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Oyster Reef Ecosystem Tank


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#41 gzeiger

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 07:51 AM

The glue bottle is a nice touch. The phone number on the side where it says to call if you get the stuff on your hands reaches a recording that says "there is no known solvent that removes Gorilla Glue that will not also remove your skin. Good luck."



#42 Chasmodes

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 08:24 AM

Yep!   :laugh:  It wears off after a week or so (as your upper layer of skin cells die off).  But, it changes to a dark color, making your hands look like they're always dirty,  What I found to be even tougher to get off is CPVC glue  ](*,)


Kevin Wilson


#43 Chasmodes

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 07:02 PM

I bought some Beckett's Pond Foam and will use that after the base rock is done to add the last lower layer of oysters directly to the base rock to fill in those bottom gaps. I could use the foam only now, but I need that biological filtration capability of the base rock.
 
I'm in the process of choosing equipment. I'm kind of obsessing about this part, getting it right.
 
Here is my list so far:
 
Pumps:
 
Jebao DC 3000, max 800 gph at 3m head for my return pump. My head height is probably less than 2'.
 
Sicce Voyager 3 Stream, 1,200 gph for circulation. I may put this on a timer to simulate tidal movements...down the road.
 
RO/DI - looking at The Filter Guys Ocean Wave Five Stage 75 GPD. I'm on well water, so I'll need their well package and a booster pump, and a few other accessories.
 
Salifert test kits for Ammonia, Nitrate, Phosphate, Alkalinity, PH, and Copper (for my QT )
 
Plumbing parts, will hard plumb this system
 
Rain barrels for RO/DI storage
 
I am not going to start with a skimmer as of now, but may add one down the road (saving money for that just in case). One reason for that is that the fish will come frmo brackish water (on the saltier side, but not full seawater) and I'm not sure that skimmers would perform if I keep the tank at the same salinity as I collect. If I start having problems, then I'll acclimate the fish slowly to full seawater and then add the skimmer. 
 
Lighting: I leaning toward some HO T5 Horticulture lights, maybe one or two bulb fixtures (if two, then one set at the back, and one toward the front with a gap in between).  Someone on another forum gave me the idea to hang some LED lights in the middle because I want that shimmering effect.  Why?  It's a shallow water biotope, and I think that would add an element of realism.  I really want the colors of these fish to pop (like the bright blue spots on both types of blennies, or the orange highlights on the striped blenny, etc.  This set up sounds like it will do the job.  
 
Cost is a factor too for this equipment, so I don't need top of the line best reefing stuff since I'm not growing corals. I need good functionality and best bang for the buck.
 
What do you all think about my choices? What do you all suggest or recommendations if they aren't adequate? Any reviews of the above equipment would be appreciated.
 
I will start ordering equipment over the next couple days. 

Kevin Wilson


#44 Chasmodes

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 08:50 AM

OK, I've glued all of my oyster matched halves to the structure.  I think it looks great so far, just like I imagined it would.  One of the issues with Gorilla glue is that it runs, so I will use my longnose pliers and any other tools that I can to clean excess glue off the oysters.  In some places, I don't care if it's there, and maybe I don't need to do anything because eventually, algae and stuff will grow over it.  But, I'm picky and I want it as perfect as I can.  There is stuff to do still, but 99% of the gluing is over.  Here is what it would look like from my view sitting in front of the tank (the picture size is about the tank size, if you can imagine that):
IMG_4583_zpsa144e294.jpg
 
The remaining steps to complete these structures are:
 
1) create the base rock (DIY live rock) which will cover the PVC pipe (it won't stick out beyond the oyster cultches though, just enough to fill in the space and hide the PVC.
 
2) use Beckett's Pond Foam and more oyster halves to finish the oyster reef down to the sand bed, to cover the base rock and blend with the existing cultches.  Those are the areas inside the green lines.
 
3) where the yellow area is, do one final cultch that won't connect to the others and will be free standing on its own frame, no DIY rock in it, just PVC and oysters.  I'm toying with the idea of making a rock that looks like the ones that drop off Calvert Cliffs and embed shark teeth in it.  That would give it that nice Chesapeake Bay feel.  I may do both.
 
I think that I need about 40-50 more oyster matches to finish this right, and fill in gaps with unmatched halves.
 
To totally complete the aquascape, I will add some oyster cultches to hide equipment, etc.  The area between the oysters will be a sand bed.  I want room so that if I can catch a hogchoker, it will have room to bury in the sand and hang out.  Here is a picture of the plan detailed above:
 
IMG_4583plan_zps7c45b041.jpg
 
In the mean time, it's time to order equipment.  When that stuff starts showing up at my door, then it will begin to feel like it's moving from my dream to reality.
 
Thanks for following along, and you comments too.  Much appreciated!  :P

Kevin Wilson


#45 gzeiger

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 03:31 PM

This is becoming the most popular forum topic since Elassoma gilbert :)

 

Is RO/DI really as necessary as the reef people say? Even if your water needs the RO (hard to imagine there's enough in potable water to affect a saltwater organism though), surely the DI is absurdly overkill.

 

There's always lots of good equipment for cheap on Ebay.



#46 Chasmodes

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 04:28 PM

Yeah, unfortunately my post filtered well water still has pretty high TDS.  If I don't, my chances of soft body inverts or even shrimp survival would be slim.  The unit that I'm looking at with DI is still cheaper than the lower quality ones that Home Depot sells, so I might as well get it.  In addition, my wife wants me to set up a nano reef tank some day, so I'd rather have it than not.

 

Plus, I can split off the RO and keep my wife and daughter from having to buy bottled spring water.  They don't like the taste of our well water right now.  And then, if they still don't like it, I'll drink it.

 

Yeah, Ebay is awesome...found some cheap T5 lighting and scrapped my plan to buy that LED fixture.  I can get the colors out of my fish, plus full coverage, for 2/3 the cost of only one of those LED fixtures.  I can always add some white LEDs from Home Depot to get the shimmering effect.


Kevin Wilson


#47 Sean Phillips

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 08:42 PM

This has been an awesome build thread so far, can't wait to see this finished!
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#48 Moontanman

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 09:36 PM

This is becoming the most popular forum topic since Elassoma gilbert :)

 

Is RO/DI really as necessary as the reef people say? Even if your water needs the RO (hard to imagine there's enough in potable water to affect a saltwater organism though), surely the DI is absurdly overkill.

 

There's always lots of good equipment for cheap on Ebay.

 

 

It really depends on what organisms you are talking about, live coral is no doubt affected by impurities in tap water, mudminnows hardly care if what they are living in is water... 


Michael

Life is the poetry of the universe
Love is the poetry of life

#49 mattknepley

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 06:41 AM

Absolutely fantastic build. If my fish ever find out this is how the other half live, things'll get ugly in my tanks! :)
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#50 Chasmodes

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 07:44 AM

Thanks guys, I really appreciate the feedback and suggestions.

There probably are cheaper solutions if I was only having a fish keeping goal. But my goal is a biotope tank as close as I can to the ecosystem as I can do. The water quality in the Bay is bad enough, so I figure if I can start with the best water quality that I can, then the critters chances of survival and longevity are increased. So I vowed early on not to skimp on that. After all is said and done, my fish might have it better than their buds that I don't catch! I hope that my set up will bring out their breeding colors.

Kevin Wilson


#51 Chasmodes

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 05:11 PM

I just finished making 2 of the 3 DIY rock bases for the oyster cultches.  I think the first one might be a bit dry, and the 2nd one a bit wet, LOL.  We'll see.  They're sitting in damp sand covered and I won't look for 48 hours.  After that, if they're OK, then I'll begin the soaking/water changes for 4-8 weeks.  After the 48 hours are up, I'll attempt the third one if the other two turn out OK.  If they don't, then I'll smash them up and do it again  ](*,)  :blink:  #-o
 
I have plenty of materials to work with at least.  
 
My recipe was 2 parts crushed oyster shell, 2 parts sand, and one part portland cement, and a little water.  The first batch was dry oat meal, the second was a little runny.
 
Why not do the third now?  Because my molding/sand container is full with the other two, so I can wait.
 
My wife thinks that I'm a nut.
 
I need more oysters, but we're getting hammered with snow today.  If it melts by mid week, I may try to see if I can get some from our local seafood restaurant.  They have AYCE crab legs, so I may have to partake  :D/

Kevin Wilson


#52 Moontanman

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 06:32 PM

 

I just finished making 2 of the 3 DIY rock bases for the oyster cultches.  I think the first one might be a bit dry, and the 2nd one a bit wet, LOL.  We'll see.  They're sitting in damp sand covered and I won't look for 48 hours.  After that, if they're OK, then I'll begin the soaking/water changes for 4-8 weeks.  After the 48 hours are up, I'll attempt the third one if the other two turn out OK.  If they don't, then I'll smash them up and do it again  ](*,)  :blink:  #-o
 
I have plenty of materials to work with at least.  
 
My recipe was 2 parts crushed oyster shell, 2 parts sand, and one part portland cement, and a little water.  The first batch was dry oat meal, the second was a little runny.
 
Why not do the third now?  Because my molding/sand container is full with the other two, so I can wait.
 
My wife thinks that I'm a nut.
 
I need more oysters, but we're getting hammered with snow today.  If it melts by mid week, I may try to see if I can get some from our local seafood restaurant.  They have AYCE crab legs, so I may have to partake  :D/

 

 

 

My wife was sure i was a nut as soon as we started dating and i taught her how to seine on one of our first dates... 40 years ago.. too late to change her mind now, lol


Michael

Life is the poetry of the universe
Love is the poetry of life

#53 Chasmodes

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 06:39 PM

 

 

My wife was sure i was a nut as soon as we started dating and i taught her how to seine on one of our first dates... 40 years ago.. too late to change her mind now, lol

=D>

 

Mine doesn't get it...but...she tolerates it.  One thing cool though, is that when I have a tank up and running, she loves it.


Kevin Wilson


#54 Chasmodes

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 09:27 AM

Update:
 
48 hours passed and I pulled my DIY rock with the PVC frames out for a look.  As of now, they're sitting on the side of my stand until I get home from work, and then I'll soak them for 6-8 weeks.  Man, they are heavy, like a concrete block (duh)  #-o  !  I have one more to make.  I made the first two without salt, so I think that I'll try using salt this time in the mix to make the rocks a little lighter.  If I like how those turn out, then I'll make new frames and redo the other ones.  
 
Overall, I'm happy with how they turned out.  The weight issue is probably no big deal since folks put hundreds of pounds of rocks in their tanks and sumps. Most people making DIY rock don't pat it down like I did so they get that texture.  For me, it doesn't matter because most of what you see on the bases will be covered by oysters/foam.  This way, I get the shape that I want.  I was going to create a mold, but as it turns out that wasn't necessary.
 
After soaking them, the next step will be to use the pond foam to attach oysters around the base to fill in those gaps and make the oyster reef complete to the sand bed (which will be 2-3").
 
Showing the new bases:
IMG_4587_zps0a858f7f.jpg
 
One thing that I liked was the flat bottom, no chance of my reef collapsing.  I may put egg crate under them to evenly distribute the weight.  What do y'all think?
IMG_4586_zps93d2337a.jpg

Kevin Wilson


#55 Chasmodes

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Posted 04 September 2015 - 08:49 AM

I don't have any new updates except that I ran out of oysters.  I collected a bunch back in June but haven't done anything with them because they were really stinky.  They had too much decaying or dying life on them to work with them.  Well, after storing them outside on my carport in the sun, away from rain, to the dismay of my family who had to walk by them every day, they're finally OK to work with.  

 

Time to get some more Gorilla Glue and get to work!  It is looking like I won't have this tank full of fish this summer, but I still hope to have it set up and cycling.  I also have to purchase some equipment, and funds are tight, so that has been part of the delay.  Not stocking it with fish gives me time to make sure that the tank cycles properly and can get all of the other life going (pods, worms, whatever) and run the tank fallow through the winter to lessen the chance of parasitism.  

 

I did some work on the stand, but no pics, and not really ready to show it off yet.


Kevin Wilson


#56 NotCousteau

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Posted 04 September 2015 - 09:52 AM

Awesome progress! Do you have any other setups currently running? Just curious. 



#57 Chasmodes

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Posted 04 September 2015 - 12:44 PM

I've decided to scrap the DIY rock idea.  Not the oysters, they'll still be OK, just the bases.  I don't feel like dealing with the PH issues.  So, instead, I'm going to purchase dry base reef rock and drill them out, use them as bases for my oyster cultches.  I found a site that sells the rock for about $1.50 per pound, so one 65 pound box should do it.  That way, I can get the aquascaping and sand in the tank and get the tank cycled faster.  Curing cement from PH issues (if using it as live rock) can take 4-9 weeks or more of constant water changes.  You can cover it with epoxy but that defeats the live rock purpose.  So, now I need to add that to my equipment costs.  And I thought my boat was a money pit!

 

Awesome progress! Do you have any other setups currently running? Just curious. 

 

I have another build going on, 75g stream tank.  That tank will be up before this one is, hopefully sooner than later.  I've been out fishing most of my free time and should be spending it on the builds... I will post progress on both tanks soon.


Kevin Wilson


#58 Betta132

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 02:52 PM

If you plan on running the tank fallow for awhile, you should go collect some algaes and toss them in. That'll give them time to establish, especially if you occasionally chuck some food in to rot and provide nutrients, and it'll also give you time to let any unsuitable algaes die off without endangering anything. Plus, if amphipods/copepods/etc come in on the algae, they'll have time to multiply and establish themselves as a food source before the fish come in and eat them.
I'd also suggest chucking a culture of amphipods in there after the tank cycles, so they can multiply. 


#59 Chasmodes

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Posted 08 September 2015 - 09:05 AM

Thanks Betta!


Kevin Wilson


#60 9darlingcalvi

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 08:43 PM

How is the tank?



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