Archive for the ‘90 Gallon Reef’ Category

May Update

Posted: May 15, 2014 in 90 Gallon Reef


I guess it’s time for an update. Wedding planning has hit REALLY hard, mixed in with some other summer starting related stuff, and I have sadly been neglecting my tank more than I should. Everything is doing great, but I’ve got a touch of algae starting.

My Skimmer was starting to make a terrible noise, so I think I have something in the impeller (and hopefully not impeller damage!) but I’ve been unable to have the time to address it, so I’ve been running skimmerless for a few days.

Today, I had a pretty big freak out, but it looks like I’m going to be ok. I was clearing some algae out of the fuge right before I went to work. I lightly brushed the overflow (was 3d printed for me), and the whole thing crumbled apart! So, I ended up being late for work, but I had to turn off the pumps and be sure it wouldn’t overflow. Thankfully, it didn’t! Hopefully that’s still the case after I add back the volume from the Skimmer… If it still works fine without the overflow box, then I may just go without.


New Mandarin Dragonet

Posted: December 5, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef

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Scenes from the Fuge

Posted: November 10, 2013 in Refugium

I took a couple pictures from my fuge that actually kinda show the amount of life that has started to explode out of it.  Most of the little dots on the glass are pods. Hopefully it’s easy to make a couple of them out.

Micro Brittle Star

Full of Pods!

Mandarin Prep

Posted: November 3, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef


The Mandarin has been one of the fish I was most interested to keep.

My refugium has become LOADED with pods over the last few weeks. Additionally, I have started to see really small ones appear within the display tank. I believe I am now pretty close to being able to support a Mandarin.  My biggest obstacle is my 6-line wrasse.  The 6-line will compete for pods and could potentially be aggressive. I have had 0 aggression out of this particular fish, so I think that shouldn’t be a big issue.

The fact that I have pods in the display is encouraging. I am going to start pursing options of increasing the population in my display.

First, I have started to dose phyto. Increase in food should increase pod reproduction. Next, I am going to use the plastic Gutter Guard to create  “pod condos”. The basic idea is that it’s a plastic sleeve that you fill with live rock rubble. These (I plan on making 5 or 6) will be placed in the refugium. The will act as a breading ground for the pods, which then can be quickly moved into the display, bringing a pod payload with it.  This should help move my massive pod population from the fuge into the display.

I am hoping to order the Mandarin around Thanksgiving (when I have plenty of time off to receive the shipment). This should give me some time to get the display tank where it needs to be.


Post Blackout Success

Posted: November 1, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef

It’s been over a week since I went for a complete blackout of my tank.  This was a big push to remove the algae that has been plaguing me since summer.

Full Tank Shot Right after the Blackout ended

I turned the lights off, and covered the tank with blankets, for a week. During this time, I transitioned to running my fuge light 24/7 and did every-other-day water changes.

I’d call the results a success!  The algae was greatly dissipated.  Since the lights have been turned back on, the algae has continued to go down.  The fuge is now full of nasty algae, as it should be (I plan on adding some more macro algae to fight this. I’d like to add some ulva to grow food for the tang).  Additionally, I have witnessed an explosion in pods in the fuge and my overflows.  Also, I am seeing a lot of coralline growth on my rocks!

I’ve still got a decent amount of gunk on the back wall of the aquarium. But overall, things are improving fast!


Labor Day Updates

Posted: September 3, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef, Refugium

Things slowly are looking a little better in the tank after the weekend. Added a couple Emerald Crabs to go after the algae (at the suggestion from John from Reef Cleaners), and my WP25 showed up. So far, I am really impressed by this little pump. Really pushes some water. There are a couple negatives (little worried about the bracket that attaches it to the aquarium as it seems kinda weak and I HATE the plug on it since it takes up so much room… ), but well worth the price.  Definitely doesn’t create the same undertow that the Vortech’s do, so I have no plans of removing the vortech that I have on there now.

I still need to tweak the direction the powerhead is placed to get the flow I want. I may actually even add another down the road. Right now I have it pointed down the back of the rock work from the middle left side, which I know needs flow. But I still feel like the front end directly opposite the vortech still doesn’t have the desired flow.

I couldn’t believe the amount of gunk that the powerhead got off the rocks. Does everyone normally clean their rock work?  I think this may end up being something I need to incorporate into my water change routine, but not really sure of an efficient way to do it.

Additionally, my fuge is starting to look a little more fuge like. The water definitely has a film starting to go. I accidently left the light in the room on while I was away, so that might be part of it. Going to increase flow a tad more, and also add to my light cycle. Right now I have a regular bulb in there. Debating between swapping the bulb to one of those long lasting/energy efficient bulbs since everything else in my house is on one… and that’s what was on from the room light.

I also put in a restocking order on my cleanup crew, which definitely has dwindled a bit in recent months.

The Work Continues

Posted: August 26, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef

Not surprisingly, after a week and a half vacation, all progress on getting the tank cleared up has been lost.  Think my problem has to do with skimmer filling up so that mode of filtration was gone. It was waterier than I’d like, but I’m at least close to being dialed in. I think a couple coral aren’t going to make it due to Algae growing over them, but a few other SPS actually seemed to be thriving (great polyp extension and color getting better than when I put them in the tank).

I’m going to bump up water change schedule to twice a week or more (more once Labor Day weekend is over). Luckily I’ve gotten it down to basic water changes taking around 5 minutes to complete (once water is at correct salinity).

I should be getting my new powerhead this week (finally. Shipping SUCKS).  Additionally, I am going to be restocking my cleanup crew after the long weekend.   Still not getting growth in fuge. I upped the flow through my fuge (it was barely moving before) in hopes that I just wasn’t getting enough turnover. Hopefully that’ll help.

Last I am thinking of picking up a TDS Meter to add to my RODI unit to be sure that water I’m adding is actually pure.

I will get my tank over this hump!

Truckin along

Posted: August 6, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef, Refugium

I have read with biopellets that things get worse before they get better. I am starting to think that is what happened with me. Lots of hair algae along the back glass, some along the rocks. Looks like it’s started to peak out and subside a little.

Finally got enough of the ChemiClean out to get my main skimmer up and running, which should help a ton. Additionally, my fuge (which should be perfect for algae. Slow flow, no predators, less intense light) isn’t growing crap. I am going to try a basic shop light with a standard light bulb to see if I have any better luck. With the tank how it looks now, that fuge should just be CRAWLING with icky stuff! However, it’s not. Time for a change to see if I can get better results.

Early August Updates

Posted: August 1, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef, Reef Angel

Well, I continue to be slammed by work, so I haven’t had as much time to be active here as I’d like. However, I am doing better on keeping up with tank maintenance.


After a couple more water changes (yay, fresh salt arrived!) I still am unable to run my primary skimmer. Even full open it overflows. Though, I can tell I am getting closer. So more water changes to get the chemiclean out of the system are needed (also running carbon, but passively since my reactor has biopellets now).  Thankfully, my backup skimmer is continuing to charge away. So it’s not going skimmer less. The wet vac makes water changes WAY easier.

The Chemiclean did exactly what I needed it to do: killed all my cyano. The positive for this is that I was worried about it taking over with the start of biopellets. The negative is that is has been replaced by some hair algae (though, I have a couple fish that munch on this stuff!).

My mixing pump (which used to power my reactor) is def too weak for mixing my large vats of salt. So I have another maxijet on order for it.  Also, my autofeeder has arrived, so I am going to spend some time next week tinkering with it before I add it to my tank (though, I did make a shelf on the inside of my canopy that should hold it well).

Which brings me to my Reef Angel.  I have had TERRIBLE luck in the past whenever I updated libraries. A big part of this is waiting forever between updating them. Well, I was adding code to turn FeedMode on at specific times to coordinate when I would have my autofeeder turn on, and decided I might as well update libraries since it’s only been a couple months.

Well… wouldn’t you know that it’s gone and screwed up my uploading again. Everything compiles and uploads… but then there is a verification error and the Reef Angel doesn’t function correctly. Thankfully I have a backup INO file that runs the absolute basic programming on my Reef Angel (ATO, LED Slope, fuge light. Nothing fancy). So at least it’s not DOA, but still annoying. Working with the guys over on their forum (SUPER helpful at least!) to get it working. But I may revert to the old libraries and hope it helps.

Last, but not least, I finally ordered some more plumbing parts for my reactor. The return tube went to the sump, but let the water fall a good 4 to 6 inches in. This created a bit of noise and salt creep. So this has been fixed. Plus I got enough to loop it out of the way for easier access to the reactor chamber.

Anyway, I feel like things are going in a mostly positive direction overall. Some coral looks stressed, some thriving. Fish are all doing good as well. Adding another powerhead when it arrives, and now I also think I want to look at adding a deeper sand bed (I have a couple spots that keep getting blown all the way down to glass!).

Latest Update: BioPellets

Posted: July 23, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef

Did the chemiclean treatment, knocked out 99% of the cyno. Did my 20% water change, but it’s still making my skimmer overflow like crazy (fully opened up as well) so I’m running carbon. Got the HOB skimmer working too, since it’s a smaller area to overflow (so it doesn’t trigger ATO) and overflows back into the fuge. Hopefully after another water change in a couple days I should be good to go. Running low on salt, but more is in the mail.

Also, started up the biopellets! As predicted the random sized pump I had on my reactor wasn’t enough to get the stuff to tumble. So I swapped the maxijet 1200 from my mixing bucket and that seems to be doing the trick.

Lastly, I picked up an autofeeder. Planning on messing with it a while before I trust it anywhere near my tank. I have a vacation in August (1 week) where I want to have it running so I only have to have my tank sitter worry about topping off the ATO. Also, I have a honeymoon to plan for in 2014… but I might need to hire a tank sitter off my local reef club for that 2 weeks 🙂