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Reef Discuss the aspects of Reef Tanks .

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Old 08-07-2008, 09:36 AM   #1
TheOldSalt
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Default New 75 gallon Ecosystem reef for school

I've been setting up a 75 gallon ecosystem reef tank for a local high school's Biology classroom the past few days. The teacher had been gathering up some equipment for the past two years, and a couple of weeks ago she asked me to come over and pit it all together for her.

Her tank had been a fish-only one with some livesand and some dead coral chunks and a tiny little trickle filter. Needless to say, it wasn't very successful, so the first job was just cleaning it up and replacing the water.

Well, I really wish I had taken some "before" pictures just so the sheer magnitude of the transformation could be better appreciated. I did take some "during" pics which I'll post later with the "after" pics once it's finished.

I replaced the tiny little sump/tricklefilter with a BIG 35 gallon sump which is actually bug enough to hold everything. I added a Coralife Super Skimmer 220 to one end of it, and mounted the ecosystem miraclemud filter atop the sump over the first two-thirds of the sump.

The Super Skimmer is a big unit, and it makes a tremendous amount of foam. In fact, it is proving to be the biggest headache in the whole system, because I just can't get the stupid bubbles under control. I know they'll not be so bad once it's all broken-in, but good grief. I have three bubbletraps on it and the bubbles are STILL all over the place.

The Ecofilter is at least perfoming perfectly, and now it's running full of Chaetomorpha, bristleworms, and amphipods I took from my own tank.

The lights are T-5's, 1/2 10000k and 1/2 actinic. No, that wasn't my idea, but I'm stuck with it. They seem like they might work ok so far, and I can always replace the actinics later if need be. The old lights won't fit under the canopy along with these new ones, which is a problem I hope I can somehow fix. If not, then they will at least fit perfectly over the classoom's other tank, an empty 55 that would make a swell freshwater plant tank under that lighting.

The liverock is going to be the good stuff. A very high phyla count is necessary since it's for education, and it also has to look totally awesome to impress the people paying for it all, so we're going with Florida rock, probably from Floridaliverock or maybe tampabaysaltwater. Not only is this rock very nice, but since it's close to us it will arrive nearly completely intact and need almost no curing if indeed any at all. next week is the time for the rock, and then my part of the project will be pretty much done.
I'll post some pics later today.
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:48 AM   #2
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Sounds great! Can't wait to see it.
Any plans for coral? What kind of fish?
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:52 AM   #3
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That Florida Live rock is some crazy stuff....Cant wait to see how this turns out...
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Scuba Kid View Post
Sounds great! Can't wait to see it.
Any plans for coral? What kind of fish?
I say Clown Fish and Yellow Tangs, but that's just me.
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:19 AM   #5
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I say boring
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:18 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Scuba Kid View Post
I say boring
WEll im sure they dont want something thats too exotic... Im sure the teacher would be upset if they killed their $400 Achilles tang

I say a nice center peice tang... Powder something or a sailfin( I love sails)
A nice group of Bangai Cardinals... two reef-safe wrasses....
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:28 AM   #7
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Achilles tang for $400. where are you buying your fish?

I didn't say overly exotic, just not cookie-cutter yellow tang-perc combo. I'm sure TOS has already thought up some cool stuff anyway, though.
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Old 08-07-2008, 12:08 PM   #8
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Sorry I thought they were really expensive, didnt take the time to double check But an achillies would be nice...
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:23 PM   #9
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and also achilles tangs need very large tanks because they are soooo active

i cant wait to see this when its done
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:58 AM   #10
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Achilles tangs have gotten ridiculously expensive lately, and I don't know why. Not 20 years ago you could get them for 12-18 bucks. I saw one online yesterday for 80. What the heck happened?

As for fish, I don't really have any idea. I hope they want something small, simple, snazzy and safe.

As for corals, the rock itself will come with corals already on it,
( such is the way of Florida rock ) so there's no avoiding them when the tank is new. The species to be added later will likely depend on what comes on the rocks and how much room remains. The other factor is going to have to be hardiness, since this tank will have to largely run itself with only minimal care.

A lightning storm came by yesterday before I could arrange for pictures, and I had to shut down in a hurry. I'll try again today.
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Old 08-08-2008, 09:40 AM   #11
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Okay here's a few..."during" shots. Nothing to get particularly excited about, I guess, but again, I forgot to take the "before" pics that would have shown just how much it's changed.


.

.
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Old 08-08-2008, 09:47 AM   #12
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GRRRRRR!!!

I just noticed that the tank in my house where I had stored this chaeto for two days is now crawling with flatworms. That means this new tank is soon to be in the same shape. DRAT! Now I have to get some Flatworm Exit and see just how well it really works.

Oh, I also picked up a bottle of that new Safe Start stuff, so I'll be trying it out very soon as well.
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Old 08-08-2008, 05:32 PM   #13
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Is the skimmer still giving you issues? I like the Miracle mud filter idea... Havent seen that before... D oy u use it in your own tanks?
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:32 AM   #14
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No, actually, I don't. I've always wanted to, but I never seem to have enough spare cash to spend on such a system. I've used them on other people's tanks a few times, though, and I liked the results.
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:44 PM   #15
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I think it's looking pretty good so far. Man, I wish I had the patience, time, money and knowledge to do something like that.
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