View Full Version : Cliff's 120 gallon FOWLR(ish) tank

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09-04-2012, 11:42 PM
As we had planned to move everything out of the 120 reef tank into our 180 gallon tank, the wife and I have been talking about what to set-up the tank as next. We looked into discus, but I felt that would not be a good fit for us. We spent a lot of time looking into FW cichlids, but the ones that we really liked would either need a tank longer than 4 feet or would not allow for many tank mate options. My wife doesnít like having to deal with fish aggression so we started to look at options we never thought of before.

We decided a FOWLR tank with a least one center pc lionfish. We are getting one of the smaller large bodied lionfish, either a russels or a volitan lionfish. Based on what we have read, they have great personalitys similar to an Oscar. Our SW LFS has both and We are still trying to decide which one. Other additions will include some Halloween hermit crabs, some emerald crabs, snails and maybe one of the smaller butterfly fish. We are still working on the rest of the stocking list

This past weekend, we removed all the rock (to catch the fish). I took this as an opportunity to change the substrate in the tank. I then restacked the rock so it would be a better fit to providing natural cave like structures and places for the lionfish to hang on to when they sleep. So far the ammonia spike after all that messing around only got 1ppm and was gone within 12 hours. The nitrates are a little high for my liking at just around 5ppm As I still have all the macro algae in the sump, they should take care of that in the next few days

If the parameters remain stable for the next 4 days to a week, I will start stocking this tank.


09-05-2012, 12:11 AM
So does this mean that the 90 gallon tank is going to get that oscar everyone wants you to get? :)

On a side note my husband really wants a lionfish someday, but we have not even made it to saltwater yet.

09-05-2012, 12:14 AM
We are still talking about what to do with the 90 gallon. Have not made up our minds yet

09-05-2012, 12:45 AM
nice job Cliff. I always told myself that I would own a lionfish someday. very cool! :18:

09-05-2012, 06:19 AM
Looking good so far cliff!! Canny wait to see this lionfish :1luvu:

Old Marine
09-05-2012, 09:43 AM
Lionfish will look Great in that Tankthumbs2:

09-06-2012, 12:44 AM
Thanks Guys

As the parameters have been a stable 0-0-5 for the past three days now, I thought I would start to add some more of the CUC. I got two Halloween Hermit Crabs. They have just been acclimated and have already started cleaning the rocks. Iíve also got 6 snails in there that I missed when taking the rocks out on the weekend. The rock still looks pretty bad as I had pulled it all apart and peeled corals off it this past weekend. Once the coralline gets a chance to grow again, things will start looking ďnormalĒ again.





09-06-2012, 12:45 AM
A few surviving coral fragments have also been perking up today. I did try my best to get all of them off, but that can be difficult at best when your rock has deep holes in it where they can plant themselves deep inside the rocks




09-15-2012, 04:36 AM
The parameters remain rock solid in this tank. I believe the macro algae in the sump played a big part of that.

I've just picked up two inhabitants for this tank. A Russell's Lionfish (Pterois russelli), and a Mertensii Butterflyfish (Chaetodon mertensii). They are both in QT right now just to make sure everything is OK and to make sure they will continue to eat frozen and prepared foods. The Mertensii buttery is known to mostly eat clams and LPS corals so I am thinking the remaining corals in this tank have a pretty good chance. Time will tell I guess

Hopefully (if all goes well) they both will be in the display tank in 3 or 4 weeks.

09-15-2012, 09:13 AM
Fascinating. I know very little about marine set-ups but find your posts very informative. Can I ask a, what might be obvious, question? What's all the pink stuff that grows all over the back and sides of marine tanks?

09-15-2012, 12:24 PM
The pink stuff is coraline algea. It's a hard calcified algae, very different from all other types of typical algaes that you can get. It's what I would call a good algae as it really starts to thrive once your tank stablizes and your parameters are at least closer to that of the ocean. Every marine system should/will get at least some coraline

09-15-2012, 12:34 PM
Interesting. I suppose aesthetically it helps all the powerheads and stuff to blend in.

09-30-2012, 12:41 AM
The lion fish and butterfly are getting along great in QT. They are also eating like little scaly pigs. As long as these guys keep doing good, they will come out of QT next weekend.

Iím so excited to be able to take down one of the QT tanks in the basement. LOL, that and being able to look at a tank with fish in it.

09-30-2012, 03:50 AM
Looking great Cliff. Excited for pics of the new fish. Congrats.thumbs2:

09-30-2012, 03:03 PM
This is exciting! Looking forward to catching up with it as it progresses! thumbs2:

09-30-2012, 05:02 PM
This is exciting! Looking forward to catching up with it as it progresses! thumbs2:

Nothing better than a personal inspection over a cup of coffee :14:

09-30-2012, 10:52 PM
Call me as soon as they're 'home' and you have time! :18:

09-30-2012, 11:37 PM
Call me as soon as they're 'home' and you have time! :18:

Will do :22:


Last weekend I moved my green nepthea leather coral and long polyp toadstool leather corals into the 120. They are really doing a lot better in this tank. Likely because the nitrates in the 180 have not yet hit 1ppm and the nitrates in the 120 are currently at 2ppm.



Based on my research and talking with three others here (in the city that I live in) that are currently keeping a Mertensii Butterflyfish , and they have found this buttery doesnít pick at mushrooms or leathers. I know that you can get a fish that (for whatever reason) decide to act and do things totally out of character for them, but I believe the risk to the corals is minimal at the worst. These leathers certainly were not going to do very well in the 180 for some time to come.

09-30-2012, 11:56 PM
Looks awesome Cliff!

09-30-2012, 11:58 PM
Thanks Kingfisher thumbs2:

10-07-2012, 01:47 AM
After 3 weeks of problem free QT time, the fish are now in the tank. It's really hard to get a good pic of then as they are used to being fed everytime someone come up to the tank.

Below is the butterfly




I was hoping to get a pic of him flashing his yellow dorsel fin, but he would have none of that tonight

10-07-2012, 01:48 AM
And now for the lionfish




10-07-2012, 02:49 AM
awesome fish Cliff! I will own one someday. best of luck with that little predator. :18:

10-07-2012, 03:09 AM
Thanks Crispy thumbs2:

You will love keeping a lionfish. They are full of personality

10-07-2012, 12:56 PM
I also managed to get a few pics of one of the two emerald crabs in the tank this morning.



10-07-2012, 01:42 PM
Looking fantastic, Cliff. I imagine you have to be very careful putting your hands in the tank with a lionfish. Aren't they life threatening if you get stuck by one? :ssuprised:

What do you feed them on?

10-07-2012, 01:53 PM
Thanks firefly

I'm not too worried about being bit. I feed him mysis and very small pcs of raw shrimp, mussles, and clams with tweezers so he will not see my hand as a sourse of food. From what I have read, most people run into a lot of problems when they feed by hand.

They can sting you if you are not careful. The barbs along the dorsel fin contain a venom that can give you a really nasty sting. From what I have heard, it is a lot like a very bad bee sting.

This lion fish doesn't pay much attention (if any at all) to my hand when I am doing something in the tank. I just have to be careful not to spook him or I coud get stung accidently

10-07-2012, 02:16 PM
Interesting. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with him. They're beautiful fish.

10-07-2012, 02:27 PM
Cool! They are gorgeous!

Gotta luv a bit of danger at feeding times, eh? :hmm3grin2orange:

10-07-2012, 04:45 PM
LOL, not much danger for me, but those poor tweezers sure do get bit a lot during feeding time :hmm3grin2orange:

But seriously, there are risks to keeping fish like lionfish so you always have to be carefull when putting your hands in the tank.

10-07-2012, 04:59 PM
Cliff . . . Wow . . . I love that lionfish. Your tanks really coming along thumbs2:

10-27-2012, 11:15 PM
If I keep this up, I won't be able to call this a FOWLR tank much longer

I bought a new leather coral for this tank. As the nitrate remain steady at just over 1ppm, the leathers that I moved from the 180 into this tank are doing a lot better than they did in the 180. In fact, they are growning a lot faster than ever before.

The new leather is a purple (ish) finger leather. He looks pretty mad in the pic as I just finished acclimating him and puttin him through a coral dip.


Below are a few pics of the current leathers



10-27-2012, 11:16 PM
I had to re-home the butterfly as he was getting too nippy at feeding time. But the lion fish and the crabs are doing great. The hurmit and emerald crabs are also doing well. Both hurmits have molted and taken bigger shells already



10-27-2012, 11:35 PM
Man! Those are great.:22:

10-28-2012, 02:28 PM
Ditto! :1luvu:

I agree...dunno if it's a FOWLR anymore...:hmm3grin2orange:

Er, where did you rehome the Butterfly to?

10-28-2012, 03:39 PM
great thread, i had to re-read the title, cliff this might turn into another great reef ...lol... good intentions turn into another reef :19: thumbs2:

10-28-2012, 04:43 PM
Thanks guys

You can sure tell lionfish are predator fish. The lionfish will stock the smallest emerald crab in the tank every time the crab comes out in the open

The butterfly is back in QT now for the time being until I can find a more permanent solution.

Old Marine
10-28-2012, 09:13 PM
Looks Great Cliffthumbs2:

10-30-2012, 08:27 PM
Tank looks awesome Cliff... tank envy is kicking in damn you! Haha

The pictures are also top notch, finally figuring out that new camera huh? lol :)

10-30-2012, 08:48 PM
Thanks Guys

Hockeyhead, I actually just started taking more picture. I just did not post the 50(ish) other photos I took that were not as good. I'm still getting used to a camera with more than one setting and more than one button :hmm3grin2orange:

10-31-2012, 03:37 AM
wow that toadstool is a lot bigger then mine, i like it though

11-08-2012, 01:33 AM
Thanks ibuyen. I've had that coral for about two years now. I've really enjoyed waiting him grow from just one inch to 8 inches

Had a little trouble with the tank yesterday. Sometime during the night the return pump stopped working. Good thing I planned the sump to take all of the drain-back from the tank as there was not a drop of water split.

As I’m out of town until tomorrow night, the wife just moved the heaters from the sump into the tank to maintain the temp and I will replace the return pump when I get back home. With all the live rock and power heads in the main tank, the lion fish will still have all the filtration he needs.

11-10-2012, 04:30 PM
Nice when proper pre-planning turns a potential disaster into just an annoyance.

Was that pump new? Odd that it crapped out already.

11-10-2012, 10:03 PM
Actually the pump is in working order. As it turns out, the GFI on the power bar was tripped and for some reason it won't reset. I replaced the powerbar and gave the pump a good cleaning yesterday.

Everything is back in working order now

11-11-2012, 11:07 PM
What's the greenish leather from the last page? Seen it few other tanks but not for sale anywhere.

11-11-2012, 11:23 PM
Its a Green Nepthea leather coral. I’m not 100% sure I spelt that correctly

There are a few on-line places in the US that sell them. They are very hard to find in the ocean, but there are a lot of Aquacultered ones for sale which would be a better option IMO.

11-12-2012, 01:08 AM
Cliff, i love your saltwater tank...and your coral and that toadstool look epic...

11-12-2012, 01:10 AM
That lionfish is gorgeous. Thats the only fish I would set up a sw tank for.

Your tanks look better every time I see them.

11-12-2012, 01:11 AM
Lionfish were Picard's favorite fish too if you recall...At least in the series...I think he was the Captain that had that tank.

11-12-2012, 01:19 AM
Thanks guys

I am also amazed at how fast lionfish grow. This guy has gone from around 2.5 to 3 inches (forget exactly) to a 4 inches in a very short time.

12-23-2012, 06:38 PM
Christmas came a little early to our house yesterday

While at the SW LFS, I ran into a fellow hobbyist trying to rehome some fish after a tank crash. To make a long story short, I got a bunch of new fish. I got a black volitan lion fish and Fu Manchu dwarf lionfish. Both are settling in nicely.

I managed to feed both of them last night. It takes a lot of effort to get the Fu Manchu to get, but he is eating. The volitan has already made himself right at home and within 5 hours was swimming around the tank like he has been there for years. The Fu Manchu is still pretty shy spending most of his time hiding in the rocks, but at least he his moving around in the shadows checking out all the hiding spots in the tank.

All three of these lion fish are about ½ grown right now. Once the russels and volitan reach there fully grown adult size, I will have to move one of them into the 180 as this tank would most likely be too small for the both of them. At least this will give me about 8 months to a year to get a god idea of their personalitys to move the best suited one into the 180.

This is the best pic of the Fu Manchu that I could get


Below is a pic of the black volitan


And of course a full tank pic


12-23-2012, 06:49 PM
Gah, I'd be scared to put my hand in...have you ever been stung? Beautiful fish though.

12-23-2012, 06:57 PM
No, I have not been stung. They only do that as a defense. If you keep an eye on them when you have your hands in the tank, and don't spook or corner them, you have nothing to worry about.

12-24-2012, 01:53 AM
It took about 10 minutes of effort, but I got the Fu Manchu to eat again. This is a really good sign as he is still getting use to the tank and is not really acting like himself yet. I'm really looking forward to him getting used to the tank and being less shy.

The black volitan did eat like a little pig again tonight. He is adapting very very well. Better than I would have imagined

12-24-2012, 04:30 AM
Absolutely gorgeous, Cliff, your tank is spectacular. thumbs2:

12-24-2012, 04:37 AM
Thanks Tigerbarb

12-24-2012, 09:52 AM
Fish look great cliff

12-24-2012, 02:23 PM
That's exciting! They look great! thumbs2:

12-24-2012, 05:53 PM
Thanks guys

This is quickly turning out to be my favorite tank

12-24-2012, 07:11 PM
Your tank is quickly turning into one of my favorites as well.

12-24-2012, 10:29 PM
Thats awesome Cliff, entirely jealous I would love to get one of those, but my tank just isn't suitable...beautiful tank and fish!

12-24-2012, 10:35 PM
Thanks sheamurai

I finally got a better (ish) pic of the dwarf lionfish. He came out of one of his hiding spots just long enough for me to get a pic of him swimming back to his hiding spot. I can hardley wait until he is comfortable enough to stay out longer


12-25-2012, 05:14 AM
That is a cool looking fish!

12-26-2012, 11:33 PM
Really cool looking fish mate, cool tank, I'm usually not a fan of fish only but this one is really cool!

12-27-2012, 01:45 AM
Thanks Hockey head

This tank is slowly becoming my favorite tank. Even my wife finds herself watching this one a lot more than the rest

01-30-2013, 12:07 AM
It looks like I had a case of internal parasites in this set-up. Both of the large lionfish had long stringy white poop for 2 or 3 days before one of them started showing other symptoms. The russels was not effected at all or at least not enough to change his behavior, the volatin stopped eating for about 2 weeks before starting to eat again, but it looks like we lost the Fu Manchu dwarf lionfish.

After two weeks of treating with Prazi-pro, the volatine is once again eating like a horse and acting completely normal again.

I believe the source of the internal parasites was the krull that I was feeding them when they were first added to the tank. The past owner only then them krill so I fed that for a while when transitioning them to the frozen foods that I make for them. At least I won’t have to worry about internal parasites again now that I have them on the food that I make.

01-30-2013, 12:29 AM
Sorry to hear about the Fu Manchu

02-10-2013, 11:06 PM
Last weekend I started emptying the 4 QT tanks I had set-up. I now have a majestic angle fish in this tank




I am now seriously pushing the stocking limits on this tank. I give myself about a 40% chance of having to rehome one of the lionfish or the angle in about a year from now. I already have one friend interested in the angle should this happen and our SW LFS will sell any fish for me on consignment so I decided to try this stocking list. The risk comes from the variation in the fully grown size of these angle fish which can range from 8 to 12 inches.

I now fully understand why everyone says these angle fish are not reef safe. Within 3 days of being in this tank he started picking at two of the leathers that were in this tank. Leathers are supposed to be bad tasting to all coral eating fish, but I guess this angle did not read the same info that I did. I had to move those leathers into my 180 gallon before this angle did too much damage to them. Iím hoping he will still leave the other two leathers alone. I will be keeping a close eye on this fish

02-10-2013, 11:19 PM
Gorgeous looking creature. Didn't see one of these on my hol! :18:

02-10-2013, 11:22 PM
Very nice looking Angel Cliff. One never knows what a fish is going to eat once in a tank of goodies.

02-10-2013, 11:48 PM
Thanks guys

And yes, it sure can be hard to predict exactly what a fish will or will not do.

02-17-2013, 11:51 PM
I made some changes to this tank this weekend

I found a great deal on some LED lighting (AI SOLs) so I upgraded the lighting. I’m still playing around with the percentages and colors right now to find the right mix that I like. I still have some more adjustment to try before I am happy with the lighting. I might have try and find a third unit to get better lighting balance once I have the color tones and intensity correct.


I also added a little more rock to the tank to create more hiding spots, or at least spot of the lion fish to hang out on. I’m trying to make the tank even closer to the natural environment these guys like without effecting the open swimming space they also need. I’m not 100% satisfied with the look of it yet, but I think I will give it a little more time before rearranging things again.

I also have started feeding the crabs some macro algae. Seeing as how I normally have to remove some growth from macro algae compartment of the sump anyways, I figure I would just feed this to the crabs as there is not enough algae in the tank for them.


03-10-2013, 11:55 PM
With such low nutrients in the water, the coralline and other algaes are really slow to grow in the tank. The macro algae I have growing in the sump pretty much takes care of all the nitrates and phosphates in the water leaving nothing left for anything else.

I’m going to try feeding a little more to see if I can change that. I would love for these rocks to be covered with coralline or even some hair algae so they don’t reflect as much light giving the tank a more natural look.


I had started feeding the crabs some seaweed every few days just to make sure they were getting enough to eat


03-13-2013, 01:15 AM
Hey, might look a little white to you Cliff, but it's a fine looking tank.
Your other one is doing well too, I see.

03-13-2013, 01:18 AM
Thanks sheamurai

Glad to see on the forum, it seams like it's been a whiel

04-03-2013, 11:15 AM
Beautiful tank and Lions. Makes me want to hurry up and get a house so I can have the room to do a lion tank.
Scrape some coralline out of your reef tank and dump it in this one, it will help give it a jump start in growth.

04-03-2013, 11:32 AM
Thanks Labnjab

With my very low lighting levels and use of more blur than white color tones, I think it may take a while yet to see some good coraline growth. I just have little patches popping up here and there

04-26-2013, 07:37 PM
A few new pics





04-26-2013, 07:39 PM




04-26-2013, 07:59 PM
Lovely photos, Cliff. I always look forward to updates on your journals.

How does the angel stand up to the lions?

04-26-2013, 08:33 PM

04-26-2013, 10:17 PM
Thanks guys

05-13-2013, 06:25 PM
Cliff great pics that angel is really cool looking!!

05-13-2013, 10:10 PM
Thanks Hockeyhead, good to hear from you again

Lovely photos, Cliff. I always look forward to updates on your journals.

How does the angel stand up to the lions?

Sorry Firefly, but i missed your question until now. The lions are very peaceful towards the angel as the angel is far to big to be considered as food. They all seam to get along very well.

05-16-2013, 09:32 PM
Thanks for the response. Interesting.

I stayed in a little hotel recently that had a lovely marine tank in the breakfast room - I always made sure we sat next to the tank every morning, and quizzed the owners on the maintenance and set-up of it before we left :lol:

You are responsible for my interest in marines. My aim is to have a wonderful soft coral set-up within the next ten years. Until then...I have lots of reading to do on the subject, and saving up! :ssmile:

05-16-2013, 10:36 PM
Beautiful tank and fish. I actually started considering a marine tank while looking at the pictures but came back down to earth once I thought of the cost.

05-16-2013, 10:45 PM
Thanks guys

Beautiful tank and fish. I actually started considering a marine tank while looking at the pictures but came back down to earth once I thought of the cost.

There's always a lot of great deals on complete used set-ups in both Calgary and Edmonton on Canreef.com, if that is a option for you. You can save a large amount of $$$ through buying used

05-16-2013, 11:52 PM
Fantastic looking tank Cliff. I've been so absorbed in keeping mine up I haven't had enough time to view the different journals.
I looked at those lights but the price for two of them kept me at bay. They are a really nice LED light which I would have over my 48 inch tank if I had the bucks.

Make no doubt about it, I started my tank after looking at the journals on this site.
I purchase a little at a time and the costs are not that bad but it takes awhile to get there which I'm still months away from.
The one cost I found hard to swallow was the cost of live rock. At almost $9.00 a pound for Bali rock it cost an arm to get 40 plus pounds. After finding the man made rock at $4.00 a pound later, I could have kicked myself.
I am still adding rock 10 pounds at a time and am now up to just over 60 pounds.

Thank Cliff for the inspiration. I'm hooked!

05-16-2013, 11:59 PM
Sounds interesting. What about maintenance costs?

05-17-2013, 01:35 AM
Fantastic looking tank Cliff. I've been so absorbed in keeping mine up I haven't had enough time to view the different journals.
I looked at those lights but the price for two of them kept me at bay. They are a really nice LED light which I would have over my 48 inch tank if I had the bucks.

Make no doubt about it, I started my tank after looking at the journals on this site.
I purchase a little at a time and the costs are not that bad but it takes awhile to get there which I'm still months away from.
The one cost I found hard to swallow was the cost of live rock. At almost $9.00 a pound for Bali rock it cost an arm to get 40 plus pounds. After finding the man made rock at $4.00 a pound later, I could have kicked myself.
I am still adding rock 10 pounds at a time and am now up to just over 60 pounds.

Thank Cliff for the inspiration. I'm hooked!

Do you know what the man made rock is made of ?

Sounds interesting. What about maintenance costs?

On going costs would include salt which a good quality one can run you anywhere between $70 to $90 for enough salt to mix about 220 gallons of water when you maintain the same salinity typically found around a coral reef. The rest of the on-going costs would be determined by they type of set-up you have. FOWLR can be a lot cheaper as a lot of reef tanks need stronger lighting requiring a little more power consumption and typically (but not always) require some type of supplement dosing to replace the elements in the water that get used by the corals and some types of algaes. If your get a RO unit, you would be looking at about $75 to $100 a year for new filters assuming your water quality is the same as in Calgary and/or Edmonton. I can make my RO filters last about 18 months with Saskatoon water (drawn from the north Saskatchewan river). All listed prices are from Calgary vendors so it should be fairly accurate.

Edit: I forgot to mention that if you are going to set-up a reef tank, there would be three extra test kits you would need to buy about every 18 to 24 months that cost about $15 each.

All of the above listed costs are based on additional costs over and above what you would have to pay for in a fresh water tank of equal size and stocking.

05-17-2013, 10:26 PM
[QUOTE=Cliff;1153282]Do you know what the man made rock is made of ?

Cement mix and crushed oyster shells is what I watched on u-tube. Mold in some rock salt to get the porous texture. The salt will dissolve in water and leave small openings in the rock. Am I close?

If your thinking about getting into a saltwater tank I would suggest getting your own R/O unit. My first purchase was an R/O unit which I installed in the kitchen. Thanks Cliff for that hint.
Seeing people go to the lfs to purchase water weekly is so weird.

05-18-2013, 12:01 PM
Purchasing water? How much is it?

Does/Can anybody use tap water and salt for marines?

05-18-2013, 12:41 PM
The cost of purchasing RO water can range around $2 per 5 gallons where I live.

You can use tap water, but that topic can also lead to a lot of debate. I use RO because it is stripped of all minerals and gives me a more pure and natural salt water mix. It can also really depend on the quality of your tap water as well

05-18-2013, 12:47 PM
Interesting. I don't think I'd like to be buying water in case, for some reason, the supply stopped, or I couldn't get to the store.

How do you know if your tap water is suitable?

05-18-2013, 01:05 PM
Most cities will post the quality of the water supply. You really would want no measureable: ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, and silicates. You would also want a low count of total dissolved solids (TDS). This measure is pretty much also open to a lot of debate. I would think you would be OK with a TDS count of 150 or lower.

Keep in mind; you would still need to use pure water with a 0 TDS count to top up your tank for evaporation. As water evaporates, only pure water leaves the tank and all the TDS remains. This will cause a build-up of dissolved solids over time and can lead to “old tank syndrome” in a marine tank if you don’t do larger weekly water changes (30% or more). You would also greatly increase the likelihood of nasty marine algaes which is NOT fun to deal with.

This problem is avoided in freshwater set-ups with larger weekly water changes and live plants.

05-18-2013, 01:08 PM
You are a foutain of knowledge, Cliff. Thanks.

06-28-2013, 02:03 PM
I have decided to move this set-up into our family room in the basement with my two other tanks as we have more room there as compared to our living room were this tank currently sits.

The only problem with this plan is that due to the 36inch height of the stand, it will not fit around the two corners going down the stair case. So I have decided to sell that stand and build another one. In order to make sure this stand will fit down the stairs and still have the height for a 26 inch tall skimmer and a 55 gallon sump, I have made a tow peace stand

Below are some pics of the stand so far. The first two are of the framing. The back of the stand is facing the car in the picture.



The next two are of stand after I sheeted it in pine. As I will be painting this stand black, I had to use filler on all the hole and knots in the wood. The opening on the left hand side of the stand is for a large door to remove the sump if I ever need to.



I just have to sand & paint the stand as well as making the doors. For the top of the stand, I will be cutting a single pc of plywood which will be used to attach both halves together and give the tank a single solid base to sit on.

06-28-2013, 11:41 PM
a two piece stand, wow. Will you have a bridge between the two...never mind, I just read that last post. lol
I should known that you'd have that angle covered!

It will be interesting to see that stand come together Cliff.

06-30-2013, 06:35 PM
I got the stand all sanded, primed and painted so I decided to get the top pcs cut and make the doors today. The below pic show the top pcs sitting in place. The ones on the end will be glued & screwed to the top. The ones that run the length of the stand will hold both pcs of the stand in place. Once the glue dries and cures, I will finish painting 3 or 4 more coats of paint on everything over the next week or two and the two pc stand will be ready.


I had to leave a some cut out on the back right corner for the drain line. That still leaves 1.75 inches of frame to support the tank in that corner which is more than enough to support the ~1,400 lbs the tank weights. I also wanted a little extra room should I ever need access to the bulk head flange

06-30-2013, 08:55 PM
Looks great Cliff. I'm going to use your two stand setup for the two 29s I just scored at Petco for $58. They'll be end to end and a 5 foot DIY wooden stand would be a bit much for me to handle by myself.

07-01-2013, 12:13 AM
Yes, I don't know why I never thought of doing this before. It does make it a lot easy to move a stand when you can take it apart into 2 pcs. I just wish I could do something to make the tank easier to move !!!

I've got everything painted with at least one coat of paint now.

09-08-2013, 12:35 AM
This weekend is the weekend for me to move this set-up into our basement family room. I borrowed a 90 gallon tank from a friend so I can move the fish and corals into that tank to make this move a whole lot easier. I figured that would be the best for the fish as I want to make a few changes to the plumbing and re-arrange all of the rock work

The fish are settling into the 90 gallon now. I have about 75% of the live rock in there with them, the rest is in a container of SW for now

Now I will be able to clean everything (including what little substrate that I have in there) and bribe my brother in law to give me a hand with the tank

Pics to follow as I go

09-08-2013, 02:24 AM
Ahem, and while you're relocating and setting up the FOWLR, will we be going live with a mantis shrimp tank? :14:

I went to a LFS for the first time in a very longgggg time and I saw this huge volitan for only $150 and it looked super. The thing is easily over a foot long and in perfect condition. I also saw this fat and big Japanese Dragon Moray (probably about 30 inches long) for $1k. Thought to myself, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, do I want to set up a FOWLR? ............

09-08-2013, 02:32 AM
I know what you mean

A freind of mine up-graded to a 10 foot 400+ gallon tank as a FOWLR about 4 or 5 years ago. There were many evenings spent watching thank over a few cool ones. Some day I would love a larger FOWLR like that.

09-08-2013, 02:47 AM
You know what else I'd really want? A tank dedicated to leafy and weedy sea dragons (if I can get through all the hurdles of getting them, lol). They're magnificent creatures. That's something I'd want to try in the distant future.

09-08-2013, 03:16 AM
That does sound like a great set-up.

09-08-2013, 09:27 PM
Tank has been moved and is now in place on the new stand

I did a few power fail tests and everything worked as planned. I'm still not happy with how the return pump and plumbing is set-up. It is good enough for now tho. I might make some more changes once I can afford to up-grade the return pump. I'm going to run the set-up with dechlorinated FW for a few days just to make sure there are no small leaks anywhere. Once I am satisfied, I will start filling the set-up with SW again, put the rock back, and move the the whole crew back into the tank.



Everyone seems to be doing OK in the temporary tank right now. Although they all have colored up again as normal, they are still pretty shy which is to be expected. I'll feed the angel some seaweed tonight and feed the lions tomorrow or the next day depending on their behavior. I feed them a LOT the past three days before the move so they should be fine for a few days of fasting.


09-09-2013, 02:36 AM
I like that big centerpiece rock with the algae. Although, If I threw that in my tank, all the algae will be gone......lol

09-09-2013, 12:38 PM
tank looks pretty good for just moving!!

09-09-2013, 11:56 PM
Thanks guys

My green macro algae (feather caulerpa ) seams to like this light a lot better than it liked the light in the sump. I'll have to keep a close eye on this for a while as I never would have thought this algae would to better on 10K lighting as compared to ~5K. Maybe it's just the visual effect the light has on the algae. I'll have to watch it very carefully over the next few days in order to be able to tell

09-12-2013, 12:18 AM
The fish are back to eating like little pigs again

I had to make even more changes to the plumbing. As my return pump is 3 years old, it's getting some wear and tear on it. This is making it become a very loud pump. I don't want up-grade / replace the return pump yet, so I thought I would change the plumbing a little to suspend the pump inside the return pump compartment. Now that it is not touching any part of the sump, there is no noise created by any type of vibration.


09-15-2013, 05:34 AM
Good idea on the pump. Need to save money from the pump for that mantis setup, lol.

How big are those lions now?

09-15-2013, 05:37 AM
The russels is about 8 inches and the volitan is about 7. They still have a little growing to do.

09-16-2013, 12:06 AM
After a few days of a fresh water leak test, I filled it up with salt water today and moved the all the substrate, rock, CUC, and fish back in. I tried I little bit of a different look this time. Everyone seems to be settling in just fine and are happy to have larger hiding spots again.

I still have to attach the doors to the stand and paint the canopy to match.

I am using some temporary lighting for now until I can get the canopy finished and go back to using my original AI SOL lighting.



09-16-2013, 02:30 AM
Yep, those lions still have some growing left to do. Can't wait for them to be 12 inches plus, ^^.

09-17-2013, 01:43 AM
The fish are back to normal now. It's amazing to see them bounce back from the stress of being taken out of one tank and acclimated to another so quickly when you give them a more natural environment to were they thrive in the ocean. Just finished feeding them and they eat like the pigs they typically are. I'm going to keep the lights at a lower level for the next day to make sure they used to their new home before I turn up the lighting a little more

09-29-2013, 11:06 PM
I finished painting the base of the canopy so I could put the LEDs for this set-up back on. I will finish the lid for the canopy latter tonight/tomorrow. I also put the leathers back in there as well. The toadstool is still a little grumpy but he is coming around. I also fragged my birdnest SPS and added a few frags to this tank to see how well they will do. With the nitrates not climbing past 2 ppm, I'm thinking they will do just fine.


09-30-2013, 02:48 AM
stunning as always, Cliff.

10-13-2013, 01:33 AM
I finally got around to putting the lid on the canopy and the doors on the stand. I didn't notice until now, but the door on the side of the stand (to remove the sump if required) is not perfectly flat/level. I will have to make another door. But for now, it looks pretty good


10-13-2013, 02:10 AM
Looks good and the door isnt that out of level. I could live with it.

10-19-2013, 02:18 AM
Thanks William. I might just try some weather stripping on the inside of the door to block out the light from the algae compartment in the sump.

I put the bio-pellets back on the set-up using a old reactor that I had. I was debating if I was even going to ad it back, but with the very high bio-load those two lion fish are starting to create, I felt I might a well as at least 1/4 dose of bio-pellets and increase as the fish get bigger and add more demands on the filtration


10-20-2013, 01:30 AM
I got a rock flower anemone today. I have been wanting to get one of these guys for a while now, but I has taken a while before I found one that look healthy. I acclimated him to the tank today, and I am acclimating him to the light right now. He seams to be settling in well as he has attached his boot and closed his mouth all within a few hours.



10-20-2013, 12:47 PM
interesting addition!

10-20-2013, 04:00 PM
Thanks Sheamurai

I don't know why, but I have always been fascinated by rock flower anemones. Mostly because their are not as popular as BTA and carpet anemones and they are a little different as well. At any rate, he seams to be doing well. I'll give him a week or two to settle in then I will try spot feeding him a little. That would most likely have to be a two-person job as the lionfish typically are very very quick to grab food from the tweezers.

10-22-2013, 01:52 AM
Very nice!

02-02-2014, 10:11 PM
After a lot of research and talking with others that have first hand experience, I have decided to add a snowflake eel to this set-up

All things considered the risks are minimal, but also controllable, at least to some extent. I will be getting a small snowflake eel which will ensure the angel is very close to mature size by the time the eel is close to mature size limiting the risks of the eel thinking the angel is food.
Keeping the eel properly fed will also limit the risks
Based on what I have been able to research, there is ~95 to 99% change this will work out just fine

However, as many of us have learned the hard way in this hobby, fish (and eels) do not always follow the typical behavior that is well documented by verified scientific research. So I am now thinking about what if my luck turns out bad and I get a snowflake eel in the 5% category. By getting a younger eel, I should be able to see any signs of potential problem early enough to do something about it before the angel gets hurt. I am comfortable with being able to minimize the risks. I can always move the angel to another tank, or rehome/sell the eel should this not work out.

I have only been able to find one occurrence of a snowflake eel growing much bigger than a typical one would (at least one that I could verify). There was one guy in the city that I currently live in that had a snow flake grow closer to 3 feet long and as thick as a beer can (much larger than a average one). It at 5 tangs in the tank, but the eel was big enough for those fish to fit in his mouth.

02-02-2014, 11:18 PM
How long you been doing SW Cliff?

02-02-2014, 11:20 PM
Sounds like a good addition. You know I love Morays. Not as much as frog and scorpionfish, but I do love them. LOL.

How is your flower anemone doing now that in been in the tank 10 days or so?

02-02-2014, 11:27 PM
The anemones have been doing really well, and are actually getting a little more color to them

02-03-2014, 12:45 AM
Thats good to hear. Will be hoping for some pictures in another week or two.

02-04-2014, 12:34 AM
There's no turning back now. I ordered the eel today from our SW LFS here in town

Should have him in a few weeks (depending on how long it takes his supplier to fill the order)

02-04-2014, 01:07 AM
Congrats. I am sure you will not regret it. Morays are very fun fish to keep. And who knows. This might be the first step towards you getting on of my all time fav fish
Dragon Moray

02-04-2014, 01:18 AM
Nice looking eel

Maybe some day

02-04-2014, 01:50 AM
The Dragon runs between $750 to $1,000, start saving now!

02-04-2014, 01:51 AM
There's no turning back now. I ordered the eel today from our SW LFS here in town

Should have him in a few weeks (depending on how long it takes his supplier to fill the order)

Yay!!!! Hope you specified young so it gets to know only you. You'll be hand feeding in no time!

02-04-2014, 02:11 AM
Yup, I asked for a young small eel.

02-04-2014, 02:48 AM
The Dragon runs between $750 to $1,000, start saving now!

Thats the only reason I am not setting up a sw tank for one right now ;-)

02-04-2014, 06:14 AM
Thats the only reason I am not setting up a sw tank for one right now ;-)

lol, I have to wait till Christmas!!!

02-05-2014, 02:32 AM
I wish I did not have to take 20 or pics to get one good one


02-05-2014, 02:38 AM
that is a nice looking fish, makes me want to make a SW tank (thats what I really wanted but it is fairly cost prohibitive around here unless you live in the city)

02-05-2014, 03:22 AM
I wish I did not have to take 20 or pics to get one good one

That is how it is for most of us. Nice picture and nice fish.

02-05-2014, 04:52 AM
Did I read it right... you ordered a dragon eel?

02-05-2014, 05:40 AM
Nope. He ordered a snow flake.

Im just trying to tempt him with a dragon.

02-05-2014, 06:01 AM
Got my hopes up lol. :-)

02-05-2014, 11:45 AM
I wish I had the cash to buy a dragon eel, but I will be happy with a snowflake for now

02-05-2014, 09:58 PM
Got my hopes up lol. :-)

I guess the race is on between you and me buddy on who gets a Dragon 1st. I want a Hawaiian Dragon but have not really looked yet. I'm hopefully going to have my 300 up before Christmas and start 2015 with a new resident.

02-07-2014, 01:29 AM
The eel I ordered is now at the store waiting for me to take him to his new home. I must say, this was a lot faster than expected. I wanted to make a few more caves for him before taking him home.

I guess I can just get a few small lengths of pvc tubes and put him in QT for the time being and skip the caves.

Hopefully I can also do a little bit of re-arranging in the main tank for him this weekend so everything will be ready when he is ready to come out of QT.

Edit: Forgot to mention that he is about as round as a dime, and about 7 to 8 inches long. Just the size I wanted

02-07-2014, 02:00 PM
Awesome! Remember, they don't do caves, they like tight gaps in rocks. Only the head exposed. Good idea on the piece of pipe in the QT. But I advise against any in the tank...

02-07-2014, 03:20 PM
I will actually have a combination of both. I already have a lot of caves and longer opening through the rock stack in rocks on the right side of the tank. I’m mostly looking to add some structural support to the left hand side as from what I have seen, these guys could knock over rocks that are not very sturdy. They current tank inhabitants really don’t put a lot of pressure on the rocks. I think the eel likely would once fully grown and active.

I think I have enough caves for him to feel safe, but I want to add a few more just to be sure. I am going to be adding more rock for more caves after I get the left hand side re-enforced some more

02-07-2014, 03:24 PM
You'll be surprised at what they can move even when they are small. They widen the gaps to accommodate themselves to be nice and snug in there. You'll also see them push your substrate out between those gaps and little mounds will appear. Sadly, I noticed in the 1st few months you only see them free swim when light are out or if on "moon light" as I don't think they can see that and think its dark.

02-08-2014, 02:31 AM
I did a little re arranging on the rockwork tonight before bring the new little eel home

They did feed him at the store and he eat a few pcs of mysis shrimp

He is now in QT. I had to take a pic of him while acclimating him as I'm pretty sure I would be seeing home anytime soon with all the decorations I have in the QT tank


02-08-2014, 02:41 AM
so how big is that eel? a few inches?

02-08-2014, 02:44 AM
He is about 6 inches long and almost as thick as a dime

02-08-2014, 02:51 AM
dang how old is it roughly? I don't know the growth rate of eels sorry.

02-08-2014, 02:53 AM
He's very young from what Cliff is describing. No more than 4 or 5 months without seeing him.

02-08-2014, 02:55 AM
Once he's in the tank. Try to offer food when you see him pop out. They love narrow strips of calamari. Try to cut to less than mouth diameter.

02-08-2014, 03:10 AM
I too would guess about 5 or 6 months old based on size, but I could be wrong. Based on what I have read and seen, they get between 20 to 30 inches long when fully grown and they grow pretty fast during their first year or two of age

I also have some squid and shrimp to feed him once he settles into the qt tank

02-09-2014, 12:25 AM
It took a while, but I found the little guy in QT. It's amazing how well a 6 inch snake shape fish can hid in 40 gallon aquarium !!!. I did get him to eat a little pc of mysis so I will leave him be for a few days. I think he is still a little stressed so I don;t really want to feed him a lot until he settles down.

02-09-2014, 02:50 AM
Yea small eels can hide very well! Heck my big eels can hide then pop out of no where lol

02-09-2014, 03:11 AM
LOL, thanks Glarior, I'm starting to see what you mean

02-09-2014, 07:06 PM
Already eating is a great sign Cliff. Once settled in the main tank he will pop out when hungry. My snowflake will extend 1/2 his body much like my oscillated. The zebras and black edge swim around like crazy. You'll know the signs once you get more acquainted. I'm pretty sure it won't be long before it becomes your favourite resident. 😜

02-22-2014, 11:27 PM
Well, the eel is still playing shy, only coming out at night. But he is still eating and you can see his little head poking out of the rocks every now and then. Hopefully, he will be more active soon. I tried to capture the eel and the rest of the gang in the tank today after putting some mysis in the tank, but he was still playing shy.

But here is the video anyways. The colors look like ****, you can even tell I am growing green star pylups on the left hand side of tank, but this was the best video that I was able to get today.


02-23-2014, 02:41 PM
patience, patience, lol.
thanks for the clip...

02-23-2014, 07:00 PM
patience, patience, lol.
thanks for the clip...

I believe I mentioned it earlier, takes time for these guys to establish themselves and be confident enough to be "out" all the time. Just seeing them in a nook will be the norm probably for a month, maybe more. My ocellated took 2 months to hang out. Have you started yet with the squid or pacific white shrimp cut into bite size strips?

02-23-2014, 07:20 PM
Yup, from what I have read they start to become more and more active as they slowly get used to their new home. The eel seams to be on track for that I think. Hopefully he will be more active when the tank lights are on in a week or two. He will typically come out for a little while when I put food in the tank but he was not in the mood for that yesterday. So far he is only eating large mysis and clams. I have tried squid, mussels, octopus, and large raw shrimp cut up in a size he can eat, but he was not interested in the least. That will likely change in time tho and as his appetite increases. I will try some of those foods again in about a week.

02-23-2014, 07:23 PM
Hope your not trying to feed everyday. I found a hungry eel will eat what's offered so you get to choose the form of protein provided. I'm surprised your snowflake eats muscles. Mine won't even when hungry.

02-23-2014, 09:12 PM
Oh heavens no, you can't feed any juvenile and/or adult marine predators that often. That is not healthy or natural for them and you would quickly have your water quality decrease leading all kinds of other headaches to deal with. I feed him very 3 to 4 days actually, same schedule as the lion fish right now. It will sometimes be a day off of that routine if I forget when the last feeding was. The angel gets seaweed on the days in between as he needs food on a more regular basis.

Mine did not take the mussels yet, only the mysis and clams. I'm sure his preferences will change as time goes on

02-23-2014, 09:41 PM
Forgot to mention, I have been trying each of the different listed foods at each feeding to get a better idea of what he will eat. I follow the below steps when for preparing food for both the eel and the lionfish, that way I have a better chance of getting them a wider range of different proteins. The only extra step I have to take is cutting up small pcs for the eel after feeding the lion fish


03-25-2014, 03:06 AM
The ell seams to be doing good and is a lot more active. That little guy is fast so it is proving to be very hard to get a clear picture of him. But here is one of him waiting for a meal by the opening to his favorite little hiding hole.


03-25-2014, 04:23 AM
nice pict. looks like he's def found a favorite spot :o)

03-25-2014, 12:07 PM
Yes it certainly does look that way. And I'm very glad it is near the front of the tank just below the glass lid on the tank. It makes it soooooooooooo much easier to put some food down there for him without the lionfish steeling it

03-29-2014, 09:03 PM
When a Eel is hungry, it will take any marine meat. If you want it to take squid (as an example) offer only that after the 4 normal days without eating and nothing else day 5, 6 or whatever until it does. The Eel will eventually. Just like a dog, they will not starve themselves and having a 7 week no food window, they may just seem to be stubborn.

03-30-2014, 02:05 AM
Oh dont worry about the lion fish... when the eel gets hungry he will take that food before the fish even knew ot was there

04-02-2014, 08:08 AM
Oh dont worry about the lion fish... when the eel gets hungry he will take that food before the fish even knew ot was there

LOL, that's a fact! Grab it and gone in an instant....

04-03-2014, 06:46 PM
I think it’s official, this snowflake ell is not too bright. Last night while I was downstairs in the family room (same room as the tank), I heard an awful noise from one of the powerheads. Turns out the ell crammed his head through one of the openings on the powerhead grate and got his head in my the impeller. He swam away right after it happened and hide in a shady cave within the rocks. I'll have to keep a very close eye on him and make sure he is OK.

04-03-2014, 07:17 PM
OUCH...hopefully he's ok....now, if he does it again, then we can talk about how bright (or not) he is...

04-03-2014, 10:22 PM
In the interest of salvaging your opinion of his intelligence - maybe he thought it could be a way out? I'm sure a concentrated flow of current when in the ocean denotes some kind of tunnel or hole to somewhere else.

That little trick does lend itself to some interesting nicknames, tho...how about Curly?

04-03-2014, 11:57 PM

He has also got himself stuck in the netting covering the intake to the overflow, twice now. Each time I had to help him out. Next time, I am getting a much bigger ell so he/she will be too big to even try to pull these types of shenanigans‎

04-12-2014, 10:42 PM
These guys are notorious for trying to escape from a tank. My snowflake has banged the heavy glass top many times in the dark. Needless to say, my top is very tight with the cut outs allowing maybe a centimetre on either side of the intake and discharge pipes and small slits for the two power lines and air line.

04-20-2014, 08:56 PM
Well... it looks like the ell did not survive the powerhead encounter. I had been completing 20% waterchanges every second day to help him recover, but it looks like he hurt himself more than I originally thought he did. I did a very large water change and move a lot of the rock a little and found nothing. My guess is the CUC took care of the body before there was any bad effects on the water quality.

I don't think I want another ell.

I have been thinking about maybe another lionfish, like a Radiata Lionfish (Pterois radiata), or perhaps a marine betta (Calloplesiops altivelis). May be even some type of a butterflyfish. The trick would be to get a fish that would be big enough to be able to still get some food before my volitan lion fish steels it from them. I might just take my time and wait for a private sale from a fellow hobbyist of a interesting fish that is near fully grown

I did change the rock work around again to may the hiding spots in the the rock more appropriate for larger fish plus give my current lionfish a few extra places to hang from as he likes to do at night

04-21-2014, 05:38 PM
ooh sorry to hear about the eel man, a big butterfly fish would be really cool though... maybe a larger species of angelfish?

04-21-2014, 06:19 PM
Sorry about your eel Cliff. It's tough when you do everything you can to help a fish recover only to loose it. Very discouraging I'm sure.

04-21-2014, 06:22 PM
Dang, sorry about the eel, Cliff...i was really hoping he'd be ok

04-21-2014, 11:19 PM
Silly eel. Sorry for the loss.

04-22-2014, 12:42 AM
Thanks everyone

04-22-2014, 06:38 PM
Have you found the body? If not, 7 weeks before you give up. Plenty of time to tunnel, and lay low recovering for a few weeks. If you haven't found him, don't be surprised if he pops up...

04-22-2014, 10:59 PM
OK, thanks for the tip Surf. I will continue to watch for him for the next 7 weeks just in case.

04-23-2014, 03:04 AM
Mine disappeared for two weeks. Just did, no reason when he was little. I moved rock, dug substrate up and searched around outside of tank, no idea where he was then bang, sticking out of his usual spot. That's when I stopped worrying when I don't see one for awhile and it still happens. Specially with my occilated.

05-01-2014, 01:19 AM
On a positive note, I got my lion fish to eat flakes tonight

After over a year of feeding him using a pair of tweezers, I think he would now eat anything that I feed him with tweezers. I think I will give him some flakes once a week, maybe twice a week

05-01-2014, 11:59 PM
When you say flakes, do you mean like Cornflakes? I can understand pellets, but wouldn't it (flakes) be like inhaling mush for him? My son once gave my oscar a tender Vital (cat food). Sucked it in no problem and was none the worse. I consider lions the salt water oscar. This was a long time ago.

05-02-2014, 12:28 AM
LOL, I'm not too sure about feeding fish cat food....., but that must have been interesting to watch. I was grabbing a chunk of flakes (after wetting them a little with tank water) with the tweezers so it was about 1/4 inch thick and release it just before he grabbed it. That way, there was almost no mess spread throughout the tank and the angel would grab what ever little bits were missed by the lionfish.

Seamed to work pretty good. He certainly won't do well with flakes as the main part of his diet (along with his usual meaty foods), but it should a little something different for him and give him a few different proteins once a week

05-02-2014, 03:43 AM
Thanks for clearing that up. Couldn't picture what you were doing with the flake. That makes perfect sense. And yes, chock full of vitamins and other goodies.

06-03-2014, 12:45 PM
After a few weeks, still no sign of the eel. Looks like he didn't make it and the CUC took care of the remains.

Now I'm thinking about a raccoon butterfly fish. As the lion-fish is a very aggressive eater, I am thinking I should only stick to tank mates that do no have to be spot feed larger pcs of food, as the lion-fish would likely take all of it too fast for anyone else to have a real chance.

I still have a lot more reading to do, but I think some type of butterfly fish that needs a lot of hiding spots in the rock work would be a good fit to round off this tank

06-03-2014, 01:10 PM
Aww, that's to bad about the eel.

06-03-2014, 01:24 PM
Sorry about the eel. A little closure at least would have been nice. I like that raccoon butterfly fish. Really striking colors and markings.

06-03-2014, 01:26 PM
Thanks guys.

06-03-2014, 08:40 PM
Sorry about the eel man, but butterfly fish are super cool!

06-03-2014, 10:16 PM
Bummer about your eel.

06-03-2014, 10:25 PM
I'm sorry about the eel too :( I like your Idea of the Raccon butterfly fish, I kept one years ago and realy enjoyed him/her :)

06-05-2014, 01:22 AM
I was holding out hope for the little guy, I just posted a vid in general salt and you can see what he would have become, prolly as crazy as mine. Raccoon are a nice choice, had one long ago and re homed in leu of the eels...

06-06-2014, 01:56 AM
Thanks guys

I am sitting here right now waiting the tank and thinking I might just leave this set-up as is. This set-up just seam to be bullet proof with just the lionfish and angel and a good maintenance routine. The green star pylops are growing like crazy and my red algae is really starting to take off.

I might wait and see if I change my mind about any new additions

06-06-2014, 02:01 AM
You say that now, but you know you are going to go to your favorite LFS and find a fish you can't live without.

06-06-2014, 02:03 AM
LOL, but I'm really not looking forward to setting up my QT tank again

06-08-2014, 06:47 PM
Well, my original thought in post #201 lasted all of 3 days

I stopped by our SW LFS and saw a raccoon butterfly and a red checkered buttery fish. Unfortunately, they were both sold pending the new owners picking them up. The owner is going to order in two more for me as his supplier has them in stock.

I guess I'll have to dust off the QT tank

06-08-2014, 06:56 PM
Thats cool!!! Those are nice fish. Always liked the racoon.

06-08-2014, 08:59 PM
Yes I have always liked those two butterflys as well, even tho they are fairly common to see in the hobby. I can't add anything too sensitive to this set-up as my nitrates can spike as high as 5ppm at times so these guys should fit in nicely. And with all the hiding spots, I'm less concerned about aggression.

06-08-2014, 09:08 PM
I agree. They should fit in well. My grampa always kept 1 or 2 in his s/w fowlr's. That and Flame ANgels are my favorite saltys.

06-08-2014, 09:12 PM
Yes, I really like them as well. Flames angles look great and have more personality than most fish. I have one in my 180. When he goes up the the seaweed clip, all my tangs (6+ inches in size) back away and wait for him to leave. He's actually a peaceful fish unless you get in between him and his food. It's very funny to watch.

06-08-2014, 09:19 PM
Thats very interesting. I never really had more than damsels and then a blue tang at one point. Oh and for a short time I had seahorses but I loved fresh water so much more as a kid... I was obsessed with Kribs and was quickly drawn off the salt water kick.

I would go back to it if I had the resources to do it like you do.

06-08-2014, 09:30 PM
If it wasn't for a small family owned SW LFS here were I live, I never likely would have gotten into SW tanks to begin with. But as they know there stuff, and can order in almost anything I ask for, I gave it a try and the rest is history. There are no FW LFS here that will do that for you (just big box stores with a very limited selection), and the majority of serious FW keepers here have only dicus due to our very good tap water quality. Many of the reef keepers here also keep discus as well.

06-08-2014, 09:36 PM
That makes sense. I know that Uaru Joey actually had a great place he ordered from in BC... I forget the name...

Honestly Ill end up enheritting a half of a salt water fish room... but the stuffs all from 1970 (still works great)... I may try my hands on a 55gal s/w with a refugiumless sump/overflow. I feel like I COULD do it... but I would have to be specific in the things I try to do.

Can I ask - whats the deal with the r/o water in s/w?

06-08-2014, 09:59 PM
Feel free to ask anything you would like

A lot of it can boil down to personal preference if your tap water is very low in TDS.

This is also a topic than many people debate as well as many hobbyist becoming entrenched in their opinions.

I am of the opinion that you need to provide the best possible SW you can, short of having to go to the ocean to get it. If you buy a good quality salt (just a good quality one and not the $$$ reef crystals out there), that will provide you will all the minerals that you will need. Your parameters will be very close (if not match) that of the ocean in and near the coral reefs which is were we find most of the fish we keep in the hobby. If you use dechlorinated tap water, you will increase your mineral levels in your salt water which will effect your parameters to at least some extent. The exact extent will depend on the quality of your water and effects of this will vary greatly

I have read many things were people will make claims about keeping tangs in salt water made with tap water, using the agreement of the fish living for 10 years so it must be OK. Not ever realizing that the oldest scientifically verified tang in the wild was 38 years old. This is were the controversy comes in. How do you define the difference between thriving and surviving ? There is no black and white answer to that in all situations

Even tho the city I live in has among the best water quality of any city in Canada, I choose to use RO water so I have extra wiggle room should I make a mistake or can not complete a weekly water change for what ever reason. But I also have some of the more sensitive marine critters and corals like SPS and a red carpet anemone (but that is in my 180).

This topic to me is along the same lines as why most FW keepers keep there nitrate levels at 20ppm or less even tho nitrates do not reach toxic levels to most FW fish until they reach 40ppm.

I also like using it to lessen my work load and worry, but this is my lazy side coming out.

Does this help ?

06-08-2014, 10:10 PM
Helps a lot. So much like discus - its for the purity and more or less you are starting with a true blank slate to then add your minerals to it...

I was thinking about it and honestly thought with a high tds and high ph, the water im in would be idea with the sole addition of salt (shows how little I know...). I know my Grampa uses that instant ocean and tap water with some dechlor. Hes always been successful in his tanks here...

Honestly though its not feesable to go to the sea (even though tis a whole 15miles from where I currently sit) and lug home that much water... I also think its somewhat protected around here to doing that?

Back before I moved to Fl, I did end up setting up that 10gal we talked about with live rock, some zoas and a clown. I just never got to keep it for long. So im not afraid per sei... but im reluctant to go full force into it without the monetary backing. I can house my cichlids for pennys... not so much when it comes to the s/w!

06-08-2014, 10:20 PM
Like I said, using tap can also be a personal performance

If you complete larger weekly water changes (like around 30 to 40%) and use RO water only to top up for evaporation, you should be fine. You just have to be very disciplined to your weekly maintenance. The key is to not let your TDS build up in your system over time (AKA old tank syndrome)

But I have also been referred to as a extremist by many of the regulars at our SW LFS.

06-08-2014, 10:24 PM
I think most of us fall under that catagory here lol...

I would be more interested in just creating an ro top off like we talked about designing for my bulk unit on my fish rack *that is yet to be finished*

06-14-2014, 10:29 PM
The butterflys that I ordered did not come in this week as our SW LFS's vendor did not have any in stock. Hopefully they will come in with his next shipment

I am getting a lot more of that really cool looking red/purple hair algae. I have taken off the GFO reactor to see if I can get more growth and better color out of it. I might even try to move the crabs and snails out of this tank as well to see if it will help the growth.

Once I get a new battery for my camera, I'll post some up-dated pics

06-15-2014, 07:11 PM
Here's a pic of the reg hair algae


And here is a FTS. The water is a little cloudy as I just did a large water change


06-15-2014, 07:32 PM
Wow, that algae is awesome, Cliff! ...brilliant colors (never thought I'd say that about algae, lol)

Hopefully the butterflys will be in sooner, rather than later

06-15-2014, 07:35 PM
Super cool man. I really like that red!

06-15-2014, 07:43 PM
Thanks guys

I am really liking the red / purple colors as well. My photography skills do not really show it very well. I'll try to get a few better pics when the night lighting levels kick in. I think this time I will feed the lion fish first, I swear I had to take over 40 pics to get that one with him blocking the view as the lion fish kept begging for food.

06-15-2014, 07:57 PM
HA!, at least he has a good appetite...how often does he get fed?

06-15-2014, 08:07 PM
I feed him about every second day. I will skip a feeding twice each month.

06-15-2014, 08:14 PM
It'd be cool to see a vid of feeding day (hint, hint)

06-15-2014, 08:22 PM
LOL, Subliminal messages are not exactly your strong point are they slap :hmm3grin2orange:

I will try to set-up the camera on stand to see if I can get that on video without blocking the view.

06-15-2014, 08:38 PM
Nope...they're not, LOL

Yeah, get out the tripod!

06-21-2014, 11:30 PM
The raccoon butterfly fish that I ordered came in yesterday..... well.... kind-of. I went to pick him up today only to find out the fish was a very small 1 inch in size, not the 5 to 8 inch size that was ordered. If I put a fish that size into this set-up, the Lionfish would make a meal out of him in a matter of a few days (at the most). The supplier for our SW LFS made mistake filling the order.

My SW LFS is going order another one for me, hopefully the next one will be big enough so I won't have to worry about it getting eaten.

06-26-2014, 12:38 AM
Here's you next fish, LOL!!


06-26-2014, 12:58 AM
LOL, I would not even pay that for a car !!!

Cool fish tho, I have never seen pics of these angels before. It's amazing how we are still discovering new species of fish

I would love to visit the Honolulu aquarium some day

06-26-2014, 01:57 AM
My parents went there a few years back to visit my brother before he shipped off to Afghanistan. Dad said that was the most amazing aquarium he has ever been to in his life. He saw that fish and videos just don't do it justice he said.

06-26-2014, 02:39 AM
Yes, I know what you mean Compass. I have been to the Ripley Aquarium in Toronto and the pics and videos on line do not even come close to what I saw. I can only imagine what the Honolulu aquarium actually looks like in person.

06-26-2014, 11:01 AM
Living in Florida I've been to a few aquariums and they are really cool, but the best I've seen so far is the Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg TN. Ripley just knows how to put a good exhibit together with unique stuff.

06-29-2014, 01:01 AM
Got home earlier today to find the lion fish acting odd. He was not hanging around in the rocks, but right along the top of the tank. Turns out both of the heaters quit working sometime last night and the temp was 74 F. I think one of them quite working and the other one burnt out trying to heat the tank.

Had to quickly put my spare heaters in the tank to slowly bring the temp back up. It's been about 5 hours now and I have the temp at 77F. Should have it all the way back to 79 in a few more hours. I am glad I was home to catch this today. Going to buy a new set of heaters tomorrow.

I think I will get two of the below:


Going to try two 200 watt ones

06-29-2014, 01:22 AM
So glad you caught that Cliff~

Will be eager to see how you like those heaters if you do end up getting them.

06-29-2014, 01:26 AM
There are a few people I know here in town that replaced their heaters with the ones I posted in the link. They really like them so I am looking forward to giving them a try, now that I actually need new heaters.

07-13-2014, 12:18 AM
Our SW LFS finally got in a raccoon butterfly and a checkerboard butterfly that were big enough to be in the same tank as a adult lionfish. I took them home this morning and placed them in my QT tank.

Once they are a little settled in the QT tank, I'll post a few pics

07-13-2014, 12:11 PM
Awesome news on the fish Cliff! As for the heaters I have heard very good things about them. You are lucky your heaters didn't get stuck in the on position. That wouldn't have ended well.

07-13-2014, 02:03 PM
Yes. I had that happen once, and lost a lot of fish. That is why I like to use two smaller / slightly undersized heaters. If one sticks in the on position, it won't heat up the tank to the point of losing the fish

07-13-2014, 03:36 PM
When I went to check on the new fish today, I noticed the red checker (Pearlscale Butterflyfish) was flashing a lot and what looked like a few spots of ick on his body near his tail. I could not get clear enough pic to show that. Good thing they are in my QT tank. I started treatment with Coppermine this morning. Hopefully I will get this cleared up in a few weeks and have them in there new home in a few months

These pics are not the best as I have low lighting on this set-up





07-13-2014, 03:51 PM
Wow. Amazing fish! Too bad about the ich but a good thing you caught it.

07-13-2014, 03:56 PM
Very nice Cliff, I hope the ich, if that's indeed what it is, presents not too much of a problem for you.

07-13-2014, 06:23 PM
Thanks guys

I'm pretty sure it's ick, but it might be velvet as well. It's really hard to tell the two apart in the early stages (at it is for me). As copper meds are highly effective for both, I'm not too worried about which on it is right now. I have ruled out flukes so this treatment should work. At least it has worked very well for me in the past when having infected fish in QT

07-14-2014, 02:10 AM
I think that checkerboard butterfly is one of the coolest fish i've seen. I just love that pattern.

07-14-2014, 03:10 AM
Yes, I think he will look great once he is settled into his new home and starts to color up. I fellow hobbyist here in town has one and that fish looks very nice.

07-14-2014, 12:50 PM
I read your whole journal and found it incredibly fascinating. Now I don't know if I want a reef or a FOWLR. lol Anyway, I had a question for you. You just got a checkerboard butterfly fish for your tank. I saw you originally had one but rehomed it because it was nipping. What will be different this time around?

07-14-2014, 12:58 PM
IME, butterflys (along with large bodied angles and tangs) can be a lot like cichlids in terms of behavior. Sometime you can get one that really doesn't act in a normal or typical way for that species. This is not that common in butterflys as compared to tangs, but it is still a small risk sometimes. I think the first butterfly I tried was a extreme example of this.

The checkerboard I have now seams to be acting normally and I will be adding him to a existing set-up with another fish at the same time to help ensure things go smoothly

07-14-2014, 01:02 PM
Ok, cool. I'm just really getting into this SW so little info like this is very helpful. The more I learn the more I realize this is going to take a few years. lol But it is going to happen Cliff!

07-14-2014, 01:17 PM
The fish you really have to watch for are tangs. They can be a little like African cichlids at times. It seams like you can only keep one, or 6 in a tank without having problems. Any number in between that and you run a risk of aggression between then, even with different species of tangs.

07-14-2014, 01:38 PM
Got it. Yes I had read that about tangs. Either one, or six all at once.

07-16-2014, 02:41 AM
The fish are still in QT. I slowly brought the copper up to 0.5ppm (in the QT tank) over a period of about two days so I did not shock the BB into a dormant state. After ~24 hours of the treatment, both fish have started eating which is a really good sign. The checkerboard still has a few spots, but now that he is eating and the meds are up to the correct level, he should make a full recovery in time. I think I might have caught this just at the right time to treat it.

After the full dose of meds has been in there for two weeks and there are no signs of ick, I will remove the copper with water changes and carbon and wait it out for another 4 to 6 weeks after that just to make sure.

07-16-2014, 11:10 AM
Awesome news Cliff. QTing fish is such a painfully slow process but so worth it! I've been reading so much about saltwater fish lately it is almost overwhelming the information I've logged hahaha. Whenever I get my tank going I have my heart set on the Blue/Green Chromis. I also love all these angelfish but every time I see one I want, I see a new one.... lol