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Sordid tank--what would YOU do?

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skylsdale

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Jul 13, 2003
Messages
90
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WA
Okay, so a local chiropractic clinic gave me a call at home yesterday. It turns out they have a SW tank that is in poor shape and heard that I'm into that sort of thing. I went down to meet with one of the chiropractors and talk about the situation, possible changes, etc. The wet/dry broke a few days ago and leaked, so they removed it and decided it was time to do something different with the tank.

It's been up and running since the early 90's, in the same form as when they bought it fromt he previous owner. I was told it was 110 gal in volume. It's acrylic, although I'm not sure of the exact dimensions (here's a pic: http://reefs.org/phpBB2/download.php?id=11258 ). It's got a single overflow in the back left corner, with a single return plumbed from that overflow. Substrate is large crushed coral, and the tank is decorated with what looks like large pieces of lava rock...covered in algae. Inhabitants are a few fish, ALL adult sizes: tomato clown, 3-stripe damsel, hippo tang, Chaetodontoplus melanosoma, and a French angel. This tank is cramped! The hippo has HLLE, but I'm sure that's mostly from poor water quality and diet.

I talked with one of the chiropractors for quite a while, and told him that ideally I would like to get rid of all the fish and start over. He would like to do a full blown reef tank, and didn't even flinch when I began dishing out prices for skimmer, halides, etc. This will be a work in progress and we plan to slowly change the system over. However, a few things that I would appreciate your input on:

1) He can pretty much do what he wants with all the fish in the tank (e.g. get rid of them)...except for the French angel. Evidently this has become sort of a mascot for the office. His father (who is in practice with him) might not be up for letting it go, and its the fish all the patients love the most. So, worst case scenario is that the French stays. My plan would be to then find homes for all the other fish in the tank and set it up catering to the French as much as possible. The tank is too small for it, but I would plan on opening it up as much as possible and create only some low-relief aquascaping with some LR. I suggested that instead of using a wet/dry (which they already ordered a new one...and they're trying to cancel the order) he should just stick a 55 gal tank under there and use that. My plan would then be to cram that with as much LR as possible.

Now, let's say we're dealing stricly with the French at this point. From all the reading and research I've done, they'll eat anything. So, this means that the LR will pretty much be picked clean. What about inverts like hermits and snails? Would cleaner shrimp be safe with it? I was thinking of maybe a small shoal/school of chromis to add some extra movement and color since no corals would be safe around it. If the angel has to stay in there, then I want as low a bioload as possible, but still make it visually interesting for the average joe who's sitting in the waiting room. I'm going to pose all this to him and see what he says.

Another aspect is the equipment. The two flourescent bulbs are being run by a (seemingly ancient) Coralife electronic ballast. I couldn't find any other information on the ballast, so I have no idea whether this is NO or VHO. Anyone familiar with Coralife's ballasts? Here's a pic: http://reefs.org/phpBB2/download.php?id=11259

Alright, that's about all I'll dump on you guys right now. I would appreciate any info you can provide.
 
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mojoreef

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Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
HIya Skysdale, So its not going to have corals??? If not your plans sounds solid right now, the french, small scool of chromis or anthias. Maybe a long nose wrasse, they are neat to watch to. With the french corals will not fair well, I would suggest, and yea I know it sounds corny, lol but why not go with some of the coral recreations??? I have seen them in person and man they are realistic. At macna I even had Jullien Sprung staring at one for about ten mins trying to id it. This way they could have the fish they want, the color that colors give them, wouldnt have to upgrade all the equipment and such.???

Snails and crabs should be ok as long as the angel is feed well, shrimps would be a little more risky, but the fsh will always go for the path of least energy. So feed well and you should be fine. On the LR in the sump make sure you accomidate for cleaning as it will trap detritus. but it should be fine for added filtration. The skimmer should be a good one, this will help the overall healthyness of the tank.

MIke
 

skylsdale

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 13, 2003
Messages
90
Location
WA
Thanks for the info, Mike! I was actually thinking along the lines of coral recreations for this tank. ;)

Actually, I just got home a little while ago from taking measurements of the tank (59"x18"x20"). While I was there I ended up talking with him, and after doing some thinking last night he said he wanted to just get rid of all the fish and essentially start over and do a full-blown reef. As I was discussing room inside the stand for the sump, equipment, etc. he asked, "Would it be possible to just drill some holes in the floor and put it all down in the basement?" Evidently they're remodeling their offices. So, I will have an entire area to set up a sump (I'm thinking Rubbermaid stock tank), Ca reactor, skimmer, water changes, RO/DI, etc...

Do you know of anyone over there on the west side who would be interested in an adult French angel and/or Chaetodontoplus melanosoma? Those are going to be the tough fish to find a home for (the only LFS around here is a Petco).
 

skylsdale

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 13, 2003
Messages
90
Location
WA
Oh...and my personal experience in reef tanks over the last few years has never been larger than 55 gallons. Any suggestions for equipment (good, but not exhorbandantly expensive) would be GREATLY appreciated!
 

skylsdale

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 13, 2003
Messages
90
Location
WA
There is more info on the fish down in the livestock selling forum for those interested.
 

skylsdale

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 13, 2003
Messages
90
Location
WA
As an updated, most of the fish have found new homes. The French angel and C. melanosoma will be taken to the Rainforest Cafe in Southcenter (I know many people's opinion on their tanks, but very few people have a 750 gal tank that can house an adult French, either). The hippo is going to a nice big tank as well, and hopefully receive a good diet to clear up the HLLE.

As I said above, we'll be plumbing through the floor and down into a room in the basement of the building that will be dedicated to the sump, equipment, and reef stuff in general. He wants to give me a place to just be able to work on water changes, etc. unhindered.
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Skylsdale if you want start a thread in the tank design forum and we can bounce some ideas off each other.


Mike
 
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