I started off with a SeaClear System II 46gal bowfront aquarium with a sump built into the back and a HOB skimmer.
I plumed in a 16gal refugium next to it. Unfortunately, my business took a turn for the worst during the recession and I couldn't afford to take care of it anymore. Now that I have some time and money, I decided to start it up again in 2016 with a used 65gal reef tank I paid $500 for. Even though the setup had everything I needed (sump w/fuge, skimmer, filter socks, 6 stage RO with tons of extra filters, 2 T5/250W halide fixtures, a six bulb T5 fixture, ATO and all the other "little things" like test kits, thermos, etc.), it was setup completely wrong and needed a lot of work. The cheato was dying because the fluorescent fixture was too far away. Because of that, the nitrates and phosphates were off the chart. He had off brand daylight and 6700K T5's and a 10,000K Halide, so naturally everything brown (a lot) was flourishing, and everything with color was dying. 3 different kinds of brown Paly's, Kenya trees and leathers were taking over the tank. He had a 5 inch Hippo and a 5 inch yellow tang in the tank that should have never been there in the first place and were too big already. The palys were growing on the back of the tank which he scraped off when we broke down the tank to transfer it. Unfortunately, I didn't know they were poisonous or I would have removed them right then. Instead, I had a tank crash when I set it up. I lost a large Royal Gramma, Flame Angel and multiple corals which I blamed on myself at the time for not doing a better job with the transfer. The second tank crash from the Paly's came a few months later when I discovered they were poisonous. I was trying to save a green mushroom by scraping the palys off of the rock they were on (no gloves), then I put it back into the tank. Later that night, I started getting horrible flu like symptoms with no fever. I remember lying in bed shivering with the heater blasting and four blankets on me thinking "I've never been this cold before". Four hours later I woke up in a lake of sweat. After that I did some research and realized they were poisonous, but too late for the tank. Another tank crash because I put a now poisonous rock back into the tank. Multiple fish got sick with various illnesses. Some got intestinal worms which I treated with Prazi, others showed signs of HLLE and hole in head. I lost my blood red shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp all my snails and hermit crabs, 2 yellow gobys and my Foxface (my favorite) with worms who got attacked by the large tomato clown and died. I also lost my Midas Blenny to worms a little later.
It took me three months of water changes, low feeding and cutting back Chaeto to get my water parameters back down where they should be. During that time, I spent countless hours and too much money trying to plum the Durso stand pipe so that the overflow would work correctly. Thank you Tom at Upscales for finally telling me it's called a Durso stand pipe so that I could do some research and get it working correctly again. Big thanks for all the help. It took me a year to finally get rid of all the stuff in the tank I didn't want including a 5 inch tomato clown that killed 2 new fish, all the brown palys kenya trees and mini leathers everywhere, a Hippo tang and 2 devils (damsels). While the tank was still in it's "extremely aggressive" stages, I purchased a small Harliquin tuskfish I called Harli because I've always wanted one. He was my favorite for about six months before I included him in the last "purge" of everything aggressive in my tank. Now it's cheaper, easier and less stressful. I love it.