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· Lost At Sea
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1,513 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok,

So I've decided to try and post my journey with setting up this 65G tank. I am still pretty new to the hobby and have been running a 10g nano for about a year.

Here is the setup when I recieved it:
- 65g drilled tank w/stand
- T5HO 4x39w: 2 actinic, 2 10,00k, 3 led moons
- Unknown make Protein skimmer
- Wet/Dry trickle filter

To date I've set the tank up, filled it with LFS saltwater and modified the sump as follows:
- Removed the wet/dry unit
- Placed a 10g tank and have the overflow drain feeding into a sock
- Placed my skimmer and return pump

I've decided to try this simple approach to filtering to see how it turns out. I've also modified the drain pipe with a DIY durso standpipe following the guide on their website. I'm actually pretty proud with how it turned out!

The pics of the tank with LR is where I am currently at. I've placed a 2" sandbed of oolite fine grain sand taken from my nano (nano is now BB). I've put mostly dry rock in the tank with a few pieces of LR from my nano.

As it's been determined this light may not be enough for my corals, I'm designing the aquascape so that most of my "show area" is mid-upper level. This should allow enough light for softies and some LPS. The idea of using small rocks as stilts will hopefully allow ample flow under and around the structures to keep detritus from building up.

Using the milk test, I am very pleased with the random and ample flow. Very little moves towards the bottom and the current constantly creates and upwards flow.

At this point it has been 3 weeks since the water and rocks were placed. I need to add more base rock and the rest of the LR from my nano.

I had a small spike in nitrates but have yet to see any detectable levels of ammonia or nitrites. I am thinking it may be safe to add my CUC and begin feeding food to the tank to help create a small bio-load for them to eat.

Eventually I will be upgrading my lights to an LED unit. For now, I just need to complete the setup and learn the new beast.

I'll post more pics as I progress. Wish me luck!

Current levels
- sal: 1.025
- amm: 0
- nitrites: 0
- nitrates: >25ppm
- phos: 0
- temp: 79.4
 

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· Lost At Sea
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1,513 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! I had a bad experience with going overkill with LR - I had 28lbs in my 10g nano.

This evening I bought some more dry rock. Added more LR from my 10 and I think I'm satisfied. Still open, roomy, but artsy I feel. You can see one of my snails that snuck in. So he gets to test the water for me:thumbup:
 

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· Lost At Sea
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1,513 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think I'll have to get a calcium test kit. As you can see in the pics, the corner overflow is covered in what appears to be solidified calcium. But since being soaked in water, it is starting to dissolve. So I think I need to make sure the levels of calcium and alk levels are ok.

As stated, the lighting that came with it is a 4x39w unit for a total of 156w T5ho. It is my hope that placing my corals on the upper levels of the LR, at a depth of 12-16" from the top will allow my zoa, shrooms, and LPS's to get enough light. I doubt the lights will be sufficient at the full 20-24" depth. Thoughts?
 

· Lost At Sea
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1,513 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here are some recent pics. Things are coming along pretty well. I am entering month 4 and have hit the uglies. It hasn't been as bad as I thought they would be. While there is hair algae and some growth on the glass, it was nowhere near what I expected.

As you can see, I've added some livestock. In the pics you'll find my watchman goby Gibbles, my pair of oscellaris clowns, my recent addition( last week) of green chromis (had 5 but appears I lost 1) and somewhere hidden was my blue tux urchin.

Surprisingly my galaxea, monticap and trumpet coral appear to be doing great. I was concerned because of having only 4x39w lighting for this tank, but they look good. Several heads on the trumpet are starting to divide.

My two mushrooms couldn't be happier. They have doubled in size almost during the 1.5 months since being placed. I added the zoas about 3 weeks ago and they are doing good too. My finger was being moody today so he wasn't fully upright. The feather duster has been happily perched in the same spot since putting him in there after the tank xfer. The pink-tip anemone was in the middle of a relocation, so he was in the back of the tank.

Looks like one of my snail types (likely cerith) has been laying eggs all over my LR too. So I'm interested to see how that pans out.

But I must say, I am pleased with progress so far considering I am only using a sump with a micron sock and protein skimmer for filtration. What do you guys think? Am I fairing well at this stage?

Params are excellent
sal: 1.026
ph: 8.2
cal: 440
dkh: 7
temp: 79.2
ammo: 0
nitrite:0
nitrate: ~0 < color wasn't exaclty at 5ppm, but closer to 5 than 0
phos: 0
 

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· Lost At Sea
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My next goal is to add some Xenia. I am looking to place it on the bottom outcrop you see towards the center of the tank. But I may get some more LR and make an island. Depends on how it tries to grow.

I'm debating on adding more LR. More so just pieces to join the two seperate structures together. And then raise them higher in the back.

What other easier to care for corals would do a decent job filling in gaps? My goal is to 'fill' out the rockwork. I think I don't like the look too much at the moment because the rock is so bare. If I can fill it with corals then I may find it more satisfying.
 

· Lost At Sea
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
May have to reconsider the placement of one of my Koralias. I have a smaller 240gph version near the bottom of the tank in the back hidden behind the rockwork on the right side.

Unfortunately, my anemone decided to travel around and got sucked into it last night. I scraped the remains out of the tank this morning.

So now my dilema is whether I move it. The placement helps provide excellent flow in the tank. The sandbed has remained surprisingly clean over the last 4 months. Perhaps I can surround it with rocks so that there is only a small opening at the face so critters are blown away before getting sucked in.

Will raising it higher and pointing it down have the same effect as it being pointed level across the lower surface?

I want to eventually get a Rose BTA but scared it'll suffer the same fate. This was just a cheap pink tip anemone thankfully.
 

· Lost At Sea
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1,513 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Finally built an eggcrate cover last night. I had been using the glass lids to keep my goby in the tank. However, this caused a 1.5 degree temp rise along with a drop in pH over the last 2 weeks.

So last night I stopped at Home Depot and purchased a hacksaw blade and a 48"x24" eggcrate light cover. About 5 minutes worth of hacking and voila! a very nice cover.
 

· Lost At Sea
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1,513 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nice job! Did you glue your rocks? I am swapping my tank on sunday and really struggling with whether or not to glue my rocks.
Surprisingly no. I was lucky enough to get pieces that fit well together when stacked in the shown layout. They sit pretty solid as is. I may have to glue some future pieces when I expand though. I'll have to see
 

· Lost At Sea
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1,513 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is the latest addition to my tank. I purchased a frogspawn coral and a new rock so it can take over it completely( far left side). As you can see, the uglies are in full swing now. HA is growing on my rocks and taking to the glass pretty bad. But amazingly my sandbed is still white as can be.

If you've read my other threads I've been considering going BB - but haven't decided as I've become attached to my goby and would like for him to live in a more natural setting.
 

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· Lost At Sea
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'll need to update with pictures soon, but my tank has undergone some changes.

I've rearranged the rockwork somewhat. I've also added a toadstool leather and duncan frag. I also got a nice deal on a rather large frag of pulsing xenia ($8).

I also changed the first 2 of my 4 bulb system to ATI( got 2x Blue+). I am debating on whether I want to try the KZ Fiji purple and ATI Aquablue for the other 2 bulbs or just go with 2 Aquablues. I suppose I'll get both and return one.

Last night a flaming scallop was introduced by my wife and so now he'll be there for as long as I can keep the thing alive.

Nitrates were at 15ppm when I tested last night. I'll be purchasing a shop-vac this weekend to clean out my sump as the detritus buildup is pretty bad. I've done a 5g water change and will do another this weekend. Oddly enough all of my corals have never seemed happier????
 

· Lost At Sea
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1,513 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you.

I just realized I never added my Bare bottom pics here. I though I did.

So. Here are some recent shots. I've outlined my adventure taking the sand out of my tank in another thread. It was quite the experience!

So at this time, I am now a BB member and I've nearly doubled my flow. When I first started, I had about 1400gph flow. I am now at over 3200gph.

My livestock now includes an emerald crab, gorgonian, leather coral, duncan coral and foxtail coral.

Next goal is to get some more dry rock and build up the are more. Without a sandbed, I'm leaning towards more rockwork for my scape as opposed to a minimalist apporach I took before as I included the 'open seafloor' as part of the look.
 

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· Lost At Sea
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Funny enough yes!

I thought a 4x39W T5ho fixture on a 65g wouldn't be enough. But I've kept LPS just fine. Albeit most are mid to upper level. I'm even growing a monti-cap. Colors are bright and vibrant in all my corals.

ATI bulbs definitely made an improvement. I ended up bleaching a few zoas, but they are coming back more vivid than before.
 
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