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My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

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My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« posted: 1 year ago »
Hi all,
I am new to this forum and just wanted to share my new 65g build.  This is a project that I had planned to start 2 years ago but life circumstances put the tank on hold.  So, I am excited to finally get this project started. 

The tank is a reef ready AGA 65 g 36"x18'x24" that I had previously used for a reef tank.  I attempted keeping a pair of seahorses in the past but made the mistake of trying to keep them in a mixed reef tank.  I know..I know..as you can guess it did not end well.  But, I have continued learning about seahorse keeping and I feel much better prepared than I had been in the past.  So, I am planning on keeping 2 pairs of Erectus in this tank with a clean up crew, live rock, macro algae, and possibly some soft corals.

My Equipment List:
- 65 g tank with 20 g long DIY sump with areas for filter sock, protein skimmer, and refugium.
- 700 gph return pump
- Sicce Voyager 800 gph powerhead
- Live rock (approx 55 lbs) of Marco rocks
- 50 lbs of sand.  30 lbs of Caribsea reef grade sand combined with 20 lbs of Aragalive sand
- Protein skimmer is an Icecap 120 skimmer rated for up to 120 g tanks
- Lighting is a Mars Aqua 300 Watt LED unit (somewhat overpowered for primarily macro algae, will have to keep intensity down on lower setting)
- Old Bulk Reef Supply media reactor that I plan to use for carbon
- Interested in trying to build a DIY turf algae scrubber with this tank but not sure if it would be counterproductive if I am planning macro algae.  (Anyone got one going on their seahorse tank?)


Planned Inhabitants:
- 2 Pairs of Erectus (thinking possibly all females, not sure yet) from Seahorse Source
- Nassarius snails plus others
- Harlequin Serpent starfish (Ophioderma appressum).  I have had this starfish for about 6 years now.  He was originally in my reef but since I took it down he has unfortunately been living in the sump of my FOWLR tank.  Would like to get him back into a display tank.
- Possibly 1 or 2 peppermint shrimp (what are your thoughts on this idea?)

Have been cycling rock in a tupperware bin and finally placed the rock and sand in the tank.  The cycle hasn't finished and I dosed some ammonia today to keep the cycle going.  Planning on ordering some macroalgae soon.  Thinking about caulerpa prolifera (i just love the look) and a red sampler pack from live-plants.com to get started, then some clean up crew and some reef pods. 

Here are some pics.  I would appreciate any feedback.  Thanks for looking!
Alex













« Last Edit: 1 year ago by SaltyInNJ »

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  • Offline Laurasea
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Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #1 posted: 1 year ago »
How exciting!!! Welcome to the addiction! 😀 be careful that your rock isn't too sharp.  I love macro algae as I think helps keep the tank healthy, and I have in both my tanks, though I thin it out regularly so it doesn't trap detritus. You will want to add some hitches that have a little height, I like the artificial fake finger corals, when they get dirty you can take them out and bleach them rinse well dry before putting back in.  Remember once you have seahorses keep doing big water changes, I do 50% every other week.  This really keeps horses healthy, and keeping your water temp 65-74.  I can't wait to hear and see your tank development!!
  • H.comes and H.erectus, H. reidi
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Your sorrows as light as the foam.
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Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #2 posted: 1 year ago »
Looking good.  Laurasea has good advice, especially about the water changes.  I also do big water changes every week.  Treating sick ponies is no fun so an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #3 posted: 1 year ago »
Thanks Laurasea and vlangel!
Hmmm...the rock is a little rough in some spots.  Hopefully, this won't be a serious problem concerning possible injuries. 
Yes, I used to keep some caulerpa in my old reef tank and know it needs frequent pruning.  I am interested in trying out some different species of macroalgae this time also. I actually do have a large bright orange fake finger sponge coral that I was considering using for the tank.  It would need to be anchored to a rock to stand stable. I will have to figure out the best way to do this that would make cleaning easier.

I have a pretty good water change schedule going with my FOWLR and I know how important water changes will be with a high nutrient seahorse tank.

Regarding temperature, I was planning on trying to keep the temperature a steady 72 degrees F.

I will keep the thread updated as I go!
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Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #4 posted: 1 year ago »
Just wanted to give an update of my progress.  My cycle is almost finished and I have seeded my sand with some sand from my other established tank and have taken some coralline algae scrapings from older live rock and placed in on my rock.



I got a home depot clip on bulb socket from home depot for my fuge.  Right now I have a 6500k power compact bulb in it but may upgrade this to something better.  I don't want to use chaetomorpha in the fuge for this tank as I never seem to have a good experience with it.  I was thinking of trying UIva this time.  What do you think of this choice?  Any other suggestions for macro in the sump if not Ulva?

In my overflow chamber I added 2 liters of seachem matrix media in bags to add to my biofiltration since I am a little light on live rock for this tank.  The liverock I am using is very porous but I only have about 55 lbs of it and I already had the matrix sitting around so I figured why not.

That's pretty much it for now.  I will be adding some macro, pods and a clean up crew soon.   Will keep things updated. 

« Last Edit: 1 year ago by SaltyInNJ »

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Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #5 posted: 1 year ago »
I have a cheap lowe's kitchen flo led over my fuge and it works great.  I have a variety of macro algae, feather caulerpa, cheato, gracilaria, red grape, dragon's breath and halimeda.  Some varieties out compete others and my tank uses a lot of magnesium since my macro algae grows so well.  I also put a deep sand bed in my fuge as I have always had good luck with DSB and they help with denitrification.
  • H erectus, banded pipefish
The Lord created the ocean and said it is good!

Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #6 posted: 1 year ago »
I have a cheap lowe's kitchen flo led over my fuge and it works great.

I like the idea of using leds since the power compact bulbs need to be changes frequently and seem to add more heat.  Is 'Kitchen Flo' the brand name?

I have a variety of macro algae, feather caulerpa, cheato, gracilaria, red grape, dragon's breath and halimeda.  Some varieties out compete others and my tank uses a lot of magnesium since my macro algae grows so well.

Wow, that is the quite the variety of macros in that fuge!  Maybe I will try a few types in there and see what grows best.  I plan to eventually add prolifera and maybe a few red macros to the display tank, so I will add them gradually and see what my water chemistry looks like.

I also put a deep sand bed in my fuge as I have always had good luck with DSB and they help with denitrification.

They do work well.  I used to have a 20g long deep sand bed attached to my 125 FOWLR which used a wet/dry filter and was heavily stocked and heavily fed.  After the sand bed was established my nitrates never rose above 20.  It was really impressive.  But, I really don't have the room in my sump for one in this setup as I have liverock sitting in the fuge section.  I figured I would have the macros growing on top of the liverock. 

Just curious.  How did you implement it?  Is it just a section in your sump or is it remotely connected?

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  • Offline Laurasea
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Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #7 posted: 1 year ago »
I would use c. proliferia, is the best. ulva will do great then all of a sudden melt into goo! Anyway that was my experience with ulva. Beware the red macro algae, it can really mess with you pH. I just use the reds as accents now.  My sump has cheato, and prolifera.
Love your progress!
  • H.comes and H.erectus, H. reidi
May your joy be as deep as the ocean,
Your sorrows as light as the foam.

Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #8 posted: 1 year ago »
I would use c. proliferia, is the best. ulva will do great then all of a sudden melt into goo! Anyway that was my experience with ulva.

Thanks for your input.  I might just start with the proliferation in the display then and see how it goes before I go crazy adding macros.  I have no experience with red macros so will do mo

Love your progress!

Thanks!
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Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #9 posted: 1 year ago »
My light fixture over the fuge said it was LED but it looks like a tube type bulb, although I never saw inside the fixture.  I will try to take a pic for you.

My DSB is in the fuge and the macros grow on top of it.  My sump is a diy 20L and the middle fuge chamber is about 10" x 12" so its not large but I will see how it does.  I was able to put some extra live rock in the return chamber with the pump  in case I need to set up a QT.
  • H erectus, banded pipefish
The Lord created the ocean and said it is good!

Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #10 posted: 1 year ago »
Just wanted to give an update on my progress.  My tank is fully cycled not and I am getting diatom growth now throughout the tank.

I placed an order through live-plants.com and purchased some macroalgae.  They did not have prolifera which I wanted but I ordered the following:  Caulerpa Ashmeadii and a red sampler pack.  The red sampler pack contained
Red Gracilaria, Gracilaria hayi, and Botryocladia (Red Grape).  The amount of red macroalgae was more than I anticipated so I attached some to pieces of rock rubble with fishing line and placed the rest in my sump.

Here are pics of the macroalgae in the tank...




In the full tank pic you may notice that I added a piece of mature liverock on top of the right rock pile.  It is from my 10 year-old FOWLR.  I added it to get beneficial bacteria and coralline algae in the tank.  I intend to remove the large rock on top of the left pile as it is too large imo and the tank is looking too crowed with rock. 
I didn't spend a lot of time arranging the macros and may end up moving them to different locations.  Not sure yet

Next up I plan to add some snails and a couple of peppermint shrimp.  Will keep you updated.  I welcome suggestions and/or feedback.  Thanks for looking.

« Last Edit: 1 year ago by SaltyInNJ »

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Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #11 posted: 1 year ago »
oh btw, sorry I noticed some pics are turned sideways.  Not sure what happened there.
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Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #12 posted: 1 year ago »
Looking Good!  I see you have progressed to the diatom stage :)
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Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #13 posted: 1 year ago »
Its looking great.  Your seahorses are going to love the sponge hitches along with the macro algae.  My seahorses really liked to hitch on to the red grape caulerpa.
  • H erectus, banded pipefish
The Lord created the ocean and said it is good!

Re: My New 65 Gallon Seahorse Tank Build

« Reply #14 posted: 1 year ago »
Thanks Laurasea and vangel.  I am trying to take things slow as I know nothing good happens quickly in this hobby.
One question though.  Does anyone know if the red grape macro will attach to rock or will it always need to be anchored?
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