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Old 09/07/2018, 01:33 PM   #1
lpsouth1978
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My 40B build/journal

I know this is a bit late as the tank has been up and running for about 5 months now, but I want somewhere to keep a journal of the progress of my system. Much of what is in this is found scattered in other threads, but this will be my spot for all new info, changes, and posts. I hope you all enjoy and feel free to comment, criticize, or praise.

I am going to start from the very beginning (May 2018). I decided, while at Petco getting a few things for my freshwater system, to grab a 40B and a 20L on the $1/gallon sale. It was the last day of the sale, and simply couldn't pass on it. I had no plan for the tanks, but knew I would think of something. It didn't take long before the plan was in motion.

Almost immediately I found myself online ordering parts for my new reef build. I decided I was going to drill the tank and use an Eshopps Eclipse M as my overflow with a herbie drain system. I ordered a set of glass hole saws, a drill guide, and the overflow. I had never drilled a tank, but figured this was a good time to give it a shot.

After some careful planning and prep, I started the process of drilling the tank. I decided to place the overflow in the middle of the tank with a return on either side of the tank. I got the holes drilled, painted the back, and put everything in place on the make shift stand (more on that later).

20180512_121242_resized_1 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr
20180512_131652_resized_1 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr
20180512_194228_resized_1 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr
20180512_194256_resized_1 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

For the sump, I used the 20L and placed a series of baffles in it to make 3 chambers. Simple but effective.

Chamber 1 = drain/skimmer section
Chamber 2 = fuge
Chamber 3 = Return section

The biggest issue I ran into early on was what stand to use. There are few options for a 40B stand and I was really not fond of any of them. I eventually came across some videos of people using storage shelves from HD/Lowes. It just so happened that I had one sitting in storage, so I pulled it out and gave it a good cleaning and painted it with several coats of Rust-o-leum. While I removed most of the cross bars from the front of the stand, I left ALL of the side and back supports. I also replaces the stock boards with 3/4" MDF covered in white melamine. I was VERY surprised by how stable this ended up being.

20180519_202553_resized_1 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr


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Old 09/07/2018, 05:33 PM   #2
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Once I got all of the plumbing situated and completed a successful leak test, it was time to work on the lighting. Since this is going to be an LPS dominant system, I decided to go with a Mars Aqua 165W LED off Amazon. I was pretty happy with the overall appearance of the light and VERY happy with the price, so I placed my order.

To hang the light above the tank, I purchased some steel pipe and fittings from the hardware store. After assembling the hanger, I painted it black with Rust-o-leum and attached it to the shelf under the tank using a steel floor flange. Then I used a couple of carabiners and the cables that came with the light to hang it. It worked quite well, was rock solid, and was inexpensive. I just plugged the light into a couple of timers to create a bit of a dusk/dawn effect.

20180524_232954 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr
20180525_000723 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

Finally, It was time to add salt water, sand, and rock. I chose to start with dry rock because of the price and my ability to limit potential pests. For the sand I chose a fairly fine Oolitic sand.

A couple of days after getting the tank wet, I was in a motorcycle accident, so the tank got to sit and cycle for about a month. I ghost fed the system during this time, but did not do any water changes or touch anything in the system.

20180526_201905 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr


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Old 09/07/2018, 05:42 PM   #3
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After about a month long cycle, it was time for me to start adding life to the tank. My first additions were a pair of Black Ocellaris clowns, a Royal Gramma, and a fake anemone (because I knew it would be a little while before I could add a real anemone). Shortly after this, I added a hammer and a frogspawn frag.

FTS 07/07/2018

FTS July 7, 2018 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr


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Old 09/07/2018, 05:48 PM   #4
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2 weeks later I picked up 3 pajama cardinals and a larger, less neon, fake anemone.

FTS 07/22/2018

FTS July 22, 2018 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr


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Old 09/07/2018, 05:56 PM   #5
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over the next week I picked up a few new additions. Most notable was a Rainbow BTA. I also got a melanurus wrasse, lawnmower blenny, and diamond watchman goby. I also removed the fake anemone, never to return!

FTS 07/31/2018

FTS July 31,2018 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr


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Old 09/07/2018, 06:26 PM   #6
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As you can see in the previous photo, the CBB created a pretty big hot spot in the middle of the tank while leaving the sides of the tank pretty dark, so it was time to rethink my lighting.

After a lot of reading, researching, and consideration, I finally decided to get 2 AI Prime HD's. I found a LFS that had them in stock, so I went after work and picked them up. What a difference! I love these lights, however, only 2 days after getting them I found an insane deal on a pair of AI Hydra 26 HD (cost me the same as my Prime's) and decided to grab them instead. I went ahead and made some DIY diffusers for them and LOVE the way it turned out. The tank still has great shimmer, but the color separation is completely gone.

2018-09-07_05-02-48 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr
2018-09-07_05-24-28 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

FTS 08/24/2018

FTS Aug 24, 2018 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr


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Old 09/07/2018, 06:39 PM   #7
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This post brings everything up to date. I forgot to mention in my last post that I added a Green Haddoni Carpet anemone a few weeks ago.

In the past week I have added a number of new corals. First, I found a nice Elegance coral at a LFS and put it in the tank last weekend. Then I picked up 7 new frags (plus one freebie) from AquaSD during their Pre Live Sale. I ended up getting:

Blasto
Ultra Acan Lord
Favia
Micromussa
Galaxea
Zoas
Leptastrea
Unknown freebie

My current stocking list is:

Fish
2 x Black Ocellaris Clowns
Royal Gramma
3 x Pajama Cardinals
Lawnmower Bleenie
Diamond Watchman Goby
Melanurus Wrasse

Inverts
Rainbow BTA
Green Haddoni Carpet Anemone

Corals
Hammer
Frogspawn
Indo Gold Tip Torch
Elegance
5 Acan frags
Favia
Blasto
Micromussa
Galaxea
Leptastrea
2 small Zoa Colonies
Orange mushrooms

FTS 09/07/2018

FTS Sept. 7, 2018 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr


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Old 09/23/2018, 07:07 PM   #8
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Not a lot to report. Everything is still doing quite well (except my chaeto). I did end up adding some crabs and snails to help keep things clean. The lawnmower blenny just couldn't keep up.

I tested my parameters today, before my weekly water change, and it looks like I may need to start dosing a little bit. Here are the params that I tested:

SG - 1.026
Temp - 78.4
Nitrate - 15
Calc - 440
Alk - 6

My alk and calcium are a bit lower than I would like, and definitely dropped since testing last week (before water change). I should receive my new test kits tomorrow, so will retest tomorrow night. I am currently using the API tests, but ordered the Red Sea Pro tests for Calc, Alk, Nitrate, Phosphate, and Mag.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to keep the chaeto going in my fuge. Even with plenty of nitrates in the system, it just turned to mush. I have tried several lights on a reverse lighting schedule, but none of them seemed to do the job.

Anyway. I think this concludes this weeks update, but I will update in another week or two with any changes, good or bad.


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Old 09/25/2018, 01:09 AM   #9
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Awesome build so far. For a smaller tank set up the 40/20 is the best option. Tank looks great.


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Old 09/26/2018, 09:43 PM   #10
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Ok everyone, I could use your help and advice. I receIved some new test kits today and did some real testing (no more API test kit). It looks like I need to start some dosing in a serious way. I don't yet have a good phosphate test kit and the nitrate kit came with the solutions leaked all over the inside of the box, so I need to exchange it. Here are the test results I do have:

Temp - 78.5
SG - 1.026
pH - 6.5
Ca - 500
Mag - 1440
Alk - 6.3

I know you don't want to chase pH, but 6.5 seems very low. Since Alk is also quite low, I was thinking I will dose using Soda Ash to raise both the Alk and pH together. I can use the reef calculator to figure out how much to add, but I need advice on how quickly I should be adding it. I don't know how much of an effect Soda ash has on pH and don't want to raise it too fast (I feel like the pH will rise faster than Alk).

Please help with any suggestions or thoughts on my plan. Any other suggestions besides Soda Ash are welcome as well. I plan on ordering a dosing pump this weekend, so I should be able to automate everything and keep things stable once I get to acceptable levels.


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Old 09/27/2018, 02:55 PM   #11
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As you know, your pH and Alk are both very low. What you may not know is that they are closely related parameters.

Check out this article I found useful when I started with a dosing pump many years back:
https://www.advancedaquarist.com/2002/5/chemistry

Based on pictures and descriptions what what you have, there is not enough Ca/Alk consuming corals in there to result in depleted levels like you are seeing and I personally feel a dosing pump is not needed. Something else is off...

What kind of salt are you using?
How often are you doing water changes?
Does the location of the tank get good airflow (worried about possibly elevated CO2 levels)
Do you have good surface movement and a skimmer for adequate aeration of the tank?
Are you using aragonite based sand and rock to buffer your pH and Alk?



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Old 09/27/2018, 04:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ange062 View Post
As you know, your pH and Alk are both very low. What you may not know is that they are closely related parameters.

Check out this article I found useful when I started with a dosing pump many years back:
https://www.advancedaquarist.com/2002/5/chemistry

Based on pictures and descriptions what what you have, there is not enough Ca/Alk consuming corals in there to result in depleted levels like you are seeing and I personally feel a dosing pump is not needed. Something else is off...

What kind of salt are you using? Instant Ocean Reef Crystals
How often are you doing water changes? Weekly 10%
Does the location of the tank get good airflow (worried about possibly elevated CO2 levels) Yes, I have a ceiling fan on all the time, no gas appliances, and I am the only one who lives there (and I am only home at night).
Do you have good surface movement and a skimmer for adequate aeration of the tank? I have a skimmer and a good deal of surface agitation.
Are you using aragonite based sand and rock to buffer your pH and Alk? I am using Oolite sand and dry reef rock



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I am not sure my pH value is correct, I am using a very cheap (and i think unreliable) handheld meter. It does not hold calibration. I will calibrate it, turn it off and back on and test in same calibration solution, and the reading will be WAY off. I will have a Seneye tomorrow and will verify the pH once it is set up.


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Old 09/27/2018, 05:22 PM   #13
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If your pH really was that low your fish and corals would probably be dead already actually, so maybe you're right and the test results are incorrect.

Those numbers just aren't adding up for me though, and the link between low pH and Alk is concerning so it's possible they are at least somewhat accurate and both are low (but not at low as previsouly measured).

If the Alk was actually decreasing because it was being consumed by corals than your Ca should also be low but in your last reading it's quite high as NSW is 420ppm Ca.

I'd test with your new kits and see where it's at with those. Another thing you can try in the interim is testing some freshly made SW with the kits to have to see how it reads as you have a known control with that. Fresh SW should be at ~NSW levels (approx. pH 8.1, Alk 7.5, Ca 420, Mg 1300).

Something just isn't adding up for me with those numbers. And although API test kits are just considered plain Jane cheapies, in many years of using test kits I don't think I've ever received a "more accurate" reading from Salifert, Elos, LaMotte, or any of the "fancy" test kits when comparing them side by side. Even the Hanna checkers haven't yielded me much different results.


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Old 09/27/2018, 05:59 PM   #14
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You bring up a good point that the Calcium should also be depleted, however, I think I know why it is elevated. A few days ago , while going through a box of reefing things, I found a box of Sea Lab #28 blocks that I had used on a previous tank and threw one in the sump. These blocks will raise calcium and trace elements, but do nothing for the Alk. I only used 1/2 the recommended dose, because I wanted to see what it would do for the tank, and be sure nothing responded negatively.

The 500 calcium reading was performed using the Red Sea Pro test kit, not the API. I can test again using both kits tonight and see what I come up with. I will do the same with the Alk and see if the API gives the same result.

I can also tell you that I dosed 1.7g of soda ash last night (as per the Randy Holmes calculator) and brought the Alk up to 6.7. By this morning it was again reading @ 6.3. I dosed again this morning and it came up to 6.8, so I will test again tonight and see what has happened over the course of the day.

I also went ahead and ordered a dosing pump and all of the supplements and supplies to dose 2 part and mag. Even if I don't really need it right away, I figure I will want it down the road sometime. Now I have it when/if needed.


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Old 09/27/2018, 08:03 PM   #15
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Curious to hear what the issue is once you get it figured out, good luck!

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Old 09/27/2018, 08:45 PM   #16
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Thanks for the help. I tested the Alk and Ca using both the Red Sea and API test kits, and pH with the API and things seem a lot better now than last night, especially pH.

My results were as follows:

Alk:
Red Sea = 6.7
API = 7

Ca:
Red Sea = 460
API = 460

pH = 8.0-8.2 (hard to tell with API)

Assuming that the API pH test is fairly accurate, then my pH is great. It looks like my Alk stayed steady today, so I will check again in the morning and dose a little more to bring it up a touch more. I will continue to do this for a few days until I can get it up to the ~9 dKh I want.

On another note, I received my Jebao Crossflow CP-90 today and set it up in the tank. All I can say is WOW!! I have to keep it on the lowest setting or it just blows the sand on the other end of the tank EVERYWHERE. Even on the lowest setting it is barely moving sand on the opposite side of the tank. Now to see how long it lasts (on the lowest setting I suspect it will last a long time).


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Old 11/04/2018, 04:06 PM   #17
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Well, it has been a little over a month since my last update and there have been several changes. The biggest change is that the Hydra 26 HD's are not on the tank right now. I am preparing for a move and will be setting up a 75 that will employ the Hydra's. Instead I have a trio of cheap PAR38 bulbs from Amazon. They have been on the tank for about 2 weeks and things seem to be doing well under them.

I moved some things around a while back and all of my corals seem happy with their current placement. I did also reduce the flow from the wavemakers and removed the crossflow pump. I think I had too much flow for an LPS dominant system. Things seem to be much happier with the lower flow.

The last, and most exciting, update is that my clowns finally decided to stop using the corner of the tank as a host and accepted the BTA as a new home.

I have attached a few pics taken today of the tank and some of its inhabitants.

20181104_152145 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr
20181104_152150 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr
20181104_152213 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr
20181104_152302 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr


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Old 11/21/2018, 12:29 PM   #18
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The tank has taken a disappointing turn. I have not added anything new to the tank in more than 2 months and things were going very well. Everything was happy, growing, and seemed healthy. Then about a week ago I noticed a bunch of white dots on my little male Clown. Two days later he was dead, along with his mate, the royal gramma, and a pajama cardinal. ALL of the remaining fish look terrible and I expect to find most/all dead by the time I get home tonight. I don't know where or how it got in the system, but it seems that I got velvet. I have now gone from 8 fish to 4 and likely 0 by the end of the day. I do not have any meds on hand, but they should be delivered Friday. Unfortunately that is too late for the fish in there now, but I will have it on hand to treat any new fish before going into the tank (after a long fallow period).


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Old 01/14/2019, 12:08 PM   #19
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Well, I am getting ready for a move, so I decided to build a second 40b to make the move A LOT easier. The plan was to set up the new system at my new place and let it cycle for a couple f weeks then move everything over. this last weekend, I got the system put together, added the new sand, and water. Everything is going great so far.

Then my roommate started griping that he didn't want to look at an empty tank for a couple of weeks so, after considering my option, I gave into his whining and decided to move everything to the new tank on Sunday. I knew this would not be a big issue since I was moving EVERYTHING, including the live rock.

First thing Sunday Morning, I began removing everything from the tank and placing it in buckets. An hour later and I was working on placing everything in the new tank. But something seemed off! Everything seemed extra unhappy, the fish were doing ok, but everything else was looking VERY unhappy! The crabs and snails were tucked tightly in their shells, and the corals and anemones were closed up and VERY unhappy.

Then it dawned on me that I had not verified the SG. When I set the tank up I did not have my refractometer with me, so I guesstimated at how much salt to add, planning on checking it before adding anything to the tank. I immediately checked and the SG was at 1.016. YIKES!! I thought I had just killed everything.

Luckily I had just installed a new 400gpd RO/DI system with 14 gallon tank, so I quickly mixed up some VERY high SG water and slowly added it to the system after removing some of the lower SG water. Immediately things started to perk up and it looks like everything is going to survive.

Moral of the story.....

CHECK EVERYTHING BEFORE ADDING ANY LIVING THINGS IN A NEW TANK!!


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Old 02/14/2019, 09:08 PM   #20
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Valentines day update:

Everything is plugging away nicely. Things seem to be happy and most of the corals/anemones are growing nicely. I have not really changed anything except for upgrading the skimmer to a new Bubble Magus Curve 5 Elite.

20190214_190640(0) by Lyle Southard, on Flickr


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Old 06/06/2019, 10:39 AM   #21
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New update:

Not a lot to report, though there have been a few new additions. Most notable, a neon green Haddoni, gorgonian, and 2 x Spotcinclus clowns. Also, My RBTA has shrunk and bleaced. I think this is due to the lights, I have changed to a different light and it seems to be improving now. It is inflated and bubbled nicely and seems to be getting SOME color back. This tank has not been my main focus lately due to a much larger project. I recently setup a Waterbox 230.6 as a Discus tank. I will include some pics of that tank as well.

Now, enjoy the pics.

20190605_185455 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

20190605_185333 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

20190605_185344 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

20190605_185328 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

20190605_185349 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

20190605_185352 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

And now the Discus tank:

20190605_185232 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

20190605_185115 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

20190605_184959 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr

20190605_185030 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr


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Old 06/11/2019, 08:01 AM   #22
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Man everything looks great. Can say I haven’t done some like the salinity before. Glad everything is doing better.


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Old 07/01/2019, 11:52 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpsouth1978 View Post
New update:



Not a lot to report, though there have been a few new additions. Most notable, a neon green Haddoni, gorgonian, and 2 x Spotcinclus clowns. Also, My RBTA has shrunk and bleaced. I think this is due to the lights, I have changed to a different light and it seems to be improving now. It is inflated and bubbled nicely and seems to be getting SOME color back. This tank has not been my main focus lately due to a much larger project. I recently setup a Waterbox 230.6 as a Discus tank. I will include some pics of that tank as well.



Now, enjoy the pics.



20190605_185455 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr



20190605_185333 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr



20190605_185344 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr



20190605_185328 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr



20190605_185349 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr



20190605_185352 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr



And now the Discus tank:



20190605_185232 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr



20190605_185115 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr



20190605_184959 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr



20190605_185030 by Lyle Southard, on Flickr
l00

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Old 08/04/2019, 07:55 AM   #24
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There is just something about a nice 40B setup.


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