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Old 01/17/2011, 10:04 PM   #1
Ben_n_Em
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Ben & Em's First Tank Build - 36 Bow - Feedback Is Appreciated

I need to start by saying that this is our first dive into keeping fish. We’ve gotten a lot of great advice along the way so far from both local friends and the Reef Central forums. We also realize we still have a long road of learning ahead of us. We’d definitely appreciate any words of wisdom from the reefers out there.

Feeling up to the challenge, we dove straight into a fish only saltwater tank with plans to convert to a reef tank once we built some confidence down the road… which ended up happening pretty quick.

The Tank:
  • 36 gallon bow front (liked the shape and nothing bigger would fit in the car)
  • Black wood stand
  • Came with a generic hood, light, and heater
  • Charlie the Chihuahua not included


Photo Taken 20MAR10

The Sump:
  • 5.5 gallon (yes it’s a tiny but a 10 wouldn’t fit in the stand)
  • Added a 3 baffles system (over/under/over)
  • Tunze Nano-Skimmer
  • Cheap generic sump pump (replaced later)


Photos Taken ~1APR10

Initial Tank Prep & Loadout:
  • Back of tank painted black
  • 1” drilled sump drain
  • ¾” Sump return (Later changed to a ½” black return line)
  • About 25 lbs of live rock with plans to add more as we get farther down the road
  • About 1” of crushed coral / live sand bed mix
  • VorTech MP10 Powerhead



Photos taken ~18APR10

The Top-off Tank:
  • Added a second 5.5 gallon top off tank under the sump
  • Using a JBJ Auto Top Off controller with low/high level sensor and backup high level sensor in the sump
  • Mini-jet 606 Pump


Photo taken late APR10

A Lighting Upgrade:
  • After a few months we couldn’t resist the itch to start playing with some corals so we needed a lighting upgrade
  • Ditched the canopy and hood that came with the aquarium and installed an ATI Powermodule T5 4x24W


Photon taken ~1SEP10

Aquascaping:
  • Added some more live rock and after a bit of effort got it arranged to our liking
  • Started with a couple test corals:
    • A xenia that to date is spreading so fast I may need to buy a weed wacker
    • An alveapora that died pretty quick (This reef newbie didn’t realize these were hard to keep)


Photo taken ~21SEP10

Finishing the Sump:
  • So we went on a bit of a quest to put our tiny 5 gal sump on steroids
  • The below content was added slowly between APR and DEC of 2010:
    • 100 micron polypropylene Filter Sock
    • Tunze Nano-Skimmer
    • Refugium Section
      • Coralife Dual 9W Compact Florescent (2x 6700K bulbs)
      • Macro Algae
    • Replaced the generic sump pump with a Maxi-Jet MP400 (The cheaper pump was just too loud)
    • 100W Rena Heater
    • 9W UV Sterilizer “The Green Killing Machine”
    • ATO
    • Temperature and Ammonia monitoring
    • Some Live Rock


Photo taken 1JAN11

Inhabitants as of 17JAN11:
  • Corals:
    • Kenya Tree (1 Pink, 1 Green)
    • Trumpet
    • Green Plating Montipora
    • Red Plating Montipora
    • Red Branching Montipora
    • Xenia
    • Aussie Hammer
    • Zoanthus
    • Orange Ricordea
  • Fish/Inverts:
    • 2 Ocellaris Clowns
    • 1 Tailspot Blenny
    • 1 ORA Green Target Mandarin
    • 1 Orange Stripe Prawn Goby w/ Banded Pistol Shrimp
    • 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
    • 2 Peppermint Shrimp
    • 10 Astraea Snails
    • Green BTA


Photo taken ~7JAN11

Water/Chemistry:
  • Filter Guys 5-Stage RO/DI Purifier
  • Instant Ocean Reef Crystals
  • Dosing B-Ionic two part alkalinity/calcium solution
  • Temp: 79-80
  • Salinity: 35 ppt
  • pH: 8.3
  • NH4: 0 ppm
  • NO2: 0 ppm
  • NO3: 0 ppm
  • AK: 8.3

So far our dive into the reef keeping world has been a blast. Would love some feedback on our progress so far.

Thanks,
Ben & Em



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Old 01/18/2011, 10:31 AM   #2
Sugar Magnolia
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To Reef Central

You guys did a fantastic job! Congratulations !


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Old 01/18/2011, 10:53 AM   #3
funkejj
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Welcome!! The tank looks good. Just had to get a sunken submarine didn't you?


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Old 01/18/2011, 11:13 AM   #4
cyberwild360
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Welcome aboard! tank looks good for your first go around! Way to be patient and it payed off!


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Old 01/18/2011, 12:52 PM   #5
gary faulkner
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Great start! The only real concern is the Mandarin if he is not eating prepared food. You don't have large enough tank to keep it fed with just the live rock.

HTH


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Old 01/18/2011, 03:58 PM   #6
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Excellent start to a beautiful tank! Welcome to RC! and I agree with ^ about the Mandarin. Do a google search about "Mandarin Diner" and you'll be led to a website with a video and explaination of one method to perhaps feed the mandarin enough. It may be it's only hope of survival. If you get it to work, you'll be able to keep that lovely fish in that size tank no problem.

Good luck!
Aaron


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Current Tank Info: 10 gallon nano with ATS
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Old 01/18/2011, 09:01 PM   #7
Ben_n_Em
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkejj View Post
Welcome!! The tank looks good. Just had to get a sunken submarine didn't you?
Of course. I'm a prior submariner. Gotta represent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary faulkner View Post
Great start! The only real concern is the Mandarin if he is not eating prepared food. You don't have large enough tank to keep it fed with just the live rock.

HTH
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogstar74 View Post
Excellent start to a beautiful tank! Welcome to RC! and I agree with ^ about the Mandarin. Do a google search about "Mandarin Diner" and you'll be led to a website with a video and explaination of one method to perhaps feed the mandarin enough. It may be it's only hope of survival. If you get it to work, you'll be able to keep that lovely fish in that size tank no problem.

Good luck!
Aaron
Gary/Dogstar,

Thanks for the concern on the mandarin. Mandarins have quickly become a favorite and I definitely hope to keep this one healthy. I got the Mandarin as a part of pair back in August. I lost one while in QT (believe due to not eating enough and me not reacting fast enough). The remaining one has done great so far. She readily ate shrimp ova and arcti pods in QT, thanks goes to ORA for raising them on frozen food. She has subsequently grazed for pods, etc all day after moving to the display tank. No way to tell if she's only eating pods or also frozen food leftovers in the display. Still have pods visible on the glass of the display tank after several months and the mandarin is pretty fat so I think we're ok so far. I'll give her up to a better home if things ever start turning south.


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Old 01/18/2011, 09:32 PM   #8
wholelottawater
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Congrats on a great start.


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Current Tank Info: 75 mixed reef
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Old 10/02/2011, 03:45 PM   #9
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Tank Update 2OCT11:

It has been a while (8 months) since we updated this threadand we thought it was a good time to share our current tank status with you guys. We've made a lot of changes sinceour last post.


  • Skimmer Upgrade (~MAR11)


    • Realized that the Tunze Nano Skimmer wasn't going to cut it for where we wanted to take this tank.

    • Moved the Tunze to skim a 10gal QT Tank.

    • Got a used ATB 840 with a Sicce 1000 pump for the DT.

    • Note to anyone thinking about a 36gal bowfront: It is rediculously difficult to get a sump tank large enough to hold a decent skimmer inside an AGA 36 bow stand. After some serious trial and error we gave up and decided to plumb an extended 10 gal tank into the sump system.






  • Coral Additions: We started to dive farther into SPS this year. Special thanks to copps and gws3 for some gorgeous speciments.


    • Tyree Rainbow Monti

    • Tyree Sunset Monti

    • Tubs Montipora Stellata

    • Tricolor Acro

    • ORA Ice Tort

    • Metallic Blue Mille

    • Blue Tort

    • Blue Poly Pink Stylo

    • Pink Acro

    • Bam Bam Polyps

    • Kaliedascope Polyps

    • Assortment of Ricordea Mushrooms



  • Livestock Additions:


    • Flame Angel

    • Rusty Angel

    • Juvenile Purple Tang

    • 2 RBTAs

    • Maxima Clam

    • 4 Resplendent Anthias (currently in QT and will be added to the DT soon





  • Other Equipment:


    • Had some close calls with extended power losses last winter and made some investments in power continuity to ensure the tank stays up at all times.

    • Aded an RS1500 APC UPS with extended battery pack and hooked it up to the VorTech in the display tank.

    • Also got an EU2000i generator for longer outages

    • Got tired of hauling buckets for water changes and built a mixing station in the bathroom. 2x16gal tall tanks on a dual 10gal stand provide a constant source of di and salt water. Using a mag 7 and tubing to pump out to the display and QTs when needed





  • Definitely had a few ups and downs over the last 8 months but we are learning from our mistakes. We are about 1.5 years in on the tank and overall it seems to be veryhealthy.




Photos Taken 1AUG11


  • As always comments are welcome. Would love some feedback on the tank.


Thanks,
Ben (&Em)



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Old 10/02/2011, 04:21 PM   #10
drew930
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Tank looks great!!!.... but you might wanna get prepared for comments about the purple tang in such a small tank. And the 2 angel fish in the same tank.


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Old 10/24/2011, 04:19 PM   #11
JCeballos27
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I started off with a 36 bow... I loved it but I did everything wrong. I drilled 4 holes on such a small tank... The glass cracked 3 times! (yep, I went through 3 of the same tanks and didn't learn) I now have a reef savvy 75 gallon which I love. After seeing your build, I kind of miss my 36.. I like the look of the bow front. Great live stock!


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Old 10/24/2011, 04:29 PM   #12
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Double post


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Old 10/24/2011, 04:34 PM   #13
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By the way, my avatar is a pic of my old bow front


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Old 10/24/2011, 04:37 PM   #14
pulit
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tank looks great . good job


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Old 10/24/2011, 04:46 PM   #15
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Ben (&Em) Tank looks great keep up the great work and keep the updates coming,and if you ever want to upgrade to a 72gal bow front let me know i have one i'm looking to get rid of might be a bit of a drive but it's worth it....lol


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Old 10/24/2011, 04:50 PM   #16
Jcohen9999
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Very nice.


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Old 12/24/2011, 10:40 PM   #17
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Long term, I think you're overstocked in the fish department. Might work for a while. You've done a beautiful job on the hardware. And your stocking was fantastic until I saw the tang and anthias post. Er, those fish and very not recommended for 36 gallons of salt water. If you haven't added the anthias, I would return them to the LFS. Your stock list now is more for a 125 gallon tank. I guess you'll have to get a bigger car.


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Old 07/19/2012, 12:28 PM   #18
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Did the Resplendent Anthia ever go into this tank? Was thinking about whether a trio of those in a 46 bow with ~55g total volume would be a bad idea or if others had accomplished something similar.

Great looking tank!


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Old 07/19/2012, 06:22 PM   #19
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great looking tank .. keep it up


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