RSS Reef Reboot Phase 4, “Just Add Salt!?

MASA Admin

8 May 2007
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So where did I leave off? Oh yeah, a tank full of RO water ready to become a reef! Now the fun part..

Salt was added and the pumps were fired up. I was thrilled that the new tank was relatively quiet. The bean animal overflow with a DC return pump kept things silent, with only the trickle of the sump baffles as white noise. The canopy fans were barely audible as well. Noise was a big consideration in this reboot. Moving the filtration out of the basement and under the tank ran the risk of a louder space. But careful planning seemed to have paid off.

As I mentioned in my original post, I wanted to fix some regrets. One of the big ones, was getting rid of some weedy corals. I had planned to start with fresh dry rock, but ultimately decided that giving my existing rock a bleaching would amount to the same. After bleaching for 24 hours, they were given a vinegar bath for good measure. I’m not really that scared of phosphates, and never measure for them. But I thought the vinegar would help dechlorinate the rocks and remove any metal build up. It seemed like a minor extra step, but I was wrong. The gas mask, goggles, and rubber gloves made me look like an episode of ‘Breaking Bad’. I expected my neighbors to call the cops, assuming I was disposing of a corpse. If you ever acid bath your rocks, please be careful and wear protection.

The end result of my rock treatment was a pile of clean white rocks. But the sterility posed a problem. I needed to get my inhabitants in the tank quick, and I just killed most of the biological stability I had. Fortunately, the holding tanks had bags of spirorax and the corals had enough rock and dead skeleton as biological medium. I felt there was enough bacteria to avoid a cycle.

My spouse convinced me to add sand. I’m a big believer in a barebottom tanks. I’ve always had the least issues with tanks that had no substrate. But I liked her idea of allowing the sand to emphasize negative space, and also create a refuge for sand dwelling fish like wrasses. I’m still skeptical it will stay that way though. I placed some starboard on the bottom before adding the sand and rock, so I can change my mind down the road. Once the rock was aquascaped, I added a bottle of Two Little Fishies ‘BioPronto’ for good measure.

The Tideline sump came with a nice sized refugium compartment. Being a fan of macroalgae filtration, it was an absolute requirement for the sump to accommodate a decent area for it. I opted to try some of the Two Little Fishies’ Refugite medium in the fuge. It has some iron based particles that passively bind phosphates and perhaps make them available to the the macroalgae. It also made the refugium attractive. Ultimately, I hope to nurse my neglected Goniopora back to health in this area. If things go well, I may opt for a display refugium adjacent to the reef tank using this substrate.

So there it was on a Friday night, a tank running with substrate, rock, and a refugium. I should have let things settle in, but time was running short. So the next morning, I made a tall cup of coffee and queue’d up some music. It was time to bring the corals and fish out of their temporary quarters. To be continued…
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