jlanger's 120gal Arts and Crafts Inspired Reef Build

Discussion in 'Tank Builds' started by jlanger, May 1, 2013.

  1. cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    I am often confused why others grow more algae in their scurbber in a few days than I do in a month.
    Then I see this and understand why. I obviously don't feed my fish enough.
     
  2. cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    I live the look of 100% coral coverage. Can't even tell that there is live rock. Great job.
     
  3. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I'm not an over-feeder per se, but I don't rinse my frozen foods before adding them into the tank either. I would like to upgrade to a controllable return pump so that I can keep food from going down the overflow, but there's not too much that makes it there before the fish can eat it up.

    I'm starting to think that my high nitrates keep returning due to my skimmer may be undersized for my bioload. It's "rated" for my tank, but I think I'm overstepping their recommendations toward stocking levels. Thus... the ATS.

    Thanks, William. But I can't take any of that credit.
    That photo is indicative of only a small section of the reef that has grown in, there's plenty of naked rock work throughout the tank.
    I place corals where I think they'll do well, but it's up to them to determine who ends up where. The blue mushrooms came into my tank as a hitchhiker and have found themselves to find many various open places in my tank.
     
  4. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Here's the second four day update with my ATS.

    This was what the screen looked like after I scraped it four days ago.

    [​IMG]

    Very similar results from the previous four days.
    Here's a photo of the algae screen removed from the ATS prior to scraping.

    [​IMG]

    The lighter area of algae towards the bottom of the screen is where the algae starts to build up and bulge on the screen.
    Here's a photo showing how the screen looks from a side angle.

    [​IMG]

    The algae has a nice fibrous texture; almost like the black velvet posters we had as kids.
    The algae comes off the screen relatively well with an old glass scraping blade. Since the screen has been completely seeded, there isn't much algae growth on the back side; nothing really to scrape off.
    I harvested another 2/3 cups of algae in four days of operation.

    [​IMG]

    The harvest weighed in at 2.35 ounces after all water was squeezed out.
    The dry algae harvest is just that, dry algae. There really isn't any slime being produced.

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to start a separate thread for my algae turf scrubber build.
    I figured I'll keep the algae photos separated from the fish and reef photos in this thread.
    I'll probably show and discuss the design and a few of the features of the filter. There's a few secrets that make this one unique.
    And I'll keep documenting how the filter is performing; pictures of harvests, volumes and weights and test results.
     
    #504 jlanger, Dec 17, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
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  5. Bschowa

    Bschowa I contributed!
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    Incredible results for 4 days, are you noticing a drop in your phosphates/nitrates?

    Are you still using the spray bar with the drilled holes?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I haven't noticed a drop yet.
    Nitrates are still around 32ppm. :brick1:
    Phosphates are above .16ppm. :brick:


    I am still using the spray bar with drilled holes.
    I will need to probably give that a cleaning out at some point as I do see some algae starting to grow from the spray bar. But as long as the entire screen is getting adequate water, I'll hold of on doing that maintenance.
     
  7. Leicester56

    Leicester56 I contributed!
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    You may not like the numbers, but those corals are looking great!
     
  8. BEAV9900

    BEAV9900 Senior Member
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    What test kit are you using for nitrates? I picked up a salifert and I don't really like it.
     
  9. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Red Sea.
    I like it better than the Salifert, but I really would like to see a digital checker someday.
     
  10. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Yesterday, I picked up and rehomed another goby and pistol pair; an Orange Spotted Goby and Tiger Pistol Shrimp. Thanks,Ted.
    After acclimating the goby and shrimp, I released them together under the left side island of the reef. Since the pair of Randall's Gobies stay on the right side, I thought the new goby and shrimp would do fine on the other side.
    I checked on the tank this morning and noticed that there was a lot of large rubble cast all over in front of the Randall's Gobies burrow. The two gobies were no where to be seen; which is unusual. I looked over at the other side to see if I could find the Orange Spotted Goby or shrimp. I found the new burrow easily enough (fresh pile of sand) under the main structure and I could see the new goby perched at the opening; just chilling'.
    So what was going on with the pair of Randall's Gobies?

    I added some food to the tank; no response from the Randall's.
    Fearing something bad had happened overnight, I grabbed my flashlight to look inside the burrow. This is what I found...

    [​IMG]

    Yep. Eggs!
    The Randall's Gobies spawned last night and are protecting the egg mass. I would've thought that the male was way too young for spawning with how small he is. But then again, my female has been in the tank for over four years and was just waiting for a male to show up.
    The male will poke his head around the corner to see what the bright flashes of light are about, but for now, they're content to stay inside the burrow.
    One more exciting adventure in reefing!
     
    #510 jlanger, Dec 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
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  11. LowersMyBP

    LowersMyBP I contributed!
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    Now that is cool. Shrimp/goby multiples is one thing I haven't gotten to try. I haven't tried too hard, the shrimp I want are harder to find than I anticipated. Whenever I look, the stores don't have them. I forget to look often. Groovy for you. This, and only this, is why tanks need sand.
     
  12. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Happy Birthday!!!

    The 120gal Arts and Crafts Inspired Reef is four years old!

    The past year was one filled with a lot of changes; good and not-so-good.
    I started the year knowing that I had high nutrients and a bad alkalinity level based on the recalled Hanna reagents. I started taking steps to rectify those issues with doing massive water changes of 50% every other day. I added two ceramic media blocks to my sump and seeded those with bottled bacteria. All of this helped with my high nutrients, but only short term. I ended up removing my old sand bed and replacing it with a slightly larger sand; much easier to clean. While the nutrient levels did drop, they slowly crept back up again. My thoughts then turned toward that my protein skimmer may not be large enough for such a highly packed system. Based on the success of other members in the club, I decided to employ an Algae Turf Scrubber to combat the nitrates and phosphates. I've only had the ATS filter running for just over a month and I'm getting some thick harvests, but I'm still watching how the nutrient levels will be affected.
    In addition to combating high nutrients, I also encountered very low pH levels during the summer months. I ended up running about twenty-five feet of pipe up through the wall and through the soffit to an exterior wall to add a fresh air line to my protein skimmer. The increased oxygen levels successfully raised my pH to acceptable levels.

    Mostly good things that happened this year occurred with my fish.
    Although I lost a few fish this year (One Spot Foxface, Mimic Tang, Midas Blenny and a couple of Lyretail Anthias), I added some special fish to my system this year.
    I [finally] purchased some Pintail Fairy Wrasses; a trio but only a pair survived. These fish had been on my wish list for a few years and when the opportunity arose to acquire them, I did.
    My female Blue Star Leopard Wrasse transitioned into a gorgeous male. At first I wasn't excited about the change, but now I couldn't imagine a more impressive fish.
    Already having my pair of Percula Clownfish spawning in the tank, my harem of Lyretail Anthias decided to try spawning in the water column. It was very interesting to watch them prepare for just the right moment to spawn each night just as the lights went out. I have since lost the male and the incumbent male as well, so now I'm left with only a pair of females. Someday I'll add another group and see how it goes.
    Late in the year, I added a very small Randall's Goby to the tank. My hopes were to have the small goby pair up with my much larger resident Randall's Goby. They paired almost immediately; "Yea!" But that wasn't the end of it. After being together for about five weeks, the pair built a nest and spawned in their burrow. Woohoo!!
    The last addition this year was I took in a rehomed Orange Spotted Goby. It has only been just over a week, so it is still quite shy and hasn't let me get a decent picture of it yet but it is doing well.

    I haven't really added much in the way of corals this past year. With all of the issues with the water quality, I tried to refrain from adding new corals. That being said, the montipora colonies have grown quite large; again. I'm starting to think that I should, once again, remove the larger colonies and create some more area for other corals. If the ATS does get my nutrients to acceptable levels and I feel confident to add more acropora corals, I may just have to do it; again.

    That's a quick recap of Year Three. Here's to a better Year Four!
    Here's some birthday photos!

    FTS - Four Years Old.

    [​IMG]

    Lower Chasm; filling in with LPS corals.

    [​IMG]

    A few top-down photos; still my favorite view.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's just a couple of individual fish pictures.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And the newest couple.

    [​IMG]
     
    #512 jlanger, Dec 27, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  13. Fishfoo

    Fishfoo Junior Member
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    The top down photos look fantastic. One of my favorite tanks in the club (and build thread). Congrats on 4 years, Jason!

    I may have missed it if you did, but any update on the pintail wrasse pair? Are you thinking about adding a third anytime soon?
     
  14. JELP

    JELP Senior Member
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    Tank is looking great! Looking forward to your next meeting so I can come check it and that fancy new ATS out.
     
  15. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Thanks.
    The pair of pintails are doing great. Both have grown in size and eat everything. The male has "reverted" in coloration a bit since first acquired; lost the black bar and tail wedge. I asked about that and it's common for the wrasses to teeter on the edge of being a terminal male. The online vendor that I received the fish from seems to have dissolved, so it looks like I'll not be replacing the lost female. My thoughts to try and get the terminal coloration back is to add another male from a different fairy wrasse species. Since the pintails are not very large or boisterous fish, I would like to add a male Lineatus Fairy Wrasse; they're one of the less aggressive species and most colorful.

    There may be plans of a "meeting" this summer. Stay tuned.
    But if you'd like to see the tank and the ATS sooner, let me know. You're not that far away.
     
  16. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Just a quick video to go with the Four Year update.



    As I watched this, I realized how empty the tank looks without the full harem of anthias. The pair of females doesn't add the punch of yellow that the larger group did, so I'll definitely add another trio someday. I have the small foxface in my Fluval that will likely move into this tank soon, so more yellow fish are planned.
    In comparison to my video 16 months ago, you can see how much the montipora colonies have grown; even with being trimmed numerous times.

    The video also shows how much flow the tank gets during the daytime.
    I have four MP40's that are set up in two pairs that are controlled through my Apex. I use a few different modes throughout the day, but the primary mode is a pulse that is anti-synched between the pairs of pumps. I get a decent wave that rocks back and forth. The LPS corals that are tucked in the chasm even get enough flow to sway in the current. The program does calm down during the evening and overnight so that it's not a constant blast of water the whole day.
     
    #516 jlanger, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  17. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    At last weekend's SWE Birthday Party, I picked up two juvenile (2"+) Midas Blennies. We don't believe that they were brought in as a pair as they were originally placed in separate display tanks, but one of them had to have jumped the partition and ended up with the other one. Being that they had spent the week together without incident, I decided I couldn't pass up on getting the two fish.
    After spending their first week in my display, the two blennies are doing very well together. They're nearly inseparable as they swim close to each other; following each other around. When one fish decides it's time to rest, the other follows. One of the blennies has taken up residence in a hole the previous blenny used, while the other blenny has decided that my staghorn acropora coral is the perfect fit. These little fish have such high energy it's like watching young puppies interact with older dogs.

    Here's a short video from their first weekend in my tank.
    [YOUTUBE]qqwN6-aRw_c[/YOUTUBE]

    And here's a couple photos of them.
    It's nearly impossible to get both of them in focus in one shot, but I'll be giving it my damnedest to get one someday.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I still plan on adding some more female anthias to the display so that they're will be a nice harem for the blennies to "hide" in.
     
    #517 jlanger, Jan 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  18. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Over the course of the past couple of weeks, I've been doing some "spring cleaning" of sorts.

    I've attacked the vermetid snail population by physically removing those that are easily evicted and by gluing the tubes closed on those in tougher to reach spots. I also fragged or removed some corals that were losing the battle to the snails.

    I've fragged many of the montipora colonies to open up some real estate and stave off any territorial battles.
    I moved a couple corals to better locations. I even sold one of the mid-sized colonies to open up room on the left island. I haven't decided on what I'm going to place in that vacancy yet. And I'm considering selling the big red colony from the top right corner. It's about as big as I can allow it to grow without attaching to the glass and overgrowing other corals; but it looks so cool!
    I moved the Oregon Tort away from encroaching corals to a new spot that is front and center for better viewing; hopefully it will be happy there.
    The larger bubble coral colony was fragged into three smaller colonies (vermetid snail infestation) and I'm debating on putting them back together or placing them in various locations for more movement along the bottom of the reef.
    Many of the corals that suffered through the last few hiccups are recovering again; new growth and improved coloration.

    My Algae Turf Scrubber has been working very well; see Documentation Thread for more info.
    I have been pleased with it's performance as it seems to maintain the nutrient levels. If I had built the scrubber with two LED fixtures, I believe it might be performing even better; possible upgrade.

    As for the fish, I'm really pleased with the addition of the two Midas Blennies; they're fun to watch. They act like twins. When one takes a rest, the other follows. When one decides to swim in the water column, the other follows.
    I'm down to just one lone female lyretail anthias. The next fish addition to this tank will be another group; 4-5 females. But I'm also really liking the trios of Bimaculatus Anthias that I've seen.
    The new Orange Spotted Goby is doing great, but I have yet to get a decent photo of it; likes the shadows.
    The pair of Randall's Gobies are still doing well. They've kept their burrow very well guarded over the past month. I have noticed them building nests periodically; whether anything is happening inside, I cannot see!
    The pair of pintail wrasses are growing into nice, thick bodied wrasses. These fish are fun to watch!
    The male leopard wrasse is still magnificent. Tempted to add a couple of females, but not until the angelfish is rehomed.
    Speaking of, the Lamarck's Angelfish is still the king/queen! A beauty of a fish, but a tad too big for this reef.
    The Kole Tang and the Scribbled Rabbitfish are still buddies as they patrol for any algae.
    The female Bangaii Cardinalfish and the Yellow Clown Goby are tow fish that seem to become lost in the tank. I've half-heartedly have tried to catch the goby to move it into my nano tank. If I catch the Bangaii Cardinalfish, I'll probably pass it along somewhere.

    Here's a couple of recent fish pics.

    The male Splendid Pintail Fairy Wrasse.
    His coloration fluctuates on the verge of going more terminal male. Thinking that adding another male fairy wrasse (Lineatus, perhaps!) will promote his coloration into full terminal male phase. His coloration does change at dusk to include more colors and flashes of white along his back.
    [​IMG]

    The female Splendid Pintail Fairy Wrasse.
    The yellows on the face are really striking with these wrasses.
    [​IMG]

    Size doesn't matter to this little guy when he has a job to do!
    Since the first sighting of the gobies building nests in their burrow, the male has been the primary watchdog for the pistol shrimp; the female tends to stay closer to or inside the burrow. The male goby is no bigger than the pistol shrimp itself.
    [​IMG]
     
    #518 jlanger, Feb 3, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
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  19. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    So I spent today trying to get a one decent photo with both of the blennies; a few were close but nothing good enough.
    The best I could do was take a wider shot of the reef with most of the fish visible; and both blennies in focus.

    [​IMG]

    In addition, I took some new photos of some of the other fish that haven't made an appearance lately.

    The male Blue Star Leopard Wrasse.
    [​IMG]

    The Yellow Eye Kole Tang.
    [​IMG]

    The Scribbled Rabbitfish.
    [​IMG]

    And finally a photo of the new Orange Spotted Goby.
    [​IMG]

    And as I was taking top down photos of some of the corals, one of the Tiger Pistol Shrimps decided it was safe to come out and take a look.
    [​IMG]

    I also took a lot of coral photos today, but those will be in the next post.
     
    #519 jlanger, Feb 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  20. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Time for some coral pics from this past weekend.

    This rainbow lobophyllia has always been one of my favorites; great color and has done rather well with no feedings.
    [​IMG]

    Even up very close, it still mesmerizes me.
    [​IMG]

    I picked up this favia coral from AcanLord a while back.
    Like the lobophyllia, it's situated in a somewhat inconspicuous location and only gets noticed when you're looking for it.
    [​IMG]

    The RR Nauti Spiral coral I picked up from Eric last year continues to grow (about 5"x7"); and be a pain to photograph. The coral has a soft "sherbet orange " base color with a bright pink rim. Regardless, it's a nice looking montipora that is starting to scroll in upon itself.
    [​IMG]

    The Phoenix Montipora frag is slowly coming along. It was being pestered by nearby vermetid snails but didn't suffer any real damage; just irritated and maybe slowed any growth.
    [​IMG]

    A few of the acropora spp. corals that suffered, once again, during my nutrient issues have started to rebound.
    The Hawkins Echinata is growing again. I did have to move this frag to a new temporary location, but I haven't found a new permanent home for it yet.
    [​IMG]

    My Blue Tipped Tenuis frag was down to its last two polyps. Those polyps held on and have started to sprout new growth; here's what just one of the polyps has grown into.
    [​IMG]

    And things must be getting better when my PC Rainbow Acropora starts to color up again. I've almost lost this frag three times now, but it manages to hang on and come back when parameters are corrected.
    [​IMG]

    And the Montipora hoffmeisteri has almost regained its lost territory. When I fragged this coral last summer, most of the remaining colony started to die off. Over the past few months, it has regrown over the dead base and has started to plate out over the zoanthid polyps.
    There's a lot of territorial disputes going on with the corals on this one rock. Luckily, the Orange M. setosa isn't attached to the rock and can be moved if needed. It's the zoanthids and mushrooms that have been fighting for space the most. But I enjoy the complementary and analogous colors in this section of the reef to start moving corals away from here.
    [​IMG]

    And who doesn't like the look of a nice scrolling montipora colony from above; fibonacci anyone?
    [​IMG]

    Last, but not least.
    My purple M. digitata has colored up very nicely in this location; it really stands out against the orange setosa behind it.
    There's a small acropora frag that has been long considered a goner that has recently colored back up. I'll have to get in there and remove it from this location as the setosa and Forest Fire Digitata are closing in on it.
    And if you look closely, someone thinks it's hiding from you.
    [​IMG]
     
    #520 jlanger, Feb 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
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