40 Gallon Breeder Reef Build

  1. d

    dbjonesjr Valued Member Member

    Hi all! I will be starting a thread to keep a record for both myself and others on my very first saltwater tank. I will start with a little backstory on what I have done so far to get to where the tank currently is. I began by buying a JBJ 28G Nanocube (knowing I was eventually going to move everything to my 40) off a lady who just wanted out of the hobby. Everything was in good shape and cycled. There was over 35 lbs. of pukani live rock in the tank. In addition to these I got a full bucket of Red Sea Coral Pro. I also got two clownfish and a lawnmower blenny that I wasn't a fan of at first, but he has certainly grown on me. Come to find out I actually got some pretty nice clowns. One is just a Snowflake Ocellaris Clownfish and the other is a Black Snowflake Clownfish. After having this up and running I started working on getting my freshwater cichlids and everything else out of 40. I went and bought a 150 Gallon Per Day Value Plus Water Saver off another guy along with 30 lbs. in BRS rock. Also picked only 20 lbs. of Caribsea sand for substrate as I'm not a fan of what was in the Biocube. Also purchased one of the 165W Chinese Black Boxes off of Amazon during a lightning deal today. After making my water and mixing it up I ended up with a SG of 1.022 although I will get it up to 1.025 before putting coral in through adding higher concentrations of saltwater as it evaporates. Finally today everything was moved into the 40 and all is well so far. Finally am going to put a price log of all the stuff I have BOUGHT but not what I already had as I don't see that as a real cost. Just recycling equipment.
    Nanocube with other Misc. Items - $140
    RO/DI System and Rocks - $100
    Caribsea Sand - $10
    Light - $60
    I would like to also note that the Cube with stand is going to my little brother for $80. A future investment will likely be an Aquaclear 110 as a refugium and a possible hang on protein skimmer. Will likely wait for some good used deals on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
    I would love to hear everyones thoughts on the build as I am trying to get the most for my money out of this one!
     
  2. blewishblue

    blewishblue Valued Member Member

    Your enthusiasm is inspiring and made me smile! With regards to a HOB skimmer, I highly recommend the Hydor Slim Skim when it comes to a highly efficient, easy-to-use, nano skimmer. Many will argue and say it's best to go big and with certain products/skimmers, I would agree, but I successfully used the Hydor Slim Skim on a heavily stocked 55 gallon reef for years and it kept my parameters tight. It will always be one of my all time favorite products. I also highly recommend Jebao wave makers, the TW series. An absolute must have! Play with it until you find that sweet spot that makes your reef sway. Your clowns will play in the current for hours. I also recommend the Hydor Pico powerhead for low dead spots, especially if you're going to keep corals. Excited for you! There's absolutely nothing as wonderful as a clownfish...except maybe an anemone!
     
  3. stella1979

    stella1979 Moderator Moderator Member

    Sounds really, really, really good! I like the way you're approaching this and LOVE the proof of a big ol' salty tank on a budget. It can be done!!:D:D:D I don't currently have room for a 40g... but went ahead and got a stand for one, and a light that would do very well, and use both for the 20g long. Just thinking for the future.;)

    My thoughts? I think you've done a fine job of pulling this together, and can't wait to see it! I'm very glad to follow along, and will be happy to help with anything that I can should you have questions.

    Thanks for the recommendation on a skimmer @blewishblue :) I don't currently use or need one, but it's nice to have an idea of something good since so many HOB skimmers have bad reviews.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    d

    dbjonesjr Valued Member Member

    Alrighty here’s a couple pics of how it currently looks before I make some more significant changes! Just got the light in so that’s what’s laying on the lid. It will be hung later tonight or tomorrow morning. I still have more rocks to put in and aquascaping to do but I am waiting for the rocks to finish curing. I think I will likely also get a couple small softie or lps frags tomorrow if the light goes as planned. I am a little concerned about the softies getting nutrients they need as I am running purigen and phosguard with RO/DI water. Any thoughts?
     

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  5. blewishblue

    blewishblue Valued Member Member

    Softies will benefit from target feeding products like Reef Snow and Phyto etc.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    d

    dbjonesjr Valued Member Member

    Thanks after looking into it I think I likely need to run to the fish store when I have a few minutes to get more frozen food etc for my fish. Ended up picking up a small zoa frag and candy cane frag. Not in love with the coloration of the candy cane I got but it was 5 bucks and will give me a cheap idea of if I can keep LPS alive or not. Wanted to get some in before the frag meet comes to town on the 20th! I also turned on lights this morning and saw TONS of tiny bugs running all over! I assume these are the copepods everyone talks about! Is there anything I need to do to make sure a healthy population is maintained?
     
  7. stella1979

    stella1979 Moderator Moderator Member

    Yay for pods!! :) Hmm, you don't have to do anything to keep them, but if you want the population to really thrive, it's a good idea to set up a safe space for them to live and breed away from the fish... because pods are fishy snacks.:) So, for larger systems, a safe space for pods is in the sump, where a refugium (fuge) holding rubble and macroalgae make the perfect environment for them, yet it is still plumbed to the tank, so some of the population will get pulled in. In closed system setups like you and I have, there are a couple of options. There is a product you can buy, or even DIY called a pod hotel. Google it.;)

    For myself, I modified an AC70 hob to contain a fuge, not necessarily for pods, but for nutrient reduction. I don't notice a ton of pods in it, but are they there? Sure, probably more than I know. I've got 3 fish in the 20g and they all will hunt pods, but my population seems to be strong. It no doubt helps that I feed the corals twice a week with a mixture of Reef-Roids and phyto. Phyto is pod food too. :D
     
  8. OP
    OP
    d

    dbjonesjr Valued Member Member

    Awesome I’ll make sure some of the coral food I pick up will also help the pods out. I haven’t noticed my clowns or blenny picking at them. I’ll get a HOB fuge set up sometime soon!