Father Son 40 Breeder Reef

Ocean Mang

New member
So as many of you may know, Aidan and I have taken our fair share of breaks from the hobby. Well................a couple months ago Aidan decided that he wanted to get back into Reef tanks. I've kept my 125 gallon softy Reef going at the resort I manage on the beach for the last 20 years with some ups and downs and thankfully with a lot of help with the daily upkeep from my staff. Recently, or should I say for the last couple years , I have focused on and enjoyed immensely my Koi pond. In March, I completely renovated and rebuilt my 3000 gallon koi pond. I must say, it is quite a serene and stress relieving experience to relax and enjoy the beauty of koi and the sound of a waterfall.

Ok, back on topic, Aidan couldn't have asked to do a reef tank at a better time. With my koi pond now requiring only about 30 minutes of maintenance a week, I was able to assist him in the endeavor. So we started to break down his 29 gallon freshwater Cichlid tank. Unfortunately, there's not enough space in Aidans room to put a tank and stand, so we have his fish tank sitting on top of his dresser. This is really nice though because it puts the tank high enough to easily view. Once the Cichlid tank was broken down, Aidan called me one day when he was out with Mom visiting a pet store that was having a dollar per gallon sale. He started telling me how he thought a 55 gallon would fit on his dresser. Understanding his urges to have a bigger tank and trying to live in the mind of a 12-year-old, I calmly explained to him that it was impossible, that the dresser was not 4 feet wide, lol. But the crazy part was, somehow we had neglected to realize that a 40 breeder would fit on the dresser perfectly. So we bought the 40 breeder and started our build, with dreams of acropora in our head ...................
 
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Ocean Mang

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Both of us would've loved to go bigger, but the 40 breeder on the dresser is what we had to work with. We both wanted the reef to be SPS dominant, and I reminded Aidan how important it is to have stability and consistency across the board. We have tried a sumpless 40 breeder reef before and were never really happy with the setup. We used big HOB skimmers that would create microbubbles and over skim out of control. We started to do some research. We were impressed with the sumpless setups that utilized HOB refugiums and regular water changes. Having not used a fuge in many recent setups because of fear of nutrient traps, we opted for the challenge and the "cool" factor that fuge critters would offer. We also liked the thought that it would be separate and could be removed and maintained if necessary. We found a used CPR aquafuge locally for a great deal. We filled it with mineral mud, a cap of live sand, some Chaeto, dragons breath, and tigger-pods.
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Ocean Mang

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Father Son 40 Breeder Reef

Luckily we were able to use some of the rock from my existing reef at work and we bought some live sand so we never really experienced much of a cycle. Aidan did the aquascape all himself and I was VERY impressed.
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Ocean Mang

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Father Son 40 Breeder Reef

I also wanted to explain that I am just now starting this build thread and the pictures I just posted of his Aquascape were from September 17. So at this point The tank is about a month and a half old and I'm going to try and recap everything we've done to get to this point.


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Ocean Mang

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The next step was to determine lighting. The previous cichlid tank was using an led fixture that had 50/50 blue and white Cree LED. For the Cichlid tank we only used the white. The fixture would do the job but was limited in spectrum and had some shadowing. We looked into some different LED fixtures to upgrade to but ultimately decided to go with a four bulb T5 fixture with LED supplementation. In the T5 fixture we put ATI bulbs in this configuration from front to back,

Purple plus
Blue plus
Coral plus
Blue plus

The led strip is predominantly royal blue(445nm)on its own dimmer with a separate dimmer for UV purple (422nm), light aqua blue(465nm), red (630-660nm).



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Ocean Mang

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Having been out of the hobby for awhile we were excited to visit some stores. So far we have had quite a few "fish store" days. Going to stores with my son has got to be one of, if not the the best parts of being back in the hobby. Finding out that there is a store like HYDRA Aquatics now, is a close second. Seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones has been amazing. From the second you walk in HYDRA, you feel welcome and comfortable.


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Ocean Mang

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You may notice in the picture there was an anemone in the rocks. This was an extra rose bubble tip that I brought from my work tank. The first fish that we bought were two Wyoming white clown fish. Incredibly, they took to the anemone in one day!! Unfortunately though we did a water change one day with some saltwater I made up from some old salt. An hour after the water change, the anemone started to melt. We got it out quickly with no other ill effects. I remembered when I was mixing the salt that it was slightly damp, we researched and found out that moisture is the biggest enemy of synthetic salt mixes.

Luckily, around the same time an anemone split in an Elementary school tank we had setup at Aidan's old school a long time ago. They let us take one of them for our Wyoming whites. They went in the anemone immediately!
 

Ocean Mang

New member
After messing around with lots of different powerheads we had lying around, we first tried a pp-4. We like the compact size but it seemed like it could have had just a tad more power. So we tried pairing it with a pp-8. If we didn't have sand it would have been perfect (although it did look a little too big in there). Ultimately we ended up going with to PP-4's. We have them ramped all the way up on else mode.

Without anything like an overflow pulling water off the surface we did see more surface scum than we would like. Our original plan was to try and fit a skimmer inside the hob fuge, but there just wasn't enough room for something that would do the job. After doing some research, the Tunze 9004 with DC pump seemed like a perfect fit. The shape and black color would allow it fit neatly and disguised in the back corner of the tank. And it functions by skimming the water surface. As far as small protein skimmers go, this is an amazing piece of equipment. It is absolutely silent, the dc adjustment is SO easy, and it started skimming from day one!
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Stylo328

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It's awesome that you and your son are embarking on this new tank together. It truly is one of the best parts of this hobby - a family affair in many cases.


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Ocean Mang

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Father Son 40 Breeder Reef

Time for a FTS. We are looking forward to hiding the refugium pump with some nice acro growth on the rock on the right!

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Ocean Mang

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And some close ups! We want to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH to everyone that has helped us out with some frags!!!

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Ocean Mang

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I forgot to mention that we did decide to add an Eheim skim 350 to assist in additional surface skimming and water movement. If you look in the back corner of the tank in the picture you can see it. So far I have to say, my favorite part about the setup is the low evaporation and the quietness of it. One thing we will need to add though to keep everything stable is some sort of an auto top off configuration. Not sure what route to take yet for the ATO because ultimately it means putting something else in the tank.

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Ocean Mang

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Btw, my son Aidan, is Dryfish on RC. I'm sure he will be chiming in here soon.


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Ocean Mang

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It's awesome that you and your son are embarking on this new tank together. It truly is one of the best parts of this hobby - a family affair in many cases.


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Thanks! I agree 100%.


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Ocean Mang

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Father Son 40 Breeder Reef

Also wanted to make mention of an issue we encountered with our Aquatic Life T5 fixture in case anyone else ever has this problem. We installed ATI bulbs in the fixture and it immediately started to trip the GFCI plug. I tried it in a regular plug and it was fine. Apparently with ATI and Aquatic life fixtures the GFCI outlets need to have a rating above 1 milliamp. ATI actually says on their website that their ballasts do not even require a GFCI, not sure I would take that risk though. The new lamps were pulling more amperage. The Leviton GFCI from Home Depot would not cut it. We upgraded to a Hubbel brand GFCI and have not had any issues since.


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Chrisq0904

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The tank is looking great! Love the flame angel and wish I still had mine, I used to have one in one of my old tanks but had to give him away due to nipping on my clam. Hope to see more updates and see those corals grow!


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