I have been reefkeeping since 2005. I really love learning all I can from forums, articles, and other published sources, and using a little ingenuity to get the job done! My first tank was a 90 gallon corner, I HATED it with a passion - and really all I hated about the tank was its dimensions... too wide for a good light (note, this was before LEDs were popular), too small of a base for a good sump, and too square for good flow. I had 6 powerheads in the thing plus I was running a MAG18 as my return to push as much through the 10 gallon sump as I could. Long story short, my favorite fish at the time jumped (a blue-sided fairy wrasse), and I broke the tank down in a pit of despair. Moved the new things I couldn't live without to a little 40 gallon tank and just let things sit for a couple years while I thought out my tank plans and decided where I wanted to go from there.
Skip forward to early spring 2010 - my years of scheming had me sold on as long a tank as I could get, in as few gallons as I could get away with, as weight and tank size are a major issue in my 100 year old 500 sq. foot home That's when I bump into this treasure on craigslist. I picked up the tank for $100, and went to town drilling and designing the overflows, building a canopy to hold my lights and keep my fish from jumping out to the floor, throwing together a complete DIY lighting system that fit my needs, converting my old 40 gallon tank to a sump, and on and on...
System & Equipment Details
80-gallon tank (63w x 14d x 22h)
30-gallon sump (was actually the 40 gallon tank I was using previously)
Coast to coast internal overflow with Beananimal silent overflow system
Mag 12 return with 3/4" Seaswirl
2 MP40s for flow
Lifereef VS2 skimmer
BRS Reactor where I run GFO and light carbon, changed monthly
400W Metal Halide, and 6 bulbs of T5s for lighting
All the electrical is housed in a cabinet next to my tank so I don't have any live plugs under my tank where salt or water can cause some sort of catastrophe! I love it, gives me a place to hide my fish stuff, and a quick easy way to do tank maintenance without having to crawl around and electrocute myself.
Feeding, Dosing & Maintenance
I am a true slacker, and test occasionally, but here is what I strive for:
Temp - Ranges from 75-80
PH - 8
ALK - 9-11
CA - 420-450
MG - 1300
.... and that is all I test for when I do test.
Water changes are done bi-weekly, about 30 gallons at a time. I do my best not to dose, and use water changes to keep my system in balance as much as possible. At times I do minor adjustments and go for the Brightwell supplements to raise my CA or MG where needed.
Filter socks are changed daily.
When I feed my goal is to feed my whole tank. I feed daily my home-made frozen mix of fish food (shrimp, cyclopeeze, selcon, oyster feast, mysis, TDO, nori) which my fish spread around the tank generously. Nori from the organic market (only sun dried for my fishies!) is also available as often as I can remember for the tanks and angel to nibble on.
For a tank this size - it is overstocked!! But, it works.
I keep a good mix of corals, although zoanthids have been doing poorly in this tank, so I keep only 2 colonies that still seem to be doing OK - everything else melts away the minute it hits the water. My favorite corals are my lobos (especially my teal/orange deepwater one). Next I'd have to say milliporas, acros, and so on.
I'd have to say the coral I've had the longest in this tank is my ORA green slimer - it was one of the first corals I got back in 2005, and I've kept it around through all the tank changes so far (and not lost it!)
If I had a bigger tank I'd get a nice big clam, but, until then I'm maxed out with my 3 maximas and crocea.
For fish I've got: Powder Brown Tang, Scribbled Doliatus Rabbitfish, Midas Blenny, Starry Blenny, Dusky Jawfish, Red-tail Tamarin Wrasse, Midnight Dwarf Angelfish, plus a fromia starfish, fire shrimp, and tuxedo urchin. For cleanup crew I only used snails in this tank (no crabs).
Any secrets/tips on keeping the Fromia star? I've wanted one for a long time but heard they're tough to keep alive.
tricks??? hmmm no idea
I think that old rule about "well established tank with lots of live rock" holds true... I've bad this star for probably a year now, before that I had a linkia for about 8 months - it was doing great, even dropped some "comets" which was awesome! Then, I think it ate more than my tank could handle and died....
I opted for the fromia this time around as I've read they are hardier than the linkias - so far so good! I catch it eating those dang mini-starfish and sometimes the self-replicating snails... dunno if its "eat anything it can get its hands on" mindset works for it or not - long story short, I don't do anything - he lives great without any effort on my part, must like my fish poo
SAY NO TO FISH STICKS - Put screened and vented lids on your tanks, and save your wrasse
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