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Thread: My long distance relationship with my reef.

  1. #1
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    My long distance relationship with my reef.

    Been away for college going on 4 years now. This is how I enjoy my reef.


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    Last edited by zosyn; 07-14-2014 at 02:57 AM.
    -Eric
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  2. #2
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    It's been a long journey of trial and error, but this is how it looks today.

    (The sps is kinda mad at me right now because I let the phosphate spike during some remodeling)

    please disregard the poor carpentry...







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    Last edited by zosyn; 07-14-2014 at 03:04 AM.
    -Eric
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  3. #3
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    When I first left for college in 2011, I tried to do the responsible thing and sell all my corals and fish. But there were a few fish I just could not let go of: a blue tang, 2 clownfishes (Marlin and Coral), and a green chromis (Ivan the Terrible). So I decided to leave my 75 gallon tank running with just live rock and no coral (sorry tang police).

    For filtration I had a refugium with chaeto and a skimmer. I was fortunate enough to come home every one to two months and do big water changes and switch out the carbon. (If anyone asks... I came home because I was homesick and not to do water changes :X)

    I battled the worst of the worst hair algae.. but since it was fish only and no corals, I wasn't too concerned. I managed to control my impulses to buy any corals for the first 2 years.. but finally one summer break I caved and added 1 or 2 zoa polyps that I got for free.

    The overflow box was a breeding ground for hair algae.


    refugium with chaeto and flame algae.
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    Last edited by zosyn; 07-14-2014 at 04:20 AM.
    -Eric
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  4. #4
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    More pictures of algae problems.

    Honestly, I didn't think the fish would make it past my first semester away, but they did. And I didn't think they Zoa polyps would make it either, but they did.. and they grew! So I started looking into ways I could maintain better water parameters from long distance. My school is in a very small town and I had a lot of time on my hands. So I did research.. instead of studying of course.

    My funds were very limited being a poor college student so I had to decide where to allocate my funds. I narrowed it down to either a more efficient skimmer (I was running an ASM G-3 at the time) or a water changing system. In the end, after weighing the benefits of each, I decided to go with a water change system (Genesis Renew). At the time I had employed (for free) my little sister to feed my fish and my dad to empty out the skimmer collection cup.

    I taught my very unwilling sister how to mix salt water and press a single button to do the water changes and left for school again.


    These were probably taken early 2012.




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    Last edited by zosyn; 07-14-2014 at 04:06 AM.
    -Eric
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  5. #5
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    I left home very optimistic that semester. I even added a couple of frags because they were a really good deal. (Sorry to all the people shaking their heads at me). I still ran into hair algae problems, so the next time I came back home, I added a GFO reactor. All the while, I also was tweaking my skimmer and water change regimen.







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    Last edited by zosyn; 07-14-2014 at 04:22 AM.
    -Eric
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  6. #6
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    When I came back for winter break in 2013, everything was actually looking good. The hair algae had receded and the corals were more or less happy. Trido had also been holding a sps frag pack for me. I moved a bunch of the rocks and made a frag rack. My intention was never to make my fish tank look pretty, I just wanted everything to do well. And so earlier this past year, this is how everything started to look.

    You may see a lot of frags on the frag rack, but most of them were not new. They were corals that I had fragged myself. Mostly Zoas that had outgrown their previous frag plug.









    I had also got a webcam for Christmas!
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    Last edited by zosyn; 07-14-2014 at 04:25 AM.
    -Eric
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  7. #7
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    These are a couple of months later.















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    Last edited by zosyn; 07-14-2014 at 04:36 AM.
    -Eric
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  8. #8
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    A few more from earlier this year. Around January 2014.









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    Last edited by zosyn; 07-14-2014 at 04:11 AM.
    -Eric
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  9. #9
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    Along the way I had also made some upgrades.

    I picked up a Vertex Omega 150 during black Friday to replace the ASM Skimmer. I was very satisfied by how much more skimmate the Vertex was creating. The break in period was also very short.

    I got a webcam for Christmas. Prior to that I would stress out when it got too hot or too cold or too windy in Seattle. I would call home to check on the status of the fish tank! My sister got really annoyed.

    I also switched over from Metal Halides to a LED's to save on power and to remove the heat that the metal halide created. My dad was also getting mad that I kept blowing fuses because of the heaters constantly being on during the winter in combination with the metal halides.
    -Eric
    75g mixed reef.

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  10. #10
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    Some more progress pictures. This mid February 2014. I also plumbed a 55g together with the 75 gallon. They shared a single sump and refugium. I started gluing the sps frags to rocks because they had out grown their frag plugs. I used the 55g as a display and the 75g as a frag tank.









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    Last edited by zosyn; 07-14-2014 at 04:12 AM.
    -Eric
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  11. #11
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    During this last semester away, I tried to think of ways to make the tank more efficient. I decided that flow and rearranging the tanks would be the best route. I had been using an overflow box to drain water from the tanks to the sump and refugium. I hated the overflow boxes because if they clogged while I was away, I would have no flow into the display tanks. (I have float switches in the display tanks to turn off the pumps to prevent overflow).

    Things I needed to do:

    1. Drilled holes in the 55g and the 75g and installed overflow boxes.

    2. Replaced the plastic bin i was using as a sump with a 50g breeder. I added baffles to the 50g breeder to create compartments in the sump.

    3. Due to lack of time, I had removed the refugium (far right) and did not get a chance to plumb it in with the main system. i will probably do this on a later date.

    4. Lastly, Rearrange the tanks so that access to the sump is more efficient. and improve the usage of space.

    Last edited by zosyn; 07-14-2014 at 04:13 AM.
    -Eric
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  12. #12
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    The tricky part was transferring everything into holding tanks, then drilling the tanks and waiting a week for the silicone to cure on the over flow boxes.

    Also did a vinegar bath for all the pumps and power heads progressively through out the remodel.







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    -Eric
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  13. #13
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    This is what I was able to do during my last visit home.

    This is what my fish tank area looks like right now. the tanks on the far right aren't in use right now. will be worked on at a future date. The top tank with the pink was the former refugium. The black bin was the old sump.


    This is the frag tank. Everything that i couldn't find a place for in the display ended up here.


    and lastly, this is the display tank. Sorry for the bad picture. I will upload a better one next time I am home.
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  14. #14
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    Many of the corals, especially the SPS, were not happy about the moving. My Genesis Renew was also out of commission, so water changes werent being done as often. I also let my phospates get out of control and had to correct it before things started recovering.


    Here is an example. This coral was bright green before I started the remodel. This is an older picture, so it is a little smaller.


    After the water parameters in my tank went crazy. I didn't know any better and though it was dead.. but luckily i thought it was a cool rock formation and maybe i can have an encrusting coral grow over it one day so i kept it in the tank.


    A week after I returned to school, my sister sends me this picture and asked if that is algae growing on that "dead" coral or if it was getting it color back. I have limited experience with SPS, so i had no clue.


    It has been about 2 or 3 weeks since I deemed this coral "dead." this is what it looks like now.
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    -Eric
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  15. #15
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    Here are some pictures from the frag tank.





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