This a story of survival and perseverance.
One Saturday afternoon few months into the pandemic I got a call: "hey you want a saltwater tank?" 30 mins later dropped the tank setup with a Eelon(Zebra Moray Eel) along with DD & D0D0(Clown Pair) in a bucket. This is how I started in the hobby, prior I had freshwater tanks in college 10yrs ago.
Photo: Eelon Zebra Morey
They lived in a bucket for a week while I learned everything I could about keeping them alive and setting up a marine tank. (Generous friend moved to ATL next day)
After understanding enough & finding a whole day to set up the tank I got it up with living water from Paradise Corals in Hillsboro
Scaped and setup FOWLR
55G w/ Upgrades
Lessons Learned from 55G
- USE AQUARIUM GRADE SILICON, I have ADHD and miss details I almost got the right silicon from home depot except mine had mold inhibitors and I also missed the wait 24hrs part. Amazingly D-D + D0-D0 & Eelon survived even though they lost chunks of flesh. <Many WCs later they were doing better> this was all because I upgraded my sump from 5.5 gallons to dual 10 gallons to add more space in the sump and refugium. (IMG 2)
- Couldn't get any corals, inverts, cheato, really anything to stay alive in the tank other than the eel and clowns. As I learned more about plumbing I found the culprit... on the bright side, my clowns definitely don't have any parasites. (IMG 3)
- Used enamel-coated magnets from Amazon also leaked copper & other metals; discovered that much later thanks to ICP.
- 55G too small for 2ft eel. Eelon was eventually rehomed to a much bigger tank in Gaston, OR where he has a buddy
- Really understand PH spikes from alk / kalk. Made the mistake of dosing kalk into the return chamber which fed my GFO reactor thankfully I caught the Phosphate spike due to the sized GFO quickly and figured out the cause being the kalk. Still lost a few corals and a clam to the phosphate spike.
I took all the lessons, experience, and learnings applying them to this next build. It's now been running for two weeks and it's been a joy to watch it.
Now onto the actual upgrade build Petco Special with 500HP
Inspiration: I love sleepers from cars to now reef tanks. When I was in college I liked to build Hondas, and my final build was a 2000 Civic DX which ran 11 second 1/4 miles while keeping clean minimalist aesthetics (loved to crush Vettes). This build is 75G tank & stand that you can buy from local PetSmart/Petco with some HP under the hood. I'm also an automation geek so I wanted to make it as automated as possible. I really enjoyed the aesthetics of the European reef tank sumps on SeaFriendlyReefs YouTube channel and wanted a super clean look in the cabinet.
75G Tank Drilled dual corner returns ft. center Fuji slim overflow
Stand: Petsmart 75G Black ft. MDF
Sump: Trigger Crystal 30 (Thanks @RockChalk )
Plumbing: . Lowes/Home Depot ft. BRS
Primary Return: Varios 6 | Secondary Return: Eheim
Lighting: Dual Radion XR30s Gen 4 PRO (diffusers ordered; maybe add Reef Brite kit for that missing violet spectrum)(Thanks @Bicyclebill)
Flow: Dual Ice Cap 2K gyres
Main Controller: Apex JR(Thanks @Higher Thinking) w/ PM1: PH, Temp & FMM: Floats, Flow, and Leaks
*Floats in overflow, and sump, also in top off tank. (major automation inspiration from @SuncrestReef)
*Flow sensors pre UV & Main Overflow * Leak sensors * Programmed to prevent accidents, I'm VERY forgetful
KH Director & (anxiously waiting for) Ion Director
Dosing is provided by Kamoer X1s/Pros
Top Off: Hydor ATO (looking for a Tunze)
Heater: Inkbird ft. Titanium-300W
Cameras: 2x Blink Mini Sump Cams
Brightwell Salt w/ 7 stage RODI
ESV two-part (KHD auto-dosing steady 8.5-9dKH)
Refrigerated RedSea AB+ auto dosing (drink chillers work incredible just add a NPT fitting to the cover and tubing Amazon Link) (IMG 4)
Feed 2x daily Reef Frenzy, Pellets, Pods, Oyster Feast (Building a large diameter dosing pump to automate feeding refrigerated food, store in the chillers)
Trace Elements: Moonshine Method since June '21, submitting second ICP this week. (Moonshine ELI5: test water and dose individual elements as they deplete, daily trace dosing)
Simplicity 120 DC Skimmer ft. CO2 scrubber (3D printing a neck scrubber as next project, I have Avast Swabbie Kit FS that didn't fit due to clearance issues)
Carisea 5000 filter roller
Phosban Mini GFO reactor ft. Bag'O Carbon
Aqua Ultraviolet 15W UV
Aqua Knight Light ft. Cheato Spinz (GIF)
Yellow Tang, Clown pair, Blue Damsel, Lawnmower Blenny, Diamond Goby, 3x Chromis, Flame Hawkfish, 6-Line Wrasse, Midas Blenny
Thanks to @CuttleFishandCoral for most livestock