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Hi all

I am new to Singapore (relatively 8 months) and very new to reefing. I have been collecting equipment from members of sgreefub and bargains on carosell. Over the next few weeks I plan to put together a build log of an epic reef tank from start to coral. Please follow, please advise and please be entertained as I take my 20 years of freshwater knowledge and throw it out the window. I have really enjoyed being part of the community so far and HOPE to contribue for the benefit of current and future refers.

Edited by Marsh
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Day 1: stock take, cleaning and plan

Collected all the equipment together to see what we have. The plan is to try use what we have before buying any thing.


I will have to buy some sea salt today if anyone has a recommendation.

Time to make RODI water and scrub everything. Call these the before shots.




I will also have to fix some plumbing at a later stage as a pipe was cut in the moving process.

The sump has 3 section but I am thing how to divide this down the middle to create 6 sections, please let me know your advice.

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Welcome to src, u probably need lots of tees, elbows and other joints to create that much sections or just change the sump with 6 sections would be easier?

Display Tank : 36" x 20" x 20" Herbie overflow box design, Sump : 36" x 21" x 17", Frag Tank : 16” x 20” x 16”, custom built by Tank Culture.

Lightings : Inled R80 x 3 with 2  x Illumagic Vitamini Super Actinic LED Striplight Bars.

Chiller : Dalkin 1hp compressor with build-in drop coil.

Skimmer : Skimz Octa SC205i Protein Skimmer.

FR : H2Ocean FMR75 Fluidised Media Reactor with Hailea HX-2500 (Feeder Pump) running Rowaphos.

CR : Skimz Monzter E Series CM122 Calcium Reactor.

Main Return Pump : SICCE Syncra ADV 9.0 & Jebao ACQ-10000 Water Pump.

Wavemaker : Jebao SOW-16M, SLW-30M & SLW-20M  Sine Wave Pump.

Water Top Up: Reef Octopus ATO.

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1 hour ago, Admiraltian said:

Welcome to src, u probably need lots of tees, elbows and other joints to create that much sections or just change the sump with 6 sections would be easier?

What would be the best way to:

1) remove old glass dividers

2) add new glass/perspex divides

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Everything has been washed with RODI water. I have fixed the hard plumbing and added a sock filter. I might change the Chiller to work on Hard piping.

Should I have my chiller on a separate loop with its own pump or should I put it inline with my return?

After testing all the plumbing filled the tank. I ended up getting Tropic Marin Syn-Biotic Sea Salt from Specialised Aquatics.

I left the sand that came with the tank and vacuumed it with a sand cleaner, there was alot of fine sediment that came off. The water is not very clear and should this settle? Will activated carbon help? any other advice?

I took my first measure measurements:

Salinity: 1.024

Ph: 7.7

Kh: 15 (This seems very high?)

Ammonia:  0.15

Nitrate: 0

Nitrite: 0

MG: 1290

Cal:  425

 Lastly I added 2 prawns in a zip bag with a rock. Let the cycle begin.



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9 minutes ago, Thehaddonicarpet said:

Sand being cloudy for the first few days is normal. Just let it settle over time. Activated carbon will not help. KH is very high at 15, may want to test a batch of freshly mixed salt in a container for alk to see if the salt batch has a problem

Sent from Singapore Reef Club mobile app

Thanks, I just ran the test again and it's 9.3, so I must have messed the first test up. I'll test again tomorrow to be sure. All test kits are new.

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Day 2 of the cycle and the tank is much clearer now. Placed live rock today as well. Came from previous owner, rocks had sat in buckets for a few days. Even so there was a snail and a emerald crab that managed to survive the journey unnoticed. (They are in the tank now)


Praws are starting to decay. Tank temp is 25 to 28 celsius fluctuating. Not running cooling at night.

I plan to hard pipe the chiller. Currently it is on flex hosing with its own pump. Should I place it inline with the return?

Should I run the skimmer during a cycle or not?

Lights I am running 12 hours.

When should I start ghost feeding? Some say from day 1 others say once prawn is removed/decomposed.

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The disadvantage of placing the chiller inline with the return is: 

(1) There's some head loss so you'll lose flow.

(2) Flow required for your chiller to cool water effectively looks to be lower than the recommended return pump flow (5-10x tank volume/hr), so there's incompatibility there.

(3) Single point of failure, eg. if return pump fails, then it's equivalent to taking out your chiller as well. You have no back up pump/return from chiller.

The advantage of placing inline is that you'll just need 1 pump, so you can save some money on the cost of the additional pump and cost of electricity I guess. imo, disadvantages outweigh advantages, but your tank your call.


Skimmer should not be required during a cycle, though the gas exchange does help, so you can consider running it dry (no skimmate).


Lights is actually also not required, but if you want to turn it on that's fine as well for aesthetic reasons :)


I think it would be good if you bought a cheapish but fairly reliable test kit(eg. Salifert) to test your ammonia levels before deciding if you need to ghost feed or not. You may not be required to ghost feed too, depending on your stocking plan.

If you put in a hard-ish fish in first, imo you don't need to ghost feed once the cycle is complete. Just add the fish in and feed for real. Cycle is complete when ammonia is zero and you can detect nitrates. Should take anywhere from 2-6 weeks depending on your bottled bacteria (if you're using any). If no bottled bacteria I would say at least 4-8 weeks or more. Not sure if I was clear but please add the fish only when cycle is complete!


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