Kessil

55+ Gallon Acrylic Tank in Oakland Chinatown

Mohan Kanungo

Supporting Member
Finally started my tank in early October of 2023.

I had bought it on FB marketplace during the pandemic and sat in the corner of my living room for two years.

I started and stopped trying to set it up several times. It had a bunch of scratches and took me days literally to sand it and figure out the plumbing.

Was about to give up until I met Ken at High Tide Aquatics who encouraged me to keep going.

Now I have several corals, two clown fish, a mandarin goby, bristle sea stars, snails and a cleaner shrimp. Got a tuxedo urchin and sea slug this past weekend while meeting several Bar member at HT Aquatics.

As more background, cycled it for about a month and added inverted and fish slowly. Lost a clown, nassarius snail and a royal Gramma along the way and felt pretty bummed. Learned that I needed to do water changes more often and have kept a Seachem ammonia alert.

This morning I awoke to a bit of a scare. I saw my storm clown swimming sideways at the top. Lights were low so now I realize they were probably sleeping. My smaller clown was in the corner nuzzled against the thermometer ️

Any cause for concern? Will post a few photos from my journey along the way too. Check my parameters couple times a week using combination of strips, meter and hydrometer. Was worried salt and temperature got really low, but fish seem to be doing better today and this evening.
 

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More photos from along the journey!
 

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Is that temp in the first picture 71* your aquarium temp ? If it is that’s way too low. Try to be at 35ppm for a reef. Just remember slow is fast. Fast is slow.
If you have questions. Just ask. We are here to help. Welcome by the way. Come out to the up and coming frag workshop and fragswap. You’ll have a blast.
 
Had to troubleshoot a couple leaks at bottom of overflow, add support and stain to the stand and check for haze even after wet sanding numerous times with different grits and buffing with Novus.

Nearly gave up but wanted to fulfill my child hood dream! My mom inspired my love of the ocean and building this has been a way to honor her since she passed.
 

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Is that temp in the first picture 71* your aquarium temp ? If it is that’s way too low. Try to be at 35ppm for a reef. Just remember slow is fast. Fast is slow.
If you have questions. Just ask. We are here to help. Welcome by the way. Come out to the up and coming frag workshop and fragswap. You’ll have a blast.
Yes it says 71. Although my other thermometer said it was 75. I think the meter is off and temp may be somewhere in between the two. I turned up the heaters on the overflow and sump after I checked Temp this morning. I live in a condo and it's been hard to avoid it getting too hot or cold with this weather! My gf always likes the heater :) will def make sure to keep it warmer in the tank. Thanks for recc!
 
Your aquarium needs the temp to be 75-82. In that range. Things die above 82 and below 70ish. Get a controller like an ink bird. Get the one that has a high low plug. You plug your heater into the low and plug a fan into the high. Set your heater temp on the heater at 82. Set the ink bird low temp to 75 and the high temp to 82. I’m telling you off of memory. So it’s close. Now your heater should come on if it drops below 75. And if it’s too hot. The fan should come on. Hang the fan so it blows across the body of water. Either in your sump or in your canopy.
 
I like the old school acrylic tank! We have a club calibration thermometer you can borrow in BARcode. I highly recommend this since very few things we have come well calibrated out of the box. How many watts of heating do you have in your system?

You can bring water to Kenny also to confirm the salinity (usually those swing arm hydrometers are ok, but the electronic tester you're using could be off if not calibrated). They usually recommend you take water into a cup before testing too.
 
Finally started my tank in early October of 2023.

I had bought it on FB marketplace during the pandemic and sat in the corner of living room for two years.

I started and stopped trying to set it up several times. It had a bunch of scratches and took me days literally to sand it and figure out the plumbing.

Was about to give up until I met Ken at High Tide Aquatics who encouraged me to keep going.

Now I have several corals, two clown fish, a mandarin goby, bristle sea stars, snails and a cleaner shrimp. Got a tuxedo urchin and sea slug this past weekend while meeting several Bar member at HT Aquatics.

As more background, cycled it for about a month and added inverted and fish slowly. Lost a clown, nassarius snail and a royal Gramma along the way and felt pretty bummed. Learned that I needed to do water changes more often and have kept a Seachem ammonia alert.

This morning I awoke to a bit of a score. I saw my storm clown swimming sideways at the top. Lights were low so now I realize they were probably sleeping. My smaller clown was in the corner nuzzled against the thermometer ️

Any cause for concern? Will post a few photos from my journey along the way too. Check my parameters couple times a week using combination of strips, meter and hydrometer. Was worried salt and temperature got really low, but fish seem to be doing better today and this evening.
Kenny is such a great resource.
 
Welcome to BAR btw! Glad you were able to meet a bunch of the members last weekend. This place (members) have helped and continue to help me so much.

Awesome tank! The order of the pics had me confused for a sec. I thought you had it up and running and then found the leak and then disassembled everything to fix the bulkhead. LOL

I've got a custom 50gal acrylic tank that's sitting in my garage right now. Just waiting for the motivation and energy to buff it out. This post is inspiring me to get it done! The movement of furniture to find a home for it...not so much! :D

Also, I love that this tank will bring you joy in honoring your mother. Just like the relationship with our mothers can be the happiest of time, sometimes they can bring struggle. Every time you have a struggle with your tank, remember something your mother was trying to teach you and you simply struggled to understand.

I'm glad you didn't give up and Kenny kept you going! I'm completely a newbie to this hobby myself, but if I can help, I will do my best or at least help in getting the right eyes on your issues.
Blessings!
 
72F is doable, but it would be on the low side of where you want to be. It all depends on what you plan on keeping.

I’d be more concerned about how low those return lines are in the display tank. Do you have a hole drilled in the top of the return line to act as a siphon break? If not, you’re gonna have a ton of water that siphons back into the sump.
 
Good to know! Thank you for sharing this recc. I wasn't familiar with ink bird or this strategy.
Your aquarium needs the temp to be 75-82. In that range. Things die above 82 and below 70ish. Get a controller like an ink bird. Get the one that has a high low plug. You plug your heater into the low and plug a fan into the high. Set your heater temp on the heater at 82. Set the ink bird low temp to 75 and the high temp to 82. I’m telling you off of memory. So it’s close. Now your heater should come on if it drops below 75. And if it’s too hot. The fan should come on. Hang the fan so it blows across the body of water. Either in your sump or in your canopy
 
72F is doable, but it would be on the low side of where you want to be. It all depends on what you plan on keeping.

I’d be more concerned about how low those return lines are in the display tank. Do you have a hole drilled in the top of the return line to act as a siphon break? If not, you’re gonna have a ton of water that siphons back into the sump.
When I turn off my pump I have had a lot of water flow back into the sump. Recently I have it at a level so that it doesn't overflow below. I always kept a close eye. But I worry about when the power goes out. Hole in the return siphon is a great solution!
 
Thank you for your reflection on the powerful role mothers can have in our lives. It has definitely brought me a lot of joy and lessons. In fact, Kenny shared some wisdom that has stuck with me about tanked and now in life overall, "Good things happen slow, bad things happen fast."

I may have some wet sand paper with different grit levels if you get around to the project. Happy to share my experience and even help if I'm available!

Look forward to gleaning more of your all's wisdom.
Welcome to BAR btw! Glad you were able to meet a bunch of the members last weekend. This place (members) have helped and continue to help me so much.

Awesome tank! The order of the pics had me confused for a sec. I thought you had it up and running and then found the leak and then disassembled everything to fix the bulkhead. LOL

I've got a custom 50gal acrylic tank that's sitting in my garage right now. Just waiting for the motivation and energy to buff it out. This post is inspiring me to get it done! The movement of furniture to find a home for it...not so much! :D

Also, I love that this tank will bring you joy in honoring your mother. Just like the relationship with our mothers can be the happiest of time, sometimes they can bring struggle. Every time you have a struggle with your tank, remember something your mother was trying to teach you and you simply struggled to understand.

I'm glad you didn't give up and Kenny kept you going! I'm completely a newbie to this hobby myself, but if I can help, I will do my best or at least help in getting the right eyes on your issues.
Blessings!
Thank you for your reflection on the powerful role mothers can have in our lives. It has definitely brought me a lot of joy and lessons. In fact, Kenny shared some wisdom that has stuck with me about tanked and now in life overall, "Good things happen slow, bad things happen fast."

I may have some wet sand paper with different grit levels if you get around to the project. Happy to share my experience and even help if I'm available! My tank was a lot of trial and error. Had assembled, filled it with water, started sanding all over again, then had to troubleshoot plumbing...then start over again lol.

Look forward to gleaning more of your all's wisdom.
 
I may have some wet sand paper with different grit levels if you get around to the project. Happy to share my experience and even help if I'm available!
That would be awesome. I could always bring it with me and head up toward your neck of the woods whenever it's convenient. I bought the NOVUS kit with all the compounds and buffing pads. But not the sandpaper. I'll let you know whenever I get around to getting project started.
 
I like the old school acrylic tank! We have a club calibration thermometer you can borrow in BARcode. I highly recommend this since very few things we have come well calibrated out of the box. How many watts of heating do you have in your system?

You can bring water to Kenny also to confirm the salinity (usually those swing arm hydrometers are ok, but the electronic tester you're using could be off if not calibrated). They usually recommend you take water into a cup before testing too.
Thank you for those tips! I definitely think I need to calibrate because I'm getting such wild readings between my digital thermometer,meter and the hydrometer.
That would be awesome. I could always bring it with me and head up toward your neck of the woods whenever it's convenient. I bought the NOVUS kit with all the compounds and buffing pads. But not the sandpaper. I'll let you know whenever I get around to getting project started.
As a pro tip, I found being able to borrow FREE tools from the Oakland public library really helpful. You can check out power tools for a week at a time for free. No one there or at the hardware stores had experience with what I was trying to do with the fish tank, particularly when it came to a leaking bulkhead, but I gained a lot of insight from talking to people.
 
As a pro tip, I found being able to borrow FREE tools from the Oakland public library really helpful. You can check out power tools for a week at a time for free.
I'm in Salinas...no way I'm going to Oakland to borrow tools. Also...I have my own tool shed! Filled with lots of tools already! ;)
 
No one there or at the hardware stores had experience with what I was trying to do with the fish tank, particularly when it came to a leaking bulkhead, but I gained a lot of insight from talking to people.
That statement right there is why being a member pays for itself. All you gotta do is ask for help from the group. We have members that have been thru it all. I mean all. We have been in this hobby for decades. Cuz poop happens and sometimes you gotta figure it out. It’s nice when your with people that have been thru it and can guide you. Ask away.
 
Thank you! I was hesitant to pose questions because I don't feel like I can contribute as much as I am taking in right now from the group. Appreciate you all being generous with your time and insight.
 
I like the old school acrylic tank! We have a club calibration thermometer you can borrow in BARcode. I highly recommend this since very few things we have come well calibrated out of the box. How many watts of heating do you have in your system?

You can bring water to Kenny also to confirm the salinity (usually those swing arm hydrometers are ok, but the electronic tester you're using could be off if not calibrated). They usually recommend you take water into a cup before testing too.
I had to wait till I got home to check. I have a 50w and 200w heater in the sump and overflow respectively.

Would love to borrow the calibration thermometer since I'm getting such wild readings between the two I have now, as well as my hydrometer and meter. Good to know I need to calibrate and not rely on it out of the box.

Took some water into Ken a couple weeks back and he confirmed salinity was low. So I got more of his ocean water and have mixed some RO with salt at home too.
 
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