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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Matt's 50 gallon reef

And so it begins ................ :3195:

Just setup and plumbed this 50 gallon breeder last weekend. I have run a reef before, but was way over my head with the 180 I had running. Starting over several years later with something a bit more manageable for me at this time.

I will try to update this list as I add/remove items.

Standard 50 Gallon Breeder glass tank 36"x18"x18"
Drilled in the back right top with a 1" bulkhead.
Drains to my 29 gallon sump with a fuge in the middle.
Skimmed by a CPR in sump/tank skimmer.
Return is Mag5
JBC A.T.O. fed by a 10 gallon tank
2 x 14K or so 250 watt MH pendants
2 x Koralia 425 for flow
40 pounds of Live sand.
50 pounds of Marco Rocks
50 pounds of mixed fiji and tonga branch live rock
20 pounds or so sand in the fuge with live rock rubble and Cheato and caulerpa

Corals
2"x4" Star polyp frag.
Blue Voodoo
Green Birds Nest
2 small frags of Pink/brown with light green tips Birds nest
Purple Monti Plate
Red Monti Plate
Red Mushroom
Purple polyed brown digi
Quarter size RBTA
Satosa
Green tipped pocillopora
Watermelon Chalice
Brown Palythoas
Green center palythoas
Pink Zoas
LA Lakers Zoas

Clean Up Crew
Red Linkia star
2 Scarlet Hermits
5 Blue leg hermits
2 Nassarius snails
16 Turbo snails
2 peppermint

Fish
Yellow tang
Percula clown
Firefish

Stuff I would like to add:
Zoas
Red, green, purple mushrooms
Acro frags (non tabling)

Enjoy the show!

Tank


Sump


Tank now as it is now
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The dry rock arrived today and just went in. I must say, this is some of the best dry rock I have seen. Incredibly porous, nice shapes, and the 50 pounds pretty much filled up the entire tank. All that and it only increased the water volume by a few gallons!

Nice stuff .... Pics to follow as soon as the dust clears a bit :yes4:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tank with Dry Rock in it. Still a bit cloudy, but you get the picture.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sump volume after the rock went in. Only about 3-4 gallons taken up!

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
eBay of all places.

Marco Rocks Key Largo dry rock Is what they call it. They say it is actual ancient coral that has been dug up and cleaned. Not too sure I believe it, looks man made to me, but this stuff is very light for its size, incredibly porous, and well cured.

Paid $129 for a 50 pound box shipped and I coudn't be happier with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Looks like it is on sale on their site today. $109 shipped for the 50 pound box i just got.

MarcoRocks.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I hate to be a spoil sport, but I wouldn't put an anemone in a tank that new and a 50 gallon breeder is way too small for a Sailfin Tang!
Not gunna keep the sailfin tang ... just not enough room.

It is about a quarter sized RBTA. Do you think it will be the amonia/nitrite spike that will kill it off? I am going to pick up the clowns and RBTA tomorrow. They guy is local to me, maybe he will hold on to it until the tank is better cycled?

Thanks for the tip!
 

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Yeah, you definitely need to let the tank cycle before you put anything in it, and it will take a while with dry rock. You might want to get a little live rock to seed it. The Ammonia and Nitrite are definitely enough to kill an anemone let alone fish. Even after the tank cycles, anemones are very hard to keep and wont usually do well in a tank that hasn't aged for 6 months to a year.
 

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I would look into getting some Live Rock to seed the Dry Rock and help boost the cycle. Also, I would not look to be addind any fish, inverts or most corals for at least a few weeks. Adding fish now will only ask for suffering and most likely death of the fish. Depends on how long it takes your tank to cycle. The less Live Rock there is the longer it will take. Dry Rock will become Live Rock eventually but, it will take more time. Nems need a mature and stable system to survive. I would wait until around the 6 month mark at the earliest to add a nem. You mentioned that a 180 was to much work. There isn't really much difference in a 50. Your water changes will be smaller and your pick of fish will be drastically reduced due to lack of tank size. Other than that, the setup looks nice. I would consider getting a better skimmer soon! I have had one of the CPR skimmers and hated it with a passion. Could never keep it skimming or running properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
If you don't add any type of living organism to your tank, it will never even start cycling.

40 pounds of Live sand.
This is what is going to kick start the cycle. The preserved bacteria is the same as taking media out of a long established tank and adding it right to yours. I have heard good things about this, and many around here have had good luck with using it. As long as you don't add too much livestock at once, you will never get a large amonia/nitrite spike. In effect, your tank is instantly cycled. Keep in mind that every time you add ANY type of animal to your tank you WILL get an amonia/nitrite spike. If you only added a small amount in relation to your tanks stock level, it will be small spike. If you add alot, it will be a large spike. Your system needs time to grow the extra needed bacteria to handle the influx of new waste.

I am picking up a bunch of live rock tomorrow from a long established tank. If it is too bad of condition, or has too many hitch hikers on it, it will all sit in a tub for about a month with circulation and light. If it looks ok, I will pull a few select pieces for the tank and sump.

I have done this same approach with starting freshwater tanks for years. the nitrogen cycle is the same thing in both cases. The new tanks are seeded with bacteria from the old established tanks. As long as you use dechlorinated water you can add a good stock amount right away, then slowly increase to a regular stocking level over about a 2 week time frame and never see an amonia spike at all. I have been a freshwater angelfish breeder for going on close to 15 years now. Every new tank I have had was started this way with no casualties and no, to very small, amonia spikes. And I have had close to 50 tanks at once running at times.

The biggest extra thing you have to deal with when starting saltwater is dealing with the live rock die off. This should be completly avoided becuase the rock will not be out of water with the exception of out of the tank to a tub, then out of the tub to my tank.

But thank you for reminding me to get an amonia/nitrite test kit. I will pick one up today to help keep an eye on things as the bacteria builds up with my stock levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Oh and the main reasons I was over my head with the 180 is that I had my first child not too long after I got it going which put it on the back burner, time for water changes, expense to run. Then I got laid off almost 2 years after I got it going and did not have the money to keep it running. i was out of work for close to six months and almost lost everything. Now I am working regularly and have removed all of my debt with the exception of the house, and paying cash on hand for anything I get for the new tank. MUCH diffrent approach.
 

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Just moving live rock and disturbing organics or flipping it upside down can cause a mini cycle if you don't have established denitrifying bacteria, which you don't. I've never had a cycle last a week using a 4"+ live sand bed and established live rock, just wait it out.
 
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