View Full Version : New guy - with a neat rig and opinions.

04-12-2005, 06:46 AM
Hello everyone! Such a pleasure to finally be able to reach out and communicate with some locals! This may turn into a long initial post as I wish to share my experiences and failures, (to hopefully spare others!), so bear with me please.
I started in this hobby, (addiction!), 3 years ago when I acquired a 90 gallon show tank with 25 gallon sump, SeaClone 100 skimmer, (HAHAHA!), 175W MH mogul and 2X 40W NO Actinics in a beatifully constructed maple stand and ventilated canopy. Starting out, I read, read, and read some more... (wished now I had properly understood), and made many trips to Hillside & Safari, who at that time were really the only ones doing reef seriously on the Island. Around the time my tank had cycled and it was time to add livestock, my friend decided to tear down his 50 gallon reef, so I bought everything carte blanche to fill my tank, mostly softies and LPS.
When I acquired all this beautiful livestock, I also acquired a whole pile of additives along with some well meaning but maligned advice on dosages. Around $1500 worth of additives and 300 gallons of municipal tap water changes/make ups later... well, most of you get the picture... dead coral skeletons, and red slime algae EVERYWHERE! Needless to say I needed to either adapt a whole new approach, or simply get out of the hobby, (which seemed like the real only choice considering the $$$ I had already flushed!.) :redface:
One of the greatest lessons I learned from this experience was patience, along with planning. In November 2004 I decided upon a plan - to tear down the 90G completely and overhaul. By this time I had eradicated the dreaded algae by doing a couple of simple things... limiting nutrients and carefully maintaining crucial water chemistry parameters, namely calcium and alkalinity. I was told that Chemi-Clean was the way to go, but I felt after extensive reading that if I couldn't eradicate it without, that I would forever be susceptible to further outbreaks. I increased waterflow and circulation, changed my bulbs, kept an eye on my unreliable SeaClone, and fed sparingly for the next 6 months. Everything went extremely well, but the kicker was when I purchased a Red Sea Prizm skimmer for my "holding" system I was about to construct, and set it up on the big system... the SeaClone never produced another SINGLE BUBBLE. In realizing probably a 5 times greater nutrient export from my system, the algae cleared out within weeks! (Note - I had also used nothing but DI water for make up/changes since the original outbreak) So now it was on to reconstruction! :biggrin:
The first order of rebuilding was to build a system to hold all the remaining corals and fish... I was asked more than once why I couldn't keep all the critters in a rubbermaid container... :rolleyes: I happened to have a 50 gallon drilled tank, so I planned around that as a "temporary holding system". I had also planned this system to be a "beta" of the 90 as I built it. What I finished with was the following: 50 gal Hagen tank - no brace! , 20g sump/refugium, Hydor L40 recirculating pump, 1 1/4" corner overflow, Aqualight Lunar 260W PC light, (BEAUTIFUL!), 3" DSB, Red Sea Prizm skimmer on sump, 75 lbs of assorted Figi and Tonga branch LR, and a Red Sea Wavemaster Pro with 3 MaxiJets for maximum flow. All chemistry is maintained with supplements such as Kent Pro dKH and Kalkwasser. pH is stable at 8.2, Alk is kept between 8 - 12 dKH, and Calcium between 380 and 450 ppm. Before this tank, I never experienced any corraline algae growth in any significant proportions... now it is spectacular, and the corals are growing like weeds! I had planned on this just being a short term storage then later prop and grow out tank, but it has turned out so well I just had to leave it set up!
The 90g turned out to be a 2 month rebuild after I installed 2 new overflow weirs, Durso standpipes, 50 more gallons of water volume via 2 stepped sumps, a UV sterilizer, new water distribution manifold, 2 more pumps and a fluidized bed filter. This system now sports a 165g total volume, with a Red Sea Prizm Pro skimmer, a 25g refugium growing Caulerpa, a DIY Calcium reactor to help maintain those critical water chemistry parameters, and the new Coralife Aqualight Lunar 48" with 2 - 96w PC Actinics and 2 - 150W MH HQI 10,000K bulbs. As far as I'm concerned, Coralife and their line of fixtures has all the bases covered when it comes to lighting. These babies are beautiful, deliver the right amount of light, and are relatively affordable even in comparison to DIY. I happened to like these fixtures as they allow for easy access for my plumbing, (a ton!), and also for getting into the tank for maintenance and aquascaping. The lunar lights are a nice touch for night time viewing as well. Flow runs about 800 gph through a SCWD and a closed loop system, along with 4 powerheads timed at 15 to 30 min intervals. Laminar flow is currently supplied at 2/3 tank height through 2 outlets plumbed through the overflow boxes from a Hydor L30 pump running through the fluidized bed filter. Even with all this equipment pushing water around, my temp remains at a constant 78 - 79 degrees, though I plan to add a chiller to the system before summer. Also in the works is to plumb the 50g system into the big system to share water chemistry and get away from additive control. This will give me over 200g of total volume which will add greatly to the stability of my systems.
The 90 has a limited amount of LR and livestock in it right now, but I will be adding slowly for sure. Any of you out there that are looking for a great home for frags or want to sell me some, let me know please! As my systems mature I will be fragging as well, (already have plans for a 75g grow out system), I sure hope to be able to contribute to the home grown corals available. I also am planning a summer project of making 200 - 400 lbs of home made aquacultured live rock using GARF's recipe. Let me know if any of you may be interested, the more interest I get, the more I'll make.
One thing I have noticed in this hobby are the matters of distrust and skepticism towards the LFS here on the Island along with a desire to save $5 on a bucket of salt from the mainland. People PLEASE! As a small business owner I have sympathy for these people. I have dealt at all of the most mentioned stores, Cora at Hillside, Jakarta at Safari, Rob at MFT, and Scott at Island Pet Zone. These people, like myself, are trying to make an honest living, and are human just like all the rest of us. While I can't wait to make a trip over and sea J&L and Oceanic to see some new things and yes, buy some things, I prefer to shop locally as much as I can. We have some pretty good talent right here on the rock. Instead of keeping an arms length from these people you are giving THOUSANDS to, get to know them, ASK questions, and for GOD SAKE, don't be cheap! If you are looking to save $$$ go back to keeping neon tetras!
Cora and Jakarta are certainly more expensive, but have a good look at their setups. Believe me, by the time Scott and Rob get the amount and quality of livestock as Cora and Jakarta, they'll be asking for premium $$$ as well. Either that, or they won't be in business! Cora has the habit of not asking enough questions about your current system before she'll sell you something, but be there sometime when there aren't 8 people demanding her attention, and she's as straight shooting as anyone. She'll even meet you after store hours for a more one on one, just make sure you make it worth her while. Similar with Jakarta, though I don't know that he'd meet outside store hours. Also Safari deals with almost every type of animal imagineable, and pays big rent, so expect to pay a little more. Jakarta has the best corraline algae I have ever seen, so pick his brain for success. He seems genuinely interested in educating those that want to learn and aren't totally ignorant. Scott and Rob are somewhat of a cut of the same cloth, both have extensive fishkeeping backgrounds but relatively new to retailing reef stuff. Both are very knowledgable and are bringing in new stuff all the time. I don't get to Nanaimo much, but my few purchases and discussions with Rob have been rewarding. He is in the process of expanding, so last time I was in he seemed to be clearing out most of his livestock to prepare to move the tanks. He gave me some Montipora frags that were badly bleached along with some neat critters I bought - which are making a steady recovery in the 90 now. He also gave me a bottle of macro algae food that is supposed to be the rage, but I haven't tried it yet. My son had wide eyes as his helper actually held and pet a Clown Triggerfish. Scott is closest to me, and I do most of my buying from him. He treats me fairly, is very well informed and knowledgable, and will order in anything I want, with a few exceptions, and generally is as competitive with Vancouver as you're going to get considering convenience and shipping. Within 6 months to a year, you will see both Scott and Rob become more serious reef retailers as Scott is also planning to expand his reef section, which I have witnessed him steadily do in the past year. I will say one thing about them all... The price on the item is what they are all ASKING for. Especially if buying in multiples and/or making a couple hundred or so dollars worth of purchases in at once. Remember reefkeeping is an expensive undertaking at the least, if you can't afford the $$$ or make the time commitment... get out... your animals will die anyways. Pay these people for their products and expertise, and they will all bend over backwards to make your reef tank a success, it's in THEIR best interest as well.
I hope to meet some local people into the hobby like myself, share some tips and ideas, trade and/or buy/sell frags, and see some of the rigs and animals you are all growing. I already have more tanks to build, and would expect to be expanding my interests in the next few years, so I'll keep posting and watching - hope to hear from you!

04-12-2005, 12:49 PM
Too early to read your entire post, but WELCOME TO CANREEF :exclaim:

04-12-2005, 12:53 PM
Welcome to the board, have you been to hillside laitly? they haven't hade quality livestock for almost two years. as for Safari that is the place I get al my live stock and the odd dry good, and I think you mean to say Japarto instead of Jakarta, Jakarta is a placewhere we get a lot of live rock from :mrgreen:

at any rate welcome tot he board again.


04-12-2005, 02:16 PM
Holy First Post Batman!! :razz:

Welcome to the board!!

04-12-2005, 02:25 PM
I just can't read that much!! It's like Tony on speed!! :biggrin:

welcome to the board!

I will read this when I get to the office!

04-12-2005, 02:27 PM
I will read this when I get to the office!

04-12-2005, 03:21 PM
Welcome to the board!

Good to see another Islander on the board.

I agree with everything you said except for Hillside. While that store is far from the worst, it could be far better. I stick with Safari's for my local purchases. In fact, I am even buying my liverock from him when I setup my next tank. The price I am going to pay is a bit more then the lower mainland, but it is convenient and I like to support good busnesses!

04-12-2005, 04:33 PM
Welcome. Our numbers are growing. We will be a force to reckon with. Pretty soon we'll have enough people on the island to have a good frag swap. I look forward to dealing with you in the future.

PS. Beware of Hillside... that's all i'm going to say.

04-12-2005, 05:47 PM
I think thats the longest post I have ever read! :lol: . I like to support the locals like Rob. Hes really nice and friendly. Also hes given me tons of info on setting up my 73 gallon and sump. He also gives me deals on his live stock.


04-12-2005, 09:21 PM
Hey, Welcome to Canreef!! :biggrin: Sounds like had a pretty rough start and are well on your way now.

BTW where is Island Pet Zone?

Christy :)

04-13-2005, 09:15 AM
Thank you all for your overwhelming welcome! Sorry about the length of that... just had to get it out...

Christy - IPZ is in Duncan around the corner from McDonalds. Best place on the rock right now for a lot of dry goods and lighting. Scott's lacking a little for livestock, but always working to get more in - his problem is it seems to go as fast as it arrives! Get in touch with him & he'll let you know when new stuff comes in. He's also happy to hold things for you.

Steve - (and Japarto) - apologies for my ignorance... :lol:

And to all - I will soon post some pics with some equipment details & ideas. This rig is running sweet - added a Seio PH today.. almost overwhelming amount of current - I will keep you all posted as it seems like the best way so far to get LOTS of water moving.. Hope to get together with any of you soon to compare notes.

Arty Morty
04-13-2005, 12:00 PM
You had me at Hello....
WEED VAPORIZERS (http://weedvaporizers.org/)

04-15-2005, 05:52 AM
Hi Reeferaddict, welcome. I read the whole story. Twice. If you're ever thinking about coming up north Campbell River. We are passionate about our aquariums. regards Ken

04-21-2005, 04:17 AM
Welcome glad to have you on board


04-22-2005, 05:37 AM
Welcome to the board, I will never, ever, ever have time to read that!

06-09-2005, 06:03 PM
welcome :biggrin:

do you have pics of your tank yet :question:

i think we would all love to see them :mrgreen:

06-09-2005, 10:53 PM
moved to Reef forum

06-09-2005, 11:03 PM
:eek: Welcome :eek: I read it all! :scramble:

06-10-2005, 12:22 AM
somebody explain to me what is written in his post to long to read.

06-10-2005, 03:00 AM
Welcome to the board...long post but a good read!!!

06-10-2005, 03:49 AM
I'm surprised that post didn't get onto a second page just on it's own. Welcome to the board, enjoy the journey.