55G Coral Tank

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Builds' started by Jeremy Brown, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Well, most of you might know me from my freshwater escapades, but now, with the help of a good friend and my wife are taking on the challenging reef tank. Firstly, we began with the tank.

    We had lots of options, but I wanted to start mid-size. I know the smaller tanks can go bad quickly, so I steered from that, and I wanted to have an aquarium in my photo studio for clients to enjoy while I'm preparing a shoot. So the 55 Gallon was a good choice. I originally wanted a new tank, but then I saw a deal that was nearly too good to be true. Turns out, it was good and true! A full stand with a 55 gallon tank for $65.00 - I was expecting it to be in disarray when we got there, but the tank was in perfect condition. A bit of water staining, which took us 2 minutes to clean up. A new stand with a great paint job and extras, like lights, plants, a cheesy backdrop and GRAVEL!!! Ok...yeah the gravel can bugger off, but still, I wasn't going to complain.

    So we went to our LFS and found a great man named Zach. Zach is the owner and operator of Aquatic Supply here in Boise. What a great guy. Got us our live sand and live rock at a great price, and even came over after he closed his store to help us make sure we got it set up correctly. This man has the passion for saltwater that is unmatched. So here is a photo of our tank with the added sand. Live rock will have to wait till tomorrow!


    Well, call Zach the next day about our saltwater and within 20 minutes, a young lady is knocking at our door with 55 gallons of perfect salinity water. What a great gesture! She helps me fill the tank, and watch the cloud build up for a bit. Yikes, guess we're waiting it out for a bit. After the water cools, it gets to a nice crispy 75 degrees. That's when it's live rock time. Now I'm not a rock shaper or anything cool like that, but what I managed to put together made me very happy. My wife took the right side of the tank, and I took the left side, and we met in the middle almost perfectly. I was very happy with the results:


    Great, that's done. Time for adding some fish!! Clowns and....Just kidding. Time to prepare for the cycle. I added the biological juice and we set up our power heads to create a good current in the tank. We ran it for a full 24 hour cycle. Checked our levels and it looked like we were sitting fantastic so far. Well kind of, my readings showed a GH and KH of 180, NO2 and 3 of 0, and PH of 7.0 - So our water has some hardness, but the rest of the levels are promising!

    Zach was impressed with how well our tank was doing so it was time to add some weed and saltwater mollies. This should really help us find out where our water is currently. Well I was nervous for the fish, but after 24 hours of them still swimming around, I was feeling pretty good. Then with our live rock, we had a rock covered in polyps spring to life and then some feather dusters and anemones made an appearance. So far, so good. I'm getting pretty excited about this.

    We then made a purchase of the Orbit Marine LED Light. What a great addition. Simulates the oceans lighting wonderfully with presets that will start at 8am and run until 6pm - Including sunrise, and sunset. All with a nifty remote control. I don't work for them or anything, but I highly recommend it. Our coral love it!

    So with the tank starting it's cycling this is how it looks with our fancy light on it:


    Monday our sump build will arrive, with a great skimmer and an overflow box. We're excited for that step. For now though, this photo was taken tonight, so that is where our tank is! Let me know what you guys think, or what you'd like to see and I'll be sure to add it to the post. Thanks for (tanking) the time to read this build!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  2. celizabethh3Valued MemberMember

    Why am I not surprised to find out that you guys have a saltwater set up? ;)

    It looks great so far. I've always wanted to try my hand at SW but it seems like a big step from FW. Can't wait to see how you guys decide to stock it.

    Sent from my iPad using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  3. Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Well Elizabeth, I'll tell you right now, it's a lot more expensive than a FW, but it's a lot more rewarding. Simply the live rock alone makes it worth it. Watching all the strange and new creatures coming out from the rocks late at night makes it so much more amazing. I can sit transfixed at the tank just watching all these amazing things come out.

    The stocking most likely won't happen for a good solid month, maybe longer depending on how our cycling goes. SW requires a ton of patience and perseverance but I can tell you this, freshwater is pretty, but it has nothing on a salt water tank.

    This brings our tank total up to 4. 3 FW and 1 SW. It's a lot of work, but so rewarding. My next challenge is to breed Ocellaris Clownfish. Since they are one of the few SW fish that breeds in captivity.
  4. celizabethh3Valued MemberMember

    I think the amount of work that goes into a SW tank is what puts me off the most. At least right now. ;) I'm sure I'll try my hand eventually, even if it's just a small reef tank to start.

    But you're absolutely right, marine fish are breathtaking. I only have one LFS that sells them so when I go, I spend 20 minutes alone looking at them. I love tang and the large puffers. Good luck with breeding clowns when the time comes! You'll have to create a log or something so we can follow your journey. I can't even get my platys to breed. :p

    Sent from my iPad using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  5. Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Well, today is July 21st, 2014 - Today is the day we get our sump. We also went and purchased more live rock last night, and I thought it would be fun to share with you guys what we got. Also, Zach at our LFS hooked me up with two used wave-makers that have healthy algae already growing from them. I was excited!

    We also changed up our aqua-scaping a bit to accommodate the new live rock. So let me know what you guys think of the new work. Sump installation and refugium photos will be added later this evening!

    The tank as a whole:


    The Left Side:


    The Center:


    The Right Side:


    If any of you has any suggestions, thoughts, queries, or anything of importance you'd like to add, please do so! I'm very receptive to feedback and I know as a new saltwater tank owner, any and all information is a huge help! Thanks for reading everyone!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018

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