First Reef Tank (65G)

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Hello everyone. I posted in the newbie forum and got some great feedback. Being familiar with automotive build threads I'm actually excited to get one going for my wife and I's newest tank.

Some brief background. Fish, snorkeling, diving are one of our shared passions and fishkeeping was really our first hobby together. We have different tastes (I like weird stuff, she likes pretty stuff) but we have a lot of fun with it. We have 3 freshwater tanks (10G Betta Apartment), 9G nano tank, 45G freshwater community tank.

The 65G is our first real venture into reef keeping. My in-laws have a custom 700G FWLR tank that we do a lot of the work on, but this is special to us because these fish are ours.

So far we have 2 black O clowns, 1 YWG and a Midas Blenny that is a couple days old. Our rock situation is a hodgepodge of synthetic live rock from petco, dry rock from a LFS and a big rock I found in the Bahamas snorkeling. Our goal is to build a nice reef tank, populate it with fish that we enjoy and create our own little reef in our living room. I'll try and find a way to get some things uploaded so you all can see an update oearly stages. stages.
 

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Full shot of the tank + sump. Added marinepure media spheres to the sump and refugium but I think I'm going to move them all to the sump. I picked up a 20G tank with a hood and a light for a quarantine tank so I'm just looking for a stand of some sort and I can get that up and running. Next fish on the list is a Springer Damsel, and I should be going shopping tomorrow. Our Midas Blenny is doing great as well which is good because she was really super freaked out when we brought her home.
 

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Got our Springer Damsel, Jerry. He had a run-in with the YWG but other than that he's doing pretty good. He hid for the first 24-36 hours but since then he's usually out and about and picking at rocks. No conflicts with the Belnny or Black O's yet. Soon we are going to pick out a wrasse, I'm leaning towards a social fairy wrasse but I do like the lemon meringue wrasse a lot
 

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Currently looking at lights for eventual coral growth. I'm surprised at the price range going from like 60$ for the cheap amazon ones to 800$ for the fancy stuff. For a tank with our dimensions, looking to grow simple corals and not get too complicated what would be the most cost effective option?
 

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We lost our smaller clownfish and my wrasse, not sure why. No visible aggression, the clown just stopped eating and the social fairy wrasse did great for a week and then disappeared for 3 days, came back looking shaky and died later that day.

Our larger clown, Midas Blenny, YWG and Springer Damsel are all still doing pretty well. Midas Blenny (Frito) definitely rules the tank. I think it may have been a combination of overstocking too quickly or just not quarantining/treating the fish the way I should have. We get back from a trip in later November and at that point we will resume trying to add fish.

I've set up a quarantine tank that is now 3 weeks old and by the time we get back it'll be about 7 weeks old, it's a 20G with a HOB filter full of media, a sponge filter and a blue/green chromis to keep the biological load going and for future stock I will be quarantining and observing fish before they go into the main tank. My test fish is going to be a royal gramma because it's one of our favorite fish and relatively cheap.

Additionally I got a refugium light finally and I wanted to know how to successfully grow a community of pods? Thanks
 

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Update. Tank stocking is going well. My "podpulation" of copepods has exploded in the refugium, so a Mandarin Dragonet is on the horizon.

Quarantine tank works like a charm, 'Mudflap' the chromis is doing well. Currently using it to try and pair up some Kaudern's Cardinalfish. Got a dominant one (probably male?) and a 2nd one that was bullied to death very quickly unfortunately, so I got a pair of very docile ones and added them, so far they get along super well. It's weird. Maybe it's because they're so small, but before they clear QT I'm hoping to identify whoever actually "pairs up".

Jerry the springer damsel passed away very suddenly, and was replaced by an Azure damsel that is doing wonderful. I've acquired my "showpiece" fish for now, a Coral Beauty and also a cleaner shrimp.

I've added 3 more pieces of live rock & rearranged things significantly. Black Friday I picked up an Aquamaxx skimmer which has my water quality much better & I've been doing small PH/Alkalinity adjustments to hold it at 8.3. Pics will be coming soon, but I finally feel like I know more of what I'm doing which is nice. I found an excellent LFS who has been invaluable for helping me as well.
 

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My LFS had this guy since September, and after looking at him and observing him for a long while I finally caved and brought home a Mata Tang. I'm sure he will outgrow the 65G very quickly and need to move into the 700G at my in-laws, but for now I'm in love. From what I understand they're a very rare fish, and watching his colors change is a delight.

He's almost 3 weeks into the QT period and doing great. Very active, very shy, but eats like a pig.
 

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JohnL

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My LFS had this guy since September, and after looking at him and observing him for a long while I finally caved and brought home a Mata Tang. I'm sure he will outgrow the 65G very quickly and need to move into the 700G at my in-laws, but for now I'm in love. From what I understand they're a very rare fish, and watching his colors change is a delight.

He's almost 3 weeks into the QT period and doing great. Very active, very shy, but eats like a pig.

Pretty fish.
 
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