I always wanted a Saltwater fish tank from when I was little. My parents always had a fresh water tank. When I first moved into my first apartment with my girl my parents have me their 45 gallon hex tank. I started this tank off just Fish only. The tank was not reef ready so I used a fluval 305 canister filter. I had live rock 2 clowns 1 Pistol shrimp and a yellow watchman goby. I did not know much about the hobby yet and was just learning as I went. I met someone in a fish store one day when me and my girl were looking at what they had and he was listening to them trying to sell my purple up. He then came to me and said you don't need that stuff. We have been great friends since. He recommended I join a forum that he was apart of. 3 years later we moved. I learned a lot over this time between reading and being on the forum a lot. I lost 1 of my clowns during the move. I wanted to upgrade my tank to a larger size. I found a 90G RR tank, stand,sump,pumps for sale. I purchased that tank in Long Island, NY and stayed good friends with the person I purchased it from who was extremely knowledgeable in saltwater. I transferred 30 gallons of my old tanks water into the new 90 and filled it up the remaining with new water. This was the birth of my first reef tank. My friend that I met in the first store provided me with a lot of live rock to start me off and leather corals which I still have today. I just recently 7 months ago upgraded from the 90 to 150G RR with a 30 gallon sump. It's still addicting and a really fun hobby.
My 150 is my 3rd upgrade. I purchased the tank and stand from a person on a forum I'm a member of. I cleaned the tank up real good. Put the tank on the stand and began to level it out. I had to add a strip of 48' plywood across the whole bottom of the stand to level it out perfectly due to tank being on carpet. I placed all my rock work first. Started filling the tank slowly over a few days with saltwater. I was still waiting on items to be delivered. I ordered a 30 gallon breeder from www.Saltwatercritters.com and the owner made it into a custom sump for me. I ordered 7 20LB bags of arag-alive fiji pink sand, 2 300Watt Eheim heaters, 1 Eheim 1260 return pump, BRS dual reactor. Once the sand arrived I added the sand and by this time the tank was completely filled pumps running. I did not use any of the water from the 90 gallon tank. I wanted to start fresh with this tank. I cycled it for a month. I ghost fed the tank to get the nitrification process to jump start. Once all parameters were stable I slowly start to move fish/coral over to the new 150. It's still a work in progress but it's been a lot of fun.
I have a DIY Rapid LED setup. I currently run 24 Cool White and 24 Royal blue. I I run my lights from 1:30PMEST Royal blue ramp from 10%-70% over 30 minutes. 2PMEST Whites come on and ramp from 10%-30%. Percentage stays constant until 10PM when the whites will begin to ramp down and shut off at 10:30PMEST. The blue lights will ramp down from 10:30PM-11PM. Lights run for about 10H's a day.
Eheim 1260 return pump
Reef Octopus Diablo 160XS skimmer
MP40 Power head
Tunze 6045 Power Head
Korailia 1400 Power head
Korailia 1050 Power head.
I keep parameters at the follow
PH 8.0-8.2 this swings during day and night time
Phosphates: 0 (Per test kit) but there is still undetectable levels which is good.
I dose as needed. I do not buy all different things that are on the shelf. I only dose Mag,Alk,Cal. I feel if the tank looks good leave it alone. If something works for you stick with it. Just cause someone else is having luck doesn't mean it will work for your tank. No tank is the same.
I feed fish normally both Frozen P.E. Mysis and New Life Spectrum pellets.
I prep the frozen food by first soaking in R.O. water then straining. I then either feed directly or every few days soak in Selcon then feed.
I feed my fish every 2 days.
Coral's I feed ESV Spray-Dried Marine Phytoplankton every 3 days.
Mix 20 gallons of ESV salt 2 days prior to water change in a 20G Brute can with a heater and a maxi jet 1200 power head.
Check paramenters before water change and then again a day after water change has been completed.
Change 20 gallons, clean sump, clean power heads if needed. Siphon sand bed a bit. Change media i.e. GFO and Carbon.
Words of Wisdom
Do not rush anything. If it's your first setup be very patient and let the tank cycle properly. Do not listen to stores and buy products that will speed up anything. This hobby requires patience. Try to do everything as natural as possible and everything will fall into place as it should. I know the excitement of wanting to get everything setup fast so you can get new fish or coral but it's best to go slow and you will get those things in time and be much happier that you had the patience. There is nothing worse than loosing money and watching a beautiful creature die because you did not know what you were doing or were misled. Read as much as you can get on a forum read others trials. This hobby is never ending and is a constant learning process. It's a lot of fun just take the time out to learn and listen.
Disasters & Regrets
I had one accident in my old 90 gallon tank. This was my first reef tank. I got flat worms at one point and this was due to me not dipping corals before adding them to my display tank. I now dip all corals in Flat Worm exit then Coral RX before they go into my 150.