40b build

LadyS

Almost 3 months into a freshwater planted tank, and it’s been a struggle, so I figured I’d make myself feel better by doing something I already know how to do: a reef tank.

Display:
40 breeder
Eshopps ghost overflow
20lb each oolite and Fiji pink
50lbs base rock
3 koralia nano 240 for circulation
MicMol 35-47” LED
Custom screen cover

sump:
Custom 20l fitted with 3 chambers
Reef octopus classic 110INT
2 cobalt 100w smart heaters linked into an inkbird in case of fail on issues
Rio 1700 return
Duetto ATO

No idea where this system will take me, but it will likely take in the gorgonians outgrowing my other nano reef.

Once it’s cycled, I’ll be plumbing my other tank into this one, and trashing the sump on my other aquarium. Running 2 oversized skimmers, 2 independent ATOs, and various other duplicated equipment is too wasteful for my taste.
 

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Fishproblem

Almost 3 months into a freshwater planted tank, and it’s been a struggle, so I figured I’d make myself feel better by doing something I already know how to do: a reef tank.

Display:
40 breeder
Eshopps ghost overflow
20lb each oolite and Fiji pink
50lbs base rock
3 koralia nano 240 for circulation
MicMol 35-47” LED
Custom screen cover

sump:
Custom 20l fitted with 3 chambers
Reef octopus classic 110INT
2 cobalt 100w smart heaters linked into an inkbird in case of fail on issues
Rio 1700 return
Duetto ATO

No idea where this system will take me, but it will likely take in the gorgonians outgrowing my other nano reef.

Once it’s cycled, I’ll be plumbing my other tank into this one, and trashing the sump on my other aquarium. Running 2 oversized skimmers, 2 independent ATOs, and various other duplicated equipment is too wasteful for my taste.
Super excited to watch this progress! I need more reef builds in my life!
 

kanzekatores

Almost 3 months into a freshwater planted tank, and it’s been a struggle, so I figured I’d make myself feel better by doing something I already know how to do: a reef tank.

Display:
40 breeder
Eshopps ghost overflow
20lb each oolite and Fiji pink
50lbs base rock
3 koralia nano 240 for circulation
MicMol 35-47” LED
Custom screen cover

sump:
Custom 20l fitted with 3 chambers
Reef octopus classic 110INT
2 cobalt 100w smart heaters linked into an inkbird in case of fail on issues
Rio 1700 return
Duetto ATO

No idea where this system will take me, but it will likely take in the gorgonians outgrowing my other nano reef.

Once it’s cycled, I’ll be plumbing my other tank into this one, and trashing the sump on my other aquarium. Running 2 oversized skimmers, 2 independent ATOs, and various other duplicated equipment is too wasteful for my taste.
This is super cool I'll try to follow along.
 

LadyS

Thank you both!

honestly, I’ve never been more proud of an aquascape before. I’m just trying to imagine what I want swimming around in there, and what color carpet nem I want
 

Fishproblem

Thank you both!

honestly, I’ve never been more proud of an aquascape before. I’m just trying to imagine what I want swimming around in there, and what color carpet nem I want
yeah dude, your hardscape is sick. really awesome use of negative space!

Do you have any ideas you're playing with for stock?
 

LadyS

Not particularly.

I do want a Pygmy angelfish. They’re from local waters, so they can be had inexpensively, and I think they’re freaking adorable.

Maybe 4-6 skunk cleaner shrimp. I really like them, and feel like there are enough upside cave spaces for them to set up shop.

I have a Zanzibar shrimp in my other reef tanks sump. It might go into this, unless I find a pair of them. There are also 4 sexy shrimp in the fuge, who got put there after they developed a taste for stylophora. If I shy away from SPS, or do put a carpet in the 40, they’ll probably go in there. The Zanzibar might eat them, but it wouldn’t hurt my feelings.

Zanzibar shrimp = gold coral banded shrimp. I think the Zanzibar is just a local, colloquial name.
 

jkkgron2

Following! I’m just starting to get into saltwater (getting my first saltwater tank for Christmas!) and this build sounds awesome!
 

Fishproblem

I Don’t think Pygmy angelfish live in Florida
Yes, they do - all around the state. I imagine OP would know, as an experienced reefer who actually lives there. Please do some research before you spam like this.
 

LadyS

I Don’t think Pygmy angelfish live in Florida

That’s my fault, FishProblem. I’ve always simply known them as Pygmy angelfish, as that’s what local stores label them as, but places like LiveAquaria call them “cherub angelfish“, which is C. argi. I should have been more clear, as there are “Pygmy angelfish” like the African flame back, which are decidedly not from the western Atlantic. My apologies for using just pygmy angelfish, instead of looking up a more frequently used common name.
 

Fishproblem

That’s my fault, FishProblem. I’ve always simply known them as Pygmy angelfish, as that’s what local stores label them as, but places like LiveAquaria call them “cherub angelfish“, which is C. argi. I should have been more clear, as there are “Pygmy angelfish” like the African flame back, which are decidedly not from the western Atlantic. My apologies for using just pygmy angelfish, instead of looking up a more frequently used common name.
That's fair! I guess I just assumed you were talking about c. argi
 

LadyS

Following! I’m just starting to get into saltwater (getting my first saltwater tank for Christmas!) and this build sounds awesome!

don’t forget a build thread As for unsolicited advice: reef tanks are as complicated as you want them to be. Since I don’t keep larger reef tanks (I’ve never exceeded 70-80 gallons total system capacity), I long ago decided that frequent, smaller water changes are how I prefer to maintain necessary parameters.

I do my daily 1%-5% water changes (I’m currently doing 1 gal/day which is 5%), and spot test every 1 to 3 months to make sure that the calcium/alk/mag consumption hasn’t exceeded what I’m replacing with water changes, and my nitrates haven’t gone up.

That, for me, is more enjoyable than frequent testing, and then trying to dose a bunch of trace minerals just to avoid mixing up 10 gallons of saltwater every weekend. Especially now that you can program equipment to do daily, automatic water changes!

That's fair! I guess I just assumed you were talking about c. argi

Honestly, I didn’t even think about the other Pygmy angels. My brain thinks full size angels, dwarf angels, and then the 1 single pygmy angel. I didn’t even remember the African pygmy until the above comment reminded me that there’s more than 1.
 

kanzekatores

If Pygmy angel is cherubfish, I’ll be excited to see you keep one! I have plans to keep a flame back angel which is similar
 

LadyS

If Pygmy angel is cherubfish, I’ll be excited to see you keep one! I have plans to keep a flame back angel which is similar

Awesome! They’re very beautiful.

*Edit*: I don’t understand why it’s combining posts from separate days into the same post. Can’t find a fix, so apologies for it being combined!

separate post, including photo:

Added some tisbe pods into the chamber with the c. prolifera, just in case none carried over when I took that macro algae from my other sump.
9E6BC254-9D29-4C77-B1EA-27B3FB9D4BD1.jpeg
 

LadyS

Powered up the skimmer! It’s been running in the other system, to allow me to work out the kinks, and to satisfy the requirements for the TurboStart 900.

Also added in the beginnings of a clean-up crew. I know I can lessen the impact of the ugly stage by avoiding running the lights, but I just can’t resist having them on to stare at it.

So to help battle the buildup of diatoms, I’ve added 6 each of astrea (from my other tanks sump), and banded trocus snails, m 15 blue-legged hermits, and a strawberry conch.
 

Fishproblem

Awesome! They’re very beautiful.

*Edit*: I don’t understand why it’s combining posts from separate days into the same post. Can’t find a fix, so apologies for it being combined!

separate post, including photo:

Added some tisbe pods into the chamber with the c. prolifera, just in case none carried over when I took that macro algae from my other sump.
9E6BC254-9D29-4C77-B1EA-27B3FB9D4BD1.jpeg
Mike implemented a new feature to auto merge back to back posts. It's a cool function but I'm having trouble with the amount of time too... I don't like that I have to wait 24 hours to have my posts be visibly separated on my build thread. I mean, we can't all be popular enough to get other people commenting every time we post in a build thread! I'm hoping he drops it down to like 5 hours.
Powered up the skimmer! It’s been running in the other system, to allow me to work out the kinks, and to satisfy the requirements for the TurboStart 900.

Also added in the beginnings of a clean-up crew. I know I can lessen the impact of the ugly stage by avoiding running the lights, but I just can’t resist having them on to stare at it.

So to help battle the buildup of diatoms, I’ve added 6 each of astrea (from my other tanks sump), and banded trocus snails, m 15 blue-legged hermits, and a strawberry conch.
Sounds like a cool little clean up crew! I know they're not fancy, but blue-legged hermits are some of my favorite little reef critters.
 

LadyS

Ahhhh! So I just have to space them out to exceed 25 hours between posts. I can survive that.

I don’t really have a hermit crab preference, and dislike the clutter of empty shells that build up over time. They certainly do work hard, though!

This is my first conch. I’d usually just put in nassarius snails to stir the sand bed, but the conch was too cute to pass by.
 

Fishproblem

Ahhhh! So I just have to space them out to exceed 25 hours between posts. I can survive that.

I don’t really have a hermit crab preference, and dislike the clutter of empty shells that build up over time. They certainly do work hard, though!

This is my first conch. I’d usually just put in nassarius snails to stir the sand bed, but the conch was too cute to pass by.
Even just a minute over 24 hours does the trick, if you're champing at the bit to post lol.

The conch is super cute! I look forward to seeing it working hard for you
 

LadyS

he’s doing a pretty good job! I’ve been fiending for one since they came in a few weeks ago. Since my other reef tank already has an established sand maintenance crew, so I didn’t want to cram one in there. Since he’d been in a sandless holding tank for the better part of 3 weeks, I did feed it sinking pellets before acclimating it into the system. He was lazy for a day, and then started moving about. In the past 3-4 days, he, and the hermits have cleaned about 90% of the diatoms off of the sand. He looks like an elephant in a shell, and I just want to give him a big ole hug.
 

LadyS

The tisbe pods seem to be settling in. They’re starting to cover the glass in the display, making me feel bad for running the mag float across the glass.

Not sure if I’m going to put much effort into seeding the sand bed, but I think some spaghetti worms from my other reef are about to get turkey blasted into this one.

Berry the conch still looks as stupid cute as he did last week, I’m happy to report.
 

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Fishproblem

The tisbe pods seem to be settling in. They’re starting to cover the glass in the display, making me feel bad for running the mag float across the glass.

Not sure if I’m going to put much effort into seeding the sand bed, but I think some spaghetti worms from my other reef are about to get turkey blasted into this one.

Berry the conch still looks as stupid cute as he did last week, I’m happy to report.
Alright, that's it. Berry is my favorite invert on Fishlore. Please tell him I love him and his little eye stalks to pieces.
 

LadyS

HE’S SO STINKING CUTE!!

his mouth is at the end of a trunk that’s about as long as his shell, but it’s not out in the photo. I’d just given him a blood worm with tweezers, so he was a little paranoid
 

paulatgis

when the hurricanes blow the sargassum weed to shore you can net lots of interesting fish and critters with a net. just scoop it up before the wave breaks. I've filled my tank with frog fish, crabs, shrimp, trigger fish and lots of others.
 

LadyS

when the hurricanes blow the sargassum weed to shore you can net lots of interesting fish and critters with a net. just scoop it up before the wave breaks. I've filled my tank with frog fish, crabs, shrimp, trigger fish and lots of others.

I had a sargassum fish that I caught out of a clump in Sebastian inlet. One of the most interesting frog fish I’d ever kept. I did feel bad that I couldn’t keep him constantly supplied with a mat of sargassum. Never got any triggers, but lots of crabs, and filefish.
 

RandomFishBoi

I had a sargassum fish that I caught out of a clump in Sebastian inlet. One of the most interesting frog fish I’d ever kept. I did feel bad that I couldn’t keep him constantly supplied with a mat of sargassum. Never got any triggers, but lots of crabs, and filefish.
I want to move to Florida so bad! Being able to find an Oscar or jewel cichlid basically in your back yard sounds amazing. I'v only ever lived on the west coast, and finding a brittlestar would be insanely rare. I could only imagine finding frogfish and cichlids and stuff like that.
 

LadyS

I want to move to Florida so bad! Being able to find an Oscar or jewel cichlid basically in your back yard sounds amazing. I'v only ever lived on the west coast, and finding a brittlestar would be insanely rare. I could only imagine finding frogfish and cichlids and stuff like that.

As more people recklessly dump unwanted fish into the waterways, the menu expands. One of the LFS have started stocking locally caught volitans lion fish from our lagoon.
 

RandomFishBoi

And its not just fish either. There are all kinds of tropical animals and stuff there.
 

LadyS

And its not just fish either. There are all kinds of tropical animals and stuff there.

Yep! We’ve got all sorts of invasive reptiles, birds, invertebrates, and fungi.
 

RandomFishBoi

You've got animals and plants from 4 different continents (N. America, S. America, Europe, Africa) all mushed together into one ecosystem. I feel bad for the environment, but I am also glad for all the animal keepers there who find all kinds of exotic things in their backyard. I wouldn't be surprised if there are also species from Asia there too.
 

Fishproblem

You've got animals and plants from 4 different continents (N. America, S. America, Europe, Africa) all mushed together into one ecosystem. I feel bad for the environment, but I am also glad for all the animal keepers there who find all kinds of exotic things in their backyard. I wouldn't be surprised if there are also species from Asia there too.
Yup! Clown Knifefish can be caught in Florida waterways. Pretty sure snakeheads abound as well.

To keep things sliiiightly on topic, LadyS are any wild collected critters going to go in this tank?
 

LadyS

I don’t mind going off topic!

It’s interesting to have all of these animals, but sadly, they don’t get collected for the hobby trade. I wish they did! Kill 2 proverbial birds, with one capitalist stone.

As for this tank: I really prefer to keep captive raised/bred animals/coral, even with the added price. Sadly, my love of gorgonians means that I am cuffed to wild collected specimens.

I have no qualms paying 5-6x the price for a farmed specimen, but there are no major farms that are propagating gorgonians on any scale that I’m aware of.

If WWC would just start culturing gorgonians, I’d gladly pay the $150-$600 that I pay for goniopora. But I suspect I’d be the only one.

As an aside: I did move my larger gorg (a brown polyp purple sea whip) from my older reef into this one, so enjoy the photo! It opened up a lot of viewing space. I also moved over a piece of m. digitata that’s been lying in the sandbed, and a war coral that’s been languishing in purgatory. Additionally, I’ve already given up on the MicMol, and swapped on a 4 bulb 39w t5 fixture.
 

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Fishproblem

Well in that case... what are the regulations in FL for collection like that? I may have to bring a cooler as my carry-on next time I fly to your neck of the woods!

I was just gazing longingly at the gorgonians on live-plants.com yesterday! I wish I had a place for some, but I think I'll have to live vicariously through you. The tank's looking beautiful! I love the pics!
 

LadyS

I know there are strict regulations on the collection of live coral, and coral skeletons which basically = no collection without the proper license, period. And I don’t think a fishing license covers collection of non-food marine life.

But hurricanes knock a lot of sponges, and gorgonians free. FWC doesn’t seem to make a stink about collecting those things when whey wash up on the beach. The sponges are as good as dead, but the gorgonians are typically not too worse for the wear.

Plan your trip to coincide with a cat 3+ storm, stay south of St. Lucie county, and you should be able to collect a tank full over the course of a weekend.
 

LadyS

LET THERE BE FEEEEEEEESH!!!!

I’ve added a tail spot blenny, cherub angel, and a croucher goby. The croucher goby isn’t photogenic.
 

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Fishproblem

The croucher goby isn’t photogenic.
but i want to see it! how are they all liking their new home?
 

LadyS

They seem to be settled in pretty well. Both the blenny and angel are happily grazing on the rocks. You can see the blenny eating algae off that dead gorgonian skeleton.

The croucher is super cute. It’s a member of the scorpionfish family, so cute but venomous. Photo nabbed from liveaquaria. He’s actually visible in the first photo, down in the bottom left hiding under the rock work.
 

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LadyS

Picked up a less-than-healthy Muriceopsis flavida.

As with the Muricea elongate, seen in the photos above with the tail spot blenny, a vast portion of this gorgonian is dead. Hopefully, the remaining tissue won’t recede, and it can be fragged into some new gorgonians.
 

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LadyS

It seems like the tissue recession has stopped on this gorg, so it’s time to start trimming off the dead portions.

I bet is was *stunning* before it started to die, but I look forward to watching it recover with proper care. You can see the already rapidly regrowing of tissue over the exposed skeleton.
 

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LadyS

Stopped into my LFS for some RoDi filter replacements, and accidentally grabbed some frags.

2 monti cap, and (I think) a forest fire digi. I like plating coral, so expect to see a lot of montipora capricornis When it’s all over with.
 

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LadyS

I did a little more shopping, but this time from fellow hobbyists.

I’ve added:
A giant, green hairy mushroom
Weeping willow toadstool
Tyree toadstool
Green finger leather
Purple fuzzy mushrooms
Random purple mushroom

I also got several dozen clownfish by mistake.

“Girl. No one gets several dozen clownfish by mistake”

but it *was* a mistake! The giant mushroom came out of a tank hosting a pair of clownfish. They had a clutch of still attached larvae that I didn’t notice until after acclimation. They wont live, but it’s acool surprise!
 

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