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Author Topic: My reef journey in pictures  (Read 6970 times)
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Chessmanmark
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« on: January 18, 2014, 04:49:21 PM »

I had wanted a reef tank practically my whole life, however before the Internet there wasn't a lot of info available.  I purchase two books that had such little info in them and I just couldn't make sense of how to set one up.  Then in August of 2004 I purchased Saltwater for Dummies.  I followed the outdated information to a T.  I ran to Walmart and bought a 29 gallon system - tank, hang on filter, food, a bunch of useless junk other than the tank.  I also bought an under gravel filter as recommended in the book.

I bought my first coral, some green star polyps at Animal Kingdom and some Xenia from a LFS in Mamaroneck. 

A few weeks later I discovered ReefLounge and read about refugiums.  I ran to PetSmart and purchased a 20L and added it to my system.



About two months later I also discovered RC and from that discovered HVRK.  That winter I started pricing bigger tanks.  I negotiated a good price at Animal Kingdom for a 90 gallon with furniture grade stand and canopy.


The "budget" was blown wide open when I started buying everything I needed for a bigger system.



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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
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Chessmanmark
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 05:09:42 PM »

It was a huge learning curve setting up these first systems, and I was never satisfied.  I would see tanks online, or at HVRK meetings, which inspired me and made me feel disappointed with my own efforts.  Ross posted a lot of pictures back then and I would drool over the eye candy.  He got an electric green sacrophyton from Tom and I had to have one too.  I ordered one from California, my first LE coral and I paid through the nose, $100 for a Tyree toadstool.


Previously my corals were mostly brown or tan.  Now I had one that popped!

Then I saw Jay's tank and discovered SPS.  I joined in on a group buy, biolt a frag rack, and got my first frag pack.  They didn't do too well, lost their colors and most died.


Then I walked into Animal Kingdom and inquired if they would purchase some xenia from me.  It had been growing like a week.  I walked in hoping to get a $30 credit and they offered me $100.  I went back every month and traded my xenia for their best LPS.


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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
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Chessmanmark
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2014, 05:12:55 PM »

Next I purchased some zoos from LiveAquaria


I realized that my 29 gallon with a 20L refugium would do better if I switched places with the tank.  My PC light couldn't penetrate the depth of the 29.


Next month's credit from Animal Kingdom.
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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2014, 05:16:00 PM »

Between Animal Kingdom and the club my tank was filling up with anything and everything I could get my hands on.
Animal Kingdom trades-



And a few frags I bought from Ross-


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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
http://hvreef.org/yabb/index.php?topic=9806.0
Chessmanmark
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014, 05:18:16 PM »

20 gallon filling in


Another Animal Kingdom trade


A frag from Todd


To be continued . . .
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nine9d
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2014, 06:14:50 PM »

And a few frags I bought from Ross-


I remember this pink birdsnest. It came from Reef Science way back when. We did a group buy and they threw in these God Awful free brown sticks in a bag, nobody wanted them. I kept them and they became this beautiful specimen. Everyone that would see this birdsnest always wanted a piece. Way to document your story Mark!
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I love the smell of fresh acro's! Really.
kcstoker1
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 08:47:52 PM »

Great thread, Mark.  I started up a little bit after you.  My first few years in the club were crazy.  Thanks to you, Tom, Ross, Jay, Bob (Seaham), Stacy, Ian and a few others, I was on my way into a hobby that would change everything.

I love the photos.  It's a lot of fun to look back and see the journey.
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Chessmanmark
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 09:39:22 AM »

Tom gives me his blasto


Ross was selling frags again



Remember that Tyree toadstool, well it was growing out nicely.
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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 09:43:45 AM »

One gem that survived from the Reefer Madness frag pack


A gift from a club member


A buy from Florida from a guy I met on ReefLounge.  Jay and Ross bought the colony but I got a frag, Cyphastrea Decadia.
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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
http://hvreef.org/yabb/index.php?topic=9806.0
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2014, 09:50:05 AM »

Then the club had it's best event to date at that time.  Anthony Calfo came and gave a demo on fragging.  After we had a coral auction.  I bid on anything that was donated by SPS Stoner, Tony Nista.  I never saw pieces like this before in person.  Tony was even represented in the book Ultimate Reef Aquariums.

My best acquisition, a Rastafarian Watermelon chalice.  The bids stopped at $30 and I literally stole this piece for $35.


Montipora Confusa


Rainbow stag
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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
http://hvreef.org/yabb/index.php?topic=9806.0
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« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2014, 09:53:14 AM »

My first ORA piece, a blue tort.


My second $100 coral.  Ross sold me his green sacrophyton


Someone posted that Petco was having a $1 a gallon sale.  Time for a third tank.  Ethan was going to college so I bought his rock and light, Jay got the tank for a new sump.
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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
http://hvreef.org/yabb/index.php?topic=9806.0
Chessmanmark
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« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2014, 09:56:05 AM »

Between Animal Kingdom giving me credit for my xenia, going to club meetings, trading corals, buying raffle tickets and group buys, my tank was filling up.



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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
http://hvreef.org/yabb/index.php?topic=9806.0
Chessmanmark
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« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2014, 09:58:20 AM »

I even paid top dollar for some Tubs blue zoos.


to add to the collection




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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
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tony t
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« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2014, 11:52:50 AM »

Fantastic dedication ! Great post and progress,
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26 reef, 120 salt water fish only, 220 fresh
Chessmanmark
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2014, 07:33:59 PM »

Cyphastera growing in

Side tank shot

ORA Turquoise stag
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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
http://hvreef.org/yabb/index.php?topic=9806.0
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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2014, 07:36:02 PM »

Support group

Sump rooms at Pete and Rich's dual meeting



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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
http://hvreef.org/yabb/index.php?topic=9806.0
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« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2014, 07:38:42 PM »

Reefer Madness frag that survived and flourished

Tyree green cyphastrea

Green Elkhorn

My first anemone
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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
http://hvreef.org/yabb/index.php?topic=9806.0
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2014, 07:41:50 PM »

Clove polyps

My first Turaki

ORA Birdsnest showing great growth

Pink zoos

The Xenia farm
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A great many threats face reef environments.  An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem.
Previous build:
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kcstoker1
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2014, 09:35:00 PM »

You never forget your first Turaki...
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ssdawood
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2014, 10:22:05 AM »

Wow what an amazing journey. Its amazing to see the club at its peak. Hosting great events. Mark you make me feel like a baby. Come on guys you did it before, you guys can do it again.

Get involved and let have some amazing meetings and events.
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