Chas84’s TL550 Restarted

2 Sep 2010
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It is a long story, but bare with me

I bought my secondhand Boyu Tl550 way back in 2010 (haha I had many plans with it, but then got caught up with a 6ft tank and the little one literally to the backseat!). Long story short, life happened and I ended up giving my 6ft tank, cabinet and sump away to an enthusiasting young reefer and his dad (I wonder if they are still active on here?), and my TL550 was put in the corner of the lounge. I kept my Maxspect Razors and MP40 and skimmer though (this is afterall an absolute addiction, and “sabbaticals” are usually only for a while).

Major neglect happened for about 3.5 years. No waterchanges, topped up with tap water to get the pump quiet etc. overgrown with GHA and Bryopsis and all other kinds of nasties. Total embarrasment everytime a visitor would ask “waar’s die vissies?” I ended up just keeping the light off and changing the subject.

August 2018 I decided to fix the situation. From my (now) dead and dried “live rock”, I spent a few days picking nice pieces and dry stacking various scapes for the TL550. Eventually I decided on a few pieces of rock and did the acid bath followed by bleach soak and then RO soak for a few weeks. I ended up with perfectly clean rocks.

By mid December 2018 I drained the “swamp” that has been sitting in the lounge, completely washed and scrubbed everything. Struggled to get a ton of coralline off the plastic back (with lemon juice ), spent hours rinsing the aragonite, until everything was spotless. Apart from the few scratches on the front glass that has accumulated over the years, everything looked new.

I went to @Dorry Pets with my new jerry cans and got new salt water. Impulsively I bought a rock with some Yuma’s on (now colouring up nicely), and two hermits (these died within days, but I have to admit that I didn’t acclimate them properly). I put the aragonite back, did my scape and added the water. By some miracle, with all the neglect and tap water topups, a small colony of Paly’s survived (these were on one of the rocks I initially got with the tank in 2010!).

A week or so later I noticed a little leather coral growing from another rock. It’s now about the size of a new 1c coin, and looking good. It is the “phoenix” of a huge (dinner plate size) Toadstool leather I bought a few years ago and was kept in my 6ft setup.

I was given a few LED’s and I’ve installed these, but I do need some more to get better colour and wider spectrum.

The original Boyu skimmer was always a struggle and got lost somewhere, so I bought a new one the other day. It seems to also be a struggle... I’m thinking of just taking it out and packing it away for future use, and relying on an ATS and weekly waterchanges to keep parameters in check. And also not overstocking. I’m not comfortable with cutting the hood or filter baffles, etc. to get it to work.

About a week into the cycle, I noticed a fair amount of Bryopsis on one of the rocks, as well as some gha and turf algae. I did 50% waterchange and a Fluconazole treatment (27 December 2018 - 8 x 200mg capsules), and the bryopsis started turning white within a few days. This morning (11January 2019) I just brushed off the remnants of it with a toothbrush. Gha is also almost completely gone. Turf algae is still there, but I have two unknown little “slugs” that are making work of eating algae off the rocks.

Basic tank details:
Lighting is 12 LED’s (I am not sure of their specs). I do plan on adding another 15 LED chips soon.

Flow: 1 x MP40 (from my old 6ft tank). It is set to random reef crest mode; just under 50% power - looks fancy and creates decent movement.

Filtration: cheap filter pad (rinsed as often as needed); new skimmer that I’m going to be taking out); 1 chamber filled with live rock (I want to add live rock to another chamber); a bag of ceramic type balls that Marc at @Live Aquatics seeded for me; 3 drops a week of Aquaforest Probio S; 10ml per week Microbelift Special blend. I want to add an ATS in the very near future, just thinking of a design that is practical and efficient and easy to take out to clean.

Livestock as at 11 January 2019 (I am in the market for very nice and unusual stuff):
1 x Small colony Paly’s (brown with green centers) - I need some Purple paly’s to put next to these!
1 x Tiny Toadstool leather ((Pink with tan polyps)
1 x Rock of +- 20 Ricordea Yumas (under the LED lights they are changing from brown to a purplish pink, but time will tell)
1 x Colony of copepods I bought from @Live Aquatics . Haha I initially though wtf they sold me a bag of water with some cheato, then a few days later the glass was teaming with pods
2 x Unknown slugs/snails/nudi’s that I suspect came with the Yuma rock from @Dorry Pets , these eat small patches of algae. Mostly active at night.

My plan for this tank is to turn it into a spectacular miniature reef, containing friendly colourful fish, interesting inverts and absolutely “brilliantly coloured” corals.

Mainly soft corals (especially rare zoas and rics), but will add some lps (like a duncan, candy cane, trumpet, hammer/frogspawn/torch). And obviously some lumo leathers and various “branching” softies. The fact that I’m basically going “skimmerless” and that I am not ready for dosing and too frequent testing, etc, SPS isn’t currently on my list (unless they are “forgiving” and have amazing colour).

A Sun coral might on my list if I can find one that is established and healthy, and later on a nice Bubbletip anemone or two. I don’t mind spending time feeding them.

Next on my list:
1.) Clean up crew - hermits, trochus snails, mexican turbo snails, maybe an emerald crab (please share your experience). Various other snails and a colony of amphipods.

2.) Two Black &white Clownfish.

3.) Lawnmower blenny

4.) 3 Banggai Cardinals (tank bred and raised)

5.) 2 or 3 Cleaner shimps and a Boxing shrimp

6.) Various colourful little fish that are suitable to a tank of this size. I would love to have a pair of Pipefish (or even Seahorses) in the tank, but only mich later and of conditions are suitable. Flow might be a bit much, although there are some quiet spots, and the MP40 can be adjusted down.

So, any further advice, tips and hints are welcome, as well as any offers to buy nice frags.




2 Sep 2010
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Just a random FTS update. 2.5 months after the restart.

Livestock already in:
2 x Black clowns
1 x Lawnmower blenny
1 x Sixline wrasse

2 x Hermits (not sure which kind)
2 x Snails (not sure which kind)
? x Stomatella snails, tiny brittle stars

Various frags bought and some given to me


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