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75 Gallon Build


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Plans and Goals
This tank is being set up to be FOWLR'ish.   There may be a few corals.  The plan is mainly fish and macros.  Being reef safe is an afterthought.  The intent is a lot of live rock and sand for filtration.   Macros to suck up fish poop and look cool.  Fish that may not behave well around corals.  Save some money on lighting with this build.

Design / Theory
No skimmer.  HOB filer and power heads.   Deep sand bed of live sand.  I intend to do 10-20% water changes every week.  Went with hygger full specturm cheap lights as minimal corals.

Tampa Bay Saltwater Rock.  
Going with 60 gallons worth of TBS "the package" for this with an additional 60# of sand.   (120# of rock and 120# of sand total.)  That will give me great live rock and a very nice sand bed.   IMO they provide a little too much rock for a tank, so I'm ordering a 60g kit for the 75 g tank.   I want less rock and more sand, more open space for fish and macros.  I've ordered from them several times and the rock is great, but I always ended up with extras left over.    This is going to be my delay in setting up this tank.  They are back ordered so it will likely be next month before I get rock and sand.  :(

Gear List
Seachem / Sicce    Tidal 110 HOB Power Filter X2
Hydor Koralia    P29501 (1400-1500 GPH) X2
Hydor Koralia    Wavemaker Basic Controller, Dual Pump, 12V, DC
The Sicce HOB filters are pretty huge.   Should be great flow.

Eheim    Jager 3616 150W Heater

GLDF    55-75 Gallon Fish Tank Stand Heavy Duty Metal Aquarium Stand  - Got this stand off of Amazon.  This was a super nice product IMO.  Metal and good finished wood, nice curves, good hardware and instructions.  Made in China but had IKEA quality.   Way better than expected.

Aqueon 75 Gallon

hygger    978 48" Full Spectrum X2 - The lights are 'full spectrum' Not a reef light but very thin and the price is right.  Color and output reminds me of some of the T5 tubes I used to have.   I'll very likely add some actinic blue strips to this to get a more 'normal' reef tank coloration.

Stocking Plans
Galaxea    1 <-- Maybe, maybe the only coral
Foxface  1
Coral Beauty Angel (maybe flame angel) 1
Chromis    6
Fairy Wrasse 1
Heavy quantity and variety of macros

I'm open to other stocking ideas if anyone has some.

The plan is to get the 'package' in and quick cycle the tank with that rock and sand.  Then add critters slowly.    In my experience, using their rock and sand you have a very slight ammonia spike from die off on the first few days, but all the numbers drop really quickly after that.

Here is a pic of the WIP build.  Seemed appropriate to put the tank under my shark mount.   Still don't have enough water.  I have a 13g trash can I'm mixing in, so it is batch after batch to get this filled up.  


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If you exchange the tang, foxface and angel for a Pyramid butterfly and copperband you could grow some of the red macros like dragon's tongue and red grape.  Purple stylo is probably robust enough to deal with the excess DOC from a lot of macros.  I would think hardy zoas and actinodiscus mushrooms would too.



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Updated the stocking list.    Tang is out.   I had a second guess, "Do I want this eating my macros?"   no.....    Is this tank big enough for it?   Maybe..    

So, its out.   Now I need something to fill that slot.  Not sure about either butterfly or copperbands though....   Still thinking.   I'll stock slowly so not a big deal.  The decision can wait.

Filled the tank with the last bit of water yesterday and got both HOB filters running.    Tank is nice and clear but has no sand or rock.   Took forever as I only have a 13g mixing can.   One batch a day...   sigh.....

Now I'm waiting for TBS to give me a ship date.......   

Played with the lights.   They will grow macro, they are bright, but the color is not the visual I want.  It is very white.  I'd call it a clean 6500k mix.   Just one of these Hygger lights would be perfect in a tank with Oscars or a Red Devil.

I want more of a traditional blueish reef color for viewing so, I ordered one SB Lights Actinic 48" bar to supplement these.   Hoping this will make it look better and allow me to have macro and coral in this tank.   

The galaxea going into 40B will be moved into this tank, once this tank is stabilized.    It can live in front of a return and sting away at non-existent enemies, to its hearts content.  :D  

Personally, I think sweeper tentacles are cool.    I don't think the macros or fish will care.   Maybe it will become a galaxea dominant tank?    Like I said before  FOWLR'ish....   zoas/paly may work too.  (I do have a liking for the large green tinted paly grandis.)   I'm not too worried about coral beauty or the foxface munching them from past experiences.

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  • 2 weeks later...

No real progress on this build but......

I ordered live rock and sand from TBS today!    Woot!

I went with a 60G package, an additional 60# of sand, and 60# of additional premium rock.   I want to be able cull through to find the perfect pieces so the extra will help.

I can put the extra in another tank.  :D


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  • 2 weeks later...

In for a penny, in for a pound.  :D

Tossed the Hygger lights.  After testing with Tim, not enough PAR.   So, I removed all the previous lights and replaced with two Rolan 22" from SB Reef.  Two for less than $300 shipped!

22" dimmmable led aquarium light for saltwater corals (sbreeflights.com)

Way better.   Two channels.  Dimmable seperately.  180W per  black box, so 360W over the 75G tank.   That will do!  :D

Pictures below.

Oh, and the first shipment of the TBS Package is due on SW Airlines Monday at 10:00 AM!    Happy week for me.

Here is the thing with mounting legs etc.   Nice non-metallic screws to tighten to the tank.   Check out that driver!  The fan pulls air from the heat sink on the light.  Good design.






All channels 100%


Blue 100%


Non-Blue 100%


I'm not using the legs.  Flush mounting on the rim of the tank.  Fits perfectly!  No picture.  Too reflective.  

I will likely elevate it via some 1X2 wood to get it off the water surface to prolong their lives. 


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Completed the 'canopies' for the lights today.   Labelled all of my wiring connections!   Installed an ATO just like on the 40 breeder.    I'm ready for the live rock!


I added some bolts to the side so they won't fall through.   Very tight fit so they are just press fit, not screwed in.   Final product visible in the FTS.




I HATE trying to find the cord for an item.   Old test engineering thing, all connections get labelled.







Edited by Grog
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17 hours ago, Grog said:

. . .  Labelling

I HATE trying to find the cord for an item.   Old test engineering thing, all connections get labelled. . . .


Real Reefers don't need labels. :D

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Big update today.

First part of "the Package" came in from TBS.  :D

Great packaging!  Boxed, with styrofoam inserts, and triple bagged with water.



Lots of cool critters, snails, urchins, crabs, macros, etc. and this is the first 'base rock' portion.

I didn't want to lose the bivalve so he went into the 40 breeder.






Tank is clearing up quickly, even after just one hour.  Ignore the scape.   I put zero thought into that, just wanted to get the stuff into the tank and cycling.

And of course I sliced my finger on one of the shells.   Every time.  



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FWIW I tested when I put everything in.   Ammonia at .5 PPM at about  1:00 PM today.    KInda expected to have some spike during shipping.   Not a bad spike though.

Tested again just now.  0.   Tested nitrites too.   0. Nitrates spiked up to 15 PPM from 0.

Looks like the bacteria is doing its job very well.  :)   Pretty cool for an 8 hour shift!   Good little bugs.  :D

I'll do a small WC tomorrow to get the Nitrates down to about 10 or so.   I want to keep them a lower until I get macros.


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🙂👍   That's a good example of how dynamic bugs can be.  Aquarists tend to think of their systems as relatively unchanging or even static.  In reality the microbial processes are very dynamic and changing constantly with some showing changes with the daily light cycle. 

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I was a wild man today and needed a break from work.

Ran over to Aquadome and bought a fox face and a coral beauty.   Only two fish for now.   Ammonia and nitrites still at zero this AM.  :D

Need to do the screening over the top before I add the wrasses.  That is a job for next week.

No pics of the new livestock.  They not happy with the hour drive from Aquadome and are in hiding.


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Coral beauty died Sunday.  :(

Foxface is fine and water parameters are fine.   Corals look good too.   

Woke up Sunday to feed them and the CB was stuck to the overflow.  :(    Blah.

I rarely lose fish.       Very confusing.

On a good note the Foxface seems to really like nibbling at the sargassum attached to the rocks.     He also seems to prefer the Seaweed Extreme pellets over frozen.   My previous Foxface preferred the frozen Rod's but his guy seems to prefer planty type foods.    He's leaving corals alone so far.

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Sorry to hear about your Coral Beauty. ☹️


Keep in mind it may have had a problem long before you added it to your system.  I've had a several times over the decades when a group of fish ordered at the same time all die about the same time even though they were distributed to different systems. 

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Taking a small break from the day job.

Removed the rock with the aiptasia kind of thing.  I wasn't very subtle about it.   Just whacked that portion of the rock off to be safe.  I have a LOT more rock coming in and this is out of the 'base' rock so a broken off piece doesn't really matter.   Done

Now, for every bad hitchhiker I find 10-20 cool things.    Feather duster.  :)


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Big day today as the second part of "The Package" came in from TBS.  :D

Couple of developments before I get to the good stuff.     DId a water change and tested everything, as is my normal Sunday process.    Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate were all at zero.    I assume that algae was eating the nitrates and that is the reason for the mini-algae bloom I had.    Either way tank was great parameter wise IMO.

Rock came in on time at AUS from TBS.    This is a flawless system in my experience.  I've done it 6-7 times now and never had an issue.  It is not cheap, but you get what you pay for.

Including pickup time, it took me about 3 hours to get it into the tank and looking good.   The worst parts were driving into town :( ,  avoiding getting spiked by the foxface, and avoiding trapping the foxface under the new aquascape.   

Rocks looked good.   There were some meh pieces, but it put them underneath.   Good mix of lumps, shelves, and arches.   Now the fish have some hidey holes.

Tons of life on the rock and in the bags.    I put no less than 20 crabs from the bags into the tank.   This does not consider what is in the rock.   Nice mix of porcelain and emerald crabs.   (I know I'm way more crab tolerant than others.  Worst case I can pull them out.  I have my crab game on.)   Good assortment of macros but not as good as I've gotten in other shipments.  I think this is a seasonal thing.

I've adjusted the LED in this tank to a less blue spectrum that makes the macros look normal and not washed out.   Maybe not the thing for most reefers but this tank is not for the color popping corals that most want.        This is going to be green and purple mainly.    Side effect?   Very easy to take pictures.  :D    I do have a sunrise and sunset cycle that is mainly actinic so I can get that view when I really want it.

The fox face was totally freaked out by this process.  Hid the entire time.  But now he is out and more active than I've ever seen him.   Apparently happily munching away at little stuff on the rocks.  :D

One thing to note, these pictures were taken an hour after rescaping the tank.    I'm super happy with the way the rocks had little detritus and the way my filtration system is clearing the tank up.   It looks clearer now than this morning.

Some of the goodies.



Cup Corals I and II.   II is in the back of the second photo.


Great Caulerpa rock.







BTW That top left rock may get removed.   I put it in because of the macros on it.   I'm NOT sold on it being there.

Edited by Grog
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17 minutes ago, Timfish said:

Not very neighborly behavior! :D  Looks like some nice sponges ans a big tunicate just behind it on the right side.

Yes, lots of sponges, cup corals, and crabs on this rock.   Like I picked up like 20 crabs when unpacking.   One gorilla and he went bye bye.  Mostly, emerald and porcelain crabs.

I don't think his sweepers will impact the sponge but we will see.  

And no, the galaxea is a mean one for sure.    That side of the tank is pretty much reserved for it.    I heard a lot of people say online that higher flow brings out the sweepers.  I'm going to say that I don't agree.  It is in lower flow here than in the last spot.   These sweepers are the longest I've ever seen it put out.   Sample size of one so maybe I just have a particularly onerey one 😅

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And new addition.  Lemonpeel angel.  :D

Thing is a chonk!   It is kinda buddies with the fox face.   super active.


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20 hours ago, ckyuv said:

Awesome build 🍻 Diggin all the goodies that came along with the rock. 


I've ordered from TBS several times and always am super happy with all the things I find.  I know random stuff in reef tanks isn't everyone's bag, but I like a challenge.  :D


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A few additions and pictures.

Coral pics are taken under the actinic LED phase of the day with minimal processing.  Just cropping, sharpening, and a yellow filter on the camera.    The fish picture is basically raw, just cropped.    I'm happy with this cheap Amazon yellow filter lens kit.     

I'll be done adding things to this tank for a bit.   Let things settle out.    I may add a mandarin in a month or so, or a midas blenny.   I'm open but gonna wait.   I didn't take pictures of the purple stylos.  I'll do that tomorrow.

New Chromis added.  :D


Moved the fireworks clove polyps into here and mounted them.   These are funny.   They take a day or two to to acclimate to any movement.   Very easy to irritate these guys.

Fireworks Clove Polyps.jpg

Mushroom rock is loving it.   Even reproducing.    Gonna be easy to 'frag' this I think as the newbies are dropping i to the sand bed.    Woot!

The green on these is strong under the actinic.


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