Cali Kid Corals

Firereefer's 168g

Fire_Reefer

Supporting Member
Current setup:

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168g Pennisula - 72"L x 30"D x 18"H
Original Stock List:
Emperor Angel
Blonde Naso Tang
Copperband Butterfly
Aptasia Eating Filefish
Blue Striped Pipefish
Purple Tang
Coral Beauty Angel
Three Striped Damsel
Yellow-Tail Blue Damsel
Black Damsel?
Pair of Black Ocellaris?
Two Spotted Watchman Gobies
Blue Spotted Watchman Goby
Lawnmower Blenny
Blue-Throated Fairy Wrasse (RIP)

Nine Rainbow Bubble-Tip Anemones (RIP to 4 of them)

Handful of different leather corals (RIP to a number of them)
Long polyp Toadstool
Large Green Palys




Fresh start with a established tank moved from Sunnyvale to Pacific Grove.

Purchased this setup from an individual named Chan in Sunnyvale. He said it was up and running for 5 years or so. He downsized from this tank to a 10g because of less time to devote to the hobby.
Here it is in his place:
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Day 1 - 6/22/24
Tank transfer day! Last full shot of it at his place.
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Old sump setup and plumbing
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I guess I didn't take any pictures of the process or how it was all loaded up. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but man I didn't know it would be as stressful as it was.

1030am-330pm tank breakdown and loading.

Front seat middle
Fish in a cooler

Back seat
Lights and bracket
Extra cooler with tank water.

Bed of F250
Empty Tank.
Nems in 27gal black tote and clear 6gal containers from Home Depot.
Extra live rock and corals in the same type of clear containers.

Rented uhaul trailer
Tank water into a 40gal brute with wheels More water in clear tote from Costco and 4 five gallon clear jugs
Stand
Sand in 3 five gallon buckets.

His suggestion was to leave the bulkheads and part of the plumbing attached and we ended up breaking a bulkhead. Had to stop by Neptunes to grab some extras as we don't have anywhere to buy them in Monterey area.

2 hour drive home during Saturday afternoon traffic.

Finally made it home and got the tank out.
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Driveway was a mess (and still kind of is).
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Stand painted and ready for tank. But the tank wasn't making it there the first night.

I was super nervous about the fish being in the cooler for too long so I put them in the 27gal tote with a small pump/heater/air stone to hopefully survive the night.
 
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Day 2
The main goal for Day 2 was to get the tank clean and on the stand. I was optimistic that I could get the tank filled and the fish in.

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Tank cleaned up. Black paint removed from sides of overflow and rear. If anyone is trying to remove paint from glass: Heat vinegar up in the microwave and soak the paint in it. Let it soak in for a few minutes then scrape with a new razor blade. Works like a charm.

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Lifting the tank was 1000% easier with six people rather than two!

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Tank in place! Now to fill it!

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80lbs of ocean direct original grade sand and I think a mix of about 50g old and 75g new saltwater.

I didn't want to risk putting the fish in to a cloudy tank with no filter and 67° water temp so again they spent the night in the 27g black tote.

The next morning with one mp10, one cheap power head, and no filtration this is what the tank looked like.

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Day 3

With the tank temp finally up & the water cleared up a bit, the fish are finally in! I was really worried that 48 hours in the tote would cause some massive fish losses. I added the air stone and an Mp40 to help oxygenate the tank while it was without filtration.

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Here's a couple fish photos
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Plan for the day after getting the fishes in was to get the sump cleaned out and try to figure out plumbing. The sump had been sitting out in driveway for the two days with no temp control and no flow. As I'm pumping out the water I find this chunky little guy just chillin'.
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I couldnt believe he was still alive. Not sure if the previous owner forgot he was down there or just didn't know.

The sump setup that was running on the system was very basic with just one baffle. I wanted to customize it and make it work for my long term plans. So the tank would have to survive without filtration for at least one more day.
 
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In the picture above, I see 2 returns and 1 drain?
If so, I recommend turning one of the returns into a drain
You can never have too many drain lines
But you can definitely not have enough!

That is correct and was also my thinking, which is what took me a little longer to get a sump going. I'm at week 2 with the tank and just now catching up with the journal.
 
Day 4

I couldn't fill the tank full because I didn't have the bulkheads plumbed. I wanted to start filtration to clean up the cloudiness so I set up a temporary sump with some temporary plumbing.
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VarioS-2 used as a pump to pump water out of the tank into the first black tote.
"Chamber 1"
filter sock
intank filter media
chemipure elite

overflows that plastic bin into

"Chamber 2"
omega vertex 180i skimmer

cheap amazon sump pump pumps water at 660gph out of tote 1 into tote 2
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water flows into tote 2 and fills up "Chamber 3" plastic bin 2 which is filled with rock rubble from old sump system
then overflows into "Chamber 4" (plastic bin 3) filled with chaeto from old sump system then over flows into "Chamber 5" return chamber where VarioS-8 pumps water back up into tank
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This whole thing would have been able to work on its own except the one crux of it was I tried regulating the cheap amazon pump with a JBJ auto top off system. Little did I know that it has a 4 minute pump shut off safety feature. So while the filtration was running I had to get up every 4 min and reset the ato. Took me a long time to figure out why it kept shutting off on its own.

Day 5
This is Statler and Waldorf. They paired up. Not sure if they were in the same burrow in the old tank, but they decided to be friends in this setup.
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Cleaning the old sump because I thought I was going to set this up as the main sump. I might still use it in the long run, but for now I'm rocking the setup you can see in Day 6 post.
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Day 6
Plumbing Day!
Pressure was on as I had to work the next two days and I knew the temporary setup with the black totes would not work without me manning the pumps. I decided that I would use the durso drain that was setup on the old tank and add a emergency drain. I realize that dursos don't typically have emergency drains, but as soon as I could procure a gate valve and some strainers I planned to switch to a herbie. I finally wrapped up the process around 1am.

Controlled chaos or maybe just chaos chaos.
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Laying out what I had on hand before a trip to Home Depot
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Jump cut to the plumbed new sump. 1 1/2" durso drain with a 1" emergency drain. VarioS-8 return pump plumbed with a 1" line back into the tank.

I had this Skimz UP34 Sumpro Sump on hand from the tank setup I bought from @wazzupmac
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I like this sump for a lot of reasons: quality construction, water takes a good path, adjustable protein skimmer height. But I think its going to be too small for what I want to accomplish long term. There is no real area for a fuge.

Tank is almost full! But I ran out of premixed saltwater. Fell about 6 gallons short
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1am saltwater water mixed and up to temperature... Tank almost full.

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Day 7 & 8
Leaving for work. I will be gone for 48 hours. Everything has been running on its own for 5 hours. No leaks. Water starting to look a lot better. I feel a lot more confident leaving it in the hands of the family when they won't be required to do anything other than feed the fishes.

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Day 9
Tank survived the two days without me. Dog approves.
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Transferred over my coral banded shrimp "Banjo." He immediately proceeded to eat one of the new hermit crabs I just introduced into the tank. To be fair it hadn't moved, maybe it was dead? maybe it looked at him in the wrong way? He has a history of chomping on hermits, but he hadn't touched the 5 or so that cohabitated with him in the 34g he was previously in.
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Day 10
Spent the day trying to clean up the patio. I had my rodi and four black totes set up as water mixing station. Here is the prototype before making it "blend in."
Rodi water into the top tote. Salt mixing in the brute.

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Curious if you all agree that this is a Black Damselfish. I can't really find any other options of what he might be.
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Awesome build so far that open section under the tank on the right is begging to be fillled with another tank :)
Thanks! I'm really enjoying it even though it's been way more stressful than I expected. The fish in a 27gal tote for 48 hours really put the pressure on to get things done. For days 1-3 it was consuming my every waking moment. I'm going to update the original post with the list of fish that came with the tank.

Haha I have some ideas for that space. Eventually either a bigger sump and my ato reservoir or the same sump with the ato reservoir and an external fuge and a set of reactors. It's all flowing through the mind and in my brs shopping cart

I realize making this journal that I need to take more pictures along the way rather than just at the milestones.
 
Thanks! I'm really enjoying it even though it's been way more stressful than I expected. The fish in a 27gal tote for 48 hours really put the pressure on to get things done. For days 1-3 it was consuming my every waking moment. I'm going to update the original post with the list of fish that came with the tank.

Haha I have some ideas for that space. Eventually either a bigger sump and my ato reservoir or the same sump with the ato reservoir and an external fuge and a set of reactors. It's all flowing through the mind and in my brs shopping cart

I realize making this journal that I need to take more pictures along the way rather than just at the milestones.
Now fish are sorted out you should be able to take your time now, don’t get burned out.
 
Fish that came with the setup and lived in a black 27g tote for 48 hours together added to the original post. I managed to only lose one fish through all of that. The blue throated fairy wrasse. He was actually one of my favorites when I saw the tank for the first time. He was the most social and people friendly. Sad to lose the guy. I'm not sure why out of all the fish he was the one that didn't make it.

Day 11-14

Journal is pretty much caught up. I have been at work the last 3 1/2 days. Start of week 3 is tomorrow.

Here is the list of short term projects
-Transfer over yellow damsel and blue hippo tang from 34g
-10 gallon glass ato reservoir from 34g
-add gfo and carbon reactors
-10 gallon external refugium plumbed in
-split return loc line into 2
-led strip lights for sump work
-replumb to a herbie drain
-skin water mixing station so it's not an eyesore

Longer term projects
-skin for stand to make it look like furniture
-reconfigure old sump to have a more effective layout
-procure more dry or live rock and build aqua scape
-participate in dbtc and grow coral collection
-upgrade to an aquarium controller
-upgrade to a reefmat
 
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Plumbing the refugium. Everything worked as I expected, but getting the return flow to match the rate coming in is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Long term plan is to use a bulkhead and gravity to return water back to main sump. The flow and spin effect on the chaeto works and looks really cool.

Had to shut it down for the night since I had a good sized leak when the float switch for the pump from the fuge back into the sump got stuck in the run position. Water in the main sump kept rising causing the protein skimmer to overflow the waste container.
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