year from now when all the frags are nice size colonies. I'm blessed to have a wife who is almost as addicted to buying frags as I am. It's hell on the bank account but makes new additions pretty easy.

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