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75g Mixed Reef

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A tad bit late, but I started this system a little over 2 weeks ago with relative simplicity and ease of maintenance in terms of equipment and a diverse cast of livestock in mind. This is my first "large" reef, my only previous aquarium being a small sort-of-FOWLR I had a few years ago. I'm starting this thread as a documentation and so I can hopefully avoid mistakes like those I've made in the past.

Equipment: Mistakes were made. I wanted to have the tank set up and cycling before I left for a road trip in the midwest, so I didn't do thorough research on equipment. After I bought the tank, stand, and light, I came across the first problem; my then-intended sump, an old 10g aquarium, didn't fit in the stand. doh.gif I ended up buying a new stand that came with a trigger systems 20g sump inside as a replacement. I also bought most of the rest of my equipment, including a single mp10 (will be buying another one), a Sea Side aquatics CS1 skimmer, an eshopps u-tube overflow box, a tunze return pump, and the other boring equipment like the heater, test kit etc.

Inside the stand:



90# of live rock came in from liveaquaria about 2 days after purchase, just in time. It had nice color but dulled out after I put it in the tank. I got my aquascape just how I wanted before I left and let cycle.

After a few adjustments once I got back from the trip:


Got back 3 days ago, the water was at 0 ammonia, 5 ppm> nitrite, and 10ppm-20ppm nitrates, so the cycle is about half over. I'll test again this weekend and hopefully the cycle is done by then. For my other params i'm at 1.024 specific gravity, which i'm trying to raise, and a warm 82.2 degrees.

I ran into my second problem when I did research afterwards on the lighting I bought, a 350$ fluval "reef" strip LED. Little did I know at the time that I had bought the most expensive junk light in the hobby, apparently not even good enough for LPS thumbsdown.gif Now I have a stand AND a light to get rid of. Lesson learned; do your research before buying, don't rush things.

I have a pretty good idea of what I would like to stock fish wise (not so much corals), but am open to suggestions. I'm aiming for a "busy reef" kind of look, but not crowded or empty in terms of stocking levels.

The only fish that is set in stone is a Xanthichthys triggerfish; triggers are my favorite fish and I've always wanted one. I read in a wildlife survery that Sargassums stay an inch or two smaller on average than blue throats, and I like their coloration better, but if I cant find one a blue throat is fine. Crosshatch triggers look really cool but with their rarity, price tag, and a maximum size of a foot... It's not going to happen.

I'm strongly considering a longnose hawkfish and a mystery wrasse. I would also like a group of shoaling fish of some kind. I'm thinking 5 anthias, probably carberryi because after a long search they seem to be the anthias that most consistently maintains a tight schooling pattern in the reef tank, but am open to shoaling fish suggestions.

I'll be buying a replacement light, probably an AI system, along with the second mp10 and the CUC after the cycle is over. Until then, playing the waiting game.

Edited by Mopzar

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The red tail trigger is a great choice! He's reef safe, despite all the labels, and brings out other fish from hiding due to his constant play! I have owned two of these guys, my last one jumped, so I have to advise you that cover for the tank is essential.

Keep it cool- Justin

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Great looking scaping! I've always wanted one but still can't pull the "trigger" on one as I'm always afraid they'll eat my pretty coral.

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About time for an update.



Some minor changes to the aquascape.

It's been about 2 weeks since the end of the cycle. Parameters are:
Ammonia- 0
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 40
PH- 8.2
Temp- 82 F
Salinity- 1.022 (probably because I measured in the return chamber, where I top off.)
Firstly, the obvious, inhabitants!


I decided on B/G chromis because I wanted the first fish(es) to be relatively hardy and cheap. There was originally five; I noticed the biggest of the group appeared to have some kind of open wound a day after purchase, I didn't think much of it as the fish was eating well and was active. About a week later, over the course of about a few hours it went from appearing healthy to floating upside down and breathing heavily hmm.png . I removed the dying fish and it perished shortly after. The remaining four are all eating very well and I haven't had any issues since. I have not noticed any aggression with the remaining chromis. The fish currently share the tank with 3 scarlet hermits, 4 blue leg hermits, 2 emerald crabs, and about 10 assorted snails.

Also obvious: the diatoms bloom came and went, to be replaced by an almost generic encrusting green algae. The CUC eats it with gusto, and I only noticed a single bloom so I assume it will go away in awhile.

The sump, slightly more organized than before, with algae in the fuge.


On to equipment; I got a 48" Build my LED "reef spectrum" (14k) strip, which I plan to supplement with a "super actinic" strip on my next LFS trip. Easy on the pocket, the eyes, and any future corals. I also picked up an additional mp10 and the flow is much better.The skimmer has been pulling plenty of junk since day 1, and I'm quite happy with it.

That's about it.

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Looking good! Maybe the largest chromis got shanked by one of the smaller chromis as he was swimming around a piece of live rock?

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