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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Guess who is back? I thing. Lets see if this sticks.

Long story short, just after one of my last updates in Fall 2016, I had a hip injury that limited my activity/mobility for the past year. Kinda sucked but I am 100% back now. It also limited my ability to do tank maintenance too so other than feeding and top-off. Lifting, twisting buckets was kinda out, heck crouching and emptying a skimmer was tough. Heck, it was tough to go down into the "hobby room" or sit in front of the tank. I didn't have much time. I probably would torn down the tank. The display turned into a full scale hair-algae glob.

However, by about November I was able to turn my attention back to the tank and start doing things like water changes and attack algae. It is now ready to be "seen" in public. However, at that same time I got other news. We will be adding another "frag" to the family. So we are excited! But that also changed my plans (and of course budget). Changes have to be made.

The difference this time around is going to be the biotype and the tank philosophy. I have decided now the tank must be resilient, less finicky, ability to survive a toddler and his little sister. I also want it to more efficient and sustainable than a traditional SPS system. Less energy to power, less demands, and more movement. Yes, toddlers don't care about fuzzy sticks. Moving hair algae is more interesting. So, I am going to make a softie tank. Really, it is going to be a leather and mushroom tank. More of a mushroom tank. Nothing overly fancy. Something that will grow and thrive in spite of me. So when looking around I realized that there were few mushroom tanks. At least those over 100g. So, I thought it might be fun.

So, what have I been doing to get the tank back online? Nutrient export, water changes. I have replaced all the substrate. All of it. I removed a lot of the more infested rock, replaced that. I also have been using chemical media, Purigen, GFO, and poly-filter to help. Not a lot of activated carbon as my yellow tang is very sensitive to it.


This is what the tank looks like AFTER a 20% WC with algae removal. Algae will tell you when you are doing enough to hurt it. It does all dead-like.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/2/7/2/8/8/detritus_2.jpg" alt="detritus_2.jpg" />


As far as equipment, I am doing something odd. I am downsizing my skimmer. I am using the NWB with the Aquatrance 2000 pump rather than the 8" skimmer with the Bubble-Blaster 3000 pump. But the eagle-eye observer will note that the bigger skimmer is in the stand. It used to be that I could remove it from the stand but I reinforced it without realizing I could not move it. Oops. So, it sits to the side.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/2/7/2/8/8/sump.jpg" alt="sump.jpg" />

Skimmer:
<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/2/7/2/8/8/imag3417.jpg" alt="imag3417.jpg" />

Yeah, you can see me cleaning skimmers with a wonderful National Park off my back deck!

The reason for this change is energy. I don't need the big skimmer and I can cut the energy usage about 1/2. The NWB will still handle the system fine, especially with mushrooms.

But yeah, I broke the outflow... nothing a little PVC cement can't fix.
<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/2/7/2/8/8/imag3421.jpg" alt="imag3421.jpg" />


Humm, what else. Lighting is my normal 175w metal halides. I keep thinking about LEDs but the wattage seems to be similar. I will just run them for 6 hours and not worry about it. I am stocked with bulbs, no worries.

Flow is from two Tunze 6105 at a pulsing setting, offset with a maximum at about 50%. Those were maybe the only purchase in the last 18 months for the tank before the revival. Otherwise, I am still using the same 10 year old Eheim 1260.

I did complete my new hood. Now, I forgot to sand the hood but for me, that is a MINOR error for my carpentry standard. It hinges up and locks into place. It is more for toddler proofing.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/2/7/2/8/8/fts3.jpg" alt="fts3.jpg" />

So, here is the FTS. I will provide an livestock update in a later post but I figured I a lucky to type this up so far.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/2/7/2/8/8/fts129.jpg" alt="fts129.jpg" />
 

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Shark..but a friendly one
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15,732 Posts
Welcome back Doc! I'm loving seeing a revival in Softies tanks......there's been far too few and far between to compare results, and efforts. CONGRATULATIONS on the new Frag! Hoping all the very best for you and yours......and again, WELCOME BACK!
Hack
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Hack, it is good to be back.

As for frags and livestock, I am tying to keep it local. I have been able to get some decent stuff (considering a long time LFS closed) but making sure it is locally grown or at least aquacultured is tough. The leathers were local/aquaculured and I will try to keep that trend. We will see how that progresses, as this is not the best market for that and the local would-be club is not all that active either that I can tell. I will probably have to lean on maricultured and online aquaculture in some cases. Oh, and I will take any "ugly" or discarded frag... just ship them my way ;) No palys as I am trying to keep this toddler friendly. I have a strict anti-poisonous/venomous policy.

So, I have been sniping mushroom frags and then using some rock-rubble in a breeder container to let them attach before I glue/cram rubber into the rock.



As for the fish, all but a few are re-homed from other thanks. Only the Melanurus and starry blenny is a store bought item. To be far, the blenny was in a back tank for months so it was almost re-homed in a way. So the Bangaii, Tomini, Yellow, Clowns are all second chance fish. So that is my lovestock at the moment.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh, and does anyone have a good solution to the image hosting issue at TRT? I need a way to actually see my images and not deal with other "popup" hosting site issues.
 

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Administrator
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34,435 Posts
not really. :( it still works, but you can not trust the view from the gallery. the addresses are correct when you find the image you like. it is only the thumbnails that seem to be all buggered up and showing the same image.

unfortunately after a while you learn the address convention and just change the actual image name at the end. the folders stay the same and the TRT gallery uses the names you put on the image.

G~
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ugg, I am going to start naming the pictures? Too much work. I can just memorize IMG3424 as the mushroom frag pic, ect. (Folks may laugh but I am fine with that). I was kinda hoping that was fixed by now. Who can I bug with that? I am told I can be quite obnoxious.

Geoff, we might need to talk about substrate. Just read your update, kinda jealous but too lazy to tear down the tank. But, I think having sand nearly saved my system... at least for about 8 months. It acted as a great nutrient bank that I was then able to remove. I did that around new years and that expedited the algae decline. I think this is going to be a common thing for me. Full substrate replacement yearly. For $40 a bag to cover my tank, it is now cheaper than a box of salt. Totally worth it. Need to figure out how to justify that as a sustainable process. Recycle it in the yard/garden? Hummm...

And dang it. I am going to have words with Whiskey for scooping me (or great minds think alike. I knew I should have started this sooner... oh well. I had been algae fighting for about a month and Whiskey has the same idea. Oh well, not it is a quietly spoken competition now. :) Seriously, we had a very similar concept and even Tunze 6105!

Lets see, what else do I have going... Oh, I have a 20g brute with man made/home made rock. As folks can see, my aquascaping zig-zags in layers with light and dark. But I plan to add more direction to the tanks as most of this rock is tonga-branch like. So that along with some leathers will provide vertical movement to an otherwise horizontal tank. I like vertical tanks... and I was even thinking about bring back the rockwall look. As for the man made stuff, it is the typical portland/crushed coral type. I think I should have reinforced it with PVC as it is really brittle but overall very good. I was able to get rid of the rocksalt with all the snow here. It is in the last stage of the pH/curing (and about 2/3 of a gallon of muriatic acid) drop as it has been holding about a 8.5-9 for a while and I now have it in saltwater. I will try and get a picture later. Anyway, her is the concept. I might be replacing some of the more bulbous rock to get that branch stiff in there!

 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh, and I am using my favorite tank of all time for my guide. Hard to think that this was 5 years ago. This was a stress-free an forget it tank. I am still fuming about that move. A failed pump. Uggg... Surprisingly, the branching hammer and frogspawn survived that move and the Vortech Metal failure of 2015. They are still in the tank.

 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh, and my maxi anemone tank (now at work) is barren. I scooped up the nems and added it to the 120g.



Sorry, just going through my gallery...
 

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Administrator
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34,435 Posts
i also just remember the image number, though sometimes if i am going to do a whole lot of them i will give the short numerical names before importing them to TRT to make it easier if they need to go in a special order.

i totally agree that it was probably your sand that saved you. it is an amazing nutrient sink.

have you thought about a plateau sand bed? where all of the "sand" under the LR is solid and everywhere else is sand. makes regular sand replacement easier without having to disrupt the aquascaping. you can use just HDPE for the plateau, or you could do something poured like i do.

we SW people do not like to mess up our aquascaping. :D

G~
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Up early too huh?

Actually, it is almost a plateau. Under the rock is actually a bit of coarser material/rubble. I use a lot of the smaller rocks to form a base. It allows me to take a Tunze, crank it up, and blow out under the rock. You can almost kinda see it as there is that dark ledge along the leading bottom edge of the rock.

There is a big gap in the rock between the overflow columns. It is where some detritus collects out of sight. It is really easy for me to send a siphon out back there and pull it out.
 

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Jabberwocky
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3,182 Posts
Hey Doc! This is cool; I'll be tagging along if you don't mind. :)

I have a similar goal for my restart. I want a good old classic softy tank. Low maintenance is key because life can get busy.

I've actually considered multiple times adding sand to my tank.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks!

I thought about calling it a rebuild. This is like the 3rd or 4th time I have had to "build/rebuild" this tank. I am worried it might be cursed! Revival just sounded better as the tank was already up but needed some reviving.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Lets see here...

This in the (former) maxi mini nem tank and former nano-jam tank. It is fallow right now (and has been since Nov).

If/when I start getting extra goodies, I will start to stock it



Here is another FTS


And here is a bucket of home made rock, I promise it looks better when pulled out and displayed.

 

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Administrator
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nah, i just do not sleep much. i replied when i was doing some research on flexible PVC.

sounds like you have a good way to replace the substrate when you want to.

we do not have any LFS at all near me. i have to go to Raleigh and Cary now to get to a LFS.

G~
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, I dont know the triangle scene that well but I hope you have some quality. That is the hurdle here as the population doesn't seem to be able to support what we have so the selection/ability dwindles. I get caught between trying to support the LFS to keep the lights on and any club activity on the side.

Still, Durham to Cary/Raleigh is not THAT far. If you were coming from Rocky Mount, I could believe you.... ;)
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Also, who around has some good "inspiration" of softie tanks This was from the Seattle Aquarium.



Kinda making think about doing a rock reduction now...

Another from Seattle:
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, I thumbed through RC's TOTM and were shocked by the skew towards larger and SPS tanks looking back. Even mixed reefs were rare. Otherwise, I done a lot of google image search for mushroom and softie dominated tanks. Found a few TRT popped up and I recognized the owner.

My challenge is that I know that the overall aquascaping will have a bigger impact on the softie design that an SPS tank. I can cheat with Gorgonians and leathers for vertical lines but mushrooms will tend to make the rockwork a bit "muddled/fuzzy" with less definition.
 
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