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65g (2002-2005 est.)

This 65 gallon tank was my first saltwater fish tank. Actually, at the time of purchase this tank was going to be a freshwater tank; however, after buying the gravel rocks, and canister filter…I said to myself, you know, if I’m going to spend this money on fresh water equipment, it doesn’t cost that much more to go saltwater… And so my saltwater adventure began!

At this time I was, technically speak, I still am at the time of writing this, living in San Francisco. Well, I have come to realize that the local fish stores (lfs) are CHEAP in the bay area in regards to saltwater. Compared to lfs in Seattle, LA, and what I check out online, the lfs in the bay area were considerably cheaper. Everything from equipment to the fish themselves, cheaper….sometimes a lot cheaper. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it was because of the large Asian population here? Maybe it was because of the easy access to shipments from Asia? Or maybe because the import/shipping taxes were cheaper? Or maybe because there was such a large population of saltwater enthusiasts in the bay area? …The later, I’ve learned to be true.

For this first fish tank, I was jumping head first having NO idea about anything saltwater! The info I gathered and was learning was 95% thru the lfs, and 5% just trial an error! LOL. This is a pic of the fish tank when the setup was complete, September 2002.

Wow! When I occasionally look at this tank I am in shock! I think it was like 20lbs of live rock, a scopas tang, coral angel, blue damsel, a goby, and a cleaner shrimp, a green carpet anemone, and a red base long tentacle anemone. Yes, no cleaning crew, circulating about 300gph thru a fluvial canister filter, and a standard florescent 65w total lights! Mind you, this has only been running about a month at this time!

All my years of freshwater builds, I had completely forgotten about tank cycling, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and all the other “stuff” that went into a new build. So yes, needless to say, and embarrassed to say, all these inhabitants, and months of replaced inhabitants, died. However, I was learning the hard way, and after a move in residence, and a re-build, things finally started looking better! But the tank did have it’s algae blooms, these are pics of the worst one…

By this time I had been thru 3 different protein skimmers, one of which was a DIY venturi version. Added one CPA brand dry trickle filter sump, added one 20 gallon tank sump, upped the circulation to about 600 gph, added about 50lbs more live rock, made a DIY compact light fixture at ~6w per gal, and improved my maintenance by leaps and bounds! Total water volume was probably just under 100 gal. This is how the tank looked at 1 year…

By this time I was also starting a dosing regiment of additives, then eventually changing to kalkwasser dosing, and doing about 20% water changes every week. The tank continued to look better and better. Eventually I made the jump to a calcium reactor, and that’s when things really bloomed! Pics of the tank after 2 years…

After 2 years, summer of 2004, I started propagating soft coral and selling it online via craigslist and forums posts. Here are some of the pics of the mother colonies: Toadstool and Xenia.

I also had a number of other inhabitants….pics from 2004….

My prized green anemone, which I think measured at one point over 14″ across, that ate 8 total fish by “accident”…even though I was feeding it 2 times a week 2-3 silver sides! …The horror of waking up in the morning to find a favorite tang’s tail sticking out of the mouth of the anemone, believe it or not, wore off…! And yes, I am proud to say, this is the SAME green carpet anemone seen in the first tank pic, that lasted the ENTIRE life of the tank!

As you can see I had a wide variety of anemone in the tank. At one point I think I had 4 different types. Above left a bubble tip, and above right a ritteri. Yes, I made sure each anemone had the proper clown host, so I was either trading or exchanging clowns at the lfs….often. I loved to watch the symbiotic relationship between the two.

Sad to say however, these anemone also meet their fate at varying life spans. Dying or getting damaged to the extent of dying eventually, from bristle worms and power heads. The only two that lived till the end of the tank’s life was the carpet and ritteri anemone. The ritteri grew to be my favorite type of anemone, and I vowed to always have one in every tank I had in the future!

This 65 gallon tank has had a long history. It eventually, I think it survived till 2005, was taken apart, parted out to the dump, and its inhabitants returned to the lfs, because of a big change in my life and a move to a new residence. I grew up with it, learned a lot about saltwater husbandry, and it has intrenched a love of saltwater aquarium. These pics are what I refer to and aspire to, to have a tank like this again one day. I have yet to have a tank equally in size, equipment, volume, beauty, and most importantly, as successful in propagation as this tank has been. With the propagation of coral, the tank turned a profit. One day…