Frag tank to Mini Reef

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Well, as some of you know I bought a 30 gal. frag tank. It is 2' square by 1' deep. I had set it up with a bare bottom and egg crate to hold coral plugs. I had 2 Koralia 4's in it for water circulation and was running fine. SG was good and all the other tests came out good. What would you expect from a new set up, the water can't go bad if there's nothing in it.

The coral frags showed up and the tank had been running for a few days. I had added in a HOB filter and then all hell broke loose. ALGAE started to grow. The tank started smelling really bad and my wife was about to "Break Glass" and there was no fire. Well, I took the tank down and completely cleaned everything. Then it struck me, why not make it a mini reef tank until I can get my display tank up and running. So it began, while the corals, 5 snails, 2 emerald crabs, and a Yellow Tang and Tomato Clown were in the Rubbermaid holding container, with heat and good water circulation, I started to set up the frag tank as a mini reef.

Now I know I'm going to catch heck from a lot of you but then, it's my tank and my money that is going into this hobby and I was pressed for time.

I scrubbed down the frag tank with the dirty water that was still there, just to break the algae loose. Then I pumped the rest of the water out into a 5 gallon bucket (several trips) and dumped the old salt water on a bush in the yard I hope will die. Using fresh tap water, I continued to clean out the tank until I had it as clean as it could be.

Now the fun began, rinsing sand for the bottom. I'll say this, I'm sure glad I'm not on a water meter. I think it took several hours to get most of the cloud out of the water, cleaning 40 or so pounds of Aragonite sugar size sand. Lots of duct ended up in the gutter in front of the house. Kind of looks like it snowed.

Well, I started layering in the sand to about 1 1/2" deep. Looks good so far. Then I had some rock that I had been keeping in another Rubbermaid container with heat and water flow from an old Marineland 402 power head and a low wattage heater. I don't know if this did any good but it didn't hurt, and the aqua-scraping began. I started stacking in the coral rock chunks I had and using the old "tap it" method of making sure they were pretty well set and wouldn't fall over very easily I built a small reef cove. All of this was done without water in the tank. The rock was well soaked so it shouldn't float.

Once I had the sand and rock in place, it was time for water. Got the hose hooked up and ran to the tank. You can beat me up again here as I hooked directly to my tap water from the service porch. Got the temperature adjusted pretty close to what I wanted in the tank and started filling. Filled to about 80% and covered the power heads with water and stopped. I started adding in the salt, Instant Ocean Synthetic Sea Salt for Saltwater Fish Tanks. Don't believe the information on the bad. 1/2 cup is NOT enough for a gallon of water, closer to 1 full cup but, I didn't go so far as to actually figure that out. I turned on the Koralia 4's and them run, stirring the salt and sand at the front of the tank until dissolved. The I got out my NEW refactometer and checked the SG, this is when I found that the amount of salt needed for a gallon of water was wrong, really wrong. I added more water and brought the tank up to about 2" from the top and started adding in salt and letting everything circulate. Over a period of about 8 hours, I was able to get the SG up to 1.025 or 1.026 and was happy with that. The other tests, after 36 hours are as follow:

KH = 214
Ca = 420
PO4 = 0.5
NO3 = 5
NO4 = .5
NO2 = .02
NH3/NH4 = 0 < .25

These are all the test kits I have at the moment.

Well, according to what I can find, things seems to be ok. Any feedback would be helpful.

Here's a quick shot of the tank before the cloudy water had completely settled down.



I'll post a clearer photo later today.
 
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The frag tank failed because you started adding stuff before a cycle had started.

Like the scaping in the new tank, I'm not going to give you flack for using tap water though, you will be kicking yourself shortly with all the hair algae and other nasties that come with tap water.
 
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Thanks and funny you should mention the hair algae. I had one rock that had a growth patch about the size of golf ball, and now it's gone. I don't know if the snails got it or what. I've got a new RO/DI unit on order and I hope it gets here this week. OH, one other thing, I do have a whole house water purification system and maybe that is helping with the algae.

As for the scaping, it always looks so much better in person than a photo really displays.
 

Tobes

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You got corals in there already? Is that yellow a sun coral?
How long has the tank been running now?
 

dallasg

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Don't sun corals need dark places?
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Tobes

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Don't sun corals need dark places?
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Yes Dallas they do - they live in caves and crevices feeding of plankton. Every pollyp needs food and you need to target feed at least every second day - if you don't have a constant supply of phytoplankton that is. Otherwise they will starve and die :(

Not sure if that is a sun coral - looks like it...
 
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I guess I better move him/it as it's right up near the top of the tank. Glad to find that out and thanks. I was about to glue it in place. Might be why it's not coming out like it should.
 

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I need all the real estate I can get for corals. Now I need to find a good source of information all all sorts of corals so I can build the display tank accordingly. I'll be watching for that pic. Thanks.
 
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Thanks Mike. I ordered some Warner Marine Research PHOSaR HC. Now a new issue came up. I switched out my heater for a shorter one and the scale on the heater is about 6* off. 72* = 78* of water temp. Always something. Another Visi Therm Stealth is in order.
 

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