An Epic Reef Part 6 – We think bigger

An Epic Reef Part 6 – We think bigger

This post is part 6 of the epic reef series.

The 90 Gallon Aquarium

The Furniture

We had waited for it impatiently, the furniture has finally arrived! It is our friend Francis Grondin with his workshop “L’Atelier des Nains” who made this strong piece of custom furniture for our aquarium. The empty aquarium seemed heavy already, yet it is nothing compared to its weight once filled. That’s why we needed a resistant structure. In addition, because many splashes are expected and the presence of a sump inside gives off moisture, it needed a material that would not soften with time. He used special plywood and we made sure to coat it with boat varnish that resists salt water.

Fish Tank and Cabinet
Fish Tank and Cabinet

Filling the Aquarium

After carefully preparing all the piping and doing a leak test in the garage, we are ready for the final installation in the living room.

Water

We start by pourring in water. Lots of water. A 50-gallon barrel prepared in advance by stirring osmosis water with the proper amount of salt.

Rocks

Once the aquarium is half filled, we get back to rock scaping (see
Part 3 – Reefscaping). After 2 trials, I finally got a result that I like. I tried to create a landscape with several levels, arches, elements at the front and at the back (for the depth effect) and a balance between rocks and free space. It’s good that we did not glue them, because we moved them again several times afterwards according to our inspiration of the moment.

More Water… and Leaks

In order to test our system, we filled the rest of the aquarium with the water from our 30-gallon tank and a new salt-water osmosis batch that we waited for patiently. Unfortunately, we discovered some small leaks. A series of hacks with glue, teflon tape and silicone eventually allowed us to achieve the desired effect. We found other joints that leaked a little the next day, but by reworking the piping again and again, we were able to overcome all the leaks.

Sand

Once the rocks are in place, we must put in the sand. We chose aragonite for its finesse and its white color reminiscent of the ocean floor. As the aquarium is already filled, we proceeded delicately by depositing the sand at the bottom using a measuring cup. A pipe coupled to a funnel was also used. Sand is put in the funnel and water is poured. Be that as it may, it did not stop the dust from rising all over the aquarium. Anyway, we need to do our water tests before transferring fish and invertebrates. We can afford to wait for the dust to settle down.

Gently adding sand
Gently adding sand
Fog after adding sand
Fog after adding sand
Clearing up after a few hours
Clearing up after a few hours

Our Little Creatures

Moreover, we discovered a new clandestine hitch hiker in our small aquarium a few days before starting the transfer. I present you “Pincette”. This little crab must have been there for weeks, even a month, and this is the first time we see it! It might explain the death of the hermit crab at the end of December. Is it dangerous? In any case, it’s already been for a month sharing the small fish tank with the other crustaceans, fishes and anemone without incident. We will leave it a chance, even if we have not yet been able to identify it. It is possible that it is a Gorilla crab. If so, it may become big … At the time of publishing this article, there have been several events surrounding the crab, I’ll tell you about it soon.

Pincette
Pincette

The Sump

Back to our setup. Under the aquarium, in the furniture, we have the sump. It houses the filters, the skimmer, a lift pump, the water heater and a small refugium. In this one, we have live rocks for filtration. The cabinet also contains all our electrical installation and automation elements (we’ll talk again about this soon).

Setup inside the cabinet
Setup inside the cabinet

The pipes between the aquarium and the sump are equipped with valves that allow us to adjust the flow of water to reach for a balance with the lift pump. Everything is designed to prevent an overflow in case of blocked pipe or power failure.

Fish and Invertebrates Transfer

We waited a few days before transferring our inhabitants to the new aquarium, while the dust settles and a balance is reached. All occupants now look fit and comfortable in their new habitat.

New Purchases!

I had not mentioned it yet, but over the past few weeks we have bought a little Bubble Tip anemone. It is a rather strange and fascinating animal that deserves its own post (soon).

Bubble Tip Anemone
Bubble Tip Anemone

A week after the fish and invertebrates transfer to our 90 gallons, as everything was going well, we added new members of the cleaning team. We are talking here about Antoinette, my Lysmata shrimp, which is beautiful and is supposed to clean fish (we have not seen it yet) and the fantastic Watchman goby and Tiger Pistol shrimp duo.

Lysmata Cleaner Shrimp
Lysmata Cleaner Shrimp
Watchman Goby
Watchman Goby
Tiger Pistol Shrimp
Tiger Pistol Shrimp
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