jlanger's 120gal Arts and Crafts Inspired Reef Build

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

  1. eschulist

    eschulist That Office Nano Guy
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    That Phoenix is fraggable size now :kackle:
     
  2. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Last weekend my clownfish spawned again, but this time she laid the eggs on the front of the rock. I'm not sure if she chose this new location because of the growing duncan colonies or another reason. Since the clutch is now visible without having to look from the end/top of the tank, I can get some better photos of the eggs.

    I do have to admit that I haven't been feeding my fish the LRS Fertility Frenzy lately; mostly because I ran out and have other packages available. I didn't think there would be any real impact from not feeding them this food, but apparently there is. The clutch of eggs was very sparse this time; less than 50 eggs total. Normally, the clutch is tightly packed and contains a couple hundred eggs. Whether this has anything to do with the lack of fertility-based foods or the new nest location, I don't know. It's not like I'm breeding the fish to raise the fry. But I did stop into AcanLord this week and pick up another flat of LRS Fertility Frenzy.

    Here's some of the eggs when I noticed them Monday night.
    I'm guessing they were laid on Friday night and I wasn't home to notice them over the weekend.

    [​IMG]

    And here's how they've developed over the past week.

    [​IMG]

    In addition to the clownfish spawning, my pair of Randall's Gobies seem to be busy.
    The female goby has been very reclusive the past week; not venturing forth from the burrow. Two of the three front entrances to the burrow have been closed off all week while the male guards the third and the side entrance. The female has poked her head out of the burrow a couple of times during feedings, but she will not leave the burrow.
    I would love to see what is happening inside of that burrow.
     
    #522 jlanger, Feb 18, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
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  3. cathorn

    cathorn Senior Member
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    Great pictures Jason. It is nice to see the eyes of the babies.
     
  4. Fishfoo

    Fishfoo Junior Member
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    Agree. Awesome pic of the babies' eyes
     
  5. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    One step forward. Two steps back.

    Yesterday, I checked on the clownfish eggs and those that remained looked fully developed. I didn't have time to take any photos, so I hoped on doing it today.
    As luck would have it, the fry must've hatched last night as the nest was completely bare. :peeved:

    I proceeded to do my daily checks of the tank and I found out that I had forgotten to turn my ATS water supply pump back on from the day before. :grr:
    What algae had been on the screen was completely dried out so I scraped it off. When I turned the water pump back on, the water basically washed the screen clean. There're a few little pieces of algae lining at the bottom of the screen, but nothing really substantial. It looks like I'll be starting back at Day One.
    (I just arranged to get some algae back from Tim, so that's good news.)

    After I finished working on the ATS, I discovered this nice surprise.



    The clownfish immediately got busy and laid a new clutch of eggs. :lovebirds:
    This clutch is much better than the previous one; at least twice as large. Fertility Frenzy? :lightbulb:
    With the nest now on the front face of the rock, it's much easier to monitor the eggs and get photos and video; except someone had to mount a frag of hammer coral right in front of that rock! :squint:
     
    #525 jlanger, Feb 22, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  6. Hydroman

    Hydroman Senior Member
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    I don't know how many times I have viewed this thread and it always fascinating. Thanks for all of the detailed pictures.

    [​IMG]

    How wide is the wood that spans the gap above the doors? It looks to be a pair of 3/4" boards about four feet long, one about two inches wide and other about one inch wide. I would have assumed that with the weight of a 120 and an unsupported span over the doors that you would need a wider board (4+ inches).

    I just saw the pictures of the developing clownfish, those are great photographs.
     
    #526 Hydroman, Feb 24, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  7. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    The main top rail is ¾" by 2-½". The secondary trim piece is ¾" by 1-¼".
    The top rail of the back face frame has the wider 3-¾" wide rail.

    There are a couple of other factors that help support the tank over the full length opening.
    Most importantly, the weight of the tank is supported with the four corner posts that run all the way to the floor. The four corners of the aquarium are directly above the interior joints of the corner posts.
    Here's a picture of how the corners are built; butt-joints, dadoed joints that are fully glued, nailed or screwed.

    [​IMG]

    To help keep the span of the aquarium supported, there is the ½" thick sub-top that is attached to the stand to hold it all together. Those narrow front rails of the face frame are glued and screwed to this layer.
    And then there's the solid 1" thick laminate top which supports the weight of the tank.

    Hope this helps answer your question.
     
    #527 jlanger, Feb 24, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  8. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I no longer need to know what was happening inside the burrow.
    Tonight, I pulled the female from the tank as she was on her way out. :cry:
    She had spent the last couple of days lurking outside the burrow with no response to feeding, contact with the pistol shrimp or any outside activity. The small male would try to guard her as he kept his attention fixed on guarding the burrow first. She ended up listlessly drifting around the lower reef today and tonight she started dashing up into the water column with no real control of direction or intent. So instead of letting her pass and be consumed in the tank, I was able to grab her from the water column and placed her in the freezer. She had no signs of disease or parasites; just a healthy fish. I knew something was amiss when all of the blocked entrances were opened up this weekend.
    The female goby was one of the fish that made the transfer from the 45gal Cube over four years ago. I must've had her for over six years.

    [​IMG]

    I'll definitely be on the look out for another Randall's Goby.




    This event seems to parallel that of my anthias.
    After the fish began spawning, their health declined. When the male and transitioning anthias passed, their behavior was exactly like that of the goby; disinterested in eating, reclusive and then slowly faded away until the last throes of desperation.
    I'll need to look into this some more.
     
    #528 jlanger, Feb 25, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  9. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    It's been over a month since my last update. In that time, I have added some new inhabitants and removed some others.

    The biggest change was that I, once again, removed a couple the larger Montipora hodgsoni colonies from the reef. The "damage" wasn't as drastic as the first time I sold the large colonies, but it still makes quite an impression after seeing how much real estate those corals took up. Not only did the removal of the two colonies affect the tank visually, it's also affecting the tank chemically. I had been dosing 85ml/day of the ESV B-Ionic 2 part supplements to keep up with the calcium and carbonate demand. Over the past few weeks, I have dropped the doses to 75ml/day and the levels continue to slowly creep upward.
    Here's a photo right after the two colonies were removed.

    [​IMG]

    Some of the new additions to the tank came from my visit to Rhinelander in March.
    I picked up another trio of female Lyretail Anthias. I was really tempted to bring home a trio of the Square Spot Anthias or Bimaculatus Anthias. The square spots were gorgeous but they were a tad too large for my system. The bimacs were also gorgeous and a tad smaller, but I was talked out of it as they too would eventually get too large. The lyretails were similar in size to my lone existing female lyretail, so adding the new trio was the right thing to do. The pair of Midas Blennies also enjoy having more anthias to swim around with now. Currently, I'm waiting for the dominant female to begin her transition to male; she's giving chase to the other females already, so it's a matter of time before her coloration deepens and the spots appear on the fins.

    [​IMG]

    I was also looking for new partners for all of my gobies on this trip. I really was hoping to find a female Randall's Goby for my small male, but all of the Randall's they had in stock were of a similar size to my male. I did find a smaller Orange Spotted Goby that I brought home to try and pair up with my larger goby. It's been a few weeks now, but the two gobies don't really have any interest in one another. They have their burrows very close to each other, but they haven't paired up or attacked the other. So as of now, it's a waiting game to see if the will eventually pair up, fight or peacefully coexist.

    I only brought home one coral from this visit; it's a nice chunk of a green A. tenuis. I was told that this coral should grow very well in my reef tank. If it doesn't, my tank still needs some work. So far, the coral is doing very well and has great color and polyp extension. Hopefully this means that my tank is headed join the right direction and I can add more corals in the future.

    Speaking of heading in the right direction, my water quality has been steadily improving as my ATS has surpassed my expectations. My last harvest was quite remarkable; 3-½ cups of algae with a dry weight of 14.55 ounces over a sixteen day cycle. The algae was quite thick and dense.

    [​IMG]

    I have also started to dose ESV's B-Ionic Transition Elements. I really like their 2-part supplements , so I thought I would give their trace element supplement a try.
    I also started adding some AcroPower to my daily doses. With my nutrient levels dropping and maintaining, I thought I should add some amino acids and other food sources for the corals.
    The last new change to the filtration system was I implemented a pad of Poly-Filter. When I was discussing how my goniopora coral hasn't opened up over the past couple months since I started my ATS, Kevin asked if I had ever used the Poly-Filter to help remove any harmful compounds. I have the pad placed right after the ATS and before the return pump. I'm not sure if it's doing much of anything, but I have noticed that my skimmate has drastically changed. I was used to filling up the collection cup each week with a nasty skimmate, now it's collecting much, much less skimmate but it's now almost black and looks greasy; reminds me of motor oil.
    I've also started to modify my sump to include a filter sock. I removed one of the directional baffles and I machined a sock holder to fit one of the Eshopps rectangular filter socks. My old "frag section" of the sump was collecting some detritus and it was dirtying up my ceramic media blocks. So adding the filter sock will assist in keeping a cleaner sump. I just need to spend a day emptying that chamber of the sump and installing the new baffle and sock holder.

    I did take a bunch of new photos showcasing some of my corals and their polyps, I'll post those tomorrow.
    But here's the latest pic of my male Pintail Fairy Wrasse; I really like that guy!
    Now, if he'd just color up like Jon's male!!!

    [​IMG]
     
    #529 jlanger, Apr 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
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  10. JELP

    JELP Senior Member
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    Looking really nice! How do you like your angel. They happen to be on my short list of additions that I still have room for. I'm getting ready to do a redo of my ATS and I may have to stop by to check yours out before I try to tackle mine.
     
  11. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I'm assuming you're talking about the Lamarck's Angelfish... I have mixed feelings about this fish and it's only because of the size of my tank.

    For the most part, I'm really happy with the Lamarck's. The angel has been a great addition since day one. Since it is a planktivore, it has never nipped at any of my SPS or LPS corals, zoanthids or clams (when I had clams). For the most part, it leaves most of the other fish alone (see next paragraph), but it is the largest and dominant fish in my tank. I purchased the fish as a cute juvenile female and she has grown to become a beautiful adult on the verge of transitioning to a male. The silvery-blue and white body with black striping stands out very well against the dark colors of the corals and reef;not to mention the long streamers coming off of the tail.

    The only negative that I have with this fish is that it has become the dominant fish in a crowded tank. The angel will periodically give chase to my rabbitfish or leopard wrasse. When I feed the tank, it is a bullish eater and demands the best pieces of food. The aggression from the angel is minor against the other fish; most of it is just chasing them around for a second or two, but occasionally I witness a nipped fin. I feel that if my tank were bigger, the fish wouldn't be as aggressive.

    I have half-heartedly offered the fish up for sale a few times, but I'm not disappointed that it hasn't sold. It's a beautiful fish that has grown up in my reef so I have learned to live with its minor transgressions against the other fish; someone has to be the king/queen of the reef, so why not the Lamarck's.


    If it's my African Flameback Angelfish that you're speaking of... All I can say is that I believe these fish to be the perfect angelfish for a reef tank! A smaller dwarf angelfish with bold and bright coloration, a mild disposition and they leave corals alone. Perfect!


    Stop by anytime to check out my ATS; just give me a heads up. I'm usually home if I'm not away for a hockey, golf, volleyball or track event; :lol:
     
  12. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Here's some of those coral photos I took the other day.

    The Phoenix Montipora has started to encrust off the frag disc. It's been slow going, but for the last couple of months the coral was shaded by the large red monti colony. Now that that colony is gone, the frag is getting direct light and I expect it's growth to pick up.

    [​IMG]

    One of my other "fancy" montipora corals (Nauti Spiral) has grown enough that I decided it was time to frag some of it. This coral was really thick so it was near impossible to get a larger frag without it breaking into one inch pieces. I was quite nervous when I was cutting it as I didn't want the whole colony to snap off the rock; I really like where it's attached. I removed about three inches from one side of the colony just to see how it will respond. I have a feeling that this coral will recover well as the raw edge quickly healed over and regained the pink coloration.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a few more montipora macro photos.

    Here's some red M. hodgsoni over the Nauti Spiral.
    [​IMG]

    Here's my red M. capricornus above some Neon Green Birds Nest.
    [​IMG]

    Here's my M. undata.
    [​IMG]

    Here's my Yellow Polyp Scroll Coral set against a red Montipora sp.
    [​IMG]

    Now this photo is really remarkable in that this is my Purple Rim montipora.
    To the naked eye, the colony just looks like coarse sandpaper but up close, there's a lot going on.
    [​IMG]

    Here's just one small branching section of my Forest Fire Digitata.
    I have two larger colonies and two larger "frags" of this coral in my tank, and they're all growing quite rapidly since I've gotten a handle on my parameters.
    [​IMG]

    These Electric Blue Mushrooms are really starting to get on my nerves; they're popping up all over the place! But they sure do add a bright blue color to the reef!
    [​IMG]

    And here's a few of the acropora coral frags that are starting to show some improvement the past couple of months.

    The PC Rainbow has regained it's color and is encrusting back over its old skeleton.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I needed to move a Cali Tort frag to a safer location due to my Forest Fire Digi was starting to encrust the base of the frag's mount. It seems to like the new location as it's sprouting new growth.
    [​IMG]

    The Blue Tipped Tenuis is still growing.
    [​IMG]

    And lastly, here's a close up of the Green Tenuis that I received and will use to monitor if my tank is truly ready for more acropora corals. So far, the polyp extension and coloration has not waned since I moved it into my tank; fingers crossed.
    [​IMG]
     
    #532 jlanger, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
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  13. Greentree

    TCMAS Supporter

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    Inspiring! LOVE the tenius.
     
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  14. agent462

    agent462 I like my tanks wide
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    beautiful tank, pictures and thread, thanks for sharing!
     
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  15. fishteer

    fishteer Senior Member
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    I love Mission, Craftsman, and Prairie architecture. What a lovely cabinet! (And tank, too!)
     
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  16. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    It's been about another month since my last update and things are continuing to come along.

    Since the removal of the two large montipora colonies, my dosing levels have needed to come down. I was dosing 82-84 ml/day of the ESV B-Ionic supplements when I had the two colonies; now it's settled into dosing 66 ml/day. As I was monitoring the levels, the alkalinity crept up close to 8dKH. I like to keep it around 7.2dKH. When the alkalinity rises, I notice that my Forest Fire Digitata has minimal polyp extension. Since I was monitoring the levels every couple of days, I was able to keep any losses to a minimum. The only real loss to the rising alkalinity was my Oregon Tort frag as the coral RTNed from the base and a just couple of tips remain. What is surprising, though, is my PC Rainbow Acropora frag has colored back up and has plenty of new growth.

    The ATS has settled into auto-pilot. I harvest the algae every two weeks. That's about it.
    My nutrient levels have been much better over the past few months; definitely better since the addition of the ATS. With regular weekly water changes of 20%, my nitrate levels have now dropped to 8ppm and my phosphates are at 0.08ppm.
    I did add a filter sock to the sump; my first filter sock ever. I am impressed with how much crap they pull from the water. So far, I've needed to replace the sock twice a week; which isn't terrible, but the maintenance process is not as easy as ATS.

    The center of my reef has definitely become my favorite section of the tank.
    The water flow is the most random through here as the two MP40's along the back push water through the lower channel of the chasm, while the two front MP40's blast the upper half of the tank with random flow. All of the MP40's are controlled with my Apex and I run a series of different modes throughout each day. The majority of the day and evening are set up with pulses to produce a rhythmic wave that the corals really enjoy; the LPS corals sway with the flow.
    The established M. digitata colonies have really filled; enough so that I come home to new frags every now and then. I'll need to start trimming the Purple Rim Montipora and the Idaho Grape Montipora soon as they're encroaching other corals.
    If you look closely, you can see that the clownfish spawned once again last night. I'm starting to wonder why they still do it. The fish will diligently guard the eggs for the first week and then they lose interest and most of the eggs are normally gone before they hatch. They must know that all of that work is for naught but they still heed nature's call.

    [​IMG]

    One thing that I have noticed over the past couple of months is that two of my montipora colonies (M. undata and the Nauti Spiral) have polyps that grew on the underside of the coral. The polyps are fairly small and less colorful than those on the surface, but they're plenty of them growing under there. None of the other plating montipora corals exhibit this. The polyps must enjoy the undertow created by the water flow to bring them nutrients because the only light they really receive is from the light reflecting off of the sand bed.
    Here's a couple of pics of the two coral with their down-under polyps.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A few people like the top-down photo of my scroll coral above the red montipora, so here's a photo of how I get to see it every day. I really like the contrast of the purple against the red. So far these two corals are playing nice with each other. I notice that the polyps are more congregated along the edge of the scroll coral now that the two have encountered one another.

    [​IMG]
     
    #536 jlanger, May 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
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  17. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Over the past few weeks, big changes have been happening inside my tank.
    But first... the bad news.

    While performing my weekly water change yesterday, I got a call from the wife to bring over some supplies to our daughter's place as they were painting. A quick ten minute trip turned into just over an hour as I fixed some other homeowner issues since I was there. I returned home and finished my water change. The first thing I do after a water change is feed the fish so they know it's safe to come back out. As they ate, I did role call. I was missing one; my male Pintail Fairy Wrasse. Yep... there he was, on the floor behind the stand. I made a very newbie mistake and left the screen tops off the tank when I left the house. [censored] [censored, censored]

    As for the changes...
    I've removed and sold all of the larger montipora colonies; red, green and purple rim. I removed another decent-sized rock covered in blue mushrooms and zoanthids. With all of this new available real estate, I rearranged some rocks and picked up some new pieces of rock; Thanks, JP. I've spent as much time as I've been home working on creating an updated look for the aquascaping. It's not quite perfect yet, but I've been relocating various corals and frags to create another eye-pleasing reef. I'm going to try and limit myself by keeping smaller colonies of montipora that are reserved for the lower half of the reef so that the branching corals have more available light and flow. And I cannot wait for the new rocks to "cure" with algae so that they're not bright white and distract your attention away from the corals and fish.
    I still have plenty of work ahead of me to get the new aquascape to blend into the old, but that's part of the enjoyment of keeping a reef tank.

    These are just a few recent photos of various corals.
    I'll post pictures of the new look when I think I'm happy with it.

    With the removal of the montipora colonies, the Phoenix Montipora is getting more direct light and has colored back up. The growth edge has started to regain the red color and more polyps are residing in the new growth.
    [​IMG]

    The new green tenuis is still doing well. I moved the colony to a new location where it is getting more direct water flow. The coral still exhibits great polyps extension and has some areas of new growth.
    [​IMG]

    Here's a top down photo of one of the Midas Blennies as he perches outside of its burrow on the M. undata.
    [​IMG]

    And here's a top down look at some acropora frags that are doing well over the ever-growing Nauti Spiral montipora. I'm going to need to frag that montipora soon; it's growing closer and closer to the front glass. And you can see some of those troublesome blue mushrooms.
    [​IMG]

    Overall, things are going along well; as long as I keep the tank covered. [censored]
    Since I've decided to host a pseudo-house meeting in June, it looks like I have about a month to get my reef put back together.
     
    #537 jlanger, May 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  18. ChristopherKriens

    ChristopherKriens Xenia lover
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    Sorry to hear about the Pintail. It's one of the most frustrating ways to lose a fish.

    ..That undata is going to be impressive.
     
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  19. eschulist

    eschulist That Office Nano Guy
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    Sorry about the Pintail Jason, I know it was one of your favorite fish.

    The Nauti is already quite impressive! The spiralling shape is so nice and will be tricky to frag while maintaining that.
     
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  20. Fishfoo

    Fishfoo Junior Member
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    Very sorry to hear the news, Jason. That is some next-level bad luck to have it off for that short of a period and still have that happen... Can't beat yourself up about it too much. Your Pintail was what sparked my love for wrasses when first getting into this hobby, and I hope this doesn't deter you from getting another (as I'm sure it won't).

    On another note, all of your SPS look like they're loving life! Can't wait to see what you've done with the new aquascape.
     

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