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Build in progress

5459 Views 57 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  truepercs
Hi all. I'm currently in the process of putting together a 40 gallon breeder reef. I've been building the stand and amassing equipment. I'm going totally old school on this tank. Under gravel filter with a 250gph power head on the uplift tube. I'm also adding a 528 jvp wave maker power head for circulation. I have a 200w heater and I'll be adding an inkbird heater controller at some point. I'm going to use 40lbs of dry crushed coral and 40lbs of dry rock.I plan to seed the tank with 10lbs of live sand from Tropicorium and a nice chunk of Coraline covered live rock. Some pics of my stand and doors thus far. (excuse the messy garage, it's winter).


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I did repeat the Nitrite test 3 times yesterday because I thought there might be a mistake. All three tests came back the same. This morning Nitrite was at 0.25ppm and Nitrates we're 10ppm. Tossed in another pinch of flakes and off to work. I'll keep an eye on it for about another week without adding any livestock. pH is at 8 and I can't seem to get it higher, it's hasn't dropped just maintained the same level and my Specific gravity has been 1.023 without fluctuating. Temp is steady 78.
I'd stop adding flakes...its not something you need to add every day.

Something is going on for the swing to be that great in one day...nothing good happens fast in a saltwater tank lol.

I wouldn't worry about the pH. That's fine...I had a basement tank that was almost all sps with a low pH...what's more important with pH is stability.
I talked to a few fish stores in my area and they all said Nitrite can slowly come down or just drop really quickly. I did seed the tank with a few pounds of cured live rock that may have something to do with how quickly things have progressed. IDK but I'll give it time to make sure things are stable.
Just got home and did a water test. Everything came back zero. I don't have a test for phosphate so I have no idea where that is.


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So I talked to my LFS owner and he was telling me I shouldn't do a water change for the first three months. That sounds odd. Any comments?
Yes that's odd. Obviously once you get livestock in there the water will need to be changed out. If not, you run the risk of nutrient buildup and algae. Once you get algae its so much harder to get rid of it.

I don't have any idea what lfs you're using but some are good and some are bad...and they're all in the business to make money. I'm always cautious when they tell me things...I had one try to sell me SPS frags when my tank had been up for literally 2 days. Fortunately that one is no longer in business but best to be cautious.
So with in the last two weeks I've added a small percula clown and a dozen hermit crabs. All doing well. Last week I added a frogspawn. Everything was still good. Then over the last four days I noticed my water getting a bit hazy. Not super cloudy or anything too bad just a slight haze. I popped in a surface skimmer to try and help. It's been three days now since then and not much of an improvement. Maybe I'm not picking, but my water was crystal clear before. Not sure what's going kn, all the tests came back normal. Could this be a small bacteria bloom?
So I'm thinking about adding a sump (applause). Yeah I know I should have done it from the start. Long story short my question is this. Should I remove the UG filter plates or leave them in and covered with substrate?
I'd pull the filter plates and crushed coral with them now that you don't have much in there.

Not sure that's coralline, looks more like algae.

Could be a bacterial bloom...not sure without pics and exact water parameters.
I'm holding off on adding livestock until I get this squared away. The water parameters are: 0 Nitrate, 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, I haven't tested for phosphate as I don't have a test kit yet. I think you are correct in that in may have been a bacterial bloom. The water went hazy, but only noticable at the top of the tank, the rest of the tank looked clear. You could really see the haze better look through the side of the tank. Coraline is starting to grow over the rocks in some areas but not crazy. The haziness appears to be going away now, the water clarity is coming back. An additional note is that the clownfish I have seems to only want to hang out towards the top third of the tank. I have really good surface agitation so I don't think it's an oxygen issue, perhaps it's a comfort thing?
My clowns are the same way and have been since they've been in the tank for over a year now.

I read somewhere that aquaculture clowns tend to stay at the top of the tank.
A long time since I've updated. Long story short, I've canned the under-gravel filter entirely. Added an overflow and a 15 gallon DIY sump (love it) with a refugium packed with Cheato and some rocks from the display, an SCA 130 protein skimmer. Added T5 (ATI blue plus) to supplement the **** Orbit Marine LED. It's looking and behaving like a proper reef now.


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looking nice man, would love to see some more pics.
Thanks! Here are some more pics since new corals have been added.


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Looks like the aquarium is coming along nicely.
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