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To start over again after being out of the hobby

Discussion in 'Tank Builds' started by DyM, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. DyM

    DyM Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    Quick summary of this first part - Out for a while, but back in.

    In April 2016, I was “burnt out”, but it was more than that; larger life questions were in play. I know…. this is deep for a reef hobby forum. Getting out after 9yrs was not a small decision. Still a nagging feeling persisted – this is all temporary. I didn’t feel enjoyment anymore from having a reef, and that feeling of “it all being temporary” weighed on me. So I expressed wanting to get out to a local reef business friend, we worked out a price for all the life in the box - and wham. In one day, I was out.

    In the 2.5 years since being out of the hobby, life continued and a series of events lead me full circle to realize – yes, reefing is temporary. But so is life. You don’t not buy a dog, knowing it’s life is short and will pass in 10-15 years. It’s ok to enjoy the ‘now’ and life for today. Life is not bleak. It’s full of color, movement, and today, well – is today. Reefing keeps you in the moment, to appreciate the small things.

    I reflected on what I missed and what I loathed about the hobby. With that, a plan was crafted to focus on the fish, color, and end-state of the reef. Conversely I wanted to get to a point where reefing did not take so much of my free time. I’m looking at it as if it’s a maintenance account, scheduling out what needs to be done, to have continued success.

    So with that – this is my build thread to document my journey to get back in, and onward to the end state: creating a reef that stands out (from my perspective) and not be cluttered when it’s all grown up. Design for strong colors, contrasting shapes, an eye-catching reef that is automated, simple, and redundant.
    Cherub and neil82 like this.
  2. DyM

    DyM Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    New tank: Planet Aquarium 155Gallon (Really pleased with the quality of the tank)

    Aquarium: 60.5 x 24.5 x 25.5
    Stand: 60 x 24 x 35
    Canopy: 60 x 24 x 35

    Sump: Trigger Systems SAPPHIRE39: http://www.triggersys.com/ts/sapphire39/
    Dimensions: 39″ long x 16″ wide x 15″ high
    Total Water Volume: 40 gallons

    Return Pumps: Neptune COR 20, also provides flow to Chiller, UV (currently have a bacteria bloom), and media reactor. Second pump: Neptune COR15, pure return only.

    Skimmer: Reef Octopus SRO-3000SSS https://www.coralvue.com/sro-3000-space-saver-protein-skimmer Also an ETSS Skimmer Waste Collector with Auto Shutoff. I bought this new from ETSS – right before they went out of business.

    Media Reactor: Seaside Aquatics Large media reactor w/21 x 4” reaction chamber

    Chiller: 1⁄4 HP - JBJ ARCTICA CHILLER (had to replace my old Baytech Aquarium CHI-250 chiller as it was too loud. Now that everything is under the tank, low noise is important.

    Lighting: 3 - Radion. XR30W G4 PRO. Not thrilled with the fan noise, but overall great lights. 2 of the 3 are more focused on the right side of the reef, as this will be the high light area. https://ecotechmarine.com/products/radion

    Rock: 150lks of “Real Reef” manufactured rock. http://realreefrock.com/real-reef-manufacturing.html This stuff is the bomb. Never will I start a reef again with either “live rock” or bleached out white dry rock again. I cycled my tank, and it looks awesome, no matter the viewing angle. Having the time to stack and play with the rock is key to getting a great reef scape that you will live with for years. The only drawback and this is with all dry rock, you have to seed your reef with a lot more pods, and such, to get life beyond the cycling bacterial properties of rock. I kind of see that is a bonus, knowing you will not have any bad agae or pests, unless you introduce them later.

    Water changes automated, and love the Litter Metter 3

    Apex: Dosing 2 part with Neptune DOS and DDR Dosing System Combo

    2 Neptune APEX 832 Energy bars, ATK / TDK (top off), FMK (Flow with extra Sensors)

    OS-1-M Optical Level Sensor with Magnetic Mount x5

    WXM, had a few items from before such as breakout box, probe holders and lots of extras…

  3. DyM

    DyM Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    Forgot to mention the powerheards are Tunze – pair of 6105’s and pair of 6095’s


    Covered glass top – Want to keep this for a few reasons. Main issue is heat, where a chiller is a must for my setup. I use to have an open top, with a canopy of sorts. The salt creep, and spray over a long time takes a toll and want to avoid issues with the Wife on that. Second, have a lot of wrasses, and jumping fish, Glass top really keeps them in. Another issue with the glass is keeping it clean. Weely cleanings, and monthly acid spray keep it clean.

    Bacterial Bloom: My fault, but still dealing with cleaning this up as tank is stabilizing and automating more and more. Here’s what I did. I love fish, so have a tendancy to over stock. Knowing this, I wanted to run a cheto fuge, and when that is maxed, have a biopellet reactor. I should have waited to install the biopellets. They started to kick in, and were limiting the establishment of the micro algae. So I turned off the biopellet reactor… and wham, cloudy water. After a few weeks of cloudy water, and it not just going away, I installed a UV that I had on hand and cloudy water is just about gone. These pics are on the 4th day of running the UV

    Media reactor, flow through the reactor isn’t what I wanted it to be. Also plumbing of the reactor isn’t idea, and would be great if the input and output were on a union to allow the angle to swivel. There is a quick connect union, I’m talking about the base where it connects to the reactor. Changing any plumbing now would be a PITA.

    Attached Files:

  4. DyM

    DyM Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    Next steps, continue automation, get more fish, slowly work in coral...
  5. neil82

    neil82 Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    Welcome back. I enjoyed reading your post. It's interesting to me the reasons why people enter and exit this hobby. Thanks for sharing.
  6. Haddonisreef

    Haddonisreef Kraken M.A.S.C Club Member

    Dave great to have you back look foreword to keeping up with this!!
  7. zombie

    zombie Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    Welcome back. I still have colonies of your frogspawn, yellow scroll, and yellow zoas that have survived 2 tank crashes. If you want frags of those, let me know.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using MASC mobile app
  8. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C President M.A.S.C Webmaster

    Glad to see you back Dave, and coming back with an awesome start

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using MASC mobile app
  9. Lmmchops

    Lmmchops Copepod M.A.S.C Club Member

  10. Cake_Boss

    Cake_Boss Orca M.A.S.C Club Member

  11. MuralReef

    MuralReef Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. MASC Vice-President

  12. Dr.DiSilicate

    Dr.DiSilicate Kraken Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. B.O.D. Member-at-Large

    Welcome back! Tank looks great and I love the dimensions... almost the same as mine (like a 120’s big brother)

    Glad you are finding enjoyment again. I thought a couple times, long and hard, about getting out in the last 3-5 years. If it’s work then take a break. I decided I loved it and haven’t looked back. I got out for a while during grad school and jumped back in hard core addict like. lol I do something wonder if it’s all worth it but I enjoy it and have gotten way better at accepting the ups and downs with my advanced age. Haha

    Sent from my iPhone using MASC mobile app
    Haddonisreef and SynDen like this.
  13. SkyShark

    SkyShark Tuna Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. B.O.D. Member-at-Large

    Welcome back! Your last tank was an inspiration for what a long term reef could look like. Excited to see this tank tank shape.
  14. Cherub

    Cherub Shark M.A.S.C Club Member

    Very cool and welcome back! I had similar thoughts coming back into the hobby. I came back last year. I was considering a planet aquarium too but their website was very lacking and their support never responded to my inquiries, at least not until I had already bought the red sea reefer.

    I agree the pros outweigh the cons in the hobby. Plus this group of great people here was missed!

    I have some dbtc and chaeto for you when you're ready. ☺
    SynDen likes this.
  15. neil82

    neil82 Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    I have days where I think about the energy consumption of my tank, the impact of wild species collection, the financial investment, the potential safety hazards etc. I have thought about throwing in the towel. Then I think about other hobbies like skiing, hunting, motorsports, or whatever and realize they each have their drawbacks. And for now, I love reefing!
    Sorry to clutter up your thread with some 'deep thoughts' of my own. It sounds like you have many friends here on the forum that are happy to see you getting back in!
  16. DyM

    DyM Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    Thanks @Cherub and @zombie for the offers - you rock. Also glad to hear I'm not the only one on deep thoughts as it relates to continuing a hobby that is more measured in years than months.

    This week, researched and getting ready to mix the new 2 part - that includes Mag in it. I've never been one to chase PH, but using sodium carbonate now, PH is 8.0 to 8.15. I'm going to make up a small batch of sodium hydroxide (Lye for Alk - who would of thunk) Found here. https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/new-diy-two-part-recipes-with-higher-ph-boost.344500/

    At this point, I have filled the tank with fish, my next post will be to document that. So far so good.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
    Cherub and SynDen like this.
  17. DyM

    DyM Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    Well, tank had an Ick/Velvet breakout in the display and lost 3/4 of the fish. Finally past that, just ordered new fish and have a permanent QT setup. I always use to QT corals, but never fish since fish were at the beginning (some 13yrs ago), hard lesson to learn/re-learn. ALWAYS QT yourself, and don't trust anyone, ever, no exceptions.

    QT setup is a 28gal bio cube. I have a liter meter that pulls water from the display, to the QT setup, then another pump pulls the same amount from the QT to the drain. Display is replenished with fresh salt water for constant 10L a day water change. I plan to go down to 5L a day at some point. The QT can easily be swapped out as there is a heater, and an overflow filter box for movement/O2 for tank. Only downfall of this setup is a bit more calculating to get the right amount of meds in the QT accounting for the water change, but not that big of a deal.
    SynDen likes this.
  18. neil82

    neil82 Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    Really sorry about your losses. I'm thinking about your QT setup and the constant water change system. It sounds like you still have fish in the display. Do have have any concerns with potentially transferring any disease from the display into the QT?
  19. DyM

    DyM Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    You're right if I had issues with the display, it would transfer to the QT. Last fish died late-Oct, no signs of anything since. From what I know of most fish parasites and disease, 8 weeks is long enough so I am good.

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