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One Year Update On The 300 Gallon Reef Tank – Before & After

By Fish of Hex on

Speaker: What's up guys? Welcome back FishOfHex. Today, we're going to be doing the one year update on the 300-gallon reef. In this video, I'm going to break it up into two sections. The first one, we'll do a quick rundown on all the equipment. For those of you who are new to the channel, who are new this build, you can see exactly what's going on and understand how and why I got the results that I have over the last year.

Now, the second part is going to be a before and after, when I added coral, some of the changes and things that took place throughout the year when I completed the build and, of course, what it looks like today.

With all that said, let's go ahead and get started. Let's go ahead and first talk about the tank and stand which were sponsored by Now, the tank itself is 96 inches long by 24 inches wide and 31 inches tall.

The stand, of course, is 96 inches long, 24 inches wide and 36 inches tall. Now, when it comes to the display panels of the tank, they are made of the ultra clear glass. The back panel is, of course, painted black and drilled for their H2 overflow system, which you guys will see here on the video. Now, when it comes to the stand, it's made of welded steel, which is then later powder-coated to prevent any kind of corrosion or rust that might come up over the years of use.

Here in the fish room, there's quite a bit of moisture so, I went with that option just to make sure that the stand would last a long, long time. Now, when it comes to the top of the stand, it has a plywood platform which the tank sits on and it absorbs any kind of imperfections that might be in the tank or the stand allowing a nice stable platform. You don't have to worry about any kind of pinch points which would cause a crack in the tank later on. All right.

Now, moving down to the heart and filtration of the system, we have a sponsored Red, white and blue sump with a matching ATO and calcium rafter. Now, this thing is gorgeous. Absolutely amazing. You really can't appreciate the craftsmanship unless you see it in person. Trust me, it might be a little bit dirty now that it's had some use, but I tell you, it is perfect and flawless in every single way.

Inside the sump, we have a Nyos Quantum 300 Protein Skimmer, which is raided between a 500 and a 1,000-gallon reef tank. On top of that, we have a vast marine DIY skimmer swabby kit, as well as their collection bin which is located to the right-hand side of the tank, which allows me to fill up five gallons of [unintelligible 00:02:08] before needing to empty it out. I am also running a 55 Watt JBL UB sterilizer, which is connected to the built-in manifold on this sump.

All right, now, moving to the top of the tank, we have the DIY canopy which houses two 48-inch aquatic life T5 fixtures which ten also has 8 XR15 Radion Gen 4 Pros inside those fixtures. Having the mixture between LEDs and T5 has always been something that I like to have over my reef tanks and this worked out perfectly. I actually built the canopy around the lighting to make sure it fit perfectly. It sits about seven to eight inches off the top of the water.

One thing I want to mention about this build is it took me a total of nine months from beginning to end to actually consider it completely finished. That is because the lighting just took forever to get over the tank. The sheer amount of money that it cost to buy all those LEDs on top of getting the fish room together, because if you've been following the build, I moved at the same time. Had to build the frag system, had to build the quarantine stuff, had to get the entire fish room done on top of building this 300-gallon.

Even with all the sponsorship, I still had a ton of money put into this tank. I might as well answer the question now, how much does this system actually cost? Let's just say you can go out right now and buy a brand new 2018 Ford F150 Crew Cab off the lot for how much this tank cost. It just took a long time and with that said, the entire setup was pretty much done. Then, it took an additional seven months to get all the LED lighting, giving the end date for this build to be about July 3rd of 2018.

That's pretty much it when it comes to all the major equipment on this tank. Of course, there are powerheads, apex modules and stuff like that. I have all those videos in the 300-gallon playlist which will be in the description of this video and you guys can go in there and check out all the ins and outs. I just didn't feel it was necessary for an update video. With that said, let's move on to our timeline in the before and after of how this system has progressed over the last year.

I went ahead and started curing the rock for this tank, which is 200 pounds of pukani in early August of 2017. Then, that cured for three months until I did the aquascaping early November of 2017. The tank out here in September of 2017 and the sump was here in October. Of course, I did all the plumbing and everything in between and then got ready to do the aquascape.

Once the tank was aquascaped, we filled it up and I let it sit for a couple of weeks before adding Reggie, that snowflaked eel from the old 125-gallon reef. That was on November 24th of 2017. For those of you wondering why you don't see Reggie in any of my videos, he actually passed away a few months later due to an illness. I really couldn't forgot what it is. He stopped eating. He turned really reddish color and just passed away.

Unfortunately, he was very difficult to get out of the tank because he was sick. Towards the end, he did let me catch him, but I knew if he'd let me do that, it was already too late to do any kind of medication. Unfortunately, he passed away. During this period, I was quarantining my tanks and other fish from the 125-gallon. They went in shortly after Reggie was introduced within a couple weeks. I didn't want to put all the fish in there at one time.

Of course, the tank was still new. Even though the beneficial bacteria was pretty good from that three-month cure, I didn't want to overdo it and cause any issues. I waited a couple more weeks, added all those other fish and everything turned out great. All right. With that said, let's move on to what everybody wants to see and that is the coral growth and progression in the system.

I added my first coral to this tank around mid-January, early February. Again, I had to be careful on how much I added because of this sub-par lighting. Excuse my pun on that. I went ahead and added a few pieces on the higher upper rock structures like that fish of hex Milly on the middle top rock structure there, and then some other [unintelligible 00:05:55] that were already in some lower light in my frag system. I thought they would be okay with just the T5s and one XR15 overreach rock structure.

This video that you see here is actually what the tank looks like in March. About two months after adding my first frags, you can see there is some decent growth in the tank. There's not a ton. Nothing to be bragging about, but there's definitely some growth for having such a low lighting in the system. All right. Let's go ahead and fast-forward to July 3rd when I officially finished the lighting on this system. This is the very first video that I uploaded showing you the growth of that tank up to that point.

Between January and July, that's pretty decent growth. Again, nothing to really brag about, but I was really happy with it up to that point because I had no idea of what this tank would become and how crazy the growth would actually be after completing the lighting. This is what July 3rd look like. Let's go ahead and fast-forward to August 20th. You can see about two months later, there's definitely been a lot more growth.

Then, that's when I really started realizing that, "Wow. The lighting is going to make a huge difference on how this tank is going to grow." At that point, I was really cranking on my calcium reactor trying to keep up with my alkalinity and I just knew that having that additional lighting was really going to make all the difference to how this tank was going to turn out. I will say right off the bat, as soon as I started seeing the growth and how the tank was evolving, I immediately regretted waiting so long to complete the lighting.

If I only had that lighting when I initially added those coral frags, I can only imagine what the tank would look like right now, given I have an additional seven months worth of growth on top of the six that I currently have. It's just crazy. We all live and learn. We make mistakes and this just goes to show that on my next build, which there will be another one, there will be a bigger and better build someday, that the lighting will be the very first thing that I complete during that process.

With that said, let's go ahead and fast-forward from August 20 of 2018 to January 10th of 2019. You guys can see the growth and the difference between the two. Now, I have been fragging this tank pretty consistently over the last couple of months. There's a lot of you guys that want frags from the tanks. I'm more than happy to cut them, heal them and then ship them out.

Of course, there is some stuff up on my website and basically, whatever's out of stock is just not ready to be cut. I usually wait until they start growing into another acro of they just start looking weird or maybe they're not shaped the way I want them to be, so I'll cut that frag off. Then, I heal it at the bottom of the tank in these little acrylic containers. Then, of course, ship it out whenever the order comes in.

Now, the growth from the tank is as about as good as I can expect. I don't really know what to say other than the fact that it is amazing. I love how quickly things are growing, how quickly they get cut and healed and just continue to go on their merry way. I'm really excited to see what this tank turns into over the next couple of years. Now, I really don't know how long the system will be up for. I'm looking at about five years. It just depends on what I'm doing with this current house and if I want to move, if I want something bigger.

Now, I do plan on upgrading this tank at some point to a 10-foot long by 4-foot wide by 3-foot tall system, but we'll see how we progress and really what happens here in the future. Like I said, I don't really know what I'm going to do. I'm probably going to go the same route that I did with the 125. We're going to grow it out and make content and enjoy the channel for as long as this system is up.

Then, once we get to the point where I'm going to move or I want to build a new tank, I'll go ahead and start fragging it, healing, selling just like I did on the 125. Then, eventually, selling the entire system as is for the exception of the skimmer and the lighting. That will be going with me, but everything else will be sold. The tank, the stand, the sump, all that kind of stuff will be going when I sell this system eventually.

Then, of course, all that money will go towards a new build as well as donations and sponsorships. All that stuff will go towards a new build. I'm hoping to do that maybe in the next five or six years, again, depending on life and what happens here. Guys, that's pretty much it for the video. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you guys could really appreciate the tank as much as I do.

For those of you who actually come over and look at the system in person, you guys, I've already said that there's a night and day difference between the quality on the video and what it looks like in person. I just wished that every one of you could come actually look at it and enjoy it for what it is instead of just having to see it through the screen, but that's not reality. We know that's not going to be able to happen. Either way, I hope you guys enjoy the video. If you have any questions about this setup, please, put in the comment section. If you want to buy any coral from this tank, definitely check out I'll see you, guys, later. Peace.

About Fish of Hex

Travis’ main reef display tank featuring many small-polyp stony coral (SPS) is a 300-gallon custom glass aquarium setting on a welded iron stand, both from Custom Aquariums.

"Here you will find everything you need to know to be successful in the saltwater aquarium hobby. I have several video series such as "Beginner Guide to Saltwater Aquariums", "300 Gallon Build" and "How to & Diy". I will teach you how to avoid common mistakes and prevent tank disasters. With thirteen years of experience in the hobby, I plan on sharing all of it with my subscribers. I take great pride in helping others and seeing their tanks grow into amazing works of art makes the time I put into making these videos worth it. Follow me and you will have an amazing reef tank in no time!"

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