My 350l(ish) marine tank build

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PheonixKingZ

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Have you leak tested the display tank and the sump tank yet?
 
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smurfyy_2k3

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Because I couldn't get a new rubber grommet for the bulkhead today I went to screwfix and just bouggt a regular 32mm coupler. Used the grommet for that for testing purposes. Iva had the tank running all night with zero issues.

A good clean today and I'll be looking at rocks and substrate through the week
 
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smurfyy_2k3

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Just a little update while I'm on lunch from work.

The tank and sump are now clean. All salt deposits have been scrubbed off and removed and I'm now just waiting on a new bulkhead.

Unfortunately the aquatics shop had a delivery go missing and I'm unwilling to order online as this is my first repair and I wanna be able to touch the bulkhead to make sure it is the correct one.

Today's phonecall assures me they will have the 32mm bulkhead tomorrow and Incan collect Friday. Then it's sand and rocks!

Any advice on sand and rocks greatfully received!
 

xxBarneyxx

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Any advice on sand and rocks greatfully received!
Rocks I would look from someone breaking down a marine tank and buy their liverock. It will be cheaper, wont be damaging to the environment and hopefully any pest hitchhikers will have already been dealt with.

Personally I prefer bare bottom tanks for reef tanks and keep a lot of water movement at the base of the tank. This keeps any debris and organics in suspension to get pulled out with a mechanical filter (filter foam in sump, canister or internal filter with foam, etc). The less stuff you have sitting around rotting the easier it is to keep nutrient levels low (nitrates/phosphates, etc).

That does depending on stocking though. Quite a few fish and inverts need sand to live. That will also determine what grain size you need as well, with a lot of burrowing critters and fish you need a mix of grain sizes.

I would avoid "live" or "active" sand. You have no idea how long it has been sitting around for or how it was stored so any "alive" parts could be long dead. Also any sand you use will eventually be colonised with bacteria so your paying a pretty large premium to "maybe" speed the cycle a little bit.

Personally when I have to use sand I use a mix of crushed coral and aragonite. Have mostly aragonite with a bit of crushed coral around the bases of the rockwork.
 
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smurfyy_2k3

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Afternoon.

Just a little update on the tank.

I visited the lfs this week and picked up some rocks, though they never had the Fiji pink sand I've decided on in and tried to sell me some live sand. I have no desire to use live sand after my research

I've also managed to fill the tank with salt water. I didn't want to fill it prior to putting sand and rocks in but a friend delivered some RO water in 25l Jerry cans and hassled me for them back before I was ready. Just a hurdle I'll have to get through when the sand arrives

Water is currently sitting at 1.025

The sheer amount of salt that goes into salt water suprised me!

I've got the rocks on now and I've used d-d epoxy to make myself a bridge and my only regret is I probably used a bit much so it's quite visible. Although I'm sure I'll get to cover it with a coral .

Other than that. That's as far as I've gotten with this tank between stock availability and finances. I envision first 2 clowns going in there in November and corals in January and maybe some clean up crew.

Ill attach a picture I took before the rest of the water went in only difference is the tank is full now and the sump is pushing water through
 

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smurfyy_2k3

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Quick update on this, yesterday seen the addition of the first fish to the tank, 2 clownfish that were bred locally to me.

The tank now has sad on the bottom, is cycled and running great.

I also added 2 corals and just as soon as I can figure out how to photograph the tank I will!

Couple of points going forward for this tank. I'm planning on replacing the stupidly long 300w heater with 2 150w heaters so it actually fits in the sump.

Also my January project for it is to build a refugium in the last sump chamber
 
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smurfyy_2k3

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Good morning saltwater friends!

Been learning lots and lots the last month. Saltwater is an entirely different challenge compared to fresh!!

Firstly. Evaporation is a problem I did not see coming! I've added an auto top off to the tank in order to help relieve some of the annoyance of manually adding about 3 pints of water a day back to the tank!

Had a slight set back this week, came downstairs to find my corals closed and didn't especially know why so I did the bank of tests. Found I had 50ppm of nitrite and 20ppm of nitrate which was annoying, so did 2 water changes over the week to control that and everything is back at normal levels now.

In my 3rd sump chamber I've added a bunch of filter media and added a cheap grow light from Amazon and some cheato macro algea. So we'll see how that works out.

Throughout my tank I can see a fairly decent colony of pods on the glass now so it's nice to see these things start to grow.

In addition to my pod colony in the tank my lovely wife has had to suffer a new set of shelves and a phyto/(eventually)rotifier/pod cultures. I'll add pics later but it essentially 3 tier shelving unit with a backing board, a strip light per shelf an air pump and enough space to add about 8 separate 3l containers. I decided to do this because getting phyto and pods from my lfs is pretty much first come first served and I'm always late to the party!

I'm monitoring for a week now to make sure my water parameters settle and I'm about to enter the wonderful world of dosing as that's a new thing I learned with my new salifert test kits is that water changes aren't enough to keep up with the demand of even my 3 little corals

Once I've fixxed those problems I'm aiming to add a Watchmen goby and pistol shrimp to the tank to go with my 2 clowns and 4 hermits

If anyone has stocking suggestions I'm all ears as saltwater is still new to me and I've already watched every video on YouTube!! (Big fan of reefdork)
 

Fremlins

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I'll be very interested to see how you get on as I'm in the same place in the hobby as you are and your set up and mine are very similar.
What corals have you got? I've not been brave enough to add any yet!
 
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smurfyy_2k3

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I'll be very interested to see how you get on as I'm in the same place in the hobby as you are and your set up and mine are very similar.
What corals have you got? I've not been brave enough to add any yet!
I have 2 different zoa's 1 quite large colony on a rock I bough and 1 on a frag plug (I really hate frag plugs :) ) and a mushroom which is decent sized. I'd add pictures but my orange filter has t turned up yet and I cant get the best pictures at the minute
 
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smurfyy_2k3

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This weekend saw the addition of a flame hawkfish and a high fin goby, I also have a cleaner fish that has moved in.

Just waiting on the gobys bff pistol shrimp to arrive in the lfs and ill be giving my wallet a break for a little while!
 

BkkprGal

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This is really interesting! I've never done SW as I always knew it was alot of work. And after reading all this I realize it is MUCH MORE work that I even thought. I can't wait to see some pictures. Hopefully TFF will notify me when you post some. Good luck!
 

Gkat66

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I'm very happy for you , I did saltwater for 10 years and really miss it ! One word of caution , hawkfish are notorious shrimp killers , it works best if shrimp are in the tank before the hawk. Since you already have the hawk you may want to put it in a qt tank until your shrimp has established it's hiding spot then return the hawkfish.
 

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