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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While purusing craigslist I came across an ad for a garage sale with "fish tank and stand" listed in the long lists household goods available for sale. I called the number to ask about it and the woman who answered said it was husband's 55 gallon tank with wood stand, hood, lights, and a box of random "fish stuff" that had been sitting in the garage for the past year. All was mine for $30.

I was over there in a heartbeat. It was time for my first reef tank.




The tank, as purchased.




A close up of the tank, to let you know how much cleaning was required.




What was left of the "box of fish stuff" after I threw away all of the useless junk.

This was also when I realized how good of a deal I had really gotten: the box contained a brand-new EHEIM 2215 cannister filter and a slightly-used EHEIM 2213 canister filter with tons of accessories. On closer inspection the smaller filter is missing an O ring, but otherwise both are in good working order.

I scrubbed the tank and resealed, allowing plenty of time for the silicone to cure. ($5 for silicone, so I am up to $35 spent so far...)




The tank set up with 20 gallons of fresh water and the larger cannister filter.

Next I mixed my salt and added a sandbed of 35 lbs of aragonite topped off with 20 lbs of CaribSea Ocean Direct Caribbean live sand. (I spent about $100 on salt, sand, and some chemicals I needed for my freshwater African Rift Lakes tanks.... reeftank total so far $135.)



The tank as it sits now.

I've gone online and ordered a "surface extractor" attachment for the EHEIM system, a venturi protien skimmer, 2 powersweep powerheads, and a Marineland Bio-Wheel 350 HOB filter, spending a total of about $115, brining my tank total to $250.

Because I am on a tight budget, I opted for free shipping, so now I've got 6-10 business days to wait until I can add them to my setup.

I was originally planning to run a sump with a refugium on this tank, but the stand doesn't really allow for much underneath the tank, and having the setup above the tank or outside of the stand as not an option, as my wife is already not happy that I "went out and got another [explative deleted] fish tank!!!" so I am going to run the cannister filter with the surface extractor, the HOB filter, and I am stuck running my protien skimmer in the main tank. I am, however, looking to either build or buy a low-cost HOB refugium (any advice on this would be greatly appreciated).

Between now and when my online order arrives I am also hunting for live rock. Hopefully I will be able to get my hands on some inexpensive live rock and get it added to the tank in the next 2 weeks.

I will keep everyone updated as this progresses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
surferfl7: No, I am still looking. RayCityBoy1 told me about a moving sale in Valdosta, and if I don't find any good deals on rock in the next two weeks I am going to make the drive up there to get it.

MikeAtJax: I joined the group last night :)

I kind of knew what to expect in the reef world because I've been doing freshwater for many years, but there are a lot more options with setting up a marine tank...

This build is going to end up getting transferred in about a year, because I got my hands on a 125 gallon tank, but I can't afford to do a setup that size right now, so the tank is sitting in stoorage... (well, that and I rent the place I live in, and the landlord said 125 gallons is too big for his property...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
jlawsonusmc you can get a better deal on LR here in town. Check out the local LFS.
I have been looking at a lot of Rob's messages on here and I am planning to check out his store, but my car is in the shop right now so I have only been able to get out of the house early in the morning all weekend (my wife works so I can't take her car very much except in the morning before she leaves and at night when she gets home). The only one I've been to around here that has any live rock is Aqua Zoo, and I have heard nothing but negative things about the saltwater livestock from there (although I have bought several fish for my Rift Lakes tank there with no problems at all)... last I checked they were also like $8/lb, which is a bit more than I want to pay....

I am going to check out the other LFS once I have my wheels back...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey, it's Chris I can't believe you already have water in the tank. I guess your not moving it anywhere else.
Chris,

Yeah.... Sarah wasn't too happy with it at first, but I talked her into it by telling her I was just making a slightly larger version of your tank and by agreeing to let her pick out a fish (I'll bet you anything we end up with a clown named Nemo....)

Yea, everything is running like a dream right now. Just need the stuff I ordered online to get here, put some liverock in it, and possibly replace the lights and we should be good to go. I've already got the cycle started.... come on bro, of course I got it up and running already... you know how I obssess over this type of thing (i.e. the NRBE with Moore this past summer, I had an entire reptile room set up in my house before we even left!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My powerheads, skimmer, and secondary filter have arrived. I picked up a new bulb and some of the soapdishes for my attempt at the "soap dish fuge" (thanks to KodiakBear for the idea!).... hopefully I will get my LR in there this weekend and get everything all set up. New pics after that....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry it has been so long since I've posted, but I've been really busy at work and have a lot of personal problems right now.

The tank is up and running, filled all the way and it's got about 50 pounds of live rock in it. The canister filter is still on there but I am not running it right now. (I got rid of all of the typical canister filter innards for it and will be using it for minimal filtration, basically just for surface skimming and to put some extra flow in the tank...) The 2 powerheads, the skimmer, and the HOB filter seem to be doing a great job with everything right now... my water quality tests right where I want it.

The tanks current occpuants:
2 Blue Damsels
2 Yellow Tailed Blue Damsels
Lawnmower Blenny
5 Turbo Snails
Mexican Turbo Snail
2 Astrea Snail
5 Blue Legged Hermit Crabs
2 Peppermint Shrimp

And I had the good fortune to get several featherdusters as hitchhikers on the rock. I did, however, have the misfortune of getting plenty of glass anemones (Aiptasia) and a sizeable amount of HA as hitch hikers too. Surferfl7 was kind enough to lend me some Joes Juice which, paired with a turkey baster, made quick work of the Aiptasia. I had pulled off a lot of the hair algea before I put the rock in the tank, but there was still a good amount of it. I was hoping the tanks new occupants would make quick work of it, but they seem to just ignor it. The HA isn't getting any worse, but it isn't getting any better either. I've left the light off for several days now hoping that shows some decline in the HA.

I must say I am very pleased with the lawnmower blenny (thanks, BioReef). At first he was very shy and never left his little cave in my liverock, but after a few days he became accustomed to me and his surrounding and now goes from perch to perch surveying the whole tank like it is his own.

I am looking to upgrade my lights, but I am hesitant to spend any money because with my newfound personal situation my budget is limited, and I never really thought this 55 gallon tank would be permenant, because of the plans to move everything to my 125 once my lease expires and I move. I don't want to invest too much money in better lighting if it will only last so long and I will be upgrading shortly anyways. (If anyone has a spare 4' ballast laying around they wont to loan me for 5 months or so... that might be a different story....). Also, I aquired a used 55 gallong tank (in very poor condition, needs a lot of work) the other day that I will spend the next few months scrubbing and sterilizing and scrubbing some more to turn into the sump for the 125 once I get it up and going.

Anyways, sorry for the tangent, this is the thread for my 55, not my 125...

I put an in-tank or double soapdish fuge in the 55, but it is currently empty. I will have to get some rubble rock and some chaeto next time I make my way to the LFS.

And that is where the tank sits right now. I will get some pics up soon, and as soon as I get the HA under control I will continue the build....
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, I have been promising pictures for a while, but I only have a few minutes right now, so these three will have to do.

I got a gift of a sponge with some chucks of coral and some coraline-encrusted fishing line from a friend this morning. Tuns of hitchhickers on it... will let you know as more pop out, but so far I have spotted a sea urchin, two crabs I have yet to identify (they look like emerald crabs, but red), a sea cucumber, and a snail that looks like a red turbo snail. I sorted through it the best I could to watch for the bad hitchikers, but right now I am just going to have to hope for the best.

Also, as you can see from the pictures, the HA problem hasn't completely gone away yet....





and here is a closeup of the new piece

 

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softie crazy
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looks good i would nip that hair algea in the tookis before it takes over..
 

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Why not srape the coraline algae off the line in the tank. That way it will spread and you wont have a fish trap in you tank. Also try PurpleUp it works great you will see a differance in how much coraline algae as little as a week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Goingpoor: working on it.... little to no light and hand scrappings have helped, and if they don't start to pay off more I will try a chemical solution to my problem, but I am trying to avoid that if I can.

andbigdaddy2: That is what I will end up doing, as far as the fishing line is concerned, but for the time being I dodn't want to mess with the cluster of goodies too muc more than I have to, as the livestock contained within has gone through a lot already, without me pulling it all apart.

Since letting the new clump of goodies settle in my tank I have found 3 crabs, the urchin, one snail, several tube worms / featherdusters and 9 brittle stars, most of them veery tiny. I am excited to see what else pops out of there, although I am pretty worried about it too.... We'll see what else comes of it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow... long since updated

Wow. It has been a long time since I've updated my build thread. Well, I will have to upload some more pictures soon, but I recently moved the tank to a friend's house while I search for a new place to live (long story...). Anyways, when I moved I broke down and gave away all of my freshwater tanks (except for the turtle tank). In doing so, I realized that the tank and stand for my African tank looked a lot better than the one my reef was in, so I swapped them. It's a standard 55 gallon tank on a wooden stand. I don't run it with a cannopy, and my 265w power compacts rest on feet above the tank. I got rid of the canister filters I was running, and am still operating without a sump. For filtration I run a small, in-tank, skimmer and two Marineland Biowheel 300 HOB filters. I also have two soap dish fuges in the tank for chaeto, but they are empty right now thanks to the cunning nature of my Yellow Tang. Flow is still managed using those two cheap powersweep powerheads, but I moved them both to the left side of the tank with one angled up to agitate the surface and one angled down towards the rock. (The return from the skimmer also provides flow on this side.) On the right side of the tank is a Koralia 1. The tank's foundation is about 50lbs of live sand and a ton of live rock (i guess about 65 - 70 pounds). When I broke down the African tank I took all of the rock out, cleaned it up, and added it to the reef too, and it really filled out the rockwork. Lighting, as I mentioned early, was upgraded to 265w power compacts. I currently run them half 10,000K and half 420 Actinic with two LED moonlights.

Tank inhabitants include:
- (1) Yellow Tang
- (1) Perc Clown
- (1) Scooter Blenny
- (1) Blue Damsel
- (1) Yellow-tailed Damsel
- (2) Three-Stripped Zebra Damsels
- (1) Sea Cucumber
- (1) Common Sea Urchin
- (1) Haitian Reef Anemone
- (1) Red Pistol Shrimp
- (1) Frogspawn
- various hermit crabs and snails

I am limiting what I do with the tank right now because it will be moved again within a few months, but I want to get some more corals in there soon. I've got a couple of frags on the way...

I will snap some photos and update further later.
 

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Tarpon
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yeah yeah! PICS! :)
And from what it looks like you have a great looking tank!
 
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