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Reef Tanks

October 01, 2013 by Peter (0 Comments)
I know I haven't posted in ages to the site, but rest assured that is going to change.

In December of last year, we sold our 240 gallon tank after endless months of it never being converted to a reef ready tank. After so much heartache on that tank, I knew it was time for a change.

After much begging and whining, my wife allowed me to get a larger tank. I wanted the largest I could fit through the garage door and also that would fill the space where I wanted the tank to go. The dimensions I had in my mind where 123x30x30". I also wanted to go with acrylic, since moving glass is a pain and I'm a little nervous having a 10 foot glass panel.

After taking a few months away from the hobby, I started getting quotes on the new tank. One of the better quotes, and more importantly, the company that seemed the most interested in my project was Jeff at Pimped Out Aquariums in Maryland.

After a few months the new tank was done. The final dimensions ended up being 120x29x31". 120" panels seemed to be the max we could find. Jeff had told me that panels would sometimes come in a bit longer. Jeff also ended up building my tank out of 1" acrylic, since the 3/4" acrylic is now a little thinner than .75". Jeff just didn’t' feel right building a 31" tall tank out of under 3/4" acrylic. Jeff absorbed the additional cost, which was a huge shock to me and showed the type of person he is.

The tank was shipped from Maryland to Austin, Texas in just a few days and arrived without any issues. The closest terminal to us was in San Antonio, my wife and I rented a Penske truck and picked it up. Lucky for us, a local reef club member, Tim, came to help us take the tank in the house. Tim has moved some huge tanks in his day, and with his tank lift, we were able to move the tank into place with just Tim, my wife and I. Funny enough, we had about 1" of clearance width wise and 2" of clearance length wise. Otherwise the tank would not have fit in the house. It's just funny that the tank was such an exact fit.

I just ordered 400 lbs of mixed dry rock (prime cuts / regular) from Marco Rocks, and it will cure in an aqua farm for a few months after an acid wash. The stand will also be started soon and made out of steel by a local reef club member as well. All that's left is to plumb the sump and setup the auto-topoff and automatic water change systems.

I'm so excited, and am one step closer to having a large reef tank with the hope of keeping a Sohal Tang and Achilles Tang together. Keep checking back to follow the build of this monster 470 gallon reef tank.

October 01, 2013 by Peter (0 Comments)
Just wanted to post an update almost a year later of how our little Frogspawn coral is doing.

After re-doing our 55 gallon tank with better flow and strong LED lighting, the Frogspawn has really taken off. In less than a year, it now has around 5 or 6 heads and is just massive. I think we're putting together this new large tank together just in time. The Frogspawn should now have tons of room to grow in the new tank.

October 01, 2013 by Peter (0 Comments)
The main goal of starting over with our 55 gallon tank was to try to keep more difficult species of coral. The most difficult type of coral to keep are the SPS/Acropora variety.

After going to a very nice coral store, but finding out they didn't keep much SPS, I had to bite the bullet and buy a tiny frag of Surf N Turf Coral from a store I didn't much like. The owner, who is so set in his old fashioned ways, even told me SPS would not grown under LEDs.

Needless to say, less than a year later, that tiny SPS frag has just blown up in size. I really can't wait to get this Surf N Turf into the new tank and get it under better LEDs with much more flow and better filtration. I have a feeling this might become a superstar coral in my new tank.

October 01, 2013 by Peter (0 Comments)
The Candy Cane coral is a true stand out in a reef aquarium. With it's crazy neon yellow/green color, it is sometimes also labeled the Kryptonite Coral.

We've had the Candy Cane for just over a year and it has already split a few times, now looking a lot bigger than when we first bought it. The Candy Cane seems to be a pretty easy coral to keep as well. I really also enjoy seeing it feeding at night, when the Candy Cane looks a bit creepy with it's tentacles out in full extension. I really feel that in the new tank, the Candy Cane will take off and get much larger.

October 01, 2013 by Peter (0 Comments)
The Flower Pot Coral might be one of the cutest species of coral on the market. Needless to say my wife fell in love with it and said we really need to add it to the tank.

The specimen of Flower Pot was bought was extremely small and has grown slowly in our tank. I'm not sure if this is due to flow, placement or lighting. We hardly ever seen full extension, but hopefully in the new tank we'll see the Flower Pot take off.

October 01, 2013 by Peter (0 Comments)
One of the pieces of coral I've always wanted to have in my tank was a Torch Coral. I just loved how it's sweeping tentacles would sway in the flow of a reef tank.

After we sold our 240 gallon tank and decided to start new with the 55 gallon tank, I knew I wanted a Torch Coral right away. We went to check out a local coral store and were blown away with their selection. After browsing for a few minutes I found the perfect little Torch to take home.

The torch has been a great coral in our tank. It always catches your eye, and our little Black Ice Snowflake Clownfish has even decided to host in it.

I really can't wait to see the Torch Coral grow and prosper in our new 470 gallon reef tank as well. Make sure to check out this page often for updates on the Torch Coral as it grows.

December 03, 2012 by Peter (1 Comment)
Just a quick update on everything.

I finally got our 240 gallon tank back and have no decided to sell it. Given the over 10 months this build took and really started thinking about what I wanted to keep in the tank. After a lot of soul searching, I decided that a 240 gallon 8 foot tank would not work out for us.

My goal is really keep and Achilles Tang and Sohal Tang together in a tank. It seems like to do this you need at least a 10 foot tank. So with that in mind I put the tank up for sale. It was purchased by a local reef club member named Jeff. He plans on keeping Clowns in the tank... which I'm sure are going to be some of the happiest Clowns around.

I'm going to wait until the Spring or Summer to purchase our new tank, and in the meantime I'm going to focus on redoing our 55 gallon tank for better coral growth.

I will keep you updated on both the 55 transformation and also the next tank we plan on buying.

November 16, 2012 by Peter (0 Comments)
Just a quick update about our 240 gallon tank, I'll follow this up shortly with a lot more information.

After dropping off the tank at the new tank builder, he had finished the new overflows and returns in just a few days. He also made the overflows boxes a little smaller and used better acrylic for the overflows.

I'm going to spend the next few days cleaning up some of the acrylic and leveling the stand. The new sump will be dropped off and installed next Sunday. From then it's off to the races. Can't wait!!!

November 12, 2012 by Peter (0 Comments)
Well I purchased my 240 gallon tank back in January 2012. In February a local tank builder started working on my new tank.

He was going to setup two internal overflows and build a sump and refugium. The build was going to take 2-3 months and that was fine with me. After the first deadline came and went I started getting a little concerned.

This started a string of it'll be done next week or two weeks from now that last until mid-November. In the middle of August was the first time I got the tank back. The first thing I tried to do was fill the overflows and see if they leaked. They did.

The tank builder came by the house twice and couldn't fix the leaks. I took it upon myself to fix the leaks with Weld On glue for acrylic. I was just unable to stop the leaks, and after talking to the tank builder we decided to go with thicker acrylic for the overflows.

I was told two weeks when the tank was picked up, which ended up being 3 months. When the tank was dropped off again, it leaked worse than the last time he picked it up. I still didn't have a sump or refugium either.

At this point I decided to call it a day and let the tank builder go. The tank was dropped off to the new builder Saturday night, and two days Later the following Monday the new overflows and returns are complete. The sump should take a few days.

Seems like the previous tank builder started a new job and didn't have time for my tank. He also informed me that my tank was the last he would be working on.

I'll have some pics of the new tank build very soon :)

November 02, 2012 by Peter (0 Comments)
Ok so I know the last few days have been very sad and full of death, but just one more sad story to tell. Also hopefully this will be my last post about a fish passing away for a long long time.

I always wanted to add a Purple Tang to our 240 gallon mixed reef, so when a opportunity came up for me to purchase a young Purple Tang in great shape at a low price I couldn't pass it up. My new tank was going to be done soon anyway, so I didn't see anything wrong with taking the plunge.

I got him home and put him into our 20 gallon quarantine tank with new filters and a 50/50 mix of display tank and new saltwater. He seems pretty happy and eat like a pig. After a few weeks I noticed that he was starting to develop HLLE (Head and lateral line erosion). I did some research and decided that the area I was keeping the Purple Tang in was too dark with inadequate lighting and no natural sunlight.

I then borrowed a 40 gallon tank from my tank builder and put a bunch of live rock that had been curing for a few months in with the tang. I also put in two new filter pads. Which I soon read were probably causing the HLLE from the type of carbon they used.

Frantic I then tore out the carbon and rinsed the filters extremely well and did a 50% water change. My tank build didn't come to an ended and we hit a bunch of road blocks along the way. The best ways to fight HLLE are with better nutrition and better water quality. I feed the Purple Tang everyday with vitamin soaked nori and mysis shrimp. He ate like a pig but his HLLE never seemed to improve. I knew this was because of water quality, the lack of a skimmer, poor filtering of the HOB filter, no cleanup crew and heavy feeding didn't help that mater.

I was shocked that the little guy held on for so long, but one day I found him swimming very strange and having problems staying upright. I then took it upon myself to do a 50%+ water change and really clean every inch of the tank with a siphon. It was all in vain and the Purple Tang died the next day. It was crushing on us. I felt so bad I was forced to keep the fish in such a badly filtrated tank for nearly 5 months. The HLLE, stress, water quality etc... just ended up getting the better of him.

I do plan on getting another Purple Tang, but this time I'm hoping to quarantine for only 4-6 weeks and just look out for any signs of infection. If all goes well, he'll go into the 240 with my existing Yellow Tang. I will also be quarantining another Yellow Tang separately, so I can add 2 Yellow Tangs and 1 Purple Tang for 3 Zebrasoma Tangs going in simultaneously to cut down on tang warfare.

I've learned my lesson this time and will only be buying the new Yellow and Purple Tangs after my 240 is up and running with no leaks or other issues. I will no let this happen again to a fish...

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