High Tide Aquatics

My journey journal..


Supporting Member
Instead of a single tank jounal, I’d love to journal my whole journey for my own personal record.. So here we go,

I grew up with my dad trying a saltwater tank out with no luck keeping fish. But I always loved the colors and look of saltwater fish. In 2013 I decided to get a 46gal bow front to keep myself busy as a cichlid tank with the intention of converting to salt water because I was nervous to jump right in. Toward the end of 2013, I decided I’d pull the trigger as a birthday gift to myself. So I headed to my LFS thinking I’ll just grab some salt and fish then throw it all in the tank! At the time I was thinking of building a FOWLR with no clue What FOWLR was or meant because I knew NOTHING about coral! Once I learned about them and saw the vibrant colors, different shapes and watched them move and wave I became obsessed. But like the transition from fresh water to salt, I was too nervous to pull the trigger right away and decided to do some homework while I started my build. I drilled out my acrylic 46 gallon bow front, bought an overflow box from eBay went through a couple tubes of silicone and DIY makeshift superglue here and some exoxy there’d my way through to the tank you’ll see in the pic. Picked up all of my LR, sand, pumps and other equipment from my LFS in concord which recently closed down. I really wish I knew of this Club and the resources, experience and support that it offers during this time! Lol
Well here are some pictures of the beginning of my journey. More to come!

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Thanks for sharing your story! One of the cooler parts of reefing are all the options to make your tank unique whether that’s FOWLR, coral, macro algae, etc along with the customization of the tank itself.
I found these pictures from 2015 and thought it to be HILARIOUS! Just 6 years ago, none of these corals or fish cost over $100 at my LFS!! BUT now a days.. man oh man!

Equipment on this tank:

2 Eheim return pumps
Reef Octopus HOB refugium
Current Orbit Marine Pro 36" lights x2
Maxspect XF130 gyre
Ecotech MP10


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Anyway, part of the reason I got a fish tank to begin with was that I had a son and wanted to have something pretty for him to look at other than the TV screen (at least that's what I told my wife haha jk).

Well in 2017 we had another kid, so I got a bigger tank!! lol I ordered a custom peninsula 150 gallon tank with all starfire glass, drilled for the Synergy shadow overflow box that just came out, super excited to have this what I would've considered a monster at the time tank in my living room!! I waited 2 months for it to be built and shipped, when it arrived, the weight of the empty tank alone terrified me. My house was built in the 1920's and the living space is upstairs above the garage. Contractors were quoting me ridiculous amounts to reinforce the floor SO I scrapped the whole idea and project, that 150 gallon custom tank hasn't seen water since it's leak test!

I picked up a 90 gallon tank, drilled it as a peninsula, built a stand and gave my mom the bow front which she later gave away without telling me. smh

More to come..

Eshopps L overflow box
Self made 40 breeder sump
Vectra L1 return
Reef Octopus Skimmer 150-INT
Maxspect xf280 gyre and 2 xf250 gyres
Maxspect R420 320w LEDs




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Everything was going well. Corals were thriving, fish were healthy. Then at the end of summer 2019, PG&E announces scheduled rolling power outages in the East bay due to High fire hazards. My wife and I were sure that we would not be on that list since our grid is tied to our local fire department.

Well, 3 lessons were learned; NEVER assume! Have a Generator on hand. AND TEST YOUR BACKUP BATTERIES Regularly!

Before and after pics posted below.

Long in short, Power was out for 3 or 4 days. We stayed at my in laws during that time and came back to a terrible smelling home with a glass box filled with cloudy toxic saltwater. I took the full day when our power restored and we went back home to drain the system, try to salvage what I could and thought of plans on rebuilding.

Well after a crash like this, the tank needed to completely cycle over. So this was not a quick comeback by any means. After the cycle completed I restocked my fish, but didn't quarantine (Rookie mistake) then had an Ich outbreak. Corals just didn't seem to be as happy as previous, then VERY shortly after all of this, equipment started failing. First the return pump which was literally only months past its warranty. So I replaced the Vectra L1 with a Skimz L90 because they were at End of Life at the time and I was able to pick one up for 65 or 70% off from BRS. It lasted me about 8 months then it failed to power back up after turning it off to do a deep clean on the tank and big water change. I found the same exact one un-used on Ebay for a good deal, so I picked that up then after a few months it failed as well. So I decided I would order a Vectra L2. Shortly after placing my order, my lights go out. (In hindsight, that may have just been a burnt fuse) At this point I said F*** it I'm done. So by April or May of this past year I threw the towel in, gave all my surviving livestock away. Then In the process of cleaning out the tank and equipment I dropped my skimmer and it cracked which solidified my decision. I put the tank in the garage with the intention of getting rid of it. But just never got around to posting it. Over the next few months I would see my empty tank in the garage and just shake my head..

Livestock before the crash:
Mixed Reef
Yellow wrasse
Pair of Carmel Clowns
Pair of Black and white Clowns
Desjardini Tang
Pacific Tang
Purple Tand
Scopas Tang
White Tail Tang
Blue jaw trigger
(2) Lineatus Wrasses
Flasher wrasse
Pinstripe Wrasse
Cleaner Wrasse
2 Helfrichi Firefish
and an awesome CUC!




After the clean out, drain and refill Amazingly a few corals actually survived!!

Livestock After crash:
Sand sifting starfish
Mixed colony Zoa rock with a few species that survived
half of my Giant cup coral
2 heads of my Frammer
a small protion of Space invader pectina
GSP rock
and a 20+ head acan
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As I’ve gathered from reading many of your posts I'm not alone when I say I wasn’t out of the hobby for long. In total, from the day I decided I wasn’t adding anymore livestock after the crash was right under a year. Then I picked up a 32 Biocube (which is currently FS lol) “just to keep me busy.” Then I found a great deal on a 180 TRUVU, well this 180 was actually about 225 gallons (72x30x24- 6” overflow wall all the way across!),which I told my wife I’d take the equipment and sell the tank.. nope it’s still in our garage in the process of being refurbed and re-setup! Just a little big project.
Then a few projects here and there on the Biocube to get it how I wanted. Lifted the stand to 40” which is my ideal viewing height. In that cabinet was all electrical so I could utilize the full cabinet for shelving and storage as well to hold the ATO. I put up a canopy to reduce light spill and hide some of the equipment. Very shortly after, like 4-5weeks I decided to pick up a Reefer 250, because the cube was too small.. haha
Which my wife commented, “don’t think I didn’t notice what you did there.” But She loves the reefer!!

Biocube equipment:
In-Tank media Basket
Tunze comline skimmer
Kessil 360x
IceCap 2k Gyre
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A big shout out to @dswong01 for getting me some frags of my original coral back, @Hamada on the softies and @H2OPlayar on being so generous with the mixed collection and for touring your awesome build with me! To be honest, he’s the one that encouraged me to post a journal. And to setup my 150 starfire peninsula. Which I don’t know about that quite yet lol.. (The rabbitfish was inspired by Michael as well!)

Like I mentioned, 40” is my ideal viewing height, so I raised this stand too.

Reefer 250 equipment:
Tunze osmolator 3155
Vectra M1 return

MP10QD x2
IceCap 2k
Reef Octopus 150-SSS
gravity ATO converted to Refugium
Lighting is currently a XR15 gen4 and a Kessil 360WE. Will soon swap them out for either a XR30 or a AP9X


“You can’t have more than 1 Zebrasoma in a tank” -by no means am I recommending it for anyone or everyone to try, but with a good balance of hiding and open area, keeping the tank well fed and an appropriate system to handle the bioload. Definitely do-able. These guys have been together for 3 months with very minor signs of aggression. I’ve also had 5 in a previous 90gal build that later got moved to larger tanks after being together for 2 years.

As with everything in this hobby, proceed with caution!!
New fun little 14g shelf build. This will be a little nem tank with 2 black storm clowns a Helfrichi fire fish, a harlequin shrimp and a couple scarlet hermits. I’ve been working on this project for about a week now. Buying material and planning out the shelf, bought the tank on Saltwateraquarium.com on sale for $210 and it came with the mighty jet DC pump and the custom caddy. Today we’re officially wet!!

I will be seeding the tank with microbacter XLM and a healthy maxspect nanotech block that has been in my reefer for about 3-4months now.

Additional equipment to come:
Kessil A80
Tunze 8831 LED
Custom ATO res to sit flush with the Nuvo
XP Aqua Duetto ATO


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Decided to switch out the IM 14g shelf tank with a 34” long.

Drilled and will be plumbed to share the Reefer 250 sump. I’ll be adding a second 360x. Debating on keeping the back clear, paint it black or go half painted and half clear. I really like the look of additional depth in peninsula style tanks.
Thanks for sharing your story! One of the cooler parts of reefing are all the options to make your tank unique whether that’s FOWLR, coral, macro algae, etc along with the customization of the tank itself.
I'm always saying that buying a tank it's 1/100 of the great journey! My Tetra(review) doesn't have enough space for that, so it's time to review it.@Reefinglens what great deals you did! Thank you for the inspiration and all the best!

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