Hornberson Reef - DSA 90 gallon mixed reef

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by wpeterson, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    We setup our new tank in November of 2014 right after moving here. It's a 90 gallon Deep Sea Aquatics tank with a DSA cherry stand. We're running a Trigger Systems Tideline 30 sump refugium.


    Rockwork & Refugium Cycling:
    • 50lbs BRS Fiji Live Dry Rock
    • 50lbs BRS Reef Saver Dry Rock
    • 20lbs live rock rubble (seed tank)
    • Handful of Chaetomorpha
    • 3000 count pods from getyourpods.com
    We did a "soft cycle", where the dried organic matter on the Fiji dry live rock decaying generated Ammonia for the cycle. We added macroalgae and pods from day 1, to absorb nutrients during the cycle. Our cycle took a week or two and I have not see any trace of Nitrate since the cycle completed.

    Drains, Return, and Flow:
    I setup a Herbie style drain, with a 1" main siphon drain and a 3/4" backup drain. The siphon is adjusted with a large gate valve to equalize flow with the return. The 3/4" return line hits a T fitting and splits off into two 3/4" return loc-lines. We have two Vortech MP10 powerheads on either side of the tank, running in anti-sync mode on reef crest programming. This allows a constantly varying rate of flow with one pump running at the complimentary level to the other (ie: 30% & 70% flow). With the cabinet doors closed, the tank is almost completely silent.

    Current Stocking List:
    • Benggai Cardinal (added 12/26)
    • Pair of True Percula Clowns (added 1/15)
    • Green Mandarin Goby (added 1/29)
    • Kole Tang (added 2/6)
    We let the tank cycle early in November and began expanding our clean up crew in December. At the end of December, my wife bought me a Benggai Cardinal for Christmas. After a month of completely stable parameters in the tank, I added a Rose BTA and a pair of clowns. Once the pod population was overflowing, we added a mandarin goby we'd been watching for a month at the LFS (an injured fin healed completely). The mandarin was a big concern for us, but he's been chowing down and almost doubled in weight (he wasn't getting enough pods at the LFS). Now that there's more algae growth in the tank, I added a Kole Tang last week who's eating Nori and picking at the rockwork.

    Clean Up Crew (All Snail):
    • 50x dwarf ceriths
    • 20x Florida ceriths
    • 15 nassarius
    • 12 tropical nerites
    • 10x black foot trochus
    • 10x Astrea
    • 6x banded trochus
    I wanted to avoid shrimp and crabs in our cleanup crew, because they haven't been entirely reef safe in the past (lost some awesome Acans, favia, and others over time). The nassarius are fantastic scavengers and do a good job stirring the sandbed. The ceriths are both great algae eaters and sand burrowers. The trochus are amazing algae eaters, especially the black foots.

    • 2x Kessil A350 Blue Tuna Wide Lense
    • 1x Kessil A350 Blue Tuna Narrow Lense
    • 3x 3-LED Trulumen actinic moonlights
    • 100W 7500K CFL Refugium Lamp
    I've setup the Kessils for full tank coverage, with the wide models on the sides and the narrow in the center. I installed a 3-LED moonlight module on each Kessil. The Kessils are mounted about 4" off the water using goose necks. The refugium is lit with a cheap clamp-light fixture with a 100W 7500K CFL bulb for growing macro-algae. The refugium is reverse-lit vs. the display, to smooth out the PH curve over the day. The main lights run from 12pm to 8pm, with moonlights for 2 hours on either side.

    Sump & Refugium:
    • Trigger Systems Tideline 30 acrylic sump (30" long x 16" wide x 15" tall, ~ 31 gallons)
    • 7"x12" Filter Socks
    • Reef Octopus 150SSS (space saver)
    • Two Little Fishes 150 Carbon Reactor driven by MJ1200
    • Jebao DC-9000 Return Pump (2400 gph max, run at 90%)
    • Apex Controller (EB8, Temp, pH, and ORP probes)
    • AutoAqua SmartATO
    • Advanced Acrylics 14 gallon ATO Reservoir (8" x 20" x 20")
    • HMO-300 Finnex Heater (300W)
    • American DJ Power Panel
    The sump and refugium setup were a major focus of the tank. I chose a simpler, pre-fab Trigger Systems sump with single direction flow from drains to return chamber. I plumbed true unions just below each bulkhead and then used black spa tubing to the sump. I ran 1" line for the main drain and backup drain and a 3/4" line for the return. I installed a large gate valve on the main siphon drain, which runs about 50% open. The drain lines have expansion tubes on them and fill a tall drain chamber, which gently overflows into the filter sock. Water flows through the filter sock and through an outlet at the base of the filter sock chamber into the skimmer chamber. The skimmer is the largest skimmer I could fit into the 8" space. The carbon reactor's pump sits next to the skimmer and drains back into the skimmer chamber. The refugium has a base of live rock rubble and now about a cubic foot of chaetomorpha. The heater, temperature, pH, and ORP probes are also in the refugium chamber. The refugium chamber overflows into a weir, with bubble trap, media racks, and into the return chamber.

    The plumbing was trickier than I expected, having never worked with PVC or flex tubing before. I used hose-barb attachments with clamps on the tubing attachments. This worked well, except on the 3/4" return line which runs at higher pressure (due to head pressure). I had to use a stronger metal clamp on the upper hose barb at the true union to prevent a slow leak here. The spa tubing was surprisingly stiff and I had a hard time bending/shaping it until I used boiling water to heat it up. This made it easier to get an excellent fit over hose barbs and to shape curves in the lines.
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
  2. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    There's a lot of blank rockwork so far, but we've been slowly adding frags and small colonies of corals:
    • Green Torch (Euphyllia glabrescens, small frag and a small colony, from Neptune & Aquatic Collection)
    • Red Zoanthids (two colonies, and several smaller frags - DBTC from Roberto)
    • Neon Green, Red, and Purple Monti Caps (DBTC from Roberto, siokoy, and Geneva)
    • Neon Green Chalice (DBTC from Roberto)
    • Neon Orange Ricordeas (Ricordea Florida, DBTC from Roberto)
    • Hollywood Stunner Chalice (mini colony DBTC from Geneva)
    • Blue/Red Meteor Shower (Cyphastrea, from Neptune)
    • Orange Plate (Fungia, from Aquatic Collection)
    • War Coral (Favites, from Neptune)
    • Green Favites (from Neptune)
    • Bali Green Slimer (Acropora, from Neptune)
    • Blue Tenuis (from Neptune)
    • Green Sytlophora (from Neptune)
    • Purple/Red Acropora colony (DBTC from Roberto)

    Green Torch mini Colony (5-6 heads, from Aquatic Collection)

    Orange Ricordeas (some discoloration from shading - I just moved them and attached them):

    Torch Frag & War Coral (hoping the Red will color up, was faded when purchased):

    Red Zoanthids

    Neon Green Chalice (identification appreciated):

    Stylophora, Tenuis, and back of Purple Acros (they grew laying on this back side, polyps slowly filling in):

    Hollywood Stunner, freshly mounted (can't wait until it grows over my hack job with the epoxy):

    Idaho Grape Monti Cap (DBTC from siokoy)

    Blue/Red Meteor Shower & Red Monti Cap:
    Geneva and jonmos75 like this.
  3. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

  4. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Our two clowns have decided that the auto-feeder ring is hosting them, they're never more than a foot away from the back, left corner at the top of the tank:


    And of course, they're ignoring the beautiful Rose BTA who'd love to host them. We may have to resort to pasting pictures of hosting clownfish on the side of the tank to encourage them.

    Our mandarin has been mowing down the pod population and almost double in size since we got him (clearly he wasn't getting enough to eat at the LFS - terrible!):


    The benggai cardinal and the kole tang are too shy to be photographed. They both swim in the open water as long as no one is near the tank, but as soon as I put the camera near the glass they disappear.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  5. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I built a DIY mesh lid for the tank using a window screen and clear screening from BRS. I attached a "feeding collar" to it that sits below our pellet auto-feeder, which allows pellets to sit on the surface without immediately being washed down the overflow.


    denzil likes this.
  6. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I setup a Herbie drain on the overflow chamber. You can see the 3/4" emergency drain on the left with the surface level grated intake. The main 1" siphon drain is below the water level in the center. The right side shows the 3/4" overflow pipe that Ts off into two 3/4 loc-line return nozzles:


    I placed our large 14 gallon ATO reservoir next to the tank, where there was a space between the tank and the liquor cabinet:


    You can see the bulkheads for the overflow chamber here, with true unions on each feeding into black PVC spa tubing. There's also a 1/4" line from the ATO pump in the reservoir, which enters a 1/2" intake tube to the sump. The ATO tube coupling is loose and open to the air to allow a siphon break when the pump is turned off (otherwise ATO water level is often higher than the sump causing a big siphon):

    The left side of the cabinet houses the Apex controller and a DJ power strip. You can also see the Reef Octopus 150SSS skimmer in the sump here:


    Full sump shot, the refugium light is so bright it washes out the picture. Behind the skimmer, you can see the drain inlets with the gate valve for the main siphon drain, the backup drain, and the ATO line:


    denzil likes this.
  7. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    That's some fine work!
    Grow it, feed it, love it
    wpeterson likes this.
  8. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

  9. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    It was nice to meet you yesterday! Glad you decided to start a tank thread. I love all the detailed photos and information about your equipment/setup. Definitely looks like you have really nice equipment and such a clean set-up. That's a beautiful tank and stand!
  10. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Great to meet you as well! Good luck with the new tank setup, it looks nice.

    I managed to capture our Kole Tang and the Cardinal swimming together:


    Alex Uribe likes this.
  11. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

    looks good....and a nice setup....I am looking into getting the Emerald sump by Trigger System, but have to modify my stand to get it in so is something I am going to get done down the road...lol
  12. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I bought an Emerald 34, but realized it wouldn't fit into our cabinet, because the opening where the doors are is only 32" or so, even though the interior is 35" across. Which is why I went with the Tideline 30. On the plus side, no I have more room in the cabinet for the media reactor and other future things.
  13. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

    my stand is 36" so I am looking at the Emerald 26, right now I am running a Eshopps RS-75

    BTW...was nice meeting u this weekend
  14. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    Nice set up Mr peterson! A quick question. How were you able to move your ricordea?
    I have some that I would like to move :)
  15. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I received them un-attached, so I placed them on rubble on my sandbed. After a week, they had attached to the rubble/shells. I then used reef glue to attach the rubble to the rockwork.

    Unfortunately, if they have attached to a large piece of rock and are solidly on there, I have not found an easy way to remove. I would imagine it's a lot like moving an Anemone that is attached - difficult to do without injuring the animal. Some of the tricks used with Anemones may work here - directing a large amount of flow at them or rubbing them with an ice cube briefly to convince them to detach. No good answers here
  16. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Cool tank, nice journal so far. Will be fun watching it grow! And good to meet you
    wpeterson likes this.
  17. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    Nice setup & good detail! Keep the updates coming...
    wpeterson likes this.
  18. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

  19. Corallus

    Corallus BAR Sponsorship Coordinator

    Awesome looking tank and gear, looking forward to seeing how it fills in.

    One thing really caught my eye, and it seems minor - but the moonlights you have attached to your Kessil's, those are awesome - how did you attach them?

    I'm looking at the possibility of putting a 350 over my tank, but I'd like to have a moonlight as well, and your setup looks really clean!
    wpeterson likes this.
  20. bee505

    bee505 Supporting Member

    Like the progress so far. Very clean set up.
    wpeterson likes this.

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